Thursday November 15th, 2012
Alex Mednick (Baseball Writer and Analyst)
Last week Jonathan Hacohen, the founder of MLBReports.com called to my attention that the Tampa Bay Rays are an anomaly. Ultimately, if you look at the way their team is structured and where their talent lays, and the kind of game that Joe Maddon manages the Rays are ultimately a National League team; displaced in the AL East. The Rays greatest strength is their depth of pitching that they can reach into the bowels of an amazing farm system ripe with young talent. But from there on out, they rely on an offense that generates runs due to other inefficiencies.
With B.J. Upton leaving town, and Carlos Pena only a carcass of what he once was, there is ultimately zero power left in their lineup. Their DH for the past two years have been the likes of an aging Johnny Damon, Hideki Matsui, and Luke Scott. Ownership is constantly complaining about attendance and looking for bargain free agents like Johnny Damon to bring in at the end of their careers and hopefully attract some Yankees and Red Sox fans to the stadium.
At this point, the Rays power hitters are Evan Longoria, Matt Joyce and Ben Zobrist. They have an amazing nucleus of pitching talent, including David Price who just won the AL Cy Young, and they are mentioning trading almost all of their starting pitchers. This is understandable, as you have to dish out talent to bring back offensive talent that they are in great need of. But I still have major gripes with the way owner Stuart Sternberg has approached the past 4 seasons in St. Petersburg, and I will get into more detail about this in a little while. Read the rest of this entry
Friday November 2nd, 2012
Alex Mednick (Baseball Writer and Analyst):
In 2011, the Arizona Diamondbacks made a really nice push in the AL West and finished with 94 wins, 8 games ahead of the second place San Francisco Giants. They performed well above expectations, and they did so with a relatively unglamorous starting rotation, that consisted mainly of Ian Kennedy, Joe Saunders, Josh Collmenter, Daniel Hudson and a revolving 5th starter. What really carried the team in 2011 and made the Arizona Diamondbacks a competitive in 2011, happened to be their weakest link in their miserable 2010 season: the bullpen.
The Diamondbacks won 29 more games in 2011 than they did in 2010. The most drastic changes made by the organization were in the bullpen where the D-Back’s added closer J.J. Putz and setup man David Hernandez. The 2011 bullpen allowed 100 fewer runs than their predecessors in 2010 and dropped their group ERA from 5.74 in 2010 to just 3.71 in 2011. It goes without saying that their newly revamped bullpen allowed Arizona to stay close in a lot more games and gave them a better chance to be winners.
Following their great 2011 season, the D-Back’s found themselves reverting back to their former ways in 2012. Finishing 13 games behind the first place Giants, and just barely hanging on to a .500 record, the Diamondback’s finished 81-81. You want to know something interesting? It was their bullpen, once again, that failed. Read the rest of this entry