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The last twenty comments in true blog fasion, with the links to their authors and the player commented upon.

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Todd Helton Colorado Rockies
Was close to, if not quite, vintage Todd Helton at home (.533 SLG) and vs. RHP (.551 SLG). But the Rockies do go on the road and Todd will be in the lineup against LHP. He's going to stay second or third fiddle on this team.
Alex Patton Alex
Jan 5 '08
Willie Harris Cincinnati Reds
Hit .369 in the first half, and thoroughly deserved to with an ungodly liner rate of 31 percent. It dropped to 14 percent in the second half and the average fell to .196.
Alex Patton Alex
Jan 5 '08
Ian Kennedy Kansas City Royals
Held MLB batters to a .191 batting average, after holding them to .183 in 63 IP in Single A, .163 in 49 IP in Double A, and .205 in 35 IP in Triple A. So we're looking at another Kennedy who has Conquered All at an early age. But we're also looking at a fastball that tops out at 92 mph, and that's his best pitch. Beats me why he's been the sticking point so far, according to all the New York papers, in the Yanks' acquisition of the best pitcher in baseball by a wide margin. Only thing I can think of is, salary-capless Yanks plan to keep bidding next year untilt they get him.
Alex Patton Alex
Jan 5 '08
Ryan Sweeney Chicago Cubs
He hasn't looked so hot but he's young and athletic and just hasn't hit his stride yet. If that doesn't happen soon, however, the problems will start mounting, so he and Billy Beane are rooting for a fast start this spring.
Peter Kreutzer Rotoman
Jan 4 '08
Nick Swisher Atlanta Braves
According to Kenny Williams Swisher wasn't put on the block, but he went and got him anyway. Depending on what you think about Ryan Sweeney he either overpaid or wildly overpaid, but Swisher is signed through 2012 for a little better than $5M a year, a good price now and sure to be a bargain in a year or two. He should get a bit of a boost from the ballpark, too, though I won't bump his price.
Peter Kreutzer Rotoman
Jan 4 '08
Omar Vizquel Toronto Blue Jays
Mike lives in the Bay Area and he seems to think Omar's got some decent baseball left. But it looks to me like the years finally caught up to him. (Vizquel, I mean.) RC/G in 2006: 4.99. In 2007: 3.50. Runs Above Replacement in 2006: 10.2. RAR in 2007: -7.1.
Alex Patton Alex
Jan 4 '08
Shane Monahan Seattle Mariners
An authentic voice who makes a lot of good points in an interview with Mike Fish of ESPN. Excerpts:

Monahan, now 33 and living with his family in Vail, Colo., openly admits to being a juiced player in baseball's steroids era.

He says he used anabolic steroids when he played for the Mariners. He says Deca-Durabolin and Winstrol were his primary enhancers. He says he got them from "guys" who regularly hung around the clubhouse. And he says he regularly used amphetamines...

A decade ago, Monahan came to professional baseball with talent and pedigree, though the pedigree was heavy on the hockey side. His hockey roots go back generations to his great-grandfather, NHL Hall of Famer Howie Morenz; and his grandfather, Bernie "Boom Boom" Geoffrion, father of the slap shot. His uncle, Danny Geoffrion, played for the Montreal Canadians. His cousin, Blake Geoffrion, was a second-round pick of the Nashville Predators.

Monahan, who grew up in the suburbs north of Atlanta, was the ACC's baseball player of the year at Clemson in 1995. In baseball's draft that year, the Mariners selected the speedy outfielder in the second round, passing on notable future big leaguers Carlos Beltran, Sean Casey and Mark Bellhorn to get him...

Monahan says he began taking steroids late in the 1998 season.

"I saw what kind of money it is going to get you," he says. "I had great minor league seasons, but I wanted to stay in the big leagues. I know my teammates and I know guys on other teams are doing it, and they're hitting home runs left and right. And I'm sitting there going, 'All right, well, what I'm going to do?'

"I read up on it. I learned how to use it. I started lifting weights and I went from like 190 pounds to 215. I mean, muscles on my body where I didn't know you had muscles. I already ran fast. I could hit. I had a good arm. But all of a sudden now, recovery time felt better. Everything was a lot better."

