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MLB Notes
Posted by Dalton Del Don at 4/22/2008 6:02:00 PM
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Josh Hamilton is going to be an absolute force this season if the early returns are any indication. After striking out 22 percent of the time last year, heís all the way down to 12 percent this season. Moreover, after posting a .222/.296/..292 line against lefties in 2007, heís mashing southpaws this year (.400/.435/.600). He hasnít even begun taking advantage of hitter-friendly Ameriquest Field either, posting an OPS nearly 150 points higher on the road. Hamilton is also enjoying batting in the middle of Texasí lineup, as heís on pace to drive in 154 runs. Donít be surprised if heís a top-20 fantasy pick next year.

Those in deeper leagues, go ahead and pick up Adam Lind. With Frank Thomas jettisoned, Lind should get all the starts against right-handers as soon as heís recalled, which is imminent. He posted a 1.092 OPS as a 22-year-old in Triple-A in 2006 and is slugging .630 there this season. Lind struggled in the majors last year, but he got valuable experience in the process and did knock in 46 runs in just 290 at-bats. Heís worth grabbing.

Like Fox News, Microsoft Works and delicious fastfood, a healthy Rich Harden has officially become an oxymoron.

Iím trying to sell Cliff Lee right now. The former prospect put together a quality season in the big leagues back in 2005, and injuries can be partially blamed on last yearís disaster, but anyone who thinks heís suddenly a top-30 fantasy pitcher is going to be disappointed. The 20:2 K:BB ratio is awesome, but an incredibly easy schedule has really helped out. No one thinks heís going to maintain a 0.40 ERA, but the .90 strand rate and unfathomable .154 BABIP reveals someone even luckier than whoever marries Natalie Portman. I have no doubt Lee can finish with the second best numbers of his career in 2008, but he gives up too many flyballs and will never have higher trade value than now.

If youíre a Chad Cordero owner, and you can get a six-pack of Sierra Nevada for him in a trade, Iíd do that deal five minutes ago.

Carlos Delgado is done. There are at least 20 other first basemen Iíd rather own in fantasy leagues. Itís not really the .206 batting average that scares me; after all, his 14:10 K:BB ratio is actually quite decent, but his .294 slugging percentage is downright grotesque. Four extra-base hits in 72 at-bats wonít get it done. At age 35, thereís very little reason for optimism. His current swing often looks like he forgot to take the donut off the bat at the on-deck circle.

I would say Matt Morris is pitching poorly, but that would be an insult to poorly. Five homers allowed over 20.2 innings? How about a hideous 8:6 K:BB ratio with a 9.15 ERA and 1.98 WHIP? Because of his obscene contract, the Pirates are likely to stick with him. Thereís a very real possibility he loses 20-25 games this season if given the opportunity.

Memo to restaurants: If your caesar salad doesnít contain anchovies, itís not a caesar. No menu item gets more consistently butchered than the caesar salad.

Corey Patterson may already be falling out of favor in Cincinnati, as heís found himself on the bench during four of the past six games. Even more distressing was the fact that two of those games came against right-handed starters. Funny thing is, heís actually playing much better than the numbers suggest. Heís sporting a superb .933 contact rate with a .10 walk rate. His .135 BABIP is simply unheard of, but with Jerry Hairston Jr. now up, Pattersonís luck better turn around fast.

Is Joe Torre really batting Nomar Garciaparra third? Torre has officially gone from right guy in right situation, to a bit overrated, to now a full-fledged liability.

Chase Utley is flat-out punishing the baseball. Only an injury prevented him from winning the MVP award last season, and there appears to be no stopping him this season. Of his 28 hits this year, a whopping 18 have gone for extra bases. Teammate Pat Burrell is another nominee for player of the month.


I agree about Cordero. When he went ridiculously high in two auction drafts and I was laughing, people wanted to know why. I pointed out that the shoulder is as important to a pitcher as a putter is to Tiger Woods. Hate Fox news, best sentence in this blog, could have added jumbo shrimp. I hope the Pirates realize by throwing Morris out every 5 days, they could recoup some of his 9.5 million as a sideshow by letting the fans see him set the alltime loss record.
Posted by kevinccp at 4/22/2008 6:35:00 PM
Everybody in an auction league wishes they hit "plus one" on Utley, regardless of how much he went for. He might finish with the best stats in baseball, and to do so as a 2B would be insane. It's almost as if it was impossible to overspend on him.

