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Eric Tomlinson Jersey
« on: May 06, 2019, 05:14:01 PM »
DPB is the new HDH!"WhiteFanposts Fanshots Sections Royals Trade Rumors & Hot StoveRoyals Minor Leagues & ProspectsRoyals Review ClassicRoyals Review Users GuideThe 100 Greatest Royals Of All Time2019 Royals Spring TrainingSpring training battles: The bullpenNew Bo Jackson Jersey ,25commentsDPB is the new HDH!EDTShareTweetShareShareSpring training battles: The bullpenRick Scuteri-USA TODAY SportsThe Royals’ bullpen was once a mighty strength, as opponents would tremble at the mere though of facing Kelvin Herrera, Wade Davis, and Greg Holland - “HDH” - late in games. Those days are long gone. The bullpen was a big mess last year, finishing with the worst ERA in the American League. The terrible trio of Brandon Maurer, Blaine Boyer, and Justin Grimm alone gave up a total of 81 runs in just 65 2鈦? innings. With nowhere to go but up, you figure the Royals’ bullpen will improve simply by getting rid of their worst pitchers. Dayton Moore brought in some veterans at the outset of camp which could provide more stability. Ned Yost says he won’t necessarily adhere to strict roles as he has done in the past, but you can still expect to see either Brad Boxberger or Wily Peralta closing out most games. Veteran Jake Diekman should also be a lock to make the team, and lefty specialist Tim Hill seems like a good bet to make the team after leading the team in appearances last year. You may also see some of the pitchers vying for a starting job- Jorge Lopez, Heath Fillmyer, and Homer Bailey - to end up in the pen, although the shoulder issues for Danny Duffy may allow more room in the rotation.If we assume Boxberger, Peralta, Diekman, and Hill are locks, that the Royals will likely begin the first week with a four-man rotation, and that the Royals plan to keep 12 pitchers, that would leave four bullpen spots up for grabs. Here are the candidates:The Holdovers From Last YearHeath Fillmyer is still up for a rotation spot, but he could begin the year in the pen first, or even get bumped to a relief role by veteran Homer Bailey. The Royals should probably allow Fillmyer a chance to lose a starting job before sending him to the pen, but perhaps they see him unlocking some potential as a reliever. Jorge Lopez is in the same boat, although out of options, so if he doesn’t make the rotation, he will be sent to the bullpen. Homer Bailey is also working for a rotation spot, and the team has said so far they don’t consider him an option for the bullpen.Brian Flynn was a versatile, serviceable arm for the Royals last year, tossing 75 2鈦? innings for a 4.04 ERA and a 4.28 FIP. He was usually a long man to sop up innings, and he finished 12th among relievers last year in lowest Leverage Index, meaning the games he was being called upon were not very close ones. His peripherals were also quite poor, and he had the second-worst strikeout-to-walk ratio among all relievers. Flynn has been pounded this spring, giving up 11 runs in just three innings. The Royals though enough of him to sign him to an $800,000 deal last fall, but they could conceivably cut him this spring and owe just a quarter of that salary. Flynn is out of options, so he would have to clear waivers to be sent to Omaha, but the 28-year old lefty is not likely to be in highdemand. Kevin McCarthy seems most likely to have a spot on opening day, after he put up a 3.25 ERA in 72 innings last year serving as one of the more reliable arms to turn to. McCarthy doesn’t have a very good strikeout rate - it was eighth-worst among relivers last year, and he had a FIP of 4.06. McCarthy does a great job keeping the ball on the ground though - he was fourth in the league in groundball rate at 64.3%. McCarthy does have an option year left, but he seems like a good bet to be in Kansas City to start the year.The Veterans Fighting For a JobDrew Storen is the most experience out of any of these candidates, closing out 99 saves in eight seasons with the Nationals in Reds. When healthy, he had one of the best sliders in the game, but he missed all of last season recovering from Tommy John surgery. He has tossed just 2 1鈦? innings so far this spring, and could begin the season in extended spring training, according to Jeffrey Flanagan.Michael Ynoa was once a hot enough prospect to get a $4 million bonus from the Athletics, but his pro career has failed to live up to that hype. He is also a Tommy John surgery survivor, and has pitched just 59 innings at the big league level. Ynoa seems like a long-shot to