Archive for March, 2005

Astros News and Moves 3/30/05

Wednesday, March 30th, 2005

Opening Day is only one week away and the roster is STILL not in place.

We traded Tim Redding. Which was not exactly a big surprise, given his lousy spring and his trade demands. The big surprise was that we only got Humberto Quintero, a 25 year old minor league catcher, from the Padres. Well, you say, we needed SOMEONE to replace John Buck, who went to the Royals for Carlos Beltran. Quintero is supposed to have a GREAT arm. Beeg Deal. He can’t hit a lick, just like Ausmus and Chavez. Just what we need, another catcher who can’t hit or run. He has played in 35 games in 03/04 with the Padres, with a .621 OPS. In 95 AB, he has 22 K, 6 BB, 0 SB, 2 CS, 3 2B, 2 HR and 5 GIDP. OPS over 6 years of minor league ball is MUCH higher – .664. We did NOT need this guy. We DID need more bullpen help. What is Purpura DOING???????!!!!!!!

We also sent Mike Coolbaugh, Carlos Rivera and Trenidad Hubbard, career minor leaguers, as well as Chris Tremie, future catcher (ahem) down to AAA. Pitchers Travis Driskill, Phil Norton, and to my surprise, Dave Burba (remember ALL that talk of him as a future 5th starter in spite of the 9 something ERA) were sent down, too.

So, who’s left? Well, from everything I hear and read, Biggio, not Burke, will be starting at second. Sighhhhhhhh. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve luvvvved Biggio since I was a kid, but future HOFer or not, it’s time for him to be a back-up. Players should not be judged by their salary…

I’m thinking that Viz and Bruntlett will be the utility guys and Lamb, well, what about him? Great bat, el-sucko glove/arm. I’ve heard that with Berkman out, it may be that he will be our left fielder, with Lane in center and Luke Scott in right? Or is is Taveras in center and Lane in right? Or is it Luke Scott in left, Palmeiro in right and Taveras in center and Lane on the bench again??? One thing I know – we do NOT need Lamb in left if he is as, um, “good” there as he is at 3rd. So I guess we’ll have to see.

The 5th man? Well, we don’t have to know until we actually NEED a 5th starter on April 17th, so I guess it’s gonna be either Duckworth or Astacio, at this point.

It’s baseball, so youneverknow.
Has anyone else noticed that Roger hasn’t looked real too good this spring? I hope that hamstring is gonna get better…..

Astros News and Moves 3/22/05

Tuesday, March 22nd, 2005

At this point, the Stros are 8 – 9 in the Grapefruit league, not counting split squad games.
4 games have been rained out, as well.
- stats courtesy of espn.com – note that I have NO stats for BB or K
(also, sorry I can’t make the tables look any neater. I don’t have an Excel program)
HOUSTON ASTROS INDIVIDUAL BATTING
-
PLAYER………… AVG…SLG%..G…AB…R…H…TB…2B..3B..HR..RBI
B Ausmus………-.522…-.739….11…23 ..4…12…17…..2….0…..1…….3
L Scott………….-.423….-.885….15..26….8…11…23…..3….0….3…….8
T Hubbard…….-.391…..-.391..14…23…4…..9…..9……0….0….0……2
C Rivera……….-.346…..-.615…15…26…3…..9…16……1….0…..2……8
B Backe………..-.333…..-.333…..4…..3….1….1…..1…….0….0….0……0
J Lane………….-.317…..-.707…..15…41…9…13…29…..3….2….3…….8
C Jimerson……-.300….-.600…..8….10…2….3….6……1….1….0……..1
C Biggio………..-.296….-.333…..10…27…2…..8…..9…..1….0….0…….1
O Palmeiro……-.296….-.370…..11…27….4….8…10….2…..0….0……3
R Chavez……….-.286…-.286…..11…21….3…..6….6….0…..0…..0……3
A Everett………-.273..-.364……13….33….7….9…12….0….0…..1……3
E Bruntlett…….-.273..-.364…..13…..22…3….6…..8…..2….0…..0…..2
C Burke…………-.269..- .500….14…26…..3….7….13…..1….1…..1…..4
W Taveras……..-.257..-.314…..15…35…..4….9…11…..2…..0…..0…..3
J Bagwell……….-.250..-.300….10…20…..1….5…..6…..1…..0…..0…..2
B Wesson……….-.250…-.500….8…12……3….3…..6…..0….0……1….1
M Ensberg……..-.250..-.464….12..28….10…7…..13….3…..0…..1…..6
R Huffman……..-.250..-.375…..11..16…..3….4……6…..0…..1…..0…..3
C Gipson………..-.188..-.188…..15..16……1….3……3…..0…..0…..0…..2
C Tremie………..-.182…-.182…..7…11……1….2……2…..0….0……0….1
T Whiteman……-.182..-.182….10..11……1….2……5…..1…..1…..0…..1
M Lamb………..- .148..-.455…..11…27…..3…4…….5…..1…..0…..0…..2
J Vizcaino……..-.143..-.185…….13…28….2…4…….6…..2…..0…..0…..5
M Coolbaugh….-.111..-.111……13…18….0….2……2….0…..0….0… ..3
D Norris………..- .111..-.111……..6…..9….0….1…….1….0……0….0…..0
- ain’t it a hoot that Brad Ausmus has the highest BA and SLG? Guess that new leg kick is working. So far.

