Category Archives: pitchers

Letting Go

With Roy Halladay landing on the DL (and in general looking very un-Doc-like), I am reminded some (now many) weeks ago when Curt Schilling streamed a commentary on a very disappointing Halladay Spring Training start.  His concluding, and definitive, tweet is below:

“@gehrig38: Halladay threw 81 pitches and induced the Blue Jays to swing and miss only three of them that’s when I knew things had changed for me…..”

You can say a lot of things about Schilling, on the full spectrum of love and hate. Personally, I like the guy (his sports views, at least). One thing everyone can agree on with Lord Bloodied Sock is that he rarely pulls punches.  Schilling speaks to what he sees, and he saw Halladay’s dominance slipping away before his eyes.  As Schill points out, he would know.  So I trust his assessment completely…

…That’s a lie.  I refused to believe Curt Schilling.  I have been a Roy Halladay fan since I first really dove into baseball.  Truthfully, I’ve been a fan since I got a whollllle bunch of his rookie cards in the thousands and thousands of Topps cards I bought:

Yung Doc and the Wildlings up North (Album TBD)

What did I expect to happen?  Did I really expect Doc to throw 220 WHIP-of-one innings a year until he was 45?  Maybe a little bit.  I ignored Schilling for a while, drafting Halladay late in Mock Drafts over and over, assuming I was cleverly weeding out how long I could wait before snatching up a great fantasy value and, more importantly, a staple of my teams & fandom.

But as then the drafts approached a funny thing happened: I had a big-picture change of perspective.  This certainly had something to do with the Patriot’s handling of the beloved Wes Welker (and in a larger sense, a realization that they truly stuck to their ‘better a year too early than too late’ principles).  On top of this serendipitous timing, though, was a realization of something sort of horrible – it’s actually been quite a while since I was a kid.

I mean in no way that I am an old fogie.  While I do love shuffleboard, I will refuse to use the saying ‘in my day…’ until I have truly earned it.  What I mean is – it’s been a long time, in sports and fantasy terms, since the late 90’s/early 2000’s (my sports coming-of-age time).  My favorites are aging.  Their name often carries more weight than their bat or arm.  Such is life.

This revolutionary show came out in August of 1999. Think about how old Regis is now.

 So this raises the question – when do you give up on a proven warrior for you?  For example, just how long can Lance Berkman be your binky?  The easy answer there, for me, up until  he went to the Yankees.  

I have been pondering this all season.  Another example; It makes sense for the Rangers to move on from Mike Young, as hard as it may have been.  They have young players coming up to fill his spot in the next 2-3 years and, in the Rangers’ mind, he was no longer a cost-efficient part of their equation.    For us fantasy owners?  I sure as hell was not giving up on a 200-hit guy  – especially on the cheap.  But for every Mike Young redemption, there are two more aging favorites falling off the map.

Sometimes it’s better to be lucky than good.  Sometimes an elder statesman finds a second wind (with assistance or otherwise, Mr. Ortiz).  Sometimes, as in the case of Doc Halladay, age brings a tearing at the seams.  

I settled on this:  Loyalty in fantasy baseball is admirable.  I will hold on to an aging favorite, squeezing every last drop of productivity out of their skills until the crap out and I drop them.  Loyalty in ‘real’ baseball, and in sports-business in general, is misplaced.  Derek Jeter ought to be a Yankee for life – he means more than just his numbers to an entire city.  But for most players, in most sports, someone like Roy Halladay, the hardest part (for both us as fans, and for the declining player) is often letting go.

Now that you are sufficiently sad about your aging favorites getting worse, I recommend that Bolton jam at the top of the page and some Ben & Jerry’s.

– V

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Filed under Baseball, Fantasy Baseball, MLB, Opinion, pitchers

Can’t Be Worse in 2013… Right?

This picture made me very happy but has little to do with the article. Fair warning.

This time of year presents some of my favorite baseball writing. Beat writers struggling to make PFP drills and AAAA scrimmages as exciting as the real thing, often with weird and hilarious results. Authors rating the “best” offseason, analyzing rookies and naming sleepers. These are all fun, but one of my favorite types of articles is the “bounceback” story. Call me a sucker for redemption.

I read dozens of these every spring, yet it has only now occurred to me the amusing subtext in many of these pieces. Sugarcoat it all you want, throw in fancy words and compliments both back and front-handed, many baseball “bounceback” stories boil down to a most basic human sense of dread – it can’t get much worse.

So without dancing around the issue, here are the guys who can’t get much worse in 2013. Seriously.  If they did it might break math or something:

Michael Young

static lip reading: “shooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooot”

Maybe Michael Young got old (let’s be clear: he’s 36, so in real-people years his life is just kicking into full-on grown up gear – but in baseball years…).  I doubt that has to do with his crappy 2012.  If indeed he did get old…. damn did it happen fast.  Bizarrely so.  No, I imagine such suckitude was an anomaly.  Young has long been compared to Paul Molitor (or at least I always have), another guy who played wherever he was asked to, DH’ed a bit, and always went bout his business – the business of hitting.  Young had 9 straight years of 170+ hits, and that is with a 2009 season cut short with a hammy injury.  He had been a model of consistency.  So just how bad was he?  Let’s look at some numbers!  Hooray numbers!

Young had a negative WAR, -1.4.  You need to know very little about numbers and even less about WAR to know that a negative stat is probably bad.  In this case, that number signifies that a replacement player would have been a BETTER OPTION THAN MIKE YOUNG.  Yikes (For those of you unfamiliar with this and any following statistics, I refer you here, to Fangraphs’ Glossary, where much smarter people have explained them in much more intelligent ways).

Wanna know who had a better WAR than Young, just for kicks? Carlos Pena did, and he hit below .200.  Jemile Weeks did, and his WAR was zero – they could’ve put any schmo in the minors in his spot, right statistics?  Both Juan Uribe AND Juan Pierre had a better WAR’s and they’re, well, Juan Pierre and Juan Uribe.

WAR is not the be all, end all – just ask Mike Trout – but it is a useful measure in comparing players against the league norms.  Maybe you don’t like WAR.  Maybe you like ‘old school’ ideas and stats.  Sabermetricians and old fogie scouts can all agree that a great measure of a player (given enough At Bats or sample size, depending on your era) is OBP.  If a guy gets on base, whether you see it in numbers on paper or with yuor own fading eyesight, he’s generally a useful player, as Mike Young had once been.  In 2012, Young had an OBP of .312.  Which is gross. Howie Kendrick was 20 points better, and he swings at everything (154 BB career).  Hunter Pence’s OBP was higher and if he doesn’t swing 48% of the time the bomb in his bat detonates (Hunter Pence is a big, big Keanu Reeves fan).

