Heyman On Emaus, Red Sox, Yankees, Rangers

In a column for SI.com, Jon Heyman discusses the new-look Rays, examining the team's chances in a competitive AL East. While one Rays person candidly acknowledges "we've got a lot of holes," the general consensus around baseball is that it would be a mistake to discount the defending division champs. Here are a few other highlights from Heyman:


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50 Comments on "Heyman On Emaus, Red Sox, Yankees, Rangers"


4 years 4 months ago

There is a really good chance that Martin completely tanks.

MB923
4 years 4 months ago

whatever

4 years 4 months ago

:(

4 years 4 months ago

I get the feeling that the Rangers never really wanted to move Feliz. If they did, there were a few guys, like Saito or even Bobby Jenks that could have been had on the cheap.

notsureifsrs
4 years 4 months ago

i don’t think people would worry so much about it if they didn’t have the dominant performance of last year’s group in the back of their minds. but even that group was likely to be quite a bit worse this year than it was in 2010

howell
farnsworth
mcgee
russel
ramos
peralta
sonnanstine

it just isn’t as bad a group as people portray. they should be fine

YanksFanSince78
4 years 4 months ago

Fonzy is inconsistent. McGee is a rookie. Sonnastine is more of a loogy. Do you see any of Peralta, Ramos, Russell or Howell stepping up to be the dominant closer?

notsureifsrs
4 years 4 months ago

farnsworth has upside, mcgee is the kind of rookie you like to take your chances on, sonnanstine isn’t a lefty (and he’s a long man/spot starter), and i don’t see any of them needing to become dominant closers. that’s very much the point

maddon is smart enough to use them the way they ought to be used, exploiting their strengths and concealing their weaknesses. there isn’t any actual reason a team should need one guy for the whole ninth inning in every save opportunity. platooning for the ninth can work as well as any other inning – the rays may very well walk that talk this season

in short, their risk in the bullpen isn’t that much greater than the average risk of any bullpen given the volatility of relievers year over year

YanksFanSince78
4 years 4 months ago

I know Sonn is a righty, I meant to say long man/spot starter. At this point, @ age 30 something, Farns has shown little upside in the AL East. He did have a decent FIP last year and he still throws hard but at age 35 I don’t see much reason to expect him to improve. We’ll see.

johnsilver
4 years 4 months ago

With you on that Rays BP.. It is scary and not in a good Way. Sonanstine has managed to put 1 good year together, Fahrnsworth is scary and not in a good way and most of the rest are discards from the very bottom of the heap and not like the batch they found useful last season they had success with, this is truly the bottom of the discard pile this year in the rays ‘pen.

notsureifsrs
4 years 4 months ago

j.p. howell has averaged a FIP of 3.5 over his past two seasons (08 and 09) with all of his peripherals trending upwards. jesse crain evan meek darren o’day and jonathan papelbon were all in that territory last year. he’s capable of shutting down lefties and righties alike

kyle farnsworth has averaged a FIP of just over 3 in the past season & a half. that’s scott downs and jonathan broxton last year. most of farnsworth’s struggles historically have come against left-handers. he’s very solid against righties and that’s how maddon will use him

jake mcgee is a top 100 prospect in all of baseball — top 50 in some circles — with great stuff from the left side and a terrific track record

joel peralta is a regression candidate coming off a 3 FIP year last year. but his success in 2010 was in part a function of a changed approach with his curve and splitter, which could cap that regression. even if that’s not the case, his career FIP against righties is only 3.5. that’s useful

adam russel is a slightly above average, useful righty reliever who has proven he can pitch effective relief in the bigs — and not just in san diego

cesar ramos is a replacement level lefty

andy sonnanstine is a sixth starter with 3-win upside who can provide quality long relief

in other words, everything you just said is wrong. all of these pitchers will spend most of their season in a serious pitchers’ park deployed by a manager literate in platoon splits who can manage a bullpen effectively

this bullpen is not elite, but it is nowhere near as bad as people love to suggest. had they not lost the group from last year, no one would really fret about it

johnsilver
4 years 4 months ago

With the Rays relievers.. Sonanstine has never really been effective and Yes.. Howell was before he tore up his shoulder, but he has not pitched in over a full season, so maybe had best see if he has anything left before singing his praises.

