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MLB Notes
Posted by Dalton Del Don at 2/6/2008 5:57:00 PM
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Although Iím stating the obvious, Johan Santanaís fantasy value sees a definite boost with the move to the Mets. Not only will the league switch be huge, but he also improves offenses as well. Itís ironic that the best pitcher in baseball has only one plus pitch. Of course, that pitch is probably the best in the game. Also, his command Ė the most important aspect of pitching Ė is pretty good as well.

In most drafts, there seems to be a clear top-3 (ARod, HRam, Reyes), but Iím going to argue thereís actually an obvious top-4, with David Wright sliding in next. A rarity, Wright contributes in all five roto categories, and itís easy to forget heís still just 25 years old. Last seasonís 30/30 campaign looks even more impressive when you realize he finished April with zero homers and just three stolen bases. He hit .364/.465/.596 with a 42:53 K:BB ratio after the All-Star break. In fact, I donít think he can go too high in drafts this year.

Carlos Pena is moving up my draft list as the season approaches. Itís never easy backing someone coming off such an obvious career-year, and heís almost guaranteed to regress in 2008. However, I actually think he can become a bargain because of those facts. A once big-time prospect, Penaís power and plate discipline are for real. When looking at his home runs from last season, a far greater percentage were ďno doubtersĒ than the league average, so the luck element canít be blamed. Also, Penaís isolated slugging (.344) was better than Alex Rodriguez (.331) and Prince Fielder (.329). He also had more walks per plate appearance (.168) than stars like Ryan Howard (.165), David Wright (.132) and Magglio Ordonez (.111). Donít go taking some lower upside first baseman like Derrek Lee over him.

In honor of the writerís strike hopefully coming to an end, here are my top-10 shows from the past year: 1. Curb Your Enthusiasm 2. Tell Me You Love Me 3. The Office 4. Lost 5. The Sarah Silverman Program 6. The Sopranos 7. Dexter 8. 30 Rock 9. Flight Of The Conchords 10. Mad Men

One good thing to remember when analyzing a playerís walk rate is that K:BB ratios donít always tell the whole story. Placido Polanco has a terrific batting eye, but his walk totals donít reflect that because pitchers simply arenít afraid of his bat. Conversely, itís no coincidence that hitters like Sammy Sosa started walking at incredibly higher rates once he started compiling those 60-homer seasons. How pitchers treat hitters can have just as much of an affect on walk rates as the skill itself.

If you are looking for a breakout candidate, look no further than the Nationalsí outfield, where one exists at each spot. I like Lastings Milledgeís power/speed potential the most, but Austin Kearns isnít too far behind. He saw his strikeouts per plate appearance (.157) drop dramatically last season, and RFK Stadium really suppressed his numbers, something that wonít be a problem this year. He may not ever develop into the star that he was once expected to, but still just 27 years old, thereís time for him to become a major fantasy asset. Oh, and Wily Mo Pena could easily clobber 40 bombs this season as well. And for those in NL-only leagues looking for a late flier, try Elijah Dukes, who would also likely excel if one of the aforementioned players were to get hurt.

What an awesome product. Iím definitely purchasing one of these.

Willy Taveras looks like a better value pick than Juan Pierre this season. Pierre has the big contract, but heís the Dodgersí fourth best outfielder, so banking on playing time is a little risky for the price it will take to get him. Taveras, meanwhile, is locked into his role on the Rockies, which included a 55-steal pace last year. An injury left him with 33 SBs, and since his career-high is still a modest 34 SB campaign, his price tag on draft day shouldnít be too outrageous. He has Coors Field at his aid, and the Rockies clearly have given him the green light.

Pedro Martinez is another player I see as a bit undervalued right now. His surgery is far enough in the rearview mirror that he should enter 2008 close to 100 percent, and while his fastball no longer breaks 90 MPH, his changeup and ability to locate remain top-notch. It also doesnít hurt that other than maybe Greg Maddux, heís the gameís smartest pitcher. His 32:7 K:BB ratio and zero homers allowed over 28 innings last season reveal thereís still plenty left in the tank, and with that offense, he should have no trouble in the wins department either. Heís 36 years old, which is hardly ancient when you realize Randy Johnson and Roger Clemens are 44 and 45, respectively. However, taking Martinez in your fantasy draft would be tempting the karma gods, as this is pretty disturbing.


You seem like an enlightened guy. Where's The Wire?
Posted by Erickson at 2/6/2008 7:16:00 PM
Oh, I'm actually glad you brought that up Jeff, so I can clear up any confusion. The Wire is the best show ever. No question. I just kept that list to shows that aired during the 2006-2007 year.
Posted by Dalton Del Don at 2/6/2008 7:39:00 PM
Sucks no "24" this year. Despite the improbability inherent in the show, Jack Bauer is a badass.

Nice numbers for Pedro last year, but expecting anything close to that over seven times as many innings is a bit of a stretch.

No way Pierre sits IMO. Cubs need to trade Pie and Gallagher for Brian Roberts and deal a scrub for Pierre. Please, please...