make this team, but he has impressed Yost with his slider. The 27-year old right-hander is not on the 40-man roster and seems more likely to begin the year in Omaha with a chance to move up if he impresses.The Rule 5 GuysChris Ellis came from the Cardinals organization where Royals pitching coach once tutored minor league pitchers. Eldred may have some insight on Ellis, but so far the spring training stats have been pretty ugly with nine runs allowed in seven innings. He seems to be a bit of a project that could be a good reliever with some instruction, but the Royals may not have the luxury to be able to carry him on the roster all season.Sam McWilliams has also struggled a bit this spring with four runs in 4 1鈦? innings, but some observers think he has looked better than the numbers suggest. McWilliams has a tall 6’7’’ frame that the Royals can work with and a low-90s fastball with a decent slider. The Royals carried two Rule 5 pitchers last year , but seem unlikely to do so this year. If they choose just one, McWilliams would be the most likely candidate, if they carry any at all this year.The Arms with UpsideKyle Zimmer has been the subject of a lot of buzz in camp. The former first-round pick seems to have benefited from his work with the Driveline Baseball facility. He hitting 96 on the radar gun, and most importantly, staying on the mound. He has thrown 7 2鈦? innings without allowing a run, striking out five, and he has done it against top competition.Zimmer is on the 40-man roster, but has an option year, so he could begin the year in Omaha just to get his feet wet. But he has a lot of time to make up for, so the Royals may just throw him out in the big league bullpen to see what he can do. At age 27, Zimmer is not a young pup anymore, and this may be his last best opportunity to reach the big leagues. Richard Lovelady is quite possibly the best Royals reliever right now, at least according to ZIPS projections. The 23-year old lefty had a 2.47 ERA with 71 strikeouts in 73 innings for Omaha last year. He has added a change up to his repertoire, and the results have been impressive this spring with 10 strikeouts in eight innings. The numbers are working against Lovelady however. He’s not on the 40-man roster, and the Royals already have two lefties - Jake Diekman and Tim Hill - that are locks for the bullpen with a third lefty - Brian Flynn - also a possibility to make the team. Lovelady could be sent back to Omaha for now, but it likely won’t be long before we see him in Kansas City. The Long ShotsJason Adam came back to the Royals with a big bump in velocity, but ran into trouble with the long ball and put up a 6.12 ERA in 32 1鈦? innings. He did show the ability to miss bats with 37 strikeouts, but his walk rate was pretty high. He came back to the Royals as a non-roster invitee, so if he did make the team, they would have to clear a 40-man roster spot for him. He has pitched well this spring with 4 1鈦? shutout innings, but still seems like a long shot to make the club initially. Scott Barlow traveled with the MLB All-Stars to Japan, but his season seems likely to begin in the Omaha rotation. The 26-year old had a strong strikeout rate in the minors, but had trouble preventing runs, and will likely serve as starting depth if the rotation gets thin.Glenn Sparkman has looked pretty good this spring with seven strikeouts and no walks in eight innings, and has shown himself to be versatile enough to start or relieve. He seems likely to begin the year in Omaha but could be an option if the Royals suffer some injuries or ineffectiveness.Who do you think makes this bullpen? Jefry Rodriguez did his best, but how do the Indians move forward with no Sunshine?"WhiteFanposts Fanshots Sections NewsAnalysis & EditorialsCleveland Indians prospects & minor leaguesGame RecapsTransactionsAnalysis & EditorialsPlugging a Mike Clevinger-sized holeNew,18commentsJefry Rodriguez did his best, but how do the Indians move forward with no Sunshine?EDTShareTweetShareSharePlugging a Mike Clevinger-sized holeIn the aftermath of the Mike Clevinger injury, everything is a little good news and a little bad news. On the one hand, the injury itself is bad news, but three months without Clev is a lot better than all of 2019 without him. Likewise, Jefry Rodriguez did well on Saturday, but the team was never considering him a long-term solution ... oh, and the Indians lost. Because we all need a little more good news, it’s heartening that head team doctor Mark Schickendantz is an expert in this matter. As a medical doctor qualified to be head doctor for