Farnsoworth has had 2 decent seasons in his entire career, 2010 and you have to go back a fuul decade to find his other one. Hard to count on him for anything and most expect him to close..

Peralta. 35YO that had a breakout season last year for whatever reason last year for the Nationals, but one has to see it again.

Jake Mcgee. This is the one true possible gem on this list, other than maybe Russell.

YanksFanSince78
4 years 4 months ago

I respect Madden, and it seems you have sort of a mancrush on him, but as good as he is at implementing statistics and matching up his bullpen with the opponents lineup he still has to have the talent to implement his strategy.

Howell- Had great 2008 & 2009 seasons. However, he missed all of 2010 and has yet to pitch an inning in ST this year. He’s NOT a power pitcher and isn’t going to overpower anyone (his FB tops out at 86 mph). He’s all about control and getting his Curve and Change over. Not pitching for over a year can mess with ones mechanics and feel. Not sure what anyone can intelligently expect from him. He’s not even expected to return until mid May.

Farnsworth- Has the stuff but struggles to get it together consistently. He’s been good over the last two year but that was in the NL and AL Central. Most great bullpens have power arms and he still can bring it at 95 mph. Time will tell but he has less than a stellar track record.

MCGee- Great prospect but can you bank on him for any success? He’s a wild card and one of the criticizms of the Rays bullpen is based off of a lack of mlb proven arms. Thus he does nothing to bullster the faith of the pen.

Peralts- Had an incredibly good 2010 as you said. As you also mentioned he’s do for some regression. His .200 BaBIP against and his 85% LOB rate despite not being a hard thrower (avg FB @ 91 mph) and his extremely low GB % of 26%. He does manage to KO at a relatively high rate but I honestly can’t seem him being what he was in 2010. He can still be good I just don’t see him being THAT dominant.

Russell-Not sure what you’re basing your analysis on for Russell. He IS a big kid with the
stuff to be a dominant arm out then pen as he throws 95 mph, can induce GB at a 49% rate and his control was decent last year. But he’s only pitched 27 innings over the last two years so it’s hard to really figure out what kind of big league pitcher he will be.

Ramos-Like you said he’s a average mlb loogy.

Sonnanstine- It’s interesting what you choose to give credit for and what you like to disregard. Yes, Sonnanastine was a 3 WAR pitcher before but that was way back in 2008. Since then he has been a 0 WAR player with a FIP over 5.00. Meaning that he is nothing more than a fringe mlb pitcher. He’s a soft-tossing finesse pitcher with a below avg FB that relies on putting his stuff in the right spots. He’s usefull in that he can eat up garbage time innings. He’s not particularly good vs lefties or righties but he’s good for last minute spots or to jump on a grenade to spare the rest of the pen.

So maybe it’s not all doom and gloom but other than hoping for McGee tobe something great I see no reason for optimism from the pen.

notsureifsrs
4 years 4 months ago

i concluded my comment with “this bullpen is not elite, but it is nowhere near as bad as people love to suggest”. you rebutted with “maybe it’s not all doom and gloom but I see no reason for optimism from the pen”

in other words, you agree – but you still want to phrase things negatively. your prerogative i guess, but not supportable by data. most of your breakdown of the pitchers repeats the things i said. i’ll touch on what you added:

first, i have said that maddon “is smart enough to manage platoon splits and a bullpen effectively”, and this implies a mancrush to you? setting the bar awfully low, chief. now if he could optimize a lineup…

howell – he wasn’t a power pitcher when he was getting lefties and righties out to the tune of a 3.5 FIP either, so that’s hardly worth mentioning. in fact, despite his softly-thrown stuff, he’s had four plus pitches during his past two years. this is the difference between reporting data objectively and reporting it selectively to suit a purpose

farnsworth – he’s not as inconsistent as you think he is. his last bad year was three years ago in 2008 in new york. that year, he still posted an FIP of 4.15 against righties. and that was while suffering a 16% HR/FB rate and a .375 BABIP against them. his K/BB against righties that year was 6.2 and his xFIP was 3.37. did that predict anything?