Charles Gipson, who, except for one unusual year with the Mariners, in which he batted about 80 points over his career, has a .305 OBP and .631 SLG – no surprise he was sent down yesterday. Chris Tremie and Tommy Whiteman were sent down a few days ago, and Coolbaugh, Norris and Wesson will be soon.

I have been surprised and delighted at how well Luke Scott has done – although I have NO idea about the quality of his glove, I DO know that we could fer SHER use a good bat off the bench, and I do hope that he wins a spot and continues to perform this well (fat chance, but a grrrl can hope…) Charlton Jimerson has also been sent down – wasn’t given much of a chance, was he, with only 10 AB… One thing I notice is that Bagwell, who is supposed to be working on a new swing, has only 20 AB, but a LOT of ABs are being wasted on Trenidad Hubbard and Carlos Rivera – wonder why…..

Phil Garner is supposed to have a reputation for loving the running game, the Stros are 15 for 20 and only Taveras, with 5 SB and no CS has tried more than twice.

PITCHING: yall know that Roger has a strained hammy and is not pitching much – didn’t do real too well in his last start, Pettite is supposed to be ready for Game 2 in spite of only pitching 20 pitches last time out. OK.

You already know that Munro has been released, McLemore, Nieve, Gutierrez and Rodriguez have already been sent down and today, Turk Wendell and Carlos Hernandez , 0-1 over three games (2 GS) gave up 7 ER/ 8 IP with 7 BB and 3 K were sent down. The club is putting some spin on Hernandez about his FB is supposed to be a little faster and his changeup looks good (to who?) but these numbers look like his numbers last year, sorry to say. Wendell has just looked sorry – 8 ER/6.1 IP with 6 BB and 7 K – this is an 11.37 ERA.

