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Circling the Bases: Breaking Down Bonifacio

Ray Flowers

Ray Flowers

The co-host of The Drive on SiriusXM Fantasy Sports Radio (Sirius 210, XM 87: M-F at 5-8 PM EDT), Ray Flowers has spent years squirreled away studying the inner workings of the fantasy game to the detriment of his personal life. You can follow Ray on Twitter (@BaseballGuys), he never sleeps, and you can also find more of his musings at BaseballGuys.com.

BREAKING DOWN: Emilio Bonifacio
.290-1-14-42-18 in 290 at-bats

Sometimes guys sneak up on you. Emilio Bonifacio might just be one of those guys. Or is he? Over the past month Bonifacio hasn't snuck up on anyone as he's been killing it all over the field. In addition to hitting .353 with a .433 OBP over the last 28 days, he's also scored 18 times. Despite all that wonderful work, his biggest contribution has been with his wheels as he's swiped 14 bases. That's one every other day and the highest total in baseball in that time (Brett Gardner is the only other player in the game with at least 10 steals. He has 13). There aren't many in the game that are hotter than Emilio, and even fewer who have a higher fantasy value the last month.

In addition to the great work at the plate and on the base paths, Emilio has one other outstanding feature to his game – he qualifies all over the field. He's appeared in more than 20 games this year in left field, at shortstop and at third base. He's also appeared in five games at second base. That type of versatility is such a massive weapon to have as he functions as a backup all over the place to allow you to use bench spots on your roster to address pressing needs.

Now it's time for the Debbie Downer portion of the review (you knew it was coming, didn't you?):

Sorry to break it to you, but to be honest, Bonifacio really can't hit. In his 1,123 at-bat big league career, his slash line is .261/.321/.333. Since 2007 the league average hitter has produced a line of .263/.334/.415. That's right. Bonifacio hasn't even been league average in any of the three measures.

Second, he has all of two homers in his career. That's one every 562 at-bats.

Three, he has a total of 67 RBI. Mark Teixeira has 67 RBI this year in 347 at-bats.

Fourth, while he has terrific speed, he's produced 24 percent of his career steals the last month (he has 58 overall).

Fifth, though his BB/K mark has gone up the past three years, his career mark is still just 0.41 (his mark this year is a league average 0.52).

Sixth, his current BABIP of .366 likely isn't sustainable, though his career mark is still an impressive .330.

Seventh, his already poor slash line dips even further against right-handed pitching at .243/.309/.309 in his career.

So the bottom line with Bonifacio is this:

(1) He's white hot right now and a must start.

(2) Despite his work the past month, his career slash line is worse than the league average. Frankly, he's just not a very good hitter.

(3) His speed is his calling card, that and his ability to play multiple positions.

There is no denying that Emilio has value and that he should continue to do so the rest of the way, but keep your expectations reasonable for a guy who really doesn't do much well other than hit the ball on the ground and run really fast.

BREAKING DOWN: Chris Capuano
8-9, 4.16 ERA, 92 Ks, 1.34 WHIP in 110.1 IP

Capuano has had a wonderful season when judged against his career record. The last time he won eight games was 2006, and while that sounds like he's accomplished something, the real key to Capuano this season has been his health. Here are his innings pitched totals the last four years at the big league level.

2007: 150 innings
2008: zero
2009: zero
2010: 66 innings

We all know the names like Bedard and Harden that are always in the doctor’s office, but Capuano has as varied a health record as any hurler in the game. This fact alone should cause trepidation with the Mets' hurler. I would be remiss if I didn't throw out there that Capuano has already thrown more innings than he has in any season since 2007. How much longer can he keep this up? It's a fair question.

As for his work on the hill this year, it's been very good. While his ratios don't stand out (ERA, WHIP), he's still doing some things very well. A career 7.41 K/9 man, Capuano is right on that pace with a 7.50 mark this season (that's 35th best amongst all pitchers who have tossed at least 110 innings this season). He's also done a very good job throwing strikes with a solid 2.61 BB/9 mark, slightly better than his career 2.97 mark. In terms of his walks and punchouts it's been the same old Capuano.

Capuano has also been spot on his career ratios in a number of other categories.

2011: 1.10 GB/FB, 9.7 HR/F, 74.2 LOB%, .310 BABIP
Career: 1.02 GB/FB, 11.5 HR/F, 73.1 LOB%, .298 BABIP

Everything seems to be right on track, if he can just stay healthy.

