|The following are HR rates that pitchers will almost certainly be unable to sustain over the course of the rest of the season. Predicting the inevitable corrections before they actually happen could help influence the standings in your league.
Home runs allowed per nine innings pitched Ė On average, the typical pitcher allowed 1.12 HR/9 IP last season. Ideally, you want to look for hurlers with a number that is less than 1.00.
Jake Peavy .10 HR/9 IP - Heís good, but more flyballs are going to leave the park, no matter how spacious Petco is. There isnít a fantasy pitcher Iíd rather own other than Johan Santana, and Peavy is the odds-on favorite to win the Cy Young in the NL, but heís been getting lucky in limiting the long ball thus far. His career rate is 1.02 HR/9 IP, and while he is inducing more groundballs (1.26 G/F this season after a 0.92 mark last year), giving up one home run in 94 innings is a rate that simply will not last.
Also see: Brad Penny (.20 HR/9 IP), Tim Hudson (.29), Kelvim Escobar (.33), Chris Young (.33), Chad Gaudin (.35), Josh Beckett (.38)
Note: Thereís probably a little cause and effect regarding the fact both Peavy and Young appear on this list, as pitching in San Diego gives them a better chance of finishing 2007 with a low HR/9 IP. Also, this stat is the easiest figure to point to Beckettís huge turnaround season this year. He gave up 1.58 HR/9 IP last year, which was toward the very bottom of the league. He ranks seventh best in the category this year.
Carlos Zambrano 1.43 HR/9 IP Ė So thatís why he has a 4.89 ERA. For his career, Zambrano has allowed a very solid .69 HR/9 IP. This year, itís more than doubled. The 14 gopher balls in 88.1 innings are as many as he gave up in 209.2 innings in 2004. His strikeout rate is way down (6.93/ 9 IP), but heís actually posting a better groundball to flyball rate this season (1.41 G/F) than last (1.21). Heíll always battle control issues from time to time, but if Zambrano is truly healthy Ė and judging by his high pitch counts, one can only hope so Ė heís due for a big bounce back over the final 3.5 months of the season. Go get him.
Also see: Ervin Santana (1.87), Johan Santana (1.36), A.J. Burnett (1.30)
Note: Guys like Cole Hamels (1.46), Chuck James (1.43) and Boof Bonser (1.36) also have very high HR rates, but those numbers are in line with their career totals. They are flyball pitchers, and thus, far more homer-prone. Ervin Santana, Johan Santana and A.J. Burnett, meanwhile, have very good groundball rates and are due for a correction in HRs allowed from here on out.
Posted by Dalton Del Don at 6/14/2007 9:45:00 AM
|Jose Reyes, where has all the power gone? Heís a fantasy stud, and all ESPN anchors have it written into their contracts that they must call him ďthe most exciting player in the game,Ē but he has just two jacks this season and none since April 21. Itís hard to find fault with the rest of his game, however.
Itís tough to take these radar guns seriously, but did you see Justin Verlander touch 102 mph in the ninth inning Tuesday? His curveball was unhittbale as well. Pretty dominant performance.
Donít look now, but the Yankees have won seven straight.
Before Mondayís 3-0 win over the White Sox, the Phillies were 0-18 this season when scoring three runs or fewer.
Speaking of the White Sox Ė the team ranks dead last in MLB in runs scored this year. Now thatís hard to do considering they have a DH to their advantage and play in one of the very best hitterís parks in the game. Chicago is batting .231 with a .303 on-base percentage.
Speaking of futility, itís time to check in on Jason Kendall: he picked up his third extra-base hit of the season Tuesday and first since May 16, upping his slugging percentage to a hideous .214 on the year. Heís easily baseballís worst hitter.
Of the bottom 10 starting pitchers with the worst control this season, there are some surprisingly bigger names down there: Doug Davis is the worst in the league with 4.64 walks per nine innings, which isnít shocking. And neither is Daniel Cabreraís third worst mark of 4.55 BB/9 IP. But Matt Cain ranks second worst, with a 4.59 BB/9 IP mark. Others coming in the bottom 10 include Scott Kazmir, Scott Olsen and Noah Lowry. Part of the theme here is that most are young hurlers still learning how to pitch.
David Eckstein has a ridiculous .96 contact rate this season. He struck out Tuesday for just the seventh time all season.
The NBA Finals are unwatchable. The Cavs almost certainly wouldnít have made the playoffs if they played in the Western Conference.
Posted by Dalton Del Don at 6/13/2007 10:47:00 AM
|The following are abnormally high and abnormally low hit rates through 10 weeks of the season. Some of these playersí skill sets may have truly changed, but more likely, most will eventually regress to the mean. Act accordingly:
BABIP = Batting average on balls in play or ďhit rate.Ē Most balls in play result in hits about 30 percent of the time. Home runs are not accounted for.
