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MLB Notes
Posted by Dalton Del Don at 4/29/2008 6:42:00 PM
View more posts by this author

 

Manny Ramirez is off to a fantastic start this season, entering Tuesday with a line of .347/.413/.643. All the extra offseason work seems to have really paid off, and itís apparent his career isnít in such the decline last year suggested. That said, his .424 BABIP is the second highest in all of baseball, and his contact rate and walk rate are the lowest theyíve been over the past five years, so he has been fortunate. Ramirez is in such a good situation in Boston I wouldnít call him a sell-high, but heís unlikely to have another month this season that matches his April.

Itís safe to say the Angels were on the wrong end of the Jon Garland/Orlando Cabrera trade. Garlandís 5.94 ERA and 1.73 WHIP are ugly, but his 9:12 K:BB ratio over 36.1 innings is hideous. He more than doubled his season K total with five punchouts during his last start on Monday.

After further review, and by review I mean Iíve seen it 58 times on HBO, ďThe DepartedĒ has to be one of the worst movies ever to win Best Picture. Donít get me wrong, itís totally entertaining and completely rewatchable, but Jack Nicholsonís performance is mind-boggling, and the ending is embarrassing.

Blindly believing in talent, I like Delmon Young as a buy-low right now. The numbers arenít pretty (.258/.287/.309 with zero homers), and itís disconcerting that heís never slugged better than .440 in any month during his career. In fact, heís slugged less than .400 in five of the seven months heís been in the big leagues. Still, the fact he already has six stolen bases is a great sign, and his swing produces so many line drives he should post a solid average despite the high K rate. Heís a future 30/30 hitter, and he still might reach 20/25 as soon as this year.

Barry Zito is the highest paid middle reliever of all-time. Whatís going to happen when he doesnít straighten things out? This situation is only going to get worse, and itís put the Giants (and Zito) in one of the more awkward positions ever.

Itís never easy to trade a catcher, but Geovany Soto is officially a sell-high candidate. After basically coming out of nowhere last year, he has a fine .927 OPS for his career. However, heís followed last yearís ridiculous .486 BABIP with a .407 mark this season, the fifth highest in the game. During his previous three years in the minors, he was consistently in the .320-.330 range, so this canít possibly last. Heíll provide good pop for a backstop, and his improving ability to walk is a plus, but Soto is due for a crash.

The opposite is true for Robinson Cano, who has the second lowest BABIP (.165) in the majors. He got off to a slow start last year as well, hitting just three of his 19 homers over the first three months. Someone making contact 88 percent of the time simply should not be batting .153. With terrific lineup support around him, Cano has the upside of a top-25 fantasy player. Go get him.

Nothing would surprise me when it comes to Roger Clemens at this point. If he had just stepped up and apologized to begin with, none of this would have ever came to light, and heíd be out of mind, out of sight by now. I mean really, 15 years old?!

Looks like Johnny Cueto is going to have some bumps in the road, after all.

My take on Gavin Floyd? Sell, sell and sell. The former top prospect has a pretty 2.84 ERA and 1.03 WHIP, so on the surface it might appear as if heís finally living up to his potential. Unfortunately, those numbers are accompanied by a poor 14:12 K:BB ratio, and only Cliff Lee has a lower BABIP (.161) in all of baseball. If thatís not enough, he also sports an inferior 0.67 groundball to flyball ratio while pitching in the ALís best park for homers. Donít get off the phone until youíve traded him.

If youíre interested in the fantasy football draft I previously mentioned, here are the results.


Comments....

I just wish Clemens would go away. I really don't want to hear about any of his or his wife's other affairs. Really though, if you're going to cheat on your wife (which I certainly don't condone), is it too much to ask that she is at least eligible to vote?

Anyway...

Good stuff as always 3D.

As for Zito, maybe they can make him an outfielder? More likely scenario: they'll find some mysterious injury.
(shoulder fatigue?) and put him on the DL.