Toss aside numbers for a moment, though.  If you had the misfortune of rooting for Mr. Young last year, whether it be for your fantasy team (me) or your real team (Rangers) or both (sorry, friends), you could see he looked plain bad.  Some skills fade with age, sure.  Young won’t be stealing double digit bases again.  But his hand eye and batting eye have simply not fallen off the map.  With an ADP well over 200 (230 at the time of this article), I assure you Young is worth taking a flyer on in Fantasy Baseball.  As for the real thing?  The Phillies also took a flyer, betting that Young will hit until he quits ( Molitor had 225 hits when he was 39 years old).  After all, it can’t get much worse.

Thanks, Vin! You’re welcome, Mike.

Eric Hosmer

shucks.

Pairing Hosmer and Young together in this list seemed… poetic.  Young is riding out his last few years in the league, striving to be productive.  Hosmer is the cornerstone of what is a recurrently ‘up-and-coming’ franchise.  We all assume he is really, really good.  He demolished each minor league level, then stepped up into the bigs and had a damn fine rookie year.  Dare I say sophomore slump?  Sophomore slump.  Yes, I dared, it’s right there in the previous sentence.  I even remembered that stupid ‘O’ in ‘sophomore.’  Pay attention.

As good as Hosmer’s 2011 was, so too was his 2012 not (good, that is).  Sentence structure aside, many were left disappointed by the young slugger’s campaign.  He declined in every important offensive category, save for steals.  So at least he was trying.  When you dive into the numbers, his season is just plain yucky.  

Here’s another fun statistical measure: wRC+ (ahem, Fangraphs).  Here’s what you need to know about Weighted Runs Created (wRC):  it’s an improved version of Bill James’ Runs Created (RC) statistic, which attempted to quantify a player’s total offensive value and measure it by runs.  Cool right?  That James guy is a superweirdo, but he’s wicked smaht.  The stat itself makes sense in a very basic way, right?  Well Hosmer sucked at it.  Technically, he was ‘above average’ with his wRC+ of 81 (80 is above average, in general), but when looked at a comparative, larger context, we see the idea of ‘above average,’ measured statistically or not, is subjective.  Here are four players (minimum 400 PA, which Hosmer had easily) with better wRC+ than Hosmer.  Tell me if any of them are guys you MUST have on a team in a non-ironic way:

Andres Torres (87) // Omar Infante (92) // Rajai Davis (86) // Justin Smoak (85)

None of these guys are genuinely BAD players, but Hosmer is a Franchise player and once played like one.  Skate Play better, man.  Not to pick on Carlos Pena, but damn, Hosmer, even HE had better value metrics.  Speaking of sexy new player-value statistics, Hosmer also clocked in under zero at a robust -1.1 WAR  (RAR, Runs Above Replacement, is not only hilarious thing cats say, but also a negative measure of Hosmer badness (-10.4)).

Tired of these WAR’s and LOL-ing and RAWR’s and tweetsnapping?  Forget the new statistical measures, his basic numbers stunk too, from BA to RBI.  Check his splits.  He stunk prior to the AS break.  He stunk after.  He had a decent month of August… and that’s about it.  LHP/RHP splits – both bad.  I could go on.  He stunk.  On top of all that, anecdotally, you will not find a person who said he looked good last year not named Hosmer (and his Mom even admitted he ‘probably could have been better against off speed pitches’).  The best news?  You can draft him in fantasy at a bargain price.  The further good news?  Sophomore slumps only apply to Sophomores and Freshmen who decide to go to private school and get held back a  year so they can still somehow be ‘Freshmen.’  Also?  He can’t get much worse.

right back at you, dawg

Honorable Mention: Carlos Pena, who might actually get worse than his sub-.200 batting average.  Sorry Carlos.

he seems okay with it.

Ricky (retch noise) Romero

(sobbing)

Where to start with Ricky?  As someone who is unfortunately a Red Sox fan, I witnessed the abomination that was 2012 Ricky Romero several times closely.  As someone who drafted him in fantasy baseball 2012, I said horrible, horrible things about Romero regularly.  He made the 2012 Valensox look like sluggers and in several games I streamed on MLB.tv looked like he was throwing a damaged wiffle ball, having no idea where his (hopefully) better thought out pitches were going to end up.  I know, I know – cool story, bro.

More numbers?  More numbers.

FIP/xFIP or (Expected) Fielding Independent Pitching are really cool measures, far more relevant as they attempt to look deeper and normalize (in statistical, not Stepford, terminology) the crude measure of ERA and how good/bad a pitcher was.    As a general (ahem, Fangraphs) rule, an FIP/xFIP of 4 is average and an FIP/xFIP of 5 is AWFUL (Their word).  Romero’s line?  FIP: 5.14   xFIP: 4.86

Whether you want an expected or calculated measure (a difference of how HR rates are calculated), Romero was about as bad as it gets.  To pile on the crappy numbers, his K rate, usually a high point, fell to just over 6 (mediocre).  His BB/9 inning rate was an absurd 5.22.  His swinging strike rate dropped a full percentage point – it’s easy not to swing and miss when the guy has to groove it over the plate in desperate need of a pitch in the strike zone.  The best thing you can say about his 0.5 WAR season? He pitched.  In an injury plagued year for Toronto pitchers, Romero started 32 games.  So… good job, good effort.  He didn’t even have a better year than the internet’s favorite SP (starting punching-bag), Bruce Chen (more wins, higher K/9, 1.4 WAR on and on…).  The good news for Toronto?  They made a few move this offseason, I think.  As for Romero?  It cannot get much worse.

it’s good to have hobbies.

Ervin Santana

keep askin’

You may be saying, “gosh, Romero was bad, but is there a guy who threw a random 1-hitter in June yet somehow managed even worse numbers?”  IF you are saying that, I’m guessing you were an Ervin Santana owner in 2012.  He gave up 39 homers.  Honestly, I thought about ending the paragraph right there.  That’s really bad.  I’ll add a few more.  He had a -0.9 WAR, a 5.63 FIP (jeebus christ!), and had a HR/Fly Ball rate of 18.9%, which is simply bananas.  I will not pile on Santana, as his issue was more inconsistency (numbers were FAR better second half of the year).  However, his numbers were not good, and given his up and down nature, I assure you – it can’t get much worse actually, he might get worse. Heads up.

