Current Top 10’s – Left Fielders

This is the eighth in a series of thirteen installments highlighting the Top 10 players at each position, as well as, taking the number one player from each position to create a Top 10, Top 10 list. The exception in the list is Designated Hitters simply because there aren’t enough qualifying DH’s.

Here’s a list of what’s to come and when:
Dec. 29 – Center Fielders
Jan. 5 – Right Fielders
Jan. 12 – Ultimate Top 10
Jan. 19 – Managers
Jan. 26 – General Managers
(check previous posts for what’s already been revealed)

Below are two lists, one shows players ranked per a combination of their 2014 stats and where they ranked in those stats per their respective position. The second list is based on stats but then given adjustments based on defense, track record, injuries and projections.

2014 Stat Top 10
10. Yoenis Cespedes
9. Christian Yelich
8. Melky Cabrera
7. JD Martinez
6. Corey Dickerson
5. Justin Upton
T-3. Matt Holliday & Matt Kemp
2. Nelson Cruz (qualifies as LF)
1. Michael Brantley

Adjusted Top 10
10. Yoenis Cespedes
9. Bryce Harper
8. Alex Gordon
7. Melky Cabrera
6. Justin Upton
5. Matt Kemp
4. Matt Holliday
3. Nelson Cruz
2. Michael Brantley
1. Carlos Gonzalez

In consideration (in no particular order): Martinez, Yelich, Dickerson, Shin Soo Choo, Brett Gardner, Starling Marte.

AJ Preller is a Madman, And You Love It

After years of small market, bottom-fifteen payroll chatter, something has changed in San Diego. Apparently, all that was needed was a General Manager with the vision and gumption to make moves. After all, the ownership group cannot necessarily still be considered new. So with that, recently ousted GM, Josh Byrnes, seemingly could have gone for it the same way AJ Preller is in his first offseason with the Padres. That’s not to slight Byrnes as he did make some quality moves – some of which included players used in Preller’s recent flurry of activity. It is simply shining light on the vastly different approach this new GM is taking with a team that is used to seeing its players on the way out rather than welcoming new players to the fold.

In barely over a week’s time, Preller has completely transformed a roster that finished with a historically barren offense in 2014. Moreover, he has done so without giving up any of the top three starting pitchers – Andrew Cashner, Tyson Ross, Ian Kennedy – and has retained three of the top four prospects (from the 2014 MLB.com midseason list) in Austin Hedges (#1), Matt Wisler (#2) and Hunter Renfroe (#4, now #3).

Come Opening Day, the Padres will feature potentially five new faces in the starting lineup with Matt Kemp, Wil Myers, Justin Upton, Derek Norris and Will Middlebrooks (a reported deal). With a glaring hole still at shortstop and 10 (yes, 10) legitimate Major League outfielders – you thought the Dodgers had a logjam – on the 40-man roster, you can be sure the dealing is far from over. Assuming the newest acquisitions remain in San Diego, the following outfielders may want to have their bags packed just in case their name comes up (just ask Rene Rivera how fast fortunes can change): Abraham Almonte, Jake Goebbert, Rymer Liriano, Cameron Maybin, Carlos Quentin, Seth Smith and Will Venable.

So what is Preller saying with all these moves? Well, a few things. First, he and the Padres are ready to win now. In a season in which the World Series champions reside in the same division and the Dodgers are just flat-out financial monsters, that hasn’t deterred the Padres from going all in now. Secondly, it says that Preller identified the prospects he liked upon taking over and worked deals to keep them, even if it meant giving up more of the others in each deal (read further for a full list of players traded away). Thirdly, Preller is showing that he isn’t afraid to take an injury-prone player (Kemp) or one coming off an injury-shortened season (Myers, Middlebrooks) with the potential of great upside. He also isn’t afraid or concerned about defensive metrics which have not been kind to Kemp or Norris, particularly. The last thing of note is that right-handed power plays at Petco. Maybe it is just a lack of a left-handed market, but Preller has certainly targeted right-handed power hitters.