a baseball team, it seems obvious that Schickendantz is an expert, but beyond that he’s well-versed on this exact injury. In 2009, Schickendantz was lead author of a study of teres major tears in The American Journal of Sports Medicine (the highest-ranked orthopedics and sports medicine peer-reviewed journal). Of course, the team got a second opinion on Clevinger’s injury, but it seems that he will opt against surgery as the recovery timelines are the same, and thus Schickendantz’s expertise remains highly relevant. In his paper, the team doctor concluded that injuries such as these “heal successfully with nonoperative treatment, and most players are able to return to the same level of competition in 3 months.”Now, three months is still a long time, and going three months with Rodriguez in the rotation is not a plan the Tribe is willing to consider right now. But, although some observers would want you to think the Indians are completely unprepared for this situation, this is actually exactly what they prepared for in the offseason (they’re completely unprepared for Corey Kluber and Carlos Carrasco also struggling, but that’s another article). So, how might the team navigate this unfortunate Clevinger-less chunk of the schedule?Cody AndersonWith an off day on the 18th, the Indians have no need for a fifth starter until April 24. The most obvious answer to “Who fills in for Clevinger?” is thus Anderson. A starter prior to two lost seasons to Tommy John surgery Danny Duffy Jersey , Anderson is a feel-good choice for this role. But, although most fans want to see Anderson return as a starter, it doesn’t seem to be in the cards yet.So far Anderson has pitched just twice, not exceeding three innings in either appearance. On April 7, the righty faced Indianapolis and threw 40 pitches (26 strikes) over three innings of one-hit ball, notching four strikeouts and walking none. He then came on in relief Saturday, after Rodriguez and Oliver Perez, posting two innings of work, throwing 26 pitches (15 strikes) and allowing two hits and one earned run, striking out a pair and walking one.Whereas Rodriguez got the plane back to Columbus after his start, Anderson is sticking around. If the Tribe can get him a longer outing in the next few days, he might be able to provide 50-60 pitches the next time the team needs a starter. But it seems like he will need a piggyback option or a deep pen any day he pitches for the next few weeks.Adam PlutkoA more obvious candidate than Anderson based on his time in the rotation last year, Plutko has been on the injured list for Columbus since spring training. Encouragingly, he resumed a throwing program and will be ready to throw in games in two to three weeks. However, it seems safe to rule him out for at least the first month, if not more, of Clevinger’s absence.Chih-Wei HuTraded late last year from Tampa Bay for Gionti Turner, Hu was an immediate add to the Indians 40-man roster, which screams “depth” to me. Blocked in Tampa, Hu put up decent numbers as a Rays’ farmhand, throwing 102 innings at Triple-A in 2018 with a 3.29 strikeout-to-walk ratio, a 70.5 percent strand rate, and 4.19 FIP; likewise, in stints with the big league club, Hu showed he could perform at the highest level, throwing 23 innings across two years and maintaining his solid strikeout-to-walk rate (3.0) and strand rate (67.2%) and posting a FIP of 4.51.In Columbus, Hu has thrown 7.2 innings over two starts, with four walks, two strikeouts, one home run, but just three runs (all earned). His line has not been dominating, but it is not much of a departure from his career numbers. Plutko clearly cannot go, and if Anderson is not quite ready, Hu is a perfectly serviceable option and might show enough fight to hold off other guys in front of him.OpenerLast year was the coming out party for the opener, with the Rays using the strategy extensively and playoff-bound teams like the A’s and Brewers employing an opener sporadically. Based on Cleveland’s shutdown staff of aces, using an opener was never a serious consideration, but without Clevinger could it be on the table?The most interesting part about employing an opener is that it does not preclude our previous options. The next two series in which the Tribe needs to replace Clevinger are both against Miami, who just so happens to be miserable against right-handed starters. Facing righty starters, the Marlins have an OPS+ of just 53; against all righties the Fish have an OPS+ of 63. The most dramatic difference in splits for Miami come between the first and second inning, where the team has