Even so, the steroids didn't take his baseball skills to superstar heights...

By the end of the 1999 campaign, Monahan says, he moved away from steroids; and he didn't stay around the game long enough to experiment with human growth hormone, which gained popularity in clubhouses after baseball began testing for performance-enhancing drugs in 2003. HGH is undetectable in current urine testing procedures...

During his brief time in Seattle, Monahan came to believe steroid use was widespread in the Mariners' clubhouse, although he refuses to identify those he suspects were using...

Monahan says that back then, Major League Baseball had yet to tighten access to clubhouses, and that many players regularly worked out with their personal trainers while using team facilities.

"In locker rooms," he says, "you kind of look at your teammates and go, 'Well, he is on it. He's on it. Well, he might be on it.' And it is kind of like you don't really say anything. You don't go up to somebody and say, 'Hey, are you taking steroids?' They'll slap you."

Sources for steroids and amphetamines, he says, floated freely through the Seattle clubhouse. They were friends of team members who, at the time, had access to the players' sanctuary. He remembers paying cash, and even bartered baseball gear, for steroids and amphetamines.

"There were two or three guys," he says of the suppliers... "You'd go up to them and say, 'Hey, I need some greenies. What is it going to take?' Well, it might be 100 bucks here. It is a jersey here, or a dozen baseballs and two bats. And you'd give it to him."

... Monahan suggests it's disingenuous to offer up a history of the game's doping culture and leave out a chapter on amphetamine use, which dates back half a century and, most certainly, involves some of the game's most storied names. In his autobiography, "I Had a Hammer," former home run king Henry Aaron admitted to having experimented with greenies. And Sen. Jim Bunning, who has been outspoken about the game's steroid issue, is another Hall of Famer that investigators might have interviewed...

"If Sen. [George] Mitchell wants to brush that off, then basically they have accomplished nothing," Monahan says about amphetamines. "Almost everybody takes greenies. I was in the locker room for two years with the Mariners, and I'll be honest with you: The only person that I didn't see take greenies was Dan Wilson. He was a big Christian guy, big moral guy. He just didn't believe in the stuff.

"I took greenies -- the amphetamines and that stuff. It is tough. We get beautiful accommodations, let's say that. But flying from Tampa to Seattle, three time [zone] changes, and then playing the next afternoon or night … all these guys are using them."
Alex Patton Alex
Jan 3 '08
Dave Concepcion Cincinnati Reds
This is Davey's 15th and final year on the ballot, and it looks like he won't be getting into Cooperstown. I won't argue too long or too hard for a player with a 679 career OPS, but Davey was a nine-time All-Star, a five-time Gold Glove winner, and has two World Series rings. More than a few baseball fans insist that Concepcion held that infield together.
Mike Gianella MikeG
Jan 3 '08
David Wright New York Mets
You know what? He hit .294 in May, .323 in June, .333 in July, .394 in August and .352 in September. So, uh... hem... haw... I think you're right. He could easily set another career high in batting average this year.

I've added a dollar to my bid, but can't follow Mike into the $40 stratosphere because he's a stealth SB guy that pitchers are going to get wise to.
Alex Patton Alex
Jan 3 '08
Jeff Francis Toronto Blue Jays
No significant difference between his home/away splits. To predict he'll win 20 is a bit of a stretch, since so few pitchers do these days, so let's just leave it that he could win 20.
Alex Patton Alex
Jan 3 '08
Miguel Cabrera Detroit Tigers
For some reason, there was a homer bump at Comerica for righty hitters last year (RHB-HR index 128). But more to the point, he's proven pretty much oblivious to park effects in his career so far, positively thriving in pitcher-friendly Dolphins Stadium last year (.336 BA, .616 SLG). In his free-agent year, a hitter whose work ethic has been questioned could have a monster season.
Alex Patton Alex
Jan 2 '08
Slightly higher K/W, much higher HR/AB, and -- I'm guessing -- 10 more pounds or so than the official weight shown here. While It's hard to imagine him moving to an even higher level, he's more than matched the expectaions of the scouts who insisted, during all his years of failure with the Indians, This guy can play.
Alex Patton Alex
Jan 2 '08
James Loney Atlanta Braves
The average should drop, but I can't see Loney going below $20 in any leagues, and some owners will push him to $25 in the hopes of a $30+ season.
Mike Gianella MikeG
Jan 2 '08
Heath Bell Tampa Bay Rays
Bell always had the stuff, but the Mets never had confidence in him, and Willie Randolph seems to suffer from Joe Torre disease...one bad outing, and off you go to the back of the bullpen. Or the minors.

