Tag:C.J. Wilson
Posted on: March 7, 2012 12:19 am
Edited on: March 7, 2012 4:27 pm
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Spring primer: Los Angeles Angels

Angels
By Dayn Perry

Perhaps no team in 2012 will shoulder greater expectations than the Los Angeles Angels (of Anaheim). This offseason, new GM Jerry DiPoto and owner Arte Moreno shelled out more than $300 million in guaranteed monies to sign the luminous Albert Pujols and pluck C.J. Wilson from the division-rival Rangers. Add them to a team that won 86 games last season, and the Angels are certifiable pennant contenders. Anything less than a playoff berth -- especially now that there's a second wild-card berth in play -- will be a serious disappointment. 

Major additions: 1B Albert Pujols, LHP C.J. Wilson, C Chris Iannetta, RHP LaTroy Hawkins
Major departures: C Jeff Mathis, RHP Joel Pineiro

Probable lineup
1. Erick Aybar, SS
2. Howie Kendrick, 2B 
3. Albert Pujols, 1B 
4. Torii Hunter, RF 
5. Vernon Wells, LF 
6. Bobby Abreu, DH
7. Alberto Callaspo, 3B 
8. Chris Iannetta, C 
9. Peter Bourjos, CF 

Probable rotation
1. Jered Weaver
2. Dan Haren 
3. C.J. Wilson 
4. Ervin Santana 
5. Jerome Williams 

Back-end bullpen
Closer: Jordan Walden
Set-up: LaTroy Hawkins, Scott Downs, Jason Isringhausen

Important bench players
IF Maicer Izturis, 1B Kendrys Morales, 1B/OF Mark Trumbo, C Bobby Wilson

Prospect to watch: Mike Trout
To hear some analysts tell it, Trout edges out Bryce Harper and Matt Moore for the honor of top prospect in all of baseball. It's easy to understand why: Trout has more tools than a frat house. He's one of the fastest runners you'll ever see, he boasts Gold Glove-caliber skills in the outfield, and his smooth swing and pitch-recognition skills should yield high OBPs and plus  power at the​ highest level. It's no surprise, then, that Trout has thrived at almost every stop despite being much younger than his peer group. There's nothing he can't do on the diamond. 


Fantasy Sleeper: Kendrys Morales
"As if Morales' season-ending ankle fracture early in 2010 wasn't bad enough, the 28-year-old slugger then kept Fantasy owners on the hook right up until the end of spring training last year, burning some of the early drafting types for a second straight season. Needless to say, nobody is counting on Morales for much now, which means he's likely to go for next to nothing on Draft Day. So far, his work in batting practice has the Angels cautiously optimistic that he'll be ready for the start of the season. Of course, we were hearing reports just as favorable this time last year only to find out he needed a second surgery, but what are the chances of that happening again? A second surgery was surprising enough. A third would be grounds for a lawsuit. Granted, a healthy Morales would face the same playing time obstacles as Mark Trumbo, but considering Morales is the better all-around hitter, he's a better gamble in the late rounds than Trumbo is in the middle rounds." - Scott White [Full Angels team fantasy preview

Fantasy Bust: Mark Trumbo​
"It's not that Trumbo can't repeat last year's 29 homers. It's just that, given his lack of plate discipline, everything has to go just right for it to happen. And already things are going wrong. The biggest blow came when the Angels signedAlbert Pujols, leaving Trumbo without a position. He was supposed to learn third base this offseason as a creative way to keep his bat in the lineup, but a stress fracture in his foot kept him off the practice field. The Angels still might try to rotate him between DH, third base and possibly left field, but such instability often has an adverse effect on a player's batting average, which in Trumbo's case, could lead to an on-base percentage lower than any number of homers could justify. Besides, if Kendrys Morales is healthy, it's all moot anyway. Trumbo will get drafted in mixed leagues given his potential for 30-plus homers, but consdiering all the variables at work here, he could easily be a waste of a pick." - Scott White [Full Angels team fantasy preview]  

Optimistic outlook
The rotation turns out to be baseball's best. Albert Pujols rebounds from last year's "disappointing" campaign. Chris Iannetta constitutes a substantial upgrade over the mercifully departed Jeff Mathis. Mike Trout lives up to the press clippings, and what figures to be one of the top benches around helps push the Angels to the top of the AL West. Oh, and then they win the World Series. 

