Tag:Johan Santana
Posted on: April 30, 2009 12:39 pm
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Video notes for the pitching planner

-- The top three ranked players in Rotisserie rankings through Wednesday on CBSSports.com are Zack Greinke, Dan Haren and Johan Santana... Chad Billingsley is No. 5 and Yovani Gallardo is No. 7. Emack, I thought you said pitching isn't as important as hitting in Roto?!
-- The Tigers are having a revival this year. Even Justin Verlander pitched well his last time out.
-- Street closing again already? Emack, you're a genius!

Change of the week:
Phil Hughes for Chien-Ming Wang. We could have gone with Street again, but Hughes was just so darn dominant, he could cause more changes for the Yankees... which are...

Must-start two-start pitcher
Francisco Liriano MIN (0-4, 6.04)
(05/04) @ DET Edwin Jackson
(05/09) vs. SEA Felix Hernandez
95 percent owned 60 percent starting

Must-sit two-start pitcher
Paul Maholm PIT
(05/04) vs. MIL Yovani Gallardo
(05/09) @ NYM Livan Hernandez
80 percent owned 56 percent starting

Two-start sleepers
Sean Marshall CHC
(05/05) vs. SF Jonathan O. Sanchez
(05/10) @ MIL Jeff Suppan
42 percent owned 27 percent starting

Doug Davis ARI
(05/04) @ LA Eric Stults
(05/09) vs. WAS Scott Olsen
33 percent owned 20 percent starting

Emack.

Posted on: July 28, 2008 10:12 am
 

Maine event Monday night

Going to the Marlins-Mets game tonight. Should be good drama, but also another chance to look at the pitcher I called a 20-game winner this spring, John Maine.

I might have sounded crazy predicting a five-victory jump for the third-year right-hander, but his stuff in spring training looked better than anyone these eyes saw. Far better than Johan Santana's. Santana really doesn't blow people away anymore.

Maine came out of the gate throwing 97 mph, but struggling a bit with his command. He is a streaky pitcher -- remember the first half of 2007 and his final start of that year? -- so perhaps he can be a horse down the stretch.

I have traded for him in many leagues. Ross Devonport got me on a deal June 1. Rick Ankiel and Justin Duchscherer for John Maine. I had OF and pitching depth and figured I would "upgrade" Duchscherer to Maine. Whoopsy!

Maine is my pick to be better here on out, obviously, but throwing in Ankiel was just too much. Devonport is stalking me in the Fantasy Magazine league from third place, while I am a 1/2-point out of first now. Without that deal, I might have been leading things.

Posted on: May 27, 2008 5:04 pm
 

All-Bust Team: The pitchers

Last week, we outlined the 1/4-pole All-Bust Team: Hitters. Now for the pitchers. Fantasy history has taught all of us the risk you assume with pitchers, so many of the names on this list you likely took too soon anyway. It is quite a star-studded rotation:

We are going to list these in order of their Average Draft Position:

SP -- Johan Santana, NYM

Sure, he hasn't been bad yet, but he was drafted No. 8 overall on average -- in Rotisserie leagues, no less! He is not even in the top 20 in scoring in Head-to-Head points leagues right now ... among starting pitchers! Going to the NL and an assumed contender in New York was supposed to make him a 20-game winner. His stuff looks average right now and he has given up his career-high in hits allowed in each of his past two starts (10 and 12). Most of his disappointing Fantasy point totals are due to the listless Mets supporting cast, though. They haven't held his leads or scored many runs for him. Santana is notoriously a slow starter and tends to soar in the summer months. We don't see it coming right now, but perhaps your trade partner doesn't either -- buy low if the price is right.

SP -- Jake Peavy, SD

If Santana is a bust, Peavy has to be considered one, too -- although Peavy has a better excuse. He is not healthy and the Padres are completely terrible in every facet of the game right now. Peavy owners don't care, though, they wanted numbers when they drafted him 17th overall on average. After missing two weeks, Peavy is barely in the top 30 of his own position.

