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The Ballpark in Arlington Park Factor: Hits 110; Runs 12; HRs 132  

(100 is average, under 100 is favorable to pitchers)

Chan Ho Park

Values ~  2000:  $19     2001:  $19     2002:  -$8     2003:  -$5

Park has delivered extremely poor return during his first two years in Texas, missing virtually all of 2003 with a back ailment that he supposedly had strengthened in the off-season through diet and workouts. At this point, it's impossible to know what to expect. When he was in LA and relatively healthy, Park had great leg drive and his stuff was impressive if erratic. Park features a mid 90's fastball with good movement, curve and sinker. He will mix in a slider on occasion and has added a change. He has a tendency to open up his hip early in his delivery, losing his control in the process. As a consequence, he runs deep counts and his pitch counts get high, leading to his having to be relieved relatively early in games at times. Having familiar former Dodger Hershiser as pitching coach should benefit Park if he returns to health.

Kenny Rogers

Values ~  2000:  $4     2001:  -$12     2002:  $8     2003:  $3

Rogers regressed last year after a strong 2002. Rogers throws a high 80s fastball, curve and change. He also has a slider, which he rarely throws, because of elbow pain. The last time I saw him the fastball was in the mid-80s except on occasion. He mixes his pitches well, constantly changing speeds. For the most part he works down and on the outer corner. Not surprisingly, he tends to get a lot of groundballs. He will occasionally bust a fastball inside sometimes with two strikes on the hitter to get a strikeout. He's 39 in a hitter's ballpark. End of the rotation filler if you bid at all.

Joaquin Benoit

Values ~  2000:  NA     2001: -$1     2002:  -$6     2003:  -$1

Benoit has a mid 90's fastball, a slider with a sharp break and a developing changeup. He's battled injuries throughout the minors but made good progress in recent years at AAA and it's worth noting that his hit rate with Texas improved last year 12% and his walk rate improved 29% vs. 2002 when in a game I watched the game analyst noted that he wasn't extending on his follow-through to finish his pitches. Despite the improved walk rate, he still has a problem with his control, runs too many deep counts and he's serving up way, way too many HRs. I like the fact that there is improvement here, so I'm intrigued with him as a speculative buy. Benoit's spring apparently isn't going well; he could be headed to long relief and is the subject of trade rumors.

Colby Lewis

Values ~  2000:  NA     2001:  NA     2002:  -$5     2003:  -$16

Lewis has struck out better than a batter an inning in the minors while walking just .33 batters an inning, which are very impressive numbers. His hit rates, however, have been good to average which are less dominant than one might expect and may indicate he's still learning how to pitch. I suspect he could be something special if and when he puts it all together. When I saw Lewis, his fastball was topping out at 91, well below the mid-90's level it's reputed to reach. It does have late movement though and combined with a slider and change, Lewis was effective that night. Clearly, however, that's at odds with his ratios and value for the year. While the numbers say stay away, it's worth noting he pitched very well in September, going 4-0 in 5 starts with a 1.21 WHIP. Speculative buy and I wouldn't be entirely shocked to see him turn in a modest positive value this season.

R.A. Dickey

Values ~  2000:  NA     2001:  -$1     2002:  NA     2003:  $0

A former first round draft pick, Dickey finally made an extended appearance in Texas after having been stuck at AAA the last few years and he was serviceable, working both out of the pen and rotation, when needed. His substandard hit rate is consistent with what he was doing at AAA the last few years, plus he's 29 so I wouldn't expect a sudden leap in value here.

Mickey Callaway

Values ~  2000:  NA     2001:  $1     2002:  $3     2003:  -$9

Callaway is a soft-tosser who will need to maintain the plate command he showed in the minors if he's to be successful in the bigs. Clearly, he didn't show that command last year and failed to deliver any value. Little interest at this point.

Francisco Cordero

Values ~  2000:  -$7     2001:  $1     2002:  $13     2003:  $15

I have liked Cordero since his rookie season. In a game I saw shortly after his called up in 1999,  he dominated major league hitters, striking out all 4 batters he faced and throwing only 4 or 5 pitches for balls. He has a 95-97 fastball and made better use last year of his slider. He struggled after being traded to Texas until mid-2002. Since then he's been lights out. He has had two half-seasons as the closer and deserves the job full-time. Expect a huge jump in value this year.

Jeff Nelson

Values ~  2000:  $13     2001:  $11     2002:  $4     2003:  $8

Nelson's combination of fastball and sidearm slider can make him as difficult to hit as any set-up reliever in the game. He gets outstanding movement on the slider and has difficulty throwing it for strikes. He has always had a high walk rate. Very good set-up guy who can help your ERA and Ratio, but likely to be less valuable in this ballpark.

Jay Powell

Values ~  2000:  -$1     2001:  $6     2002:  $2     2003:  -$10

Powell was horrendous last year. He spent the early part of the season on the DL with a sinus infection and later had some tendinitis, but he was ineffective all season long. Powell's a sinker/slider pitcher who gets a lot of ground balls when he's on but his GB/FB ratio has been eroding the last couple of years, suggesting he's not getting as much movement. Earlier in his career, it was said he lost movement on his pitches when he tried to throw harder in the closer role, but he has had better success setting up until last year. While I wouldn't rule out a comeback, I'd look elsewhere if I needed a set-up man for filler first.

Brian Shouse

Values ~  2000:  NA     2001:  NA     2002:  $0     2003:  $4

At 34, Shouse had an extensive minor league itinerary and just 26.2 major league innings to his credit before getting the call to Texas last year. Nice ratios and it's always good to see a guy who stuck it out that long get rewarded. Still, I'll root for him from afar. Shouse has been placed on the DL to open the season.

Ron Mahay

Values ~  2000:  -$7     2001:  $1     2002:  -$2     2003:  $6 

Mahay is a converted outfielder who's gotten occasional work in the bigs as a bullpen lefty. He has a fastball at about 90 and a change and when I last saw him, threw a good slider to LH hitters. He's been a fringe major leaguer and has moved around a lot in recent years. Last year he set career highs in appearances and IP and earned an invite back. Filler material at best.

Carlos Almanzar

Values ~  2000:  $2     2001:  $2     2002:  $2     2003:  NA

Almanzar is a fringe major league reliever who generally exhibits excellent control in the minors (last year at AAA he struck out 54 while walking only 3), but whose performance at the major league level has been inconsistent. His career ratios suggest a finesse pitcher who gets hit and has a proclivity for giving up the long-ball: Hit Rate = 1.11; K/BB Ratio = 2.20; HR Rate = .158.

Erasmo Ramirez

Values ~  2000:  NA     2001: NA     2002:  NA     2003:  $5

Ramirez has put up good numbers the last couple of years in the minors and showed pretty well after his call-up. I had him pegged as a situational lefty based on the limited innings he was seeing in the minors, but he actually averaged almost 1.5 IP per appearance and his splits, despite the data being somewhat limited, show he's equally effective against hitters on both sides. Filler potential.

Jeff Zimmerman

Values ~  2000:  -$1     2001:  $26     2002:  NA     2003:  NA

Zimmerman had extensive surgery on his elbow, repairing both ligaments and tendons and has missed the last two seasons. He's expected to return this spring and since he formerly closed for the team he merits some attention even though he first has to prove he's healthy and effective. Zimmerman has a slider with a lot of movement and a 92-94 mph fastball. His herky-jerky delivery may make it difficult for hitters to pick up the ball. Zimmerman had his elbow lock on him during an outing this spring and will have additional surgery.

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