Monday, September 7, 2009

Moving On To Bigger Things...

We apologize for the extended absence, but we have been busy working on a new project. MLBTFP has joined forces with Fantasy Baseball Lead Editor Bill Root on an exciting new venture, MLB Fantasy Prospects. Bill has written syndicated fantasy baseball articles for Yahoo! Sports,, and USAToday, including the weekly “New Kids on the Diamond” prospect column on RotoExperts and Yahoo. He also co-hosts a weekly fantasy sports radio show on Blog Talk Radio called “Experts Edge” every Thursday night.

I thank you for your loyal readership and hope that you will follow us to MLB Fantasy Prospects, where you will get a lot of the same content you found here, plus expert analysis from Bill Root, as well many guest bloggers we hope to bring you.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Update: Ryan Sadowski Optioned To Single-A is reporting that Ryan Sadowski, recently profiled by MLBTFP on July 4, was optioned to Class-A San Jose this afternoon.  Don’t read too much into this, though.  The Giants don’t need a fifth starter again until July 20.  They’re likely to go with an extra bat on the bench until then.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Ready For A Recall: Matt LaPorta

Making news last year as the prized prospect coming from the Brewers in the CC Sabathia trade, we’re sure that the Indians were hoping that Matt LaPorta would be making his mark in the Majors by now.  Unfortunately, that hasn’t been the case.  After getting traded to Cleveland in July last season, LaPorta struggled mightily for Double-A Akron, hitting just .212 with a .538 OPS in 52 at-bats.  During that month, he was named to the United States Olympic Team.  On August 18, he sustained a concussion after taking a pitch to the helmet in a game against China during the Olympics.  He returned to action later that month for Akron, getting a handful of at-bats before the season ended.

Rated as the number two prospect in the Indians’ farm system by Baseball America, Matt had an uphill battle to make the club as Shin-Soo Choo and Ben Francisco were slated to start in the corner outfield spots for the Tribe.  Not surprisingly, he started the season with Triple-A Columbus and was really mashing the ball (.333 BA, 1.054 OPS) before getting called on May 2 to help carry some of the offensive load with Travis Hafner on the disabled list.  Now, we here at MLBTFP are all for giving a young buck a shot, but we’re not a fan of calling up a potential franchise player and letting him watch from the bench.  After making only a dozen starts in 24 games, LaPorta was sent back down.  Although he had a weak showing (.190 in 42 AB), Cleveland fans were more upset at GM Mark Shapiro and manager Eric Wedge for the way they handled his playing time.  According to Sheldon Ocker of the Beacon Journal:

“There was criticism galore when Matt LaPorta was called up from Columbus to make his major-league debut and played in only about half the games before he was sent back to Triple-A.

Lots of fans felt that if a touted rookie is summoned to the big leagues, he should play every day rather than sit for half the time. But the Indians had a plan.”

We’ll spare you the plan.  It didn’t really make any sense anyway.  The more important story is that the 24-year-old didn’t let a bad experience mess with his head.  Take a look at what he’s done at Columbus over the past 28 days and overall: (courtesy of,








Last 28 Days














The Indians currently have the worst record in the American League.  Ben Francisco has been terribly inconsistent, putting up an abysmal .398 OPS in 85 at-bats during the month of June.  Though he’s off to a good start in July, we’re advocating that LaPorta get another shot at regular playing time for the Tribe.  If there’s been one hole in his game, it’s that Matt has trouble versus left-handed pitching, hitting just .195 this year and .222 in his minor league career.  Ben Francisco, who hits from the right side, hits lefties slightly better for his career (.267 vs. LHP/.259 vs. RHP).  Can you see where we’re going here? 

