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MLB Notes
Posted by Dalton Del Don at 5/20/2008 7:13:00 PM
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Ryan Howard is on pace to strike out a shocking 234 times this season, which would shatter the MLB-record he already holds. Heís still an excellent buy-low option, as his current .231 BABIP is well below his career level (.353). And as for real baseball, strikeouts are often overstated in how much worse they are than any other out.

Speaking of strikeouts, Mark Reynolds is batting just .212/.305/.231 during 52 at-bats in May. He hasnít homered since April 25. Heís still likely established himself as the teamís No. 1 option at third base for the most part, but heís picked a bad time to slump with Chad Tracyís imminent return. That situation could easily turn into a timeshare. And fast.

Where has Alex Riosí power gone? The nine steals are plenty helpful in fantasy leagues, but he hasnít left the yard since May 1, leaving him on pace to finish the season with just 10 long balls. At age 27, Rios should be entering his physical prime, but a .376 slugging percentage wonít get it done. When you consider he slugged just .369 last September and hit only four home runs over his final 245 at-bats last season, thereís at least some cause for concern. And to think, the Giants actually entertained dealing Tim Lincecum for him.

If only for the sake of my LABR team, can someone please give Dallas McPherson a chance? He strikes out too much to be a big on-base guy, but his power is legit. A recent three-homer game has left him with a season line of .297/.396/.659 with 15 bombs in just 138 Triple-A at-bats. Admittedly, heís playing in a terrific environment for hitters, but I find it hard to believe a 27-year-old left-handed hitting third baseman with this kind of power canít help a major league team. Iím talking to you, Sabean.

Has there ever been a clearer example of addition by subtraction regarding Andruw Jonesí injury?

Since I had Spurs over Celtics as my preseason NBA Finals prediction, I might as well stay the course with the Conference Finals. Still, I wouldnít be surprised if either team lost. And how about the Bulls getting the No. 1 pick in the draft? Who do they take there? This makes Mike DíAntoniís foolish decision to coach the Knicks instead of the Bulls look even worse. That is, until LeBron goes to NY in a couple of years.

Iím completely unconcerned with Miguel Cabreraís lackluster start at the plate. Some are worried heíll become too complacent after signing a long-term deal, but a new set of pitchers in the American League probably has more to do with the slow start. His current .303 BABIP is well below his career level (.358). He needs to be treated like a top-8 player during trade talks.

Farewell Mike Piazza. Your 1997 season - .362, 40 HRs, 124 RBI, 104 runs, 5 SBs Ė has to be considered one of the most valuable in the history of fantasy baseball.

It might be obvious, but Clint Barmes is someone to sell-high right now. Thereís plenty to talk up Ė his extremely hot start, Coors Field, his 2005 season. However, this is someone with a career .753 OPS in the minors and has been caught stealing on 50 of his 147 attempts. Hitting atop the Rockiesí lineup in that ballpark might lead to a solid middle infielder all year long, but with a .386 BABIP, itís safe to assume his value is peaking.

Free Andy LaRoche! I think his current .300/.506/.560 line at Triple-A proves heís sufficiently recovered from the fluke thumb injury he suffered during spring training. Problem is, Blake DeWitt is playing out of his head. In the end, itís a good problem for the Dodgers to have, but at some point, LaRoche needs to get a chance in Los Angeles.


Stay the course? 3D-you have with your Giants themed laden blog, lol. I'm glad you're not worried about Cabrera. Do you wonder about Piazza and PEDs (performance enhancing, you get the point)? It would explain a lot of his injuries. Sometime I'm going to start a BABIP argument, I'm not a huge believer in the stat DEPENDING on who you're talking about. I think it's been discussed about guys like Wade Boggs, Ichiro who probably fall into a "unique" category. I think Barmes could be OK, I wouldn't have him on my team to steal bases, but he's serviceable at this point. Non sports point-I was told to rent a movie by a good critic called "Lars and the real girl". Anyone seen it? Great blog as always Dalton.
Posted by kevinccp at 5/20/2008 7:59:00 PM
Who's better to own, given Gagne's "injury"? Torres or Mota?
Posted by kevinccp at 5/20/2008 8:03:00 PM
oh geez.... did anyone just see the collision between Escobar and Church at 2b on the game ending DP?

Escobar had to be helped off the field after his knee slammed into Ryan Church's head as he jumped over him to turn a DP (which I'm very unhappy about as a side note with Escobar as my SS) and Church must have been knocked out on contact and landed face first on the ground without any ability to slow the impact.

Yipes.... hopefully Church is OK because he had his bell rung BIG time...
Posted by billgoofnow at 5/20/2008 8:14:00 PM
Regarding PEDs, you're talking to a huge Barry Bonds fan, so I'm good at turning a blind eye...I have a friend whom I get in heated arguments with over BABIP. The best way to use it, at least in my eyes, is to compare a small sample size (this season) with someone's career numbers. I think that can be very helpful, regardless of how much you truly believe in the stat...I haven't seen "Lars and the real girl" but it's on my netflix queue. Let me know how it is. I actually think Ryan Gosling is good. "Half Nelson" was a great movie.
Posted by Dalton Del Don at 5/20/2008 8:16:00 PM
It's a coin flip, but I guess Mota if forced to choose. Better K guy.
Posted by Dalton Del Don at 5/20/2008 8:18:00 PM
Not cool at all hearing about that collision. I have both of those guys in multiple leagues. I didn't see it, but that sounds bad.
Posted by Dalton Del Don at 5/20/2008 8:19:00 PM
You have to worry about concussion syndrome for Church - that's his second serious head knock of 2008... he was clearly unconscious for a sec right after impact, which is never good.