HOUSTON ASTROS INDIVIDUAL PITCHING

PLAYER……..W-L ..S…ERA……G..GS….IP..H…..R.ER.HR..BB…K.
E Astacio………0-0. .0..0.00…….2..0……3.1…1……0..0….0…..1….3
J Gutierrez ….0-0…0…0.00……1..0……1.0…1……0..0….0…..0….0
W Rodriguez…0-0…0..0.00……4..0……3.1…0……0..0….0……2….2
F Nieve…………0-0…0..0.00……1..0……1.0…0……0..0….0……0….1
C Qualls…………0-1…1..2.46…….5..0……7.1…9…….3…2 ….0. ..0….6
B Duckworth….1-0…0..2.79……4..0……9.2…8…….3…3….0…..4….9
B Lidge…………..0-0..0..3.60…..5..0…….5.0…1…….2…2 …0…..1….4
R Oswalt………..2-0..0..4.20……4..4…..15.0..16……7..7…..1…..4…13
J Gothreaux…..1-0..0..4.90……3..0…….3.2….6……3…2….0…..1….2
B Backe………….2-1..0…5.14……4..4…..14.0..12……8…8….0…..8…12
T Redding………0-1..0…5.40…..4..1……11.2..12……8…7….0…..2….7
D Wheeler………0-0..0..5.40……5..0……6.2..10……4…4….1……1….3
P Norton…………0-0..0..6.00…..3..0……3.0….4……2…2….0……1…2
D Burba…………..0-1..0..6.23……3…2…..8.2..14…..12..6….0……6…5
T Driskill…………0-0..1..7.50……4…0…..6.0..8………6…5…1……1….3
C Hernandez……0-1..0..7.88……3…2…..8.0..12…….6…7…0…….7…3
M McLemore…..0-0..0..9.00….1..0……1.0….1………0..1…0…….1..0
P Munro…………..0-1…0..9.00…2..1…….5.0…9……..5…5…1…….1…1
R Springer……….0-0..1..9.00…..5..0……5.0..8………5…5…0…….1…5
C Harville…………0-2..0..10.80..5..0……5.0..9………7….6…1…….3..3
M Gallo…………….0-0..0..11.25..4..0……4.0..8………5….5…0…….1..2
T Wendell…………1-0..0..11.37..5..0…….6.1..9………8….8…1……..6…7
J Franco…………..0-0…0..11.56..5..0……4.2..3………6….6…0…….6…2
R Clemens………..0-1…0..18.92..2..2…….3.1…8……..7….0…1…….3…0

Redding has 5 HB/WP as well…

Looking over these numbers is how few IP most guys have. Talk about small sample size. Even Roger looks lousy. I guess a lot of decisions are made, not on numbers, but on how the pitches must look to the manager and pitching coach. One thing – I wonder why Chad Qualls isn’t considered as a starter…

Lance Berkman Signs 6 Year Deal

Saturday, March 19th, 2005

Great News (finally!!!!!)
Lance Berkman just signed a six year contract worth around a total of $85 million with an option.

If yall remember, he was runner up to Barry Bonds for the MVP in 2001. Look at his stats

Year Ag Tm Lg G AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI SB CS BB SO BA OBP SLG TB SH SF IBB HBP GDP
+——+—+—-+—-+—-+—+–+—+—-+—+–+—+—+—–+—–+—–+—-+—+—+—+—+—+
1999 23 HOU NL 34 93 10 22 2 0 4 15 5 1 12 21 .237 .321 .387 36 0 1 0 0 2
2000 24 HOU NL 114 353 76 105 28 1 21 67 6 2 56 73 .297 .388 .561 198 0 7 1 1 6
2001 25 HOU NL 156 577 110 191 55 5 34 126 7 9 92 121 .331 .430 .620 358 0 6 5 13 8
2002 26 HOU NL 158 578 106 169 35 2 42 128 8 4 107 118 .292 .405 .578 334 0 3 20 4 10
2003 27 HOU NL 153 538 110 155 35 6 25 93 5 3 107 108 .288 .412 .515 277 1 3 13 9 10
2004 28 HOU NL 160 544 104 172 40 3 30 106 9 7 127 101 .316 .450 .566 308 0 6 14 10 10
+——+—+—-+—-+—-+—+–+—+—-+—+–+—+—+—–+—–+—–+—-+—+—+—+—+—+
6 Seasons 775 2683 516 814 195 17 156 535 40 26 501 542 .303 .416 .563

In conclusion -
1) he’s a great hitter – hits for average and power. OPS has been in the top 10 in the NL since 2000.
2) he has a great batting eye – 100 walks a year, almost as many walks as Ks
3) not too many GIDP – about 10/year
4) not a good base stealer 40/66 (60%) – and, though it doesn’t show up in the stats, sometimes makes really DUMB mistakes on the basepaths and gets himself out
5) fielding – he did his best, believe it or not, in center and his worst in right last year. He is around league average, pretty good arm, no spectacular plays.