The potential downside to all these moves, however, are the upsides of the players that have been sent out. Eleven of the organization’s top 30 prospects will find themselves in different training camps next year (with the exception of Trea Turner who will have to play for the Padres organization until he can be officially moved in June) as a result of these moves including: Burch Smith, Jake Bauers, Joe Ross, Turner, Jace Peterson, Mallex Smith, Max Fried, Dustin Peterson, RJ Alvarez, Joe Wieland and Zach Eflin.

The farm system has been depleted as a whole, yes, but if this doesn’t work, and the Padres find themselves out of contention in July, there are pieces on this team now that can be flipped for minor-league depth. On the other side of that, assuming the Padres contend all year and cannot get long-term deals worked out with pending free agents (i.e. Upton, Kennedy), they have the option to make a qualifying offer and recoup a high draft pick in those instances should those players decline the QO. And, don’t forget about the glut of outfielders still on the team that could also be swapped for younger talent.

The other two upside players moved this week but don’t qualify as prospects were Jesse Hahn – who came over in the Alex Torres deal and showed great promise in ’14 with a big curveball – and Yasmani Grandal, both of whom were big parts of the 2014 squad assembled by former GM Josh Byrnes.

One other question the team faces now is who plays centerfield? Do they go with the aging, declining skillset of one-time centerfielder Kemp or the younger, more agile Myers, who, while hasn’t played more than 53 innings of centerfield in the majors, played 200 games there in the minor leagues.

So, take the title of this piece as an extreme compliment towards first-time, first-year Padres General Manager, AJ Preller. Whatever he does from here on out, it’ll be hard to surpass the level of activity he has created in the 2014-15 offseason.

How many times can the Padres say that they have been on the receiving end of the marquee player at the time the deal was struck, let alone in multiple trades during the same year? In five years when Kemp’s deal is up, Myers hits free agency and we have a clear picture of what all the young talent the Padres gave up has become, we can take time to evaluate this offseason. Until then, enjoy it Padres fans, the waiting is over.

Current Top 10’s – Shortstops

This is the seventh in a series of thirteen installments highlighting the Top 10 players at each position, as well as, taking the number one player from each position to create a Top 10, Top 10 list. The exception in the list is Designated Hitters simply because there aren’t enough qualifying DH’s.

Here’s a list of what’s to come and when:
Dec. 22 – Left Fielders
Dec. 29 – Center Fielders
Jan. 5 – Right Fielders
Jan. 12 – Ultimate Top 10
Jan. 19 – Managers
Jan. 26 – General Managers
(check previous posts for what’s already been revealed)

Below are two lists, one shows players ranked per a combination of their 2014 stats and where they ranked in those stats per their respective position. The second list is based on stats but then given adjustments based on defense, track record, injuries and projections.

2014 Stat Top 10
10. Alcides Escobar
9. Erick Aybar
T-7. Jimmy Rollins & Ian Desmond
6. Troy Tulowitzki
5. Hanley Ramirez
4. Starlin Castro
3. Jose Reyes
2. Alexei Ramirez
1. Jhonny Peralta

Adjusted Top 10
10. Asdrubal Cabrera
9. Jimmy Rollins
8. Alcides Escobar
7. Elvis Andrus
6. Starlin Castro
5. Hanley Ramirez
4. Jhonny Peralta
3. Ian Desmond
2. Jose Reyes
1. Troy Tulowitzki

In consideration (in no particular order): Aybar, Ramirez, JJ Hardy, Andrelton Simmons, Eduardo Escobar/Danny Santana.

Current Top 10’s – Third Basemen

This is the sixth in a series of thirteen installments highlighting the Top 10 players at each position, as well as, taking the number one player from each position to create a Top 10, Top 10 list. The exception in the list is Designated Hitters simply because there aren’t enough qualifying DH’s.

