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MLB Notes
Posted by Dalton Del Don at 5/6/2008 1:09:00 PM
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So I pulled off a blockbuster in NL LABR recently. I gave up: Ryan Church, Scott Olsen, Clayton Kershaw, Rich Hill and Shawn Chacon. I received: Shane Victorino, Adam Wainwright and Chuck James. I did it primarily because I was desperate for steals, something Iím hopeful Victorino can provide. Church and Olsen are products of high BABIPs as well. Still, itís a big gamble. What do you think? Did I give up on Hill too soon? Is Kershaw going to destroy the league over the final four months?

I cautioned owners to not aggressively draft Chad Billingsley in non-keeper leagues this year, and so far, his lack of command has backed up my claim. However, his 11.76 K/9 IP leads major league baseball and by a fairly wide margin. His .371 BABIP suggests a decrease in ERA is soon to come, even if his control remains spotty. Heís at least a year away from becoming a truly consistent fantasy option, but heís also likely to win a Cy Young someday.

Itís Ervin Santanaís world, and the rest of us are just paying rent. How about a 2.54 ERA and a 0.92 WHIP with a 22:5 K:BB ratio in four road starts this season? With his strikeout potential and the Angelsí offense behind him, Santana has the upside of a top-25 starter. Heís obviously not quite this good, but I wouldnít be looking to sell, either.

Keeper leaguers donít give up on Andrew Miller. Heís suffered the worst luck in all of baseball this season (.416 BABIP). Of course, his 4.26 B/9 IP mark is atrocious, so heís currently unusable, but patience is likely to pay off down the road.

Max Scherzerís debut as a starter was disappointing Monday, but his defense did let him down. A Stephen Drew error led to three unearned runs, and there was another hit that a healthy Orlando Hudson would have normally gotten to with ease. His release point and arm angle are very unorthodox, making his already live fastball that much harder to pick up. The kidís stuff is downright dirty.

During the Redsí radio broadcast Monday, someone suggested Adam Dunn move to the second spot in the order, and Marty Brennaman and Jeff Brantley nearly had coronaries while scoffing at the idea. Listen, all those strikeouts arenít ideal for a top of the order hitter, but Dunn has a career .380 on-base percentage with a .222 batting average with runners in scoring position and once went more than a full calendar year without a sac fly. Heís actually a perfect fit for the two-hole. In fact, heís hit .278 in 392 career ABs batting second, which is by far the best of any spot in the order. But youíd hate to let those pesky stats get in the way.

The Hornets havenít just beaten the Spurs during the first two games, they have thoroughly dominated them. San Antonio is by no means finished, but Chris Paul continues to amaze. The Lakersí path to a title just might have gotten a little easier.

Daisuke Matsuzaka cannot maintain a 2.43 ERA with a 5.98 BB/9 IP mark, which is the fourth worst in baseball. Mondayís line Ė five innings, one run, 1:8 K:BB ratio Ė was one of the bigger anomalies youíll ever see. Like Phil Hughes and Ian Kennedy, Dice-K is a frustrating power pitcher who nibbles the strike zone and refuses to attack hitters with his above average stuff.

Jason Giambiís .113 BABIP is almost unfathomable - by far the worst in baseball. Justin Upton, meanwhile, leads the league with a .443 mark.

Despite playing for a seemingly mediocre St. Louis team, Albert Pujols leads MLB in plate appearances with runners on base (80). Maybe that whole batting the pitcher eighth thing is working, after all. Troy Glaus leads the league while batting with 120 runners on base this season, and Mark DeRosa surprisingly comes in second with 117.

Score another one for Billy Beane: Sure, Mark Kotsay has an OK .804 OPS, but heís still got the bad back and his defense is also deteriorating. Joey Devine, on the other hand, has allowed just one run with 13 strikeouts over 12 innings, looking like the future closer the Braves thought heíd become when they took him in the first round of the 2005 draft.

John Maine has had the third toughest schedule of any starting pitcher in baseball this season, as his opponents have an aggregate OPS of .773. Chris Young is sixth, Jake Peavy is eighth and Roy Halladay is 10th, so itís nice to know these elite hurlersí numbers could improve as the schedule eases up.

