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MLB Notes
Posted by Dalton Del Don at 4/3/2008 3:54:00 PM
View more posts by this author


The more I think about it, the more I like Corey Patterson this season. Itís not ideal that the Reds have plenty of outfield options, but Patterson is a very good defender, and his average should stay afloat starting mostly against righties. Moreover, his relationship with Dusty Baker dating back to the Chicago days should lead to a long rope, as Baker sees him as one of his guys and likes his style of play (the .297 OBP wonít be clogging up the bases). Playing in a bandbox, a 20/50 type season isnít out of the question, even though heíll be hurting the Reds in the process.

Injuries are a part of the game, but theyíve been a little ridiculous in the early going. Gary Sheffield wasted no time this season.

Anyone who watched Eric Gagneís season debut also likely picked up David Riske. Gagne simply looked brutal, and one shouldnít be too optimistic for a turnaround. If youíre a Gagne owner and can get Riske straight up right now, Iíd do it in a nanosecond. Kerry Woodís shaky start, meanwhile, is far less worrisome. Heís touching 98 mph on the gun, and while heís never had great command, Wood should be a very successful closer as long as health permits.

Ron Gardenhire is mistakenly considered a great manager by most, but his irrational decision to start Craig Monroe over Jason Kubel versus a righty suggests just the opposite. That better not happen again this season.

Put a fork in Trevor Hoffman, heís done. Since the end of July last year, he has a 6.26 ERA and 1.87 WHIP. Doesnít matter how good your changeup is if your fastball is the same speed.

Iím avoiding all players slated to start their year during the ESPN Sunday night opening game next season. Last year, Chris Carpenter got rocked and hasnít thrown a pitch in a game since. This year, Chad Cordero gets shut down in the bullpen during a save opportunity with what sounds like a potentially long-term injury. Itís the ESPN Sunday night opening game curse.

Forget Rookie of the Year, itís Johnny Cueto for Cy Young. Cueto was flat-out dominant during his first big league start Thursday, posting a 10:0 K:BB ratio and allowing just one baserunner over seven innings. Of course, the 22-year-old is bound to be inconsistent with his command over the course of this season, but the Reds are obviously holding a winning lottery ticket. His fastball/slider combo is pretty much unhittable.

Daltonís weekly SF Giant rant: Aaron Rowand batting sixth? Donít get me wrong, I think thatís where he belongs in a normal major league lineup, but the Giantsí barely resembles a Triple-A squad, and if they thought he was worth $60 million, surely heís one of their five best hitters, correct? True story: Bengie Molina couldnít score from second base on a soft single even when it was during a hit-and-run Tuesday. After a 1.5 hour rain delay Wednesday, San Francisco thought itíd be a good idea to bring Tim Lincecum back into a game in wet conditions. In a season destined to finish with the worst record in baseball? Words canít describe how poorly ran San Franciscoís franchise is.

After a dominant spring, Joe Saunders looked very good in his season debut against the Twins on Wednesday. After working hard all offseason, Saunders canít be ignored. A lefty who induces that many groundballs needs to be picked up in deeper leagues.

Iíve told you once, but itís worth reiterating, donít "sleep" on Pacman Jones.

If you need middle infield help, look no further than Jose Lopez, who is a major candidate to break out in 2008. Coming off a second half that saw him hit .213/.238/.281 last season, heís easy to overlook, but Lopez is still just 24 years old and is batting second in the Mariners lineup. Heís also taking a different approach this season, concentrating on going oppo and cutting down on the strikeouts. If heís still available in your league, he wonít be for long.


Nice pic on Pac there...solid.

I'd also tout Justin Upton for NL MVP, as Upton managed to hit a big fly off the aforementioned unhittable Cueto.

Hoffman of course notched the 1-2-3 save today. Save the fork for another day.

Maybe your Giants can deal a few spare parts for Joe Crede and come to think of it, Juan Uribe should be available on the cheap and Timo Perez has to be on Sabean's speed dial. Call them the San Francisco Retro Sox.

Posted by vtadave at 4/3/2008 4:12:00 PM
I agree with the fork in Hoffman. He's now Todd Jones or Joe Borowski.

