Tuesday, March 23, 2010

A Few Good Sleepers and Three Good Interviews

posted by Jon Williams

Photo from fOTOGLIF

My day job (which unfortunately is not writing this blog) has been kicking my ass the last couple of months. I have no time to do anything and I am exhausted by the time stumble into the house. But this isn't that kind of blog. I mention all that because I need another day on the Sleeper Teams to be happy with the article. I know its already a couple of weeks late so I've decided to give you a preview of a few players in the article. You'll notice I provide much more information about the players than I did last few years. I hope you enjoy this preview, the real thing should be published on Thursday at the latest.

But before we get to those sleepers, here are links to a few great interviews you should definitely check out:

Marc Carig of the Star Ledger interviews Former Padres GM, Kevin Towers.

John Sickles interviews Mark Newman, Senior Vice President of Baseball Operations for the New York Yankees.

C. Trent Rosecrans of CNati.com delivers a two-part interview of Bill James. and Part Two

OF – Hunter Pence, Houston Astros – Pence has had small but steady improvements in his walk rates the last three seasons. He cut his strikeout rate in 2009 and improved his plate discipline by swinging at fewer pitches outside of the strike zone. I would love to see him hit more line drives. He is also 27 with experience if you like that old theory. It fits in this case because I think we are about to see a career year from Pence.

3B – Mark Teahen, Chicago White Sox – Back at third base where he started the White Sox are hoping that Teahen can recapture what he seemed to lose being shuffled around the infield and outfield with the Royals. He has the talent to be an above average player. He has a brand new opportunity; he only needs to take advantage. The change in ballparks helps too. Though his new home tends to help more with home run hitting than batting average.

CR – Brandon Wood, Los Angeles Angels – I get annoyed with the Angels all the time. They have these great prospects and they make them wait much longer than seems necessary to earn a major league job. But maybe I should get over it. When they needed Erick Aybar to play regularly, he was ready. Juan Rivera (I know a Yankees prospect) was also ready when needed. Kendry Morales was ready when needed. They traded for Scott Kazmir who was having the worst season of his career and suddenly he was ready as well. Now, they seem to think Brandon Wood is ready to become their full time third baseman. I agree. He has reduced his massive strikeouts totals to a reasonable level. The power is still there to hit 25-35 homeruns a season on a consistent basis. I love him.

UTL/DH – Jesus Montero, New York Yankees – There is little hype around Jesus Montero becoming the 2010 Rookie of the Year. This is primarily due to Jorge Posada filling the catcher position (and Monetero’s need for continued development there) and Nick Johnson’s arrival as the new designated hitter. If Johnson requires a stint on the disabled list (as has often been the case), it would probably herald the arrival of Jesus Montero to the major leagues. It is only a matter of time. Then we will see a Mike Piazza, Carlos Delgado level of talent hit the majors.

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