We would love to see a strict LaPorta/Francisco platoon coming out of the All-Star break.  Matt has nothing left to prove in the minors and the Indians have nothing left to play for.  In giving their prized prospect a regular job, but nothing he can’t handle, they’ll build-up his confidence and by this time next season, we’ll be marveling at the top of Cleveland’s batting order:  Sizemore, LaPorta, Martinez, Choo, and Hafner.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Touching Bases: Baseball Blog Round-Up

While we hope that MLBTFP remains a pivotal part of your daily fantasy baseball and MLB reading regiment, we want to start giving a shout-out to some of our brethren of the blogosphere and cyberspace.  There’s a lot of good information out there and we feel it’s our responsibility to direct you to the best-of-the-best.

High Cheese:  David Murphy, Phillies beat writer for the Philadelphia Daily News, gives his take on what combination of prospects Philly would have to give-up in order to acquire Roy Halladay.  Just in case you haven’t heard, Blue Jays GM J.P. Richardi told Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports about trading the Toronto ace:

“… if something makes sense, we at least have to listen. We're (leaning) more toward listening than we've ever been." 

Fan Graphs:  Are you a hardcore statistical savant when it comes to your baseball?  If so, you’d love this website!  Today, Dave Allen takes a hard look at what went wrong for Chris Davis in Texas.  The Rangers corner-infielder wad demoted to Triple-A this past Sunday.

Advanced Fantasy BaseballOur buddy Jon Williams features recent Reds call-up Drew Sutton today.  He explains picking up the young infielder won’t pay immediate dividends, “But if you can stash him away (especially in NL-only leagues) until he begins to receive more serious playing time, your fantasy team will be greatly rewarded.”

Project Prospect:  This one is for all of you dynasty leaguers and college baseball freaks out there.  Linclon Hamilton unveiled his 2010 Top 10 College Draft Prospects, today.  No surprise, Bryce Harper tops the list.  As Hamilton points out, “The Sports Illustrated cover boy will be the most hyped teenage sports star since LeBron James.”

The Hardball Times:  Rounding out the order, but carrying a big stick, Derek Carty has great advice for navigating your fantasy club through the trade deadline.  He advises that you should start shopping closers on losing teams that will most likely become setup men if traded to a contending club.  Derek makes clear:

“While guys like Jenks and Wood are probably safe, I would be pretty aggressive in shopping Qualls, Street, and (to a slightly lesser extent) Capps. Just don't make it obvious that you're looking to deal them, as you won't get the kind of offers you'll be looking for.”

We hope you enjoyed our initial installment of Touching Bases.  Again, we’ll do this once a week in order to give you some variety.  Just be sure to keep us in your rotation!

Monday, July 6, 2009

In Focus: Padres Traded Scott Hairston to A’s

Scott_Hairston_SDDirk_picnik Practically buried in all of the news about who made the MLB All-Star game and who got snubbed was the Padres trading of Scott Hairston to the A’s for 2 minor league pitchers and a player to be named later.  Hairston, at age 29, has worked incredibly hard at becoming an everyday player and finally earned a starting gig this season with San Diego.  He can play all three spots in the outfield, but his greatest tool is hitting the ball out of the ball park.  Last season, Scott hit 17 homers in 326 at-bats.  This year, in 197 ABs, Hairston is hitting .299 with a .358 OBP and .533 SLG, including 10 homeruns.  He had just returned from the disabled list on June 23, after missing 16 games with a strained left biceps.

With Hairston on board, the blogosphere is buzzing that this trade signals that A’s GM Billy Beane is ready to trade Matt Holliday. baseball editor, Steve Gardner, notes that:

“…Hairston's arrival isn't that earth-shattering. But if the A's have just added an outfielder, it just might help pave the way for a particularly expensive one to be traded somewhere else.  Matt Holliday owners should be paying close attention over the next 3 1/2 weeks.”

The trade has to have Padres asking why?  For sure, it will keep Kyle Blanks in the line-up so he can continue his introduction to big league pitching.  Corey Brock provides San Diego GM Kevin Towers’ answer on

“That's the one thing we lack in our system is pitching depth,” Towers said, noting the lack of higher-level arms in the system. “We really didn't want to give up Scotty. But for us, this is a move looking beyond this year.”

