The Philadelphia Phillies apparently don't think you need an outfield to be a competent major league team. The Giants and the Dodgers seem to have a rivalry going as a result of that decision. Wonder how that rivalry started?
WHAT ARE THE GIANTS GETTING IN PENCE?
Phillies Receive: OF Nate Schierholtz, C Tommy Joseph, RHP Seth Rosin
Giants Receive: Hunter Pence and Cash
Hunter Pence is one of the more consistent hitters in baseball.
From 2008-10 he hit exactly 25 homers each season.
From 2008-11 he posted a GB/FB rate between 1.50 and 1.67.
From 2008-11 he posted a HR/F ratio between 14.7 and 16.0 percent.
The guy just goes out and gets it done. Period. He's a massive upgrade for a Giants team that desperately needed another middle of the order bat. All of a sudden, with health, a Hunter Pence, Buster Posey, Pablo Sandoval 3-4-5 grouping in the order looks pretty darn impressive does it not?
Some further notes on Pence.
(1) He's on pace to go .271-27-92-92-6. The last two years his average effort was .314-24-94-88-13. Not much difference there.
(2) People are going to say 'but the move to SF is a terrible one cause of the ballpark.' Clearly San Francisco is a park that favors hitters, but it might surprise you to learn the following: Pence's OPS is actually .121 points higher on the road this year (.842 to .721). He's also sported a .768 OPS in 84 games at Citizen's Bank Park for his career, well below his career .823 mark.
(3) Pence figures to give the Giants an impressive, an I can't believe I'm writing this, middle of the order. When Pablo Sandoval is healthy a trifecta of Pence, Pablo and Buster Posey is actually going to cause pitchers some fear. I know I mentioned this twice, but as a Giants fan I have to say I'm pretty darn excited by the move.
WHAT ARE THE DODGERS GETTING IN VICTORINO?
Dodgers Receive: Shane Victorino
Phillies Receive: RHP’s Josh Lindblom, Ethan Martin
Victorino has always been one of my most favorite players. Why? Just look at the amazing production he gives across the board. Yes, nothing he does stands out in an elite way, but there are very few players who can contribute in the five traditional fantasy categories like he can. Adam Dunn gives you massive power production but his batting average would make Dennis the Menace embarrassed. Juan Pierre always helps you on the base paths, and his average is usually pretty impressive too, but he has about as much power with the bat in his hands as Katy Perry (I get put down all the time for my Katy P. love to which I respond – I don't care. I'm secure in my manliness). In the case of Victorino we have a player who can do a little bit of everything, so even if he doesn't finish as the league leader in anything, that all-around game can really sneak up on you. Some examples.
From 2007-11 he hit at least 10 homers every year.
From 2007-11 he knocked in at least 46 runners every year.
From 2007-11 scored at least 70 times each year.
From 2007-11 he stole at least 19 bases every year.
How does that stack up to the league?
From 2007-11, 59 players hit 10 homers every year.
From 2007-11, 61 players had 46 RBIs every year.
From 2007-11, 23 players scored 70 times every year.
From 2007-11, 7 players stole at least 19 bags every year.
How many players went 10-46-70-19 each year from 2007-11? ONE – Victorino.
Moreover, how many players from 2008-11 went 10-58-84-19 each year? ONE – Victorino.
As for his level of play this year, it's slightly off. He's only hitting .261, .016 points below his career norm, but he's also really picked things up since the ASB with a .357 average in 15 games. In addition to pumping up the average he's also gotten on base at a .400 clip leading to 14 runs scored in that time. Guess what? With his recent hot run he's on pace for a season of 14 homers, 64 RBIs, 70 runs and 36 steals. Where have we seen numbers like that before?
Also of note. The Dodgers lineup is starting to look pretty potent, at least at the top. Victorino, Matt Kemp and Andre Ethier might be able to lay claim to being the top outfield in baseball now.