Here’s a list of what’s to come and when:
Dec. 15 – Shortstops
Dec. 22 – Left Fielders
Dec. 29 – Center Fielders
Jan. 5 – Right Fielders
Jan. 12 – Ultimate Top 10
Jan. 19 – Managers
Jan. 26 – General Managers
(check previous posts for what’s already been revealed)

Below are two lists, one shows players ranked per a combination of their 2014 stats and where they ranked in those stats per their respective position. The second list is based on stats but then given adjustments based on defense, track record, injuries and projections.

2014 Stat Top 10
10. Pablo Sandoval
9. Evan Longoria
8. Casey McGehee
7. Nolan Arenado
6. Matt Carpenter
5. Todd Frazier
4. Kyle Seager
3. Adrian Beltre
2. Josh Donaldson
1. Anthony Rendon

Adjusted Top 10
10. Todd Frazier
9. Pablo Sandoval
8. Kyle Seager
7. Nolan Arenado
6. David Wright
5. Anthony Rendon
4. Josh Donaldson
3. Evan Longoria
2. Matt Carpenter
1. Adrian Beltre

In consideration (in no particular order): McGehee, Aramis Ramirez, Luis Valbuena, Trevor Plouffe.

Current Top 10’s – Second Basemen

This is the fifth in a series of thirteen installments highlighting the Top 10 players at each position, as well as, taking the number one player from each position to create a Top 10, Top 10 list. The exception in the list is Designated Hitters simply because there aren’t enough qualifying DH’s.

Here’s a list of what’s to come and when:
Dec. 8 – Third Basemen
Dec. 15 – Shortstops
Dec. 22 – Left Fielders
Dec. 29 – Center Fielders
Jan. 5 – Right Fielders
Jan. 12 – Ultimate Top 10
Jan. 19 – Managers
Jan. 26 – General Managers
(check previous posts for what’s already been revealed)

Below are two lists, one shows players ranked per a combination of their 2014 stats and where they ranked in those stats per their respective position. The second list is based on stats but then given adjustments based on defense, track record, injuries and projections.

2014 Stat Top 10
10. Ben Zobrist
9. Dee Gordon
8. Daniel Murphy
7. Neil Walker
6. Chase Utley
5. Howie Kendrick
4. Brian Dozier
3. Ian Kinsler
2. Jose Altuve
1. Robinson Cano

Adjusted Top 10
10. Brandon Phillips
9. Ben Zobrist
8. Neil Walker
7. Chase Utley
6. Jason Kipnis
5. Howie Kendrick
4. Ian Kinsler
3. Dustin Pedroia
2. Jose Altuve
1. Robinson Cano

In consideration (in no particular order): Murphy, Jedd Gyorko, DJ LeMahieu, Scooter Gennett, Aaron Hill, Javier Baez.

Current Top 10’s – First Basemen

This is the fourth in a series of thirteen installments highlighting the Top 10 players at each position, as well as, taking the number one player from each position to create a Top 10, Top 10 list. The exception in the list is Designated Hitters simply because there aren’t enough qualifying DH’s.

Here’s a list of what’s to come and when:
Dec. 1 – Second Basemen
Dec. 8 – Third Basemen
Dec. 15 – Shortstops
Dec. 22 – Left Fielders
Dec. 29 – Center Fielders
Jan. 5 – Right Fielders
Jan. 12 – Ultimate Top 10
Jan. 19 – Managers
Jan. 26 – General Managers
(check previous posts for what’s already been revealed)

Below are two lists, one shows players ranked per a combination of their 2014 stats and where they ranked in those stats per their respective position. The second list is based on stats but then given adjustments based on defense, track record, injuries and projections.

