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Let's Talk Baseball
Posted by Mark Stopa at 5/20/2008 3:02:00 PM
View more posts by this author


More random baseball thoughts...

Nobody is talking about Doug Brocail. Let me change that. Brocail picked up a save recently when Valverde was unavailable and is clearly next in line to close for Houston. And when you say "so what," remember that last year was the first time that Valverde went an entire season without significant injury issues. Other middle relievers (such as Broxton, Bell, and Pena) get more hype, and may help more in the other stats, but strictly for saves purposes, Brocail might be a better speculative pick. He should clearly be rostered before seventh-inning guys like Rafael Perez, Jensen Lewis, Aaron Heilman, and Chad Qualls.

The news on Peavy is bad, but I wouldn't over-react. He went on the DL for six weeks in May of 2004 with an arm injury and finished the year quite well. If you can get a disappointed or impatient owner to trade him to you for a SP outside of the top 30 or so (think Dustin McGowan, Jered Weaver, Micah Owings, Jonathan Sanchez, etc.), then I'd pounce. It's a risk, but I'd make the leap for that price, especially if you can stash him on DL and pick up a free agent while he's out.

Lance Berkman is the definition of "sell high." It's possible he could be having a career year, but at his age I doubt it. If you can get a superstar for him (Wright, Braun, Holliday, ARod, etc.), do so. Fast.

Did anybody notice that Manny Corpas pitched a scoreless ninth inning the other day (with the Rockies ahead by four)? Fuentes is still the closer, but he's a free agent to be, and with each Rockies' loss, it becomes more and more likely that Fuentes gets traded and Corpas regains his closing role. Taylor Buchholz is next in line if Corpas can't right the ship.

The time to buy low on Prince Fielder and Ryan Howard is about to end. These guys were second-round picks for a reason. (And no, I don't buy the rationale that Fielder is not hitting HRs because he's now a vegetarian. Eating cheeseburgers at McDonalds does not help you hit HRs and I dare anyone to prove otherwise.)

If the Spurs win the title this year, how high is Duncan on the list of the all-time NBA greats? Top 20? Top 10? That would clearly cement him as the best post-Jordan, I'd think, if he's not there already.

I used to think Ryan Zimmerman was going to become a .300, 30-35 HR, 120 RBI guy. Now? Not so sure. He's still young, but he has to start improving his plate discipline if he wants to be more than a 25 HR, 90 RBI guy who hits .260.

If I were drafting today, I'd take Brandon Webb before John Santana. With his consistency, and that 'Zona offense supporting him, 20 wins seems a given; 25 (or more?) even seems possible.

Mike Napoli has 10 HR. Geovany Soto has nine. Victor Martinez and Joe Mauer have zero. If you can get Soto for Martinez or Mauer, straight up, I'd do it.

How valuable is Hanley Ramirez? I offered Carl Crawford and James Shields in the staff league, and he turned it down. Then I looked at my roster to see what else I could add (before ultimately deciding to stay put).

Player A: .327 AVG, 9 HR, 34 RBI, 30 runs

Player B: .299 AVG, 8 HR, 34 RBI, 21 runs

Player B is Justin Morneau.

Player A?

Kevin Youkilis. Playing every day for Bouston, I don't see why Youkilis won't finish with stats similar to those of Morneau (for a fraction of the price).

Brandon Phillips is going to go 30/30 again, and this year, with his improving plate discipline, he might challenge .300, too. My pre-season debate with spianow about whether Robinson Cano was more valuable is now looking rather silly.

I'd sell high on Edinson Volquez, at least in non-keeper leagues. His pitch counts have been very high (thanks, Dusty) and his K:BB rate is only 2:1. The rookie struggles are going to happen, just like they are now for his teammate, Johnny Cueto.

Fausto Carmona might be one of those guys who defies the typical logic. He K:BB rate is terrible but that may not matter when you get as many ground balls as he does. I don't think he's a sell high or a buy low - I think he will keep doing what he's been doing.


Lance Berkman is definition of sell high? Since when did he become Nate McLouth? Berkman is an elite hitter and should be treated as such. You apparently need to look at the back of his baseball card. He won't sustain this pace but the guy is having his career year at age 32. Not that crazy.
Posted by skinsnut at 5/20/2008 3:19:00 PM
Berkman has 8 steals; his career high is 9. He's hitting .389; he hasn't hit above .316 since 2002. I'm not denying he's a really good player; I just think if you can get a David Wright, ARod or a similar, first-round talent that you have to do it.
Posted by MPStopa at 5/20/2008 3:25:00 PM
I see what you are saying. I have Berkman and I would probably take Wright for him right now. I just wouldn't be nearly as fast to the trigger as you suggest. I think Berkman gives you first round value the rest of the way.