It is true that he is getting a long term contract at age 29, but remember that in two years, Bagwell will retire and Lance will play first, his original position.
Last, but not least, those intangibles. Lance is a local boy (and we LOVE our homies) and a fan favorite and he WANTS to play his entire career here (unlike Other People Whose Name We Will Not Say who we hope chokes up there in the limelight he wanted so bad.) Lance is supposed to be a nice guy and a good teammate and supportive of younger players and given the fact that Bagwell/Biggio/Ausmus will be gone soon, we will need someone to be team “leader.”

Astros Moves 3/17/05

Thursday, March 17th, 2005

Well, the Stros finally made a few moves. Pitchers Taylor Buchholz, Mark McLemore, Fernando Nieve and Juan Gutierrez were sent to the minors. I’m not real too surprised – Buchholz is still recovering from shoulder surgery and the other three hardly looked like the next Roy Oswalt. What bothers me is that Franco and Wendell have looked terrible and they are still there.

Veteran Presence, I guess. Sigh.

I WAS surprised to see that Pete Munro was released. (He was signed to a ML $700,000 contract just a few weeks ago.)

I keep reading that Dave Burba is going to be the fifth starter. God forbid. Burba was last a full time starter in 2002, when he released by Cleveland, picked up by Texas, started 22 games and managed to pitch 145 innings with a 93 ERA+ going 5 – 5. He pitched 43 innings as a reliever for Milwaukee in 2003 witha 124 ERA+ (tying his highest ever from 10 years previous) and 77 innings of relief last year with a 99 ERA+ with a 4 – 1 record and 2 saves. So this 38 year old guy, who hasn’t started in 3 years, is supposed to be the fifth man?

Munro had a 5.15 ERA in 19 starts (21 games) with a 84+ ERA last year. Munro is barely adequate, can’t pitch worth a *(%#! from the stretch and usually gets hit the second time through the lineup, but at least he doesn’t just throw the ball down the middle as Tim Redding tends to do. I realize that Munro has had a lousy spring (5 ER in 5 IP total) but unfortunately he is still better than Duckworth, Redding or Hernandez. And I know that’s not saying much.
Hector Giminez (yet another catcher who can’t hit) was sent down, as well as Charlton Jimerson and Barry Wesson. Guess Jimerson’s supposed new found plate discipline didn’t show up…

A Day In The Life Of Mrs. Gray, Astros Blogger

Monday, March 14th, 2005

John Hill over at Dodger Hill (sorry, vanished into cyberspace with the demise of mvn) just wrote an entry describing a day in his life blogging. He gets thousands of pieces of fan mail daily. I get a few letters saying something like (picture Dan Ackroyd talking to Jane Curtin)
Lisa you ignorant chick!