Earnest Graham in the 3rd? Not worried about Bennett and Dunn?
Posted by vtadave at 4/29/2008 7:11:00 PM
 
I agree about the Zito to DL scenario. Will be his first time ever, too...I'll probably have E. Graham somewhere around 15th on my RB rankings, meaning I think he should be a second round pick. I don't feel totally comfortable about no-names like him who come out of nowhere, and TB's offense is old and in decline. However, Michael Bennett is a joke, and it's always a good thing if he's the backup (he won't see the field), although I am slightly worried Gruden likes Dunn. But he's 32 and averaged 3.2 YPC last year. Graham catches the ball and had 730 yards with 7 TDs over his last 7 games last season.
Posted by Dalton Del Don at 4/29/2008 7:28:00 PM
 
I agree with Dave, curious pick in the 3rd round, I don't like as a general rule taking 3 RBs in a row. I see DJ Hackett remains slightly lower than Tim Licecum in your man crush . Like your QBs where you took them. "The Departed" won best picture due to the star studded cast (Leonardo, Nicholson, Baldwin, Wahlberg, the funny fat black guy, the wife from "Running Scared"), but yes extremely overrated. There won't be a outfielder I stay away from more after he signs his new contract than Ramirez. I agree about Garland, but it's not like Orlando Cabrera is lighting it up either so far (hitting .214 going into today). I traded for Cano in the second half last year, I see him being that type of player as far as first/second half splits go.
Posted by kevinccp at 4/29/2008 7:32:00 PM
 
BTW Dave and I beat Stopa to comments?
Posted by kevinccp at 4/29/2008 7:34:00 PM
 
Interesting. I thought Graham slipped quite a bit. I predict he'll be commonly taken in round 2 during August. I'm all about RBs. Loved Forte that late too. This league you start 2 RBs and a flex, so I went with 3 in a row to start...The Departed also won kind of as a career achievement award for Marty Scorsese, even tho it wasn't even one of his three best movies...Good point about Cabrera - he's been bad too, but at least he plays solid D at SS (although not as good as he used to), so he's not a big negative like Garland has been.
Posted by Dalton Del Don at 4/29/2008 7:48:00 PM
 
And I knew you'd give me a hard time about Hackett - I just couldn't help myself there! Should have some space to work with defenses focused on Steve Smith.
Posted by Dalton Del Don at 4/29/2008 7:59:00 PM
 
I'm totally with you on "The Departed." Nicholson absolutely mailed it in. I could watch those Wahlberg scenes all day, though.
Posted by spianow at 4/29/2008 8:52:00 PM
 
Who's got the highest career BABIP of active players? I notice Ichiro is at .357. Lucky, or does his speed play a key part in it?
Posted by spianow at 4/29/2008 8:59:00 PM
 
Boggs retired with BABIP of .348. Gwynn was .345. I expected Ted Williams to be in that neighborhood, but he was 20 points or so lower. Were Boggs and Gwynn just really lucky for 20 years, or were they doing something other guys don't, say, centering the ball more? At times I think the BABIP revolution, while important to be sure, has gone too far; we've switched from knowing nothing to knowing too much and over-extrapolating at times.

This is not a comment on anyone here (and you guys all know I love Dalton's work), I'm just thinking out loud.
Posted by spianow at 4/29/2008 9:03:00 PM
 
The .300 thing doesn't work with hitters - some will def. average much higher than that for a career. And the same, to a lesser extent, occurs with pitching. I am not totally sold on the theory either, but I think it's very useful when comparing small sample sizes to someone's career norm. That is, if there's a big discrepancy, one can expect a regression to the mean, and it's a terrific way to dig deeper into the numbers.
Posted by Dalton Del Don at 4/29/2008 9:08:00 PM
 
And holy crap, if you didn't catch Max Scherzer tonight, it was basically the best debut in the history of the game. Unbelievable.
Posted by Dalton Del Don at 4/29/2008 9:10:00 PM
 
Hitters establish a career norm which they deviate from as their skills change (line drive, fly ball, ground ball rate, speed, etc). But when someone's over .400, it's usually an anomaly no matter what kind of hitter you are. Ichiro's .357 is legit given his speed to first base, and his slap-hitting style.
Posted by cliss at 4/29/2008 9:18:00 PM
 
Love the blog Triple D, and I agree Scherzer was unreal. I haven't seen something like that from a young player since Kerry Wood struck out 20.

