BANISHED!

12:33 PM | Comments (0) | by Chaim Witz

The Rocky Mountain Resurgence, over before it even started. Dear Thunder, sweet sweet Thunder, sent down to AAA.

I'm gonna hit that gosh darn ball, and hit it real good!

TMS MLB Preview 2009: Detroit Tigers

7:00 AM | Comments (0) | by Arcturus

DETROIT TIGERS

SO LONG: Edgar Renteria, Matt Joyce, Kenny Rogers, Kyle Farnsworth, Vance Wilson, Todd Jones, Casey Fossum, Freddy Garcia

WELCOME: Adam Everett, Gerald Laird, Matt Treanor, Edwin Jackson, Brandon Lyon

PROJECTED LINEUP
1. Curtis Granderson CF
2. Placido Polanco 2B
3. Magglio Ordonez RF
4. Miguel Cabrera 1B
5. Gary Sheffield DH
6. Carlos Guillen LF
7. Gerald Laird C
8. Brandon Inge 3B
9. Adam Everett SS

Starting Rotation: Justin Verlander, Jeremy Bonderman, Armando Galarraga, Edwin Jackson, ?
Setup: Fernando Rodney
Closer: Brandon Lyon

What the hell happened to the Detroit Tigers? After suffering defeat at the hands of the Cardinals in the 2006 World Series, the Tigers have taken several steps backward. This is surprising considering the overall talent these guys have. Last year they added Miguel Cabrera to an already potent lineup including Sheffield, Ordonez, and sparkplug Curtis Granderson, yet they only managed a record of 74-88, good enough to finish dead last in the Central, a game below the Royals. The Royals! Detroit needs to pitch better if they're going to compete this year. The Indians made some quiet improvements, the Twins and Sox always seem to play well, and the Royals have some young talent on the rise, which means this division is going to be tough again this year. Aside from shoring up their catcher and closer positions by adding Gerald Laird and Brandon Lyon, the Tigers remain a team of question marks. Can Carlos Guillen stave off decline and post solid numbers this year while playing left field? Can Jeremy Bonderman regain his 2006 form after health issues? Can anyone in the bullpen stay healthy and effective? How fat will Miguel Cabrera get? Who in the name of Zeus's butthole is the 5th starter going to be? Is it time to stick a fork in Dontrelle Willis? How many cigarettes will Jimmy Leyland smoke before he says "Fuck this" and quits the team? And who the in hell thought signing Adam Everett was a good idea?

PRESEASON AWARDS
Mr. Sexy Time: Curtis Granderson - Detroit has some big boppers in their lineup, such as Miguel Cabrera, Magglio Ordonez, and the temperamental Gary Sheffield, but its Granderson who fires this lineup. He's a solid leadoff hitter, speedy and a smart base runner, always a threat to swipe an extra bag to get into scoring position. He's also got some pop in that bat, capable of hitting the the long ball to get the Tigers out to an early lead. When Granderson is playing well, the rest of the team seems to follow suit. When he struggles or misses time, the rest of the team struggles as as well. Granderson was invited to do an interview and photoshoot with Playboy magazine in the offseason and he asked his mom's permission before going, saying “I wouldn’t have done it if she had said no to it". Aww.

The Underrated of Underrated Players: Placido Polanco - Placido Polanco always seems to be under the radar. You never hear much about this guy, yet from the time he was with the Cardinals, he's quietly put up solid numbers. He usually hits around or above .300, always seeming to be on base. Last season, he struggled in April, hitting only .227, but still posted a .307 average for the year. He could have won a batting title in 2005, but because he was traded from the National to the American League mid-season, he didn't qualify. He scored 105 runs in '07, and 90 runs last year. Polanco set the major league record for second basemen with his 186 game errorless streak. He is also the only second baseman to go an entire season (2007) without making an error. This is one of my favorite players in all of baseball to watch. Not a lot of flash, but plenty of substance there.

The Oprah Winfrey Award: Miguel Cabrera - When Miguel Cabrera first came up to the majors he weighed 210 pounds. When he reported to spring training in 2007, he was 260 pounds, mostly due to the arepa, a cornmeal pocket filled with cheese and other good stuff, worth about 550 calories, depending on the ingredients. With the Tigers, Cabrera clocked in at 240 pounds. His lack of mobility led Jim Leyland to move Miggy from the hot corner to first base. Now there's certainly nothing wrong with a little girth, but this guy's weight fluctuates like the tide. Here's hoping he can put the arepas down and keep off the weight before he becomes the Venezuelan Prince Fielder.

FOR MORE READING

Bless You Boys
Tiger Tales
D-Town Baseball

TMS MLB Preview 2009: Colorado Rockies

7:00 AM | Comments (0) | by Arcturus

SO LONG: Matt Holiday, Brian Fuentes, Luis Vizcaino, Willy Taveras, Corey Sullivan

WELCOME: Thunder Matt Murton, Carlos Gonzalez, Jason Marquis, Greg Smith, Huston Street, Alan Embree,

PROJECTED LINEUP
1. Ryan Spilborghs CF
2. Todd Helton 1B
3. Troy Tulowitzki SS
4. Garrett Atkins 3B
5. Brad Hawpe RF
6. Clint Barmes 2B
7. Chris Iannetta C
8. Seth Smith/Carlos Gonzalez LF

Starting Rotation: Aaron Cook, Ubaldo Jimenez, Jason Marquis, Greg Smith, Jorge de la Rosa
Setup: Taylor Buchholz
Closer: Huston Street/Manny Corpas

In 2007, the Rockies were God's team. Apparently, the faithful from Coors Field angered their Lord and Saviour. After being swept out of the World Series, the Rockies took a nose dive to 3rd place in the NL West in 2008. Injuries to Todd Helton and Troy Tulowitzki derailed the offense and inconsistent pitching doomed the Rockies to a 74-88 finish. The NL West remains a very winnable division, but the Rockies are going to have to overcome the departure of Matt Holiday and get some good outings from their rotation if they're going to dethrone the Dodgers. Troy Tulowitzki needs to return to his 2007 form and Brad Hawpe needs to step up his game if this team is to succeed. They have a lot of young talent waiting in the wings, so it's not inconceivable that Helton or Atkins get dealt before the deadline. Prospect Ian Stewart needs a place to play and his bat impressed last season, so look for him to take over the hot corner sometime in '09. If the Rockies get back in the Big Man's graces, they've got a shot at the NL Wild Card, but I don't think they're going to beat the Gov's Dodgers without some pretty impressive bead juggling.

PRESEASON AWARDS
Mr. Sexy Time: Ubaldo Jimenez - He needs to work on his consistency, but Jimenez is one of the best young arms in the game. He posted 172 Ks in 198 innings pitched in 2008, with an ERA of 3.99. Not too shabby for Coors Field. He only surrendered 11 home runs, which is another stat you've gotta love. If his performance in the WBC is any indication, the Rockies were smart to lock this kid up. Plus how cool sounding is a battery of Ubaldo Jimenez and Yorvit Torrealba?

Recycled Backend: Cook and Jimenez are a solid one-two punch, but with Jeff Francis hitting the surgeon's table that's pretty much all they've got. Their other rotation choices all seem to be other teams' discarded reclamation projects such as Jorge De La Rosa (Brewers, Royals), Jason Marquis (Cubs), and Glendon Rusch (Cubs, Padres). Even the humidor is not going help this collection of stiffs.  Much preferable would be seeing the Rockies give Franklin Morales a chance to redeem himself and testing out Greg Smith, netted in the Holiday deal.

Meet The Ginger Jesus: Thunder Matt Murton - Matt Murton has come to the mountains to free the Rockie faithful from mediocrity in 2009. First he has to win a roster spot, but that shouldn't be a problem for the Red-Headed Wonder. Mr. Murton and his strong Christian values should be right at home in the Mile High City. If Thunder gets some regular playing time, look for the Trophy Room to be a busy place this season.