So here’s a day in the life of THIS blogger (M-F, that is)
6 AM – out of bed to start breakfast for Husband and me
6:15 – Husband and I eat, then he cleans up right quick while I take a quick shower, cuz we hear the patter of little feet and we hear MAMMMMMMIIIIIIIIIIIIIII I ‘m hungry!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
6:30 – Husband kisses me and kids goodbye and heads off to work
6:31 – 6:33 – kids cry and fuss because they wanna go, too.
6:35 – feed dogs to keep them from sniffing round the table
6:45 – feed kids
6:55 – clean kids and make them help clean up the mess
7:00 – walk kids and dogs (hey, it’s tougher than you think)
7:30 – work on potty training kids
7:45 – get kids settled with leggos/books/toys and turn on computer to see if anything has happened with the Stros that is, for ONCE, good news.
8:00 – deal with usual disappointment by pretending the majic fairy comes and gives us the Yankee budget, then avoid writing all the Bad Thoughts I have about my team by starting to fix dinner (marinate meat, cut vegetables, make breads…) and playing with/reading to kids
11:00 – get lunch ready
11:01 – interruptions from kids, gf/cousins wanting to talk about bf, Mama calling to talk about new defensive stats
12:00 Noon – Husband calls wanting to know what’s for dinner
12:15 – put kids in bed for nap (yesssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssss)
12:16 – consider taking one myself
12:17 – call Daddy and make sure he took his medicine
12:18 – nag Daddy some more
12:19 – Husband calls and wants to know if he can bring someone home for dinner. Sure. Sighhhhhhhh.
12:20 – calls from cousins, gf, baseball friends; try to write and talk at the same time. Fail.
1:00 PM- gf/cousin drops off kid for me to babysit
1:01 – 1:06 – listen to kid scream, which wakes up MY kids, who scream, too
1:07 – I scream even LOUDER and put kids ALL to bed for nap
1:10 – back to computer. Look for Stros news, stats, SOMETHING to write. Sighhhhhhhhhhhhhh. Look for the new house I’m supposed to find for us by the end of the summer, sneak over to baseball think factory.org and see wassup. Plenty of Cubs/Mets/Yankees/Red Sox/roids/BillyBeane threads, but hardly EVER any discussions about Astros…
2:00 – kids up, read to kids, play with kids, go to park, start dinner
5:30 – Husband calls, asks what’s for dinner, wants to know if he can bring ANOTHER guest, I say sure… sighhhhhhhhhhhhh
6:15 – 7:30 – around there – eat dinner, feed kids, entertain guest(s)
7:30 – husband and guest clean up kitchen (yessssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssss)
7:31 – no excuses left – HAFTA go to the computer and start writing. but WAIT – something about kids, dogs, phone calls, BTF…
7:45 – Husband off to wash kids and put them to bed
8:00 – Definitely NOW is the time to write. But Husband wants to talk, watch TV, do Other Things….
10:30 – Husband DEFINITELY asleep now – sneak out of bed, off to the computer. NO excuses. Stare at computer screen – look at lousy spring training stats, read how Biggio is supposed to be pushing Burke out or Taveras gonna be starting instead of Jason Lane or Dave Burba gonna be out 5th starter. Feel sick – can’t find ANY good stats. Know I hafta write SOMETHING – wonder what all the Detroit writers did 2 years ago, wonder how the Dbax writers did it last year, feel sorry for the Pittsburgh writers….
11:30 PM – still staring at the screen. Hear Husband come into the room – he says – Baby whatchu doin out here? Come back to bed….
And I know that SOMEWHERE in there, I washed clothes, cleaned stuff, put away stuff, looked for stuff, fixed stuff, made lists of stuff to do, did only a LITTLE of all that stuff I had to do….. And I think I went shopping, too…
6:00 AM – Get up to fix Husband breakfast. Wonder what in the name of God am I gonna find to write today…..

Roy Oswalt Will Pitch Opening Day 2005

Saturday, March 12th, 2005

Phil Garner has announced that Roy Oswalt will be the Opening Day starter. The usual suspects are surprised, thinking that this is disrespectful to Roger Clemens, who, after all, was “supposed to” be promised the Opening Day start if he re-signed, but will instead be the #3, as he was slated to be last year before Andy Pettite was injured

First, Roger did QUITE well in the #2/3 spot, if yall remember from last year.

Second, Roy IS an ace, and will hopefully be our ace for more years than the 2 years he is signed for at this time.
According to Lee Sinins,

After 3.01 ERA/33 RSAA and 2.97 ERA/21 RSAA seasons, Oswalt had a 3.49 ERA/22 RSAA in 35 starts (36 games). He has a 3.11 career ERA, compared to his league average of 4.26, and 105 RSAA in 120 games.

Only 4 active pitchers had more RSAA than Oswalt, through the age of
26–
RSAA
1 Pedro Martinez 177
2 Roger Clemens 175
3 Mike Mussina 127
4 Barry Zito 116
5 Roy Oswalt 105
6 Tim Hudson 104
7 Mark Buehrle 102
8 Johan Santana 86
T9 Greg Maddux 84
T9 Roy Halladay 84
T9 Andy Pettitte 84
translation:
Roy is GOOD.

