The Baltimore Orioles are going all in this year. Just a couple days after the Orioles ink starter Ubaldo Jimenez for 4 years and $50 Million, Baltimore announces they signed Nelson Cruz on a one year deal for $8 Million pending a physical. You can make a case whether this was good or not for the Orioles, but I think it makes a statement saying that they are ready to make a run this season.
Nelson Cruz declined a 1 year, $14.1 million dollar qualifying offer from the Texas Rangers and it didn’t quite pay off for the 33 year old. I’m no fan of a player who gets busted with any kind of PED and realistically I don’t know what to expect from Cruz in 2014. He’s a career .268 hitter and has 5 straight seasons of 22+ homeruns including a career high of 33 in 2009. Since his new home ball park is Camden Yards and not Globe Life Park in Arlington who knows what his output can be but I can see around 25 HR’s this season.
The one negative to this deal is that the Orioles are going to give up a draft pick in compensation for Cruz, right around 55th overall. I’m one to value a draft pick but to get a corner outfielder who can probably give you 20+ bombs and has post season experience, I say it’s worth the risk. Even more so if I’m only spending 8 million for 1 year in this market.
The notable part of this deal is the dollar value the Orioles are saving on this deal. For example, Chris Young is a career .235 hitter and has 13 less career HR’s than Cruz had signed with the Mets for $7.25 and one year. The Phillies signed 36 year old outfielder Marlon Byrd to a 2 year, $16 Million deal. I’d rather have Cruz than either of these two players, as I’m sure many would.
It goes to show if you’re patient, you can wind up with a great offseason deal without breaking the bank. After all it’s all about putting up wins, isn’t it?
A big part of baseball for me is watching young talented prospects develop and learn the game through the minor leagues. Some develop into some of the best hitters and pitchers, some settle into bench roles or middle relief and others don’t meet expectations or fizzle out. Baseball is grueling, brutal and one of the toughest sports to play. Despite some people thinking it’s like watching grass grow.
Everyone has their favorite little all stars that are prime to brake out and i’m sure many of you lurk the top 100 baseball prospects list year to year like I do. Here’s a list of guys that are having themselves a strong season as they try to make a name in baseball.
Peter O’Brien, C, New York Yankees – Originally drafted by the Rockies in the 3rd round of the 2011 draft. Peter chose not to sign and attend the University of Miami. The following year in the 2012 draft, the Yankees drafted him in the 2nd round, 94th overall and he signed with the bombers. He’s a 6’3 righty catcher with power. He’s down in single A Charleston and tearing the covers off baseballs. He’s hitting a slash line of .333/.404/.640 with 11 homeruns and 41 RBI’s in 51 games. What’s also impressive is that he clubbed 22 doubles in that time.
Max Muncy, 1b, Oakland Athletics – Max was drafted by the Cleveland Indians in the 41st round of the 2009 draft coming out of high school. He chose not to sign and attend Baylor instead. Then in the 2012 draft, Max was selected in the 5th round by the Oakland A’s. Not an overly large first baseman, being only 6 foot but this kid has some power. There is one thing that sticks out to me from his rookie season last year at single A Burlington and this year at high A Stockton. In roughly about the same amount of games, in 2012 he hit 20 doubles and 4 HR’s. This season he’s translated that swing in a big way, hitting 9 doubles and a whopping 18 HR’s. Couple that with his .303/.422/.539 slash line and 61 RBI’s. But perhaps his best feature is the fact that he has more walks than strikeouts, 47:46 which is huge for a developing young ball player. Keeping my eye on this kid.
Anthony Ranaudo, P, Boston Red Sox – The first rounder from 2010 is making heads turn again. He struggled in 2012 with the Portland Sea Dogs posting a 6.69 ERA and basically walked everybody. This season he’s back at AA Portland and it seems that he’s adjusted quite nice. In 12 starts, Ranaudo posted a 2.12 ERA, only allowed 41 hits in 67 innings with a K:BB of 76:21. Looks like Boston has an ace in the making here and this dude is 6’7″. SIX SEVEN!
Rafael Montero, P, New York Mets – This kid amazes me. I think the Mets really have something in this arm. He hails from the Dominican Republic and signed with the Mets in 2010. What intrigues me is that he’s only walked 43 in 271.2 innings in his minor league career. In AA Binghamton, Montero posted a 2.43 ERA with a WHIP of .915 and a nice 9.7 K per 9. There is a reason why the Mets called him up to AAA Las Vegas and in 2 starts he’s pitched quite well. Don’t expect the Mets to call him to the majors just yet because of his innings but who knows, it’s baseball.
Opening day has arrived! Today is the first full scheduled Major League games, as yesterday the Houston Astros defeat the Texas Rangers 8-2 in their American League Debut at home. I couldn’t be anymore happier for Bo Porter, Jeff Luhnow and the Houston Astros. It was Bo’s first win as a manager and the 4,000th win for the franchise.
Here is a quick list of Opening Day standouts as there are many games still underway.
Justin Maxwell, HOU CF – Justin went 2 for 3 with one walk, 2 triples, 2 RBI’s and 2 runs scored for the mighty Astros.
Colin Cowgill, NYM CF/LF – Duuuude, the fan favorite “Reverse Cowgill” fantasy team name does more than humor the fantasy crowd. Colin smacked a grand salami going 2 for 5 with 2 runs scored en route to a Mets win over the Padres.