Yunel, I have to think it's just a MASSIVE bruise - I hit my knee on the coffee table the other day and needed to be helped out of the living room by my three year old - so I could see him needing help off the field after getting hit so hard by a skull...

I fear a broken kneecap or something like that, but that might just be me being negative. I'm pretty sure there is no hyperextension or anything ligament related with the injury for Escobar.
Posted by billgoofnow at 5/20/2008 8:27:00 PM
Nothing to do with any of the above but can someone tell me why Kuo can't get a start for the Dodgers right about now?

Man, I have both him and Scherzer on the same team and I have never held two long relievers on any fantasy team.
Posted by Evolsdog at 5/20/2008 10:46:00 PM
Funny, I have both Kuo and Scherzer in LABR. Anyway, regarding Kuo, I feel like the best method at keeping him healthy is the role I want him in. I hear you tho, as a pitcher, he's much better than E. Loaiza, C. Park, etc. But with his injury-history and how he's been used this year, he's got a strict pitch count, and he's inefficient, so while part of me would like to see him in the rotation, with his lack of command, he'd only be a 4-5 inning pitcher. The way it's worked recently, he's replaced whatever inferior 5th starter LA throws out there during innings 3-5 and has picked up wins as a result.
Posted by Dalton Del Don at 5/20/2008 11:58:00 PM
Dalton, Rios had a long homerless drought last year, too. I think he's a bit overrated, actually. I compared his stats to Corey Patterson in a recent blog, which is scary since Patterson hasn't even been playing every day.
Posted by MPStopa at 5/21/2008 5:28:00 AM
BABIP is useful in some cases, but I think it gets overused a bit. Howard is hitting .183 so of course he's going to have a low BABIP. Why not just say that he's not going to hit .183 all year long because he's a career .290 hitter? Do we really need to look at BABIP to figure out that Howard isn't going to hit .183 for the rest of the season? A .180 hitter with a .330 BABIP simply doesn't exist. You'll rarely, if ever, find a guy who's hitting 80-90 points below his career average who also hasn't seen a dip in BABIP.

Howard's line drive pct has dropped from 26% in 2007 to 18% in 2008. That's why his average and number of doubles have fallen off this season. He's also seen his contact rate decline from .69 in 2006 to .62 in 2007 to .60 this season. Obviously, he's not going to hit .200 all year, but he's looking more like a .250 hitter with 40 HR than the .313 58 HR guy that he was in his MVP season.
Posted by herbilk at 5/21/2008 6:18:00 AM
Herb - Good points. Line drive percentage is another great stat that's underutilized. I agree Howard is probably a .250-.260 hitter for the most part, but I still think he's a 50-homer guy.
Posted by Dalton Del Don at 5/21/2008 7:26:00 AM
It's kinda funny how Howard and Rollins have MVPs, but everyone knows the best player there is Utley, and it's not even close.
Posted by spianow at 5/21/2008 2:10:00 PM

(Erickson that is)... I heard your show today and finally someone called in to ask about Ian Snell. I heard you suggest that he won't continue to be as bad as he is - but as a Pirates fan who has watched every start he's made in the bigs - I have to disagree with you there.

I have cut ties with Snell in all fantasy formats and while I concede it is indeed conceivable that he could revert to form - my advice would be to leave him off any active roster if possible.

I'm not sure there is a single metric pointing towards an Ian Snell return to form in the near future. He's just a flat out head case and I don't see that changing any time soon.

Over his last 24 starts dating back to last year (and this includes a FANTASTIC September from him...) he has tossed 143 innings, given up an UGLY 170 hits along with 57 walks (1.59 WHIP), and 88 ER (5.54 ERA)... His ERA over those 24 starts is 5.54 and that takes into account a 5 start stretch in September where he had a 1.64 ERA over 33 innings.

Meanwhile, his K:BB ratio over that span is 116:57, so he has managed a 2:1 K:BB ratio, but this year he is at 32:22 and if you take out the one good start he has had in 2008 (10 K against FLA) he is actually at 22 K : 22 B, the dreaded 1:1 ratio.

One might point to his outrageously high BABIP of .353 as a reason he will revert to form. But that ain't luck. He's just PIPING the ball and they are SMOKING it. Based on some of the hard outs I've seen - it should probably be even higher...

He's pitching to contact right now and looks like Zach Duke implosion version 2.0... Duke was unreal for 14 starts in 2005 and then in 2006 it all fell apart and since then he has had a shockingly high HIP (hits per IP) of 1.28.

I think the real question with Snell is which pitcher actually needed to regress to the mean? The one that was awesome in the first half last year or the one that stinks now. I'm afraid the answer is likely that Snell is another mediocre pitcher who will be great for someone else other than the pirates in a few years.
Posted by billgoofnow at 5/21/2008 3:08:00 PM
Dalton - You are right, it was Joe Sheehan. I get Jonah and him mixed up sometimes...probably because I respect both of their opinion a great deal.

Thomas Boswell wrote a column on the declining home run totals today in the Washington Post. The overall theme of the piece was that it is good for the game. I couldn't agree more.
Posted by skinsnut at 5/23/2008 7:17:00 AM
Bill, just saw your note now. I'll admit - I don't know what the hell is going on with Snell. Part of my answer was faith-based, but I just don't see how he turned on the suck switch all the way to the right, unless there's an injury.
Posted by Erickson at 5/26/2008 2:44:00 PM

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