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					UBBL 2005 Season Review – 2006 Season Preview

Callaway Cats
(formerly South Hill Sultans)

American League Willie Keeler Division

2005 Record: 79-83 (3rd) Now back to programming … our regularly scheduled

T

errific Trio‟s Titanic Team Turned to Toast Through Three Terrible Trades.

OK, OK. Before all the booing and complaining begins I want to clarify that I don‟t think the trades were “terrible” – I just couldn‟t think up enough words to do the alliteration to go with “lop-sided”. The spree of pre-season moves completed by Cats‟ management must have left the hometown faithful wondering whether the team moniker shouldn‟t be more appropriately renamed “Call-Away” … as in called away to the Roger Dodgers. When the dust had settled on the four trades between Callaway and Roger, the Dodgers not only pilfered pitching (try saying that 10 times fast), but also one of baseball‟s brighter prospects in Arizona shortstop Stephen Drew, younger brother of attitudinally challenged JD Drew.

Trade 1: May 1. Kevin Youkilis to the Dodgers for the Roger #5 pick in the Draft. On the surface, that might not seem like such a bad deal … if not for the fact that Youkilis was the Red Sox everyday first baseman and was hitting .300 in the majors at the time and that the #5 pick turned out to be about the only Florida Marlins pitcher who didn‟t have a breakout season - none other than plucky 34year-old Brian Moehler. In all fairness, Youkilis‟s pace slowed and he wound up hitting only .279 this season with 42 doubles, a .381 OBP and a .810 OPS. Moehler, a career 4.78 ERA pitcher in 10 big league season,

We interrupt this diatribe about trading to remind Virginia, that “Yes, there is a Santa Claus” Newly acquired ex-Dodger Jeff Kent may give the Cats a reason to celebrate in 2006 and that despite everything Callaway still remains a strong team that should be useful to the ‟07 Cats should contend for the division crown. as a member of the grounds crew or maybe the The trades will make or break the Cats. catering staff after going 7-11 with a putrid

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6.57 ERA and 1.66 WHIP. Say “Good Night, Gracie.” Score: Roger 1, Callaway 0. Trade 2: May 18. Speedy Corey Patterson and Drew are dealt to Roger for outfielders Juan Encarnacion and Preston Wilson. For 2006, this is actually a good trade as both Encarnacion and Wilson are at least solid in the outfield even after having off 2005 seasons – Encarnacion hit .252 with 12 HR and 43 RBI in 107 games for the Dodgers, Wilson limped through an injury-shortened season with 4 HR, 41 RBI and a dismal .194 average in 58 games. Expect both Roger cast-offs to enjoy much better 2006 seasons in Callaway. Patterson had a nifty ‟05 season and his power (12 HR, 77 RBI) and speed (30 steals in 35 tries) will be missed, but the fact that his ‟06 UBBL season will be based on one in which he‟s not much use save as a pinch runner and defensive sub will soften the blow considerably. This good 2006 trade will probably look bad in a year or two though as both Encarnacion and Wilson‟s careers are on the slippery downward slope. Drew is coming into his own as the Diamondbacks everyday goodhitting shortstop and Patterson is nestling into a much better fit in Baltimore. Still … this trade is a much better one than the first and gives the Cats two everyday outfielders who don‟t have to be great since they already have a great outfielder in Jason Bay. Let‟s call this one a tie. Trade 3: September 2. The Cats send Mark Buehrle, Khalil Greene and Carlos (the K) Pena to Roger for Jeff Kent, Adam Everett and Brendan Harris. There‟s little doubt that Kent and his bat (.289-29-105 in ‟06 MLB) are welcome in Callaway, but Buehrle‟s departure robs the Cats of the chance to boast the league‟s best starting trio for 2006 (Buehrle, Johan Santana and Bartolo Colon)

– never mind that as a Grade 14 starter in ‟06 he has the potential to better his „05 in Callaway (12-14, 2.87 ERA).