FOR MORE READING
Purple Row
Up in the Rockies
ColoradoRockiesNews.com

The Eyes Have It

5:21 PM | Comments (0) | by Chaim Witz

The Cubs have officially named the bespeckled Caucasian with two first names, Kevin Gregg (or is it Gregg Kevin?) their closer to start the season. This ends the Kevin Gregg-Carlos Marmol drama that was gripping the nation, and had the eyes of the world upon us.

I'm told TMS officially endorsed Mr. Gregg as the Cubs closer. I apparently wasn't consulted on this decision, though if I had, the result would have been one of indifference. I think either player is capable of handling the role and if Gregg sucks it up, you move Marmol to the role. Given that Marmol seems a little more fragile emotionally than Gregg (pure speculation), this move probably makes sense since demoting Marmol from the closer role would probably be more demoralizing to Carlos than it would be to Kevin. This allows Marmol ease his way into the role once he gets his groove back, like Stella.

Baseball Cards: 2009

3:39 PM | Comments (0) | by T.R.

In what has become a personal rite of Spring, I purchased my first and only pack of baseball cards this weekend. I picked them up at Target, the great black hole for suburban pocketbooks. The only available 2009 cards were Upper Deck, as they were still desperately pawning off packs of 2008 Topps. Remember when baseball cards were the only ones you could buy as a kid? Then they started putting out NFL cards, which felt out of place for the first year or two. With their success came the NBA and NHL. Now baseball cards are sorely outnumbered by other sporting and non-sporting cards. I almost picked up a set of Bass Pro Shop Tour 2009 cards, but held off. Oh, and how much were my Upper Deck cards? $2.99, naturally. They used to be .45 cents! Fucking economy!

And now for the unveiling, with live commentary:

1:48 - Derek Jeter is featured on the wrapper. Upper Deck also notifies you on the front that there are autographed 1989 Ken Griffey Jr. rookie cards randomly dispersed. Ten years ago that might have been big news. Now? Now Griffey is just another player from the steroid era.

1:51 - First card out of the gate? Curt Schilling. We're off to a stellar start. I wonder if I can mail this card to Upper Deck and have them send me a new card of an active player. I didn't know Schilling was born in Anchorage. I guess that helps explain his staunch conservatism.

1:54 - The second card is Alex Romero of the Diamondbacks. Who? Looks like he played in 78 games for the D'Bags in 2008. I'll go out on a limb and say that he will not be drafted in your fantasy league.

1:55 - Former Angel, current Brave Casey Kotchman is up next. Kotchman wouldn't be so bad if he could hit .300. He was born in 1983. Sometimes I get depressed when I realize that I'm so much older than a lot of the players now. Damn youngsters.

1:57 - Carlos Fucking Lee. An Astro. This one goes straight in the garbage.

1:59 - Willy Taveras, former Rockie, now player for Dusty Baker's Communists. He has the speed for a leadoff hitter, but not the OBP. A typical one dimensional player, which is one dimension less than his baseball card.

2:01 - Francisco Rodriguez. Another player wearing an outdated uniform. OK, I'd be all for the cards coming out midseason if it meant getting pictures of these guys wearing the right uniform. It's hard to see Upper Deck as a baseball authority when they're dishing out dated information. I was at the game where K-Rod broke the saves record. I left early though. It was a boring game.

2: 04 - My next card is Mark Saccomanno? Ugh, this guy had even less playing time than Alex Romero. Saccomanno had 10 at-bats last year. Queer. Perhaps I will mail this card to Saccomanno's mother as a keepsake.

2: 07 - Holy hell, next is a gimmick card. "Team Leaders", profiling Ryan Ludwick, Albert Poopholes, and former Cub Todd Wellemeyer. Fucking Cardinals. I feel a War Criminal: Missouri stirring in my soul.

2:08 - Daisuke Matsuzaka and his permanent frown greet me next. I can't really say anything bad about him, aside from the fact that he is a self-loathing Red Stocking. Matsuzaka gets his job done, and for that I would shake his hand. And then I'd punch him in the mouth for Pearl Harbor.

2:10 - And I just vomited in my mouth. Another gimmick card. It is a "Historic Firsts" card. Can you guess the player? Hint, hint, historic first. Figure it out yet? Give yourself another minute... Give up? Sarah Palin of course. Much as Topps had cards last year of the 2008 presidential candidates, Upper Deck is hopping on the bandwagon. Normally I would cry bias and claim that Upper Deck is in the pockets of the GOP. However, I'm sure they've sprinkled in a few Obama cards. Probably not where I live in Orange County though. They probably just put Obama cards in the Targets that are adjacent to ghettos.

2:14 - Another "Team Leaders" card, this time the Giants. Tim Lincecum, Randy Winn, and Bengie Molina. If only these cards were softer so that I could wipe my ass with them.

2:15 - Ah, the young stud Hanley Ramirez. I love that he got so upset this spring when the Marlins made him take off the jewelry and get a haircut. It's also nice to make fun of the Red Sox for giving Ramirez away. Think of how much more we would hate Boston if the had him as well.

2:18 - I must admit, the cards keep coming. I'm getting my $2.99 worth. Next is Ryan Church. The back of his card summarizes a game in which he hit a homer, a double, and a sacrifice fly. Can't they come up with anything more interesting for these cards? I'd settle for his favorite color and movie over his meaningless performance from a game last summer.

2:20 - Michael Cuddyer of the Twins. He's so damn vanilla. So is the entire Twins roster. Bland as hell. Hopefully that changes when they get out of the Metrodome.

2:21 - My next card is C.C. Sabathia, in his Brewers uniform mind you. Props to him for being a workhorse. Have fun with the Yankees and all the pressures involved. At least he's not in the Cubs' division any longer.

2:23 - I'm getting tired of this. Next up is Jack Wilson, the face of the Pittsburgh Pirates. What's that? Can't picture Wilson's face? Just know that there is a goatee involved, and that no one really cares about the Pirates.

2:26 - My final card is Aaron Rowand. The back of his card tells me that Rowand plays "all out". Who gives a shit.

Final Tally
Number of players who have changed teams since the printing of their card: 4 that I am aware of
Number of retired players: 1
Number of cards featuring someone with a vagina: 1
Number of goatees pictured: 10(!)

Underrated: John Salmons

6:15 PM | Comments (0) | by Chaim Witz

Who? That's right, it's John Salmons son. You've probably never heard of him, because you don't follow the NBA, but this Wesley Snipes doppelganger can play, buhleedat. Remember when everyone was bitching that that Bulls didn't trade for Amar'e Stoudemire and "only" got Brad Miller and this Salmons cat? Of course you don't remember, because you don't give a shit about the NBA. (Which is also why this is getting posted on the weekend. Tumbleweeds up in this joint.)

For the record, since the obtaining Grilled Salmonz, the Bulls have gone from playoff outsiders to the number 7 seed. Salmons is putting up a cool 21 points per game while hitting 50% of his shots and 41% from downtown. He can create his own shot (also an underrated skill), pop a trey, fake the funk on a nasty dunk, and wouldn't you know, he can D it up too. More clutch than Snipes in Passenger 57, and he pays his taxes on time to boot.

Meanwhile, Drew Gooden's Amish beard is rotting on San Antonio's bench and Andres Nocioni is still scrappy but sucky in Sacramento. (Wasn't that a Tom Hanks movie?) Don't underestimate the Brad Miller effect either. There's something to be said for fundamental basketball and doing the little things in this post-9/11 NBA. The Salmonz effect even seems to have made Tyrus Thomas into a legitimate basketball player.

John Paxon, you've earned a reprieve.

John Salmons, son.

Done

2:54 PM | Comments (0) | by T.R.

Thank God we don't have to sit through any more excruciating Duke games this season. Has there ever been a whiter team? This guy pictured here? Jesus, calm down. Sorry that you're no longer the belle of every ball.

