Category Archives: batter v. pitcher

Why Bryce Harper Deserves Our Undivided Attention

I am pretty sure I could write pages and pages about why I love The Natural—its solemn nostalgia and ability to reawaken every part of me that loves every part of baseball—but I will try to contain myself to the subject outlined so subtly in the title.

Perhaps you are wondering what this man has to do with our title figure, Mr. Harper. Patience, I ask only for patience.

Roy Hobbs is not necessarily a fallen hero; he did no wrong but circumstances outside his control doomed him to fall short of the potential recognized by himself and others. We can never know if he would have fulfilled his Williamsesque prophesy, to walk down the street and hear people say: “there goes Roy Hobbs, the best there ever was,” but I am confident he would have. In sports, I see largely ordinary men do extraordinary things. I know they are ordinary because they get hurt like us (Tony Canigliaro); they aren’t ready like us (Billy Beane); they fall from grace and from the public eye, never to reveal just how deep their talent runs (Josh Hamilton).

Both the Rays and Hamilton seemed destined for greatness following the 1999 draft.

The film came out in 1984, when Josh Hamilton was three years old. He quickly became as close to a real-life Roy Hobbs as we will ever experience. Blessed with physical gifts as both a pitcher and hitter, there was not speculation about Hamilton’s potential: it was simply known that he would become one of the best players in the world, never mind that he was just 17 when drafted in 1999. The most “sure thing” prospect since another teen draftee, Ken Griffey Jr., Hamilton was believed to be able to make it in the majors as a pitcher or hitter (very Hobbsish), and would likely do so soon after the start of the new millennium. He was Bryce Harper before Bryce Harper picked up a bat, godly in his talent and titanic in his potential. Then he showed the world how human he was.

Imagine how much THIS would be worth if he was real.

Hamilton fell victim to injuries and drug addiction. Instead of bursting onto the scene with precocious teen talent, Hamilton struggled to find his way to the majors, finally making his debut in 2007. He was supposed to be the best in the league on his way to “the best there ever was” by then, well on his way to cementing his place among baseball’s immortals.

Hamilton has shown his talent over the last six years, even taking home an MVP in 2010, but one night stands out to me, a night that only young boys and Hollywood could have imagined. In 2008, the Home Run Derby at Yankee Stadium (in New York—the Hobbs comparisons become eerie) allowed the baseball world to feast its eyes on talent unlike most ever witnessed. Hamilton swung 38 times in the first round. He hit 28 home runs, including 13 in a row at one point.

Hamilton put on a type of show unseen since Barry Levinson’s magical 1984 film.

People can’t even do that in wiffleball or video games. Hamilton—or Hobbs—is the player you create in a virtual world because you will never see him in ours, the slugger you pretend to be in your daydreams and fantasies. I didn’t just want to be a major leaguer; I wanted to be THE guy, the player with unlimited talent and even more potential—Nomar in 1997 or Pujols in 2001 or Ted Williams back in 1939.

Whoops. Not this Nomar.

Hobbs makes me smile, but Hamilton breaks my heart. Hobbs ensures that he will be remembered forever, rising from the depths as he lifts a team and city from comparable doldrums, as he carries the Knights to the pennant in dramatic fashion. People may not say “the best there ever was,” but they would certainly say “there goes Roy Hobbs.” I do not know for certain if Josh Hamilton will reach that point, and that kills me. That magical night at Yankee Stadium in the summer of 2008 reminded every person witnessing of the deep well that contains Hamilton’s ability, a place that will perhaps never run dry but has certainly been greatly depleted. Hamilton is a hero to many, not only a great baseball player but also a human being who got his life back together having faced a crippling addiction. But I don’t think he will ever be a hero to himself, because he knows how good he could have been. One must hope he has an Iris Gaines of his own, reminding him of the present and future, lest he forever mire in the missed opportunities of the past.

Hamilton does a lot of looking off into space, as if forging in his mind what could have been. Must be a pretty picture.

I realize now that I failed in my attempt to focus on how Redford shapes the film, but I think this says a lot about his performances and about me as a viewer. He embodies Sundance and Johnny Hooker and Hobbs and all of his characters with seductive magnetism, reminding us of the lives we dreamed of as kids and still remember dreaming of as we age but fail to grow up. Redford’s appeal transcends gender or sexuality or time, I believe. In The Natural, who wouldn’t root for a country boy with a homegrown swing and self-made bat? Who can help but root for the Knights, decked out in the regalia of a time when greedy owners and their corporate ambitions could be overcome by the divine prowess of a single man?