Pessimistic outlook
As good as the Angels are, it's not hard to envision struggles. That could happen if Pujols declines further, and they struggle to find a reliable fifth starter. The other starters are then undermined by a potentially thin setup corps. Vernon Wells struggles, and the team refuses to treat him as a sunk cost, which leaves Trout languishing in Triple-A. What else could go wrong? Kendrys Morales can't get healthy, and Mark Trumbo fails to repeat his 2011 power performance, which means the aging, worsening Bobby Abreu is without a steady platoon partner at DH. Meanwhile, the Rangers cruise to a third-straight division title. 

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Posted on: February 14, 2012 10:55 am
 

Kate Upton sells video games -- SOLD!

By C. Trent Rosecrans

Matt may have fallen in love with Justin Verlander because of his commercials for the video game MLB2K12, but me, I'll take his co-star in this commercial -- and I don't mean C.J. Wilson.



I do give Verlander, Wilson, David Price and Jay Bruce some props for their acting. It must take some serious Thespian chops to pretend to be excited by Kate Upton.

H/T: Big League Stew

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Posted on: February 13, 2012 6:23 pm
Edited on: February 13, 2012 6:41 pm
 

AL West will be the new AL East



By Matt Snyder


The AL East has been pretty widely regarded as the best division in baseball for a while. And with good reason, as the numbers don't lie. In the past 15 years, the AL wild card has come from the AL East 11 times. The best record has also come from the AL East 11 times. The American League World Series representative has come from the AL East nine times, while the World Series champion was an AL East team six times. Also note the '96 Yankees won it all, 16 seasons ago. Simply, it's a dominant division.

But with the events of this offseason, we're liable to see a shift in power to the west coast. Monday's Yoenis Cespedes signing for the A's wasn't a seismic shift type deal, but it shows they're focusing on winning within the next four years. Also note that the extensions of general manager Billy Beane and club president Michael Crowley are a true sign the A's will eventually get their new stadium in San Jose. When that happens, they'll start to have some extra revenue. So things should be looking up for the A's in the next few years, right? Well, not so fast.

AL West offseason
In fact, the A's might be looking like the AL West's version of the Baltimore Orioles. Since 2000, the Orioles haven't finished better than third -- which happened only once -- and have come in last the past four seasons. They've also had a payroll of at least $72 million seven of the past 11 seasons. They aren't poor by any means. They just can't keep up in the monster of a division that is the AL East.

Let's see what's in store for the A's in the next decade or so, in terms of their divisional competition.

• The Angels have an owner who just shelled out over $300 million to land Albert Pujols and C.J. Wilson in free agency. It probably didn't seem like much of a big deal to Arte Moreno, considering he's looking at a local TV contract of 20 years for $3 billion. Plus, the Angels play in the mega-market that is Los Angeles. They aren't going away.

• The Rangers paid over $50 million just for the right to negotiate with Japanese phenom Yu Darvish and then paid him over $50 million more to sign. The have a front office and ownership group that can compete with anyone in terms of brains and most teams in terms of dollars. The Dallas area is a large market and the fan base is continuing to grow after two straight World Series appearances. They aren't going away, either.

• The Astros are moving to the American League West, and while it's gonna be a few years before they can compete, remember they have a new owner, Jim Crane, who likely didn't pay $680 million to own a doormat of a baseball team. Plus, Houston is one of the largest markets in America -- and the Astros had a nine-figure payroll in 2009. Don't discount how they'll play in this division come 2015 or 2016. They can spend, and will have to in order to keep up.

• The Mariners are in the 12th biggest market in MLB, which isn't bad at all. But they'd be at risk of falling far behind if not for a lucrative TV deal in their near future. Last week, a USA Today report noted the Mariners are among a handful of teams ready to cash in with a mega-TV deal like the Angels just did. Prior to the 2015 season, the Mariners can opt out of their current local TV deal with Root Sports and hit the open market. The Seattle Times also pointed out that the Mariners have trimmed their bottom line to the point that the only long-term investment is the reliable ace Felix Hernandez. So they could be positioning for a major strike within the next few years, after landing the aforementioned lucrative TV deal.

The process is going to be gradual, especially and obviously with the Mariners, Astros and A's.

Just don't be surprised if a decade from now the AL West is viewed as the best division in baseball. The resources are all falling into place for a westward move in the balance of league power.

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Posted on: February 7, 2012 2:43 pm
 

Video: Verlander's new video game commercial

By Matt Snyder

After a season in which he won the AL Cy Young and MVP, it's not a surprise that Justin Verlander landed on the cover of a video game. He's on MLB2K12, and below is what Verlander noted on Twitter was the first promotional video for the game -- along with a cameo from C.J. Wilson in his new Angels garb.