Honorable Mentions/Tie: Heath Bell / John Axford / Alfredo Aceves

An he held his arm there for 4 days, but no one would give him that pound

Aceves blew at least 8 games in spectacular fashion for a 2012 team that captured awfulness in spectacular fashion.  He was inconsistent on the field, unhappy off the field and was (well, is, I guess) a weirdo overall.  Just when you though it was safe to own him in fantasy baseball or root for him in real baseball, he would walk 4 guys in an inning and look wholly uninterested.  He had an unseemly 5.36 ERA but that was helped by a few decent spurts.  Even when he was pitching “well,” he would walk a batter for every strikeout.  The numbers fib, in this case.  As someone who watched more of the turd stain that was the Boston Red Sox 2012 season, I can attest to the fact that Aceves, save for perhaps one 15 day stretch in the spring, was a bad guy to have on any team, in any sense.  Plus, his disgusting sweatiness made me uncomfortable watching games and must be very difficult on the hardworking laundry staff at Yawkey Way.

His FIP was a poor 4.33.  He pitched worse as the god-awful season went on.  He blew saves and holds. He had a BB/9 inning of 3.33.  But most important of all, when he came into a game, there was an audible groan in the Northeast.  This guy made an awful season worse.

Axford blew 9 saves and forced the Brew Crew to realign their bullpen.  Bell blew 8 saves and was the first domino to fall (2nd game of the year) in a disastrous Marlins season.  Bell looked old and lost, regaining and losing his job and looking like a man who lost his mojo.  Axford, on the other hand had enough sense to regain his gnarly facial construction when chopping it off caused catastrophe.  I include Axford because he led the league in blown saves and did so in a short period of time in mesmerizing fashion (his June-beginning of August was BRUTAL).  For Axford, it can’t get much worse.  As for Bell and Aceves… Relievers are notoriously up-and-down, so one would assume they’ve already bottomed out.  I’ll say it – they can’t get much worse, either.

distracting.

There you have it, the players who scraped the bottom of the barrel in 2012.  Here’s to new beginnings and sneaky ADP’s going forward.

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Filed under Baseball, Closers, Fantasy Baseball, first base, GOOSE, JUAN URIBE, MLB, Pickups, pitchers, Posted, Sleepers

Baseball’s Doing Something Right: Why the MLB Draft System Works

As the NBA allows for “one-and-dones” to exist, slowly eating away at the stability and integrity of college basketball, there is a contemporary professional sports league that does it right. Believe it or not, that league is the MLB, home of our nation’s fading pastime. While talented teenagers bolt from schools towards NBA millions, we cannot fault these athletes—many of whom come from low to middle-class backgrounds—for forsaking a college degree to sign lucrative contracts as young as possible.

The current system forces NBA-ready players like Kyrie Irving and Nerlens Noel to go to college for a year, both jeopardizing their health or draft value (notice why I chose these two?) and cutting away at the academic integrity of the schools they attend.

Recognize Irving in this uniform? No? Maybe because he wore it only a handful of times before getting injured during his freshman year. Suffice it to say Irving would have made out just fine in the NBA without his 8 GS at Duke.

Nerlens Noel, the latest victim of the NBA’s flawed eligibility rules, may have to wait a little longer to hear his name called at this year’s NBA Draft.


Meanwhile, the system also pushes student-athletes who are not ready to perform at the next level into the NBA, players such as throwback Omar Cook of St. John’s fame (1.7 PPG and 0 NBA starts) and Kosta Koufos (4.6 PPG in 86 starts), a man probably drawn out of school due to the precedent set by more talented Ohio State teammates. (Side note: I attended the 3 OT Celtics-Nuggets thriller ten days ago—Koufos started the game but was nowhere to be found on the court for the last 20 minutes of game time.)

Koufos spends a lot of time wearing this warmup, questioning his decision to leave Ohio State after just a year. Certainly a player who, under MLB rules, would have played 3-4 years in college before going pro.

One could go on and on with names like these, including a whole slew of Memphis grads (Shawne Williams and Dajuan Wagner to name just two), and the busts far outnumber the studs, the Durants and Irvings of the world. If the NBA and NCAA hope to strike a balance between fostering talent and allowing superstars to shine bright early, while also maintaining the integrity of the entity “student-athelete,” perhaps they should take a hint from their less popular, less flawed baseball buddies.

Baseball is very in touch with its policies and its players. Just ask Chris Coghlan.

While MLB has its share of struggles regarding young talent burning out, their system does a far better job of balancing encouraging superstar talent with pushing teenagers to develop for four years in college.

According to MLB.com, the main categories of eligible players to be drafted by Major League teams are:

  •  High school players, if they have graduated from high school and have not yet attended college or junior college;
  • College players, from four-year colleges who have either completed their junior or senior years or are at least 21 years old; and
  • Junior college players, regardless of how many years of school they have completed

To summarize this summary, a high school senior can enter the MLB Draft upon graduating, but a player who enters college is not eligible for the draft until he has completed his junior year or is 21 years of age. This way, raw talents are encouraged to develop their game at the college level. Many players still immaturely choose the draft, but for the most part only the top talent each year is pushed to declare straight out of high school. No draft system will ever be perfect (if one was, drafting would be really easy…), but MLB’s is fascinating in that it makes athletes and their families do something we often dread: think. The three-year timeframe between graduating high school and being 21 does put a heckuva lot of pressure on prospects, but this tough choice tends to push players toward college rather than declaring straight out of high school.

Just ask Mr. Pedroia if he’s thankful for his time playing at ASU, where he was teammates with two other All-Stars: Ian Kinsler and Andre Ethier.

The numbers don’t lie. Only 5.6% of high school baseball players play NCAA baseball, and well less than 1% get drafted to the MLB straight out of high school. On the other hand, 10.5% of NCAA players go on to play professionally! Now there are differences between the NBA and MLB, one must admit. Terms for guaranteed money vary in the leagues, but each league guarantees their contracts, unlike the NFL, which allows for teams to essentially get rid of players at their whim. MLB also differs from the NBA in that its draft is huuuuuuuuuuuge – more than 1,000 players are drafted each year while the NBA’s draft has two round and less than 70 picks.

Similarly, however, an estimated 1.2% of NCAA men’s basketball players get drafted to the NBA while about .003% of high school varsity players will eventually play professionally. For the NBA, a system with options declaring right out of high school or after 3 years of college  solves ANOTHER problem- the minor leagues!  Seeing a kid or 2 or 3 years in college as they refine their game is a helluva lot better than a one and done going to the NBDL and vanishing from the face of the Earth!

Xavier Henry should have spent some more time in this uniform. Does wasting away in the D-League or on the Hornets’ bench really seem like a better option than developing under the tutelage of Bill Self? Bet you forgot who Xavier Henry was.

