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Moving On

I'm packing up the first half, trying to forget the misery for my team. I should write a country song

With the first half now officially in the books, it is time to look back and get all nostalgic.  Or in my case, look back at the guys on my team on the DL and the players I didn’t pick up.  Also, being a bit… well… odd… I have taken it upon myself to compile some tidbits of (almost certainly NOT) useful information, clips, and thoughts on what was a very interesting first half.  And so….

OF NOTE AT THE ALL STAR BREAK
-> David Dejesus is in the top ten (9th) in hits with 107.  I feel as though I have mentioned him quite a bit.  We should get him on our team
-> Cliff Pennington (who?!) has 6 triples.  This just seems odd to me.  He has the pedigree (1st round pick in 2005) but man oh man is he playing well.  This just got me thinking about my favorite statistic- triples.
-> Pennington has those 6 triples in 288 at bats.  Dexter Fowler has 7 triples.  In 189 at bats.  That’s a triple every 27 at bats. Shane Victorino leads the ML in triples with 8.  In 352 at bats (that’s almost double- 1.86 times- the at bats).  That equates to once every 44 at bats. Your ML leader in homers (freakin’ Jose Bautista, the former Pirate great) has 24 homers in 304 at bats.  That’s once every 12.7 at bats.  I’m not sure what this means, other than Dexter Fowler and his crazy long-as-a-giraffe legs are wicked fast.
-> One of my favorite players, Jonny Gomes, has 60 RBI’s at the break and 8 of those have come from sac flies.  In his career, Gomes has 295 RBIs and 29 sac flies.  That’s 9.8% of his RBIs coming from the sacrifice fly.  He can play for my team.  More importantly, he is due for one of his hot streaks coming out of the break, so heads up.  In a similar story, Troy Glaus has 58 RBI and is also not going to continue scuffling, I promise.  Grab him if he’s been dropped.  You heard it here, maybe not first, but you did hear it.

SOY PRIMERO YO

-> Juan Pierre has a major league leading 32 steals!  That is impressive.  His .615  OPS however, is murderous in the  fantasy realm.
-> Speaking of steals, Pierre is usually part of my least favorite stat- caught stealing.  I hate players who routinely get caught.  I hate getting caught (wink, wink, nod, nod, cough, cough).  This is interesting because I have Matt ‘Underachiever of the Year Award’ Kemp on my team, who is 15 of 25 stealing.  That’s bad, Kemp.  I thought I had Matt Kemp, not Shawn.  At least he’s better than Torii Hunter, who must be dragged down by an extra ‘i’ and meager 7 of 17 stealing bases.
-> Your league leaders in caught stealings?  In the NL that would be Nyjer Morgan.  In the AL, returning to Shaggy-esque glory, the one, the only, Scotty Pods, tied with his partner in crimes, Juan Pierre!  It’s like everything is right in the fantasy world!  Single dimensional almost-players!
-> Daric Barton has 54 BBs and 59 K’s, a .378 OBP, and has played solid first base/DH.  This just proves that when it comes to Oakland, sometimes boring works.  Sadly, this strategy doesn’t really help your fantasy team.  His name is also Daric, which sounds like an evil emperor of something.
-> Mark Reynolds has 119 k’s.  Swing away, Merril.  Yup, that’s a Mel Gibson movie reference AND  a Joaquin Phoenix reference all in one!

so they can't read our brains.

-> Carlos Beltran has not struck out or been caught stealing…. Nor has he played a game… but did you really notice?  Isn’t that saying something?
-> Sticking with K’s, two players to look out for in keeper leagues and in the second half  if they can correct their K:BB ratios- Drew Stubbs (89 K : 31 BB) and Austin Jackson (86K : 23 BB).  If these head closer to 50-50, look for their OBPs and other stats to jump…
-> Rickie Weeks (422) leads the majors in plate appearances.  Mostly because that lineup turns over so much.
->Your leaders in singles: NL- Martin Prado.  No way! Where did this guy come from!!?!  Oh wait… nailed it. AL-  Ichiro.  Ichiro is going to go down as one of the most consistent fantasy and major league players of all time.
-> Weeks and Carlos Quentin lead the NL and AL in HBP, with 17 (WOW!) and 12, respectively.  HBP is my second favorite category in all of the fantasy world.  Just rub some dirt on it and jog to first, gentlemen.
-> No surprise here, but two tubby fellas lead in GIDP.  Billy Butt-ler with 21 and Panda Sandoval with 19 (man, what a disappointing season he’s having…)
-> Jeremy Hellickson is still in the minors.
-> The two pitchers having the most phenomenal years fewer-than-there-should-be people  are talking about lead in ERA+, which adjusts ERA for parks and such.  They are Josh Johnson and Clay Buchholz (245, 182).  Read that again.  Someone should really write about how good Buchholz has been…
-> Some quick thoughts: Carlos Santana was WELL worth the wait/ Brennan Boesch is this year’s Garrett Jones and has the same name as a Step Brothers character/ WATCH OUT FOR DAYAN VICIDEO IN THE 2ND HALF.  Seriously.  Put him on the watch list right now/ Brad Bergesen hurt himself filming a TV ad for th Orioles.  Do not let Arietta and Matusz anywhere near him Baltimore!
-> First Half rookie standouts (not yet ROY’s)
AL-> Boesch
NL-> Leake      honestly, this guy did what everyone thought Strasburg would be doing right off the bat, the leap from High School to the majors.  It’s pretty incredible the stats he has amassed.
-> Who we predict will be the Rookies of the Year going foward:
AL: Carlos Santana (edging out Boesch)
NL: Strasburg, even if he falters at times, he has been nothing short of brilliant (with Leake and Heyward getting plenty of votes)
———-> My favorite catch of the year courtesy of Nyjer Morgan.
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More musings to come, especially about some guys to nab in the second half.  But until then,
I like candy, everybody likes candy, that’s why Halloween is such a popular holiday (yes, that’s a real Backyard Baseball HR call)
-w
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Phew, What a Day…