2014 Stat Top 10
10. Justin Morneau
9. Adam LaRoche
8. Edwin Encarnacion
7. Adrian Gonzalez
6. Albert Pujols
5. Anthony Rizzo
4. Paul Goldschmidt
3. Freddie Freeman
2. Miguel Cabrera
1. Jose Abreu

Adjusted Top 10
10. Prince Fielder
9. Albert Pujols
8. Justin Morneau
7. Adrian Gonzalez
6. Edwin Encarnacion
5. Anthony Rizzo
4. Freddie Freeman
3. Jose Abreu
2. Paul Goldschmidt
1. Miguel Cabrera

In consideration (in no particular order): LaRoche, Matt Adams, Lucas Duda, Mike Napoli, Eric Hosmer, Chris Davis, Carlos Santana, Ryan Zimmerman (anticipated move to 1B).

Hall Of Fame – 2015 Mock Ballot

The 2015 MLB Hall of Fame ballot was released today. Among the new group of eligible players are Randy Johnson, Pedro Martinez, John Smoltz, Carlos Delgado and Gary Sheffield. While I don’t yet have an official ballot, why not take this time to stir up discussion with a mock ballot.

Here’s who I’d be sending to Cooperstown in 2015:
Randy Johnson
Pedro Martinez
John Smoltz
Craig Biggio
Mike Piazza
Jeff Bagwell
Lee Smith
Edgar Martinez
Fred McGriff
Tim Raines

Let’s start with the three pitchers. Randy Johnson is a no doubter, no explanation needed. He was flat dominant. Pedro Martinez, although he played longer, can be likened to a Sandy Koufax type of career arch with a string of incredible years from 1997 to 2005. Pedro shouldn’t have a problem getting in. John Smoltz had a nice career, some as a starter, some as a closer. The difference between Smoltz and Hall of Famer Dennis Eckersley is not huge, but the edge goes to Smoltz, so he gets in, too.

Then we come to the carryovers. Biggio missed by the slimmest of margins in 2014 and with this year’s top-heavy talent, might he miss again? He will eventually get there, maybe the same year his former teammate Jeff Bagwell gets the call, as well. It would be fitting to have the Killer B’s go in together.

Without hard evidence on Piazza, how can you keep the game’s best offensive catcher ever out of Cooperstown?

Edgar Martinez and Lee Smith present similar arguments – at the time they retired, they were the best (Martinez) and Top 5 (Smith) at their positions all-time. The designated hitter exists. A guy can’t be faulted for something that baseball created and Martinez was – and still might be – the best designated hitter ever. While Smith retired as the all-time saves leader, it’s his other numbers on top of that that earn him a spot alongside baseball’s immortals.

The Crime Dog, Fred McGriff, to me, is a Hall of Famer. The numbers are there. What is curious with this ballot, however, is that Carlos Delgado sports very similar stats, but barely misses the cut this year thanks in part because I have changed my mind on Tim Raines and now have him on the ballot to complete the 10 spots.

Lastly, I have to this point, not included known PED-users on my ballot. Sheffield, having been named in the Mitchell Report, fits that bill and therefore will not appear.

The ballot will continue to be stuffed full of deserving candidates the next few years, at least, and with the newly implemented 10-year ballot life vs. the previous 15-year window a candidate had to be inducted to the Hall of Fame, players like Sheffield, Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens and Mark McGwire, will continue finding themselves on the outside looking in.

Prediction for 2015: Johnson, Martinez, Smoltz, Biggio get elected.

First Busy Weekend of the Hot Stove

Coming in this morning, it was clear how much got done this weekend. Here’s a breakdown of all the happenings in case you missed any of it:

- Giancarlo Stanton is extremely rich. He and the Miami Marlins have agreed to a reported 13-year, $325M contract extension. That’s a ton of years and a ton of money, but he is still only 25 years old. It will be interesting to see how quickly Miami starts acting like Miami and trades him.

- Russell Martin is extremely rich, but much less so (if that can even be a thing…). Martin and the Blue Jays connected on a 5-year, $82M deal. The Canadian has returned home.