BJ Upton .447 BABIP Ė 534 career at-bats isnít a big enough sample size to establish a trend with Uptonís hit rate, but itís safe to say .447 is on the high side. Itís a mark that not only leads all of baseball but also is 33 points ahead of the next player. When you combine his lucky hit rate with a subpar .66 contact rate, Uptonís .320 batting average is more than a little fluky. Unless he starts taking a drastically different approach to the plate, heíll be lucky to bat .260 from here on out.
Also see: Jorge Posada (.414 BABIP), Derrek Lee (.402), Matt Holliday (.396)
Elijah Dukes .200 BABIP Ė Of all batters with the qualified number of at-bats, Dukes is having the worst luck in the game this year. Just 20 percent of all balls put into play are falling in for hits, helping to explain a terrible .196 average despite an OK contact rate. Maybe itís karma punishing Dukes for being an asshole. More likely, however, is that Dukesí hits start missing more gloves.
Also see: Jermaine Dye (.228), Corey Patterson (.247), Andruw Jones (.253), Pat Burrell (.254), Barry Bonds (.259), Gary Sheffield (.262)
Adam Wainwright .359 BABIP - The worst number in MLB. Wainwright hasnít pitched great this year (1.68 K/BB ratio, 6.1 K/9 IP), but he also hasnít been as bad as his 5.19 ERA indicates. A switch to the starting rotation figured to take a toll on his numbers, and heís still working on developing that important third pitch (slider) that wasnít needed when he was in the pen last year. But he dominated during spring, has a very good curveball and has Dave Duncan on his side. Wainwright could be a useful fantasy pitcher from here on out, especially once the abnormally high BABIP gets corrected.
Also see: Boof Bonser (.352), Randy Wolf (.342), Erik Bedard (.333), Daisuke Matsuzaka (.327), Scott Kazmir (.326)
Dan Haren .218 BABIP - There isnít a better sell-high candidate in the game right now. While most balls in play result in hits about 30 percent of the time, itís happening just 21.8 percent of the time for Haren this season, the lowest mark in major league baseball. When you also add in his league-leading strand rate (the percentage of batters that reach base but do not score) of .87 (a typical number is .59), youíre looking at the luckiest player in the league so far. His control is superb, he can strike guys out and heís no doubt an excellent pitcher, but to call Harenís ERA unsustainable would be an understatement. Try to cash out now.
Also see: Rich Hill (.218), Jeremy Guthrie (.244), James Shields (.250), Oliver Perez (.251), Chris Young (.267), Matt Cain (.268)
Posted by Dalton Del Don at 6/12/2007 9:12:00 AM
|Price Check - Milwaukee 6-Pack
|The Brewers have been one of the fun stories of 2007 so far. Sticking with our price-check series, how would you value these guys if headed into an auction today? Give your NL-only price, mixed league price, or both.
Posted by pianow at 6/11/2007 9:41:00 AM
|This Is a Rotation?
|Thanks to injury and some rather poor planning against the possibility of injury by GM Jim Bowden, the Nationals are currently 'rolling' with the following rotation: Micah Bowie; Matt Chico; Jason Simontacchi; Mike Bacsik; Levale Speigner
Here's how this legendary group got assembled:
Bowie has been a servicable 12th man/LOOGY getting occasional major league stints throughout this decade; he hadn't gotten a professional start since 1999 prior to being press-ganged into service by the Nats.
Chico had never pitched above Double-A until breaking camp in the Nats rotation, and repeated that level *twice* for Arizona before showing enough last season to be included in the Livan Hernandez deal. He's got what passes for 'upside' in Washington these days.
Simontacchi sat out all of 2005 with a shoulder injury, and liked it so much he sat out most of 2006 as well, and had to start his comeback in an independant league. He hadn't started a game in the majors since 2003.
Bacsik has been a Triple-A swing man for many years, last starting a major league game in 2004 for Texas. He's arguably the *least* surprising guy on this list, as Bacsik is exactly the kind of pitcher teams should have in their organization in case of emergency.
Speigner is the strangest starter of all, a 26-year-old Rule 5 pick from the Twins of no particularly noteworthy ability who was drafted to provide bullpen depth, and who spent most of his minor league career as a reliever (he spent 2005 in the Twins Double-A rotation, only for them to move him back to the 'pen in 2006).
There have been expansion clubs that featured better rotations than this. And it's not like the team has a bunch of All-Stars on the shelf, either; this is a team anxiously awaiting the returns of Jason Bergmann and Jerome Williams. Yet shockingly, the Nationals do not have the worst starter ERA in the National League. That 'honor' belongs to the Cardinals, 5.34 to 5.00.
That's quite a tumble for a defending World Series champ. Washington's got Bowden for an excuse, St. Louis... what's yours?
Posted by Erik Siegrist at 6/11/2007 9:36:00 AM