We often place superheroes’ expectations upon the shoulders of our superstars, calling upon them to bring in fans or sponsors or to save fading leagues. Rarely are we granted the privilege of experiencing a Roy Hobbs, but even rarer is the chance to witness someone with that talent who does not lose his years to gunshots or drug addictions.

Watch – witness – Bryce Harper as often as you can while you can. Naturals are in limited supply.

Let’s hope whatever that picture is he’s seeing becomes a reality.

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Filed under Baseball, batter v. pitcher, NBA, Random Thoughts

Elvis Lives…

…or something.

there are two types of people... the chinese and the king. and he's the king.

Well I’m not talking about the KING, but Elvis Andrus is making a name for himself in his own right.

I must admit, most of my knowledge of almost every West Coast team comes from my maniacal fantasy baseball following.  But this often means pouring over box scores and recaps.  While that allows me to assess who’s streaking and whatnot, I don’t pick up on the same oddities I often find in my following everyday of the American League East.

But I knew Elvis Andrus was, if you will, the ‘king’ of hitting those lights-out pitchers out West.  They mention in passing on ESPN and MLB Network that Andrus hits Jered Weaver and Felix Hernandez well.  So when Don Orsillo mentioned in the broadcast tonight that Andrus always hit well against David Price, I took to investigating.

 

I found this:  Elvis Andrus hits good pitching.  Period.  Capital.  Next sentence.

It’s a bit odd.  For a player (a good one, make no mistake) who is really known as a speed/defense guy as of now, Andrus has some damn good numbers against some DAMN good pitchers.  Take a look (splits found here):

 

vs. Jered Weaver

19/46 (.413 Batting Average), 3 Doubles, 3 Steals, a .438 On-Base Percentage and an OPS of 1.024

 

vs. Felix Hernandez

15/43 (.349 BA), 3 Doubles, 8 RBI’s, a .404 OBP and an OPS of .823

 

vs. John Danks

5/11 (.455 BA), a double, a steal, 3 walks and an OBP of .571

 

vs. Jon Lester

4/14 (.286 BA), .375 On-Base, a steal

 

vs. James Shields

7/12 (.583 BA), 2 doubles, 2 triples, a .615 OBP

vs. David Price

4/12 (.333), 4 walks, 4 steals, OBP of .529

vs.  Zach Greinke

3/8 (.375) with a double

vs. Ervin Santana

11/31 (.355), 2 steals, a .783 OPS

vs. John Lackey

gotcha!  c’mon…. did you really think…. please.

 

While he obviously has a larger sample size against the AL West, Mr. Andrus, in varying sample sizes, has performed at the top of his game against pitchers at the top of theirs.  His career stats (a .271 average, a .683 OPS, a .340 OBP) all point to what I was saying before- for his first three years in the league, he’s been what most people throughout baseball history have thought a shortstop should be (before that Ripken fella): a fast guy who slaps the ball around and plays good, rangy defense.

 

My only point is that Andrus has proven to be more valuable than just that.  He’s a guy you want when your team needs it most- going up against an ace.  He’s the bloop-singling, base-hit bunting, base-stealing thorn in the side of countless stud pitchers and it’ll be fun to see how he handles himself in these playoffs.

 

...and how the rangers let him live this down...

Just sayin’.

 

Enjoy watching Maddon’s hair curl.

 

– Will aka Vinnie the Gooch

 

 

and here’s a frakkin amazing song AND video.  Seriously watch it NOW!

 

 

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Filed under batter v. pitcher, Cajones, MLB, PLAYOFFS, Posted, Random Thoughts

You should probably draft some Rangers

The unofficial mascot and motto of the 2011 Texas Rangers offense

And by Rangers, I mean the Texas offense, which has the potential to be absurd this year. Let’s take a look at the Ranger’s possible starting nine, (last years numbers are provided).