In Ryan Webb and Craig Italiano, the Padres receive two right-handers that will help replenish the system a bit.  Neither pitcher was among the A’s top ten prospects per Baseball America.  Webb, who is 23-years-old, has pitched in 31 games, starting 2, for Triple-A Sacramento in the Pacific Coast League this season.  He has a 4.34 ERA overall, but that drops to a respectable 3.82 if your throw out his 2 starts.  Brock reports that he’ll join the Padres staff, our guess the bullpen, in Arizona tonight.  Italiano, a 22-year-old starter, has a 5.63 ERA for Stockton (A-Advanced) of the California League and will probably remain in the Cali-League, pitching for the Padres affiliate Lake Elsinore.  According to Brock, Towers said that Italiano can throw 95-96 mph. 

One final juicy nugget from Brock’s piece:

“Towers sounded excited about the player to be named in the deal. He said he'll pick from two pitchers sometime this month to determine who it is. Towers said one pitcher has Major League service time. That player could end up the key to the deal.”

Who could this mystery pitcher be?  The Athletics certainly do have an enticing group of young pitchers to choose from.  But who could it be?  Gio Gonzalez, perhaps?

Until we find out, we want to know what you think the future holds for Matt Holliday.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Market Research: Where do you check the score?

We visit a lot of websites as we scan for players and stories to blog about. Most of the time, where we check a score or read a box depends upon what site we're visiting at the time. Isn't it interesting how many different ways the score of a baseball game can be delivered? Some scoreboards go big with the animation and graphics. Others keep it simple. In the interest of full disclosure, we lean toward less bells and whistles because those scoreboards tend to update more frequently. Enough with our opinions (for once), which site do you prefer? Lets us know in the poll below. We'll leave it up in order to get as many answers as possible.

Name You Should Know: Scott Sizemore

Scott Sizemore, 24-years-old, has gone from middling prospect to the second baseman of the future for the Tigers.  Although Baseball America (BA) has him ranked as Detroit’s 7th best prospect, he had never shown the type offensive potential he is showing now.  scott sizemore picnikIn fact, it was widely thought that his Double-A teammate, Cale Iorg, the Tigers’ 3rd best prospect per BA, would reach the Majors before Sizemore.  After torching the AA-Eastern League for Erie (.307 AVG, .937 OPS in 228 ABs), Sizemore is continuing to flash for AAA-Toledo of the International League (.317, .897 in 85 ABs).  He only played in 53 games last year due to a broken wrist he sustained in July.  Looks to us like Scott’s making up for lost time.  With current Tigers 2B Placido Polanco (.255 AVG, .690 OPS) in the last year of his contract, and Iorg struggling with AA pitching (.219 BA, 80 SO, 16 BB, 278 ABs), one has to think Sizemore will get a good look in September.  At the least, his excellent on-base skills won’t hurt your team if you need a middle infielder down the stretch.

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Checkout Baseball Monster

Tim Dierkes, the man behind two of my favorite sites, and RotoAuthority, recently featured a website called Baseball Monster. The site features a slew of tools for fantasy baseball players, including the functionality to provide a list of statistical leaders from a specific date. This definitely beats the traditional split stats most of us use. Head on over to RotoAuthority to see how Tim incorporated this tool into his blog. Then, I suggest linking to Baseball Monster to try it out for yourself.

Who is Ryan Sadowski?

There is no doubt that the box score vultures are zeroing in on San Francisco Giants starter, Ryan Sadowski. Let them have him. This 26-year-old right-hander’s path to the majors reminds us a lot of Lucas French, who we profiled just yesterday. The difference being is that Sadowski is generation a little bit of buzz by his performance over his first two starts:

6/28@Mil6 IP4 H0 ER3 BB2 SO
7/3Hou7 IP3 H0 ER1 BB4 SO
Total2 GS13 IP7 H0 ER4 BB6 SO

Surely, 0 earned runs over 2 starts is going to garner some attention. However, you should be paying more attention to what his statistics looked like before he got here.

