Tag Archives: Red Sox

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

We Need to Talk About Jason…

The folks over at the finely tuned machine that is Fangraphs had a great article several days ago on the “forced retirement team,” that is, players who seemed to have gas left in the tank, couldn’t find work, and were forced to ride off to the sunset. I’m not sure where, if at all, Jason Varitek falls on that team. His place on a realteam is a much more relevant for now. Admittedly, his skills have diminished. Yes, he can still run into a fastball. Yes, he is still notorious for working tirelessly on game planning, something even the dumbest of pitchers appreciate (cough, John Lackey). But his defensive skills have deteriorated and he’s almost 40 years old. Those two pieces of information alone usually signify the end for a catcher, especially one with weakening offensive skills and no opening at DH to slide into. The final, industrial-sized nail in Jason Varitek’s Red Sox coffin may be the 2011 team’s collapse.

 

Red Sox fans have loyally stuck by Tek as his production has decreased, citing all sorts of justifications. He’s a top-notch game caller. He’s a gamer. He hit A-Rod. Varitek undeniably gave his heart to the organization. If you question his passion for his team, go back and watch that clip of Varitek shattering his elbow as he desperately goes after a foul ball, or watch him shove Alex Rodriguez’s centaur-face. I watch that video when I’m having a bad day. Red Sox Nation knows what Varitek has meant to this franchise, and no one questioned for a second that he deserved to be the captain.

But there’s the rub — he earned that right to be captain. He therefore must shoulder the considerable responsibility that comes with the now-infamous collapse of the Red Sox in 2011. Pitchers slacking off, giving up, players appearing to lose interest- these are not on Terry Francona entirely. Part of the concept behind naming a captain is to help a manager facilitate the clubhouse.

Francona was notoriously a “players’ manager” yet still faced the type of behavior in 2011 that has come to light. What’s the point of having a captain if they cannot reel in a team losing respect for a manager?  A captain should be the last line of defense against that kind of insubordination. Either Varitek stopped trying to be a leader (in which case it’s time for him to take a break) or he was complacent in the disaster that was the epic turmoil that was the end of 2011 for Boston (in that case, good riddance to him, in my book).

Regardless of whether Varitek had an active or role in the 2011 Red Sox demise, his situation and Tim Wakefield’s retirement bring to light an interesting conundrum in all of sports. What do you do with an aging cornerstone of the team?

The city of Boston has two teams dealing with this type of situation as the aging Celtics are facing a critical juncture with its ‘Big Three.’ Like Varitek, Paul Pierce has been a hardworking and loyal teammate. The difference between the Big Three and Varitek is value. Teams would still like to have any one of the Big Three on their team for a playoff push. Varitek will either be brought back to the Sox or likely retire. So the question really is- what, if anything, does a team owe a player beyond a contract? What is loyalty in sports?

a job at Seaworld, perhaps?

When people look back on ‘the good old days,’ they lament today’s sports contracts, attitudes, and a (perceived) lack of loyalty. Players leave the team they came up with every year for the highest dollar (Ahem, Mr. Pujols.), abandoning fans and cities, taking their ‘talents’ elsewhere. Those quotation marks may seem unnecessary, but Lebron James effectively ruined that term for athletes forever. So what has changed? Why are there not more players like Stan Musinal? Ted Williams? Bill Russell? John Stockton? These guys who were not only pillars of the team, but pillars of the community.

Money, as usual, lies at the root. Players make a lot of money nowadays, if you didn’t know. The staggering dollars even marginal players make compared to eras past cannot be discounted. Sure, maybe guys felt stronger ties to cities and programs back then, but our concept of loyalty then is just as tied to money as it is now.

Players in all sports stayed in one place because it made sense financially. It’s a heck of a lot easier to transition into some sort of business after your playing days are over if you have a base in the area.  In the ‘modern era’ we see players hanging on to their playing days, leaving their teams for another city, another paycheck, because they have nowhere else to go. Players across the sports world often have no clue what to do after the game.