SS: Elvis Andrus (.265 AVG, 0 HR, 35 RBI, .342 OBP, .301 SLG, 32 SB)

2B: Ian Kinsler (.286, 9, 45, .382, .412)

1B: Jorge Cantu: (.256, 11, 56, .304, .392)

3B: Adrian Beltre (.321, 28, 102, .365, .553)

C: Bengie Molina (.249, 5, 36, .297, .326)

OF: Josh Hamilton (.359, 32, 100, .411, .633)

OF: Nelson Cruz (.318, 22, 78, .374, .567)

OF: David Murphy (.291, 12, 65, .358, .449)

DH: Michael Young (.284, 21, 91, .330, .440)

Other than Molina, those numbers are insane. Plus, Beltre’s numbers were from when he was playing for the Red Sox last year. What the Rangers lost with Cliff Lee in terms of pitching, they made up for in offense with Beltre. It should be noted that the Rangers put up those numbers without him in the lineup. If Beltre produces like he did last year, the Rangers are going to be an offensive force and with the sixth-highest park factor in the majors, the offensive numbers should continue.

While there are some obvious players to draft on this team (Hamilton, Beltre, Cruz) the lesser players like Young and Murphy should also put up better numbers with all the star power around them. Pitchers will be worn out after facing the Rangers 1-5, allowing ample opportunity for the bottom of the order to produce some big numbers.

Especially in deeper leagues, look for the likes of Young in the middle rounds (who will have added value because he will be eligible at multiple positions and will also be forgotten about because of Beltre) and Murphy in the later rounds. Another player to watch this year will be Taylor Teagarden. Due to Molina’s age (36) and lack of offensive production (see above) Teagarden might get a legitament shot this year, and could succeed without so much pressure. (The same goes for Jarrod Saltalamacchia, but that is for another post).

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Filed under batter v. pitcher, catchers, Fantasy Baseball, first base, MLB, offseason, Opinion, outfield, Pickups, second base, shortstop, Sleepers, third base

Shiny New Toys – Hitters

Every offseason, there are moves.  Some statement, huh?  But every year, guys switch teams.  Sometimes this is stupendous for fantasy purposes (example: Leaving PETCO) other times the move is irrelevant (say, anything pertaining  to Placido Polanco).  I am here today to discuss some of the moves that will alter the fantasy landscape, moves that will make a player more valuable to your team, moves that will score you a ‘nice move’ by your fellow drafters on the big day.  Here are some hitters that moved and how they’ll be that much better for it in the upcoming year:

———————————————————————————–

Carl Crawford

Obviously, I was going to start this post with my new friend’s upside.  Carl Crawford doesn’t really need to be hyped up for you to know going to the Red Sox will be beneficial for his numbers.  But I’m going to give you a few ideas anyway.  Here is one time I’m going to completely ignore Bill James’ predictors.  He seems to think Carl is not going to have 100 runs scored.  I’m willing to bet my left ear that Carl Crawford will score a ton in the newly revamped Sox lineup, easily scoring 100 runs.  Also take into account that Crawford has always been a good Fenway hitter.  Give him a bunch more at bats in our beloved banbox and he could definitely see a spike in both homers and triples, what with the 300 foot foul pole in right and all kinds of juts and jabs in the outfield wall.  Take a look at Crawford’s projections then add up- he’s going to have a monster year.

Adrian Gonzalez

Much of Crawford’s production will be due in large part to this man.  I salivate thinking about Adrian Gonzalez in Fenway.  Notorious for being an excellent opposite field hitter, A-Gone could potentially hit 50 homers and set the record for most 301 foot 4-baggers in the history of baseball.  You see, Fenway, in all it’s glory, has the unique dimensions ideal for a power hitter like Gonzalez, short porch in left for those lofty fly balls to the opposite field and short down the line for the extreme pull.  With a good lineup, Gonzalez should hit 40 homers and have 100 walks easily, it’s some of the other stats that interest me.  Doubles, RBI, Runs, in this new Sox lineup Gonzalez should flourish.  He’s a power hitter, sure, but he also consistently puts good wood on the ball.  Don’t you think some of those line drives to left in PETCO are suddenly going to be high up on the Monstah at the Fens?  I expect the new Slugger to put up big, big, big numbers in all the useful categories: Homers, Doubles, RBI’s, Runs, OBP, OPS, all the stats you would want a slugger to provide in fantasy.  Draft him accordingly.