Given how they have been used so far, I'm still not sure that Riske is ahead of Mota in the closer line. I may well be wrong, but Mota's name is at least worth knowing in deep leagues.
Posted by MPStopa at 4/3/2008 5:07:00 PM
let's tap the brakes a bit on Cueto. Remember Edwin Jackson's major league debut for the Dodgers?
Posted by djbrown at 4/3/2008 6:27:00 PM
I can see Hoffman getting hurt, love Bell, especially in keeper leagues. Wouldn't want Uribe on my team. Justin Upton for MVP? You guys are right on Crede, if you are a ML team with a weak 3B (see a number of teams, Minn included) trade for him. Love Wood, this is why everyone should take advantage of drafts after the season starts.
Posted by kevinccp at 4/3/2008 6:31:00 PM
I think the top fantasy pitcher this year will be a combination of the 30 or so you can grab off the wire to spot start against the Giants from week to week. Hideous offense.
Posted by skinsnut at 4/3/2008 8:45:00 PM
I was being hyperbolic with Cueto, as was Dave with J. Upton. That said, I understand one good start does not make a star, and Cueto will probably struggle plenty this year, but with the pitcher I saw today combined with what he did this spring at his age, I wouldn't trade him for any rookie/minor SP other than possibly Kershaw/Buccholz/Chamberlain. And those last two have the disadvantage of being in the AL East.
Posted by Dalton Del Don at 4/3/2008 8:51:00 PM
skinsnut - I totally agree. People in daily leagues should really take advantage of this.
Posted by Dalton Del Don at 4/3/2008 8:56:00 PM
3D - Are you talking about this year only or keeper leagues? As much man love as I have for Kershaw, I would take Cueto over him this year.

Don't the Dodgers pretty much have the Earl Weaver plan in place as far as letting their young starters learn their craft out of the bullpen before letting them join the rotation?

Also, Kershaw's innings are going to be limited, something we probably don't have to worry about with our boy Dusty Baker.

Posted by skinsnut at 4/3/2008 9:27:00 PM
I'd take the over on Hoffman for 25 saves. Lots of job security, pitches in Petco, doesn't walk people. Could even save 35 or 40 if things break right.
Posted by cliss at 4/3/2008 11:06:00 PM
skinsnut - I meant long-term. Cueto over Kershaw this year by far. Maybe even over the other two short-term as well.
Posted by Dalton Del Don at 4/3/2008 11:14:00 PM
Chris - I agree with you about Hoffman's job security, which is a pretty important aspect when it comes to closing. Maybe he can get by with subpar stuff in Petco and always entering with no men on base, but I'd be concerned if I owned him.
Posted by Dalton Del Don at 4/3/2008 11:17:00 PM
sure, but how many closers cause you no concern? And Hoffman slipped in a lot of drafts this year. I think he's a buy right now in expert leagues. In novice leagues, maybe not so much where he still has name value and his skill set decline isn't as appreciated.
Posted by cliss at 4/3/2008 11:58:00 PM
Maybe Hoffman can be the "home closer" and Bell can be the "road closer." We have already specialized the daylights out of the role of the bullpen so why not?

If I were managing I would have 2 sets of pitchers. Starters and relievers. This whole "closer" thing is a joke. What are they closing anyway? We could just as easily call them "blowers" with their success rate.
Posted by skinsnut at 4/4/2008 6:47:00 AM
Teams best relievers should be used at the most critical times, regardless of inning. It's as simple as that.
Posted by Dalton Del Don at 4/4/2008 7:34:00 AM
Agreed, but until some team puts Joe Sheehan or Tom Tango in the dugout, progressive thinking will be suppressed.

If Hoffman is Borowski/Jones, I'll take that as a fantasy owner in desperate need of saves in most of my leagues.
Posted by vtadave at 4/4/2008 9:02:00 AM
I agree with the "best reliever/most critical time" argument, have for years. McCaffrey has written some beautiful essays on it. It's not a BP argument or a James thing, it's just common sense. It gets skipped over, I suppose because managers want to (a) avoid second guessing, (b) keep their closers happy, and (c) have very defined roles on the club.
Posted by spianow at 4/4/2008 10:20:00 AM
Dave, saying Hoffman was Borowski/Jones was not meant as a compliment! LOL
Posted by MPStopa at 4/4/2008 11:58:00 AM

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