TMS MLB Preview 2009: Boston Red Sox

6:00 AM | Comments (0) | by Governor X

BOSTON RED SOX

SO LONG: P Paul Byrd, 1B Sean Casey, C Kevin Cash, P Bartolo Colon, SS Alex Cora, OF Coco Crisp, C David Ross, P Curt Schilling, P Mike Timlin

WELCOME: OF Rocco Baldelli, P Brad Penny, P Ramon Ramirez, P Takashi Saito, P John Smoltz, OF Brad Wilkerson

PROJECTED LINEUP:
1. Jacoby Ellsbury CF
2. Dustin Pedroia 2B
3. David Ortiz DH
4. Kevin Youkilis 1B
5. Jason Bay LF
6. J.D. Drew RF
7. Mike Lowell 3B
8. Jason Varitek C
9. Julio Lugo SS

Starting Rotation: Josh Beckett, Jon Lester, Daisuke Matsuzaka, Tim Wakefield, Brad Penny
Setup: Hideki Okajima, Manny Delcarmen
Closer: Jonathan Papelbon

Will, who at this point has migrated to Chuckie's side and is
completely fed-up, includes himself in the conversation.

WILL - Of course that's your contention. You're a first year grad student. You just finished some Marxian historian, Pete Garrison prob'ly, and so naturally that's what you believe until next month when you get to James Lemon and get convinced that Virginia and Pennsylvania were strongly entrepreneurial and capitalist back in 1740. That'll last until sometime in your second year, then you'll be in here regurgitating Gordon Wood about the Pre-revolutionary utopia and the capital-forming effects of military mobilization.

CLARK - Well, as a matter of fact, I won't, because Wood drastically underestimates the impact of--

WILL - --"Wood drastically underestimates the impact of social distinctions predicated upon wealth, especially inherited wealth..." You got that from "Work in Essex County," Page 421, right? Do you have any thoughts of your own on the subject or were you just gonna plagiarize the whole book for me?

Clark is stunned.*

PRESEASON AWARDS
Mr. Sexy Time - Tim Wakefield - I don't care what you say, the knuckleball is damn sexy. As far as I know, Tim is the only guy left in the league that still throws one. Since its the only pitch I was ever capable of throwing, I have a special place in my heart for players that still throw this abomination of a pitch.

Worst MVP Ever - Dustin Pedroia - Honestly, when I heard he was the MVP, I figured it was a joke. If you can be described as "scrappy", you're not MVP material in my book.

This Won't End Well - Brad Penny - Even at one year for a bargain basement price, having the Fragile Frankie Merman of pitchers on your staff is never a good bet. Penny will hide an injury, which leads him to give up way to many runs. When he gives these runs up, Terry Franconia will yank him and Penny will whine like a girl about it. This cycle will repeat until July when they finally put him on the shelf for the year with a pulled vagina. Have fun Red Sox Nation.

*Parts of this post may have been taken from the script of Good Will Hunting.

TMS MLB Preview 2009: The Philadelphia Phillies

1:17 PM | Comments (0) | by Wolter

Disgusting. But I'll have one, I guess.2008 Record: 90-72 (1st in NL East, WS champs)

SO LONG: OF Pat Burrell, P Adam Eaton, P Tom Gordon, P Rudy Seanez, OF So Taguchi

WELCOME: 2B Miguel Cairo, OF Raul Ibanez, P Gary Majewski, P Chan Ho Park, C Ronny Paulino

PROJECTED LINEUP:

1. Jimmy Rollins SS
2. Shane Victorino CF
3. Chase Utley 2B
4. Ryan Howard 1B
5. Jayson Werth RF
6. Raul Ibanez LF
7. Pedro Feliz 3B
8. Carlos Ruiz C

Starting Rotation: Cole Hamels, Brett Myers, Jamie Moyer, Joe Blanton, Chan Ho Park

Setup: Ryan Madson

Closer: Brad Lidge

A friend of mine once described Philly as a place where every available surface was damp with some form of human bodily fluid - urine, phlegm, blood or worse. That in no way links to anything I have to say about the Phillies, but I always found that amusingly disgusting. Almost as disgusting as the notion of Cheez Whiz on a steak sandwich. Jeez, can't you even get your own cuisine right, Philadelphia?

Anyway, easy prediction. Phillies win the NL East. Mets take the wildcard...done. TMS can mail my check to the usual location. Adios...
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Okay...I've just been informed that PECOTA is projecting the Phillies to rank below the Mets and tied with the Braves this year. Also, the Phils have an interleague schedule that can only be called "hilariously brutal," as they are lined up to face every good team in the AL East. Worst of all, I am apparently not getting paid for this.

Still, the Phillies offense is pretty nasty looking. It may not be the famed Murderer's Row, but it will be lucky to plead down to Manslaughter. Rollins, Utley, Howard...any of these are potential, MVP candidates - and I'm not laughing at most of the rest of them.

GET OFF MY LAWN!Of course, they're probably going to need some runs, as Cole Hamels continues to be the only Philly (Phillie? Phillee?) starter that I wouldn't be annoyed to have on my own team. I mean, I love soft tossing lefties as much as anyone, but Jamie Moyer is so old that I...that I...well, crap. I used up all my "old guy" jokes on Randy Johnson in my drunken Giants preview.

Kidding aside, the Phillies are a tough team in what is shaping up to be a tough division (abeit graded on the NL curve). I don't suspect them to repeat their Series win this year, but then again, from March to May I am still contractually obligated to believe this is "The Cubs' Year."

AWARDS:
Mr. Sexy Time: Any of a number of Philleay batsmen could qualify. I guess I'll go for Chase Utley, as a childhood of idolizing Ryne Sandberg has given me a soft spot for second basemen with surprising power. Even if his name sounds like the Villainous Head Counselor of the Rich Boys' Camp in a Meatballs sequel.

The Ronny Cedeno Memorial "Thank God He's Not a Cub Anymore" Award: Well, technically, the Mariners' Ronny Cedeno has this one locked. But I would like to extend a hearty "good riddence" to Scott Eyre's arterial fat. Would it kill you to skip one meal?

With a landing strip like that, I'm amazed he doesn't play for St. Louis.

The Yuengling Award: Given annually to the player that's better than I give him credit for. A player who is nothing to write home about, but better than average. This year's recipient is Jayson Werth. I didn't even realize how good a year he had last year. And I don't see a reason he couldn't put up a pretty decent set of numbers this year. Even if he looks like a sex offender.

FURTHER READING:

The Good Phight
Beer Leaguer
We Should Be GMs

Breaking Out

10:53 AM | Comments (0) | by Chaim Witz

Last year, the Cubs had a literal orgy of guys breaking out and blowing their load everywhere. Kerry Wood and Mark DeRosa (RIP) flexed their aging, tanned muscles. Geovany Soto won Rookie of the Year. Carlos Marmol emerged from the shadow of his father, Mr. Peepers. But the biggest breakout was courtesy of Ryan 'Cum Dump' Dempster, who mowed down batters all season like it was his job. In fact, it was his job technically speaking.

This year, a new crop of fresh faces looks to make a name for themselves with the alcohol-addled Wrigleyville faithful. Lets take a look at some of the candidates.

Mike Fontenot - This diminutive little sprite is more known for his zany dugout antics with Carlos Zambrano than his on the field heroics. That could change this year, as the deceptively powerful Fontenot has secured the starting second base gig over Aaron "Why'd we let DeRosa go for this guy?" Miles. A line of .280-15-80 isn't entirely out of the question.

Sean Marshall - After a few years of being shuffled from the bullpen to the occasional spot start, this tall glass of water finally gets his chance to shine as a full-fledged member of the rotation. What he lacks in personality he makes up for with above average stuff. He's a 3 or 4 starter on most other teams and has 12-15 win, 150 K upside.

Micah Hoffpauir - No one doubts his bat skillz, but where will he play? Given the opportunity, he could play his way into more playing time. At the very least he fills the Daryl Ward pinch hitting role and backup insurance for Derek Lee, who was woefully inconsistent last year. He also serves as an attractive trading chip come July.