There are only so many seats at a pregame show and only so many color commentating spots. Many players do not plan for being retired, and see no need to. There is so much money nowadays (comparatively) that a smart player does not have the need to have a ‘real job’s’ skill set, as he may have had to in the past. Superstars or even guys with ‘personality,’ such as Kevin Millar can easily find endorsement deals or talking head spots. But some are in the in-between, like Varitek.

Varitek was never a superstar, nor was he a yapper like Kevin Millar or Tony Siragusa. He possesses a determination and work ethic that his peers respect which, in turn, makes us the fan respect him. He seems destined, as the newly retired Tim Wakefield does, for a place in the Red Sox organization. Call it a loyalty program. However there’s no one, fan or ownership alike, can pretend 2011 did not happen. So what was Varitek’s role or lack thereof in the team’s follies?

Wakefield was a less instrumental part of the 2011 team. He will remain a huge influence in Boston as he has been heavily involved in the Jimmy Fund and other charities for his entire career. A job at NESN is not out of the question. But what of Varitek? Does he still have the gravitas to be a bullpen coach? A pitching coach? A bench coach? A minor league instructor? We may never know the inner workings of the 2011 collapse in terms of who stood out and who stood idly by. But as Varitek’s lack of place on the team and likely retirement looms, we’re going to need to talk about Jason.

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Filed under catchers, MLB, offseason, Opinion, Posted

Catcher ADP: Hiding Beauty Like a Pair of Glasses in a Rom-Com

She’s All That (1999), but you already got that reference.

yeah, like we didn't know she was cute. C'MON. the glasses work for me. sigh. I miss the 90's sometimes. but only sometimes.

ADP is a beautiful, terrible thing.  We as humans love to rank things and it can cloud our judgement to see an arbitrary list.  ADP is an incredibly useful tool, as it pools and averages where others are taking players you might be thinking of taking.  You know and I know that just because everyone is doing it, doesn’t make it right.  ADP is a barometer, not law.  You know this, I know this… but that doesn’t mean every jabroney in your league knows that.  There’s at least one in every draft.  Someone who takes Chone Figgins in the 4th round.  Who asks if Martin Russell is still available.  Who tries to draft a retired player.  Even the smartest fantasy owners fall victim to ADP (Hand raised.  That sentence makes it sound like a virus).  Between the bimbos and the braniacs drafting with you, you’re all going to at one point rely on ADP as some kind of deciding/tie-breaking factor.  So here are some players not to forget about in 2012, as I’m betting they outperform their average draft positions.  Here’s to hoping ya’ll find your Rachel Leigh Cooks, you Freddie Prinze Jr.’s, you.

As always, much love to Mock Draft Central, where you can get all kinds of ADP reports by signing up.

CATCHER

Catcher is a tough position to read into ADP-wise.  Mock drafts reflect real leagues and they can have multiple catcher positions.  There’s a reason back-up catchers are back-ups- there’s a dropoff in quality in both  fantasy and reality when you get past your starting catcher.  That being said, ADP still reflects how people value a player, so it’s worthwhile to compare.  Buster Posey (59.7ADP) and Joe Mauer (79.9 ADP) might be the ‘names,’ but they’re injury risks, to say the least.  Wait a few rounds and grab Matt Wieters (97.8).  Better yet, wait an additional round and take Alex Avila (108.5).

Avila is a really good hitter.  He has an excellent Line Drive rate (21.7%).  He has a solid K:BB ratio (131:73), especially for a catcher.  And he has good “gap power”/ is a good “doubles hitter” – I’ll let you choose the saying you’re more comfortable with, they both mean the same thing to me.  He’s everything you should look for in a fantasy catcher – be reasonable, folks, don’t ask for more.  He’s also the last catcher I’d draft in the first 15 rounds.  Honestly.  The position is such a mix of uncertainty, over-rated-ness, and mediocrity that my feeling is if I don’t get a select few catchers in the first half of the draft at a value pick (meaning a round I feel comfortable in – I’m not taking Napoli in the 4th round, despite my affection for him).  Knowing that, there are plenty of players to target as you get down to you final picks who could yield  a big return as your starter.  Here’s a few I’d target as the draft(s) dwindle on…