Mark Reynolds

I know, be afraid.  Be very afraid.  Many owners don’t want even a sniff of Reynolds on their team but I’m not one of them.  You don’t make up that kind of power.  I acknowledge and accept his strikeouts, those aren’t going anywhere.   Mark Reynolds is not going to win you a week with singles and average.  Draft Ichiro if you want that.  Mark Reynolds can mash.  I draft him as a late cheap source of power, and let the season sort itself out.  So why am I such a Mark Reynolds madman this year?  Power is contagious.  Camden Yards is a fairly good hitters park, so his power shouldn’t take a hit at home.  Removing PETCO and Coors from the equation, where he doesn’t have great numbers also will serve to help Reynolds.  Let’s also not forget that he suddenly gets to play a handful of games at Fenway Park, Yankee Stadium, and the new launching pad in Toronto.  I’m betting Reynolds, at the very least, has an excellent power year, filling up the Homers and RBI categories, while maintaining his lumberjackian strikeout rate.

Adam Dunn

Speaking of sluggers at launching pads, Adam Dunn, known for his big bat, is heading to an absolute rocket pad of a home stadium.  Especially in the summer, Comiskey tends to be a homer-happy stadium where you can put it on the booooaaarrrrrd.  Dunn joins a solid lineup this year and let us not forget, he put up his usual numbers playing on a team protected in the lineup by Ryan Zimmerman and not much else.  Now paired up with Paul Konerko, I expect an upturn in homers, as well as more RBI’s with there being more people on base in Chicago as opposed to the Nats.  If Adam Dunn can hit 40 homers in Nationals Park, he should be able to put up big numbers in Comiskey with his eyes closed.

Dan Uggla

 

Just wrote up Mr. Uggla here, in our Second Base post, and it should be pretty obvious I like the guy going into the year.  The Braves have a pretty nice lineup and Uggla should be in line for some excellent RBI/Run numbers.  Playing in the same division, the parks are relatively the same and I believe Turner Field is a fairly neutral park.  However, much like Dunn, Uggla seems to be pretty much guaranteed for 30-100 (HR-RBI) regardless of what’s going on around him.  I expect nothing less this year and he could benefit greatly from a year-old Jason Heyward’s improvement that we all see coming.

Cameron Maybin

There is a certain type of player who can thrive in PETCO Park.  I believe Maybin is one of them.  Long and athletic, Maybin is the perfect fit defensively for the stadium, able to gracefully cover the spacious park’s outfield.  But who cares about actual baseball when there are fantasy implications to discuss?  Maybin has great speed.  This speed/athleticism is also perfect for PETCO’s spacious alleyways as a hitter. Bill James (yea, him again) has him hitting .277.  I would be thrilled with that.  At PETCO, I can see Maybin being a Mike Cameron-like player for the Padres, hitting 15 homers, a bunch of doubles and triples, and stealing 20 bases.  Doesn’t that sound better than ‘what the hell is the deal with Cameron Maybin?’ which is what was happening in Florida.  With a fresh life in San Diego (which is Spanish for a whale’s vagina), and his notoriously fresh legs, I’m looking forward to a good year from Maybin in 2011.  Without a doubt, though, he’ll win you the Web Gem category if you have that stat…

Ty Wiggington

Sigh.  I wanted 7 players and this is what I came up with.  Wiggington is a useful fantasy chip for his versatility and power.  He figures to only strengthen both in Colorado, where he’ll play all over and should see a considerable spike in his home numbers.  Though a small sample size, he has good numbers at Coors, but then again, most people have pretty good numbers at Coors.  Wiggington is my go-to guy for injury plug in, but once again, his usefulness in understood and likely not changing.

——————————————————————————————————————-

 

There you have it, my thoughts on some of the guys who have switched colors this offseason.  Don’t hold me to my own thoughts, I’m no ‘expert’.  Now enjoy the snow and drink lots of water, New Years Eve means long island iced teas for everyone!

first stop, long island iced tea st. next stop blackout circle...

