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MLB Notes
Posted by Dalton Del Don at 5/13/2008 2:55:00 PM
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Jay Bruce needs to be added in anything but the shallowest of leagues without a bench. Heís probably gone in the majority of formats already, but if not, pounce on him. Heís hitting .328 with six homers currently in Triple-A, but even more encouraging, heís finally learned to translate his speed into baserunning, as heís swiped seven bags without being caught. He entered the year just 33-of-57 on SB attempts for his career. With the Reds sitting in last place, without an answer in center field and shopping Ken Griffey, Bruce will get a chance in Cincinnati soon enough.

While Victor Martinez and Joe Mauer have a combined 228 at-bats with zero homers, Geovany Soto is punishing the baseball, slugging .581 while on pace to finish with 111 RBI. I worried about him entering the year since he was never a big prospect and seemingly came out of nowhere last season at age 24, but heís been anything but a fluke during his second year in the bigs. The 23 walks are also quite impressive.

Fausto Carmonaís season just keeps getting weirder after a complete game shutout with a 3:4 K:BB ratio Monday. Heís struck out more batters than heís walked in exactly one of his eight starts this season. All those groundballs mean opponents are going to struggle getting extra base hits, but his current ERA (2.40) and WHIP (1.64) are mutually exclusive.

Despite three walks, Jose Lopezís average (.312) is currently higher than his on-base percentage (.311). Thatís tough to do.

Carlos Zambrano has quietly been one of baseballís most effective pitchers this season. Entering the year, Zambrano had a rising walk rate, sinking K rate, had accrued a ton of mileage on his right arm and had just signed a lucrative long-term contract; in other words, all signs pointed to the opposite coming true. His strikeout rate is actually continuing to decline, and his strand rate (.84) will regress to the mean, but his improved control is profound. His previous career-best BB/9 IP mark was 3.47. Itís at 2.32 this season.

Thereís a zero percent chance I donít see this movie opening weekend.

Despite facing lefties during just 24 percent of his at-bats last year, Ryan Braun hit 44 percent of his homers against southpaws. This year, heís hit eight of his nine long balls versus right-handers, which is a good sign for his future. He still strikes out too often, walks too infrequently and the 1-of-4 SB success rate this season is disconcerting, but thereís little reason to worry about his ďsophomore slump.Ē Of course, consecutive multiple homer games probably eased plenty of minds, but this kid is legit and will be a top-15 fantasy player for years to come.

The strikeout rate is great but all those walks make Clay Buchholz pretty much unusable right now. He still needs to be treated like an elite property in keeper-leagues, but thereís going to be some growing pains, especially with the AL East being so unforgiving. Keeper-leaguers might as well throw a low ball offer his ownersí way, because thereís a lot to be encouraged about behind the ugly ERA and WHIP. His BABIP of .376 is sure to drop significantly.

Lance Berkman is as hot as a pistol. How about a line of .393/.470/.800? Would that be something youíd be interested in? Now 32 years old, itís safe to say I didnít see this one coming. Hereís what heís on pace to finish the 2008 season with: 54 HRs, 25 SBs, 174 runs, 158 RBI and a .393 BA. Good thing he ended up on none of my teams.

I randomly caught Buzz Bissinger on XMís ďbaseball beatĒ last week, and let me tell you, this guy does not disappoint. He started the segment by saying he shouldnít have said ďshitĒ on HBOís Costas Now and reiterated his distaste for blogs because of their profanity. He then proceeded to drop no less than 15 F-bombs live on the air, as a stunned Charlie Steiner helplessly listened in. The irony ran thick.

Whatís up with Erik Bedard? Heís walking too many batters, serving up homers left and right and only has a 3.48 ERA thanks to a .236 BABIP. I was high on him entering the season and still am, but one has to wonder how heís feeling physically. His 7.22 K/9 IP isnít bad, but itís not even in the same area code as last yearís 10.93 K/9 IP mark. And this means absolutely nothing, but except for maybe Barry Bonds, Iíve never heard anyone bashed by local media more than Bedard, who is apparently an asshole.