Brandon Inge is one Cat expected to emerge from the shadows in ‘06

Even with Buehle having an off-season in the majors in 2006 (my guess is that rather than the difficulty in pronouncing his name – see Brett Favre – was the reason prompting the trade), the Chisox ace is much harder to replace than the 38-year-old Kent and his injury-filled 115 MLB games. I‟ll default to the “good pitching these days is harder to find than good hitting” … never mind that Kent‟s no Roberto Alomar with the glove. In comparing Everett vs Greene, we see two very different players roaming the same position. Everett is gloves-down the better fielder and baserunner. Greene is capable in the field, a little plodding on the bases but a better hitter. Everett has absolutely no upside and at any time is just a slump or two away from a sub .250 average. Greene is all about upside and barring a finger injury that nagged him through the 2006 major season and made holding a bat difficult, he should be able to pop 15-20 homers a season even in San Diego while hitting around .270. That leaves Pena/Harris. Pena strikes out more often than George Castanza at singles night and

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might be find his career near death if he remains stuck in Fenway behind Big Papi and Youkilis. He was bogged down in the minors for most of 2006 and didn‟t impress in his call-up. Harris has always been tagged with having potential but it has never materialized at the major league level. Yes, he hasn‟t really gotten a Elite starter Johan Santana (left) will be applauding anytime the ball is kept out of the hands of the Callaway bullpen fair shot but then again he‟s never played well enough to the Cats tried to plug the hole in the rotation by get more than he has. blasting a crater right smack in the middle of their rotation. Louisiana-Lafayette lefty B.J. Overall, I give the edge to Roger on this Ryan and his 2006 MLB 38 saves, 1.37 ERA one. Kent is only a marginal improvement and 0.86 WHIP are going, going, gone. Sucked over the up-and-coming Michael Cuddyer at into the wake of his departure was journeyman second base while going from Buehrle to infielder Chris Gomez who somehow managed MLB teammate Javier Vazquez (see Trade to hit .341 in 132 at bats while playing 4) is a big step down and will mean that the everywhere in the Baltimore Orioles infield in Cats‟ bullpen will be called upon earlier and 2006. more often to save their bacon. One look at the state of the „pen should be enough for If, and only if, Jackson turns things around and everyone in Callaway to start selling their makes something out of his switch from the shares of pork bellies. outfield to the mound this is still a bad trade. If not – it‟s a really bad trade. And finally, trade 4: September 5. On the heels of giving up Buehrle, the Cats try and In Ryan, the Cats gave up one of the best relief shore up the rotation by picking up one-time arms in the majors. In Vazquez, they get one of Cy Young hopeful turned gopher ball expert the biggest disappointments in the majors. Javier Vazquez and unguided missileRyan is the type of guy who you can build an throwing Edwin Jackson. I‟m waiting for the entire bullpen around and just about put the W “and a player to be name later” part since on the board anytime you hand him the ball

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with the lead after the 7 th inning. Vazquez is the type of guy who makes the vendors roaming among the bleacher fans unionize and demand hard hats. Score a huge win for the Dodgers with this trade. Ryan was a disappointing 3-8 with 23 saves and a 4.36 ERA in 2005 for the Cats, but that‟ll look like a Cy Young performance compared to some of the numbers slamming out of the Callaway bullpen in ‟06. Score a big, freaking hairy win on this trade for the Dodgers. BUT … even with the trades, this team is still pretty good and there‟s still hope that a season as disappointing as 2005‟s won‟t repeat. Look for the Cats to be in the thick of things in ‟05, but that bullpen will be their Achilles‟ heel.