Love the Nats' OFs as well but I doubt Pena sniffs 30 homers, much less 40. I think Dukes takes his job sometime in May/June and that's assuming he doesn't win it during spring training. Pena's K:BB rate is disturbing and his inability to hit RHP last year was puzzling.
Posted by vtadave at 2/6/2008 9:15:00 PM
Agreed on most of the baseball stuff. I'm totally with you on Wright as the fourth player off the board, and I like what should be a permanent shift to third in the order. But Mad Men 10th? That show was excellent week in, week out. It was my second favorite show of the year behind Curb.

As for Pie and Gallagher for Roberts, speaking as a Cubs fan I don't think they do it, and I'm not sure if I want them to. Roberts would bring a whole new dimension to the offense, but they control Pie and Gallagher for six more years each, and they'd be forced to go with Fukudome/Sam Fuld/Ronny Cedeno in center. And, just for the record, I'd rather see Jerome Walton back in center over Juan Pierre.
Posted by uwmichael at 2/6/2008 9:55:00 PM
Dave - I've liked "24" in the past, but I thought last season was terrible. I hear you about projecting Pedro's numbers from last year over a full season being a stretch, but he seems to be an afterthought for younger, higher upside guys. At least from my experience so far during drafts this year. I know you have a good pulse on the Dodgers, and I hope you're right, b/c I have Pierre in a league, but I do worry. Wily Mo Pena's average will suffer with that K:BB ratio, but if you give me 2/1 odds, I'm down to bet any amount you want he hits 30 homers this season. Thoughts?
Posted by Dalton Del Don at 2/6/2008 10:29:00 PM
Michael - No argument here. I'm impressed you have Curb 1 and are a big Mad Men fan. I could certainly be persuaded to move that higher. Very unique and well executed show.
Posted by Dalton Del Don at 2/6/2008 10:32:00 PM
Hey Triple D, the last video link was taken down. What was so disturbing?????
Posted by obzen at 2/6/2008 10:58:00 PM
Ahh, that didn't take long. It was a 3 minute video of Pedro Martinez participating in a cockfight. As in, it showed him enter his own bird, who ended up pretty brutally murdering the opponent. He celebrated in victory.
Posted by Dalton Del Don at 2/6/2008 11:30:00 PM
Can't believe Austin Kearns is still only 27. How much of a difference will the change to their home park really make? Is that now a hitter-friendly stadium or just in the middle of the pack?

Santana can go both ways. He could dominate, approach 300Ks like you say, but I wouldn't underestimate the possibility that he struggles playing in New York. Big contract, the limelight, lots of expectations, changing leagues - he could struggle a bit like ARod did his first year in NY.
Posted by MPStopa at 2/7/2008 5:54:00 AM
Piere in a Cubs uniform would make me cry.

As for Austin Kearns, all I can say is that those who don't learn from history are doomed to repeat it.
Posted by ESiegrist at 2/7/2008 8:02:00 AM
I've finally kicked my Austin Kearns habit.
Posted by Erickson at 2/7/2008 8:47:00 AM
I liked your comments, Jeff, about Kearns in the 2008 Outlook. Hoping he will ever repeat that magical April he had a few years ago for a full season seems unrealistic. But it's all about cost, and I'm sure he can be had late in drafts or cheap in auctions.
Posted by MPStopa at 2/7/2008 10:19:00 AM
I hear what you guys are saying regarding Kearns. Not only has he disappointed with the bat, but he's also rather injury-prone. But RFK didn't just suppress his numbers - it destroyed them (.228 vs. .301). I can't predict exactly how the new confines will play, but it will be a better hitter's park. Over the final two months last season, he hit .294 with 9 HRs, and 33 RBI. I just think he's gone from overhyped/drafted too high based on potential to a bargain these days. We'll see.
Posted by Dalton Del Don at 2/7/2008 10:22:00 AM
More on the removed Pedro video:
Posted by Dalton Del Don at 2/7/2008 10:23:00 AM
Still a Kearns fan here. Wondering if Jeff has rid himself of his Johjima fetish...

Yeah "24" was rather brutal this year. Just hasn't been the same since the lovely Ms. Cuthbert left the show (ah the mountain lion scene...memories) and Michelle Dessler was offed in the car bomb.

Agree on Pedro being an afterthought...

I'll give you 2:1 odds on 35 for WMP now. 30 is pretty reachable so not sure on the 2:1 there...

Nothing like a good cockfight (kidding folks).
Posted by vtadave at 2/7/2008 11:12:00 AM old is Wily Mo Pena........26, his best years are here, if they are ever coming. Oh and for any Sarah Silverman fan (or anyone who wants a good laugh) you gotta see this.....
Posted by kevinccp at 2/7/2008 9:48:00 PM
Sarah Silverman is awesome.

Dave - If you give me 5/2 odds for WMP to hit 35 HRs this year, I'm down. Seems like a fair compromise.
Posted by Dalton Del Don at 2/8/2008
I hate to take your money 3D, but I'm game. Let's work out what my winnings will be via email. :-)
Posted by vtadave at 2/8/2008 3:58:00 PM
OK. It's on.
Posted by Dalton Del Don at 2/8/2008 7:37:00 PM
On behalf of all Orioles fans, please please please deal Pie and Gallagher for Roberts! I'd love a Jones-Pie-Markakis outfield for the next 6 years.
Posted by bscwik at 2/9/2008 7:21:00 AM

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