Cashner a Good Investment PDF Print E-mail
Written by Perry Van Hook   
Wednesday, 05 March 2014 22:59


San Diego Padres starting pitcher Andrew Cashner continued right where he left off last year, throwing the first two innings of a combined Padres shutout of the Chicago White Sox.

Cashner gave up two singles in two innings of work while striking out three and walking none and getting the W. He was followed by Joe Wieland, who threw two hitless innings and also struck out three batters while Keyvius Sampson allowed one hit in his two scoreless frames while striking out two. Those three major league pitchers were followed by two Padre minor leaguers – Leonel Campos gave up two hits in the eighth while striking out one while Kevin Quackenbush pitched a hitless ninth and struck out one.

The flip side to Cashner’s start was a very rough outing for Chris Sale. Sale looked fine but gave up three singles in the first inning followed by a three-run no doubt home run to Padres catcher Nick Hundley. All told, Sale gave up six runs on six hits and one walk while striking out just one in 2 2/3 innings.

The lone bright spot for the White Sox pitching staff was Dylan Axelrod, who gave up two hits and a walk while striking out three in three scoreless innings.

Minor league catcher Cody Decker also hit a home run – a two-run shot that concluded the Padres scoring in the eighth inning.

Last Updated on Thursday, 06 March 2014 02:44
Cactus League Notes: Tight One From Dodgers and White Sox PDF Print E-mail
Written by Lawr Michaels   
Saturday, 01 March 2014 00:00

Friday found us at Camelback Ranch where the Dodgers hosted the White Sox, and the two teams pretty much looked season ready. The game was locked at 0-0 until the seventh inning when Joc Pederson (who registered at #12 on the Mastersball Top 250 Prospect List)  hooked a liner just inside the foul pole for a two-run homer. That was all the Dodgers would need.

There's one big problem for Pederson, however. Like Scott Van Slyke and Clint Robinson, who also belted a dinger, he has Matt Kemp, Carl Crawford, Yasiel Puig and Andre Ethier (who did start the game) in front of him.

Pale Hose hurler Chris Sale really set a lot of the tone with a couple of innings allowing a double to Adrian Gonzalez, and nothing more, while striking out four.

Dodgers starter Hyun-jin Ryu matched Sale, as did the following littany of hurlers including Brian Wilson, Kenley Jansen, Donnie Veal and the guy I really wonder how he managed this long in the Majors, Jamie Wright (who wound up the winner of the game).

I did see Jose Abreu hit, but for naught, and Chone Figgins, still trying to recapture his dead skills, managed a walk but nothing else.

Last Updated on Saturday, 01 March 2014 08:38
Cactus League Notes: Tribe Manhandles Reds PDF Print E-mail
Written by Lawr Michaels   
Friday, 28 February 2014 00:00

Billy Hamilton was on display, as was Carlos Santana, playing a very shallow third for two innings when no balls came his way.

Johnny Cueto did a couple of innings, acing one, and getting aced the other, while Justin Masterson started and pitched well, followed by Corey Kluber, who had trouble getting outs.

In the end, Cleveland triumphed 12-3, punctuated by a Jake Lowry slam and a pair of two-run blasts by Tyler Naquin and Elliot Johnson (yes, that Elliot Johnson).

Hamilton never really got to show his wheels in a traditional sense, but his speed was a factor for after lining a single in the first, Indians shortstop Mike Aviles tried to throw behind the speedster and threw the ball away, allowing the centerfielder to advance all the way to third. Where he was stranded.

Zack Cozart picked up a couple of hits for the Reds, including a gap double in the second that scored a couple of runs, but found the shortstop out at third trying to extend his hit without the benefit of afterburners (the putout was made by Santana).

One other note: Indians top prospect Francisco Lindor played the final seven innings, got a hit, and stole a base.

Last Updated on Friday, 28 February 2014 13:02
Cactus League Notes: Reddick Redux PDF Print E-mail
Written by Lawr Michaels   
Thursday, 27 February 2014 11:46

The Giants and Athletics spring opener Wednesday really boiled down to the battle between Mike Morse and Josh Reddick.