STARTING

PITCHING: Another season, another potential Cy Young for Johan Santana. Santana is so good he‟s almost boring.
The Cy Young runner up was masterful once again last season, winning 18 games on a sub.500 team with a 2.55 ERA and 249 strikeouts in 243+ innings. Santana the Mana was positively miserly when it came to allowing baserunners, allowing only 153 hits and 76 walks. As a Grade 14 starter in ‟06 with the ability to start 35 games, the Venezuelan ace should flirt with 20 wins once again. Given that Santana shows no signs of slowing up and in fact looks to be getting better(he finished the 2006 major league season first in wins (19), first in strikeouts (245), first in WHIP (1.00), first in opponents‟ batting average (.215), first in innings (233.2) and first in ERA (2.77). At only 27, he looks to be a perennial all-star and a HOF candidate. Given any offensive support at all in 2006, 18 wins is a gimme (unless he has to rely on the bullpen). Big,

burly Bartolo Colon is the #2 man for the Cats in 2006 which gives them Lefty ace Johan Santana anchors a good starting rotation that would have been only a Mark Buehrle away from being great a knockout punch like no other team in the American League. Colon (pronounced like the sweet

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smelling fragrance of “cologne” rather than the anything but sweet smelling body part “colon”), should have his lousy 2005 UBBL fully behind him and is a Grade 13 workhorse starter in ‟06 after posting a 21-8 record, 3.48 ERA and 1.16 WHIP for the Los Angeles Angels last summer. Last season, Colon got knocked around everywhere at the buffet table with a stinky 5.52 ERA and 11-15 record … small wonder for a guy who gives up a whopping 45 home runs. Maybe he thought they really were taters and ... well, looking at his waistline you can guess the rest. Even on a bad team, Colon and Santana should be able to get you 30 wins. On this team, they have the opportunity to be the league‟s only 20-game winning duo. But then there‟s that darned bullpen thing again.

overpowering and gives up his fair share of hits (247 in 202.2 IP in the UBBL in ‟05; 210 in

Javier Vazquez – would-be ace or batting practice pitcher?

185 IP in the majors in ‟05), but he has enough smarts and stuff to keep the ball in the ballpack (he gave up only 23 homers in the UBBL and 18 in MLB). Lidle is one of the league‟s better Grade 5 starters and gives the Cats a fighting chance to win every game. Callaway‟s management are hoping that the move to the Big Apples doesn‟t sour as it did for former Montreal Expos ace Javier Vazquez … and speak of the devil … Here comes Vazquez fresh off a now typical season where he helped launch more rockets into the atmosphere than NASA. Vazquez was pretty much scum of the earth for Roger last year. Amazingly, he scraped his way to a 10-13 record despite a 6.60 ERA. I honestly thought a few years back that Vazquez was destined for greatness, but something in him appears to have completely snapped since he donned the 5

Did Cory Lidle rejuvenate his career with a move to New York ?

Cory Lidle‟s 11-11, 4.88 ERA season is pretty hard to complain about from the Cats‟ #4 starter in 2005. Lidle is anything but

UBBL 2005 Season Review – 2006 Season Preview

Pinstripes in 2004. Vaz can still give „er and throw the ball over the plate (145 strikeouts and only 63 walks in 176 IP for the ‟05 Dodgers), but too often it‟s right over the plate with no movement (230 hits including 36 HR allowed). Things won‟t be much better for Vazquez in ‟06 with the Cats since the move to Arizona last season didn‟t do anything to shake the Grade 5 L-Homer rating for him. Both the Cats and Vazquez and in fact all of humanity should be grateful aluminum bats aren‟t allowed at the MLB level … imagine all the holes hitters would be punching into the ozone layer when he pitched. The #5 spot probably gets dumped into Moehler‟s or Gil Meche‟s lap unless overrated lefty Glendon Rusch scuttles out of the bullpen. Moehler gives you not much – a 4rated starter who gives up tons of hits (158 in 198 MLB innings in ‟05; he didn‟t pitch in the UBBL), Grade 6W Meche gives you the potential for a bouncer to the plate on every pitch (72 walks in 143 IP) and Rusch (Grade 5, 175 hits in 145 innings) is basically the lefty version of Moehler which I suppose makes him valuable in the same way a screw-up on a stamp makes it valuable. Moehler may have the inside track on the job since his not throwing a ball last season puts him ahead of what Rusch and Meche did. Meche failed his 10-start Callaway audition miserably going 1-3 with a 6.70 ERA and 11 homers allowed (Vazquez could have competition here) in only 48 innings. Rusch did get 5 saves and a remarkable (for him) 4.12 ERA in 56 appearances out of the pen. But he is still Glendon Rusch. If the Cats feel especially playful this season they may even resort to giving some mound time to Smokin‟ Seth McClung, Tampa‟s