 

-w

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Filed under batter v. pitcher, Fantasy Baseball, offseason, Posted, Random Thoughts

Dead (armed) Dudes

rick porcello

With Halloween coming up, I have decided to tackle the zombie issue in the major leagues.  And by this I mean the walking dead…arms.  Gotcha.  Here are some guys, for various reasons (but mostly just young guys with large innings loads) who could be zombie-like at some point next year:

C.J. Wilson

Heads our list because, c’mon, he was a closer/setup guy before this year.  Now do not get me wrong, I owned Wilson almost all year- I love the guy.  But going from 73 and 2/3 innings to 204(WOW!  I had to double check this number) is an astounding jump.  It’s a testament to Wilson’s toughness he went so many innings this year.  Without too much research, inkling, foresight, pretty much with only a heap of common sense, I can tell you, C.J. Wilson will go through some point next year with a dead-ish arm.  This could mean a variety of things; from him simply losing velocity and becoming less effective for a stretch to him needing to be shut down with a tired arm.  But with the load of the past season AND the tough postseason,  I am telling you- Wilson will experience zombie arm syndrome (ZAS) at some point.  And yes, I just coined that phrase.

Ricky Romero

Ricky Romero is going to be a good pitcher for years to come.  His changeup is too good to not be effective.  However, in 2009, he threw 192 innings in 2009, and 210 in 2010 (cool beans!).  All I’m saying is that he went from 88 in 2007 to 160ish in 2008 to the aforementioned numbers and relies on the difference between his fastball and change to be effective… this could all be a moot point as John Farrell, pitching guru and former Red Sox great is apparently in line for the managerial spot in Toronto, but I’d watch for a midseason swoon from a tired Romero, as this year’s September swoon (1.59 WHIP) might suggest.  I’m still drafting him though.

 

Gio Gonzalez

Another case of over doubling major league innings (Gonzalez threw 61 in the minors in 2009, but I say there is a large difference between minor league innings and major league ones- especially out of the bullpen as Gonzalez often did), Gonzalez went from 98.2 IP in 2009 to 202.2 in 2010.  Gonzalez showed all kinds of signs of learning and becoming a Jonathan Sanchez-type starter this past year, but it is undeniable that he saw a considerable innings spike and throws lots of pitches in general as he has a relatively high BB rate, which got worse in September as did his other stats (except for BAA, which leads me to believe it was more of a control issue…).  Once again, I could be totally wrong and Oakland may have a genius way of working their pitchers just so to their peak effectiveness (actually, pretty likely).  But MY bet going into 2011 is that Gio Gonzalez is going to have a couple of months where his fastball doesn’t have that same ziiiiip.  ZAS STRIKES AGAIN! FEEEEED ME ARM AND SHOULDER LIGAMENTS!

Mat Latos

Ho nasty was this kid down the stretch?  Actually, he wasn’t. Check out those splits.  He tired out as September arrived, as his BAA took a huge jump.  It had sat around .190 (WOW) for many months, only to jump over .300 in September/October.  Latos went from 50.2 major league innings (123 overall- 47 in AA, 25.1 in A ball) in 2009 to 184.2 in 2010.  Now I’m not saying to not draft or keep Latos next year- quite the opposite, I’ll take him both ways in my leagues.  Owners should be prepared for a month in the middle of the season where his numbers drop off/the league corrects to him.  Unlike the aforementioned starters, Latos had the added benefit of being a newbie on the scene meaning teams did not have as much info on him going into games.  With a season of data on the young hurler, not only are the innings going to catch up to him, but the hitters are as well- yes, even in the NL West.  Baseball has become a game of technology and patterns and you can bet your ass there are a great number of NL hitters who spent some serious time analyzing some embarrassing AB’s against the young Latos.  All that being said, he’s one of my keepers for next year in my league with my buddies, so don’t get too down, people.

Phil Hughes

Go back and look at Phil Hughes monthly splits.  Do it here. Going from around 100 Major and minor league innings to 175 clearly affected the young righty, as his numbers dipped in June-July-August.  Like Latos, Hughes got the butt end of some good scouting I’d bet, as teams got a better feel for him pitching against them.  Hughes is an interesting candidate for ZAS, though.  Did he already go through his growing pains?  Is my Yankee bias shining through?  Yes and yes.  But bias aside, the innings did add up and hitters did get smarter.  The Yankees scored a ton of runs for him and that can be a sort of mental cushion as well.  It is my opinion that it isn’t the year of the jump in innings that gets a pitcher, but rather the year after.  Hughes is in my book as a guy to be cautious with in 2011, as I see the innings and league catching up with him.