Morse crushed a 1-1 pitch--with two runners on--over the right field fence (which stands 10 feet high) but surprise, Reddick, among the best defenders in baseball, made a spectacular catch. Almost unnoticed was that the pitch was down, but Morse, in his first at-bat in a Giants uniform, was able to get full extension in driving the ball. 

What made the play so much more fun was in the fourth, history repeated itself with Morse jumping on a 2-2 pitch, sending the ball to virtually the same spot, with Reddick again snatching the ball from outside the yard. Although the second time the right fielder was so much more nonchalant about the whole process.

With the final score resting at 10-5, the four runs Reddick discouraged might have made a difference in the opener, but alas, no such luck.

Among the low-lights were both Yusmeiro Petit and Sergio Romo getting knocked around for virtually all ten Oakland runs.

On the Oakland side, all bats came out swinging. In particular, Sam Fuld contributed a pair of singles, Steven Vogt a triple and prospect Addison Russell knocked a single and swiped a bag.

Oakland hurler Fernando Nieve, of whom I have long been a fan, contributed a nice eighth inning of 14 pitches, with a strikeout and a walk (which was erased on a double play). Ten of the 14 tosses were for strikes.

Last Updated on Thursday, 27 February 2014 20:30
No strategy, no problem PDF Print E-mail
Written by Pasko Varnica   
Monday, 24 February 2014 00:00

Are you being bombarded with advice? Who to pick up, who to avoid, which position is scarce, how long to wait, how much to pay, who are the sleepers, who is a part-timer and on and on to infinity. Is your head spinning by now? You know well that it is only going to get worse in the weeks to come.

Conversely, is your personal life keeping you busy so much that you are getting concerned about your knowledge of the 2014 baseball season, anxious about other guys in your league being better prepared than you and, heavens forbid, you are even considering dropping out of fantasy baseball?

There is nothing to worry about.

In a mock draft organized last week by my buddy Howard Bender (, I ran an experiment with the Mastersball projections. I selected the best available player according to the projections’ dollar values discarding any strategy or other temptations one may have during a draft. That is, I ignored everything I read and learned this year and went into the draft with my mind and heart cast aside. I figured, it is a valid experiment and it is a mock draft, hence there is nothing to lose.

To prepare myself, I combined the hitters and the pitchers spreadsheets, first by removing all the columns other than the qualifying position and the dollar value that matched the league size. The draft followed the standard 5x5 Roto rules, NL/AL mixed league. I also changed the font color of the pitcher spreadsheet for ease of distinction. Lastly, I sorted the unified spreadsheet by the dollar value, largest on top.

When the snake draft started, I began removing players from the spreadsheet as they were being picked up and when my turn came, I selected the top guy, whoever that was, no questions asked. Towards the end of the draft, the player selected was based on the position still unfilled on my team. Admittedly, it was not easy to keep up with the draft. Not everyone took his full 90 seconds. I was in a frenzy, deleting players as other participants selected them. Those were three frantic hours, especially when a wise guy would nominate a player way down the spreadsheet.

Twice I missed my turn and the computer chose the next best player according to its default ranking. The worst was when I moved in haste to beat the 90- second time limit and clicked on Fernando Rod(riguez) instead of Fernando Rod(ney). That destroyed my Saves category.

After getting outfielders in the first two rounds and Cliff Lee in the third, way too early for a pitcher according to my liking, to remain faithful to the experiment, I had to pick up Chris Sale in the fourth round.

I was not ready for what came next. In the fifth and sixth rounds, I was forced to draft two catchers: Yadier Molina and Joe Mauer. It turns out that Mauer will play first base the year, which will give him more at-bats than most other catchers and may help him avoid injury. That explains his high dollar value. Maybe my team is not too bad after all.

How did my team do? The mock draft was held on, which has its own projections. According to them, my team shared the second/third spot. MDC offers three other projections. According to BaseballHQ numbers, my team was third, while according to Rotowire, second and, my favorite, according to Accuscore stats, my team was alone in first with a 10-point lead, notwithstanding the low points in Saves.

One conclusion that I reached out of this experiment: Accuscore must like Mastersball’s projections. Other conclusions about “no strategy, no problem” are up to you.

Last Updated on Monday, 24 February 2014 08:51
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