I know there will be plenty of people saying it's lame or stupid, because, you know, it's cool to be all negative and complain on the Internet. Personally, I thought it was kind of funny. You definitely won't confuse Verlander for an Oscar winning actor or anything, but I dig the facial expressions with the voice over.

Check it out:



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Posted on: January 18, 2012 9:06 am
Edited on: January 18, 2012 5:18 pm
 

Would You Rather Have: Yu Darvish or C.J. Wilson



By Matt Snyder


We now know that the Rangers have signed Yu Darvish to a 6-year, $60 million contract, which is more than they were reportedly willing to pay C.J. Wilson. Plus, the Rangers now owe the NPB's Fighters a $51.7 posting fee on top of the contract. So they were willing to shell out $111.7 million for Darvish, but not half of that for Wilson.

So this marks the perfect opportunity to continue our offseason series and see if our answers equal the answer of the Rangers organization ...

Would you rather have C.J. Wilson or Yu Darvish?

Rangers general manager Jon Daniels and company would rather have Darvish. Do we agree with that decision?

The case for Darvish

I've already made the case that Darvish is unlike any pitcher we've ever seen come from Japan. Seriously, if you haven't seen the stats, please click on that link. He's head and shoulders above the likes of Dice-K and Hideo Nomo at this point in his career, so it's unfair to lump him in with past imports just because they came from the same league. Darvish is a different kind of talent.

Would You Rather Have
Also, there's the fact that Daniels personally flew to Japan to watch Darvish pitch and the Rangers scouting department was watching him very closely as well. Considering the quick turnaround the organization has made into an American League powerhouse under Daniels and his scouting department, are we seriously going to question what they think they see in Darvish? I'm sure not.

Additionally, Darvish is only 25 while Wilson is 31.

The case for Wilson

The left-hander has only been a starter for the past two seasons, but he's been damn good. In 2011, he was good enough to finish sixth in Cy Young voting, as he went 16-7 with a 2.94 ERA, 1.19 WHIP and 206 strikeouts in 223 1/3 innings. Keep in mind, Rangers Ballpark in Arlington was the top hitters' park in all of baseball in 2011, too, so Wilson was throwing roughly half his games in a pitchers' worst nightmare. He wasn't bad at home (3.69 ERA, 1.23 WHIP), but the difference showed when he took the ball on an opposing mound. He sported a 2.31 ERA and 1.15 WHIP on the road in 2011. And now he's headed to the Angels, who play in what rated as a pitchers' park in 2011.

But much of the case for Wilson is that he's a known entity in Major League Baseball. More to the point: Darvish is not. So this part is actually a case against Darvish.

Pitchers in Japan throw once a week while pitchers in the majors are expected to pitch once every five days. Darvish did cut down his schedule to once every six days last season, in advance of knowing he was probably going to post, but that's still one day longer than in America. Also, many scouts liken Nippon Professional Baseball to be either Triple-A level or between Triple-A and the majors. So we don't have any large samples upon which to judge Darvish adjusting to real big-league hitters over the course of a long season or dealing with real adversity when, say, Albert Pujols crushes a grand slam off of him. Then you have the travel issue -- in Japan, all the games are played within one time zone. And how will Darvish handle the wilting heat of Texas in the middle of the summer?

There are many fair questions to be asked. 

Our call

It's incredibly tough, considering the only bits and pieces I've seen of Darvish came in the 2009 World Baseball Classic -- where he was dominant, but I just don't trust numbers in March. On the other hand, I very much trust Daniels and his operation. With Darvish being six years younger and an imposing 6-foot-5 power pitcher, the possible upside is intriguing. Ultimately that, the age difference and my trust in Daniels has me begrudgingly picking Darvish here. I wish I had at least one major-league start to judge, but no MLB teams were afforded that luxury.

Fan Vote:



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Posted on: January 15, 2012 5:02 pm
 

Showtime series considering Marlins for season 2

Jose Reyes

By C. Trent Rosecrans


The Franchise, Showtime and MLB's answer to HBO's popular Hard Knocks, is returning for a second season and a second team. Clark Spencer of the Miami Herald reports the Marlins are under consideration to be this year's subject, following in the footsteps of the San Francisco Giants.

The Marlins would seem to be as good of a pick as any big league team as there's a new stadium, colorful new uniforms, an even more colorful new manager and new talent in the likes of Jose Reyes, Heath Bell and Mark Buehrle. The team even has the walking soap opera that is Carlos Zambrano, as well as the spotlight-seeking Logan Morrison.

