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MLB Notes
Posted by Dalton Del Don at 2/19/2008 11:51:00 PM
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Iím still undecided about Daisuke Matsuzaka. On one hand, he flashed a dominant strikeout rate (8.9K/9 IP) and his second half fade can be blamed on fatigue, since his workload was so different from Japan. On the other hand, Dice-Kís control (3.5 BB/9 IP) was a major problem, as was his proneness to the long ball. And maybe the second half fade was because the hitters adjusted to him. Ultimately, thereís upside here, and Iíd guess he shows improvement this season Ė heís still just 27 years old. However, his price tag is typically higher than Iím willing to spend.

Iím strongly advocating drafting Carlos Marmol this season. Theoretically, he should come rather cheap, since Bobby Howry has been named the early favorite to close in Chicago, and Kerry Wood is around to contend with. The Cubs probably want Wood to emerge as the ninth inning guy, and when healthy, thereís no denying his stuff is filthy, as the kids like to say. Of course, Wood is almost certain to get hurt. And then thereís Marmol, and all he did was strike out 96 batters over 69.1 innings last season. The 1.43 ERA, 1.10 WHIP and .169 batting average against werenít too bad either. He has the upside of a top-5 fantasy closer.

Randy Johnson is 44 years old and unlikely to throw more than 140 innings this season. Still, with the possibility that back surgery brings improved health, I canít help but recommend gambling on his upside, which is still apparent. Pitching in the NL West helps, and his numbers from 2007 suggest thereís still something left in the tank. In 17.2 road innings last year, the Big Unit posted an absolutely ridiculous 25:0 K:BB ratio with a 0.51 WHIP. Plus, heís typically coming very cheap in fantasy leagues right now.

The most frustrating part about the Roger Clemens congress fiasco was the clear partisan lines that were being drawn. Iím not saying either Clemens or Brian McNamee was right, but I am saying the way the republicans attacked only McNamee was wrong.

Youíll have a hard time finding a cheaper source for power than Jim Thome. Sure, heís injury-prone, only available at DH and 37 years old, but heís also smacked 72 homers over his last 922 at-bats. He gets to hit in one of the most homer-friendly stadiums in baseball, and the White Sox lineup should be much improved this season as well. He hit 12 bombs during September of last year, so heís not finished being a major asset in the power department.

Daltonís bold prediction: Andrew Bynum doesnít play another NBA basketball game this season.

Iím letting someone else draft Dan Haren. Think about Billy Beaneís track record when it comes to trading starting pitchers to the National League. Other than Tim Hudsonís 2007 campaign, he and fellow former Aís hurlers Mark Mulder and Barry Zito have pitched six combined seasons since leaving Oakland Ė and every one of them have qualified as worse than any of their previous seasons in Green and Gold, which is pretty remarkable. Zito wasnít traded, of course, but Beane wore him out before letting him walk all the same. People worry about Haren leaving a pitcherís park to a hitterís haven. I worry about why Beane decided to trade him with so many years left before free agency. Actually, I already know the answer.


Don't forget Bean traded Aaron Haranfg for Jose Guillen...
Posted by Uncle_Charlie at 2/20/2008 6:50:00 AM
What do you mean you're not saying Clemens or McNamee was right? What are you, CNN? Andy Pettitte's testimony supported McNamee 100 percent, and Clemens 0 percent. Clemens was Pettitte's mentor and best friend. If Clemens was even telling a half truth, there's no way Pettitte backs some clubhouse trainer over his best pal who happens to be a living legend. Clemens was clearly lying, and the republicans who defended him were beyond shameless. There are such thngs as facts.

And Marmol got very lucky with fly balls staying in the park, batted balls finding fielders, and especially with men on base. The K rate you can't deny, though. I agree that their first choice is a healthy Kerry Wood - not only does he have the stuff - he's got the right competitive demeanor to close, and it would be almost healing for the franchise to get one of their one-time stud pitching prospects (Prior and Wood) into a prominent role again.