SP -- Justin Verlander, DET

Drafted, on average, No. 5 among starting pitchers this spring, Verlander has been a bust for a Tigers offense that still has scored among the top 10 teams in baseball. He has been a particularly painful start in leagues that penalize losses. As bad as he has been, he has the most promise to have a huge next four months. He should be better than Peavy (still hurt) and Santana (he ain't what he used to be). If you are looking for a buy-low candidate, Verlander makes a better one than Santana or Peavy, because the Tigers should get hot this summer and reel off some serious winning streaks.

SP -- Erik Bedard, SEA

The Mariners stink. Granted we overrated them and Bedard, but unlike that Mickey Mouse organization, we were not idiotic enough to rank Bedard as the No. 2 overall Fantasy pitcher this spring. I still don't understand why Scott E. White likes those guys so much.

SP -- Brett Myers, PHI

Myers won on April 22, despite allowing six earned runs and 11 hits in seven innings. He hasn't won since, losing his past four starts and falling to 2-6 on the season. Unlike the arms above -- assuming Peavy gets healthy -- he is not even a certainty to remain in the rotation. He has had issues with velocity and shoulder strength after spending last year in the bullpen. This spring, he admitted he would prefer to be a closer, but Brad Lidge has that role covered more than effeciently. We still like Myers to reel off 12-15 victories before the season is done, but he and the Phillies will really have to get hot for that to happen.

RP -- Joba Chamberlain, NYY

Before you Joba owners go crazy, realize you drafted him in the middle of the closers and starters on Draft Day and haven't gotten much out of him to date, if anything. Yes, Chamberlain is headed for the rotation and will be the best rookie pitcher in Fantasy once he reaches the rotation, but this is about production from opening day until the 1/4-pole. In that time span, Chamberlain was the most over-owned player in all of Fantasy.

CL -- J.J. Putz, SEA

Putz was drafted as the No. 3 closer in Fantasy, on average, this spring, but his scoring doesn't place him in the top 30 of relief pitchers. He was supposed to be ready to enter the Jon Papelbon and Francisco Rodriguez area of elite. Instead, an injury-riddled spring and then a DL stint in April are partially to blame -- and so is the listless Mariners, who are not winning any games, much less close ones with save situations. Three blown saves in eight attempts certainly makes matters worse. The Mariners can get hot, but they don't figure to be any kind of a consistent winner here on out. We don't think Putz is even worth buying low on right now.

I am curious to hear who your top busts have been. You surely have a number of them with regard to pitchers. They always seem to disappoint. Remember that yet again on Draft Day 2009.

Emack.

Posted on: March 31, 2008 4:41 pm
 

Opening day blog

MIAMI -- Mark Hendrickson, perhaps one of the worst opening-day starters in baseball, strikes out Jose Reyes to start the season. Quite a difference between the Marlins, who I ranked No. 30 -- dead last -- in my presason power rankings, and the Mets, the preseason No. 1.

Hendrickson vs. Johan Santana was reason No. 1 of 100s.

It should be an entertaining game, regardless of Santana's debut. The Marlins are the team that eliminated the Mets on the final weekend and day of last season, beating up Tom Glavine and handing the division to the Phillies.

That day Hanley Ramirez said something to the effect of ... uh ... Forget the Mets. Let's kick their seat cushions. The Mets posted that on the clubhouse wall with a note: "Someone has to pay."

Perhaps they meant opening day 2008 with Johan Santana up.

Emack.

Posted on: March 31, 2008 3:43 pm
Edited on: March 31, 2008 4:50 pm
 

Opening day Mets BP

MIAMI -- A few notes from the Mets batting practice on opening day.

-- The Mets are a real loose club, especially the sparkplug types Angel Pagan and Jose Reyes. Pagan seems to pal around with Reyes quite a bit, a Reyes wannabe. Pagan is an Endy Chavez with a bit more pop and will be in the opening day lineup with Moises Alou out. Pagan once stole 52 bases in Class A and could be a threat on the bags with the running Mets. Willie Randolph is a running manager who played in the steals era with Rickey Henderson. Reyes, of course, is the modern-day Rickey Henderson.