As a Giants fan, itís great to see old favorite Armando Benitez back in the major leagues. And by that I mean I wish him nothing but the worst.

To all you Dusty Baker apologists, and I know youíre out there, Iím curious what your thoughts are on David Ross batting out of order Sunday. All the blame canít totally fall on Baker, but it also doesnít reflect too greatly on the manager. Moreover, tough break for owners of Corey Patterson, who recorded an out while sitting in the dugout.

Over his last 893 at-bats, Andruw Jones is hitting .217.

After three weeks into the season, Johnny Cueto qualified as a sell-high candidate. After six weeks into the season, heís an option to buy-low. A 22-year-old rookie being inconsistent should surprise no one, but thereís still plenty to like with Cueto. Even Kevin Slowey thinks Cuetoís nine homers allowed are embarrassing, but 46 Ks over 45.1 innings and a 1.25 WHIP suggest heís going to be just fine long-term. Itís only a matter of time before those flyballs start turning into outs and his terrible .56 strand rate improves. He should still be treated like a top-30 fantasy pitcher.

Ichiro Suzuki currently has the lowest average (.287), OBP (.335) and SLG (.389) of his career, despite sporting his best contact rate (.92) ever. Still, heís maintained his fantasy value by running like crazy, swiping 16 of 17 stolen base attempts on the year. Ichiro established a career-high when he stole 56 bases his rookie year, but heís on pace for 65 this season. It also appears he hits .350-plus on three-year cycles.

Cliff Lee is simply a man possessed right now. Itís silly to say he wonít maintain this pace Ė oh really, heís not going to finish with a 0.67 ERA?! But heís clearly proven himself not to be a fluke, flashing a brilliant 44:4 K:BB ratio in 53.2 innings. Mondayís nine shutout innings may not have gotten him a victory, and it was the first time he walked a batter in four starts, but what heís doing so far this season is unprecedented. Itís one of the bigger out of nowhere campaigns Iíve ever witnessed.


I agree Cueto is impressive, especially if you need K's. But, if your team is suffering from a high ERA, he is horrible. Cueto is a double-edged sword for fantasy owners. Take it from me: In one of my leagues, he is contributing to my top ranking in k's and 2nd to last in ERA. Cliff Lee keeps producing, so does he go off the sell high list? Lee has been impressive, lets hope he does not implode.
Posted by jhermann at 5/13/2008 3:12:00 PM
I told you and Jonah on the XM show I had a bad feeling about Bedard this year - you can laugh at me when he rights the ship in a month, but for now, I'd be worried if I owned him... That trailer is hilarious.
Posted by cliss at 5/13/2008 4:20:00 PM
Was that Gary Cole in the trailer for a split second? Love that guy...