Third – Opening Day is ALREADY sold out. Roger alone will sell tickets, no matter how bad the team plays, and money talks, yes it does. Also, the fact that Roger will be pitching against other teams’ #3 pitchers may get us a few more wins, considering the fact that we have so few bats and we gonna need all the wins we can get.

In other news, no one has been dropped from the team, sent down or released, which I think at this point is sensible. Taveras is fast, but you can’t steal first. Charlton Jimerson, who was highly touted just a few years ago, took hitting lessons from Tony Gwynn this winter – maybe that will help, because no one on the Astros outfield is hitting very well so far. I hope Chris Burke can win the second base job with Biggio backing him up, but so far, he isn’t hitting either. Well, spring training MAY not predict how the team will do during the regular season, but so far we are we are .250 – and yes, I know some of these games were played without the regulars.

One last thing – Andy Pettitte will not be starting today because he sprained his ankle, so Tim Redding will go instead. That is, Tim Redding as in “if I ain’t startin, I wanna be departin” and if boy don’t get his stuff together, he sure nuff WILL get his wish…..

3/9/05 – Blow-out Loss To Indians

Wednesday, March 9th, 2005

Well yall, how shall I put this? Yesterday, the wind was blowing out and the Indians made us look like, well, let’s just say, bad. 21 – 4 type bad. The Chronicle says, and I SWEAR I am not making this up, that Dave Burba is competing for the fifth spot.

Dear God in heaven. Is it possible that he is better than Munro, Hernandez, Redding, Estacio, Buchholz or even Duckworthless? (Well, maybe not the latter…) If it IS possible, well all I can say is that the Pirates will NOT be in last place fer SHER. Let’s just say that he and Franco and Wendell are not pitching real too well, and, to put it mildly, NONE, not one, of those three gentlemen has pitched real too well for at LEAST several years.

So, let me ask this – if the Indians can manage 21 runs “because the wind was blowing at 24 MPH,” now why were they able to hold us to 4 runs? Excuses, excuses, excuses and all of them lame as lame can be. Phil Garner has managed to find something, well, not bad, to say about the piss-poor performance of the pitchers. As we say in Texas, that is called blowing smoke out a place that is NOT his lips. I personally, would prefer to see the aforementioned smoke coming from the pitched balls instead…

Spring 2005 Has Sprung

Saturday, March 5th, 2005

Sorry to be so long in posting, but my story has been lost by the server TWICE and it put me in a VERY BAD MOOD!!!!!

Well, spring training is underway.

I have no news, except that Brad Ausmus is SO important to this team, Jeff Bagwell is working on changing his swing (which I told yall about a few months ago) and Adam Everett is working New Duties In The Infield, like going to the pitchers mound to calm him down if he needs it. Oh yeah, Andy Pettitte ended his pitching session one minute early – he felt he had enough, but he’s gaining strength in his arm. After 23 pitches. Oh yeah, and Carlos Hernandez is looking better than he did last year (well, anything would be an improvement…) and Pete Munro, Carlos Hernandez and Tim Redding didn’t look real too good (i’m shocked, SHOCKED) yesterday… And if Tim Redding ain’t startin, he wants to be departin.

Looks like Chris Burke might could be splitting time with Biggio at second – grapevine has Garner hopelessly in love with Tavares and his steals and a “lock” for starting CF. Which would put Lane in right (fine with me – he’s a decent glove) and Palmeiro in left until Lance comes back (fine with me – I’m tryin to be an honest girl here…) Don’t you just LUV rumors?

What do I WANNA know?

Everything that ain’t no one gonna tell.
Like, has Brandon Duckworthless learned to pitch? (doubt it) Taylor Buchholz (doubt it) and Why on EARTH has Ezequiel Astacio even made the top 100 prospects on anyone’s list? In fact, our farm system got a grade of D in the Lindy’s 2005 scouting report. We had only three prospects in Baseball America’s top 100, and one of them is Mitch Einertson, down in rookie ball.

