Fantast Baseball – The Daily Dirt For Monday 5/25

Second baseman Gordon Beckham is expected to improve on his rookie year and second year numbers. Catcher A. J. Pierzynski handles the pitching staff well with veteran leadership but also is consistent at the plate, often coming through in the clutch. Young catcher Tyler Flowers may start to press Pierzynski for playing time this season.

Those same fans see instant replay as more of a nuisance than good. Once instant replay is used by Major League Baseball for one set of calls then when will it end? Will replay be used only on close plays at the plate or determining if a ball was actually fair or foul? What if, in the bottom of the ninth of a close game, a pitch is called a ball that appeared to be a strike? Will that be reviewed?

My research came up with interesting managerial facts. In 2006, sale jerseys manager Ozzie Gillen sent a young pitcher back to the minor leagues because he failed to properly retaliate after the Texas Ranger pitcher had twice hit Sox catcher A.J. Pierzynski.

The American League has seen the likes of Roy Halladay and Cliff Lee relocate to the national League. So Lester’s only competition should be Felix Hernandez and CC Sabathia. Hernandez will be hard-pressed to win 13 games again like he did last year despite a 2.27 ERA. Seattle’s offense and bullpen is just that bad. The Yankees’ Sabathia, despite still being only 30 years old, has logged over 230 innings in his last four seasons and has, remarkably, thrown over 180 innings in each of his 10 seasons in the majors. Might this be the year he breaks down? The Yankees don’t even want to consider the possibility.

In addition to losing Crain, the Twins lost Matt Guerrier to the Dodgers, Brian Fuentes to the Athletics, and Jon Rauch to the blue Jays. Additionally, their former all star closer Joe Nathan is coming back after missing all of last season following Tommy John surgery. Also, a week into spring training Twins all star first baseman Justin Morneau had yet to play and there was no time table for his return as he continues to deal with a concussion he suffered mid way through last season. With the subtractions and uncertainty of key Twins, it seems that the Sox have overtaken Minnesota as they, along with the Detroit Tigers, battle for the division.

I’d argue Randy Williams went through stretches like that because he wasn’t very good, but Jim is certainly right that Ohman is actually the fourth-most effective reliever against lefties in the team’s bullpen. His lone job likely will be solely to retire left-handers, and those situations likely will be earlier in games (like, the sixth inning).

After a pretty successful 2005 season with AA Birmingham-he posted a .799 OPS that year-Owens’ production began to decline. He struggled to consistently hit the ball with authority, and in 2008, he picked up just 12 extra-base hits in 351 at-bats with AAA Charlotte, good for a .316 slugging percentage.