Kosuke Fukudome - It's put up or shut up time for K-Fuk, whose career might be spiraling out of control like one of his swinging strikeouts. He'll be on a short leash this year, with Reed Johnson in the wings and a mid-season trade possible if he falters. It's up to you Kosuke. You can either be the Nintendo Wii or an Isuzu. Which will it be?

Kevin Gregg - No one really knows what to expect from the goggled lothario, except he certainly has his work cut out for him, since he's essentially replacing fan favorite and Cubs legend, Kerry Wood's Beard. Whether he ends up the closer or the setup man, the pressure will be intense enough to fog up those goofy goggles of his. He's got 30 save upside to go along with a downside that would result in Wrigleyville riots.

Jeff Samardzija - He likely starts out at Iowa or in the bullpen, but don't be surprised to see this mullet-sporting Notre Dame grad in the rotation at some point. His stuff is nasty when he's on, but other times he can be as erratic as Nick Nolte after a few cocktails. If Marshall falters or Harden pulls up lame (not if, but when), look for the man with the hard to spell last name to step in and thrive.

Carlos Zambrano likes to pound Mike Fontenot.

TMS Music: Yeah Yeah Yeah's - It's Blitz!

12:18 PM | Comments (0) | by Chaim Witz

I was first exposed to the dulcet tones of the Yeah Yeah Yeahs (henceforth referred to as YYY) two years ago at Lollapalooza, where both my wife and I were instantly smitten by Karen O and the band's hipster chic. A little bit heavy and lot bit bizarre, their first two albums were hit or miss affairs, punctuated by occasional moments of brilliance. At that point, their legacy looked to be a band better appreciated live than on record. With their latest release, It's Blitz!, that legacy may have been re-written. It's Blitz marks the first dick-in-the-dirt album of 2009 and in the process redefines the YYY sound. The results are to be reckoned with and danced to.

Much like the last album from TV on the Radio switched from the more ambient rock sound of their previous albums to something more imminently danceable, It's Blitz blazes the same trail, switching gears from the dark NYC rock of albums past to a more upbeat, NYC dancehall sound.

The first single, Zero, sets the tone with a pulsating beat and catchy chorus and the party keeps going with Heads Will Roll, which is catchier than a cold in a preschool. From there things settle down a bit, but remain interesting and inspired throughout, channeling bits of Blondie while still sounding remarkably unique and fresh. Dull Life hearkens back to their rock roots with a guitar riff that more testosterone driven bands would have killed to come up with and Hysteric is the early front runner for the cigarette lighter love song of the year (although nowadays, don't the kids just hold up their cell phones instead?).

It's Blitz is a remarkable album all the way through, with virtually no filler and something for everybody. Do yourself a favor and ignore all of the misguided U2 hype and delve into an album that actually delivers in (David) spades.

Tracks to Stay Tuned For: Zero, Heads Will Roll, Dull Life, Hysteric, Skeletons

Thunder Matt Rating: 5.5 Broken Eggs Out of a Half Dozen

TMS MLB Preview 2009: Pittsburgh Pirates

10:00 AM | Comments (0) | by Chaim Witz

PITTSBURGH PIRATES

SO LONG: IF Jose Bautista, SS Chris Gomez, OF Jason Michaels, 1B Doug Mientkiewicz, 2B Luis Rivas

WELCOME: OF Eric Hinske, OF Jeff Salazar, 3B Ramon Vazquez, P Rinku Singh, P Dinesh Patel

PROJECTED LINEUP
1. Nate McLouth CF
2. Jack Wilson SS
3. Freddy Sanchez 2B
4. Ryan Doumit C
5. Adam LaRoche 1B
6. Andy LaRoche 3B
7. Brandon Moss RF
8. Nyjer Morgan LF

Starting Rotation: Paul Maholm, Ian Snell, Ross Ohlendorf, Zach Duke, the corpse from Weekend at Bernie's
Setup: John Grabow, Tyler Yates
Closer: Matt Capps

Were I able to find the 'search' function on this website (I blame Chip Wesley for this egregious miscue), I would have just cut and paste last year's Pirates recap into this space. For long suffering Pittsburgh fans the song remains the same. A team filled with below average talent with not much help on the horizon. Unlike a small market team such as the Twins or the Rays, the Pirates farm system is a barren wasteland filled with polite, mannered (if not a bit homely) players who unfortunately don't possess a lick of discernible talent. To wit, they passed on drafting uber-prospect Matt Wieters in favor of college relief pitcher Danny Moskos. Wieters has already been anointed as Jesus' 13th disciple. Moskos is still stuck in Single A, where last year he posted a Napientek-esque ERA of 5.95.

The eternal optimist might think to themselves: Maybe Andy LaRoche finally pans out and makes that Jason Bay trade look ok. Maybe Freddy Sanchez regains his batting title form. Maybe Ian Snell and Tom Gorzelanny bounce back and Paul Maholm quietly develops into an ace. Maybe Andrew McCutchen, Pedro Alvarez and Jose Tabata will all pan out and we can party like it's 1991. The realist realizes that none of these things probably happen and that instead, the Buccos will go about the business of extending pro sports longest consecutive losing seasons streak.

Chin up Pittsburgh. At least you have one of the better stadiums to watch your shit team in, and football is only a few months away.

Mr. Sexy Time - Nate McLouth: This bottle blonde, a poor man's Caucasian Grady Sizemore, came out of nowhere last year to give the Buccos their first legitimate star player since Honus Wagner owned the town. Quiet and unassuming, like The Hundley in the sack, it remains to be seen if he can sustain his success or if he'll join the long line of one and done corpses that litter the greater Pittsburgh area.

Speaking of one and done corpses, Ian Snell, Tom Gorzelanny, Zach Duke, Freddy Sanchez, I'm looking at you. Stands to reason that Paul Maholm, McLouth and Ryan Doumit are all at risk this year. Whatever you do guys, don't kiss Zach Duke on the mouth, no matter how much fun it seems like it would be at the time.

The Cory Patterson/Felix Pie Award, Given to the CF Prospect Most Likely to Fail: Andrew McCutchen - Everything you've heard about him (don't feel bad if you've heard nothing) would lead you to believe that he'll be good. Then you remember the name on the front of the jersey. Then you also remember Chris Duffy, Tike Redman, Rajai Davis and Chad Hermansen. Or maybe you don't remember those guys, which is my point.

TMS MLB Preview 2009: Texas Rangers

7:00 AM | Comments (0) | by Arcturus

2008 Finish: 79-83, 2nd place in AL West

SO LONG: Milton Bradley, Gerald Laird, Ramon Vazquez, Kameron Loe, Wes Littleton, Jamey Wright

WELCOME: Omar Vizquel, Derrick Turnbow, AndrEw Jones, Eddie Guardado, Brendan Donnelly, Kris Benson, Adam Melhuse

PROJECTED LINEUP
1. Ian Kinsler 2B
2. Michael Young 3B
3. Josh Hamilton RF
4. Hank Blalock DH
5. Nelson Cruz CF
6. Chris Davis 1B
7. David Murphy LF
8. Jarrod Saltalamacchia C
9. Elvis Andrus SS

Starting Rotation: Kevin Millwood, Vicente Padilla, Scott Feldman, Matt Harrison, Brandon McCarthy
Setup: C.J. Wilson, Joaquin Benoit (DL)
Closer: Frank Francisco

What to say about the Rangers? They have one of the best offensive lineups in the game. They're stacked in the minors as well, with guys like Justin Smoak and Taylor Teagarden. They will undoubtedly score a shitload of runs this year, but they will still be lucky to break .500 because their starters will give up a corresponding amount of runs. The guy to watch this year is shortstop Elvis Andrus, a whiz with the leather. His bat needs a little seasoning, but the Rangers can afford to bat him way down in the order until he improves. If Andrus struggles, the Rangers have ageless (hitless) Omar Vizquel waiting in the wings.