If Showtime decides to go in another direction, here are some other ideas:

• The A's: It seems Lew Wolff and Billy Beane are trying to pull a real-life version of Major League, putting together a team not to win, but in preparation for a move. Heck, they already have Brad Pitt as the general manager, so we know the camera will love them.

• The Angels: It's a time-honored television tradition, the fish-out-of-story of a family packing up its modest home and heading to California. We've had the Clampetts move out to Bev-er-ly, the Walshes to 90210 and the Fresh Prince hailing a cab for Bel-Air, so why not the Pujols family dealing with the disrespect of being offered a lowly $130 million and finding love and respect in Anaheim? Oh, and there's C.J. Wilson and his race cars and Vernon Wells cashing his paychecks.

• The Yankees and Red Sox: It'd be nice to see these teams get a little attention.

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Posted on: December 27, 2011 3:38 pm
Edited on: December 27, 2011 3:46 pm
 

Voting for the 2011 MLB Bloggies, Part II



By C. Trent Rosecrans


With just a few days left until 2012 brings us a whole new year, it's only fitting to look back at the year that was. Sure, there's an actual baseball season, including spring training, the regular season and the postseason, but things happen nearly every day throughout the entire calendar year. So we're going to create a fake award and call it a Bloggie. 

We'll set the table with some nominations and let you, our readers, vote for the winners. We did Part I on Monday and this is Part II: Electric Boogaloo. Friday, we'll post the winners and our staff picks. Without further ado ...

Best Twitterer
• @JGuthrie46 (Jeremy Guthrie): The Orioles starter loves his Air Jordans and often gives updates on his newest kicks, but he also trash talks with his teammates in an entertaining feed.
• @BMcCarthy32 (Brandon McCarthy): The A's right-hander may be the most prolific tweeter of English Premier League analysis in baseball. He also shows off a great sense of humor.
@LoMoMarlins (Logan Morrison): The Marlins' brass may disagree, but Morrison is candid and entertaining with his tweets, even if it got him in trouble with the front office.
@DatDudeBP (Brandon Phillips): Phillips not only engages with his fans on Twitter, but also brings them into his real life. He's held contests to give away not just merchandise, but also a trip to spring training and even asked fans what to do on a day off, and when a kid invited him to his baseball game, Phillips showed up.
@str8edgeracer (C.J. Wilson): The off-season's most sought-after starter tweeted during the season, throughout the World Series and even in free agency.



Biggest bonehead move
• A-Rod's popcorn snafu: Usually having a famous actress feed you popcorn is a badge of honor -- unless you're Alex Rodriguez. Not only did Fox cameras catch then-girlfriend Cameron Diaz feeding A-Rod popcorn during the Super Bowl, but then Rodriguez made it worse by allegedly was upset about the shot.
Mike Leake's shopping spree: The second-year Reds pitcher was arrested for taking $60 worth of shirts from a downtown Cincinnati Macy's in April. He eventually pled guilty to a lesser charge.
• Distracted baserunner: The Reds and Phillies went 19 innings on May 25, but the game could have ended earlier -- with a different winner -- had Phillips been playing more attention to pitcher J.C. Romero than to his conversation with Phillies shortstop Jimmy Rollins. While gabbing with Rollins, Romero picked Phillips off at second. What made it worse was that the Reds had two on and one out -- and were a ball away from loading the bases -- before Phillips got picked off. After walking Scott Rolen, Romero walked Jay Bruce to load the bases with two outs, but David Herndon replaced Romero to get out of the inning.
Beer and chicken: Beer and fried chicken are great things -- unless you're consuming those two in the clubhouse as your team is playing on the field. The backroom hijinks got Terry Francona fired and may have cost the Red Sox a shot at the playoffs.
Tony La Russa's communication breakdown: If the Cardinals hadn't come back to win the World Series, Tony La Russa's gaffe in Game 5 would go down as one of the worst of all time. La Russa claimed the crowd noise at Rangers Ballpark prevented him from communicating with his bullpen. He said he wanted his closer, Jason Motte, to get warmed up, and instead Lance Lynn was told to get warm. When Lynn came into the game, his manager was surprised and the Cardinals went on to lose the game.



Best celebration:
Brewers: Milwaukee's "Beast Mode" was inspired by Prince Fielder's kids and the movie Monsters, Inc.
Diamondbacks: Was the team's "Snake" inspired by the movie Dodgeball?
Yadier Molina: The Cardinal catcher either did a "cry baby" or motorcycle celebration during the NLCS.
Rangers: Texas' "claw and antler" started in 2010 and started the signaling to the dugout trend.
None, they're all lame.



