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MLB Notes
Posted by Dalton Del Don at 5/1/2008 6:41:00 PM
View more posts by this author


And on the seventh day, God created Max Scherzer. Thereís a rumor Scherzerís ERA can cure cancer Ė too bad he doesnít have one. Yes, use youíre No. 1 waiver priority on him, and anyone who saw his debut knows why. Heís the real deal.

Tim Lincecum has to be treated like a top-10 pitcher, regardless of his teammates. Heís still walking too many batters, but itís not often youíll find someone with a 1.73 ERA and a .352 BABIP. His 9.9 K/9 IP is elite, and the improved 1.72 groundball to flyball ratio really portends future success. After getting touched up for 12 homers over 146 innings last season, Lincecum has allowed just one long ball in 2008.

Shane Victorinoís owners have to be a little concerned watching him on the bench during his first two games back from the DL. Itís fine keeping Jayson Werth in the lineup, but thereís really no reason to be playing Geoff Jenkins over the Flyin Hawaiian. Hopefully itís just a minor blip and a platoon doesnít emerge.

I recommended Brian Wilson as a cheap closer before the season, but I hardly expected nine saves through April. Itís a good reminder why not to avoid closers on bad teams or predict big save numbers from those on good teams.

Rickie Weeks is an excellent guy to target in trade talks right now. Talk up the fact heís never played in 120 games and is a .245 career hitter who is batting .204 on the season. Hidden beneath those stats lies a sleeping giant, as the perceived disappointment is currently sporting the best contact rate (.77) of his career (by far) and is walking at an extremely high rate as well. Even while hovering around the Mendoza line, Weeks is on pace to finish with 18 homers, 30 steals and 144 runs scored. Oh, and his BABIP is .228, which is .312 for his career. Get him before itís too late.

Donít look now, but Edwin Encarnacion is on pace to hit 42 homers.

Iíd treat Matt Kemp as a top-25 outfielder. Heís not guaranteed full-time at-bats still, but the upside is immense. The K:BB ratio isnít pretty, but Kemp hits so many line drives, his average doesnít suffer as much as it would most. Thereís legitimate 25/25 potential this season, and it looks like heís securing his role as the teamís No. 3 hitter.

Watching Yovani Gallardo injure his knee during Thursdayís game, I thought he was sure to miss multiple months. Seeing him stand and walk (after 10 minutes on the ground) was surprising as is, but the fact he stayed in the game and recorded five more outs (while giving up two runs) was downright shocking. It wasnít the same knee that sidelined him this spring, so as long as he doesnít compensate (he was still limping pretty badly), leading to an arm problem, he should be fine moving forward.

My main man Carlos Pena has been in a brutal slump, failing to record multiple hits in a game over his last 10 contests, bringing his season BA to an ugly .200. He also hasnít homered in 16 games. Still, thatís largely due to a crazy low .226 BABIP, so heís going to improve. He strikes out too much to ever hit better than .275, but heís still a major threat to reach 40 homers, so now is the time to pursue him.

Is that really Chris Shelton I see back in the big leagues?

The seven homers over 25 games are impressive, but Carlos Quentinís 15:14 K:BB ratio is also notable. Of course, heís not quite this good, but Quentinís disastrous 2007, which included leaving Chris Liss hanging on a live radio show after not showing up, was largely due to a serious shoulder injury. Quentinís a legit prospect who now finds himself hitting in the leagueís most homer-friendly park. Heís for real.

Nate McLouth has been unconscious this season. Before Thursday, he smacked four homers with nine RBI over the last four games, bringing his season line to a remarkable .342/.425/.658. Heís showed solid plate discipline as well (14:15 K:BB). The one disappointing facet is that heís been caught on three of his five stolen base attempts, but while the power is sure to drop, he still possesses 30 steal potential. Heís simply been on fire. Not quite as hot as the Snorg Tees girl but still scorching.


I'm totally with you on the stink closers. It's generally a misunderstood market.
Posted by spianow at 5/1/2008 7:11:00 PM
Another example of good closers on bad teams is George Sherrill.

Isn't it amazing how much better Kemp AND Ethier are than either of the Dodger's $10+ mil per year OFs? Yesterday, against Renyel Pinto (a lefty) in the top of the 8th with bases loaded and 2 outs, Torre pinch hit with Loney (a lefty) instead of Andruw Jones. My how the mighty have fallen.

Posted by iceguy at 5/2/2008 4:06:00 AM
It's ridiculous that I was watching the Dbacks game the other night and Owings pinch hit in the SIXTH INNING. They actually brought in a righty to pitch to him and he still hit a HR. If pitching for some reason doesn't work out for him, he could be the next Rick Ankiel, version 2.0.
Posted by kevinccp at 5/2/2008 4:48:00 AM
Kevin, Owings is better than Ankiel. If he were on an AL team, I'd have him be the DH every game he doesn't pitch. Why not? It's not exactly taxing to DH, and he wouldn't be using his arm (like he would have to in the field).

Is Pena a "buy low," or is last season looking like an outlier (kind of like Adrian Beltre's last season with the Dodgers a few years ago)? I'm not sure.
Posted by MPStopa at 5/2/2008 5:50:00 AM
Agreed about Kemp/Ethier...Crazy how much Owings rakes...My bet is that Pena is a buy-low, but it's def. something to consider with his major league track record, or lack thereof.
Posted by Dalton Del Don at 5/2/2008 7:38:00 AM
Mark, I think Owings is better also, hence the 2.0 comment. I caught The Departed again on HBO for a little bit last night, Alec Balwin's performance needs to be mentioned. I still like Pena, just don't expect him to help your BA, and his K:BB ratio so far this year is of concern. Even his minor numbers suggest as long as he gets the ABs, he's going to to HRs.
Posted by kevinccp at 5/2/2008 11:37:00 AM
Alec Baldwin is pure genius in The Departed. The driving range scene, the other one with a stain on his shirt, brilliant.
Posted by Dalton Del Don at 5/2/2008 4:03:00 PM
And I guess my first instinct was the right one regarding Gallardo. Wow.
Posted by Dalton Del Don at 5/2/2008 4:04:00 PM
"yeah it's working, it's working overtime". Don't forget the scene where he punches the guy for forgetting to set up a camera in the back (wherever the back is...).
Posted by kevinccp at 5/2/2008 5:21:00 PM
"The Patriot Act. I love it, I love it, I love it!"

Posted by spianow at 5/2/2008 8:42:00 PM
Manny Parra = disgusting
Posted by billgoofnow at 5/3/2008 6:55:00 PM
Hey Dalton- Get this. I traded Gallardo on Thursday morning for Markakis. But since our league votes on trades it was rejected after they became aware of the injury. Is my league messed up or what?
Posted by skinsnut at 5/4/2008 9:28:00 AM
You traded him before his outing Thursday? If so, that's ridiculous, and I'd leave that league if I were you. Trade should go through.
Posted by Dalton Del Don at 5/4/2008 12:02:00 PM

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