Any thoughts on Santana this year? He's obviously been solid, but the 7 HR's given up already put him ahead of last year's league leading pace. 5 of the 7 have been solo shots, and last year, 24 of his 33 were solo shots, so is it acceptable for him to give up so many dingers because he never really lets anyone reach base? It just seems to me that his penchant for givng up the long ball has eliminated much of the gap that used to separate him from the pitching pack. Any thoughts?
Posted by obzen at 4/30/2008 1:31:00 AM
 
I know it's not a stretch but are we all in agreement that Longoria and Scherzer will be this year's Braun and Lincecum?
Posted by kevinccp at 4/30/2008 4:40:00 AM
 
If you had the #1 waiver priority in a dynasty league, would you use it on Scherzer, or would you wait for Kershaw?
Posted by iceguy at 4/30/2008 5:12:00 AM
 
Wow. Lots to catch up on:
Roger Clemens is now seeing why celebrities do not EVER sue for defamation. When you place your character at issue, it lets the defendant probe into all sorts of personal issues in your life, at least in the discovery phase. I bet that suit gets settled and dismissed within the next couple of weeks. Clemens simply CAN'T let that chick testify (esp. about whatever happened when she was 15).

I think Moss has to be a first-round pick in a 12-team league. No way I'd take some of those RBs over him. I think you need a guaranteed stud in the first round, regardless of position. With all of the RBs who came out of nowhere last year, things are trending away from "two RBs with first two picks." I tend to suspect my strategy will be to get studs in the first couple of rounds, leaning towards RB but not shying away from other positions if the value is there. If I wind up a little weak at RB, I'll trust that I can grab one of the studs who comes out of nowhere during the season - and you know that will happen. It does every year.

Gwynn, Boggs, and Ichiro are/were all line-drive hitters who used the whole field. It doesn't surprise me that they have high BABIP.
Posted by MPStopa at 4/30/2008 5:34:00 AM
 
Scherzer appears to be the 2008 version of Tim Lincecum, but maybe even better. Wow. As far as Longoria being this year's Braun, I wouldn't count on it. What Braun did last year happens about every ten years.

Zito is a fascinating case. The Giants have conceded that he will never throw 90 mph again. Add that to the fact that his curve ball doesn't have the same bite and you basically have the worst pitcher in the big leagues making the most money.

And they have what, 6 or 7 years left on this contract? 3D you are correct...things will indeed get awkward. Simply put, playing him will significantly hurt the team. As crazy as it sounds, I wouldn't be surprised if they simply release him in a year or two and eat all that money.

It will be a cautionary tale to all teams looking to sign a pitcher for more than 5 years.


Posted by skinsnut at 4/30/2008 5:24:00 PM
 
I'd have Zito in AAA. Get him out of the spotlight, see if he can learn to pitch, learn something new. As long as he's in the majors and people talk about how much he sucks, it can't help him. Put him in AAA for a month or two and people will forget about him, the pressure will be off, and maybe he will improve.
Posted by MPStopa at 4/30/2008 7:22:00 PM
 
J. Santana will be fine. You'd like to see the HRs allowed decrease, obviously, but remember, aside from last year, he usually improves as the season goes on during his career...I imagine R. Moss will be a universal first round pick, just not by me. I don't necessarily think it's a bad selection and certainly better than Brady, but I also really like some WRs just below him.
Posted by Dalton Del Don at 4/30/2008 10:08:00 PM
 
Tough call with Scherzer versus Kershaw in a dynasty league - both pitch in the NL West, etc. Kershaw might have more upside long-term, so my best advice would be if you're playing for the future, wait for Kershaw, but if you can contend this year, use it on Scherzer right now. Both are truly elite prospects...That would be quite embarrassing sending Zito to the minors, but I'm all for it. But why stop at Triple-A? Send him to single.
Posted by Dalton Del Don at 4/30/2008 10:11:00 PM
 

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