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MLB Notes
Posted by Dalton Del Don at 5/22/2008 3:24:00 PM
View more posts by this author

 

Other than players who rack up steals, is there anyone with a bigger disconnect between real life value and fantasy value than Carlos Lee? Donít get me wrong, heís an asset to the Astros, but when you combine his poor defense with his career .840 OPS, his real life value falls well short of his status in the fantasy community. The guy has never had even a .370 OBP or a .550 slugging percentage in any season during his career.

Jack Cust is about the streakiest hitter in major league baseball, so hopefully his recent two-homer game is a sign of big things to come. And speaking of discrepancies, his .254 batting average and .426 on-base percentage is pretty remarkable. Heís produced one of the gameís three true outcomes in a ridiculous 53 percent of his plate appearances in 2008.

You know how everyone refers to the National League as the ďminorsĒ and so inferior to the AL? Well, an interesting thing is happening. The top-9 leaders in OPS this season all play in the Senior Circuit. Additionally, the Cubs lead all of baseball in runs scored.

Josh Hamilton is on pace to finish the season with 40 homers and 175 RBI. Only health can stop him from being a clear-cut first round pick in fantasy leagues next year. The Edinson Volquez for Hamilton trade has turned out to be an absolute blockbuster.

I donít understand the apparent confusion among the media regarding Joba Chamberlain this season. The plan was crystal clear from the very beginning - pitch in relief the first two months, get stretched out and move into the starting rotation for the second half of the season. Obviously, heís most valuable as a starter, and limiting him to 150-160 innings this season was the right way to go after throwing around 120 last year. That way, it wonít be such an extreme jump to 200-220 when he starts the season in that role in 2009. And I donít care how poor the rest of New Yorkís bullpen is; theyíll have a much easier time trading for a setup man than a dominant starter.

If you havenít seen the TV show ďStrangers With Candy,Ē go rent the DVDs. There isnít a more underrated comedy.

Anyone who just turned 22 years old last month canít be expected to be an immediate star, but Billy Butlerís utter lack of power is a little disappointing. Heís shown improved plate discipline, but a .348 slugging percentage isnít going to cut it. He now sports a .594 OPS during 119 career at-bats versus right-handers. Still, heís going to be a good one. Eventually.

Pretty scary play when Albert Pujolsí liner hit Chris Young right on the beak Wednesday night, changing his jersey color to red in the process. If heís not 6-10, the ball is in center field.

Anyone still holding out hope Joe Mauer starts developing more power hasnít watched his approach at the plate this season. Iíd be shocked if he hit more than 10 homers. Such a shame.

I donít get why everyone views Willie Parker as a better fantasy property than Rashard Mendenhall in 2008. Parker averaged 4.1 YPC last year, doesnít catch the ball and is coming off a fractured fibula. Mendenhall, meanwhile, is already both the superior blocker and option at the goal line. Parker may very well still see the majority of carries between the 20s, but Pittsburgh had more than 500 rushing attempts last year, so thereís plenty to go around. Mendenhall seems like a no-brainer to me.

Have you ever met anyone who was actually against instant replay in baseball? I certainly havenít.

For Austin Kearnsí sake, letís hope his elbow has been bothering him all season and has been a big contributor to his pathetic .267 slugging percentage. Hopefully, he can return in a month and resemble an average player, but Iím not holding my breath. The Nationals outfielders are batting a combined .200 with six homers on the year, putting them on pace to finish as the worst unit in the history of major league baseball.

Itís ironic that the two players who have played in the second most games this year are Bobby Crosby and Troy Glaus.


Comments....

Dalton, I readily admit that I'm a stats junkie and don't actually watch much baseball. What do you mean when you refer to Mauer's approach at the plate? I think the box scores (zero HRs) tell the story, but what is his approach telling you?

Instant replay on home run calls should be required immediately. Why even wait til next year?
Posted by MPStopa at 5/22/2008 5:09:00 PM
 
Interesting you mention the fact that the top nine players in OPS are in the NL. Jonah Keri talked to Chris Liss earlier this week (I don't think you were on that show like you usually are).