latest closing experiment, or Edwin Jackson who in 29 innings for the Rogers last season had a stupefying 10.13 ERA, and gave up 45 hits including 15 home runs (yes, 15 homers in 29 innings – almost 5 homers a game!!!!. Given enough innings, both these guys could threaten to set records for both hit batters and walks and could single-handedly drive up the life insurance rates for hitters. Oh, how they‟ll miss Mark Buehrle.

Another pitch, another HB and unconscious batter for Seth McClung

OVERALL GRADE: B- (6.9 / 10.0) RELIEF PITCHING: … is very much a
contradiction in terms in Callaway. It‟s a sad day when you miss the hey days of relief gods Billy Koch, Matt Mantei and Todd Van Poppel. I know. Oh, the memories. Thinking of those guys makes it hard for me not to smile. But, alas … they‟re gone like last month‟s compost. When the Cats do have to go to the pen (and this‟ll go a long way in showing that there really is nothing worse than a penned cat),

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they‟ll be looking to right-handers Julio Mateo and Jason Frasor to save games.

Grade 9 right-hander Rick White will likely be the setup man regardless of who is getting the save chances. While White does have a tendency to get hit-happy (90 hits in 75 big league innings in ‟05), he knows how to keep the ball in the park – he allowed only 3 homers so definitely earned the H-rating. White did not pitch in the UBBL in 2005. Any children should now leave the room as the rest of the bullpen goes from a G-rating to R due to extremely graphic scenes which may contain extensive bloodletting (picture Braveheart filmed on a pitcher‟s mound). The 2006 Cats will have their choice of deaths. Will it be a slow (but wild) death by poison (Ron Villone) or cerebral implosion (David Cortes, Chad Harville, or Matt Thornton)? Villone, the well-traveled 36-year-old Yankee reliever, is the best of this bunch but a lack of control will prevent him from ever being anything close to reliable. He goes into the ‟06 season as a Grade 8 W reliever that strikes out a lot of batters (70 in 64 IP for the Florida Marlins in 2005) and gives up few homers (4), but walks almost 5 batters a game. He is better than he showed in 41 games in ‟05 – 5.94 ERA, 4-1 with 57 Ks, 39 walks, 63 hits, 11 homers in 63.2 IP, but not all that much. Look for a lower ERA due to fewer HR allowed but otherwise more of the same. A good season by White and Villone could make this mediocre bullpen respectably average. Cortes (Gr6), Harville (Gr5), and Thornton (Gr5) can be counted on to get a game over fast (as in the walk-off opposing team homer type game ender … not the save). All of these guys give up homers in bunches. UBBL rookie Cortes gets an L-rating for giving up 9 homers in 53 IP in homer happy Colorado in ‟06, Harville gets the “L” for 8 taters in 45 IP and

Specialist Ray King will pick up key innings vs opposing lefties

Both Frasor and Mateo are middle relievers in real life, but Ryan‟s departure makes that point moot. Frasor (Grade 13) and Mateo (14) are certainly both capable and should both get plenty of save chances despite their lack of experience (Mateo pitched all of 8 scoreless innings in 2005 for los Gatos) and lack of success (Frasor was bombed for 15 homers in 53.2 IP in ‟05 and had a 5.37 ERA). Southpaw and Slimfast Poster Boy Ray King (all 242 pounds of him) will also get the occasional chance to close games when the opposing lineup is full of lefties. King (5-4, 5.47, 5 saves, 1.39 WHIP in 53.1 IP in „05) will have to be used sparingly though as he‟ll be limited by a 204 MBF as a Grade 11 reliever.