Another plus for Capuano is the fact that he is on quite a roll right now. Over his last eight outings his ERA has dropped to 2.90 and his WHIP is down to 1.21. He's maintained the same K pace with a 7.8 K/9 mark over his last 49.2 innings for the Metropolitans.

Have you been riding the wave with Capuano? Hopefully you have because it's been a rather smooth and productive ride of late. If this was a pitcher with a history of health, the arrow would be pointing up rather aggressively. However, Capuano has been injured more than a stuntman in a Vin Diesel flick. Let me emphasize this last point one more time by showing Capuano's innings pitched totals the past few years (these totals include minor league work).

2007: 150
2008: 0
2009: 9
2010: 91
2011: 110.1 already

There's nothing wrong at all with rolling Capuano out there every five days, just make sure you have a backup plan in case injury strikes again or the Mets decide to curtail his workload as the innings mount.

WHO AM I?

I'm hitting .299 on the season which just so happens to be better than the marks of guys like Robinson Cano (.294), Howie Kendrick (.291) and Billy Butler (.288).

I've gone deep nine times, the same total as Adam Dunn, Pablo Sandoval, Hanley Ramirez and Brandon Phillips.

My total of 35 RBI is the same as Dan Uggla, one more than Mike Napoli and two more than Pablo Sandoval.

My .376 OBP is better than the totals posted by Alex Rodriguez (.366), Ian Kinsler (.365) and Gaby Sanchez (.363).

You don't exactly think of me as a power hitter, but my .818 OPS is better than some rather prodigious power bats like Mark Reynolds (.809), Ryan Howard (.803) and Adrian Beltre (.797).

I'm hitting .352 against left-handed pitching, 318 at night, .200 indoors and .331 on turf.

Who am I?

BY THE NUMBERS

.219: The batting average of Billy Butler over his last 19 games (14-for-64). Despite the slump he is still 8th in the AL with 24 doubles and ninth with a .380 OBP. In addition, Butler is still hitting .288 on the year, just slightly below his .297 career mark. Butler also owns a 12.8 percent walk rate, the best of his career so there is a reasonable expectation that he will be able to get his batting average back to the .300 mark – albeit not with the power that everyone had hoped for (.414 SLG).

.354: The batting average of Brennan Boesch over the last 37 games, the fourth best mark in the AL. For those of you who like to place things in perspective, do you think that run of success makes a lot of sense for a player who is hitting .297 this year, hit .256 last year, has hit .254 against righties in his career and one who batted .163 in the second half last year?

.845: The slugging percentage of Jose Bautista over the last 28 days, the best in baseball for any player with at least 30 at-bats (he has 71). Here are Bautista's monthly SLG marks per month - .780 in April, .791 in May, .430 in June and .975 in July. While his .430 SLG in June looks like a total outlier, it's odd to think that prior to 2010 Bautista had never once, not a single time, posted a SLG over .420. That's from 2004-09 mind you.

5: The number of men in the National League who have at least 30 at-bats as a pinch hitter this season. Ross Gload leads the way with 45, and he also leads the group with a mere .267 batting average. In fact, only once of the other four men is hitting even .200 – Matt Stairs (.158), Blake DeWitt (.194), Brooks Conrad (.242) and Willie Harris (.188). Maybe their clubs should just let the pitchers take their hacks.

63: The number of consecutive road starts that Roy Halladay made in which he lasted at least six innings. That streak was stopped last night when he lasted only four innings as he had to be removed for what is being called heat exhaustion. If that stretch of 63 straight six inning outings sounds like a big deal it's because it is. It's the longest such streak since Walter Johnson, yeah the HOF hurler, made 82-straight such starts over the course of multiple seasons (1911-15).

90.7: The save conversion rate of John Axford since he became the Brewers' closer on May 23, 2010. That conversion rate is the fourth best amongst all relievers who have at least 40 saves in that time behind the following names – Heath Bell (95.3), Chris Perez (95.2) and Jose Valverde (95.2). This is yet another reason why Axford should continue to be the 9th inning arm for the Brew Crew.

3.07: The career ERA of James McDonald over 15 starts at PNC Park. That number is 3.18 this season in nine starts. McDonald has a 5.79 ERA on the road this season, and if we remove his career work at PNC Park his ERA would be 4.65 telling you all you need to know about where/when to pitch the guy.

I AM...

The Blue Jays' Yunel Escobar.

Ray Flowers can be heard daily on Sirius/XM Radio on The Fantasy Drive, 5-8 PM Eastern, on Sirius 210 and XM 87. Ray's baseball analysis can be found at BaseballGuys.com and his minute to minute musings can be located at the BaseballGuys' Twitter account.

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