Bryce Harper, WSH LF – I cant wait to watch Harper highlights this year, I mean seriously though. Right off the bat (pun!), he hits 2 homeruns in his first 2 at bats? He becomes the youngest player in MLB history to do such a feat.
Stephen Strasburg, WSH SP – Doesn’t even give the Marlins a chance going 7 strong innings, giving up 3 hits, 0 walks and 3 K’s. MONEY.
Jackie Bradley JR, BOS LF – I love this kid. Totally bats his way into the starting lineup for the Sox. He may not of got a hit in his debut, but he did walk 3 times. The same amount of times Carl Crawford walked last year for the Red Sox.
Jeff Samardzija, ChC SP – Many predicted big things from the ex wide receiver this year for the Cubbies and he is currently tied for first in all the Majors in wins. He pitched a gem, tossing 8 innings with 1 BB, 2 hits and 9 K’s over the Pirates.
Milwaukee Brewers – The Brew crew topped the Rockies in the first extra inning game this season off a Jonathan Lucroy SAC fly.
There’s a ton more baseball to watch, including the first inter-league matchup ever between the Reds and Angels. Later!
On this day, March 4th of 2008, Brad Hawpe and the Colorado Rockies agreed to a 3-year contract worth $17,425,000. The first 2 years of the deal turned out pretty nice for both parties. The third year of the Triple Hawpe’s Brewed contract, not so much. B-rad hit .255/.343/.432 and 7 HR’s in 88 games with Colorado before ending the year with the Tampa Bay Rays. The following year, attempting to have a bounce back season he signed with the San Diego Padres. Only playing 62 games for the Padres and that was all the big league action Brad Hawpe saw after that.
This article is about five players I think will bounce back in the 2013 season:
Ike Davis, 1B, New York Mets
Ike Davis burst on the scene in 2010 as a rookie with the Mets with a stellar rookie campaign. He reached just over 600 plate appearances with a slash line of .264/.351/.440. Ike hit 19 HR’s, knocked in 71, scored 73 times. Even walking 72 times. Last year he was coming off a injury plagued 2011 season and had some bright spots in 2012. Those being a career high, 32 homeruns and 90 RBI’s. You’re probably thinking, why would be be on this list? He hit a measly .227 with an On Base Percentage of .308 and was bothered by a nagging ankle and trying to fight off the valley fever. Yes, valley fever is a real thing. Coming into this season he’s healthy, more alert and has his energy back. I don’t think he’ll top the homers, but everything else should rise.
Dan Haren, SP, Washington Nationals
I never thought of Dan Haren being on any sort of bounce back or comeback list. I mean, it’s Dan freakin’ Haren. But here it is. Now 32, had his option declined by the Los Angeles Angels and a botched trade to the Chicago Cubs. Haren was snatched up by the ever so loved Washington Nationals for 1 year, $13 Million. Coming off a season dealing with back soreness that had him see some DL time. He simply just gave up too many hits, 190 in 176.2 innings and served up 28 long balls. The ERA a lofty 4.33. The Nats don’t see the back problems striking again, or at least hope so. I think the return to the National League and a change of scenery will do him right.
Brett Gardner, LF, New York Yankees
Brett Gardner missed most of last season with an arthroscopic procedure removing inflamed tissue from his elbow. Limiting him to just 16 games. Though a small sample size, in those 16 games he hit .323 with an On Base Percent of .417. Possible career year? We’ll never know. If it’s one thing he’s good at it’s getting on base (career .355 OBP) and stealing them. Thus a possible position shift to Center this year. I went to a game in 2009 at Yankee Stadium and witnessed him steal 2nd and 3rd back to back. Dude is crazy fast. The Yankees are going to rely this year partly on roadrunner’s ability to stay healthy and utilizing his speed to contend this year. I can see him bouncing back with 40+ steals in 2013.
Vance Worley, SP, Minnesota Twins
Vance stepped into a big role with the Philadelphia Phillies as a starter and he delivered big in 2011. The Vanimal went 11-3 with a 3.01 ERA in 21 starts and 25 total appearances that led him to a 3rd place finish in Rookie of the Year voting. Which is a nice honor. In the 2012 season he was hit with some right elbow problems, leading to 2 trips to the disabled list including missing his last 3 starts to remove bone chips from his elbow. The main difference from the 2012 and 2011 seasons was less strikeouts and giving up more hits. Part of the trade that sent him and Trevor May to the Twins for the speedy outfielder Ben Revere, he is healthy and in Twins camp. He will fill a much needed role in the Twins rotation. Though he never topped 133 innings and making a transition to the American League, he is still only 25 years young and I have faith he can string together a descent comeback. Though he wont get many wins.
Victor Martinez, C/DH, Detroit Tigers
This counts as a bounce back candidate, right? He did miss the entire 2012 season with a torn ACL from a preseason workout. Another weapon is back for the Tigers, who have another possible shot at winning the World Series. Victor will mostly serve as the DH but could see some time giving Prince a rest at 1st, and possibly behind the plate. Jim Leyland claims Martinez is good to go and his knee shouldn’t be a problem going forward. He owns a career line of .303/.370/.470 in 1149 career games. The guy has such a passion for the game, remember when he teared up when he was traded to the Red Sox? A true class act and he’ll probably hit 5th in what might be one of the best lineups MLB has seen. If the knee holds up, expect big things.
There you have it, 5 players that I think will bounce back in this coming 2013 season. No doubt this year will be one for the ages. Thanks for reading Fully Torqued.
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