Every professional sport will have players who attempt to make it big before their minds or bodies are ready (Freddy Adu, Ryan Leaf, Demarcus Cousins it would seem), but as of right now the NBA is failing its pool of young talent and therefore its fanbase with regard to its handling of development of players.

Baseball’s system allows for the proper maturing of talent – whether it be mentally or physically.  Sure, there will always be freaks like Bryce Harper or Dave Winfield, but the majority of athletes in ALL sports need time to season their brains to the professional level.  Listen to a veteran talking about a rookie sometime – in any sport – they never talk about the things we drool over before drafts, verticals and bench press and Wonderlics; they talk about mental preparation.  If the NBA adopted the MLB policy, certainly there will still be bozos like DeMarcus Cousins who bolt before they are ready but the point is teams would then have the knowledge that a more refined, if slightly less naturally athletically gifted, player can have a positive impact quicker and more efficiently than those who failed to transition properly.

Stephen Strasburg was just one of many stud prospects who could light up a radar gun. His time at San Diego State allowed him to become the most surefire superstar of this generation.

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by | February 19, 2013 · 2:06 PM

Got Yu Where I Want Yu (aka Imagine Me and Yu part Deux)

Gosh, say what you will about the money spent on Yu Darvish, but for those of us masquerading as bloggers, he’s paying for himself 10 times over in puns alone…

In my previous article I discussed how much money it was just to talk to a guy with NO major league experience.  I maintain that stance.  However, that’s more my skepticism with the posting system as a whole than the actual monetary value of Japanese players.  That being said, the Rangers managed to put together a phenomenal deal to actually sign Yu Darvish.  Considering the two sides were a) close on the monetary value (the issue was the extra year) and b) in a situation where he sort of HAD to come over, the whole deal of the contract really boiled down to pride and respect.  Which means, in my opinion, that in some ways making a deal that was respectful and smart likely took much more effort than we laypersons would think.  A GM doesn’t wan’t to get into a ‘Dice-K, Diva’ situation with all kinds of crazy perks and more importantly, a GM/Owner does not want to be in the situation where the incoming foreign player feels ‘disrespected.’  This is what happened to Daisuke Matsuzaka (for a variety of reasons) and I maintain that everything from the smallest issue (picking his masseuse) to the obviously stupid (pitching in the World Baseball Classic- a lot) was a detractor from anything Dice-K could have contributed under his substantial contract.

Yu Darvish, by most accounts and legal documentation, is different.  He made a point upon arrival to tell Rangers GM Jon Daniels he did not want a large ‘posse,’ merely a trainer (who he worked with in Japan) and interpreter (who is a top Rangers scout).  I have ranted about Daisuke not only because I am a disgruntled Red Sox fan, but also to highlight the simplicity and relative sense of the Darvish deal.  From the Rangers financial perspective, as I said in first piece, the deal makes sense merely by the splash a big foreign player can make.  Based on the structure of the deal itself, I think both sides will be very happy.

Darvish has the potential to be an ace, that is for sure.  Nolan Ryan seems excited.  In my readings, many experts and projections see his worst-case scenario being a #2 pitcher or top-tier #3.  Which got me thinking- I like the deal, think he will succeed reasonably well, and I KNOW there are guys with similar upside/realities who get paid a whole lot of money – how would Darvish compare?  His deal, simply, breaks down like this:

2012: $5.5 million
2013: $9.5 million
2014: $10 million
2015: $10 million
2016: $10 million
2017: $11 million

The last year of the deal has an opt-out clause (two explanations here and here) involving Yu’s placing in the Cy Young balloting.  This makes sense for Darvish and seems fair, as Darvish will be allowed to seek more money than his (fairly reasonable) contract originally states if he really does turn out to be an ace.  But I know what you’re saying, “Will, how many pitchers are making over 9 million dollars a year, really?  There are a lot of bad pitchers in baseball,” you say.  And you are correct.  However, I found that by doing some research on the internet, I came across some facts (in the wilderness of the web, there is truth to be found).  Here is the USA Today report of 2011 pitcher salaries.  I’ll pull a few names out to discuss.

don't ask why.

I include the sabermetric measure of WAR (Wins Above Replacement) for these guys because it is a relative, comparative measure.  For those of you who don’t know what WAR is, it essentially is a number comparing how valuable a player is to the team compared to a ‘replacement’ level player from the bench or minor leagues.  You can read a far, far deeper explanation at fangraphs or Baseball-Reference, two of my favorite sites (also where I got contract info), who do an great job going into the statistical breakdown of the metric.  But I digress.

Kyle Lohse (2.5 WAR) made $12,187,500 in 2011 and will make $11,875,000 in 2012(To give you a bearing, Roy Halladay had a WAR of 8.2 in 2011, Jon Lester a 3.7 – in two very different seasons.).  Based on his contract, Yu Darvish will NEVER make that much money with the Rangers!  Do I think Darvish will step in and be as good as Halladay? NOt at all.  Can he come over and be a (much) better pitcher than Kyle Lohse?  You better believe it.  Seriously, you better.

Mark Burhele (3.4 WAR) made $14 million in 2011.  He was another big-name pitcher to sign this offseason, landing with the new look Miami Marlins.  And good for them.  I admire Burhele and his consistency and work ethic.  He eats innings and puts his team in position to win games.  Heck, he was a point of comparison for my rant against the posting fee for Darvish!  But let’s look at that contract a bit closer.  Initially, Mark will bring in $6 million in 2012 – oh, wow, nice- what a steal… wait.  He will then make 11 mil in 2013, 18 in 2014, and 19 in 2015 – seasons in which he will be ages 34,35 and 36, respectively.  As I said, I admire Burhele and the way he works.  But he’s going to be old, no two ways about it.  If you look at the posting fee as a necessary but separate move from the contract, Darvish’s deal compared to the lefty’s is a bargain.

I highlighted the last two because they are solid-if-unspectacular hurlers who made big bucks by being free agents in a good market.  Are they overpaid?  Certainly.  but compared to some, they too are bargains.  So when you look at the Darvish deal compared to, say John Lackey and Barry Zito, things truly come into perspective.  Zito was at least at the top of his game (sort of) when he signed his disasterous deal.  He made $18.5 million in 2009, 2010, and 2011.  His COMBINED WAR in those years was 3.5 (he’ll make $19,20, and 18 million in 2012, 2013 and 2014).  Lackey’s deal with the Red Sox paid him $18.7 million in 2010, $15.95 million in 2011 and $15.25 each year until 2014, when he will be 35. That sound you hear?  It’s Red Sox fans collectively trying to pull every last hair out of their scalps.  (SIDE NOTE: Jake Westbrook makes 8 million a year… and I’m betting Darvish is equally if not more effective than Jake’s 1.1 WAR).