I did a quick peek at some career years by some great players of the past. I simply used their highest OPS and stayed away from the steroid era. Ricky Henderson and Mike Schmidt were 31. Willie Mays was 34. Hank Aaron was 37!! And this was from just scanning a few names from

Speaking of Volquez and pitch counts, did you see Lester's total last night? If we are all so obsessed over counting pitches then why was he allowed to throw 130?? And this from a young pitcher who is particularly babied in today's game. I guess it is not that dangerous if the pitcher has a no hitter going. I can't help but roll my eyes at this.
Posted by skinsnut at 5/20/2008 3:47:00 PM
I agree that Duncan definitely rates in the top 10 to 20 greatest NBA players. But, I go a step further: Duncan is the greatest power forward to ever play in the NBA. It sure isn't the mailman. Even with the admiral, the Spurs did not win it all until the arrival of Duncan. After two championships, Robinson retires. And, Duncan wins two more. He still has a supporting cast of Parker and Ginobli, which is impressive. And, Duncan's defense is outstanding, which too frequently gets overlooked.
I agree about Berkman being a sell high candidate. But, what about Hamilton, Quentin, and Church? Do you think they fall under the same category? How about Chipper? Maybe not to the same degree. I also agree that Webb is the most valuable SP, but that is an easy one. Santana is impressive, but he needs to learn how to stop giving up the long ball. Thanks for your insightful comments.
Posted by jhermann at 5/20/2008 4:07:00 PM
yeah, I may have overstated it. But I'm glad you see my point at least.

Pitch counts usually go out the window for perfect games or no-hitters. AJ Burnett threw 129 pitches in his 9-walk no-hitter. RJ threw 138. Wilson Alvarez threw 128.
Posted by MPStopa at 5/20/2008 4:14:00 PM
jhermann, Oh, Duncan's definitely the best PF ever. No argument there. I think the more interesting question is where he fits on the top overall scale.

As for MLB sell-highs, I suppose it all depends on what you get in return. Chipper, I'd sell high. The DL stint is coming at some point; it always does with him. If an impatient owner wants to give up on Miguel Cabrera, for instance, I'd give up Chipper in an instant - I'd probably add a fringe starter, too. Hamilton won't keep up his RBI pace; it's simply not possible. But he's a legit. top 10 OF. I think Church is a sell-high, as it's rare for 29 year olds with little track record to suddenly break out to the extent that he is. I'd trade him for Chris Young, Rios, Maggs, and several other top 25-30 OF.
Posted by MPStopa at 5/20/2008 4:23:00 PM

How about Quentin? ... Maybe I am afraid to tackle the issue, but I think it is always difficult to rate players in different positions, especially when you take into consideration different eras. Yes, Jordan probably is the best, but arguments can even be made against that position. I think this goes for virtually every sport: in football, who is the best RB of all time? J. Brown, Payton, Simpson, Dickerson, or LT (and, I am sure a forgot more than a few). Old school would argue Brown, he played less years, never missed a game, and did not have RBBC. I think it is too difficult of a task, but it is sure fun to argue over a beer, or two, or three.
Posted by jhermann at 5/20/2008 4:35:00 PM
So teams are willing to risk injury to one of their best pitchers so he can accomplish an individual feat? A no-hitter does not bring a team anything more in the standings than one win.

Now, I have no problem with Lester tossing 130 pitches as long as he wasn't over tired or anything. You know, the practice that was used for about a hundred years which happened to actually lead to fewer injuries. Then again, I think counting pitches is a joke anyway. I am talking about the hypocrites who preach about pitch counts.
Posted by skinsnut at 5/20/2008 4:46:00 PM
jhermann, I think Quentin is about the 25th best OF. I don't think he can keep up his HR or RBI pace, but he was a legit prospect and posted some good seasons in the minors. I'd definitely prefer him to Church, another guy you asked about, since Quentin is far younger and has more of a minor league track record.
Posted by MPStopa at 5/20/2008 4:49:00 PM
Yeah, I like Quentin better too. But, one thing going against Quentin is that he doesn't hit in a talented line-up, at least compared to the Mets. Chruch numbers are more likely to be inflated when you have Reyes, Wright, Beltran, and Alou. Unfortunately, Delgado has not been much of a threat. As always, I appreciate the input.
Posted by jhermann at 5/20/2008 4:54:00 PM
How about Chipper for Oswalt?
Posted by 25 ALIVE at 5/20/2008 6:57:00 PM
Mark I agree with everything except one. I'd take Santana over Webb from here on out. According to past stats Webb has nowhere to go but down, and Santana up. I'm pretty sure Santana gets stronger as the year goes on also. Your dead on about Berkman, they will start pitching around him, he'll hit a slump, get hurt, etc. Again, he'll put up good numbers, but right now I'll take Holliday over him all day. Makes me think I should see about joining another league now, I've never done a draft this far into the season...
Posted by kevinccp at 5/20/2008 7:47:00 PM
Wow. This must be a different Lance Berkman than the one that I have watched play the last 10 years.

Again, Berkman is a proven stud and elite hitter. How this make him Mr. Sell High I have no idea. And since when is he injury prone?

Please don't confuse Berkman with Ryan Ludwick. It is insulting.
Posted by skinsnut at 5/20/2008 8:31:00 PM
Chipper over Oswalt.

Kevin, I'm a little concerned about Santana's K rate. It's a little down compared to previous years, even though he's in the NL (and theoretically should have more Ks since he's facing pitchers).
Posted by MPStopa at 5/21/2008 5:18:00 AM
I'll take Santana over Webb. Johan has a career ERA over 4 before June 1, and a 2.86 ERA after. His K rate is down a little this year (less than 1 K/9), but his K/BB is right on his career average. I don't see any reason to think he'll be much better or worse than he's been in past summers.

Webb on the other hand, shows no such improvement as the year goes on. He's a pitcher with a career 3.19 ERA, and that's about what he does over the last 4 months of the year.
Posted by iceguy at 5/21/2008 10:28:00 AM
Never said Berkman was injury prone, but something will happen, he won't stay this hot. I'd take Matt Holliday over him for the rest of the year in a heartbeat.
Posted by kevinccp at 5/21/2008 11:43:00 AM

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