- In trade news, Jason Heyward and Shelby Miller will have new teams next season – and beyond for at least Miller – after the Cardinals and Braves hooked up on the swap that also included Jordan Walden (heading to St. Louis) and RHP prospect Tyrell Jenkins (heading to Atlanta).

- Some rumblings from around the league include San Diego looking at Pablo Sandoval, the Cubs now focusing on Jon Lester (after missing on Martin) and the Tigers keeping the door open to bringing back Max Scherzer.

Current Top 10’s – Catchers

This is the third in a series of thirteen installments highlighting the Top 10 players at each position, as well as, taking the number one player from each position to create a Top 10, Top 10 list. The exception in the list is Designated Hitters simply because there aren’t enough qualifying DH’s.

Here’s a list of what’s to come and when:
Nov. 24 – First Basemen
Dec. 1 – Second Basemen
Dec. 8 – Third Basemen
Dec. 15 – Shortstops
Dec. 22 – Left Fielders
Dec. 29 – Center Fielders
Jan. 5 – Right Fielders
Jan. 12 – Ultimate Top 10
Jan. 19 – Managers
Jan. 26 – General Managers
(check previous posts for what’s already been revealed)

Below are two lists, one shows players ranked per a combination of their 2014 stats and where they ranked in those stats per their respective position. The second list is based on stats but then given adjustments based on defense, track record, injuries and projections.

2014 Stat Top 10
T-10. Miguel Montero & Brian McCann
9. Dioner Navarro
8. Kurt Suzuki
7. Evan Gattis
6. Salvador Perez
5. Russell Martin
4. Yan Gomes
3. Devin Mesoraco
2. Buster Posey
1. Jonathan Lucroy

Adjusted Top 10
10. Yan Gomes
9. Brian McCann
8. Evan Gattis
7. Russell Martin
6. Devin Mesoraco
5. Matt Wieters
4. Salvador Perez
3. Jonathan Lucroy
2. Buster Posey
1. Yadier Molina

In consideration (in no particular order): Suzuki, Montero, Navarro, Wilin Rosario, Wilson Ramos.

Current Top 10’s – Relief Pitchers

This is the second in a series of thirteen installments highlighting the Top 10 players at each position, as well as, taking the number one player from each position to create a Top 10, Top 10 list. The exception in the list is Designated Hitters simply because there aren’t enough qualifying DH’s.

Here’s a list of what’s to come and when:
Nov. 17 – Catchers
Nov. 24 – First Basemen
Dec. 1 – Second Basemen
Dec. 8 – Third Basemen
Dec. 15 – Shortstops
Dec. 22 – Left Fielders
Dec. 29 – Center Fielders
Jan. 5 – Right Fielders
Jan. 12 – Ultimate Top 10
Jan. 19 – Managers
Jan. 26 – General Managers
(check previous posts for what’s already been revealed)

Below are two lists, one shows players ranked per a combination of their 2014 stats and where they ranked in those stats per their respective position. The second list is based on stats but then given adjustments based on defense, track record, injuries and projections.

2014 Stat Top 10
T-10. Kelvin Herrera & Joe Smith
9. Andrew Miller
8. Craig Kimbrel
7. JP Howell
6. Pat Neshek
5. Aroldis Chapman
4. Sean Doolittle
3. Ken Giles
2. Dellin Betances
1. Wade Davis

Adjusted Top 10
10. Sean Doolittle
9. Dellin Betances
8. Kenley Jansen
7. Wade Davis
6. Huston Street
5. Darren O’Day
4. Joe Smith
3. Greg Holland
2. Craig Kimbrel
1. Aroldis Chapman

In consideration (in no particular order): Herrera, Howell, Giles, Neshek, Miller, Drew Storen, Jake McGee, Joakim Soria, Mark Melancon, Brad Boxberger, Chad Qualls, Fernando Abad, Fernando Rodney.