Chris Iannetta (ANA)- ADP 238

having a large head also helps as a catcher

I don’t have any reason to always think on the upside of Ianetta.  Maybe it was those years of the Red Sox pursuing him.  Who knows.  Year after year though, I consider him (quietly) a sleeper.  His power is legitimate.  He’s a pretty good receiver and Mike Scioscia always gets good production from his catcher rotation (what Jeff Mathis? oh, shut up Jeff Mathis you’re bringing us all down.).  Kidding aside, Scioscia does understand the ins and outs of catching.  The question is whether Scioscia or the potential of a great lineup the Angels could trot out helps him more.  He has a good eye, has demonstrated power at every level and has never really had the opportunity to shine.  In the last few rounds, I’m giving him a shot.

Devin Mesoraco (CIN) – ADP 243.4

WHOAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA. WHOOOOAAAAAAAAAA. WHOOAAAAAAAAAA. FAAAAACE.

There is a reason he was not part of that Latos deal (and another prospect, Grandal, was)- the Reds think they have the real deal with Mesoraco (so does Keith Law).  He has what scouts like to toss around as an ‘advanced approach’ at the plate.  He has a strong arm.  In 5 minor league seasons he has demonstrated the ability to hit for a good combination of average and power.  Everything in the minors points to him being a starting catcher capable of hitting around .300 with 20 homers.  Toss into that mix that good eye and the ability to run a little bit (leading to doubles, not singles) and Mesoraco should be able to have a .850+ OPS.  In a good lineup, scoring a bunch of runs, that sounds like a very draftable catcher.  If you’d rather take Ryan Doumit (235), by all means do, I’ll be happy to snag Mesoraco as the draft closes and laugh when you are in that wonderful situation where Doumit is playing drop-ably bad and you have no viable alternative.  Just sayin’.

Ryan Lavarnway (BOS) – ADP 344.3  (listed as a DH on MDC)

20 bombs.

You may say I’m being a homer with this one.  You’re only partially right.  Jarrod Saltalamacchia actually showed a lot of promise for the Red Sox last year.  He posted a .215 ISO (measure of power, read about it) and seemed to grow a bit more comfortable as the season progressed.  That being said, he didn’t put up particularly exciting numbers, save for the power.  Lavarnway can match that power by every account.  He showed excellent power throughout the minors and looked powerful in his 43 AB for the Red Sox in 2011.  OK, that was a reach.  Hyperbole aside, Lavarnway seems to project as a similar type of player to Saltalamacchia in the worst case scenario.  Throw in Kelly Shoppach (hah.) and Jason Varitek (double hah.) and the question with the Red Sox becomes a matter of playing time.  If Lavarnway gets 350-400 AB, it is now unreasonable to see him hitting 15-18 homers, conservatively, with a better average than Salty (.235).  He’s worth a flier as a last pick of the draft in my book.

There you are, some ideas for Costco-priced catchers.  I did the thinking for you, all you have to do is remember.  Catchers are like relievers when it comes to drafting in my book – if you don’t get a sure thing early, move on and look for talent elsewhere.  It’s not worth extending yourself out of desperation to fill the catcher position on your roster just because you already have someone at another spot.  So hunt the bargain bin, look like a genius, and remember to tell your friends who told you to draft and start Lavarnway this year.

-w


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Filed under Baseball, catchers, Fantasy Baseball, MLB, Opinion, Posted, Sleepers

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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Baseball Babblings


I love this movie and this scene.  There is an excellent website called movieclips.com where you can find all sorts of your favorite film blurbs and snippets.  It’s a cool idea.
Rirruto?
Lots of wheelings and dealings already in the baseball offseason, so here are some thoughts about what’s going on while I prep the preseason fantasy rankings no one is waiting for…

Reds Acquire Latos for Volquez, Yonder Alonso et al.