Big Deal.

I absolutely refuse to talk Yankees, Red Sox or roids.

So, let’s talk scouting. First, Lindy’s thinks that Roy Oswalt will win the Cy this year. Bout time.
I was curious to see how scouts rank the major league pitchers.

Scouts grade players like this:
7.5 – 8.0 Franchise pitcher/player
7.0 – 7.5 could be #1 starter/closer for most ML clubs
6.5 – 7.0 could start for most clubs – could be #1 for many ML clubs
6.0 – 6.5 could start for majority of clubs. could be #2 or 3 for most clubs
5.5 – 6.0 could start for many clubs. could be #2 or 3 on many clubs
5.0 – 5.5 could start for some clubs – could be #4 or 5 on most clubs
4.5 – 5.0 could, um, fill an important role on many clubs. #5 starter
4.0 – 4.5 bench warmer (my words)

In my opinion, the top 10 NL starters are:
Roy Oswalt, Roger Clemens, Jason Schmidt, Mark Prior, Oliver Perez, Ben Sheets, Jake Peavy, Tim Hudson (low K rate and all), Carlos Zambrano and Javier Vasquez. Not necessarily in that order. Boy it looks funny not to have RJ on that list, doesn’t it…..

In Lindys’ opinion, Roy, Roger and Schmidt are 7.1, Sheets, Prior, Pedro, Smoltz and Hudson are 7.0, Mulder is 6.9 and Kerry Wood is 6.8.
- I can’t understand rating Smoltz so high, because he hasn’t started in 5 years and there is a REAL big difference between being good for 3 hitters when your team is winning and no one is on base and dealing with 7+ innings, and in my opinions, a top notch starter should be good enough to average at least 7 IP/game. I don’t think Pedro was a top 10 pitcher in the AL last year – too many walks and HR – but, he might could be a LOT better this year, not having to face that Yankee line up a zillion times. No other NL team hs a lineup close to the Yankees, sorry to say. Mulder too, might could improve last year for the same reason, but there is NO way I think he’s better than Oliver Perez. I do want to remind everyone who checks the numbers that Perez pitched for the PIRATES and to consider run support and gloves.

So who’s next?
6.7 – Beckett, Carlos Zambrano, Oliver Perez
6.6 – Pettitte, Burnett, Carpenter, Peavy
6.5 – J. Vasquez, Russ Ortiz, Milton
I guess Beckett is STILL getting props from the WS, Ortiz and Milton from their W/L records.
6.4 – Benson, L. Hernandez, B. Lawrence, Penny
6.3 – Wolf, Morris, Maddux, Odalis Perez
6.2 – Thomson, Hampton, Jerome Williams, (note Wade Miller is here on the AL list, WELL ahead of Munro, Redding or Hernandez…..)

It is interesting that the scouts rate pitchers on “mound presence” -I guess, how bad they LOOK, not how bad they throw. Seems to me if I was hitting, I’d be a LOT more scared of a pitcher who looked like Richard Simmons and threw like RJ than a pitcher who looked like RJ and threw like Richard Simmons. So I’ve never really understood this particular category…..

Closer rankings:
7.4 – Gagne
7.2 – Lidge, Billy Wags
7.1 – Trevor Hoffman (who, by the way, throws in the low 80s and 70s – it ain’t the heat, it’s the motion…)
7.0 – Izzy, Looper (I’m serious), Mesa and Benitez (the Giants be prayin)
6.9 – LaTroy Hawkins (I’m personally hoping the Cubs believe this)
6.8 – Kolb, Mota (remember he never has closed and see the line above…)
6.6 – Greg Aquino (Dbax), Otsuka
6.2 – Chad Cordero, Luis Ayala
6.0 – Chacon (um, I think he’s a LOUSY closer, but hey, he has good stuff….)
6.5 – Graves, Alfonseca (who hasn’t closed for a few years)

Why does good “stuff” and good “mound presence” combines with lousy results rank so well with scouts?