PRESEASON AWARDS
Mr. Sexy Time: Josh Hamilton - Former junkie and now reborn Christian and family man, Josh Hamilton was the feel-good story of 2008. Unless you're a Cub fan. While Mr. Sexy Time was blasting homers and making awesome plays in Texas, the Cubs blew through Felix Pie and the resurrected corpse of Jimmy Edmonds in center field. While Edmonds and stuntman Reed Johnson did eventually become a serviceable tandem, once can only imagine the impact Hamilton might have had playing center for the NL Central Champs last year. He was a Cub for all of about a minute and a half as the Northsiders traded him for cash to the Reds after acquiring him as a Rule 5 pick.

Who Are These Fuckin' Guys?: Rangers Pitching - Aside from Kevin Millwood, Vicente Padilla, and Eddie Guardado, I haven't heard of most of these guys. Kris Benson? Sure, guy with the slutty/crazy wife. Brandon McCarthy? Former uber-prospect with the White Sox, unceremoniously dumped by Kenny Williams in what turned out to be a smooth move. (Can you believe the Rangers at one point had Armando Galarraga, John Danks, Edinson Volquez, and Chris Young? Talk about a team that needs some new pitching scouts and fast.) C.J. Wilson? Kason Gabbard? Thomas Diamond? Warner Madrigal-seriously? Matt Harrison? John Bannister? Corey Scott Feldman? Come on. Even their closer is known more for throwing chairs than recording saves.

Why?: AndrEw Jones - The Rangers are loaded offensively. So why did they feel the need to offer this washed-up goober a contract? The LF platoon of David Murphy and Marlon Byrd can easily outhit and out-field this worthless hunk of human detritus. CF Nelson Cruz needs to play every day to develop and unless Josh Hamilton returns to his shady lifestyle, he's going to be covering right. DH? Ha ha ha ha! AndrEw hit a buck fifty-eight in 75 games with the Dodgers last year, contributing a measly 3 home runs, all while completing his amateur competitive eating training by adding 25 pounds of gristle. This year, Jones has supposedly regained his athletic form and is apologetic about his time in LA. The Rangers apparently have an outfielder fetish similar to Jim Hendry's unnatural cravings for second basemen. And AndrEw, I know there wasn't a lot of interest, but didn't you or your agent happen to check the Rangers' depth chart at OF before you signed?

FOR MORE READING
LoneStarBall.com
RangerFans.com
TexasRangersTrades

TMS MLB Preview 2009: Baltimore Orioles

12:32 PM | Comments (0) | by Unknown

I think this is a picture of Radhames Liz


SO LONG: P Daniel Cabrera, SS Juan Castro, SS Alex Cintron, P Lance Cormier, 1B Kevin Millar, P Garrett Olson, OF Jay Payton.

WELCOME: OF Justin Christian, SS Chris Gomez, C Robby Hammock, P Mark Hendrickson, P Rich Hill, SS Cesar Izturis, C Chad Moeller, P John Parrish, OF Felix Pie, P Koji Uehara, 3B Ty Wigginton, C Gregg Zaun.

PROJECTED LINEUP
1. Brian Roberts 2B
2. Melvin Mora 3B
3. Nick Markakis RF
4. Aubrey Huff DH
5. Ty Wigginton 1B
6. Adam Jones CF
7. Luke Scott LF
8. Gregg Zaun C
9. Cesar Izturis SS

Starting Rotation: Jeremy Guthrie, Mark Hendrickson, Koji Uehara, Rich Hill, Radhames Liz
Setup: Chris Ray, Jim Johnson
Closer: George Sherrill

My mother once told me that if I couldn't say anything nice, I shouldn't say anything at all. This would have meant an extremely short post on this sad team in a town full of blue crabs, heroin and critically-acclaimed HBO Dramas, and where's the fun in that?

Simply put: this team is awful. Dire. In the baseball universe, the Orioles would be the starving third-world country where flies are top of the food chain and the machete is the national currency. They're pathetic beyond the top 4 hitters, all of whom are prone to more severe hot/cold streaks than someone with influenza, and their rotation is full of people who belong in AA, or college, where indifference and ineptitude reign, mildly applauded by the hayseeds that pay three dollars to get in.

I wish I could write something nice about this team beyond "Hey, Nick Markakis is Greek, or has Greek parents at least, and I love their cuisine!", but the prognosis on all fronts is grim. Without even looking at their rotation or lineup, look at the in/out above that. There's an awful lot of names there, all acquired or traded with care and thought, and yet there's barely anything salvageable. All that effort to re-shape the roster, and somehow, miraculously, you got worse!

There's deadweight from Tampa Bay, a couple of overweight, entitled catchers with low expectations, another wretched failure of a Cubs CF, and an Asian pitcher, which in itself is fast becoming as en vogue as a celebrity adopting a child from a Malaysian orphanage.

Avoid this team like the plague, and pray for their souls that the law of probabilities enables them to heave across the 45-win mark for the season. They're a depressing team for a depressing town.

Hasn't Bawlmor suffered enough without having to sweat through a summer of watching this sewage in black and orange? Apparently, thanks to a vengeful God, it must get worse before it gets better. With Andy McPhail at the helm, that might take a while.

Mr. Sexy Time: Nick Markakis.
He is a glimmer of ability amid a haze of shittiness. With three seasons and a career BA of .299, if anyone is to drag this sorry collective out of the doldrums, it could be him.

Stephen King Award for the Unlucky Guy who must have pissed on an Indian Burial Ground to get this kind of bad luck: Rich Hill.
Didn't think you'd end up at the back end of the worst pitching staff ever assembled, did you? Well, it's really depressing to see a decent man cursed with such an awful circumstance, but that's what happens when you consistently fail to live up to expectations.

After a shaky start to last season, you lost your control faster than a retiree at a chili-eating contest, and after a poor rehab spell in AAA, you're in Baltimore.

Oh, and you suffered the added ignominy of being traded for a player to be named later. A PTBNL! That means we don't even give a shit what we get back for you, as long as you're gone. Shit, we probably got the groundskeeper or something.

That said, there is still hope for you. You're a lefty; you'll get traded around a few more times before your career is over. Get used to it.

America's Least Wanted Award: Cesar Izturis.
Hang it up, man, you're clearly not meant for this sport. Perhaps if science conspired to combine you and your brothers into one player, you might be somewhat useful, but it takes a real lack of skill to end up batting 9th for the Orioles.

TMS MLB Preview 2009: San Diego Padres

8:03 AM | Comments (0) | by T.R.

SO LONG: SS Khalil Greene, P Clay Hensley, P Trevor Hoffman

WELCOME: C Henry Blanco, P Chris Britton, OF Emil Brown, 2B Chris Burke, P Kevin Correia, 2B David Eckstein, OF Cliff Floyd

PROJECTED LINEUP
1. Jody Gerut CF
2. David Eckstein 2B
3. Brian Giles RF
4. Adrian Gonzalez 1B
5. Kevin Kouzmanoff 3B
6. Chase Headley LF
7. Nick Hundley C
8. Luis Rodriguez SS

Starting Rotation: Jake Peavy, Chris Young, Cha Seung Baek, Kevin Correia, Josh Geer, Wade LeBlanc
Setup: Cla Meredith
Closer: Heath Bell

San Diego, as we all know, is a beautiful city. There are abundant entertainment and extra-curricular options for its inhabitants. Given that it's 80 degrees and sunny nearly every day of the year, should we listen to the bellyaching of San Diegans over having a sub-par baseball team? Absolutely not. There is little loyalty to the San Diego brand. Their fans are generally weak of will and disassociate themselves from the team in times of trouble. They have an absolutely stunning park, in a refurbished and thriving downtown, yet they just don't care. I've been attending Padre games since Petco Park opened, and I've never really understood the disinterest. Then I witnessed this offseason, and I've come to realize that Padre fans all have a little red-headed stepchild in them. They have had no recourse but to anxiously mope around, waiting until their father figure (ownership) once again shows them the back of his hand.

