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monday musings

monday odds and ends:

  • if you didn't tune in over the weekend, the 16-team tournament field is set; here's the bracket. we're gonna resume the tourney tomorrow, so that gives you one more day to fill out a bracket and enter Cardinal70's bracket challenge.
  • Future Redbirds has a long Q+A with farm director John Vuchs; tons of info about the farm system, top-to-bottom. a quick sampler:
    [Brian] Barton's selection was a good example of how we try to incorporate as many of our personnel into the decision making process. We send the Rule 5 susceptible list to all of our pro scouts for them to identify anyone who would be of interest to them, and we have our performance analysts do the same. While they're perusing the list, I'm reading through every report that our scouts and PD personnel have written about any Rule 5 eligible player during the last two years . . . The thing that stood out about Barton was that he popped up in all three methods. We had very positive scouting reports from the past, our pro scouts mentioned him as a current player of interest, and he was one of the top performing players available in the Rule 5 according to our analysts. After talking with the major league staff and identifying roles where we might have room to carry a Rule 5 drafted player, Barton wound up at the top of our list.
  • as long as i'm pimping: i wrote the st louis section again this year for The Hardball Times Season Preview 2008, now available from Acta Sports. lotta other SB Nation bloggers involved. here's a quick preview of the guide, and here are links to some sample pages. a quick disclaimer: while i wrote the player comments for the st louis roster, i did not set the rotisserie dollar values nor do the numerical projections; if those lead you astray, not my fault. of course, they might just lead you to a league championship --- in which case, feel free to send me a portion of the jackpot.
  • the P-D weatherbird turns 107 today and marks the occasion with the debut of his own blog. the maiden post features a nice little video that shows dan martin drawing today's cartoon. as many of you are aware, longtime weatherbird cartoonist Amadee Wohlschlaeger morphed the character into the El Birdos insignia back in the 1960s. happy birthday to the w'bird.
finally, since it's an odds-n-ends day, this seems like an appropriate time to observe that you could construct a presentable major-league team from among the odds n ends still available on the free agent market, just days before pitchers / catchers report:
lineup rotation bench bullpen
k lofton cf li hernandez c patterson of b wickman
sh green 1b lohse sh stewart of s chacon
b bonds lf j fogg mi piazza c/1b a benitez
k mench rf je weaver j cirillo if r villone
r branyan 3b ba colon a cintron if ma miller
t graffanino 2b k benson g norton 1b an alfonseca
d miller c ro lopez tr nixon of b kim
r clayton ss s trachsel

if you build a 25-man roster out of those guys and check their PECOTAs, you can come up with a team that projects to be about 40 wins better than replacement --- a 70-win team. sure they'd play unsightly defense, and a number of the guys face obstacles related to health, prosecution, or other issues . . . . but just go with it. i plugged the PECOTAs for that starting 8 into david pinto's lineup toy, just for fun --- 4.4 runs per game, nearly as many runs as the cardinals scored last year.

at least one of the players on this list might end up in the nl central --- kenny lofton might sign with the reds, depending on whether or not they trade an outfielder for a starting pitcher.