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Circling the Bases: Third Base Slugging

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.

Adrian Beltre is out of control. Insanely out of control. Over his last seven games he has gone deep five times with eight RBI, eight runs scored and 14 hits. Oh, it's much more than that too. Double that games played sample size and Beltre ends up with 11 homers, 21 RBI, 16 runs scored an a .435 batting average over 17 games. With that run of untold success, Beltre has pushed his season long fantasy line up to .320-30-89-82. If he maintains that batting average, this would be his second .320 mark in three seasons (he has only hit .300 two times previously in a career that began in 1998 as he hit .334 in 2004 and .321 in 2010). With 30 homers, this is also the third time he has reached that level including last season when he hit 32 homers. What makes that so significant is that he now has 30 homers in his age 32 and 33 seasons. There have only been three other third baseman who have gone deep 30 times in his age 32 and 33 seasons: Harmon Killebrew, Mike Schmidt and Alex Rodriguez.


Mark Reynolds is a disaster. That's the common perception. And I have to tell you, looking at his .235 batting average and total of 20 homers, I get it. But we all know that he's been out of his mind hot of late, right? Let's take a look at some crazy numbers.

Last three games: 4 HRs, 9 RBI, 5 runs
Last five games: 6 HRs, 13 RBI, 8 runs
Last seven games: 8 HRs, 16 RBI, 10 runs

Amazing is right.

What is even more amazing to consider is that the past two weeks the number one and number two performers in fantasy baseball are Mark Reynolds and Adrian Beltre.

Taking things back to the start of the month of August, Reynolds has appeared in 31 games. During that time he has gone deep 12 times, driven in 22 runs, and scored 23 times. Oh yeah, his OPS is also over a 1.000 while he is batting .304. I know, right?

One last note. Since the start of the 2009 season, here is how Reynolds ranks amongst all third basemen in baseball.

First in homers with 113. Beltre is second with 98.
Seventh in RBI with 273. Evan Longoria is first with 355.
Seventh in runs scored with 261. Ryan Zimmerman is first with 327.


When does a guy who has four homers and just six steals matter? In this instance. Jordan Pacheco of the Rockies is hitting .311 on the season. That's a pretty darn good batting average in this day and age. He has hit .304 indoors and .312 outdoors. He has hit .385 against left-handed pitching. He has hit .338 at home. He has hit .365 with RISP and .326 with RISP and two outs. He has batted .322 since the All-Star break, a span of 48 games. He has been even hotter of late batting .336 over his last 34 games. The bottom line is that he has been a .311 hitter this year and a valuable fantasy option given that he qualifies at third base (82 games) and first (23 games). He may lack any discernible power, and he is not exactly a stolen base threat, but if you've been rolling out there with an Adam Dunn or Curtis Granderson all year, Pachecho's batting average certainly has helped to offset some troubles that you might be facing in the batting average category.


BY THE NUMBERS

0: The number of walks for Shelby Miller in his big league debut as he tossed two innings of shutout baseball against the Mets. He also struck out four batters while allowing one hit. That level of dominance is obviously a bit surprising for a first outing in the majors, but it continues a trend of dominance for the righty. Miller, going back to his time in the minors, has now struck out 74 batters while issuing seven walks over his last 61.1 innings. Yowzah's is right.

1: The number of losses suffered by Tim Hudson in his last 12 starts for the Braves. During that time, Hudson has won eight contests to push his season win-loss record to 14-5. With 296 decisions in his career, Hudson has 194 victories leading to a .662 winning percentage. Among pitchers who have won at least 150 games in their career that is the eighth-best winning percentage in the history of the game (Whitey Ford leads the way at .690. He had 236 victories).

1: The number of RBI that Ryan Braun needs to reach 100 this season which would be his fifth straight season of triple-digit RBI. The only time that he failed to reach that level was his rookie season when he knocked in 97 runners. It should obviously be pointed out that he appeared in just 113 games that season meaning that if he had maintained that pace of 150 games he would have knocked in 129 runs which would be a career-best (currently 114). Braun also needs 10 runs scored to reach 100 for a fourth straight season. He is already at 90 for the sixth straight campaign.

1.54: The difference in home (2.39) and away (3.93) ERA this season for Madison Bumgarner of the Giants. That's a bit of a new trend given that in his career his home ERA of 3.11 is only one hundredth below his 3.12 mark on the road. Some other ERA fun with MadBum. In 13 day starts this year his ERA is 4.48 while that number is cut in half in his 15 night starts (2.17). For some reason, the time of day really matters with Madison as his career mark in night games is 2.74, a full run below his 3.75 night mark.

3.74: The ERA of Roy Halladay since the All-Star break (10 starts). That mark is only slightly better than the 3.98 mark he posted before the break (11 starts). He has also posted nearly identical marks in WHIP (1.15 and 1.12), K/BB (4.00 and 4.82) and BAA (.252 and .255). On the year he has a 9-7 record, 3.87 ERA, 1.14 WHIP an a 4.36 K/BB ratio with a .253 BAA.

1.05: The amount that Jake Peavy's ERA has gone up in the second half (3.90) from his excellent pre All-Star break mark (2.85). You have no room to complain if you are a Peavy owner, not after he has posted 10 wins, a 3.22 ERA an a 1.11 WHIP over 187 innings. However, his production has predictably regressed over his last 10 starts as he has put forth that 3.90 ERA with a 1.33 WHIP and a 3-5 record as the innings have piled up.

2.56: The ERA of Mike Minor over his last 10 outings. During that stretch of games he has also posted a 0.93 WHIP with a 4.18 K/BB ratio. It's hardly his fault that he is only 3-4. Come on Braves, score the guy some runs. As great as he has pitched, Minor has been a mere peon compared to Kris Medlen, the best pitcher in baseball in the second half. Medlen's ERA since the All-Star break is 0.59.

7.43: The ERA of Ubaldo Jimenez over his last 11 outings. In that time, he has gone 1-8 with a 1.77 WHIP. He has also been hide the women and children horrific in 16 starts on the road this year with 10 losses, a 7.14 ERA and a 1.79 WHIP. Since the start of last season, he has gone 19-28 with a 5.10 ERA, 1.50 WHIP, 8.08 K/9 mark and a terrible 1.93 K/BB ratio. He has totally lost it and it's fair to wonder if he will ever return to the level of dominance given that he can't locate his pitches and that he's lost three miles per hour off of his fastball.

12.91: The ERA of Adam Wainwright over his last two starts (11 earned runs in 7.2 innings). After missing all of last season due to Tommy John Surgery, it's fair to wonder if he is tiring. After all, he has thrown 173.2 innings after nary a pitch last season. Waino says his arm feels strong and he plans on taking the ball every five games the rest of the way. That makes a good deal of sense when we open up the sample size to look at more than just two starts. Over his last 11 outings he has had a 3.30 ERA, 1.11 WHIP, nearly a K per inning (66 in 71), and a 4.71 K/BB ratio.


Ray Flowers can be heard daily on Sirius/XM Radio on The Fantasy Drive on Sirius 210 and XM 87, Monday through Thursday at 7 PM EDT and Friday's at 9 PM EDT. Ray's analysis can be found at BaseballGuys.com and his minute to minute musings can be located at the BaseballGuys' Twitter account.