Jay Bruce has a 34:9 K:BB. I'm not sure how well that will translate to the big league level THIS year
Posted by vtadave at 5/13/2008 4:35:00 PM
Best .500 team in baseball has to be the Indians - Sabathia, Carmona, Lee, Byrd, Westbrook when he returns. Offense has been pretty brutal though.
Posted by vtadave at 5/13/2008 5:40:00 PM
Of course Cueto hasn't helped in ERA so far, but when looking at his peripherals, it suggests that should start decreasing in a big way and rather soon...Yes that was Gary Cole, and I agree, he's great. Good point about Bruce's lack of plate discipline, and I would expect him to probably be a BA drain, but he should be a help in HRs/SBs immediately...I'd take the Yankees over the Indians, but those injuries have been a problem.
Posted by Dalton Del Don at 5/13/2008 6:25:00 PM
DDD, You may be right about Cueto. But, while he has loads of talent, I think he still gets his feathers ruffled under stress. He still has difficulty with the big inning. But, as the maturation process continues, he should be gem for patient fantasy owners, including ERA and WHIP. He is sure fun to watch pitch. A lot of young talent out this year, including Scherzer, Volquez, and Kershaw (hopefully soon).
Posted by jhermann at 5/13/2008 6:41:00 PM
Cueto isn't a top 30 pitcher if he can't stay in the majors. I question how long the Reds will keep him up if he keeps struggling. He has risen pretty fast and it might help him to slow down a bit.
Posted by MPStopa at 5/13/2008 6:44:00 PM
3D any updated thoughts on Daniel Cabrera, you liked him at the beginning of the year, then tanked on him, where are you at on him now? Can some of us now admit we might have jumped to conclusions regarding the Milledge/Schneider & Church trade? (I don't remember where you were on this one 3D) Stopa I don't see the Reds sending Cueto down, as Dalton said, the Reds playing for the future.
Posted by kevinccp at 5/13/2008 7:01:00 PM
Without having the details of his extended stats, doesn't Bedard do this every year? He seems to always start slow and then get it going big time once June rolls around.
Posted by nayfel at 5/13/2008 7:28:00 PM
kevin, right and if you are playing for the future, why do you let a young stud let the crap get beat out of him every fifth day? There's at least an argument to be made that it would help him mentally to gain confidence in AAA.
Posted by MPStopa at 5/13/2008 8:07:00 PM
jhermann - That's a good point about Cueto getting worked up and letting the pressure get to him. I agree, he has had that problem so far.
Posted by Dalton Del Don at 5/13/2008 11:29:00 PM
Kevin - I actually picked up D. Cabrera in RW Staff league 2 a couple weeks back. Admittedly, I've been very back and forth on the guy. The improved control is encouraging, but his K rate is far too low for someone with his stuff, and the .226 BABIP means he's likely doing it with smoke and mirrors. The guy has big time potential, but I'm not buying yet...I thought it was a bad trade at the time for the Mets. Obviously, that assumption looks incorrect right now, and I championed Church as a great end-game option in fantasy leagues this year (got him in LABR and staff league 1), but he does sport a .379 BABIP, and Milledge is still just 23 years old with a ton of talent. That said, the Mets are playing to win now, and Church is currently the better player, so I am personally willing to reexamine the winner/loser ramifications of that deal.
Posted by Dalton Del Don at 5/13/2008 11:38:00 PM
nayfel - It's not necessarily beginning or end, but you are absolutely right in the fact that Bedard typically has 1 or 2 horrible months per season, mixed in with ridiculously good ones. Not sure that's going to happen again this year, but still, it's worth noting.
Posted by Dalton Del Don at 5/13/2008 11:42:00 PM
Stopa - I see your point in sending him down to build up confidence, but I would be surprised if Cincy went that route. Then again, a few more stink bombs, it might be an option.
Posted by Dalton Del Don at 5/13/2008 11:43:00 PM
I'm pretty sure last year Bedard's cosmetic stats lagged his excellent peripherals. This year, his peripherals aren't nearly as good. But I'm too lazy to look up his month to month peripheral splits from last year.
Posted by cliss at 5/13/2008 11:53:00 PM
Bedard turned it on last year after he was left off the all star team. Whether the two were related is up for debate, but he dominated from late June through July (AL pitcher of the month) and into early August.

And yes, he's sullen and introverted around the press. The media here in Baltimore disliked him, so it doesn't surprise me to hear that the same is true in Seattle.
Posted by iceguy at 5/14/2008 7:01:00 AM
Hey DDD-how about an entry at some point that combines the Cueto issue (are there MLB starters who could benefit from a few regular turns at AAA?) versus AAA/AA pitching prospects who need to make an impression at the next level this year. Who are next year's Cueto and Volques? etc. As for Cueto, I have to think he's secure and that next year's rotation with the addition of Bailey looks solid until Dusty leaves them in for 160 pitches in three games out of four.
Posted by SaltLakeCityBuzz at 5/14/2008 7:22:00 AM
I listened to the same XM broadcast. The man does love to drop the F-Bomb.
Posted by roondawg at 5/14/2008 7:47:00 AM
I listen to "The Beat" all the time and I just missed that segment last Friday. I wish I could hear it. Sounds like that is one bitter dude.