  • Guess we’re starting with the most recent.  This deal is chock-full of intriguing story threads, as the MLB offseason has been in general.  I like how Dave Cameron of U.S.S. Mariner and Fangraphs said it best: “The Cincinnati Reds had an abundance of redundant prospects and a big need to upgrade their starting rotation…(link)”  Something about that phrasing ‘abundance of redundant prospects’ tickled me just so for its combination of clever turn of phrase and truth.  The Reds are stubbornly holding on to the notion that they’re going to re-sign Joey Votto and not completely throw their payroll out of whack (note: don’t hold your breath on that one).  The deal made a whole lot of sense.  The Reds legitimately have an overload of offensive talent.  Yonder Alonso is a serious prospect (he MAULED at the end of 2011) but he is blocked by the likes of Joey Bats, and the other good prospect in the deal, Yasmani Grandal, was blocked by Alonso, Votto, and Devin Mesoraco and any other young’n who might slip into the left field/1st base/3rd base equation (I know he’s a catcher but that’s where he’d get at-bats).  The Padres get two really good young bats.  The Padres really need some good young bats.  They also get an excellent contender for the Petco-factor in Edinson Volquez, whose inconsistencies and high fly ball rate should benefit greatly from the measurable difference that park brings.  On second thought, his fly ball is pretty standard- it’s the staggering number of walks that is the real problem (over 5 per 9 the last two years).  Petco seemingly would have no effect on the walks, based on statistical analysis.  However, if you’ve ever watched Volquez pitch, it is abundantly clear that he walks so many because he does not attack hitters with his secondary pitches the same way he does with his fastball.  This is a similar issue his former partner in crime Johnny Cueto had before taking ‘that next step.’  Point being, in spacious Petco Park, perhaps Volquez will be more aggressive in the strike zone as he knows he won’t give up nearly the amount of homers he did in Cincy.  I’m planning on drafting Volquez when I get the chance in fantasy and I’m fairly sure he’s going to see better numbers in sunny San Diego.  Not sure what can be said about Latos, he’s an excellent pitcher, it just seems talent evaluators question his maturity.  A lot.  Dude seems to be lotta tats, little brain.  He’s still a damn fine pitcher and fits in nicely with the other power arms the Reds have.  This appears to be one of those elusive win-win deals, in my book at least.  The Padres, despite the presence of former Red Sox great Anthony Rizzo, need some spice, some pop in that lineup.  Alonso alone provides that.  The fact that the Friars also got a huge potential starter in Volquez and a good hitting catcher in Grandal (not to mention guy who I’ve read several places has ‘closer stuff’ in this Brad Boxberger character) means they both addressed a need and found an immediate, if temporary, stopgap for the talent they just shipped off.  The Reds get a top-of-the-line starter to accompany Cueto and their other promising young arms (including, apparently, Aroldis Chapman), and hung on to Mesoraco and their young arms.  I’ll be watching how these players adjust to their new surroundings to see how things shake down, I advise you do the same (especially once fantasy drafts REALLY start up).

    the Rockies signed Cuddyer to such a big deal because they’re hoping he can be their #5 starter as well

Rox sign Cuddyer to 3-year $31.5 Million deal

  • Keith Law wrote an Insider piece discussing how the Rockies overpaid to get Mike Cuddyer and I tend to agree with him.  But I thought on the deal some more and have reconsidered my stance.  I was, as I usually am, looking through the glass of fantasy baseball as I looked at Cuddyer.  On the surface, and in fantasy, players like Cuddyer are anything but rare.  You can pull a 1B/OF from just about anywhere during the season, from the real waiver wire to the one online.  However Cuddyer brings more to the table.  There is the obvious intangible, but still highly valuable, ‘character guy’ aspect of the former Twinkie, which cannot be denied.  Every account you read and all the reactions of former teammates point to the fact that Mike Cuddyer is a vital and well-respected part of a clubhouse culture.  People like him.  If I’ve learned anything about baseball, it’s that clubhouse culture means a lot more than other sports – 162 games plus spring training is a LOOOOOONG time to be stuck with the same 25(ish) guys.  More important to both your fantasy team and your team-team, though, is Cuddyer’s versatility.  He can hit, and that’s important in Colorado.  But he can also play multiple infield AND outfield positions, giving the Rox lineup flexibility.  I’m all about flexibility.  I’m winking at you right now through the interweb as you read that.
  • Speaking of versatility, the Indians signed Jose Lopez.  This may seem like a non-story, but Lopez could be a sneaky source of power if he gets at bats around the infield.  Nick Punto signed with the Red Sox and will be the balancing not sneaky anti-power.  Even in baseball every action must have an equal and opposite reaction.