Own Pagan in all NL-only Rotisserie leagues at this point. I am even starting him in a 10-team Head-to-Head NL-only league with Jeremy Hermida on the DL and Cameron Maybin in the minors.

-- When the crowd started a Jose-Jose-Jose chant -- you know, the one on the video game commercials -- Oliver Perez waved them off and pointed to John Maine. Apparently, Perez has a similar opinion of the soon-to-be 27-year-old who doubles as a third-year starting pitcher. Maine displayed 20-win stuff in spring training and had that 15-K game on the penultimate day of last season. He is ready to take a huge step forward and could wind up in the top 10 of Fantasy starting pitchers by the end of the season. Look at what he did in the first half: 10-4 with a 2.71 ERA and .214 batting-average against. He is capable of that over significant stretches and could be ready to do it over a full season not that he is hitting his prime in Year 3.

-- A fan held up a sign during BP, noting the Jets and Mets won in 1969, the Giants and Mets won in '86 and the Giants won in 2008 and the Mets would win, too. Interesting coincidence for a New York fan.

-- Johan Santana, who will have to get used to hitting and is actually a pretty decent hitter, broke his bat on his first full batting-practice swing. He borrowed Reyes' bat and slapped a few would-be hits to right.

-- Marlins PR director Matt Roebuck was walking around retire Mr. Marlin Jeff Conine during the Mets BP. Conine finished last year with the Mets but signed a one-day contract last week to retire a Marlin.

-- Speaking of PR people, Mets PR man Jay Horowitz got into an elevated discussion with an over-bearing media member (no, not me) and needed to be held back from Luis Castillo before BP. David Wright and company were already out on the field and got a good chuckle out of the situation. Horowitz is a mellow guy who wouldn't have a harsh word for anyone, so the loose Mets were having a little fun with him.

Emack.

Posted on: March 31, 2008 2:13 pm
Edited on: April 1, 2008 5:54 pm
 

Slinging it

MIAMI -- Usually my game visiting ends in spring training, but I will make a more concerted effort to avoid the TV watching at home and actually go see baseball live. Today it's Johan Santana's debut vs. the Mets.

In a related story, I have been turned on the wonder that is the Slingbox. I am now able to watch my home TV -- including DirecTV's Extra Innings -- on my laptop and, get this, my cell phone!

Ah the wonders of technology.

I highly recommend getting a Slingbox connected to your home TV if you have a router, high-speed internet connnection, a reliable laptop with wireless access and a 3G cell phone that works with the Slingbox Mobile technology.

Watching a ballgame on your cell phone is a surreal experience I have enjoyed over the weekend and will all season. (My cell phone is the BlackJack. See Slingbox's website for the other recommended Windows Mobile phones).

Emack.

Posted on: February 29, 2008 1:30 pm
Edited on: March 3, 2008 1:28 pm
 

Oh no, Johan!

PORT ST. LUCIE -- Well, our pregame blog might have proved prophetic. And Johan Santana looked pathetic.

Keeping the ball in the park might be problematic for the $150 million ace.

Juan Gonzalez has been out of baseball for years, but it didn't stop him from hitting a three-run homer in the first inning. Santana's first pitch was a strike. His first batter was retired on a lazy fly to left.

It was all downhill from there.

Chris Duncan, batting in the comfy spot in front of Albert Pujols, blooped a single to left -- a jam shot. Pujols smashed a ground double down the third-base line. Then Juan Gone, who was underwhelming in batting practice, hit the first pitch out to left for a three-run homer. In the press box a Cards beat writer says Gonzalez is 6-for-7 with two homers off Santana in his career. Interesting. I have to look that up to confirm it.

Santana settled down and struck out Ryan Ludwick to end his disasterous first inning.

The second inning was easier, three easy fly outs, but he did give up a gapped triple to left center by light-hitting infielder Brendan Ryan.

Santana threw strikes, but a few balls were hit quite hard. He is out of the game after two innings and 30 pitches. Can't wait to hear what he has to say.

