Photo by Keith Allison

Record one-year deal for Angels' Trout a sign of things to come

The Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim recently signed superstar outfielder Mike Trout to a one-year, $1...

Photo by Harsh

Finding the next Scherzer: SIERA underperformers from 2012 and 2013

 


By Nate Tarpey

2012 List: From this list,...

Photo by Keith Allison

Dodgers enter spring with surplus of arms

 

The old saying goes that pitching, pitching and more pitching wins championships. If that’s the...

Photo by Tom Hagerty

Braves set up for sustained success

In the past two offseasons, the Atlanta Braves have lost the face of their franchise in Chipper Jones to...

Photo by Keith Allison

A-Rod and Jeter’s careers have traversed different paths

 

In the mid-1990s, three young shortstops that...

Latest Articles

Latest Articles

article thumbnailThe Seattle Mariners had a rather busy offseason, and expectations are high heading into this year. Out of nowhere, the M’s signed the offseason’s prized...
article thumbnailThe Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim recently signed superstar outfielder Mike Trout to a one-year, $1 million deal. Based on Trout’s production the...
article thumbnail  By Nate Tarpey 2012 List: From this list, the names you should have been targeting were the young-ish guys with low SIERAs. Scherzer & Wainwright stood out...
article thumbnail  The old saying goes that pitching, pitching and more pitching wins championships. If that’s the case, the Los Angeles Dodgers are gearing up for a...
Braves set up for sustained success
Monday, 03 March 2014
article thumbnailIn the past two offseasons, the Atlanta Braves have lost the face of their franchise in Chipper Jones to retirement and their longtime backstop...
article thumbnail  In the mid-1990s, three young shortstops that revolutionized the position burst onto the scene: Alex Rodriguez, Nomar Garciaparra and Derek Jeter. They...
Best and worst closers by peripherals
Wednesday, 26 February 2014
article thumbnail  Here is a list of the "best" closers as sorted by peripherals O-Swing% and SwStrk%. I cutoff under 35% for the former and under 12% for the latter....
article thumbnail  Arizona Diamondbacks hurler Brandon McCarthy may still be a little fuzzy on the events of 16 months ago. While pitching for the Oakland Athletics in...
article thumbnailChris Archer, Rays - He possesses a booming 95 MPH fastball and showed good command last year.  Some say he looks like Justin Verlander did when he...
article thumbnailUsually by this point of the offseason, most teams have their depth charts all but set heading into spring training. But there are always a few...

Regular Articles

Regular Articles

article thumbnailThe Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim recently signed superstar outfielder Mike Trout to a one-year, $1 million deal. Based on Trout’s production the last two seasons, this deal is the ultimate bargain. For just...
article thumbnail  By Nate Tarpey 2012 List: From this list, the names you should have been targeting were the young-ish guys with low SIERAs. Scherzer & Wainwright stood out as decent bargains. They were a $19 guys...
article thumbnail  The old saying goes that pitching, pitching and more pitching wins championships. If that’s the case, the Los Angeles Dodgers are gearing up for a championship run. The Dodgers are stacked when it...
Braves set up for sustained success
Monday, 03 March 2014
article thumbnailIn the past two offseasons, the Atlanta Braves have lost the face of their franchise in Chipper Jones to retirement and their longtime backstop Brian McCann as a free agent to the New York Yankees. But...
article thumbnail  In the mid-1990s, three young shortstops that revolutionized the position burst onto the scene: Alex Rodriguez, Nomar Garciaparra and Derek Jeter. They were the complete package not seen since Cal...
article thumbnail  Arizona Diamondbacks hurler Brandon McCarthy may still be a little fuzzy on the events of 16 months ago. While pitching for the Oakland Athletics in September 2012, McCarthy was drilled in the head...
article thumbnailUsually by this point of the offseason, most teams have their depth charts all but set heading into spring training. But there are always a few battles out there that will be decided in March. Some...
article thumbnail  I recently took part in a mock draft. My focus in this piece is late round starting pitching, along with an analysis of each player selected after round 13 - based on that draft.  
article thumbnailThere are tons of young baseball players out there who dream of playing professionally. Who wouldn’t want to be paid handsomely for playing a game? But unfortunately, there are only a limited number of...
article thumbnail  Now that the Super Bowl is over, it’s officially baseball season. We’ve been following the major news here on At Home Plate all offseason, and now it’s time to recap some of the major storylines...
More inRegular Articles  

