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Circling the Bases: Lawrie Falling Short

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.

Yonder Alonso can hit. Everyone knew that as he worked his way to the big leagues. Last year he hit .330 over 88 at-bats with the Reds, and this season in 143 at-bats he's hitting an impressive .301 to give him an even .300 batting average in 260 career at-bats. No one should get too ahead of themselves because we're still talking about roughly a half season of at-bats here, but the six homers and 31 RBI that Alonso has produced aren't exactly exciting numbers. In fact, he's been even worse than that this season with one homer and 13 RBI through 41 games. Moreover, that pace would equate to a season of three homers and 48 RBI. I don't know which one of those numbers are worse. I may have one that is even worse. Alonso is on pace to score 37 times this season and he's sporting a .380 OBP showing, yet again, just how pathetic the Padres' offense really is.

Ross Detwiler has given up 10 runs in his last two starts, and with loses in two of his last three games his season long numbers merely look strong versus the impressive levels they were at 10 days ago: 3-3, 3.65 ERA, 1.20 WHIP. Even with the recent struggles Detwiler has posted some pretty solid totals for a youngster over his last 110.1 innings: 3.26 ERA, 1.23 WHIP, 2.32 K/BB. He should remain a solid source of NL-only production, but he's likely not going to be of much help in a mixed league unless you're in a 15-teamer.

Orlando Hudson signed with the White Sox to play some second and third base. You can take the plunge in AL-only leagues if you need some at-bats. With Brent Morel (back) on the DL Hudson could see plenty of action the next couple of weeks. Be careful with O-Dog though in that be sure you don't over-inflate his value. Over his last 521 at-bats Hudson has hit .238 with eight homers, 54 RBI, 65 runs scored and 22 steals. Of course the steals would be a huge boost but remember, after never stealing more than 10 bases in a season from 2002-10 that he suddenly jumped to 19 last year. Is it really a safe bet to think he will swipe bases at that pace the rest of this season? I certainly don't think so.

Bryan LaHair is getting a mental day off to clear his head, but I got news for you Cubs' brass – this has nothing to do with his head. The reason LaHair has stunk in May – he's hitting .250 – is that he's been hitting well over his head all season. LaHair has one hit in his last six games and over his last 13 he's hitting under .200 to drop his season long mark down to .315. I got news for you Cubs fans, that average is gong to drop even further. As I've been warning for six weeks, there is no way LaHair was going to be able to keep up his pace. Even with the massive slow down in hitting he still owns a 24 percent line drive rate and .397 BABIP – and I don't think there is a chance in hell that he is able to stabilize things at even that level. I've also continued to warn about the homer bat and the 32 percent HR/F ratio he's currently sporting. I think the next part of his game to go is the homer production. Hopefully you dealt him at his zenith.

Brett Lawrie update: He's hitting .273 through 39 games and on pace to go deep 11 times with 64 RBI, 64 runs and 22 steals. That would be a massive downturn for some given that he was thought of so highly by the majority of people heading into the 2012 campaign. There is obviously still plenty of time for him to up the homers and run production, but at least he is stealing plenty of bases to help offset the his somewhat disappointing production at the dish.

Carlos Pena is leading off for the Rays Tuesday. That seems bizarre for so many reasons. (1) He's never hit leadoff in his career. (2) He's got little speed. (3) He's a power hitter. (4) He's barely hitting .200 this season. However, there's one reason it makes sense – the dude takes pitches and knows how to get on base. Though hitting .209 on the year he's actually got a .353 OBP. That mark is better than B.J. Upton (.348) and Desmond Jennings (.333) two guys who you might think would be a better fit for the leadoff role, and it's just four points behind the mark of Ben Zobrist (.357).

BY THE NUMBERS

0: The number of home runs Pedro Alvarez has hit in his last 17 games. The lack of even a single long ball in that time is pretty vexing, but it's also greatly disturbing that his average has fallen from .260 to .202 during the dip in power output. Through 706 big league at-bats Alvarez has hit 27 homers with 101 RBIs, but those numbers hardly make up for the .225 average, .298 OBP and .696 OPS that he carries. My goodness, he's also struck out 249 times. Poor Pedro.