thank god I'm not in Cleveland anymore

The back and forth and almost reporting (ahem… guilty hand raised) is done, Cliff Lee is going to the Texas Rangers in a 6 player swap (USA Today story here).  Good for the Rangers, first of all, for stepping in and beating the Yankees out and for finally making a push for that one guy to make them serious contenders.  I love parity.

Now on to the meat and potatoes.  What in the world does this mean for fantasy?  Let’s break it down:

Seattle gets…

Justin Smoak, 1B

Smoak was a fantasy darling this year and has on more than one occasion been compared to former Ranger Mark Teixeira, another switch hitter (who also had trouble with lefties when he came up…).  He came out of the gate big, but has cooled off considerably.  Okay I’m sugar coating, he has struggled a lot recently, but the pedigree is phenomenal.  By all accounts, Smoak will be a good-if-not great first baseman and, more importantly for us, a viable fantasy option for years to come.  And just to beat those naysayers to the punch, Safeco Field might be good for Smoak.  With its large power alleys, Smoak, a great line drive hitter, could be in line to rake in the doubles out in Seattle.

Blake Beavan, Joshua Lueke, and Matt Lawson

*Beaven was the 17th pick in the 2007 draft (WOW HE’S ONLY 21!) and is supposedly an excellent control pitcher.  He’s also 6’7” 250, so he has the build of a monster, or at the very least Jeff Nieman 2.0.

*Lueke, another big fella (6’5” 220), was a 16th round selection in 2007 draft.  He’s had biiiiiiiiiig strikeout numbers in the minors and he’s older (25) leading me to believe he is going to be a useful bullpen are along the way, as some scouts have called him a ‘top relief prospect.’  I read that to mean he’s a power arm, plain and simple.

*Lawson is an interesting player, listed as a 2B/OF- always an interesting combo.  A 14th round selection in that same 2007 draft (nice haul, Texas).  He seems like a solid player, hitting for a nice combo of speed and power with a decent OBP.  Who knows how he’ll play out, but he seems to be an athlete at the least.  The only issue might be the K’s (127 in 545 Plate appearances in high A last year), but it appears he has corrected that somewhat (64:37 BB:K ratio this year in AA).

The Rangers Get…

This Guy Named Cliff Lee?

He’s just plain good.  Even in Texas.  I feel like I don’t need to write him up at this point.  But I will.  Lee goes to a solid rotation in Texas and makes them legitimate contenders.  Not that this is set in stone, but I am fascinated by the effect Lee might have on the rising young arms in Texas, especially my favorite C.J. Wilson.

Mark Lowe

Lowe is a very solid reliever and an established one at that, unlike the young arms the Rangers traded away.  This is a smart move by the Rangers, as I always think it is wise to grab established relievers over young potential relievers.  He figures to add to an already solid Ranger bullpen and anchor the last few innings with Francisco and Feliz.

And there you have it, blurbs for all, the deed is done and the Lee is gone.  Great deal for both teams, I’m excited to see Smoak develop and the Rangers with an actual ace for once…

-w

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Well, That Turned Fast…

Buster Olney is saying the talks over Cliff Lee have fallen apart….

they look like little kids...

Quick Twins!  DO IT NOW!  BEFORE THE RAYS!

…and the Rangers are moving in on a 6-player deal…   more to follow

-w

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Well, Bollocks…

In another move with fantasy rami-frick-ations, the Yanks are “all but certain” to obtain Cliff Lee (Neyer reports).  In other news, the Red Sox jugular vein is now in need of extensive repairs…

no longer welcome on my fantasy team. fact.