Fantasy Articles

Fantasay Articles

Best and worst closers by peripherals
Wednesday, 26 February 2014
article thumbnail  Here is a list of the "best" closers as sorted by peripherals O-Swing% and SwStrk%. I cutoff under 35% for the former and under 12% for the latter. Glen Perkins has been solid Photo by Keith Allison,...
article thumbnailChris Archer, Rays - He possesses a booming 95 MPH fastball and showed good command last year.  Some say he looks like Justin Verlander did when he first came up -- good stuff but not sure what to do...
Fantasy Breakdown - Michael Saunders
Tuesday, 18 February 2014
article thumbnail     Mike Saunders is an interesting name to look at this offseason for fantasy players.  Currently undrafted in many leagues, he's looking to be quite an interesting value play.  He's 27 and bats lefty....
article thumbnailGoing into 2014, I like to look at starting pitchers who can dominate the peripheral stats that focus on swings and misses.  Making hitters look silly.  Getting bad swings.  Getting Ks.  The logic is,...
Fantasy Preview 2013: Texas Rangers
Sunday, 31 March 2013
article thumbnailThe Rangers suffered a heartbreaking defeat in the wild card playoff last season and that could possibly be the last hurrah for a while.  This team isn’t the powerhouse that we’ve gotten use to...
article thumbnailIn a division where the Giants and Dodgers grab all the headlines the D-Backs will be overlooked by many.  Yet they feature a good lineup, decent pitching and should finish enough above .500 that...
Fantasy Preview 2013: Detroit Tigers
Saturday, 30 March 2013
article thumbnailFantasy Preview 2013: Detroit TigersBy Jon LeshanskiSometimes you get the Tigers, and sometimes the Tigers get you.  The AL Central better be expecting more of the latter than the former in the 2013...
article thumbnailThe Dodgers may have added a ton of talent and payroll, but the Giants are the team they spent that money to try to beat.  The Giants pitching staff has two real frontmen in Matt Cain and Madison...
Fantasy Preview 2013: Toronto Blue Jays
Saturday, 30 March 2013
article thumbnailOnly the Dodgers came close to matching the Blue Jays in terms of change this offseason.  But while the Dodgers did it by spending big money and courting free agents, the Jays did it by swinging two...
Fantasy Preview 2013: Cincinnati Reds
Saturday, 30 March 2013
article thumbnailThe Reds will be looking to capture back to back NL Central flags, and they certainly look to be favorite to do so.  The offense is potent, and the pitching, while not featuring an upper tier fantasy ace,...
More inFantasy Articles  

Reviews

Reviews

article thumbnailBook Review:  Bud Fowler – Baseball’s First Black ProfessionalAuthor: Jeffery Michael LaingPages: 200Baseball before the establishment of the current Major Leagues tends to fall between the cracks of...
article thumbnailBook Review: Black Sox in the Courtroom:  the Grand Jury, Criminal Trial and Civil LitigationAuthor: William LambPages: 222Like many baseball fans, I’ve always been intensely interested in the Black...
article thumbnailBook Review: Kid Nichols – A Biography of the Hall of Fame PitcherBy Jon Leshanski Title: Kid Nichols: A Biography of the Hall of Fame PitcherAuthor: Richard BogovichPages: 262McFarland publishes a...
article thumbnailBook Review: Frantic Frank Lane:  Baseball’s Ultimate Wheeler-DealerAuthor: Bob Vanderberg with a forward by Billy PiercePages: 189Many of the best books written about baseball aren’t about players...
article thumbnailBook Review: Color Blind:  The Forgotten Team That Broke Baseball’s Color LineAuthor: Tom DunkelPages: 298I review a lot of books for At Home Plate, so not surprisingly I’ve learned a fair bit about...
Book Review: Who’s On First?
Friday, 12 April 2013
article thumbnailBook Review: Who's on First?Authors: Bud Abbott, Lou Costello and illustrated by John MartzPublished by Quark BooksRelease: Feb. 19, 2013It’s always brave to try and reinvent a classic. Happily,...
article thumbnailTitle: I Never Had it Made: An Autobiography of Jackie RobinsonAuthors: Jackie Robinson (as told to Alfred Duckett) Published by Ecco Books Pages: 279 I haven’t been invited to a prescreening of...
article thumbnail"Black Baseball Out of Season" almost seems like a misnomer for a book that covers the history not just of the offseason leagues that some Negro Leaguers played in, but at least roughly covers the...
article thumbnailKevin Youkilis, who Boston fans affectionately call "The Youkeh," has always been one of the most underrated players in baseball. It isn't till recently that the general fan population has really...
Book Review: Calico Joe
Sunday, 17 June 2012
article thumbnailI have half dozen un-read books on my Kindle at any given time. I actually downloaded Calico Joe a few weeks ago right after my last book club meeting. You see, Calico Joe was my book club's pick...
More inReviews  
2007 Regular Season Record: 66-96
Rank: Dead last in the AL East - 30.0 games back
Home Park: Tropicana Field