.295: The OBP of J.J. Hardy of the Orioles. I know everyone is focused on the nine homers and 21 RBI through 42 games, but shouldn't you be a bit concerned if you own Hardy given that putrid OBP? It should also be posted out that he's hitting .251, below the league average, and slightly below his career long rate of .263. Further casting some doubt on his outlook this season is the fact that he has sucked wind against righties with a slash line of .218/.266/.423 over 142 at-bats.

.509: The BABIP of David Wright in the month of May. While that number is so out of control I don't even know what to write, it should be pointed out that he's actually got a .477 mark for the season so it's not like the number has really gone up that much in the seasons second month, if you can believe that. A .344 producer in the category for his career, Wright did post a .394 mark in 2009 when he finished his run of 5-straight seasons of hitting at least .300 (he has hit .283 and .254 the past two years). Oh, by the way, Wright also leads baseball with a .500 batting average the past two weeks.

.573: The OPS of Albert Pujols through 42 games. Here are some amazing facts built around that number. (1) Care to guess what Pujols' career SLG is? Try .609, a full .036 points better than his current OPS. (2) Pujols has an SLG right now of .318 which is seven points below his career batting average of .325. (3) While those first two diddy's were pretty monumental, I saved the best for last. Through a quarter of the 2012 season Albert Pujols has an OPS that is six points lower than Jamey Carroll (.579) and four points lower than Orlando Hudson (.577).

.641: The OPS of Brennan Boesch over his last 67 games played. During that time he's hit a mere .231 and has a .278 OBP, pitiful numbers. He's also produced just 26 RBI and hit nine homers, so there is nothing going on here from a fantasy perspective. He does have a hit in nine of his last 10 games to raise his average from .214 to .239, but this is one empty batting line since July 15th of last season.

2: The number of Giants players who have hit better than .435 the past two weeks. Melky Cabrera is second in baseball to Wright with a .453 average while Angel Pagan has hit .439 the past two weeks. Cabrera can thank a .500 BABIP mark while Pagan is sitting at .486.

4.59: The career ERA of Rick Porcello which would be a major improvement over the 5.12 mark he owns through eight starts this year for the Tigers. It's time to admit that Porcello simply isn't very good. Through 97 starts, here are how his numbers stack up to the average American League pitcher in that time.

Porcello: 4.59 ERA, 1.38 WHIP, 4.88 K/9, 2.10 K/BB, 10.09 H/9
Lg Avg: 4.21 ERA, 1.35 WHIP, 6.91 K/9, 2.14 K/BB, 8.95 H/9

Even if you're in an AL-only league there just isn't much to hang your hat on here, especially given his deficient ways in the strikeout category.

5: The number of victories for Robbie Ross of the Rangers. Ross, may or may not be a name you're even familiar with since he's a middle reliever. That's right Mr. Ross, who has made 16 appearances out of the pen covering just 21 innings, has already racked up five victories which is the same total AS CC Sabathia, Ricky Romero, Jake Peavy, Brandon McCarthy and Justin Verlander. Ah the wonderful world of vulture wins.

7: The number of home runs that Carlos Ruiz has hit this season. What makes that number stand out is the fact that Ruiz is simply not a home run bat. Here are his homer totals since 2007: six, four, nine, eight, six and the seven this year. Given that he's hit those seven homers in 124 at-bats, 196 fewer at-bats than any of the previous five seasons, you know something fishy must be going on, right? Taking a look at his ground ball rate, it's actually up to 50 percent. That means his current fly ball rate is actually a career-low at 28.6 percent (career 34.8). How can a guy who is hitting fewer fly balls than every before be on pace to more than double his previous career best in homer? Try the 300 percent growth he's offered in the HR/F category where his 22 percent rate dwarfs his career mark of seven percent.

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