Fortunately for the people of San Diego, the John Moores reign of terror has come to an end. As a part of his divorce proceedings, he has sold the Padres to a group headed by former Arizona Diamondbacks CEO Jeff Moorad. With new ownership comes the hope that the Padres will once again threaten first place in the mediocre NL West. Sadly, that will not occur this year; the Padres will be incredibly lucky to stay out of the cellar in 2009. There is a noticable dearth of talent on the roster, very little pitching aside from Jake Peavy, and no power from a lineup that plays in such a spacious park. Gone are the staples of Khalil Greene and future Hall of Famer Trevor Hoffman. Who will be next to leave for greener pastures? Peavy was the hot name all winter, in many a rumor to the Braves and Cubs. In an effort to cut costs and start fresh, look for he and tanned girlfriend-beater Brian Giles to be gone by the end of July. This is certain to be a disheartening fucking season for Padres fans.

Mr. Sexy Time: This award goes to San Diego's lone offensive force, Adrian "Wario" Gonzalez. Giles is quickly heading to DH status, and really, you couldn't pick any of their other position players out of a police lineup. By all accounts the rest of the fielders are "nice", "cute", and "swell" to spend 162 games with, but it's largely a hodgepodge cast of placeholders.

The MedicAlert Sterling Silver Bracelet Award: Elder statesman Cliff Floyd has joined the Padres after subconsciously leading the Tampa Bay Rays to the World Series last year, a feat he could not perform in Chicago in 2007. If this is his swan song, he picked a nice climate to spend his last days.

The "This Guy's Dead/Cross Him Off Then" Award: Ummmm, David Eckstein? Chris Burke? Jody Gerut? Luis Rodriguez? Hank White? Nick Hundley? Emil Brown? This team is a cornucopia of journeymen and never-were's. Yikes. Hey, at least Sea World is open year-round!

Further Reading:
Ducksnorts
Gaslamp Ball

A Thunder Matt Movie Minute

1:15 PM | Comments (0) | by Chaim Witz

I Love You Man

Release Date: March 20th

IMDB Cribbed Synopsis: Friendless Peter Klaven (Rudd) goes on a series of man-dates to find a Best Man for his wedding. But when his insta-bond his new B.F.F.(Segel) puts a strain on his relationship with his fiancee (Jones) can the trio learn to live happily ever after?

Review: I Love You Man is an easy movie to like, if not love. I don't know that I'm ready to drop the L bomb on this movie yet, but it certainly achieves at least booty call status. It's a one joke movie, but when that joke is executed by Paul Rudd, it's pretty funny.

Working in it's favor are the comic stylings of Rudd, the gorgeous Rashida Jones (the 'other chick' from The Office), Lou Ferigno, fish tacos, projectile vomit, awkward phone conversations, botched nicknames and funny bit parts by Andy Samberg and Jon Favreau (rocking a self proclaimed 'Jew fro'). Working against is are the slightly overrated if unoffensive presence of Jason Segal and the music of Rush, which plays a pivotal role in this film. Listening to Rush is a painful experience that harkens me back to the time (last week) when I was circumcised by a bewildered Jerry Lewis.

In summary, if Role Models, Forgetting Sarah Marshall and Lou Ferigno were to have a 3 way, this would be the spawn. Odds are, that poor mother would probably die in childbirth though.

Thunder Matt Rating: 3.5 'Geddy Lee is a dude?'s out of 5

Sunshine Cleaning

Release Date: March 20th (Select cities...in the words of Letterman, just pray that your city has been selected!)

IMDB Cribbed Synopsis: In order to raise the tuition to send her young son to private school, a mom (Amy Adams) starts an unusual business -- a biohazard removal/crime scene clean-up service -- with her unreliable sister (Emily Blunt).

Review: From the producers of Little Miss Sunshine, this film seems to be marketed as such: the quirky, yet accessible indie comedy. It's a much darker affair, peppered with some dark humor, mostly courtesy of Alan Arkin, playing the same curmudgeonly character that he did in the aforementioned LMS. Amy Adams really elevates the material, which at times veers dangerously into Lifetime Movie territory before finally finding it's groove towards the end. Adams has quietly become one of the better actresses out there and her flowing crimson locks assure that she won't be ignored by either the Academy or the selection committee for Realm of Red.

It's a minor, trifle affair that your girlfriend will probably enjoy more than you will, but that you won't be any worse for the wear for seeing. Watching two beautiful, brainy actresses hone their craft isn't the worst thing in the world, especially when complemented by Alan Arkin selling shrimp out of the back of his trunk.

Thunder Matt Rating: 3 Murder/Suicides Out of 5

Miss March

IMDB Cribbed Synopsis: After four years in a coma, Eugene Pratt is going to be reunited with his high school sweetheart...on pages 95-97.

Review: Avert your eyes. This Playboy themed road trip comedy is one of the worst atrocities ever committed to celluloid. I don't even want to waste my time writing about it other than to tell you to stay the hell away. The biggest crime against humanity is that it's an R-rated comedy about Playboy, yet somehow they managed to not work in any nudity. This is like finding your dad's stash of porn...but it ends up being all dude-on-dude porn. Oh Dad!

Thunder Matt Rating: 0 Signs of the declining relevance of Hugh Hefner Out of 5

TMS MLB Preview 2009: Washington Nationals

9:00 AM | Comments (0) | by T.R.

All through March, Thunder Matt's Saloon will be previewing each Major League team. We'll give you the ins and outs of the upcoming 2009 season, how each team will do, and some other useless crap you'll wish you had never read.

WASHINGTON NATIONALS

SO LONG:
3B Aaron Boone, P Tim Redding
WELCOME: P Daniel Cabrera, SS Alex Cintron, OF Adam Dunn, P Wil Ledezma, P Scott Olsen, OF Corey Patterson, C Javier Valentin, OF Josh Willingham

PROJECTED LINEUP
1. Cristian Guzman SS
2. Lastings Milledge CF
3. Ryan Zimmerman 3B
4. Adam Dunn 1B
5. Elijah Dukes RF
6. Josh Willingham LF
7. Anderson Hernandez 2B
8. Jesus Flores C

Starting Rotation: John Lannan, Scott Olsen, Daniel Cabrera, Collin Balester, Shawn Hill
Setup: Saul Rivera, Steven Shell
Closer: Joel Hanrahan

The bottom line with the 2009 Nationals squad is that they didn't jettison nearly enough of their toxic waste, and only brought more in. Adam Dunn was actually a good signing for this club, but considering they already had Wiley Mo Pena, Dmitri Young, Austin Kearns, Elijah Dukes, and Lastings Milledge, not to mention the signing of Josh Willingham, where are all these corner outfielders and first basemen going to play? Someone tell Jim Bowden there's no DH in the NL. Oh wait, scratch that. Bowden had to resign as GM on accusations of skimming cash off the contracts of foreign players. He pretty much drove the Nationals into the ground during his tenure, so it's really for the best that they take a fresh approach.

It's a sad state of affairs when the additions of Daniel Cabrera and Scott Olsen legitimately strengthen your starting rotation. Both have a history of unpredictability on the mound and in social quarters. Olsen holds the distinction of being the only player on the team that has been tasered by police, and they have Elijah Dukes on their roster! Shawn Hill has managed to hang around the club, despite only putting up seven wins in five seasons with a career 4.93 ERA. Hey, at least he has a job in these tough economic times. A lot of guys can't say that.

PRESEASON AWARDS
Mr. Sexy Time: Yikes, slim pickings here. How about John Hanrahan? He's basically assured the closer job. The Nationals won't be very good, but there's a little bump in offensive production with Adam Dunn. That should equate to a lot of close games. Chad Cordero was able to rack up a decent number of saves despite playing for Nationals teams that were even worse than this one. For fantasy baseball purposes, Hanrahan could slightly be deemed "sexy".

Make it or Break it: It's time for Ryan Zimmerman to step up and become the player the Nationals were banking on. They don't need any pop out of him, they just need him to be a solid contact guy in the mold of Mark Grace. He needs to keep the batting average over .300 and stay healthy. The fans are already growing disenchanted with the club, so they need someone like Zimmerman to galvanize them. Is he ultimately the right guy for that? Probably not, but this year should tell us.