    that’s gonna be one hell of a face touch

– Dodgers sign Juan Rivera and Chris Capuano

  • Let’s be honest.  As this month turns, the new year brings on a new baseball season and overall awesomeness.  The months leading up to spring training are delightfully full of movement- to those who are paying attention.  Sure something boisterous will happen, Papelbon signing with the Phillies, the Marlins spending millions, a monkey riding a dog.  But look back over baseball history (more importantly FANTASY baseball history).  Sometimes the tiny actions have the largest reactions.  As a Red Sox fan, it is easy to forget David Ortiz was brought in to split time with… Jeremy Giambi.  Yes, Jeremy Giambi.

As it is with my other love, movies, sometimes the blockbuster loses out to the small indie with a strong cast.  The analogy just got confusing but you get the picture.

The winter meetings have come and gone.  Some big (if not the BIGGEST) names have moved and I’m sure we will be seeing the more traditional big deals soon, with the aforementioned Reds-Pads trade as proof. But there have already been some moves to be aware of.  Small but deadly, like a honeybadger.  Or Oddjob.  Or Jigglypuff.  
Juan Rivera is an interesting case.  A career .277 hitter, he has twice hit 20+ homers and generally hits lefties very well.  He also has a track record for hitting better as the season wears on.  This track record is certainly skewed by the fact that this gentleman seems to have trouble staying healthy for more than 120 games.  I’d imagine that the sometimes punchless Dodger offense could use some help, any help, so Rivera should get ample opportunity.  Playing his games in the NL West should be interesting as Dodger Stadium, Chase Field and, obviously, Coors Field all are good environments for right-handed power hitters (The porch at Dodger Stadium is literally short.  Average in distance and shorter than mini-me). 

Chris Capuano will also benefit from pitching in the NL West, one would think.  No team in that division is particularly known for their offensive consistency.  Granted, they’re not the hapless saps they once were, but again, still inconsistent.  Coming back from injury, Capuano has proven to be a solid back-end starter.  The past 2 seasons have seen strong finishes from Capuano, who has had several very solid months (August of 2011, for example, he had a 1.17 WHIP and 38 K’s in 37.2 innings.).  Though it seems undoubtedly crazy, I am thinking ahead and Capuano is high atop my list of pitchers to pay attention to when I’m looking to stream a start.  Something to consider.

BUNT!

This is a very interesting deal.  The Royals have quietly built up a staff of power arms… and Bruce Chen.  Soria, the newly acquired Broxton, and Tim Collins can get swings and misses in the bullpen.  Sanchez, Danny Duffy, and Felipe Paulino.   And Bruce Chen, who is the baseball equivalent of a ‘game-manager’ in football.  Making fun of Brucey aside, the Royals would appear to be heading in the right direction with a promising young pitching staff and an intriguing mix of young talent (Gordon, Hosmer) and prospects on the way (Lorenzo Cain, Wil Myers).  They could be on the up and up, especially if they got the Jonathan Sanchez of the second halves (go ahead, click that link, he’s had a few very, very good post-All Star performances).  Sanchez will always be a risk to walk 8, but the fact that he’ll play the Twins a bunch will help his stats, as will his move to the American League.  DOUBLE TAKE.  What did I just type?  No you read it right, so hear me out – yes, the AL, with it’s DH’s and better offensive numbers, would seem like a pitcher’s worst nightmare, but the move might actually help a power guy like Sanchez, sort of.  I don’t doubt he’ll walk a bunch, but his stuff is very good and there are also many more swingers and miss-ers in the AL than the NL.  It’s one of those backwards sort of logic theories that makes baseball work.  Or it does in my head. So there.