Posted by cliss at 2/20/2008 9:27:00 AM
I'm not so sure that Haren's due for that much of a backslide. Yes, Beane knows how to get the most for his talent, but he's also the ultimate "sell high" GM in the game who doesn't worry about alienating the fans by trading popular players (But see Orioles' GMs, who have had their deals nixed by Peter Angelos for that very reason). I think Haren fits more into the latter philosophy -- he's a "sell high" guy who had an amazing BABIP last year, and broke apart in the 2nd half. So yes, he's overvalued, but that doesn't necessarily mean that he's going to flop this year.
Posted by bscwik at 2/20/2008 11:12:00 AM
Liss is right about Clemens/McNamee. Why the Republicans were on Clemens' side is beyond me. Those ties with Bush and Texas must run deep because the evidence is overwhelming. I hope the Feds get Clemens for perjury.

I wish I hit "plus 1" on Marmol last night.
Posted by MPStopa at 2/20/2008 1:00:00 PM
Uncle Charlie - Excellent point. Although the situation was a little different since he was yet established and hadn't been ran into the ground by the A's. Still, very good point - Beane's not infallible.
Posted by Dalton Del Don at 2/20/2008 3:50:00 PM
Liss - Fine, I should have been more declarative regarding Clemens. I was trying to make a point in that regardless of whom you believe, the way the republicans so obviously chose sides was despicable. But I agree, Clemens is guilty as sin.
Posted by Dalton Del Don at 2/20/2008 3:54:00 PM
I'm just glad the spotlight has finally been moved from my main man Barry Bonds and onto the equally guilty on the surface looking Clemens.
Posted by Dalton Del Don at 2/20/2008 3:57:00 PM
Stopa - Clemens has that good ole boy thing working for him. All those personal (and unprecedented) meetings he had on capitol hill beforehand couldn't have hurt either.
Posted by Dalton Del Don at 2/20/2008 3:58:00 PM
Bret - I'm not sure Haren's going to fall off a cliff as soon as this year, but research suggests that after a pitcher throws 3500 pitches in a season, big drops in production often follow. Dan Haren has AVERAGED 3500 pitches over the last three seasons in Oakland.
Posted by Dalton Del Don at 2/20/2008 4:12:00 PM
3D sorry to use your blog as a forum, but I think you may want to comment on this also. Liss posted a blog about Pettitte 3 blogs ago, and I stated I didn't like he threw his friend under the bus (not the topic I want to discuss here) but that I didn't think he was HOF worthy (and I'm a diehard Yanks fan). Liss as well as others thought he was/maybe HOF worthy, let's throw the HGH thing aside. Tell me why Jack Morris isn't in and how Pettitte will make it over him, anyone, anyone, Bueller, anyone? I just don't see how Pettite makes it if Morris didn't, and that's not taking the *cheating* aspect into consideration. Morris against Smoltz (1991-a 10 inning masterpiece) was equal if not better than Pettite against Smoltz (1996) in the postseason (both are known as big game postseason pitchers). Pettitte was NEVER the winning most pitcher in a decade, and will need 4 more SOLID seasons as he's had the last couple (until he's 39) with respect to wins, KOs and keeping a solid ERA to even match Morris, who isn't in. I'm also not taking into account the better teams overall that Pettitte played on. Any thoughts?
Posted by kevinccp at 2/20/2008 7:24:00 PM
I remember that 1991 game vividly. However, I'm a little too young to be the best judge of this, but by looking purely at the stats, Morris had a significantly better WHIP and still has a bunch more innings on him. The 28 shutouts to 4 is also pretty crazy. However, Pettitte's K:BB ratio is better by a decent amount. Of course, voters probably don't look at things like that. Morris seems to be ahead right now, like you said Kevin.
Posted by Dalton Del Don at 2/20/2008 7:52:00 PM
yeah, but you have to adjust for era. Morris' era was much more pitcher friendly than Pettitte's. Morris' career ERA is 3.90, league average over that time was 4.08. Pettitte's is 3.83 while the league was 4.54.

Posted by cliss at 2/20/2008 8:49:00 PM
Good point.
Posted by Dalton Del Don at 2/20/2008 9:22:00 PM
The better question is why isn't Bert Blyleven in?
Posted by Erickson at 2/21/2008 8:44:00 PM
My thoughts exactly, Jeff..

Jack Morris should def. be in. Pettitte not so much...
Posted by schwang2u at 2/23/2008 6:38:00 PM

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