If you've ever seen Bell's slider, you know that the turnaround has more to do with confidence from his manager than it has to do with some improvement in his stuff or mechanics.
Mike Gianella MikeG
Jan 2 '08
The rating in 2006 was even worse than the WHIP, which is to say the bloated ERA was thoroughly deserved.

So what accounts for the turnaround? At the ripe old age of 29? A new pitch? A new diet? A new...?

Heath Bell owners say, whatever. Trevor Hoffman can't go on forever. He may already be toast.
Alex Patton Alex
Jan 2 '08
Rondell White Minnesota Twins
Kirk Radomski has testified that he first started selling HGH and Deca-Durabolin to White in 2000. For argument's sake, let's say that is when White first started taking PEDs; the following season he reached a career highs in slugging average, but was just as injury-prone as ever. In 2002 he sank to a career low in slugging, while being, by his standard, fairly durable. Then he was reasonably productive , when he played, for three seasons. The last two seasons, for a player who was still not that old, have been disasters.

Post-PED disasters? Possibly. In addition to when players began taking substances, we need to know when they stopped (if they did) before we can get anything like a clear picture whether their performances were enhanced.

Alex Patton Alex
Jan 1 '08
Michael Knisley in the debate currently posted at ESPN on the Hawk's HOF credentials:

Look, I know he played in a different time with a different set of muscles (presumably an un-enhanced set o' muscles) and, for all we know, a different baseball -- remember that explanation for all the home runs in the late '90s? -- and I know it probably ain't entirely fair to use today's statistical standards to judge a guy who broke in 31 years ago.

I don't just remember that explanation, I was a chief proponent. And I don't have an altogether different view now. We could see the steroids ERA taking over -- bulked-up bodies, misshapen faces -- whereas the change in the baseball, if there was one, was more subtle. Some pitchers felt they couldn't get as good a grip because the ball was wound tighter; but, you know, they were pitchers. The changed had to be inferred from the surge in homers.

1987 was one such surge.

Alex Patton Alex
Jan 1 '08
Ryan Howard Philadelphia Phillies
Sickels grades for him as a minor leaguer: 2002 C, 2003 C+, 2004 B-, 2005 B+. At the time Thome was acquired, Howard definitely was still a work in progress. If Thome hadn't been in the picture, Howard would have probably made it up a little sooner, though I see your points...he wasn't a sure-fire, can't miss prospect right out of the gate, and he certainly isn't an elite like Bonds/Pujols (though how many players ever are?)
Mike Gianella MikeG
Jan 1 '08
Gregg Zaun San Diego Padres
This might be a good player for whom career stats are broken down into pre PEDS and post PEDS. I'm guessing, from what we see here, that Zaun's hitting did improve, but not dramtically, nothing close to the way the stats of a hyper-responder like Barry Bonds improved.

I write this not knowing the year that Zaun is alleged he have started taking PEDs, just that he's one of the Mitchell 90.
Alex Patton Alex
Jan 1 '08
Ryan Howard Philadelphia Phillies
True, yes, but if Howard was really a phenom the Phillies wouldn't have obtained Thome and blocked him. He's a good player who developed late, has been fantastic, but clearly reached the majors near his peak. That doesn't make him a bad player or anything, but it means he's not at all comparable to stars like Bonds and Pujols (as those strikeout totals surely confirm).
Peter Kreutzer Rotoman
Jan 1 '08

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