He was citing how the home run/fly ball rates are down in the AL the past year or so but this is not the case in the NL. Chris asked him about the drop in power and instead of throwing out the easy theory, steroids, he suggested something might be up with the baseball.

Might be a little far fetched but I found it to be interesting. To this day, I believe the ball had more to do with the home run frenzy of the late '90's than steroids. Everything about the 1998 "magical" season was so manufactured that even then I wasn't buying.

Anyway, not sure what the motivation would be to wind down the ball in the AL but the numbers Jonah stated were pretty remarkable.
Posted by skinsnut at 5/22/2008 5:12:00 PM
 
Hamilton for Volquez...in 30 years will people still be talking about this trade of two Hall of Famers? Or are they just going to be pretty good for a few years and that's it.?

My wife is against instant replay. She's not even a baseball traditionalist. She just heard the wonks talking about it today and said, "why can't the umpire just call it the way he sees it?" Love her.

Then again, she also thinks Albert Pujols should be charged with assault on Chris Young.
Posted by kennruby at 5/22/2008 7:13:00 PM
 
3D, in one of my leagues I was offered Webb and Polanco for Hanley Ramirez. My pitching has half the points of my hitting, any thoughts (and Chris Young went down for me last night)? There's a good article about Josh Hamilton in Maxim, as well as some nice pics of Elisha Cuthbert. Your argument about Mendenhall also bodes well for Big Ben's numbers this year. Can Rajon Rondo and the supportng cast hit a jumpshot, just every once in awhile? This is the NBA not college. Outside of the big 3, the rest of Boston's team was 6-21, and it wasn't like the Pistons were focused in on stopping those players.
Posted by kevinccp at 5/22/2008 10:36:00 PM
 
MPStopa - Mauer basically tries to go the other away every at-bat. He's realized who he's best at as a hitter, and that's singles to the opposite field. He rarely tries to pull the ball. He even bunts when it benefits the team, which isn't exactly what people imagined when he was the No. 1 overall pick. Don't get me wrong, his OBP is terrific for a catcher, and Minny was 100 percent right taking him over Prior, but that doesn't mean he's still not a disappointment.
Posted by Dalton Del Don at 5/22/2008 11:13:00 PM
 
skinsnut - I might be wrong, but I think that convo. was with Joe Sheehan. Anyway, it is interesting what's going on with the AL vs. the NL, and I have no idea or answer as to why.
Posted by Dalton Del Don at 5/22/2008 11:16:00 PM
 
Kenn - I won't go as crazy as calling guys that young future HOFers, but Hamilton has the talent to get there, that's for absolute sure.
Posted by Dalton Del Don at 5/22/2008 11:17:00 PM
 
Kevin - I'll have to check out that Maxim. And not for the Hamilton article...I wouldn't do that deal - it's not a bad offer. Webb can legitimately be called the best pitcher in baseball right now, and I understand team needs are important, but for Hanley, I think you need more. He's the No. 1 fantasy property...Put a fork in the Celtics, they're done.
Posted by Dalton Del Don at 5/22/2008 11:20:00 PM
 
Kevin, in the staff league, I offered Crawford and Shields for Hanley...and the other owner turned it down. I think that's a good representation of what two RW writers think of Hanley's value.
Posted by MPStopa at 5/23/2008 5:11:00 AM
 
Dalton and Mark, thanks that's the way I was leaning, I think I just needed to hear it.
Posted by kevinccp at 5/23/2008 7:41:00 AM
 
let's all remember that Josh Hamilton IS 27 years old already. There can't be many HOF careers that (essentially) started at age 26.
Posted by djbrown at 5/23/2008 8:59:00 AM
 
Just for clarification, I don't think Hamilton is going to have a Hall of Fame career. I was only saying it in the sense of two youngish players traded for each other before either achieved stardom. If they both become multiple All Stars, someday people will really look back at this trade as one of the biggest trades of this era.