I apologize for all of you who were hoping to avoid any and all sabermetrics in your reading.  To you, I say this: Go see Moneyball.  Brad Pitt is super handsome and it is an excellent movie overall.  It also makes sabermetrics sexy, so there.  I had my reservations about the amounts of money being thrown around in the pursuit of Yu Darvish.  Cut me some slack- I am a tired and true Red Sox fan, I’ve seen the downside to this before.  But upon a closer inspection, I realized just how reasonable the deal was if I separated the posting fee as a business move and the contract itself as a baseball move.  Baseball is both a competitive and comparative sport (hence the Wins Above Replacement).  Whether or not you closely follow baseball or know about sabermetrics, I hope the money and WAR serve as a decent barometer for what is considered a decent pitcher.  Compared to some of the disaster and absurdity we’ve seen in the last few years in pitcher contracts (Mike Hampton, anyone?), if Yu Darvish can consistently throw the ball over the plate, he can at least have the distinction of being at the bottom of the ‘bust’ list.

-w

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Filed under Baseball, MLB, offseason, pitchers, Posted

Are You Left-Handed? You Could Be ‘THAT Guy.’

You know when you’re watching a movie and you see ‘that guy?’  The surly beat cop.  The troubled scientist.  The grizzled war general.  The character actor.  They do not land glamorous roles, they’re never stars but they come up again and again in similar roles across mediums (The King? Clint Howard.  He’s my all time favorite. Or this guy.).  These actors and actresses make a living doing small but crucial roles in a larger scheme.  We have lots of character actors in baseball.  For every Albert Pujols, there is an Alex Cora.  We give them monikers like ‘character guys,’ ‘defensive specialists’ and, in some sports ‘glue’ guys.  I would like to take a moment to recognize one of the finest character actors we have in sports today, Mr. Darren Oliver, lefthander extraordinaire.

Oliver is about to sign with the Blue Jays on a 1-year deal.  When he does, it will mark the start of his 19th season in the MLB.  Oliver is such an interesting case to me.  Proof, if you will, that every left-handed child should learn to throw a curveball.  Oliver was a mediocre but effective back-end starter for those Rangers teams in the late 90’s when they time and time again failed to defeat the Yankees despite putting up video game numbers on offense (actually, he threw a really nice start in game 3 of the ALDS against the soon-to-be World Series Champs Yanks, poor Braves).  But his mediocrity caught up to him and by 2005, he was not signed to a major league team.  By then, he had become a 6th starter, a swingman.  Starting games and mopping up messes.  Then he wised up and became a situational lefty.  There are very few careers in the world so beautifully, specifically designed.

very dramatic pose.

And this is when and why I find him so endlessly delightful.  You can see here in some sortable stats and pretty-colored charts that Oliver is rarely touching 90 on the radar gun.  There is something undeniably fun about seeing major league batters pop up on an 80 mph fastball and clearly mouth some truly foul expletives as they head back to the dugout.  It humanizes them.  There’s no solid logic for what makes Oliver so effective as a reliever.  Barely throwing swiftly, let alone hard, Oliver gets the job done time after time out of the pen.  He held lefties to a .225 batting average in 2011 and had the same batting average against with men on base last year.  He is the consummate ‘crafty lefty.’  Straight out of baseball’s central casting.  He’ll never sign a deal for $25 million a year, but Oliver and guys like him win championships and don’t go away easily.  Congratulations, Mr. Oliver.  Your fastball-slider combo gives hope to every high school lefty worrying that, while it might send you back in time, 88 mile per hour won’t get you to the big show.

 

-w

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Filed under Baseball, Cajones, MLB, Opinion, pitchers, Random Thoughts

Imagine Me & Yu, and Yu & Me…

I crack myself up.

(NOTE: I plan on doing a before/after thing, so expect further discussion when Darvish agrees to a deal)

To truly appreciate sports, you must first appreciate that, now more than ever, sports are a business.  We must color every judgment with this knowledge.  David Beckham did not come over to the states to win an MLS championship (a laughable notion), he came to sell tickets and increase the fame of both he and his wife.  Of course, most athletes are a competitive sort- that is without question.  But we have a most telling example in the most recent baseball offseason.  The Saint Louis Cardinals just won the World Series.  They did so without one of the best starting pitchers in the National League, Adam Wainwright.  There was no “looking for the best opportunity to win” no “loving the situation and people Saint Louis provides,”  no excuse for why Albert Pujols ended up signing with the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim (the most irritating name in all the MLB).  If you heard anything from the lips of Pujols or his scumbag lord of agents Dan Lozano that didn’t consist of “Money, money, money. Get that dolla’ dolla’ bill,” they were lying.  I am long past letting things like overblown contracts bother me.  I highlight this idea because it is important to set the stage of the baseball/business blurry line when discussing the signing of a big-name Japanese player, in this case Yu Darvish.

Those who do not study history are doomed to repeat it.  Sports, not just baseball, has been in remedial history class for years.  Stupid contracts are replicated, GM’s stubbornly cling to long-lost notions and it takes teams a long time, relatively, to learn from their mistakes.  But this pessimism is from the view of the fan.  Sports, as I’ve said, are much more than that.  This Yu Darvish deal, or ‘pre-deal’ I suppose, highlights this divide between fandom and finance just as the Daisuke Matsuzaka deal did several years ago.  At its bare bones, decisions such as the signings of Matsuzaka and Darvish make little sense. Why gamble so much (over $50 million!!!) just to talk to players who have never faced the competition or stress of a major league season? Certainly, once one of these players makes it known they wish to play in the MLB, they have little choice but to negotiate a deal with the top-posting team, but 50 million dollars is still a whole lot of dough to cough up just to sit at a negotiating table.  A player like Roy Oswalt, a Texas native, is looking for a one-year deal and has an 11 year history of excellence.  Mark Buehrle signed a 4-year deal for slightly more than Darvish’s posting fee.  So for that price, a team could get a.) a 12-year veteran who has had 11 straight years of 200 innings(!) or… b.) the rights to negotiate with a guy who, while admittedly younger, has never faced a major league batter, in a major league stadium- ever.