Actually, that is pretty prevalent out there...the old school writers resent the modern day bloggers. Their argument is that bloggers have not paid their dues and that they are not accountable for irresponsible journalism.

I disagree. It is not the bloggers fault that the rules are different in the internet world we live in today and that there are no "dues" to be paid anymore. As far as not being held accountable, I am sure if 3D or any blogger who put out crappy information that there would be consequences, i.e. no readers. It is like anything else, a business, a relationship, or build your trust from scratch and and it will grow as your quality of work continues.
Posted by skinsnut at 5/14/2008 8:31:00 AM
You couldn't pay me enough to go to a movie premiere, especially to a comedy premiere (where there's no Rosebud Affect). That's just me.

Trip-D, where is Clifford Lee on your rest-of-season SP cheat sheet?
Posted by spianow at 5/14/2008 9:29:00 AM
Just another ho-hum day for J. Bruce today. So far thru 7 innings. 3 for 3, only a single shy of the cycle, two walks, and 3 RBI's.
Posted by muttcope at 5/14/2008 10:38:00 AM
Would you drop Adam Jones to pick up Jay Bruce in a shallow 12-team mixed league? How do you think their stats will compare the rest of the way? Where would you rank Chase Headley compared to these two? Any other minor league hitters comparable?
Posted by hainesbl at 5/14/2008 10:59:00 AM
Hainesbl, if Jones was on my bench, and I could stash Bruce there instead (without having to worry about putting Bruce in the starting lineup any time soon), then yes. But if Jones is a starter, and you'd have to put Bruce into the starting lineup, then no.
Posted by MPStopa at 5/14/2008 12:00:00 PM
SaltLakeCityBuzz - Good idea. I'll try to come up with something on that topic

Skinsnut - Couldn't have said it better myself.
Posted by Dalton Del Don at 5/14/2008 2:45:00 PM
Pianow - While I agree large crowds can be annoying, and for the most part I avoid them, I think in the case of comedies it's better. Half the fun is hearing others' reactions.

I was just out the door, so I didn't do proper examination with this, but I really think Lee should be considered a top-15 guy right now. Maybe even top-10, since there are so many shaky options that we assumed would be top notch. 10-13ish?
Posted by Dalton Del Don at 5/14/2008 2:50:00 PM
hainsebl - I totally agree with Stopa's assessment. I'd rank Headley behind them both long-term, mainly b/c of the lack of SBs and Petco Park. Keep your eye on Andrew McCutchen.
Posted by Dalton Del Don at 5/14/2008 2:51:00 PM
I'm with Pianow -- off peak is the way to go. I recently saw that Sarah Marshall movie at 11:30 a.m. on a Friday. First of all, it cost only $5, and there were only three other people in the theater. It was like I was in my own house, only I had the world's largest TV. It was great. Unfortunately, the movie was a letdown. If you haven't seen it, wait for HBO.
Posted by Jason Thornbury at 5/14/2008 3:00:00 PM
I know it's immature, but check out Vicky Cristina Barcelona. I think it's a chick flick but Scarlet Johansson and Penelope Cruz make out.
Posted by kevinccp at 5/14/2008 6:36:00 PM
kevin, I must be immature too.
Posted by MPStopa at 5/14/2008 7:18:00 PM
Here's a name I've read as a BUY LOW in many places.... Ian Snell

For those thinking about buying Ian Snell thinking he's in for a great second half or something...


He flat out stinks... I've watched at least 25 starts of his in a row and he's got NOTHING. He has a high BABIP because they are hitting the CRAP out of the ball because he's just setting it up on a tee for them.

He's basically morphed into a worse version of Zach Duke. He cannot strike batters out and he gives up hit after hit after hit.

You heard it here first

He is DONE

period. Sell Sell Sell
Posted by billgoofnow at 5/15/2008 11:20:00 AM

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