Cause for Hope: The Rays did it last year, right? Who says the Nationals can't go to the World Series this year? Ha, just kidding, it won't happen. The Nationals are destined for failure. The good news is that the city of Washington is already used to that.

American Idol Update: Week 5

12:44 AM | Comments (0) | by Governor X

Country week always leads to a night of unparalleled trainwrecks on Idol. If they had had "Sing Irish Folk Music After Drinking Half a Bottle of Jamesons Night" in honor of St. Patrick's Day, tonight couldn't have been any worse from a musical standpoint. Then again, if not for the awful spectacle of it all, would there be any reason to watch?

Not surprisingly, no one was particularly good tonight. Even the sagely advice of Randy "Frankenstein" Travis couldn't guide this island of misfit toys to country stardom, or even country competence. Anoop Desai was probably the best with his mind numbingly slow rendition of Always on My Mind. Lil Rounds and Alison Iraheta, two of the more talented singers on the program, probably showed enough to survive but it was painfully obvious that they were out of their element.

You would think when everyone is bad it would be hard to pick the worst, but Megan and Adam took care of that. Megan did a half-talking off key version of Walking After Midnight. If this were the gong show, she would have been gonged off the stage, but since its Idol, the judges gushed over her and praised her for her bravery for singing with the flu. Flu or not, she was so bad again I remain convinced she is tanking so she can go home. Adam also butchered a country classic, Ring of Fire, but did it in a unique way. Imagine karaoke night at a Tehran gay bar in the 70s and you might come close. Its mostly a blur now, but there was a lot of shrieking and sitar music.

If you're voting for the best, go with Anoop. If you're voting for the worst, stick with Megan. Adam will get through anyway since the girls love him, even though based on the pictures What Would Tyler Durden Do? dug up, its clear he doesn't love them back. GOVERNOR X OUT.

TMS Fantasy Baseball Rankings 2009

4:00 PM | Comments (0) | by Jake the Terrible Cubs Fan

It's that time of year again. Time to start putting together your cheat sheets for a new season of fantasy baseball. Here are my position by position rankings for 2009. Position eligibility is determined by the guidelines set by Yahoo Fantasy Baseball (5 games started or 10 games played for hitters, 3 starts for starting pitchers and 5 relief appearances for relief pitchers) unless otherwise stated. Please feel free to discuss in the comments.

UPDATED 3/27/09

CATCHER

RK PLAYER, TEAMRK
PLAYER, TEAM
1. Brian McCann, ATL
16.
Dioner Navarro, TB
2. Russell Martin, LAD
17.
Chris Snyder, ARI
3. Joe Mauer, MIN
18.
Jeff Clement, SEA
4. Geovany Soto, CHC
19.
Yadier Molina, STL
5. Victor Martinez, CLE
20.
Kurt Suzuki, OAK
6. Ryan Doumit, PIT
21.
Ivan Rodriguez, HOU
7. Chris Iannetta, COL
22.
Jarrod Saltalamacchia, TEX
8. Bengie Molina, SF
23.
John Baker, FLA
9. Pablo Sandoval, SF
24.
Taylor Teagarden, TEX
10. Jorge Posada, NYY
25.
Brandon Inge, DET
11. Matt Wieters, BAL
26.
Jesus Flores, WAS
12. Mike Napoli, LAA
27.
Gerald Laird, DET
13. Ramon Hernandez, CIN
28.
Jason Varitek, BOS
14. A.J. Pierzynski, CHW
29.
Miguel Olivo, KC
15. Kelly Shoppach, CLE
30.
Rod Barajas, TOR

On the edge of the radar: Kenji Johjima SEA, Nick Hundley SD, Jason Kendall MIL


FIRST BASE
*player only qualifies as DH
RK PLAYER, TEAMRK
PLAYER, TEAM
1. Albert Pujols, STL
16.
Adam Dunn, WAS
2. Miguel Cabrera, DET
17.
Aubrey Huff, BAL
3. Mark Teixeira, NYY
18.
Carlos Delgado, NYM
4. Ryan Howard, PHI
19.
Victor Martinez, CLE
5. Lance Berkman, HOU
20.
James Loney, LAD
6. Justin Morneau, MIN
21.
Conor Jackson, ARI
7. Prince Fielder, MIL
22.
Jim Thome, CHW*
8. David Ortiz, BOS*
23.
Jorge Cantu, FLA
9. Adrian Gonzalez, SD
24.
Adam LaRoche, PIT
10. Kevin Youkilis, BOS
25.
Jose Lopez, SEA
11. Derrek Lee, CHC
26.
Paul Konerko, CHW
12. Chris Davis, TEX
27.
Carlos Guillen, DET
13. Joey Votto, CIN
28.
Pablo Sandoval, SF
14. Garrett Atkins, COL
29.
Jason Giambi, OAK
15. Carlos Pena, TB
30.
Mike Jacobs, KC

On the edge of the radar: Hank Blalock TEX, Nick Swisher NYY, Todd Helton COL, Casey Blake LAD


SECOND BASE

RK PLAYER, TEAMRK
PLAYER, TEAM
1. Chase Utley, PHI
16.
Rickie Weeks, MIL
2. Ian Kinsler, TEX
17.
Orlando Hudson, LAD
3. Dustin Pedroia, BOS
18.
Kazuo Matsui, HOU
4. Brandon Phillips, CIN
19.
Felipe Lopez, ARI
5. Brian Roberts, BAL
20.
Freddy Sanchez, PIT
6. Alexei Ramirez, CHW
21.
Akinori Iwamura, TB
7. Dan Uggla, FLA
22.
Aaron Hill, TOR
8. Robinson Cano, NYY
23.
Mark Ellis, OAK
9. Chone Figgins, LAA
24.
Alexi Casilla, MIN
10. Jose Lopez, SEA
25.
Mike Fontenot, CHC
11. Mark DeRosa, CLE
26.
Clint Barmes, COL
12. Howie Kendrick, LAA
27.
Asdrubal Cabrera, CLE
13. Kelly Johnson, ATL
28.
Ian Stewart, COL
14. Placido Polanco, DET
29.
Luis Castillo, NYM
15. Mike Aviles, KC
30.
Chris Getz, CHW

On the edge of the radar: Emmanuel Burriss SF, Maicer Izturis LAA, Brendan Harris MIN


THIRD BASE
*projected to start at 3B in 2009
RK PLAYER, TEAMRK
PLAYER, TEAM
1. David Wright, NYM
16.
Jorge Cantu, TB
2. Miguel Cabrera, DET
17.
Mark Reynolds, ARI
3. Evan Longoria, TB
18.
Carlos Guillen, DET
4. Alex Rodriguez, NYY
19.
Edwin Encarnacion, CIN
5. Aramis Ramirez, CHC
20.
Mark DeRosa, CLE
6. Kevin Youkilis, BOS
21.
Pablo Sandoval, SF
7. Chipper Jones, ATL
22.
Melvin Mora, BAL
8. Chris Davis, TEX
23.
Kevin Kouzmanoff, SD
9. Garrett Atkins, COL
24.
Mike Lowell, BOS
10. Aubrey Huff, BAL
25.
Hank Blalock, TEX
11. Ryan Zimmerman, WAS
26.
Casey Blake, LAD
12. Chone Figgins, LAA
27.
Felipe Lopez, ARI
13. Michael Young, TEX*
28.
Jed Lowrie, BOS
14. Adrian Beltre, SEA
29.
Troy Glaus, STL
15. Alex Gordon, KC
30.
Ian Stewart, COL