I wonder if he'd sign this picture if I saw him. It pretty much sums up my memories of his time in Boston

Here is where the divide between baseball and business is highlighted.  By any baseball metric, Daisuke Matsuzaka’s tenure with the Red Sox has been a failure, a colossal waste of money and time (both the team’s on the field and the fans’ watching at home.  The man was as exciting to watch as a snail derby).  However, it is nearly impossible to accurately measure what the value of having the Red Sox brand expanded so judiciously in Japan and Asian cultures, as despite his mediocrity in the MLB, Dice-K is and was a legend in Japanese baseball and a hero of the World Baseball Classic.  Red Sox (and especially Dice-K starts) games were shown, despite the hour, on thousands of televisions in Japan.  Merchandise for the Japanese player flooded both his native country and the large Asian communities in the Northeast region.  Bringing in Daisuke Matsuzaka engaged a whole new faction of potential fans (or customers, more accurately) just as similar moves with Hideki Matsui and Ichiro Suzuki had in previous years.  Regardless of a fan’s passion for baseball, many followed and engaged with the teams and these players due to a fervent national pride.  It didn’t hurt that in all occasions, the teams were good and/or had a large community to pull from (Seattle, New York even all the way back to Hideo Nomo were all good teams in relatively large markets).  Texas appears primed to pull off a similar maneuver, regardless of how Darvish pans out.  Nomo burned out.  Dice-K never fit in, really.  I could be way off base with my skepticism on Yu’s success in the majors.  Darvish is of a very different build (he’s tall and lanky) and temperament (not a whiny diva, by all accounts) than Dice-K, and may very well develop into a top-flight major league starter.  But that’s not the point.  The Texas Rangers, in case you missed it, have made the World Series back-to-back years and are stocked with good young players. They have an ENORMOUS television deal.  They have a beautiful stadium and a solid fan base.  Their brand is on the rise, both due to winning and overall exposure.  The signing of Yu Darvish, while it certainly will be an attempt to cover the loss of C.J. Wilson, will primarily help the Rangers in a much deeper, fiscal sense.  Fans will hope he excels.  Ownership will just hope he sells.

As always, enjoy the Black Keys.  They’re going to release Blakroc 2 soon.  If you don’t know what that is, the Black Keys spent a summer basically just hanging out with really cool rappers and laying down some awesome tracks.  Check it.

-w

P.S. – want proof of how frustrating Dice-K was?  Check out some of these awesome graphs over at fangraphs.com, especially the BB:K rates and the ‘heat zones’ for where pitches ended up

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Filed under Baseball, MLB, offseason, Opinion, pitchers

Closers – Can’t Live With ’em, Can’t Win Without ’em

 

As I’ve talked about, I hate closers. Let us start off with that simple fact. Every time I try to go big with one they end up biting me in the rear. So I punt them, then go to the scrap heap or the last 5 rounds. It’s just my way of coping. So every year I am acutely aware of closer situations on mediocre and bad teams, as they are my favorite place to pick up saves. This year figures to be no different, with uncertainty in the air for some teams and certainty (that they’ll be bad) on other teams.  Bad and mediocre teams inherently play closer games, especially ones with a decent pitcher or two (like, say the team I just wrote up, the Diamondbacks).  Notice it’s closer as in fewer runs, not ‘Closer’ games for the back end of the bullpen, though the play on words is not lost on me.  So without further ado and a distinct lack of jibberjabber, here’s a list of guys and situations to be aware of in the late rounds when you’re scavenging for saves…

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J.J. Putz

It was not long ago that Putz was a bona fide stud closer (2007).  Remember that.  In more recent history, he put up outstanding numbers as a setup guy for the White Sox, in case you weren’t paying attention.  He’s now headed to my favorite place to snag closers, land of the 2-1 game, the NL West.  There’s no reason to think Putz won’t return to full closer form in 2011 as he builds off last year and what better place to do it than a league known for tight games on a staff of mid-level pitchers?  While Bill James doesn’t have him projected for any saves (result of him being a FA), other sources have him coming back in full.  CAIRO has him at 32 saves, as does RotoChamp.  CBS thinks he’ll get all the way back to 40 saves.  I think this is a very reasonable range for Putz in 2011.  Peripherals aside, projections aside, I rest my hat on the fact that he’s done it before.  He’ll be around later than most and will be well worth the investment.

The Pittsburgh Situation:

Evan Meek/Joel Hanrahan

This one’s pretty up in the air.  Meek is the better pitcher, but Hanrahan has the experience.  As someone pointed out (astutely) on Twitter (@MLBreports), the most likely scenario is to have Hanrahan close, build up his value, then trade him and allow Meek to slide into the role.  Meek has the stuff and the makeup, having been groomed as a setup man for the past season and a half.  All this being said, the breakdown could go several ways.  Hanrahan could go on a tear and save 20+ games, as some predict… and so could Meek after he’s gone.  Neither of these players, being in (arm)Pittsburgh, is very sexy.  But I would watch Meek or draft him for the long haul (seasons are won in August in fantasy, too) and pick Hanrahan off the scrap heap to start the year if you need cheap saves.  This could all be wrong, however, if Meek just flat-out outpitches in Spring Training.  I’ll be sure to update you while we’re down in Florida and the spring battles heat up, but as of now, I’m comfortable in saying Hanrahan is going to start out getting the saves.

Drew Storen

What was it I so smartly said about young guys missing bats?  Hmm…. Storen came up and had no trouble missing bats, posting an 8.46 K/9 in about 55 solid major league innings.  He was developed as the closer of the future and for the Nats, the future starts now(ish).  The Nats also figure to be in lots of close games with a shaky staff and improving offense (honest) and the ‘perts seem to agree that he will get the opportunities.  CAIRO and RotoChamp have him for 31 saves and CBS thinks he’ll score an even 30.  This seems about right, though that number really has to do with the Nats (lack of) winning ways.  Storen has great stuff and will definately be available at the end of a draft for you to pluck and enjoy like a tasty peach.  Not sure why I went with the colorful terminology, but the point remains – Storen will pitch well.  Whether he saves 20 games or 30 games will depend on the Nats.  That’s just a risk you’ll have to take when you play Closer roulette.  Heck, if they improve drastically down there in D.C. (unlikely) he could save 35!  What a bargain!  Wishful thinking, maybe, but Storen should be worth owning should you pass on closers for better teams.