And who knows, maybe all the innings ill catch up with Sabathia too and it won’t matter when the Yankees sign Cliff Lee.  Sigh.  I can hope, can’t I?

 

BEWARE ZOMBIE ARM SYNDROME

 

and don’t eat too much candy corn, you’ll trip on corn syrup (so I’m told)

 

GO RANGERS!  GO ZOMBIES!

 

-w

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Filed under batter v. pitcher, Fantasy Baseball, MLB, offseason, Opinion, Posted, Random Thoughts

I Don’t Usually Do This Type of Thing…

he is too drunk. he should stop.

So… I’m a pretty smart guy, some say.  I read People magazine.  I eat carrots and broccoli.  I have many leather-bound books.  But I find it intensely frustrating when I look at a team I am playing and feel like the other manager has out-waiver-picked me (I’m pointing right at you, Casey McGhee).  So sometimes, to prove a point, I do my homework.  Serious homework.  And I try to exploit a matchup for a night, with one guy versus some pitcher he mashes.  My favorite being my repeated pick ups of Mike Cameron thoughout the years.

I rarely share this information- Hey, I’m doing the work.  But since we have maybe 6 people who read this regularly, I think you will benefit from my generosity.

Enough tooting of my own horn (wait, once more- toot.), I do have a point.  Tomorrow night, I have a highly favorable matchup I plan on trying to exploit.  The guy might not play, he might go ofer, or he may go on to hit for the cycle.  I do not claim to know.  I am only saying that based on the body of work, this should not be taken lightly.

So who am I picking up tonight?  Mark.  Kotsay.

who... me?

Now you may be saying, ‘sir, you are mad.  Kotsay is hitting a paltry .23o right now!’  To which I say ‘thhhhptttt,’ very maturely.

Here are the facts:

– Kotsay is notoriously streaky (the best kind of pickup for these scenarios), and has been hitting well

– Kotsay hits well at US Cellular Field.  You can check. Or just trust me.

– Over the past week, in 18 at bats, Kotsay has 6 hits (3 doubles) and 2 walks, to go with 3 RBI’s

– As he has become a more part-time player over the past years, Kotsay has become even more pronounced in his Righty/Lefty splits.  Ervin Santana is a righty.  Kotsay handles them.

– Speaking of Santana, did you know that Kotsay is 10 for 24 against the righty (3 doubles a .417 average) with 5 walks and no strikeouts (adding a SB for good measure)

– Santana does not pitch as well away from LALA land.  Check.

– I like Mark Kotsay.

So, I’m banking on a summer night in Chicago, when the air is homer-prone that Kotsay is going to have a solid game.  If you dare, come down the rabbit hole with me and see if I’m right.

I think I’m going to be.  And I looked it all up.  Maybe I wasted my time.  Maybe not.

Don’t goof up Mark.

– w

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Filed under batter v. pitcher, Fantasy Baseball, MLB, Opinion, Pickups, Posted, Sleepers

Interesting Match-up of the night

This evening I am going to be starting a new segment: “Interesting match-up the night” where I will preview and what I feel is an interesting match up, pitcher vs. hitter. Anyway, tonight I am putting Carl Pavano vs. Evan Longoria. So, Longoria is 1-8 with 3 k’s against Pavano in his career and Pavano is coming off two complete game gems. This is a perfect situation for Longoria to break out of his slump as Pavano is probably not going to be real sharp after throwing 18 innings in 10 days. Look for Evan to go 2-5 with a single, a 2B and 3 RBI.

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Filed under batter v. pitcher, Cajones, MLB, Opinion, Random Thoughts

Matchups to Eye for 6.16.2010

While there are a bevy of great matchups that can help your fantasy team to a monster night on wednesday, here are three guys that I expect to make a lot of nerds – sitting in front of the tv with their laptops – extremely happy:

Paul Konerko (CWS-1B) Slugging nearly .600 against pitchers whose dominant pitch is there curveball this season. Lucky for Paul, Pirates pitcher Zach Duke has allowed 5 home runs in his last two starts (both losses). Expect to see a bit of a resurgance of pop out of Konerko.