Sadowski_picnikIn 6 minor league seasons, Sadowski has a 4.67 ERA in 153 G, of which he started 69. His career SO/BB ratio is just over 2.0. Looking over his career, he has been bounced back and forth from starter to reliever, settling in as a starter this year. Competing in the Pacific Coast League since the start of the season, we have to admit that Ryan has performed admirably in a renowned hitter’s league, keeping his number of hits allowed to an impressive 65 in 72.1 IP. Giants manager Bruce Bochy, in the San Franciso Chronicle on June 28, “…described Sadowski as a fastball-slider-changeup pitcher who throws about 90 mph. Sadowski attracted interest from a team in Japan this season, but vice president of baseball operations Bobby Evans said the Giants rebuffed the Japanese request to buy his contract.” That’s all well and good Bruce, but we can’t ignore that Sadowski’s arrival to majors had more to do with San Fran’s need for a started on June 28 due to Jonathan Sanchez’s demotion to the bullpen. The club has no interest in rushing uberprospects Madison Bumgarner and Tim Alderson, both of whom were just promoted to Double-A Connecticut in May. In fact, as beat writer Chris Haft reported on June 24, “Sadowski has been outperformed at Triple-A by right-hander Kevin Pucetas … But Pucetas last pitched on Thursday, so returning on Sunday would give him just two days' rest, half of his usual complement.”

It looks to us that the Giants were looking to (A) get Sanchez out of the rotation, and (B) fill Sanchez’s spot until they could come up with a plan. That plan probably featured Pucetas, who represented the USA in the 2008 All-Star Futures Game. This year, the 24-year-old has made the leap from A-Adv to AAA with enormous success by going 8 and 2 with a 3.17 ERA in 96.2 innings. But you know what they say about the best laid plans? Ryan Sadowski certainly does.

At this point, the Giants have to stick with Sadowski until they know what it is they have, exactly. Eventually, Sadowski will give up an earned run in a game. Our guess, he’ll give up a lot of them.

Friday, July 3, 2009

Tigers Giving French A Shot

The Detroit Tigers will be giving the ball to lefty Lucas French tonight as the 23-year-old makes his first Major League start against the Twins. This will be his second stint with the Tigers after giving the club 3 scoreless innings out of the pen in May. He Lucas French_picnikwas sent down then as Nate Robertson came off the DL on May 21. Ironically, French will be attempting to hold down Robertson's spot in the rotation after Alfredo Figaro didn't look so hot against Houston this past Saturday. Robertson is expected to be out about a month after having minor elbow surgery, if there is such a thing. Therefore, if French looks good tonight, he may have a chance to stick.

According to Jason Beck, who covers the Tigers for, "French has been on an absolute tear recently, basically for the last month. He has given up four earned runs on 16 hits with 26 strikeouts over 23 innings in his last three starts, though he hasn't won any of them. Further back than that, he has lasted at least 6 2/3 innings with two earned runs or less in five of his last six starts, bringing down his ERA for the year to 2.98."

Looking over his career, this 6 foot 4 inch, 240 pounder seems to have a great sense of timing. French is having his best year since his Rookie League season in 2004. From the time he was drafted, he has steadily made his way through the organization with average numbers:






















3 Lgs

















































By all accounts, French has a pedestrian skill-set, but keeps the ball on the ground and has good command. Our opinion is that he could get by for a handful of starts, but once the league starts to build a book on him, it will be tough going for French.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Cuban Sensation Aroldis Chapman Defects

Great work by today as they have every angle regarding the news that 21-year-old Ardolis Chapman defected from Cuba. If the recent history of high-profile, international pitchers holds true, there will be an epic bidding war for his services once he establishes his residency. Chapman could earn himself significantly more than the $32 million fellow countryman Jose Contreras received in 2003. Somewhere, Stephen Strasburg is cursing the MLB Draft.