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Thornton nets the much-coveted M-rating for his 13 homers in 57 IP for the Seattle Mariners. On the bright side, at least if Cortes gives up a homer it is likely to be a solo shot, but with either Harville or Thornton chances are someone is going to be on base already courtesy of their lack of control. Harville is wild, but Thornton is WILD (Tarzan-wild). Thornton walked 42 batters in 57 innings in ‟05 for the Mariners. Ouch! For trivia fans, Harville was the better pitcher in the UBBL in 2005 edging Thornton‟s 9.26 ERA (11.2 IP) with his 9.20 (14.2 IP). Callaway‟s bullpen will go as the starting rotation goes and need skillful managing throughout the season to keep it from blowing apart. If Mateo, Frasor and King eat up their innings quickly the bullpen ERA could get really ugly. Colon and Santana should eat up just enough innings to keep the bullpen from having too heavy a burden though.

of the future. For now though, it‟s probably none other than plucky defensive wiz and sometimes powerhitter Kevin Cash that‟ll be the primary go-to guy. Yes, this is the same Kevin Cash that was told only a couple of years ago that he‟ll never hit well enough to deserve to play in the majors. Well, the UBBL isn‟t the majors and his +4 arm, 8 defense rating, .219 average and 2 homers in 31 at bats is good enough to put him ahead of the likes of creaky Sandy Alomar and John Flaherty, underachiever JD Closser, and mystery men Matt Treanor and Pete LaForest. Cash bashed 3 homers and 7 RBI to go along with a blistering .183 AVG in 54 games for the Cats in 2005. The known commodities - Alomar, Flaherty, and Closser – are defensive liabilities with dead arms. Alomar can hit for average but his days of hitting for power are long gone. In any case, since Alomar is a risk to go on the DL any time he ties his own shoes he can‟t be counted on for much more than 150 plate appearances. Alomar hit .258 with 2 homers and 16 RBI in 47 games for Roger in 2005. Closser is another of the failed catching experiments in Colorado – the place where no one who goes behind the plate seems to remember how to hit. Closser exceeded all expectations for the Cats in ‟05 when he hit .311 with 3 HR and 11 RBI in a little over 100 at bats. Don‟t look for lightning to strike twice though. Flaherty, the 6 th string catcher – now that‟s depth! – doesn‟t deserve to ever see the light of day on the lineup card. His UBBL numbers (.177-0-8 in 124 AB for Chandler in ‟05) are what you get in real life (.165-2-11). Treanor, the 30-year-old Marlins catcher with 2 homers in 330 career at bats was among the league leaders in hitting with Spokane last year in the UBBL … in case you‟re really excited by

OVERALL GRADE: F (3.8 / 8.0) CATCHER: The Callaway Cats starting
catcher in 2006 is … uh … is … let‟s try this a different way: the Callaway Cats are banking on LA Angel rookie Mike Napoli as their catcher
Angel rookie Mike Napoli will be the man in ???

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that I think we can safely put away the ridilin since Treanor was 1/1. T-man may actually get some playing time due to his … who am I kidding? He‟s an injury sub at best. Career minor leaguer LaForest is decent defensively who should stay in the minors. The 28-year-old Padre did not play in the UBBL in 2005. If marks were awarded for quantity the Cats would get an A+. Unfortunately …

Kent should flirt with the 30-homer, 100-RBI mark once again after a return to health in the majors in 2005 (he hit 29 homers in 553 at bats) and will take a lot of pressure off outfield star Jason Bay to carry the team offense. The Cats may be wishing Inge could still catch, but they have to be happy with his emergence as a steady hitting, solid defensive third baseman and outfielder.

OVERALL GRADE: F (1.2 / 3.0) INFIELD: Off-season acquisition Jeff
Kent and the surprising Brandon Inge head the very capable, yet unspectacular Callaway infield in 2006. Kent, .287-18-83 in 114 games for Roger in ‟05, is a proven run producer who can hit for both power and average while providing OK defense at second base.