since that time, his overall FIP was been just a touch over 3. in 2009 against righties it was 3.05 despite a .365 BABIP. when that BABIP finally normalized to under .300 in 2010, his FIP was just over 2 against righties

so yes, playing outside of the AL east helps everyone – but so does playing in tropicana. farnsworth’s volatility comes from facing lefties. used predominantly against righties, he is likely to do well. i’d bet my hat maddon is aware of this

peralta – i mentioned the regression before you did. “not as good as 2010″ doesn’t mean bad, because he was very good in 2010. again, 2010 wasn’t a totally random anomaly either. he made changes to his approach. does that mean he’ll strand 80% and enjoy a .200 BABIP. i seriously doubt it. but it could mean that he pitches better than he has in previous years

russel – you like russel more than i do apparently, sooo

sonnanstine – “it’s interesting what you choose to give credit for an what you like to disregard”. honestly, you are being dishonest. saying he has “3 WAR UPSIDE” does not mean “I PREDICT HE WILL POST 3 WAR”. it means he has proven that peak ability in the majors. within the last 3 years, no less

“ince then he has been a 0 WAR player with a FIP over 5.00. Meaning that he is nothing more than a fringe mlb pitcher”

o rly? by that logic, kyle farnsworth was “a fringe mlb pitcher” in 2009. but then he returned to form. as many, many pitchers have. especially young ones. and sonnanstine has 7 years of youth on farnsworth

having said that, he’s a sixth starter. what do you want? you know ZiPS projects Nova’s ERA well above 5 this year right? but you’re not down on Nova and neither am i. back-end pitchers are useful and important, even if they’re not going to dominate

having said that, sonnanstine’s peripheral numbers are headed in the right direction. his problem the last two (sub-100 inning sample) years has been walking guys and giving up homeruns. very correctable issues

the guy can handle the long relief job fine, and he’s got more upside than most men in that role

again, if this bullpen were not following the mass exodus of a bunch of career-year relievers from tampa, there wouldn’t be half the fuss. these guys are fine

JohnRhadiganIsTheWorst
4 years 4 months ago

I’m projecting a mediocre 3.81 ERA and 28 saves for Feliz. By May the rotation will be C.J. Wilson, Colby Lewis, Dave Bush, Matt Harrison and Brett Tomko.

The Rangers go 78-84. Feliz spends a meaningless September stretching out and makes two late season starts. He does OK in one but gets hit hard in the other, opening the door for this whole stupid debate to continue next off-season. Washington will decree that two starts are a big enough sample size to prove that Feliz has no future in the rotation and names him permanent closer. He orders all of the franchise’s statistical analysis and baseball reference books burned. And the Rangers sink back into the dark ages.

C.J. Wilson leaves in the off-season to sign with the Angels and the Rangers use the money saved to ink John Rhadigan to a 20-year extension.

MadmanTX
4 years 4 months ago

Anybody who hates the Rangers success that much and is that delusional must really be Drayton McLane. Hi, Uncle Drayton! Sell the Astros soon!

JohnRhadiganIsTheWorst
4 years 4 months ago

Or Josh Lewin. Or Chuck Greenberg. Or maybe Michael Young.

4 years 4 months ago

As a Rangers fan, I can only feel empathy for A’s fans getting excited about McCarthy and Red Sox fans getting excited about Salty. Lots of talent in those brittle bodies.

4 years 4 months ago

i don’t see the marlins trying for cantu again. they shipped him off because of his poor defense and diminishing offense.

Encarnacion's Parrot
4 years 4 months ago

Losing their best power hitter and weakening their rotation to some degree by losing Garza doesn’t help either. Rays should be solid, but will probably finish 3rd, maybe even 4th this year.

JohnRhadiganIsTheWorst
4 years 4 months ago

The rotation is weak, the bullpen is worse. Don’t see as many save chances out there. Hunter is already hurt. Webb isn’t even close. Harrison will be the same two times through the order guy he’s always been. C.J. Wilson has already expressed interest in playing in California.

Aside from Washington burning Jon Daniels’ copy of Baseball Prospectus in the ballpark parking lot, this is an entirely accurate portrayal of what’s in store for the Rangers over the next several months.