First Onterrio Smith and now Cedric Benson. Remember folks, if youíre not wasted, the night is.


Great read once again Triple D. Where can I find BABIP and other none traditional stats? It would be great if Rotowire could add some of this important information to a players page in order to get a better gauge of their skills besides the old school BA, HR.......
Posted by Rugby12901 at 5/6/2008 2:15:00 PM
It does; click the "Ex Stats" link on the player page for BABIP, contact rate and other ratios. Click "Reg Stats" to toggle back. Same goes for pitchers' pages.
Posted by Jaycees67 at 5/6/2008 2:29:00 PM
Like Jaycee said, you can find BABIP on each player page, and here's it grouped together:
Posted by Dalton Del Don at 5/6/2008 2:47:00 PM
I like your trade, Dalton. Wainwright and Victorino are more valuable than anybody you gave up, and I like trading that way. Kershaw and Hill might be good later, but who knows what will happen. I think you improved your team.

I agree about Devine, which is why I added him in the Staff League this week. Any chance Street gets traded this year? He has to be one of the most likely closers to get traded, I'd think.
Posted by MPStopa at 5/6/2008 2:51:00 PM
If Detroit really wants to go for it, they'll deal Rick Porcello for Huston Street.

In Oakland, I'd say Santiago Casilla has the advantage over Devine for now, but who knows, things could change before July when Street gets dealt.

Jeff Brantley is a tool, though at least he didn't "show" his tool to get fired from ESPN, unlike a certain ex-NFL QB. Brantley just showed up drunk to work, a practice that may be continuing today it sounds like.

Not a fan of Chuck James at all, but good deal for you 3D.

I have Andrew Miller in a keeper Strat league. Really need him to turn it around this year.

Low BABIPs are nothing new for a turtle like Giambi, though .113 is laughable. Is he getting thrown out at 1B by the left fielder?

Sure glad I wasn't the high bidder on Scherzer in Tout Wars? My $62 fell a few bucks short.
Posted by vtadave at 5/6/2008 3:32:00 PM
Ahh, Street to Detroit. Good call Dave. Casilla's numbers look good, but isn't he kind of a retread? Plus Devine has closing experience in the minors and the better pedigree, for whatever that's worth.
Posted by MPStopa at 5/6/2008 4:07:00 PM
Hmm, didn't realize Casilla closed in the minors, too. Maybe that factor is a wash. Guess we will have to see.
Posted by MPStopa at 5/6/2008 4:16:00 PM
Billingsley to some extent reminds me Peavy in his early years. He used to rack up ridiculous pitch counts (and Ks) and only last 5-6 innings, trying to strike everyone out. After awhile Peavy learned through experience how to pitch into the later innings and that at the end of the day, an out's an out.
Posted by kevinccp at 5/6/2008 5:11:00 PM
The way Paul is playing, I think the Lakers path is tougher...
Posted by kevinccp at 5/6/2008 6:35:00 PM
UPDATE: Manny Acosta just got pulled in the ninth in a save situation. I think it's only a matter of time before Boyer is closing there. I'd be all over him ASAP if he's available in your league.
Posted by MPStopa at 5/6/2008 6:42:00 PM
This is why baseball's so hard to predict. You deal Olsen who's done it with smoke and mirrors early on, and then he pitches a legit gem. Ryan Dempster gets his first loss of the season, but pitches his best game. It's very hard to know when a player's going to depart from his previous performance levels.

