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Circling the Bases: Might Mo Return?

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.

A look at New York hurlers is followed by some of the numbers that stood out in the first half.

Dillon Gee has been placed on the DL with a blood clot in his right shoulder that required surgery. I know the issue seems minor, but it's not, in that if a clot goes to your heart it can end your life. If caught, as this was, there are a series of steps that can be taken that are nearly 100 percent likely to resolve the issue, but there's no telling how long Gee will be out (one of the treatments is often medication to think your blood and thereby resolve the clot. However, you are more susceptible to bleeding in this scenario which makes high levels of physical exertion a situation to avoid). The bottom line is that Gee should be fine in time, but it remains to be seen how much time he will be forced to miss. He could be back in two weeks, he could be out for two months. We'll just have to wait and see.

As for what you lose in fantasy baseball, it's a pretty fair amount. I know Gee is 6-7 with a 4.10 ERA, far from impressive numbers, but the guy was trending with some impressive skills. With a 7.96 K/9 mark and a 3.34 K/BB ratio, there should have been plenty of interest in his services. Add in a 50 percent ground ball rate and this becomes a rather intriguing skill set. In addition he had brought his ERA down 1.34 points over his last nine starts with eight of those outings covering at least six innings (only once in those eight starts had he permitted more than three earned runs). It's uncertain who the Mets will turn to in the rotation, the club could use four starters until July 21st, but a report from Mike Puma said that phenom Matt Harvey will not be considered for the spot right now (that doesn't mean he won't be up at some point this season of course).

Nick Markakis is ready to return from his hamate bone surgery for the Orioles. He should be good to go Friday, though there should be a few things pointed out. Though he showed some pop during his minor league rehab assignment, hamate bone surgery often robs batters of the ability to drive the ball, at least initially. Not exactly a power hitter anyway, the last time he hit 20 long balls was 2008, Markakis is a masterful doubles hitter so hit surgery isn't likely to effect his game much (he's five year low in doubles is 31 and four times in five years he hit at least 43 doubles). Lastly, Markakis is a career .293 hitter who has hit at least .284 in each of his six previous seasons. Given that, you have to feel pretty good about his chances of improving upon his current .256 average the rest of the way, provided that his body holds up of course.

Mariano Rivera was thought to be out for the season after tearing his ACL. Not so fast says the New York Post. It appears that there is a chance he could return later in the year. How is that possible? Turns out the clot that was discovered and delayed his surgery actually allowed Rivera to start to strengthen his leg even before the surgery took place. It also turned out that Rivera did not have a full tear of the ACL but only a partial one, obviously shortening the length of his rehab if everything goes to plan. I don't think this is earth shattering news in the fantasy world, even if Rivera does return it will likely be very late in the year, but how impressive would that Yankees pen be if it was Rivera, David Robertson and Rafael Soriano working the last three innings of a game?

BY THE NUMBERS

.004: The difference between Mark Trumbo's current batting average of .306 and his OBP the last four weeks (.310). Trumbo has predictably slowed in the batting average column of late, hitting .266 the past four weeks, and don't forget that this guy did hit just .254 last season so he's no lock to turn around his recent average slide.

.188: The lowest batting average against of any ERA qualifier in baseball and it belongs to Jered Weaver. Three others have a sub .200 mark in Gio Gonzalez (.192), James McDonald (.196) and Chris Sale (.198). Weaver has always been hard to hit, his career BAA is .232, and that mark has been sub .225 each of the past two years.

3.99: The ERA of Tim Lincecum at home in eight starts. He's also posted a 1.37 WHIP and held batters to a .227 average at home as well. However, when he's been on the road the term disaster doesn't even begin to cover it. In 10 starts on the road he is 1-6 with a 9.00 ERA, 1.81 WHIP and batters are hitting .307 off him. Maybe Timmy needs to take his teddy bear with him when he leaves San Francisco.

12: The majors leading win total of Gio Gonzalez and R.A. Dickey. Gio had won 31 games the past two years with the Athletics, 11 more than the total of 20 victories that Dickey had the last two years. To put their efforts in perspective this year, Gio and R.A. have as many wins as Cliff Lee (one), Randy Wolf (two), Tim Lincecum (three) and Clayton Kershaw (six) – combined. How amazing is that?

18: The hitting streak of Adrian Gonzalez that ended on July 7th. During the streak he hit .377 to list his average from .257 to .284 (he's hitting .283 at the break). He's still on pace to fail to hit 20 homers for the first time ever, and if he doesn't pick up the RBI pace, he has 45, he's going to come in at under 99 RBIs for the first time since 2006.

20/30: That's the group Jason Kipnis hopes to join this year. Given that he has 11 homers and 20 steals in 83 games he's well on pace to join that exclusive club. Only nine second basemen have ever pulled off the feat with Joe Morgan leading the way having done it four times (Craig Biggio and Alfonso Soriano did it three times, Roberto Alomar and Ian Kinsler have done it twice, and Juan Samuel, Ryne Sandberg, Dave Lopes and Brandon Phillips have all done it once).

30: The homer pace that A.J. Pierzynski is currently on (he has hit 16 in 73 games). There are so many amazing things here to discuss. First, AJP has never hit more than 18 homers in a season. Second, he's had only two 15 homer seasons in his career. Third, the last time he hit 16 homers was 2006. Four, he's averaged 8.5 homers the past two years. Five, a career HR/F guy of 9.00 percent, AJP has failed to produce a season with a mark in double-digits since 2006. This year he's at 21.1 percent. Moreover, only once in his career has he ever posted a mark above 11.0 percent (14.2 percent in 2005). Yeah, to say that his effort to this point is an outlier is a drastic understatement.

66: The number of big league innings that Chris Capuano threw in 2008, 2009 and 2010. He pushed things up to 186 innings last season and currently has 111.1 innings of exquisite work under his belt (9-4, 2.91 ERA, 1.16 WHIP, 100 Ks). Is he going to be able to stay healthy long enough for his first 200-inning season since 2006?

96.2: The save conversation rate of Fernando Rodney who has closed 25 of 26 chances for the Rays. Rodney has been this good before, in terms of converting saves, as he was 37 for 38 for the Tigers in 2009. However, in the eight other seasons he's pitched in he's converted 50 of 86 chances, a 58.1 percent conversion rate. Also, his ERA is 0.93. The last time he had an ERA under 4.20 was 2006. His WHIP is 0.75. The last time that mark was under 1.30 was 2006. His K/9 rate is 8.84. The last time he had a mark over 7.40 was 2008. And finally, perhaps the craziest number of all. Thus far Rodney has walked five batters, one intentional, in 38.2 innings leading to a 1.16 BB/9 mark. Why is that insane? (1) Last year he walked 7.88 batters per nine innings. (2) The last four years his BB/9 rate has been at least 4.63. (3) His career BB/9 mark is 4.57. In his previous nine years he has had one season, one, with a mark under 3.50 and that was his 3.48 mark in 2005. What that means is that Rodney is currently working on a walk rate that is literally one third of the best single season mark he has ever posted and his current walk rate is literally a quarter of his career mark. Good luck explaining that.

2008: The last time that Jake Peavy made 20 starts. He's currently up to 17 starts. 2008 was also the last time that he threw 125 innings in a season. He's currently at 120 innings pitched.

.340-30-100-140-65: The 162 game pace in average, homers, RBI, runs and steals for Mike Trout. No player in the history of baseball has attained all of those totals in one season.

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.