Weirdest injury:
Jeremy Affeldt: The Giants left-hander suffered a deep cut that required surgery on his right hand when he used a knife to attempt to separate frozen hamburger patties.
Sergio Escalona: The Houston reliever suffered a spraining ankle when he tripped over a glove during batting practice.
Matt Holliday: The Cardinals left fielder left a game after a moth flew into his ear.
Zack Greinke: The Brewers' ace debuted on the disabled list after he broke a rib in a pickup basketball game before spring training started.
Chris Narveson: Another Brewer pitcher with an odd injury, the left-hander cut himself while fixing his glove.

 

Most Impressive home run:
Juan Francisco

Justin Upton

• Prince Fielder

Mark Trumbo

Mike Stanton




Best defensive play:
Asdrubal Cabrera

Brandon Phillips

Ben Revere

Jeff Francoeur

Sam Fuld




So, cast your vote and check back Friday for not only the winners, but also the choices from our staff.

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Posted on: December 21, 2011 12:35 pm
Edited on: December 21, 2011 6:13 pm
 

Homegrown Team: Texas Rangers

Mark Teixeira

By C. Trent Rosecrans


What if players were only permitted to stay with the team that originally made them a professional? No trades, no Rule-5 Draft, no minor or major league free agency ... once you are a professional baseball player, you stay in that organization. This series shows how all 30 teams would look. We give you: Homegrown teams. To view the schedule/past entries of this feature, click here.

The Rangers are in an interesting position in the franchise's history -- no longer a middle-of-the-road team, the Rangers have turned themselves into one of the game's biggest players. The team has reached the last two World Series with a mixture of homegrown players (Ian Kinsler, C.J. Wilson, Alexi Ogando), savvy trades (sending Mark Teixeira to Atlanta for a haul that included Elvis Andrus and Neftali Feliz, plus the deal with the Reds getting Josh Hamilton) and big-ticket free-agents (Adrian Beltre). It's tough to argue with the results, as the Rangers have positioned themselves into becoming one of the top teams in baseball and don't appear to be going anywhere anytime soon.

Lineup

1. Ian Kinsler, SS
2. Craig Gentry, CF
3. Mark Teixeira, 3B
4. Carlos Pena, 1B
5. Travis Hafner, DH
6. Edwin Encarnacion, 2B
7. Laynce Nix, RF
8. John Mayberry, LF
9. Taylor Teagarden, C

Starting Rotation

1. C.J. Wilson
2. John Danks
3. Derek Holland
4. Colby Lewis
5. Ryan Dempster

Bullpen

Closer - Joaquin Benoit
Set up - Darren Oliver, Nick Masset, Scott Feldman, Jesse Chavez, Yoshinori Tateyama
Long - Tommy Hunter

Notable Bench Players

Ivan Rodriguez will be in discussion for the Hall of Fame when his career ends, but he's now a backup catcher and could be a good one. You have a pair of first baseen in Justin Smoak and Mitch Moreland who aren't going to strike fear into too many pitchers, as well as two outfielders probably better defensively or as pinch runners in Jason Bourgeois and Scott Podsednik.

What's Good?

The rotation is deep -- in addition to the five listed, you could also throw in R.A. Dickey, Aaron Harang and Edinson Volquez. And while there's no real shut-down closer, there are some very good bullpen arms, and the list above doesn't include Blake Beavan, Josh Lueke and Danny Herrera.

What's Not?

Besides Kinsler and Teixeira, the lineup is suspect. And the defense is worse. The outfield is kind of a hodgepodge, while the infield is a disaster with only Carlos Pena playing in his usual position. While Teixeira hasn't played third base since his rookie year in 2003, Kinsler has never played shortstop, nor has Encarnacion ever played second base -- but there just wasn't a whole lot of options. The outfield doesn't have the likes of Hamilton or Nelson Cruz to help out, either.

Comparison to real 2011

Would this team wind up in World Series? Not bloody likely. The pitching is fine and even maybe an slight upgrade to the team that won the American League pennant again in 2011, but that lineup is demonstratively worse. The Rangers were third in baseball in runs and second in OPS, and without Hamilton, Cruz, Mike Napoli, Michael Young and Beltre, this squad isn't going to do anything close to that. Teixeira is a good player -- and Pena could put up big homer numbers in that ballpark -- but those losses from the real squad are just too much to overcome. This team is maybe a .500 squad, at best, and that's only because of the depth in the pitching staff.

Next: St. Louis Cardinals

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