The Melkman really broke out last year.  He is a talented player and I would bet he continues with numbers more similar to last year than his time with the Braves, though it would be unreasonable to expect him to match all his stats from 2011.  His speed, however, will translate.  He hit 44 doubles and stole 20 bases in 2011 (throw in the 5 triples, too).  These are both reachable numbers for 2012.  In fact, given the spacious parks in the NL West and the difference in style-of-play in the NL, I think Cabrera should be in line for a very good (and fantasy-useful) season full of extra base hits.  44 doubles, 18 homers and 5 triples in 2011?  While those homers will easily drop, is 50 doubles out of the question?  Melky should be a good addition to the top of that lineup and could be in line for scoring close to 100 runs if Posey comes back and some of the pieces the Gents have click.  Both the Melkman and Angel Pagan are good fits for the big AT&T park defensively and offensively.  Both are also great late(ish)-round plays in your fantasy drafts…. which are coming… soon…

  • I WAITED AS LONG AS I COULD.  THE DARK KNIGHT RISES 2ND TRAILER IS OUT.  I REPEAT; THE 2ND TRAILER FOR THE DARK KNIGHT RISES IS OUT.  WATCH IT UNTIL YOU BEGIN WEEPING, AS I DID.  GO.
I am quite literally shaking with excitement.  I have been watching and re-watching this all day.  Holy crap.
It will be good to see what Jed Lowrie can produce given a new situation.  He’s able to play all over the infield and is a good guy, by all accounts.   Here’s to hoping he stays healthy and has a chance to flourish.  Reviews are mixed on Weiland but based on what I’ve seen, he has good enough stuff to be an effective back of the rotation starter, especially in the National League (or, more specifically, pitching ANYWHERE besides the AL East).  What is really interesting about the deal is the dominoes it knocks over.  The acquisition gives the Red Sox confidence to move both Daniel Bard and possibly Alfredo Aceves to the starting corps.  Both are pitchers to watch as either could turn out to be extremely effective in a new role.  These movements also alter the remaining closer landscape.  Where will Madson go now?  How about Cordero?  The Red Sox had been obvious choices for some remaining Closers.  They still could sign one, but the field is more interesting now.  Do the Red Sox bring Jose Iglesias on in some sort of reserve role if Mike Aviles struggles?  He exceeded any and all expectations in his time with the Sox and can play the outfield, so he’d have to play very, very poorly – but still, it could happen.
Not that it has anything to do with this deal, but who else is excited about a Nick Punto-Dustin Pedroia double play?  Awesome sauce.
There you have it, some thoughts on baseball’s movings and shakings.  I’m sure there will be more to come (maybe the Phillies will make a run at Jermaine Dye?), so stay tuned.
-w
oh and WATCH THIS SOME MORE:

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Filed under Baseball, Fantasy Baseball, MLB, offseason, Opinion, Sleepers, video

Texas Two-Step

As in, step one: buy a sports team.   step two: PROFIT!

Not Jim Crane. Sadly.

Baseball is shaking things up.  Let me rephrase that.  As much as they can allow themselves to become more exciting, baseball is making some changes.  As I outlined brilliantly in my 3-part “Gritty MLB Reboot” series (or rant, depending on how you take it), baseball is in dire need of some different spices in the pot (Part One, Part Two, Part Three).  Perhaps this purchase and movement of the Astros, and the dominoes their scenario knocks around, is a step in the right direction.