Posted by cliss at 5/6/2008 6:49:00 PM
I still think Olsen is a "sell-high."
Posted by MPStopa at 5/6/2008 7:14:00 PM
Dave - Agree about Casilla. He's also very good and is probably ahead in the closing pole right now. He reminds me a lot of Jairo Garcia (sorry Chris)...Brantley legitimately sounds drunk every single time I hear him on the air. Literally slurs his words, but I think that's just the way he talks. I think...I'm by no means counting on C. James, but I just added him in as a (hopefully) upgrade over Chacon. Figure he has a decent K rate and with Smoltz and Hampton hurt, he could get a shot.
Posted by Dalton Del Don at 5/6/2008 9:19:00 PM
Kevin - You could be right regarding C. Paul. What an ugly game that Boston/Cleveland one was tonight. I bet Liss 2 months ago Cavs would go further than the C's, so I am invested in this one. Ugly stuff.
Posted by Dalton Del Don at 5/6/2008 9:21:00 PM
Chris - Ya I took one on the chin tonight with Olsen's brilliant performance. And all those Ks too. Tough to swallow. Not to mention Church hit another bomb. Rough.
Posted by Dalton Del Don at 5/6/2008 9:24:00 PM
Mark - Prepare for Smoltz closing the final 4 months.
Posted by Dalton Del Don at 5/6/2008 9:25:00 PM
DDD, very possible. But will he be healthy? Right now he can't even throw a ball.
Posted by MPStopa at 5/7/2008 4:42:00 AM
3D - Who is this Madison Bumgarner for your Giants? He is now a small blip on my radar after I saw his 35/7 K/BB in 28 innings and that he was the #10 pick last year. Those are Scherzer Lite numbers. I love me some NL West pitchers.
Posted by skinsnut at 5/7/2008 9:03:00 AM
skinsnut, Who is Bumgarner? That's exactly what I asked myself when DDD drafted him in the staff league's minor league draft this offseason (pretty early, in fact, at a time when he was not even on my radar).
Posted by MPStopa at 5/7/2008 9:14:00 AM
Is 3D a homer or did he really think this guy might do something this year? Hard to call him a homer when I hear him talk about how bad his team is though.
Posted by skinsnut at 5/7/2008 9:21:00 AM
A hitter who has a very predictable pattern of where he hits the ball (Such as Giambi) will always have a lower BABIP than the league average, because the defense can load up defenders in the predicted area. While Giambi has made a fine living being able to pull the ball consistently, when the defense can accurately predict the area that the ball will end up in, they can effectively lower a hitters BABIP. Admittedly, Giambi's BABIP is far beyond the range that can be attributed only to this effect, but still, the effect would explain part of his BABIP. It's harder to get a base hit when hitting into an area over-loaded with gloves.
Posted by thepearl-673 at 5/7/2008 3:29:00 PM
3D is a lot of things, but a homer is not one of them. If he took Bumgarner, it's because he thought he's good (or will be good - remember, he took him in the minor league draft).

Pearl, I completely agree. I meant to post that same thing but forgot. Good point.
Posted by MPStopa at 5/7/2008 4:24:00 PM
That's an interesting point about Giambi, and he is also slow. However, his career BABIP is .309. BUT, that's dropped sharply over the past five years, so maybe there is something to that theory.
Posted by Dalton Del Don at 5/7/2008 9:46:00 PM
I don't consider myself a homer. If anything, I'm overly pessimistic and you know I can't stand Sabean. However, being a Giants fan did directly contribute to me drafting Madison Bumgarner, as my knowledge of the organization led to it. I really don't follow the minors all THAT much. But any high school left-hander who throws 95 and pitches in that division and ballpark needs to be noticed. But make no mistake "skinsnut", he's not reaching the majors anytime soon. He's a project who needs to learn secondary pitches. I figured he'd be a boom-or-bust pick, but needless to say, I'm pumped about the good start.
Posted by Dalton Del Don at 5/7/2008 9:53:00 PM
Here's my writeup on him for the RotoWire mag: "The Giants selected Bumgarner out of high school with the No. 10 pick in last year's draft. Possessing one of the best arms in the draft, Bumgarner's heater can reach 94-95 mph with movement. However, his breaking ball and changeup are below average, and he will need considerable development time in the minors. The Giants have done well with similar pitchers, so this fits with their history. He's years away, but the southpaw has ace potential."
Posted by Dalton Del Don at 5/7/2008 9:55:00 PM
So there is at least a little hope for Giants fans. You can win long term with a stacked rotation and not much offense. The Giants may be facing such an outlook.
Posted by skinsnut at 5/8/2008 7:34:00 AM

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