On the edge of the radar: Ty Wigginton BAL, Joe Crede MIN


SHORTSTOP

RK PLAYER, TEAMRK
PLAYER, TEAM
1. Hanley Ramirez, FLA
16.
Ryan Theriot, CHC
2. Jose Reyes, NYM
17.
Felipe Lopez, ARI
3. Jimmy Rollins, PHI
18.
Edgar Renteria, SF
4. Alexei Ramirez, CHW
19.
Cristian Guzman, WAS
5. Derek Jeter, NYY
20.
Jason Bartlett, TB
6. Stephen Drew, ARI
21.
Khalil Greene, STL
7. Troy Tulowitzki, COL
22.
Jed Lowrie, BOS
8. Rafael Furcal, LAD
23.
Yuniesky Betancourt, SEA
9. Michael Young, TEX
24.
Clint Barmes, COL
10. J.J. Hardy, MIL
25.
Elvis Andrus, TEX
11. Jhonny Peralta, CLE
26.
Erick Aybar, LAA
12. Miguel Tejada, HOU
27.
Asdrubal Cabrera, CLE
13. Mike Aviles, KC
28.
Brandon Wood, LAA
14. Orlando Cabrera, OAK
29.
Cesar Izturis, BAL
15. Yunel Escobar, ATL
30.
Maicer Izturis, LAA

On the edge of the radar: Emmanuel Burriss SF, Brendan Harris MIN, Nomar Garciaparra OAK


OUTFIELD


RK PLAYER, TEAMRK
PLAYER, TEAM
1. Grady Sizemore, CLE
31.
Torii Hunter, LAA
2. Ryan Braun, MIL
32.
Johnny Damon, NYY
3. Josh Hamilton, TEX
33.
Raul Ibanez, PHI
4. Alfonso Soriano, CHC
34.
Vernon Wells, TOR
5. Carlos Beltran, NYM
35.
Andre Ethier, LAD
6. Matt Holliday, COL
36.
Brad Hawpe, COL
7. Carlos Lee, HOU
37.
Chris Young, ARI
8. B.J. Upton, TB
38.
Lastings Milledge, WAS
9. Manny Ramirez, LAD
39.
Jayson Werth, PHI
10. Carl Crawford, TB
40.
Milton Bradley, CHC
11. Nick Markakis, BAL
41.
Conor Jackson, ARI
12. Jason Bay, BOS
42.
Pat Burrell, TB
13. Ichiro Suzuki, SEA
43.
Justin Upton, ARI
14. Carlos Quentin, CHW
44.
Xavier Nady, NYY
15. Alex Rios, TOR
45.
Rick Ankiel, STL
16. Matt Kemp, LAD
46.
Nelson Cruz, TEX
17. Vladimir Guerrero, LAA
47.
Delmon Young, MIN
18. Curtis Granderson, DET
48.
Mark DeRosa, CLE
19. Jacoby Ellsbury, BOS
49.
Adam Jones, BAL
20. Nate McLouth, PIT
50.
Carlos Guillen, DET
21. Shane Victorino, PHI
51.
Coco Crisp, KC
22. Magglio Ordonez, DET
52.
Elijah Dukes, WAS
23. Corey Hart, MIL
53.
Cameron Maybin, FLA
24. Bobby Abrey, LAA
54.
Hideki Matsui, NYY
25. Alexei Ramirez, CHW
55.
Willy Taveras, CIN
26. Hunter Pence, HOU
56.
Adam Lind, TOR
27. Jay Bruce, CIN
57.
Carlos Gomez, MIN
28. Adam Dunn, WAS
58.
Mike Cameron, MIL
29. Ryan Ludwick, STL
59.
David DeJesus, KC
30. Jermaine Dye, CHW
60.
Shin-Soo Choo, CLE

On the edge of the radar: Denard Span MIN, J.D. Drew BOS, Fred Lewis SF, Eric Byrnes ARI, Jeff Francoeur ATL, Nick Swisher NYY, Randy Winn SF, Jason Kubel MIN


STARTING PITCHER


RK PLAYER, TEAMRK
PLAYER, TEAM
1. Johan Santana, NYM
31.
Yovani Gallardo, MIL
2. Tim Lincecum, SF
32.
Ryan Dempster, CHC
3. CC Sabathia, NYY
33.
Carlos Zambrano, CHC
4. Roy Halladay, TOR
34.
Matt Garza, TB
5. Brandon Webb, ARI
35.
Derek Lowe, ATL
6. Jake Peavy, SD
36.
Aaron Harang, CIN
7. Dan Haren, ARI
37.
Brett Myers, PHI
8. Cole Hamels, PHI
38.
Ted Lilly, CHC
9. Roy Oswalt, HOU
39.
John Danks, CHW
10. John Lackey, LAA
40.
Josh Johnson, FLA
11. Josh Beckett, BOS
41.
Kevin Slowey, MIN
12. Cliff Lee, CLE
42.
Max Scherzer, ARI
13. James Shields, TB
43.
Erik Bedard, SEA
14. Chad Billingsley, LAD
44.
Scott Baker, MIN
15. Felix Hernandez, SEA
45.
Jered Weaver, LAA
16. Francisco Liriano, MIN
46.
Gil Meche, KC
17. Scott Kazmir, TB
47.
Brandon Morrow, SEA
18. Daisuke Matsuzaka, BOS
48.
Chien-Ming Wang, NYY
19. Zack Greinke, KC
49.
Chris Young, SD
20. Edinson Volquez, CIN
50.
David Price, TB
21. Jon Lester, BOS
51.
Randy Johnson, SF
22. A.J. Burnett, NYY
52.
Mark Buerhle, CHW
23. Javier Vazquez, ATL
53.
Ubaldo Jimenez, COL
24. Ervin Santana, LAA
54.
Clayton Kershaw, LAD
25. Adam Wainwright, STL
55.
Jair Jurrjens, ATL
26. Ricky Nolasco, FLA
56.
Mike Pelfrey, NYM
27. Rich Harden, CHC
57.
Fausto Carmona, CLE
28. Joba Chamberlain, NYY
58.
Johnny Cueto, CIN
29. Justin Verlander, DET
59.
Gavin Floyd, CHW
30. Matt Cain, SF
60.
Chris Carpenter, STL

On the edge of the radar: Justin Duchscherer OAK, John Maine NYM, Hiroki Kuroda LAD, Wandy Rodriguez HOU, Joe Saunders LAA, Oliver Perez NYM, Andy Sonnastine TB, Bronson Arroyo CIN, Manny Parra MIL


RELIEF PITCHER


RK PLAYER, TEAMRK
PLAYER, TEAM
1. Jonathan Papelbon, BOS
21.
Trevor Hoffman, MIL
2. Joe Nathan, MIN
22.
Joey Devine, OAK
3. Mariano Rivera, NYY
23.
Joel Hanrahan, WAS
4. Francisco Rodriguez, NYM
24.
Matt Lindstrom, FLA
5. Brad Lidge, PHI
25.
Jason Motte, STL
6. Joakim Soria, KC
26.
Brad Ziegler, OAK
7. Jose Valverde, HOU
27.
Huston Street, COL
8. Brian Fuentes, LAA
28.
George Sherrill, BAL
9. Jonathan Broxton, LAD
29.
Manuel Corpas, COL
10. B.J. Ryan, TOR
30.
Brandon Lyon, DET
11. Bobby Jenks, CHW
31.
Troy Percival, TB
12. Kerry Wood, CLE
32.
Kevin Gregg, CHC
13. Francisco Cordero, CIN
33.
Chris Ray, BAL
14. Matt Capps, PIT
34.
Dan Wheeler, TB
15. Carlos Marmol, CHC
35.
Chris Perez, STL
16. Brian Wilson, SF
36.
Hong-Chih Kuo, LAD
17. Mike Gonzalez, ATL
37.
Grant Balfour, TB
18. Heath Bell, SD
38.
J.J. Putz, NYM
19. Chad Qualls, ARI
39.
Jose Arredondo, LAA
20. Frank Francisco, TEX
40.
Fernando Rodney, DET

On the edge of the radar: Ryan Franklin STL, Jon Rauch ARI, Miguel Batista SEA, Tyler Walker SEA, Joel Zumaya DET