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John Carter and Matthew Poiliot

My favorite source for baseball news and analysis, however, remains Rotoworld. Their news items not only keep me abreast on injuries, slumps, hot streaks, and line-up changes with clarity, wit, and wisdom, they stimulate some added analysis on my own part. Sometimes their analysis beckons further questions. Matthew Poiliot of Lousiana writes most of the news comments in Rotoworld and is kind enough to answer Scoresheetwiz` inquiries.



Rotoworld News Item (March 30): Pitching against Oakland`s Triple-A club, John Halama allowed 11 runs -- seven earned -- in 3 1/3 innings today.


Rotoworld Comment: Is it too late for the A`s to go with Aaron Harang as their fifth starter? They surely won`t be very patient with Halama if the left-hander`s struggles carry on into the regular season.


John Carter of Scoresheetwiz: Hiljus outpitched them both. Why don`t they go with him? Too old for them?


Matthew Poiliot of Rotoworld: I don`t think I`d say Hiljus outpitched Harang.  Harang had the better ERA and eight of the 11 runs he gave up came on one outing.


Hiljus is viewed as more of a long reliever, it seems, and the A`s so rarely need a long reliever that they didn`t bother keeping one.



Rotoworld (March 27): Victor Zambrano, Brandon Backe and Jorge Sosa combined on a no-hitter tonight against the Phillies. Both Backe and Sosa pitched two innings each after Zambrano worked the first five.


Zambrano struck out five and walked none, though he did hit two batters. He finishes the spring with a 2.05 ERA, but he`s still not a very good bet in fantasy leagues.


Scoresheetwiz: Twenty-one strike-outs, three walks, and 11 hits in 22 innings: you can`t ignore that. Can`t pitchers come out of nowhere?


MP of Rotoworld: Yeah, and they can go back there just as quickly.


With the Rays playing against the Red Sox and the Yankees for most of the first two weeks, I think it`s safe to suggest avoiding Zambrano, Bierbrodt and Parque for now.  If any of them are still looking decent once the schedule eases, I`ll change my mind.


Rotoworld News Item (March 25): Mark Teixeira homered, doubled and singled today. He`s batting .329.


Teixeira seems to have locked up a spot on the Rangers, and he should play regularly while Kevin Mench is out. Once Mench comes back, the Rangers are going to have a big decision to make, likely benching either Teixeira, Michael Young or Hank Blalock.


Scoresheetwiz: What`s to decide? Bench Ruben Sierra. The outfield should be Mench, Everett, and Gonzalez. When one of those guys needs to DH, then those others can share getting rested. It probably wouldn`t hurt, if they all got regular rest. It must be grueling playing in the Texan heat. Everett and Gonzo are fragile to begin with.


MP: The Rangers have said that Doug Glanville will play center.  You and I may think it`s an easy decision to make, but we`re not obsessed with players who haven`t been worthy of a starting job since 1999.


Scoresheetwiz: I own Blalock & Young on one team and Teixeira on the other, but I`m not worried. We know either Glanville, Gonzo, or Everett-head will be on the Disabled (or Disqualified) List for most of the summer.



Rotoworld (March 24): The Orioles reportedly have interest in signing Greg Vaughn once he clears waivers.


No comment.


Scoresheetwiz: Oh, but I can`t resist. These Torontonians up here might weep about keeping up with New York and Boston, but they should be oh-so-grateful to have Baltimore and Tampa padding the bottom of the division. If the Orioles employ this Vaughn as a player, they could overtake the Devil Rays as the least savvy organization.



Rotoworld (March 21): Luis Rivas went 0-for-4 today. He`s batting .150 (6-for-40) without an extra-base hit this spring.


The Twins should give some real thought to using Chris Gomez at second base, but Rivas would have to struggle for another two or three months for it to happen.


Scoresheetwiz: How many non-pitchers have made it as regular at so early an age and just never developed into a solid player? The book isn`t closed on Rivas, yet, but at this point he is huge disappointment. (I had him on both of my teams until finally giving up late last year.) Jose Guillen is another recent example of such a player. In fact, he`s been even worse. Neither of these players were caught with bogus birth certificates as so many Latin players were after 9/11, however, I`m suspicious.


The National League has more examples of recent 20-21 year olds looking ready for all-star filled careers. Two Braves named Jones have been all that has been expected of them. However, the Dodgers had two outfielders come up at that age after blowing away AAA eight years ago, and never reached stardom. Roger Cedeno has been mediocre at best. Karim Garcia has been a complete disaster until he finally showed some life late last year. Luis Castillo and Amaris Ramirez have been inconsistent. Darren Erstad also comes to mind as this type of player.


Rotoworld (March 12): Jeremy Bonderman allowed one run in four innings today against the Blue Jays.

Bonderman struck out six. If he keeps pitching like this, he`ll probably open the season in Detroit`s rotation. He`s become a sleeper in AL-only leagues, but he`s going to have problems if he really does start the year in the majors.


Scoresheetwiz: That`s sounds like accepted wisdom, but is it true? There certainly have been college pitchers who have skipped over most of the minor league system. Jeff Weaver skipped, AAA, AA, and A+, holding his own with the Tigers in his rookie year, turning into their ace in his second. Barry Zito is another recent example, although, he had 8 AA starts and 19 AAA, while skipping the lower minors. Of course, Jeff Abbott skipped the minors altogether until his only arm gave out.

I can`t think of any successful 20-year-olds who skipped the top three levels of the minors as Bonderman appears to be doing. Kerry Wood came up as a 20-year-old (soon to turn 21) with only 1 AAA start, though. Dwight Gooden comes to mind, too. His parallel is the closest. He skipped A+ and AAA, and become the National League`s ace at 19. 


The trick, I think, is be extremely careful about not overworking a young guy. (In some cases such as Gooden`s, you have to worry how the kid will handle the fame and fortune.) I get the concept of allowing a guy to experiment with his pitches in the minors instead of the majors. However, a team such as the Tigers which from the start of the season has no realistic chance of making the play-offs is almost the same as pitching in the minors.


MP of Rotoworld: Bonderman didn`t dominate in A ball last year and his third pitch is quite weak. Comparisons to Gooden should be put on hold. 

The way I see it, the only reason to bring Bonderman to the majors now, starting the ticker on his free-agent clock, is to excite the fans.  And if they`re willing to start him in the majors to excite the fans, why not let him throw 120-130 pitches in complete games to excite the fans.  It`s not that much of a leap.


Scoresheetwiz: That reminds me. Is Buehrle doomed or is it possible he is such a perfect motioned ox that he is the next Clemens-Seaver type who can handle this workload at such an early age.


MP: I don`t know.  I think it`s impossible to make calls like that.  You just look for the warning signs.  Certain pitchers are capable of handling huge workloads at young age, but there`s no real way of knowing that until they`ve done it.  I think with the type of pitcher that Buerhle is, he has a much better chance of surviving 230-IP years than Florida`s young guns would.  But whether it`s 30 percent, 50 percent or 70 percent, I don`t know.