MadmanTX
4 years 4 months ago

Jealous of Salty? He played for us…your scouts must not have been paying attention to hoe bad he was in Texas or how bad he will be in Boston. Enjoy that .248 BA.

JohnRhadiganIsTheWorst
4 years 4 months ago

Well, I guess, it’ll be the first team to 79 wins.

YanksFanSince78
4 years 4 months ago

Ummmm the Angels might have the best rotation in the AL West.

Haren, Weaver, Santana, Pinero and Kazmir. The first three are better than any other three in the AL West. In fact, those front three might be as good or better than Lester/Buchholz/Lackey or Beckett, Gio/Anderson/Cahill or all other rotations in the AL.

As much as we disrespect Wells and his contract, he COULD have a decent year. Add that to whatever you can get from Morales, Abreu, Hunter and others and they might be able to scratch some runs across. Other than the Rangers who has a better offense in the AL West than them?

Lunchbox45
4 years 4 months ago

Oakland? ?

LioneeR
4 years 4 months ago

Don’t be too quick to trust anything from spring training.

YanksFanSince78
4 years 4 months ago

I believe the statement was “potential” concerns for Martin.

It’s amazing the way fans contradict themselves regarding spring training performances.

Great performances by stars = They are going to have great years.

Poor performances by stars = Spring training means nothing.

Great performances by prospects or struggling players = Breakout or comeback season.

Great performances by usually poor players -Disregard it, spring training means nothing.

I guess spring trainign means whatever you want it to mean.

Encarnacion's Parrot
4 years 4 months ago

Agreed. Both should be around the 88-win area me thinks.

JohnRhadiganIsTheWorst
4 years 4 months ago

Watching Derek Holland pitch in the first inning against the Rockies, I’m starting to think I’m being too optimistic.

MB923
4 years 4 months ago

Which would could probably get, at best 3rd or 4th place in the AL East. Tough when you have 4 (possibly even 5) good teams in 1 division.

ltdibo020
4 years 4 months ago

There was no bad things written about Martin in the article, it talks about who will be the back up…and referenced “potential concerns”…whatever that means…martin has had a decent spring….the big thing is he is healthy and he has been catching regularly.
The Yankee staff has definitely responded to his game calling…but who knows really..
Just remember its spring training?? Can’t get too excited, can we??? Salty batted 283 times in 2009 and struck out an astounding 97 times..while compiling a .233 ave…last year he played 12 games….still excited???….Martin is more of an OBP type player who plays solid defense and should help with the running game…If he hits over .270 which he has done 3 times in the past, Yanks will be in good shape at catcher…I’m happy as a Yankee fan. I would be worried about Salty but you have a point he may suddenly blossom, but 97 k’s in 283 ab’s…wow

Sleepykarl
4 years 4 months ago

Wow, the fifth straight year someone thinks it is the year that Salty reaches his potential (you think Brandon Wood will break out this year!?!?). Sure there is no real evidence to support it, but the guy can throw a ball back to the pitcher, showing anything is possible. Before trying to scoreboard Texas about the trade, don’t sleep on Mendez, who sat at 93-96 and was hitting 98, while mixing in a solid breaking ball today. I also don’t think New York is to terribly worried about Martin, not to mention the fact that they are stacked at catching prospects.

Lunchbox45
4 years 4 months ago

Prospects hardly ever flop

YanksFanSince78
4 years 4 months ago

Apply that thinking to any Yanks acquisition and you would be butchering us.

“Here comes the pitch, IT’S DEEP to right field, it’s going, it’s going, it’s GONE! It’s a “blackcourt” (cheers….)..

4 years 4 months ago

The Dodgers have had a top 5-10 farm system for the past 20 years or so.. I cant name how many dudes completely failed. Theres been a couple times ive almost completely stopped caring about anyone not in the majors.

JohnRhadiganIsTheWorst
4 years 4 months ago

Exactly. The Rangers aren’t going to run away with this thing. Everything that could go wrong for the Angels went wrong last season. They’ll be better. And the A’s improved, too.

Rambling sarcasm aside, the Rangers are in real trouble. Pretty much nothing has gone right this off-season. If C.J. Wilson or Colby Lewis regress off of last season’s numbers at all, the Rangers are going to have a tough time climbing above .500.