-- Jose Reyes looks spry as ever, beating out an infield hit, going first to third on a ground single to center and scoring on a slap to right. He looked a bit more ripped in the clubhouse. We once said Hanley Ramirez was a Reyes-clone when he was a rookie, albeit a tad bit stronger and a step slower. Reyes' speed is still there -- he has a sprinter's body -- but the stronger upper body made him appear even more Hanley-like.

-- This is a great spring game. Three of the top picks in Fantasy. Pujols, Reyes and Santana.

(Actually -- thanks to the blog commenter that reminded me about David Wright -- FOUR of the top picks in Fantasy. How could I leave him out of the conversation for the top pick?)

It might help an early first-rounder sway their pick. I pick third in a Head-to-Head money league with my friend that figures to see Santana and Alex Rodriguez go 1-2. I might also trade up to No. 1, if I feel I need Santana. I was scared to pick Pujols because of the elbow, but strikeouts are minus-1 and I could make a big mistake if I am wrong on Pujols. I might not be able to pass on him.

Pujols doesn't strike out much, especially for a slugger. That is a huge difference between him and the likes of Ryan Howard and even Prince Fielder. (Pujols, who looked great in BP (see BP blog below), hit a homer in the game off Duaner Sanchez. Pujols indeed looks ready to make up for arguably the worst season of his career -- at age 27, no less.

-- Before the homer, Aaron Heilman got Pujols out in front on a nice changeup. That's the changeup that gets ripped for homers when Heilman doesn't set it up right. When he does? He gets Pujols out in front... and then he did it again and got him to pop up.

Heilman looks good. As a setup man for a top contender, he should post a lot of relief victories again. He is one of the best setup men in Fantasy Baseball for that reason alone. He also happens to be a real good pitcher, a former first-round pick out of Notre Dame. Heilman retired Duncan, Pujols and Glaus on eight pitches. The first two torched Johan.

-- Adam Wainwright is on the other side. He is working into the third inning after a six-pitch second. Wainwright is a favorite of mine and could be a great pick after the top 25 aces of Fantasy. I see a future Cy Young winner, a young Chris Carpenter. I said that last spring. Talking to him, he seemed way too cocky, but I guess that is a trait the good ones have.

-- Carlos Delgado lined a single to past second. He struck out looking in his first at-bat. The wrist bothered him last year, inability to turn on inside heat. That single looked sharp.

-- Santana might be available now. See you in a bit.

-- A few of the things jotted from the Santana news conference:

"We figured out they were swinging right away. They were very aggressive, so in the second inning we started throwing changeups and sliders. For my first spring game, I feel pretty good."

"I had planned to throw 45 pitches and just two innings. I threw 30 in the game (22 strikes) and finished up with 15 in the bullpen."

"I focused on my release point. The difficulty with the changeup is to get it to look like a fastball."

"(Juan Gonzalez) has always been a very good hitter. I have followed him through his career.  Today he was very aggressive and swung at the first pitch." 6-for-7 with two homers.

About the fans and teammates amping him up in spring training ... "I gotta get used to it. It is gonna be like that all year. But I have to control my emotions and take it easy right now."

"It's always good to get the first one out of the way. I know how important it is important for you guys and the city. This is just the beginning."

"I would rather leave it here in spring training, so when we get to New York, we're ready to go. Even though the numbers will say something different, I am very happy with the way I feel right now. We'll see where we are at the end."

-- The Mets clubhouse has been open for a bit now. Gotta go down and ask the questions that have already been asked four times.... see you in a bit.

-- Catcher Ramon Castro, who might have been Santana's catcher to aid communication, shed a little bit of light on the difference between the first-inning Santana and the second-inning Santana.

"He left a couple of mistakes up."

"He called to me, 'Let's go change things up.' He started throwing first-pitch changeups and sliders. It is spring training, but he wants to do good, too."

The pitch Gonzalez hit was a "Sinker." A sinking fastball. "But it didn't sink. It stayed straight."

