Excuses, Excuses (Anti-Doping, Part 2)

We’ve heard odd doping excuses over the years, some documented here.  Let me mention a few others.  Sprinter Justin Gatlin blamed a masseuse with a grudge. Amateur cyclist Chuck Coyle blamed identity theft. Long distance runner Dieter Baumann blamed his toothpaste. Sprinter Dennis Mitchell said it was a combination of five bottles of beer and at least four sexual encounters with his wife on the same night (per Mitchell: “it was her birthday, the lady deserved a treat”).  When cyclist Frank Vandenbrouke was found with a banned substance, a drug sometimes used to treat asthma, Frank said the drug was for his dog.  Cyclist Ivan Basso used the “procrastination” excuse — when he was caught with performance enhancing drugs, he said that he was planning to dope but hadn’t gotten around to it yet.

Here’s an all-time great excuse: Cuban high jumper Javier Sotomayor blamed his doping test result on the Cuban-American mafia.  Actually, that wasn’t his excuse. …

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Who is Francisco Liriano?

To say that Liriano had an excellent 2010 campaign is an understatement. His 2.66 FIP was 3rd in the majors last season, and he accumulated 6 wins of production. The Twins were conservative with his innings in 2010 in order to keep him healthy, and he responded. His 3.47 K/BB ratio was outstanding as he struck out more than a batter an inning, and his wipe-out slider was back (his slider was worth 19 runs last season—jeeeeebuuus). What made him even more special was a 1.96 GB/FB rate. Usually, big strikeout guys get a lot of fly balls—they have big fastballs that they like to blow past hitters up in the zone—but Liriano was able to keep the ball on the ground. If you keep the ball on the ground, it won’t go out of the park or get in many gaps, which will keep the opponents run scored down. Essentially what I’m telling you is that Liriano is the perfect pitcher … well, just approaching the ideal (he could stand to walk fewer hitters).…

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Projecting AJ Burnett

With the troubles that the Yankees have at the back of their rotation, A.J. Burnett has become a key figure in the Yankees’ pitching plans. He is currently slated to be the #3 starter, meaning that another season like the one he had in 2010 (186.2 IP, 5.26 ERA, 4.83 FIP) would...

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The Angels: Penny-wise, pound foolish

Why would the Halos do that? It’s impossible to read minds, of course, but I don’t think it’s a reach to speculate that it has something to do with the fact that Weaver is represented by Boras. At this point, Moreno’s hatred for Boras is bordering on pathological, and it’s clearly impacting the way the Angels are being run in a negative way. A good faith deal with Weaver this year may have left him more amenable to a long-term extension next year. Instead, they’ve slighted Weaver just a little, as he gets one year closer to free agency, and given the dearth of quality starting pitchers hitting the market soon, particularly good young pitchers, if Weaver hits the market as soon as he’s eligible there will be no shortage of potential suitors lining up to dump a pile of money in his yard.

Not that I want to help the Angels out whatsoever, but Arte Moreno may want to keep in mind that Weaver is eligible for free agency the same year A.J.

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My 2011 Prospect List

You're awfully big, Jesus. (Photo-NJ.com)

Here it is folks:

  1. Jesus Montero
  2. Gary Sanchez
  3. Manuel Banuelos
  4. Dellin Betances
  5. Andrew Brackman
  6. Slade Heathcott
  7. Adam Warren
  8. Austin Romine
  9. Graham Stoneburner
  10. Hector Noesi
  11. David Adams
  12. Jose Ramirez
  13. JR Murphy
  14. Cito Culver
  15. Brandon Laird
  16. Corban Joseph
  17. Mason Williams
  18. Bryan Mitchell
  19. David Phelps
  20. Rob Segedin
  21. Brett Marshall

That’s right, 21 prospects, not 20, or 30: 21. I settled on 21...

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Frank Piliere Releases Top 100 MLB Prospects List

[image title=”manuel-banuelos-540×366″ size=”full” id=”25087″ align=”center” linkto=”full” ]Frank Piliere of AOL Fanhouse released his top-100 MLB prospects yesterday. The Yankees came out pretty big.

#4 Jesus Montero: “He still has critics who like to point to his defense but there is just about no one who will criticize Montero’s bat. Will he be a good defensive catcher?...

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2011 American League Preview: Kansas City Royals

Off-season analysis:

In my opinion, the Royals actually did a pretty good job this off-season given their circumstances. They got a pretty good return for Greinke and DeJesus, and the money they’re saving from the retirement of Gil Meche is worth an awful lot more than he is. A lot of us made fun of them for signing Francouer and Melky, because the confluence of those two in the same organization as Dayton Moore was just too much to let go by un-joked about, but those guys are really nothing more than cheap place holders holding down their spots until the Royals wealth of young talent is ready and the Royals are more competitive. There’s nothing wrong with that, provided Moore doesn’t ultimately see them as long term starters and pay them accordingly. The signing of Francis is a great one for the money involved. Frankly, that’s probably the move I most wish the Yankees had made this winter.

Projected lineup (2010 wOBA)

Jason Kendall C (.278)

Kila Ka’aihue 1B (.306 in 206 plate appearances)

Chris Getz 2B (.276)

Alcides Escobar SS (.270)

Mike Aviles 3B (.331)

Alex Gordon LF (.294 in 281 plate appearances)

Melky Cabrera CF (.294)

Jeff Francoeur RF (.295)

Billy Butler DH (.372)

Projected Rotation (2010 FIP)

Jeff Francis (3.88 in 104 IP)

Bruce Chen (4.54)

Vin Mazzaro (5.13)

Kyle Davies (4.46)

Luke Hochevar (3.93 in 103 IP)

2011 outlook:

There’s no nice way to say this, so let’s just be blunt; this is a really bad team.…

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The Liriano/Yankees trade chatter accelerates

Initially, any deal that lands the Yanks an ace (or near-ace) and allows the team to retain Montero is a virtual win. Joe Pawl at RAB goes a bit deeper on who might be possibly interesting for the Twins:

We learned earlier in the winter that the Yankees already inquired on Liriano. There certainly has to be some level of interest. But as in all trade situations, the key lies in the return. Jesus Montero‘s name will likely come up, but I wouldn’t trade him for Liriano. As was the case with Zack Greinke, Liriano has just two years until free agency. That’s not enough cheap control to justify trading Montero. Surely any trade would involve Manny Banuelos, and since the Twins’ infield is in something of a disarray, I assume Eduardo Nunez would also be part of a package.

There’s been a good amount of Twitter-debating going on, namely with regards to Banuelos.  Our own Brien seems to be very reluctant to deal Banuelos, while Moshe from TYU, Stephen_MR, and I seem to be in favor of dealing Banuelos.…

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Catching Notes

There were two articles in the New York Daily News yesterday that involved catching, and more specifically, Jesus Montero. The first was from Anthony McCarron and it reminded us that Russell Martin is the team’s starting catcher. Despite that, Montero is obviously determined to catch (as he should be):

“I want to be behind...

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