Rays of Light:

C- Mike DiFelice - Free Agent*
SS - Jason Bartlett - Trade with Twins
3B - Willy Aybar - Trade with Braves
IF - Andy Cannizaro - Free Agent*
OF - Cliff Floyd - Free Agent
OF - John Rodriguez - Free Agent*
SP - Matt Garza - Trade with Twins
RP - Eduardo Morlan - Trade with Twins
RP - Scott Munter - Free Agent*
RP - Troy Percival - Free Agent

Gone with the Wind:

C – Raul Casanova - Free Agent to Mets*
2B - Tomas Perez - Free Agent to Astros*
IF - Brendan Harris - Traded to Twins
IF - Chase Fontaine - Traded to Braves
SS - Jorge Velandia - Free Agent to Pirates*
OF - Elijah Dukes - Traded to Nationals
OF - Chris Snelling - Traded to Phillies
OF - Delmon Young - Traded to Twins
RP - Shawn Camp - Free Agent to Blue Jays*
RP - Casey Fossum - Free Agent to Pirates*
RP - Tim Lahey - claimed in Rule V draft then traded to Cubs.
RP - Jeff Ridgway - Traded to Braves
RP - Josh Wilson - claimed on waivers by Pirates
RP - Brian Stokes - Traded to Mets

Staying Put:

1B - Carlos Pena
OF - Jonny Gomes
RP - Grant Balfour
RP - Gary Glover
RP - Dan Wheeler
SP - Scott Kazmir

Likely Gone but still unsigned:
UT - Greg Norton
RP - Jay Witasick

* signed minor league deal

The Skinny:

They’ve got new owners, new uniforms, a new name (having dropped the Devil part of Devil Rays and reinvented themselves, seemingly as a ray of sunshine), and a new attitude.   Maybe for the first time there is something else new in Tampa - hope.  Well actually there is hope and a vision for the future which says the new ownership won’t accept being the laughingstock of the American League.

The Rays have gone out and signed some decent free agents this season including the ancient Cliff Floyd, and the once “retired” Troy Percival.  They’ve also been wheeling and dealing like crazy shipping players to the Braves, Mets, Twins, Nationals, Phillies and Cubs and receiving young talent and Major League ready talent as well.

That doesn’t mean the Rays are going to set the AL afire this year but the future looks bright but the light is at the end of a tunnel which will take couple more years to reach.

Strengths:

It’s a fair bet that the new Rays are going to be a better team than they were last year and that is almost across the board.   But for fans its the hitting which might well be high point of this team.   The Rays offense looks ready to score a lot more runs than the 782 they drove in last year, especially if Akinori Iwamura improves and turns into a better leadoff hitter.

Weaknesses:

Even with the addition of Matt Garza the pitching has a long way to go before it reaches respectable levels.  So the Rays brought in a new closer, which should allow Al Reyes to fall into a setup role and which offers the team a bit more stability especially since with Dan Wheeler still aboard the team has a solid staff for the 7th-8th and 9th innings.  This rotation, at least in the one to three spots should be much steadier than they were last year.   And Matt Garza’s arm, providing somewhere in the neighborhood of 200 innings should make a huge difference for a team.

Potential Lineup

LF - Carl Crawford
2B - Akinori Iwamura
CF - B.J. Upton
1B - Carlos Pena
RF - Rocco Baldelli
DH - Jonny Gomes
SS - Jason Barylett
C - Dioner Navarro
3B - Evan Longoria

Rotation

SP1 – Scott Kazmir
SP2 – James Shields
SP3 –Matt Garza
SP4 – Edwin Jackson/Jason Hammell
SP5 – Jeff Niemann/Andy Sonnanstine

Bullpen
CL – Troy Percival
Set up (and closer backup) - Al Reyes
Set up - Dan Wheeler

Keys to Success:

The Rays could compete with the big boys in terms of runs scored but its the starting pitching who’ll have to step forward for the team to climb out of the cellar.  That means either that some of the Rays talented youngsters will have to evolve fast and take the four or five spots in the rotation from incumbents Edwin Jackson and Andy Sonnanstine, and be better than them to boot.  However that might not be the wisest thing and the Rays may not rush the youngsters into the Majors but allow them to get a little more seasoning.

Prediction:

The Rays are a team which is involving and have already raised their payroll by 68% for this year and seem to have a grand plan to evolve into a much more competitive team.  Even without that the Rays should be a much better team and finishing above the Orioles, and maybe even taking a run at the Blue Jays (if they struggle) could easily be in the cards.