Inge is one of the few catchers to successfully move to an infield spot

Inge was a standout in ‟05 for the Cats appearing in 100 games between third, the outfield and catcher while hitting .292 and slugging .532 (18 homers and 60 RBI in 342 AB). A repeat power performance might be a bit of a reach, but the Cats should be happy trading off a bit of Inge‟s slugging for having him in the lineup every day where his strong arm can help at either third or the outfield. Adam Everett‟s range and glove should keep him in the lineup at short through much of 2006. Callaway‟s manager would be thrilled to have him duplicate his ‟05 performance (.2735-31 13 steals in 249 AB for Roger) over a full season. Unlikely though it is that he‟ll hit for much above .250, Everett is still a candidate for 10+ homers and 20+ steals. Everett is a freeswinger who likes to get the ball in play (only 8 walks in 250+ plate appearances in the UBBL in ‟05) and hits to all fields … albeit with little power.

Kent has huge shoes to fill after coming over in the Buehrle deal

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When the Cats posted the sign: “Wanted .260+ hitting first baseman with 20 homer potential” they got one but three more than qualified applicants: Eric Hinske, Michael Cuddyer and Daryle Ward. The presence of these guys gives the a ton of options and all of them potentially unpleasant to opposing pitchers. Cuddyer, the token righty, not only gives the team the platoon option at first base, but also creates enormous flexibility with the lineup as he can play the outfield as well as any of the infield bases.

that it was somewhat of a miracle that he did manage to drive in 49 runs.

Michael Cuddyer should turn things around and give the Cats a boost

Since Hinske or Ward are also excellent DH candidates it is possible that on some days all three may find their way into the lineup at the same time. If not, the presence of whoever is left out gives the Cats a potentially lethal bat off the bench. Of the three, only Ward had an un-miserable 2005 season in Callaway. Ward smashed 22 homers and notched 58 RBI in only 322 at bats en route to a .283 batting average and nasty .559 slugging percentage.

Of equal concern to Hinske fans everywhere should be that even though he was hitting well he received very little playing time following the late season trade to the Red Sox (a fairly puzzling deal for Boston since Hinske is getting about $5 million/season) Cuddyer struggled as well, hitting a dismal .195 with 9 homers and 38 RBI in 101 games. Mr. C is still coming into his own at the major league level and blossoming as a extremely talent allround player. Rounding out the infield are Luis Rivas (.27912-41 and 21 steals) and new kids on the block Marco Scutaro (.240-5-37 in 117 games for Midwest in ‟05), Timo Perez (.156-3-10 in 26 games for Bethesda), Alfredo Amezaga (1/3 for Georgia), and Brendan Harris (.189-4-17 in 100 games for Roger). With the jury still out on Harris, Rivas has the best bat of the bunch but is severaly limited (136 AB in „05) due to injuries at the MLB level and Scutaro has the best glove and versatility to play all the infield spots. None of the others should be a factor.

Eric Hinske’s move to Boston’s packed lineup may be a concern

Hinske, the former Blue Jay 3 rd baseman, had a miserable 2005 campaign. He only managed 21 extra base hits (10 were homers) in almost 500 at bats while hitting .205. His slugging, .292, was so atrocious

OVERALL GRADE: B (6.2 / 8.0)

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OUTFIELD/DH:

Simply smashing – that‟s what Jason Bay is and does to baseballs. Since coming on the scene in Pittsburgh in 2003, this Gonzaga grad has risen rapidly to become one of the league‟s best outfielders and certainly the main reason for anyone to watch Pirates‟ games. Despite nagging injuries which cost him 22 games in ‟05, Bay smacked 24 homers and drove in 67 runs for the Cats. His .259 batting average had to be somewhat disappointing since he should hit .280+ every season, but he still wound up with a decent OBP (.247) thanks to 16 beanings and he almost slugged .500 (.496). Bay is also a standout in the outfield playing solid defence and ranking among the league‟s best in gunning down greedy baserunners – he nailed 19 in 2005 for the Cats. With better hitting around him this season and his steady improvement, Bay should easily hit 30 home runs and drive in 90+ and could steal 20 bases. Time and injuries have turned Preston Wilson into a fairly average outfielder, but the addition of his and Juan Encarnacion‟s arms to the Callway outfield make this one of the best throwing outfields in the UBBL.