Nomar hitting third is a joke - to everyone except Dodger fans. The fact that Torre thinks so highly of him doesn't bode well for LaRoche later in the year.
Posted by MPStopa at 4/22/2008 7:20:00 PM
Stopa, after reading you and 3d's commentary, here's a different take. I was thinking like you guys, BUT, living in the budding metropolis of Buffalo I lose sight some times of what it's like to root for a MLB team. I'm living in L.A.-what if Torre is worried about losing fan support or the *Nomar lovers* and has played him in the lineup to show how bad he is, and then therefore has reason to place him on waivers, so he get onto more important things (the postseason).
Posted by kevinccp at 4/22/2008 7:38:00 PM
kevin, you know, that's funny because that thought crossed my mind, too. It really did. But then I thought how stupid it would be to play someone in a prominent spot in the lineup just to try to set him up to fail. If Torre wanted Nomar to do poorly, couldn't he hit him seventh or eighth? And have his best hitter hitting third (whcih would also help the Dodgers win the game, which should be the primary objective)? Hitting third gives Nomar more RBI chances, more runs, better lineup protection - it arguably helps mask a bad hitter's deficiencies. All of that said, the fact that I wondered the same thing you did is interesting.
Posted by MPStopa at 4/22/2008 9:34:00 PM
Guys - Nomar in the three-hole is a one-time deal I'm hearing. Just a deal to try and jumpstart his bad (yeah, good luck there).
Posted by vtadave at 4/22/2008 9:58:00 PM
The Dodgers aren't going to be in the postseason if they don't start winning more regular season games. Giving more at-bats to inferior hitters like Nomar over superior hitters like Matt Kemp, etc. hurts that cause.
Posted by Dalton Del Don at 4/22/2008 9:58:00 PM
You say one-time deal, but it's happened two straight games now. But I hear ya, doubtful it lasts.
Posted by Dalton Del Don at 4/22/2008 10:00:00 PM
Fox is to news as the WWF is to sports - it's just a show that most people know is fake, but many people take seriously. Jimmy Rollins told me I made the right choice picking him over Utley in our Yahoo Experts League, so I'm expecting big things from him when he gets healthy. Cliff Lee won't keep up this kind of performance all year, but he was very good a couple years ago, so this isn't entirely out of the blue. I expect good things going forward, certainly as good as you'd get for him on the open market. Agree on the anchovies - I actually like them - especially the ones with capers.
Posted by cliss at 4/22/2008 10:10:00 PM
And I told you to go Utley over Rollins (I know, it's still early)...The white anchovies are the best.
Posted by Dalton Del Don at 4/22/2008 11:22:00 PM
Liss, I love your stuff, man, but saying that you expect big things from Rollins because Rollins told you that you should pick him - I'm not buying that.
Posted by MPStopa at 4/23/2008 6:13:00 AM
Call me crazy, but I'm pretty sure Liss had his tongue in cheek there.
Posted by Dalton Del Don at 4/23/2008 7:36:00 AM
Of course, I was joking. And the white anchovies are good, but I prefer the old school ones.
Posted by cliss at 4/23/2008 10:11:00 AM
This isn't a political blog, but since that can worms has already been opened, let me be the contrarian to what seems like the conventional wisdom about Fox News.

Factoring out the opinion shows on the cable networks (Dobbs, olbermann, O'Reilly), is it any less legitimate to frame a news story from a conservative premise than from a liberal premise? On those "roundtable" segments, is it any less legitimate to have two conservatives, a moderate and a liberal than to have three liberals and a left-leaning moderate? And which is more legitimate, an opinion commentator analyzing breaking news or an opinion commentator anchoring breaking news (say, olbermann hosting election night coverage)? Which is more legitimate, to hire former political hacks for analysis reporting or for objective news reporting (Matthews, Russert, Stephanopoulos, etc.)?

Is it any less legitmate to say, "The Dodgers rallied to beat the Giants" rather than "The Giants choked to lose to the Dodgers"? Context, of course, matters. If the Giants walked the bases loaded and then walked in the winning run, they choked, the Dodgers didn't rally. But surely you're not arguing that Fox News is the only, or even the most likely, news organization to allow its biases to cloud the context of a story.

I usually turn away from Fox because I find its opinion shows shallow and boring, but that's not relevant as to whether Fox's "news" is akin to the WWF. So, why then the "hate"? Because you're unaccustomed or disagree with the premises at which Fox starts? That seems a little hysterical -- there are 500 channels out there starting at premises different from Fox.

Posted by Jason Thornbury at 4/23/2008 3:47:00 PM
Fox isn't a serious news program - it's a entertainment show. I wouldn't argue that CNN or MSNBC are much different - in fact, they've become more Fox-like because they were jealous of the ratings.

They're all terrible, and it would be better for the democracy if no one watched any of them.

Posted by cliss at 4/23/2008 11:09:00 PM
Well, I can't be the contrarian if you are going to change the terms of the debate. Agreed, cable news networks focus more on soundbites and style than news and substance. Prime-time cable news is, more or less, unwatchable.

Posted by Jason Thornbury at 4/24/2008 8:49:00 AM
the other day i glanced at the creeper along the bottom of the screen on fox news while i was on the treadmill; presumably, that is where one would see "objective" news. it was the day after the last clinton-obama debate, and one of the "headlines" read, "democratic candidates argue about who will raise taxes more and who is least qualified to lead." true story. that's why fox isn't a credible news source.

on the other hand, these MLB notes are one of the best things on rotowire. keep them coming!
Posted by claskowski at 4/24/2008 1:34:00 PM

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