RYAN SWEENEY = MORON
At the end of April Sweeney was one of the best hitters in baseball as he had hit .373 with a .962 OPS. Moreover, in those 19 April contests he'd also rapped out 11 doubles. It was shaping up to be an excellent year. Since then? Not so much. Sweeney hit. 254 in May. He then “hit,” an I use the term loosely, .216 in June. So far in July? How about .091. All told the guy is batting .260 on the year and he's got only 19 doubles. How far away does that April look now? Oh, and that's not the worst of it with Sweeney. How many homers has he hit this year in 204 at-bats? The answer is zero, zip, zilch, nada. ZERO. Per 500 at-bats in his career he's hit an average of four homers a season. Darwin Barney averages 3.7 homers per 500 at-bats in his career. Standing 6'4” and weighing 220 lbs, Sweeney has the look of a power hitter. He's just not though as he's never learned to lift the ball. Seems like all those baseball people who thought he would develop into a 20 homer hitter, a rather modest total given his size and stroke, are going to end up being wrong.
As if all of that wasn't enough to cause you to feel badly for Sweeney, there's one more tidbit of info. Ticked off that he had a hit stolen in a game against the Tigers Monday, Sweeney took out his frustrations in the dugout when he punched a door. As we all remember from our time in physics class, human bones don't fair well against solid wood. Predictably Sweeney hurt his hand, his pinkie in fact, an it sounds like he might miss eight weeks with the injury. A pathetic end to a season that at one point looked so promising.
BY THE NUMBERS
.441: The batting average of Yoenis Cespedes over the last three weeks. Not just content to hit a single here and there, Cespedes has been murdering the ball to the tune of a .750 SLG thanks to five bombs, four doubles an a triple. Oh yeah, he's also knocked in 18 runners while scoring 16 times. Maybe this Billy Beane fella knows what he is doing after all.
.579: No that isn't the slugging percentage of Miguel Cabrera the last four weeks (it's actually .690), it's the OBP of David Freese the last month. Read that again. It's Freese's OBP. Hitting .458 in his last 59 at-bats he's also walked 15 times while striking out just eight times. If only the guy could stay on the field every day. As it stands he's on pace to play around 145 games, an if he does that and maintains his current pace he'd hit .315 with 20 homers and 90 RBIs. Sounds about right doesn't it?
0.97: The ERA of Jordan Zimmermann over his last six outings as he's gone 4-0 with a 6.75 K/BB ratio an a 0.84 WHIP. Stephen Strasburg rightly gets the love, but people should be paying a hell of a lot more attention to Jordan than they are. Most will likely be surprised to learn that Zimmermann has a better ERA (2.28 to 2.76) and WHIP (1.06 to 1.12) than the phenom that everyone gushes over. I'm just saying.
6.39: The season long K/BB ratio of Joe Blanton who has struck out 115 batters while walking only 18. A couple of things here. (1) Blanton has walked fewer batters (18) than he has made starts (20). (2) Blanton has allowed more homers (22) than walks. (3) Blanton's 6.39 K/BB ratio is the second best mark in baseball trailing only Colby Lewis and his 6.64 mark. Since Lewis is done for the year it's looking like Blanton could lead baseball in K/BB ratio this season (a guy has to throw one inning for each team game, or 162 innings, to qualify for the ERA title and the various other leader boards in baseball). The next closest man is Cliff Lee at 4.87.
29: The major league leading strikeout total of Jason, I mean, Michael Bourn the past three weeks. Partly because of all those lost at-bats Bourn has hit a mere .211 in that time dropping his average down to .293. Obviously his owners won't be happy to read about that fall, but still, the guy has hit .282 the past three years and he hit .294 last season, so that overall .293 mark is right where it should be.
.310-25-100-95-24: The 5x5 pace of Alex Rios who has hit .318 with six homers, 21 RBIs, 18 runs scored and two steals the past four weeks. Lest you only remember the broken down player we saw on the field last year, Rios has performed at nearly this level before, just take a look at his 2007 season (.297-24-85-114-17).
Ray Flowers can be heard daily on Sirius/XM Radio on The Fantasy Drive on Sirius 210 and XM 87 from 7-10 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.