a 27 and 122 OPS+, respectively; thus, throwing an opener at them might throw off their game and work to the Indians advantage.The most common 1-2-3 for Miami is Curtis Granderson (left), Brian Anderson (right), and Neil Walker (switch), all of whom actually hit better against righties. However, their numbers against lefties are abysmal. In terms of OPS+ versus lefties, Grandy is at 63, Anderson a paltry 47, and Walker a miserable 11 this season. Therefore, if Cleveland threw Oliver Perez in the first and then Anderson Frank White Jersey , Hu, or Plutko (other depth in Columbus — Shao-Ching Chang, Asher Wojciechowski, and Sean Brady — would require a 40-man move), they could reap the benefit of the top third’s weakness against lefties as well as the entire lineup’s struggles against right-handed starters. This strategy may not be a long-term solution, but it could particularly useful in spots, which is how the A’s and Brewers employed the strategy last season to great effect.Bullpen daysThis isn’t so much a first-choice strategy as a necessary option. It would be great if Hefty Jeff Rodriguez or Cody Anderson owned this rotation spot so hard that no further tinkering was necessary, but that ain’t likely how it’s going to go. Which means it’s a good idea to consider how the Indians can use the I-71 pipeline to ferry pitchers back and forth and keep the arms fresh.Among current roster members, Adam Cimber, Jon Edwards, and Nick Wittgren have options remaining and could be sent to Columbus should a need for fresh arms arise. Any member of the Clippers could be called up, but only Nick Goody is on the current 40-man roster and has options. James Hoyt and Brooks Pounders have options remaining, but would require a 40-man move, such as moving Bradley Zimmer to the 60-day injured list. Other players could also get a call, but they would need a 40-man move and would have to be designated for assignment and exposed to waivers should they become surplus to requirements in Cleveland.The ReachSome folks consider Double-A competition the best, as that level is where future big-league talent separates from the crowd, and bypassing Triple-A altogether is not unheard of. Jonathan Loaisiga of the Yankees made such a jump last year, but do the Indians have any players capable of making such a leap?Top-prospect Triston McKenzie would be a candidate if he, like Clevinger, were not suffering from a back injury and out for another few weeks at least. Nick Sandlin, long pegged to be the first from the 2018 draft to make the big leagues, is also rehabbing an injury and unlikely to make his way from extended spring training directly to Cleveland, which is the same story for fellow prospect Aaron Civale. Sam Hentges was a guy with helium on prospect lists last year, including our own, but his 2019 has not gone well so far (2 starts, 7.2 IP, 9.39 ERA, 2.48 WHIP), virtually ruling out a leap for him. Though a theoretical leap could happen, the reality for the Cleveland organization is that no one is ready for it right now. Between injuries and performance problems, the team would be better making a shallower reach to Triple-A or into the free agent market if the need becomes desperate. Free agentTo be clear, Cleveland would have to get really damn desperate to call upon a free agent at this time of the year. And even if that happens, cross Dallas Keuchel’s name off the list before you even make it. Remaining unsigned starting pitchers are Bartolo Colon, Yovanni Gallardo, James Shields, Edwin Jackson, Miguel Gonzalez, and Chris Tillman. For so many reasons, Bartolo Colon would be the favorite to get a contract, but Big Sexy only accumulated 0.4 fWAR in 28 games last year. That’s not much better than replacement level and it’s also the same as Gallardo (0.4 fWAR in 21 games) and less than Jackson (0.8 fWAR in 17 games) and Shields (1.1 fWAR in 34 games) — none of whom I’d actually recommend as a good signing. But, again, the nightmare scenario that forces Cleveland to become desperate enough to dip into the free agent waters to replace Clevinger is not exactly imminent despite the desperate feel of the sweep in Kansas City. Rodriguez was the first step and Anderson seems likely as a next step. If his return is less than hoped for, hopefully Plutko can return soon, though beyond him there are other good options. None of the Indians’ options are good as Clev, of course, but hopefully the Indians’ medical team can get him back in pitching shape soon. At least he’s using his time off to great effect.


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