Hanley Ramirez (FLA-SS) – Okay I know he’s a marquee player but he certainly hasn’t showed much pop or speed yet (which are the stats that make him so valuable.) Well smile Han-Ram owners because he is slugging .615 against Texas pitcher Tommy Hunter in his career. And oh yeah, Hanley has stolen 3 bases in his previous 2 games.

Jonathon Niese (NYM-SP) Coming off back to back superb starts (including a complete game shutout last time out) Niese has seen great success with his fastball. As we all know, if you can locate your low-mid 90’s fastball, hitters have a tough time stringing together base-runners. Might I add that Niese will be facing the Cleveland Indians – who I seem to have been hatin on lately, oops – and Progressive Field doesn’t really garner the classification of being a hitter’s ballpark.

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Filed under batter v. pitcher, Fantasy Baseball, MLB, Opinion, Pickups, Sleepers

Mastering the Moment

…life was good back then

On just another night at Progressive Field in Cleveland – that’s what they’re calling home games there now – depressed Cleveland sports fans were in minimal attendance to see what they expected to be another tally in the win column for the Red Sox.

Well it wasn’t just another night for pitcher Justin Masterson. The 25 year old was set up to face his former team, the Boston Red Sox.  After being traded to Cleveland in the Victor Martinez deal last July, Masterson has seen a severe lack in run support along with an inability to string together quality starts.

Facing potential All-Star Game Starting Pitcher Clay Buchholz, Masterson in my mind wasn’t going to make it past the 6th inning.  Well either the Sox were paying respect to a once loved pitching prospect, or Justin got a hold of some of Jeff Niemann’s Kool-Aid.

His final line: CG, SHO, 2 H, 2 BB, 6 K (110 pitches)

…this all coming before an 8-run 8th inning.

Materson has always had great stuff and with an unorthodox delivery his effectiveness is never completely absent.

I’m going to go ahead and give Masterson 2nd place this week in the Cajones Bowl (an event that did not exist until I had to tell two players they had cajones) only behind King Stras and his MLB debut because it takes an expensive pair of jewels to throw a CG shutout against the Red Sox – especially with the way they have been hitting lately; against his former team no-less; against one of the hottest pitchers in baseball too (Buchholz had a 2.31 era entering the game and managed to allow 3 er over 7 innings last night).

Amidst all the Strasburg hooplah, I thought it was necessary to give Masty a shout out because this could be the biggest start of his career…at least until he pitches for a contender.

And no just because I wrote about him you shouldn’t pick him up in your league…lack of consistency and Shin Soo-Choo as your best hitter doesn’t quite generate a high level of success.

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Filed under batter v. pitcher, Cajones, Fantasy Baseball, MLB, Opinion

I Don’t Usually Do This Type of Thing…

she farted.

Ok, so I’m sharing some strategy here.

Weeks are won on Mondays such as this one on the horizon.  With a few teams off, there is undoubtedly room to stream a player/ snag a guy for a fill-in role.  I do extensive research on nights such as this to see if I can exploit any ridiculous batter-pitcher matchups.  Well folks, I’ve found a great one.  Sometimes there is a matchup that just clicks (and I’m known for finding a few a year- ask Dave about my infamous Mike Cameron pickups).

ALEX RIOS VS. GIL MECHE

Gil Meche has been, simply put, very, very, very bad (and that was SIMPLY put).  Alex Rios has quietly been having a nice season for the White Sox – I swear I’m not getting paid to write about them.  Meche struggles at US Cellular Field (scroll down, it’s there) and it is prime heat-homer-vortex season.  All this is enough for me to look.  Look below and you’ll want to grab him, in a strictly he’s-going-to-have-at-least-a-hit-and-a-run-scored kind of way:

AB HITS 2B 3B HR RBI BB K SB CS AVG OBP OPS
21 12 2 2 0 1 2 3 2 0 .571 .609 1.466

I hope those numbers speak for themselves.  I usually discount stats with less than 20 plate appearances, as that’s too small a sample size, so even that’s not an excuse.

Go pick him up.  If he’s there.  If not, grab Andruw.  Or Konerko… who should be gone not only because I posted about it but also because he HAS 12 HOME RUNS!!!!!

DO IT! DO IIIIIT NOWWWW!
you’re welcome.

-W

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Filed under batter v. pitcher, Opinion, Pickups, Posted, Random Thoughts