The Mets closed the clubhouse until after the game, right after I got there. Figures. In-game blogging really hamstrings a reporter. The stars are likely gone. But at least Willie Randolph will have some comments to make.

This it it for my game blog. Sorry I didn't get more on the other Fantasy guys. But, after today, I am leaning more toward Pujols than Santana, Reyes or Wright in that Head-to-Head league I mentioned above. In Rotisserie, my pick is clearly Reyes.

As far as why I left Wright out originally (I have to try to explain the inexplicable): I have a general unsubstantiated gut feeling Wright is a very, very good first-rounder -- just not an elite one. I don't see 40 homers and 125 RBI from him like I can see with A-Rod and Miguel Cabrera at his position. The 30-plus steals help close the gap in Rotisserie, but if I am looking for a speed guy, it would be Reyes over Wright anyway.

Emack.

Posted on: February 29, 2008 12:54 pm
Edited on: February 29, 2008 1:18 pm
 

Pedro: 'Johan's going to put up a show'

PORT ST. LUCIE -- Johan Santana might be the new kid on the block, but Pedro Martinez remains the elder statesman -- one that will always be a silly kid.

"Johan is going to put up a show out there; don't miss that!" Martinez hamming it up and telling anyone who would listen in the Mets clubhouse as the media was ushered out before Santana's Met debut. "You don't get a second chance to see the first chance."

Martinez just finished his first live batting practice session of the spring and was changing in his locker when he wondered why no one wanted to know how he did. He answered his own question, apparently needing to talk to someone, so he just had a conversation with himself.

"I know, Johan's pitching in 45 minutes," Martinez said. "I no important anymore. ... Old age. You know you can forget."

The locker arrangement in the Mets clubhouse suggests something else about who the big man is. Pedro has two lockers side-by-side, next to the single locker of Johan Santana. Oliver Perez and Orlando Hernandez are to the left and John Maine is on the end (No. 5 starter candidate Mike Pelfrey is across the walkway after the top bullpen arms).

The fact Pedro has two lockers to Santana's one is a bit surprising. We guess $55 million three winters ago is worth more than $150 million today in the locker heirarchy. Inflation.

As Santana was in the workout room swinging a barbell, Martinez stripped off his practice gear in that second locker to get ready for what he calls "the real work" -- his afterthrowing workout.

"I'll be watching," he said, hurrying to get his workout done before Santana takes the mound. "I haven't been on the mound much (the past year-plus). He can teach me a few things."

Martinez is scheduled to throw another live batting practice Monday before he makes his spring debut Thursday night 30 miles up I-95 at Viera against the Nationals.

"I will only pitch night games," Pedro said, half kidding.

His live BP session was watched by owner Fred Wilpon, Willie Randolph and Rick Peterson. Martinez said he felt good, but he didn't push it.

"It's Friday, difficult to grip breaking balls," he joked.

Apparently, Pedro's pitches work differently on weekends. Make note of that in Fantasy leagues (kidding, of course.

Before departing for his cardio he was telling stories about the kids half his age that train with him in the Dominican.

"Are you gonna kill us today," they asked Senior Pedro, their most famous but not quite Santana-rich workout partner. "They compain of two hours of work and haven't made it yet. After all these years, I am still doing it -- working three times harder than they are."

Pedro, with a noticeable scar on the front of his left shoulder but not his right, is very aware of his age, joking about it with anyone who will listen. In fact, the free spirit seemingly has to always joke with anyone. If no one is around, he jokes with himself.

But he does make sure people know who is in charge. A drink spills in his first locker and he calls for a clubhouse attendant to clean it up. It didn't take long for a kid to arrive, who was probably not much older than his workout partners in the Dominican.

"That's what happen. That's what happens when you get old," Martinez said of the locker accident.

Speaking of old, Andres Galarraga was visiting in the Mets clubhouse -- a lot thicker and more gray than a fews years. He finished with the Mets.

The game is starting. Strike one for Santana. Game blog is coming next.

Emack.

 
 
 
 
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com