Most of the hype spawns from his 100 MPH heater. MLB scouts witnessed his stuff firsthand as Chapman was a member of the disappointing Cuban team at the World Baseball Classic. His statistics were lackluster with a 5.68 ERA in 6.1 IP, scattering 6 hits to go with 8 SO and 4 BB. However, most of the runs he gave up came during Cuba's first of two losses against Japan, the eventual winner of the WBC.

Baseball America's John Manual received the following report from a veteran international scout, "He was unreal in Mexico City and just OK in San Diego," the scout said. "There were rumors heading into Mexico that he wouldn’t be there because they were afraid he would defect, but he was there and was lights out. If you are looking for more than that in a pitcher, you’ll be searching your whole life. He was so much fun to watch. If he’s 21 like he’s listed, the sky’s the limit. You’ve got honestly just one or two tweaks that could be made but he could go straight to the top of a big league rotation. He’s got a great body, definitely has high pockets, absolutely. He’s on top of the hitter, his release has extension, he’s got the ball coming out of there at 100 mph. He’s absolutely electric."

All reports indicate that Chapman will be signed, sealed, and delivered to some team by Spring Training. Our guess is this guy will be sporting black pinstripes by February/March.

The following is video from his dazzling Mexico City performance that the scout referred to above (can anyone tell us what language the announcers are speaking?).

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Name You Should Know: Brad Holt

If you are a Mets fan or you were paying attention to the Mark DeRosa sweepstakes, you already know the name Brad Holt. Today, John Heyman, renowned baseball writer for, tweeted ( that the Indians wanted Brad Holt or Bobby Parnell PLUS for Mark DeRosa. Subsequently, DeRosa was dealt to the Cards for Chris Perez, a reliever with a lot of upside. So then, who is Brad Holt?

Holt was drafted in the 1st Round (33rd overall) out of UNC-Wilmington by the Mets in last year's MLB Draft. This season, he has pitched his way through the Florida State League (A-Advanced) and onto the roster of Birmingham Mets of the Eastern League (AA). Though roughed up in his second start with Birmingham (after missing 2 weeks with an ankle season), Holt still has a combined 3.96 ERA in 50 innings pitched. I know...not exactly the dominating ERA most would like to see from a prospect of this caliber. What makes him impressive is that he has only given up 39 hits in those 50 IP along with striking out 57 batters against 18 BB, over a 3 to 1 SO to BB ratio. No doubt that Holt has shown the stuff that led Baseball America to rate him as the Mets 4th best prospect heading into this season.

At 6'4" and close to 200 lbs., the 22-year-old can throw the ball hard. According to RealGM Baseball's Prospect Report (, Holt hits the mid 90's on the radar gun with good command. If he's going to make it as a starter, Brad needs to work on secondary pitches to go with his fastball. His improved curve is one of the reasons Holt earned such an early promotion to Double-A.

Surely, if Brad Holt can master a second and third pitch, he could himself a spot in the Mets rotation heading into 2011. Another scenario, perhaps more likely, is that Holt's fastball and a refined curveball gets earns him a spot in the Mets bullpen by the end of 2010.

Check out some footage of Holt in action.

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Baseball America Features Rangers' Yoon-He Nam

Baseball America had an interesting piece in their Prospect Blog today on Korean pitcher, Yoon-He Nam. Signed by the Rangers in 2006, Nam is dazzling hitters for the Hickory Crawdads in the South Atlantic League (Low-A). The 21-year-old, working primarily out of the bullpen (19 G, 4 GS), has a 1.73 ERA while racking up 57 SO against 17 BB in 52 innings pitched. Per Nam's pitching coach, "He throws four pitches—fastball, curveball, slider, changeup. He commands them all. He disrupts timing." Certainly looks like a player to tabs on.