Let us address the sale of the Astros and subsequent move to the AL West.  Effective 2013, the Houston Astros will join their Texas brethren in the AL West.  This instantly creates a legitimate in-state rivalry, unlike the ones MLB and Fox try to force upon us when interleague play arrives (my distaste for interleague is a different story for a different day).  The battle for Texas will provide an interesting tweak on both the division it is entering and the one it is leaving.  Competitively, the NL Central loses  a punching bag, as the Astros have been downright astro-cious the past few years.  Horrible puns aside, the World Champion Cardinals especially benefitted from the Astros, going 10-5 against the 100-loss Houston team.  With the additional wild-card games and an added loser (the Astros, undeniably, will be bad for several years at the very least), the AL West becomes legitimate players.  Do the Athletics take a big step forward?  And does their impending success help persuade the A’s move out of woeful Oakland?  The ramifications of this move could prove to be far reaching competitively, financially, and emotionally – if Nolan Ryan would just say something outlandish to stir the pot (I sincerely hope this happens).  This nugget does not suffice:

“I’ve always thought of the Astros as a National League team,” said Rangers team president Nolan Ryan (who played for Houston from 1980-1988.)  “But when I look at it from our perspective, I like it.”

With a big, big TV deal in place and a mini-dynasty in the making, the Rangers surely like the idea of having a bad team to beat up on.  But the Astros, bad as they might be, will benefit from this too.  Texans are stereotypically a competitive lot, so, somewhat counter-intuitively, two teams in the same state should build up both teams’ TV share and attendance.  Jim Crane paid a pretty penny for a struggling team.  But he may have lucked into the perfect storm of circumstance.  Additional playoffs and a Champion-caliber, in-state rival should put the Astros in a good position financially going forward.  Now if they could only find some players.

Here are some other bits from around the league:

–> Infielder Matt Antonelli will undergo a physical on Monday to finalize his major league deal with the Orioles, tweets Dan Connolly of The Baltimore Sun.  Matt’s a good dude.  And he’s from Peabody.  And he’s read our blog before, so he’s wicked smaht.  Good to see Dan Duquette give him a go.  Glad he’s healthy again.

—> Joe Nathan signs a 2 year (3rd year team option) with the Texas Rangers.  This really makes me mad, actually.  I have been saying for several weeks now – louder since Papelbon left for Philadelphia – that the Red Sox should make Daniel Bard a starter and sign Nathan to be their closer.  It was a concept borrowed from these same Rangers, and a damned good one, so they did it with their more-than-a-closer Neftali Feliz.  The worst part of this going forward is now the Red Sox must either overpay for a guy who’s not that good, have open tryouts a-la “Invincible” or… gulp… make Bobby Jenks their closer.

—> Philadelphia Phillies acquire Ty Wiggington for a bag of trail mix.  I’m confused by the Phillies reluctance to sign players or develop players under 30.  Between Jim Thome and Ty Wiggington, the Phillies’ bench seems better equipped for lumberjacking than winning baseball games.

—> The Red Sox are circling around Bobby Valentine for their managerial position.  More details and lots of swearing to come in the following weeks.

—> The MLB is working on a new CBA and it will allegedly address issues such as HGH testing and draft slotting.  More details will begin to emerge and once they announce the official parameters, I will break them down.

 

 

Adios, muchachos, enjoy this phenomenal new Black Keys song and the awesome dancing.  Don’t know how this guy stole my moves.

-w

 

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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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HOMER POLL: A-GONE?

PLEASE?

Who is Adrian Gonzalez?

Really.

enjoy the black keys

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Random Thoughts for the Week Ahead: 7/26

Here’s some stuff kickin’ around our brains we thought we’d share with ya’ll.  Our pleasure to drop such exquisite and random knowledge on the loyal population of readers, even if it is only 3 of you.

–> Carl Crawford suffered one of the strangest sports injuries we’ve ever seen.  It got me thinking about where it ranks with some of the odd injuries that have befallen baseball players (like, say, holding back a sneeze or carrying meat from the hunt).  And I have to tell you, that is one hell of a cup-check there, Jake Arrietta.  And what a break in the bro-code by Wiggington, you gotta stop that baseball, man!  Baseball injuries rank atop my list, followed by football, because the way  Belichick revolutionized the vagueness of the injury report leads to endless amusement from pretty much the entire league.

NOT the right Wade Davis.