Someone on the Blue Jays:

Frank Francisco / Octavio Dotel / Jason Frasor/ Jon Rauch

I listed them in a particular order – the order in which the closer ‘competition’ should turn out.  All of these men will enter… one will emerge the closer… OK, so there’s really not that much drama, Francisco is the clear choice here, but it warrants mentioning that the Jays have collected 4, count ’em FOUR, guys who have had a nice season as a closer.  They all provide value, whether it be from holds or K’s, but my bet is on Francisco to be the man in Toronto with Dotel the backup.  Francisco should save between 25 and 30 games in Canada, with a decent WHIP and a K/9 north of 9.  Solid numbers.  Should the Jays improve, as they very well could, he could see that save total jump 5-7 saves.  Dotel could certainly pick up a handful of saves along the way – things happen- and is ownable in many leagues because of his outstanding K value.  As long as the walks don’t get in the way, he’s a solid own in leagues where you need that extra bump in strikeouts, regardless of WHIP.  Both Rauch and Frasor are similar in that they are established relievers who are wholeheartedly unexciting if not in a closer’s role.  They will provide value as 7th/8th inning hold guys but this is a classic case of a reliever being more valuable in real life than fantasy, that’s just how it works most of the time.  Francisco might go earlier than those Pirates’ guys, but I’d put him around the same level as Putz.  No need to reach, as one of them will be there at the end for you to snatch.


Chris Perez

Classic case of closer for a bad team.  Did you realize he saved 23 games last year (they won 69 games)?  The Indians are a very young team and are bound to improve this year but even if they do not, Perez figures to be right around 30 saves.  But who am I to say?  Let’s see what the expert panel thinks: Bill James?  31 saves.  CBS? 30 saves.  CAIRO? 33 saves.  RotoChamp?  33 saves.  Sounds like I’m not the only one who thinks he’s going to have a solid year.  Actually, forget solid – he’s going to have a very GOOD year.  His K/9 should hover right above a batter an inning and my guess is his ERA will be 4 or below.  If he gets his ground ball percentage up close to 40%, his WHIP could easily be sub-1.20.  Sounds like a very solid Closer to me (just like the Cardinals thought he’d be).  I’d bet he’s getting a look at the end of some drafts and if he’s on the scrap heap to start your season, grab him.  I’m looking forward to a good 2011 from Perez.

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There’s my list.  I know I left some guys out – Venters and Kimbrel in Atlanta are sure to impress – but these are guys on the REAL cheap.  I hate closers so if any of these gentlemen blow up in your face this season… well… s#!& happens.  But if you’re like me and you look for saves on the cheapest of cheap, I think this list is a good place to start (let me know if you think otherwise).

 

-w

 

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Filed under Closers, Fantasy Baseball, MLB, offseason, Opinion, Pickups, pitchers, Posted, Sleepers

Well, That Was Fast…

 

BUY BUY BUY SELL SELL SELL

Just a day after completing a deal for the arbitration eligible Mike Napoli, the Blue Jays have turned around and dealt the squat C/1B to the Rangers for the expendable Frank Francisco.

This deal has several implications. Firstly, it means the Rangers have no intention of moving Neftali Feliz to the rotation, a move that would have had startling fantasy meaning (would’ve been like the Sox moving Paps to the rotation back in the day). Sticking with the closer talk, the move is very interesting for those of us looking to scrape up some saves off the trash heap, as there are two intriguing candidates now in Toronto in Francisco and the newly acquired Octavio Dotel. Not being an ‘expert’ on handicapping saves, my best guess is that Francisco emerges as the Jays’ closer, as he has had success there in the past and isn’t as volatile as Dotel. But what do I know, Dotel has outstanding K potential and both are likely usable in all formats, regardless of who wins out in the closer competition, if there is one.

As for the deal’s implications in Texas, Napoli creates a sort of ripple effect. The deal all but takes the Rangers out of contention for Vlad the Impaler. The deal also makes for an interesting C/1B situation. Mitch Mooreland, playoff hero, figures to lose at bats, which is sad because I was curious to see what he could do with ample AB’s. Alas, he will likely have his plate appearances restricted as he learns the league. Of much less fantasy importance, save for position eligibility, Yorvit Torrealba figures to lose time behind the dish.  Either position, the move is excellent for Napoli’s already good hitting numbers.  Check out his career numbers at Rangers Ballpark… I’ll wait.  Do those numbers look good?  How bout for a catcher?  Napoli’s value is sky high in terms of fantasy right now and he may be well worth an overdraft if you miss out on the big name catchers.  He could be in for a monster season in a monster lineup.

As an interesting aside, the deal shows an interesting strategy on the Rangers part that I have been utilizing in fantasy for years: flexibility. With Mike Young and Napoli, the Rangers have players capable of playing multiple positions as well as DH. This is obviously a movement away from the big slugger-type DH’s in favor of having moveable parts. It works in football, we’ll see what the Rangers do with the flexibility in 2011.  Hopefully Napoli stays put now because, while I like the guy in fantasy, three articles in 2 days would be pushing it.

 

-w

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Filed under catchers, Closers, Fantasy Baseball, first base, MLB, offseason, Opinion, pitchers, Posted

Raising Arizona

 

GREAT FLICK

The Diamondbacks are in the interesting position of being in ‘rebuilding’ mode while having some very interesting pieces which in case you couldn’t tell, I find very… interesting.  Knew I should’ve bought that thesaurus…

With young talent like Chris B. Young, Justin Upton, and yes, Brandon Allen (Gotcha post right here), not to mention Miguel Montenero, Kelly Johnson and Stephen Drew, the offense is looking up and could use its own separate post.  I, however, am not interested in the offense.  They are interesting (hah) for fantasy purposes, suffice to say.  Where there’s more room for intrigue, for depth, for some fantasy detective work is on the pitching staff.  With six good-not-great arms who could surprise and provide fantasy depth, it is time for a closer inspection.  No one appears to be an ‘ace’ in the rotation.  And since I just finished watching 10 Things I Hate About You (arguably the finest High School movie of all time), never wrote for the paper or yearbook, and needed a gimmick to organize the contenders, voila!  Superlatives:

Best Looking

Dan Hudson

Daniel Hudson just sounds like a handsome pilgrim name.  He also happens to be a fine, fine pitcher.  Dave and I were discussing young pitchers and we agreed- K/9 is one of the best indicators for a young pitcher’s future success.  The ability at a young age to miss bats means the pitcher will be able to mature into a better pitcher while always having the K card in his back pocket (my example was Clay Buchholz who has become a better pitcher though his K numbers have declined as he learned the league).  Hudson fits the bill.  With a K/9 of 7.93 last year and a projected (Bill James) K/9 of 8.19 in 2011, the kid knows how to make guys whiff.  He was lucky in some senses with an amazing BABIP (.241) and less than a homer/9 (0.76), but even if those become more regular, as most predictors have him down for, he should still keep the ball in the park and have a mid-3’s ERA.  Bill James has him down for a 1.35 WHIP.  CAIRO has him down for 1.18.  I think it is a safe assumption that his WHIP will fall somewhere in between.  So let’s review: a sub 4 ERA, 1.2-ish WHIP, a K/9 around 8 and a good young offense?  Does that sound like a solid pitcher to you?  It certainly does to me.  Throw on the double digit wins and near 200 innings everyone expects and I say this  man is draftable.  And I’m usually one to shy away from young pitchers.  Unless the Diamondbacks rapidly improve, Hudson won’t win more than 15 games.  But if you need a solid guy at the back of your rotation, I recommend you look at Hudson.