I trust Neyer.  I also trust that if he says the Yanks are pushing hard, the Yanks are going to get what they want.

MLB-wise, this shifts the power in the AL east immensely.  But we don’t really care about that, do we.  Fantasy-wise, the move has several layers.  This move creates a logjam of pitchers for the Bombers, not a bad problem to have, but the fact remains they have a bunch of starters.  As Neyer points out there are several ways they could go about fixing the issue.  One would be to move Hughes to the bullpen. If you’re a Red Sox fan, or someone who doesn’t have Hughes, you love this.  The Yankees would be fools to do this, in my opinion, as Hughes has been an excellent starter for both his real manager and fantasy managers alike.  The other option is to trade a starter- who we would assume would be Javy Vazquez.  This is the more interesting move, fantasy-wise.  A trade could likely be to another NL team for Vazquez.  There should be a party for all owners of Javy if this happens. Just look at the numbers. Vazquez is a National League pitcher, and a very good one at that.  His value skyrockets anywhere with a trade- he just doesn’t seem to agree with New York.

Anyways, more to follow if the deal ACTUALLY happens.  But for now, it seems likely.  Here’s to hoping the Twins move Wilson Ramos and the M’s get freaked out by Jesus Montenero’s year so far… but I’m not holding my breath.

Theo Epstein, call me, I’ve got some ideas…

– W

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DID YOU KNOW THAT?

One of my most favorite shows growing up was Bill Nye the Science Guy (or his site).  My favorite segment was always the ‘DID YOU KNOW THAT?’ bit that ended with the same crazy voice echoing, ‘KNOW YOU KNOW….’

Long and short of it, the show was truly the only reason many of us thought science was cool, and that segment always hit the spot.  Knowing this, and knowing I’m always looking for a gimmick (like, say, letting one of our friends write instead of me… don’t judge our back catalog ladies and germs, I was n ‘sabbatical’), I think you know what’s coming:

DID YOU KNOW THAT…

… Roy Halladay, the notorious control king has an excellent K:BB ratio of 6.61.  Cliff Lee is just being ridiculous this year.  His K:BB?  14.833.  CAN YOU IMAGINE WHAT WOULD BE GOING ON IF HE HAD STAYED IN PHILLY?! @#$%&*!

… in 85 at bats (entering tonight) over the past month Cliff Pennington, yes THAT Cliff Pennington has 6 doubles, 4 triples, and 5 stolen bases?  And a .436 on-base percentage to boot?

… Scotty Podsednik has 6 sacrifice flies (4 the past month).  He has 10 sacrifice bunts.  He has been caught stealing 10 times.  You do not want this man on your wiffle ball team.

… We were kinda right about this Sean Rodriguez guy?

and he wears his socks high. much respect.

Russell Martin, the bane of my fantasy existence at catcher, has a BB:K ratio of 40:48.  He’s having a decent season, by most accounts.  His OPS?  .684.  Would you like to know who has a higher OPS?  My grandmother (drum rollcymbal crash).  Gosh I’m like butta’  I’m so  a roll.

…Ricky Nolasco has given up 20 homers.   That in and of itself is a stat to look at.  He has given up 115 hits.  I will do the math for you:  that is 17.39% of his hits surrendered going over fences.  AND 9 of the last 42 hits he has given up were homers (21.43%).  Ricky, just hit the guy!

… but Randy Wolf (who had a 5 homer-allowed game) has him beat.  Over the past month (30 innings) , Wolf has surrendered 14 walks and 27 hits.  How many for long john silverbombs?  9.  That, ladies and germs, is 1/3, or 33.3%  Wow.  Hopefully, you have benched him accordingly.  And have prayed to the trade gods.

… Speaking of trades, J.J. Putz hasn’t given up a run his last 12 and 1/3 innings- Will someone please let him close?  Or can the Red Sox trade for him?  I just watched Hideki Okeydokeyjima give up a laser to Crawford.  The other Sox don’t need him.  Please?

Joey Votto leads the NL in runs created.  He has 21 homers and 59 RBI’s.  His OBP is .395.  He has 751 total bases.  His middle name is Daniel.  And he might not be an All-Star.  This is sad.  And infuriating to all Votto owners.   But also a sad commentary on the voting system for the game and how it is treated by the MLB

… Over the last month, your #4 and #6 leaders in hits?  Gaby Sanchez (39) and David Dejesus (38).  This is interesting to me, sorry.

Carlos Santana is VERY good. (9 2B’s and 5 Homers good.)

… That Wilson Betemit is still in the Majors?

BACK OFF I'M STARVING

OK that was mean.  But NOW YOU KNOW!

-w

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