MaineSox
4 years 4 months ago

Whoosh

Lunchbox45
4 years 4 months ago

I would love the jays winning 88 games, I just don’t see it happening.

MB923
4 years 4 months ago

I don’t see 4 teams in 1 division, and in the toughest division in baseball, winning 88 games. 4 teams did win 85 games, but 88 is definitely a push.

Encarnacion's Parrot
4 years 4 months ago

My thinking to them getting in that range is a much-improved bullpen, rebounds from Hill and Lind, a more complete offense that actually gets on base once in a while, and the rotation staying the way it did in 2010, if not improving somewhat.

Most of that is more inevitable than “what if’s,” plus it’s only a 3 win improvement off 2010.

East Coast Bias
4 years 4 months ago

haha totally!

MB923
4 years 4 months ago

Just because Pena led the team in HR doesn’t mean he is a great power hitter. Pena only had a .407 Slugging percentage and had an OPS+ of just 102.

MB923
4 years 4 months ago

I don’t see the Angels doing worse, but I also don’t see them doing much better.

ltdibo020
4 years 4 months ago

Blackcourt..oh thats right your the red sox homer…ok I’ll play along and ignore Martins 39% throw out rate last year and Salty’s dismal 17% rate…and we will all agree that because Martin is a Yankee (almost signed with the Red Sox btw, so they liked him too) he can’t possibly be an upgrade over Posada defensively. And then we will also “assume” Salty will be just awesome and ignore all his dismal stats the last 3 years both hitting and fielding. We can also throw out Martins Gold glove a few years back, he couldn’t possibly return to that form….sheesh….your playing a great “Red Sox homer game”…how about some objectivity dude..as far as the scouts assessments…their should be a caveat there…like he just came back from surgery and what are we talking about like 8 spring training games!!! Remember 97 k’s in 283 ab’s and a 17% base stealing throw out rate for Salty???…. its a lot easier to assess when you look at full season stats and not 8 st games???

notsureifsrs
4 years 4 months ago

farnsworth has mixed in some very bad years and epitomizes reliever volatility, but he’s been solid since 2009 and has a couple standout years behind that

Lunchbox45
4 years 4 months ago

If Hill and Lind rebounds, Jbau doesn’t regress to utility number and snider breaks out, I can def see it happening.. I agree with you, I think that Farrell will bring the best out of the offense..

However, where I think the team will take a step back is in the rotation this year.. Last year, besides Tallet, Eveland, Litsch, Whoever else, everyone had extremely good years. . I think Romero and Cecil will regress (Cecil more drastically) Morrow if he can stay healthy will be a big improvement, and Jojo Reyes, Drabek and Litsch are huge question marks..

You’re right its only 3 wins, and you may be able to steal 1 or 2 off the yanks and rays, they prob won’t be baltimore 15 times again this year.

pierre
4 years 4 months ago

salty compares favorably with tek who had a .188 batting avg in aaa at the age of 25. he turned out pretty good and there is a good chance salty will too.

ltdibo020
4 years 4 months ago

Your positive about the hip surgery…right???….he had knee surgery for sure…hip surgery…do u have a link??…he had a hairline fracture in his hip….I don’t think surgery was performed…I may be wrong….but I’m not finding it as I research.here…enlighten me being you just said “major hip surgery”…???

ltdibo020
4 years 4 months ago

thank you dr. blackcourt…..

YanksFanSince78
4 years 4 months ago

I could careless what Texas did LAST year.

Dan Haren-Had a great 14 games for them in the 2nd half after being traded from AZ. Now they will have him for a full season.

Jarred Weaver- Had a CY Young caliber season last year.

Ervin Santana-Had a good bounce back year afterb being hurt in 2009. Could be even better in 2011.

The other two, Pinero and Kazmir are question marks.

However, I would value those 3 over any combo of…

Wilson, Lewis, Harrison, Feldman, Holland and Hunter who is going to start the season on the DL.

The Angels have two legit aces on their staffs in Weaver and Haren and Santana would be an ace on certain teams as well.

BoSoXaddict
4 years 4 months ago

Only if we offer Papelbon arb..which is not guaranteed