Most Likely to Succeed

Ian Kennedy

Much like Hudson, Kennedy’s peripherals suggest he will be just fine at the major league level.  What he has on Hudson is that he has actually been successful in the Majors for a full season.  Also with a K/9 around 8 and a BABIP below .300 (a very very good .256), Kennedy profiles as a pitcher who guys don’t hit the ball well off of (I think that is proper English).  Did you realize he threw 194 innings last year?  In my opinion, any pitcher who can eat innings (read: get close to 200 in a season), have a good K/9 and an ERA at or below 4 is worth having on your staff.  Those are the numbers that will consistently help you on a week to week basis.  Think of the old Aaron Harang, when even on a bad day he’d go 6 and K 8… ah the good ol’ days.  Kennedy just needs to keep the ball on the ground.  He gave up a large number of homers (26), but this actually makes his other stats more impressive to me.  If he can bring the homers down (no small feat at the BOB), his ERA will plummet and he becomes even more valuable.  Following Dave’s idea of K/9 being a good indicator and my belief that innings eaters are worth owning even on mediocre teams, you arrive at the same conclusion: Ian Kennedy is a guy to have on your team (in most leagues) or top on your list of streamers (in some leagues).  Plus, he’s years removed from that Yankee stink, so he’s smelling rosy for 2011.

Most Likely to go Into Politics

Armando Galarraga

Completely unrelated to this blog (honestly), Chris Cwik over at Fangraphs has an article about Armando joining the DBacks rotation.  I merely wanted to use the title ‘Raising Arizona’ and write about Barry Enright, his article goes into the rotation sucking a bit.  I have little to say about Galarraga, as he is an intensely boring fantasy baseball pitcher.  If he doesn’t keep his walks down (as Cwik mentions), he doesn’t have the stuff like Kennedy or Hudson to make guys miss and pays accordingly.  But I have an immense amount of respect for him for the way he handled the whole ‘near-perfect’ game situation, so he gets a blurb.  Who knows, maybe the move to the NL will be for the best and Galarraga become a useful spot starter in fantasy.  Stranger things have happened, like an ump stealing a perfect game from a young man…

Class Couple

Joe Saunders and Zach Duke

I in no way mean to insinuate that these two are a couple, merely that I was going to write the same thing about both, so I’ll conserve space by coupling them.  Political correctness crisis averted.  Remember how I talked about K/9 being a good indicator of future success?  Yeah, these guys are kind of the opposite.  Both have (miraculously) had good seasons while posting atrocious K/9 rates, Duke in 2009 and Saunders in 2008 ( he had a decent 2009, with 16 wins but poor other numbers).  Neither wows you with stuff, both relying on smarts from the left side of the rubber and the hopes of a ground ball.  Both are capable of going many innings (both have 200 inning campaigns under their belts) when they are on their game.  But they are both the classic case of being a perfectly decent real pitcher yet next to worthless in fantasy.  With the exception of the occasional spot pickup, I’d stay away from both dudes.

Class Clowns

aka WILD CARDS, BITCHES

Barry Enright and Aaron Heilman

With the (smart) signing of J.J. Putz in Arizona to close (SAVE ALERT!  Bad team in the NL West- the best kind of closer!), Heilman will get his shot to start… or go back to his super-long man role he plays to perfection.  I can’t figure Heilman out.  He seems to have a rubber arm (innings, check), has good enough K numbers (check) and generally keeps the ball on the ground/in the ballpark.  He just cannot seem to put it all together as a starter.  As a 2-3 inning man, he was ownable a few years ago, putting up some extremely useful numbers.  With his move to the rotation though, there was something lost in translation.  I’ll watch him this year if he wins a spot because I owned him in 2005 and he helped my team, but my reason for hope is out of loyalty more than anything.

Enright is an interesting case.  Our buddy out in California goes to school with his brother so we had the inside scoop as he ascended to the Majors and surprised a lot of people with his immediate success.  An excellent BABIP helped him to a 1.27 WHIP and allowing a staggering 20 homers (I had to triple check to make sure that was right) in just 99 innings did nothing to help his 3.91 ERA, which is actually impressive if you think that he was giving up 1.82 homers/ 9 innings- that means he wasn’t giving up too many runs other ways, or allowing many homers with men on base.  Like Saunders and Duke, Enright must control his walks and lessen his homer burden.  Unlike those two jamokes, scouts think he has some life to his ball though.  If he can drop the homers and get his GB rate up from around 35% to closer to 50%, he could prove to be a valuable matchup play during the year.  Again, I’m a bit biased in my optimism, but what fun is it to look forward on a fantasy season like a Debbie Downer?

 

 

So there you have it, 1200 words about a relatively crappy rotation.  Hey, when you’re good, you’re good.

Enjoy the prospect show tonight!  If you haven’t seen it recently, go watch 10 Things I Hate About You, it’s a delight.

 

-w

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Filed under Fantasy Baseball, MLB, offseason, Opinion, Pickups, pitchers, Posted, Random Thoughts, Rookies, Sleepers

MLB.com Posts Top 50 Prospects

In one of my favorite moves of the offseason, MLB has released its top 50 prospects list, to be discussed tonight on MLB Network by its excellent, goofball hosts.

Here are the positional breakdowns for all you prospect junkies, hoping for that next big thing.

Enjoy!

Catcher

First Base

Second Base

Third Base

Shortstop

Outfield

Left-Hand Pitchers

Right-Hand Pitchers

I love lists like this.  Be sure to check out the discussion at 9 tonight on MLB Network and the Chat on MLB.com on Wednesday.  And for all 4 of our loyal readers, let us know what YOUR thoughts on the prospects for 2011 in the comments (Trevor has lots of opinions)!

 

-w

 

UPDATE: Here’s the list, an article breaking it down a bit, and VIDEO!

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Filed under catchers, Fantasy Baseball, first base, MLB, offseason, outfield, pitchers, Posted, Rookies, second base, shortstop, Sleepers, third base