Jason Bay’s reach may be just long enough to lift the Cats into the 2006 post-season

Wilson is the prototypical all-or-nothing ball player. When he‟s not slamming the ball into the gaps or over the fence, he‟s slamming his bat down in disgust after yet another strikeout. Last year‟s injury-plagued season aside, Wilson is always a 20+ homer, 150 strikeout candidate. Wilson limped through 58 games and never got on track for

Roger last season, hitting 4 homers and 14 RBI with a .194 average. When he‟s healthy, Wilson still has the wheels to steal 10-15 bases a season … it just might not be all that pretty to watch.

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Encarnacion came into the majors with the Tigers all guns blazing, but that seems like a century ago. The Cats outfielder turned “all that potential” into a nice, comfortable 1520 homer a year career with good defense, good baserunning and not too many strikeouts. Encarnacion is not a guy that‟ll make a pitcher quiver in his boots every time he‟s up but he‟ll turn mistakes into hits and bad mistakes into souvenir material.

will be the Cats‟ right-handed DH … at most as their full-time DH he can be counted on to hit around .275 with three dozen doubles and half that number of homers to go with 75 RBI … which is actually pretty darned good as something to fall back on.

Juanzo piffled his way through 2005 with Roger hitting a very ho-hum .252 with 12 home runs and 43 RBI. If he plays a full season, he‟ll get 15-20 homers, hit .250-.270 with 60-80 homers. Nothing more, nothing less. Waiting in the wings is right-handed DH candidate Emil Brown who didn‟t play a game in the majors from 2002-2004. Brown has never been all that impressive. He‟s a poor-fielding, doubles hitter with a bit of extra power … but he did manage to have a strong (for him) year last season in the majors with Kansas City. Callaway‟s 1st round pick hit 17 homers and knocked in 86 runs for the Royals in 2005, but may not get anywhere near that much playing time with

Emil Brown steady bat adds insurance at the DH and outfield spots

Trades and shaky bullpen aside this is still very much a team in that has enough talent to contend for the division in 2006.

OVERALL GRADE: B+ (5.8 / 7.0)

TEAM GRADE: C+ (24.0 / 36)
2006 Roster Changes: New Faces (Rookie Draft): OF Emil Brown (14), C Matt Treanor (37), SS Alfredo Amezaga (63), C Sandy Alomar (86), P Brian Moehler (97from Roger), P David Cortes (109), C Veteran outfielder Preston Wilson remains a stealing threat despite age and injuries Pete LaForest (135), P Seth McClung (158), C Mike Napoli (UNC)(181), C the Cats depending on how the first base John Flaherty (207); 28-man draft: INF situation pans out. At the very least, Brown Marco Scutaro (from Midwest), INF/OF

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Timo Perez (from Bethesda). Swap Meet (Trades): P Javier Vazquez (Roger), P Edwin Jackson (Roger), OF Preston Wilson (Roger), OF Juan Encarncacion (Roger), 2B Jeff Kent (Roger), SS Adam Everett (Roger), INF Brendan Harris (Roger). Dearly Departed (28-man): INF/OF Joe McEwing (to Richmond), INF Wes Helms (to Riegle), OF Aaron Guiel (High Plains), P Joe Kennedy (to Manhattan). Shipped Off (Trades): P BJ Ryan (Roger), INF Chris Gomez (Roger), OF Corey Patterson (Roger), SS Stephen Draw (UNC-Roger), P Mark Buehrle (Roger), SS Khalil Greene (Roger), 1B Carlos Pena (Roger); Cuts – P Todd Van Poppel, P Billy Koch, P Matt Mantei, P Jeff Niemann, C Brent Mayne, OF Gerald Williams, OF DeWayne Wise.

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