Results tagged ‘ MLB rumors ’

New Faces, New Places Part 2: Chris Capuano, Ryan Ludwick, and Juan Pierre

 

BY ROB SHAW

Twitter: @RobShawSports

 

Seven years ago Chris Capuano was one of the best starters in baseball, as he went 18-11 for the Milwaukee Brewers.  The good times did not last long as Capuano was derailed by arm injuries that forced him to miss 2008-2009.

 

In his first full season back, Capuano pitched well for the Mets with 11 wins and a 4.55 ERA.  However, a closer look at the statistics reveals that there could endure some trouble ahead.  Capuano surrendered 1.31 HR/9, which would have been an issue had he stayed in New York with the fences getting drawn closer. His 5.42 ERA on the road is also an issue with Capuano moving away from Citi Field.

 

Fantasy managers can take some relief in the fact that Capuano’s move to Los Angeles means he’ll continue to pitch in a pitcher’s park.  Furthermore, the Dodgers lineup should have more punch than the Mets lineup, which puts 12 wins within reach.

 

In 2008, Ryan Ludwick was one of the best players in baseball.  He blasted 37 home runs, drove in 113 RBI, and hit .299 for the Cardinals.  Ludwick failed to repeat the success and within two years he was dealt to the Padres.

 

In San Diego, Ludwick has regressed a great deal.  His power and average took a severe decline and last season he was dealt to the Pirates.  In particular, Ludwick has struggled against the fastball, and he is no longer hitting many line drives.

 

A move away from PETCO Park will give Ludwick every chance of regaining his confidence.  At 33 years old, Ludwick is far from his prime, but 20-plus home runs with solid run production is a legitimate best-case scenario.

 

One of the most consistent hitters over the last decade has been Juan Pierre, most recently the leadoff man for the White Sox.  In fact, Pierre ranks second on Major League Baseball for plate appearances since 2010.  However, Pierre’s role will change dramatically now that he returns to the National League with the Philadelphia Phillies.

 

Now a 34-year-old speedster, Juan Pierre did score 80 runs with 27 steals and a .279 average last season.  However, his success rate for stolen bases took a nose-dive from 79% to 61%.  In an era in which every statistic is studied by the front office, it is clear that Pierre’s struggles to secure stolen bases actually may have cost his team runs last season.

 

The Phillies are not looking for Pierre to play an everyday role.  The hope is that Dominic Brown regains his confidence and becomes a rising star next to Shane Victorino and Hunter Pence.  Pierre will likely man a fourth outfielder role and offer some serious speed off the bench.  His fantasy value takes a major hit this season.

 

For more fantasy baseball insight visit BloombergSports.com

 

Stephen Strasburg On the Mend (MLB Injury Updates)

Follow us: @BloombergSports @RobShawSports @MicheleSteele

 

The Injury Report:

 

Stephen Strasburg, SP, Nationals

Guess who’s back!  The man who routinely hit 100 MPH on the radar gun as a starter last season is on his way back and is already up to 95 MPH following Tommy John surgery.  Strasburg is apparently in mid-spring training mode, as far as his recovery.  That puts him about a month and a half away from the Major Leagues assuming all goes well.  That, of course, is a wide assumption considering how serious this injury was.  Nonetheless, if you have the roster space and could use an arm for the playoff run, Strasburg could play a role this season.

 

Chien-Ming Wang, SP, Nationals

Once the ace of the New York Yankees, this Taiwan native enjoyed back-to-back 19-win seasons in 2006 and 2007.  Injuries have since limited Wang to just 27 appearances.  His last outing actually came more than two years ago on July 4, 2009.  The 31-year old right-hander hopes that there is still something left in the tank.  He is currently in the midst of a rehab start and Davey Johnson hinted that he is just a start away from joining the Major League club.  Even in his prime, Wang’s value was limited because he pitches to contact, however, in the National League his ERA can dip to a respectable level so keep an eye on his progress.

 

Brett Lawrie, 3B, Blue Jays

The top prospect in the Blue Jays system was supposed to make his Major League debut more than a month ago, but then an injury forced him to the bench.  The Blue Jays have made it clear that they will take the cautious route with Lawrie, who is dominating at Las Vegas despite learning a new position (third base).  Look for Lawrie to spend at least the next two weeks in the Minor Leagues.  Some good news is that current third baseman Edwin Encarnacion has heated up over the last month, even though he is clearly a short-term solution.

 

Jason Heyward, OF, Braves / Chipper Jones, 3B, Braves

The Braves are very much in contention in spite of the awful play of Jason Heyward this season.  For a second straight season the much-heralded prospect has dealt with some injuries, and it’s an ankle injury that has forced Heyward to miss out on the friendly confines of Coors Field.  It’s been a power outage for Heyward this season, as his slugging is currently under .400.  Before the panic sets in remember, this talent is just 21-years old.  He is listed as day-to-day because of an ankle injury, but he is expected to play tonight.

 

Chipper Jones has been plagued by injuries for what seems like a decade now.  The 38-year old remains one of the better power options in the Braves lineup, even though the career .304 hitter has been a .260 hitter the last three seasons.  Recovering from minor knee surgery, Jones is still a few weeks away from returning to the Braves lineup, but he has taken some live batting practice and believes he may be a bit ahead of schedule.

 

David Wright, 3B Mets / Ike Davis, 3B, Mets

The big question for Mets fans is whether we will ever see Jose Reyes, Carlos Beltran, and David Wright in the lineup together again.  While Wright is enjoying a rehab stint, Carlos Beltran can be traded any day now.  Wright is recovering from a stress fracture in his lower back.  The 28-year old has been raking at Class-A, and has set this weekend as a possible return date.

 

Such progress has not come to Ike Davis, the Mets young first baseman who appeared on his way to breakout season before injuring his ankle.  While the New York tabloids have gone back and forth on rumors surrounding whether he will be shut down this season, Davis himself has said that if he does not make serious progress in the next three weeks, the season will be lost.  The Mets have been thrilled with the play of replacements Daniel Murphy and Lucas Duda.  In fact, when Wright does return it may make the most sense to alternate  Murphy and Duda at first, while also playing Murphy a bit at second base.

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