–> I know I hyped (excessively) his would-be replacement, but Wade Davis has been really solid recently. Whether he goes to another team or stays with the Rays, he looks like he has worked out some kinks going back through the league.  Watch him at the deadline, as his moving or not moving has serious, legitimate, playoff-for-fantasy altering ramifications (as well as the less-important-but-nationally-relevant real life baseball ones).

–> This is frankly an astonishing story that Dave found (ny times) from 2008.  What an ingenious player, Mr. Newsom.  I’m surprised something like this hasn’t taken off yet.  It’s a pretty great idea.  I wish I had thought of it.  Are you teased enough? Read the damn article!  He has since retired, but good for a Northeast fella for making a name with not only baseball but being clever (how’s that working out for you?  being clever?)

–>Dan Haren to the Angels.  Yawn.  This move bores me.  But it does allow me to discuss a highly sought after prospect who DIDN’T move, Mike Trout.  Here’s a scouting report with video linkage on the man, who’s really just a boy.  In addition to having a stupendous baseball name, Trout profiles as a speedy and dynamic (read: fantasy relevant) player who is on track to big league standout. He runs very well and hits for raw power.  We will be keeping tabs on him for you, but mostly for ourselves going forward.

Related to the deal, I like it for Joe Saunders‘ fantasy future.  Saunders gets to face the Gents, Dodgers, and Pads all the time now.  Even if the D-Backs aren’t great, those less-than-stellar offenses should do nothing but improve a solid AL pitcher into a very useful NL one.  Remember Clayton Richard?  Well Saunders is a better pitcher than him.  Think about it.  People own Richard.  You’ll like having Saunders.  This is all I’m saying.

–>  How great was that Fight Club clip?!  Here’s where I got it:  (via)

–> Some guys that need to move at the deadline to get us excited for them in fantasy:  Jose Guillen (Dejesus would follow, but the man just smashed himself into a wall); Ichiro.  Yup, we went there.  We come to take Ichi for granted in fantasy.  Imagine him in a playoff race on a good team?  My goodness I’m already drooling; Oswalt is an obvious name, but my god if he doesn’t need a change of scenery, I don’t know who does; JJ Putz– GET HIM SOMEWHERE WHERE HE IS THE CLOSER AGAIN ALREADY!  Yeeesh; Adam Dunn as a DH somewhere.  This would make his value skyrocket in the fantasy world.  Imagine him in Detroit behind Cabrera.  Go ahead, think about it.  Awesome;  Ty ‘Nutella’  Wigginton– on a better team with a good offense (read: the Yanks),  Wiggy is a super-utility fantasy stud;  Dan Johnson could use a move, so he could attempt to be good once again in the MAJOR leagues.  For now he will continue to rake for the Rays minor league team; Brad Hawpe needs to get out of Colorado; So does Iannetta (hellooooo Red Sox?  Please?); Aaron Harang should plead to move at the deadline- what happened to him????  The Phils could use an open OF spot (Raul Ibanez, Victorino, Francisco, are all part of this list) because the second coming of Eric Davis, aka Dom Brown is on the rise- look the ‘f’ out;  Doesn’t it seem like Ryan Dempster has been pitching for 100 years?  I know you said yes.  And that is reason enough for Dempster to go somewhere a little less… dysfunctional than Chicago.

–> Another Northeast guy is making waves in fantasy, as Chris Denorfia, the former Cincinatti great, is raking for the Friars in Petco.  I snagged him in a deep league because, well, he has an outstanding name and is a power/speed combo guy who is hot.  Do I really need more of a reason?  Look at his minor league stats.  Maybe he just needs the right role in the right place?

–> Look at Brandon League‘s pitching motion (in sweet, sweet superduper slo-mo).  He throws 99 MPH.  This blows my mind.

–> Final thought: the Reds can mash and are heading to Milwaukee this week.  I expect sparks to fly.  Go Gomes Go.

CONGRATS to Andre Dawson, great player who looked great in the old Montreal Uniforms.  Love the flow, Hawk.

-w

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