Then again, I expect the Mets-Twins trade to look similar someday, as the Twins got plenty of future firepower for future Hall of Famer Santana.
Posted by kennruby at 5/23/2008 9:22:00 AM
 
I think the mets may actually look back and regret that trade...

Johan is not Johan anymore.

His velocity is down, his K/9 is down, his hit rate is UP -- pitches he used to throw that would baffle hitters and strike them out are now fouled off to increase his pitch count.

He's a good pitcher don't get me wrong, but I would argue he is not top 7 or 8 in the national leaague right now and that's saying something considering he was considered universally to be the top pitcher in all of baseball coming into 2008.

Posted by billgoofnow at 5/23/2008 9:54:00 AM
 
true, billgoofnow. Who would have thought that Gomez would be this good already.
Posted by MPStopa at 5/23/2008 4:44:00 PM
 
Billgoofnow makes a good point - Santana hasn't looked right all season. I know he's a "second half pitcher", but the lack of K's concerns me. If he had 10 or 11 k/9 and was just giving up HR's, that would be one thing, but he struck out 1 batter yesterday and gave up 12 hits!! Those are Greg Maddux numbers.

I'm getting a little worried and what probably trade him if someone offered close to pre-season fair value for him.
Posted by obzen at 5/23/2008 4:53:00 PM
 
12 hits with just 1 strikeout was crazy. And this after he posted a 4.94 ERA last September. However, he allows so few baserunners he's still pretty awesome.
Posted by Dalton Del Don at 5/23/2008 6:43:00 PM
 
Some more numbers to ponder on Johan that back up my concern about his standing as a top 10 pitcher right now. These numbers will look at his last 42 starts - his first 21 of 2007 and his final 11 of 2007 combined with his first 10 of 2008:

In 2007, in his first 21 starts, Johan Santana gave up 7 hits or more 5 times (7, 7, 7, 8, 7) and gave up 4 hits or fewer 7 times (4, 4, 4, 4, 4, 4, 1)

In his last 21 starts 2007/2008, Johan Santana has given up 7 hits or more 11 times (his last three starts by the way... 12, 7, 10, and 8 others: 7, 7, 8, 10, 8, 7, 8, 7) and has given up 4 hits or fewer 6 times (2, 4, 3, 2, 2, 4)

In 2008, in his first 21 starts, Johan Santana struck out 8 or more batters 7 times. (8, 8, 9, 13, 11, 10, 9)

In his last 21 starts 2007/2008, Johan Santana has struck out 8 or more batters 8 times (3 this year 5 last year) (8, 10, 8, 11, 10, 17, 8, 12)

In 2007, in his first 21 starts, Johan Santana struck out fever than 5 batters in a game only TWICE (1, 4)

In his last 21 starts 2007/2008, Johan Santana has struck out fewer than 5 batters in a game EIGHT times (3 this year 5 last year) (1, 4, 3, 4, 3, 2, 4, 4)

I think what these numbers show is that he's still got great stuff (notice how the 8+ K's and 4 hits or fewer are pretty much identical for both sets of 21 starts) but he's got less of an "edge" on the league all the sudden - he's lost something as the other numbers show (fewer than 5 K games has spiked from 2 to 8 and more than 7 hits has DOUBLED from 5 to 11 games out of 21)

Like I said, he's still a good pitcher - but I'm starting to feel bad about the fact that I paid HEAVILY in my auction to make him my "anchor" in my NL only league because he's starting to remind me a whole heck of a lot of Jake Peavy, 2006 who cost me a title that year.

through 10 starts in 2006, Jake Peavy's #s: 64 1/3 IP 55 hits 15 walks (1.10 WHIP)66K 3.64 ERA

through 10 starts in 2008, Johan Santana's #s: 67 IP 64 hits 15 walks (1.18 WHIP) 58K 3.36 ERA

Jake Peavy's final ERA in 2006: 4.09..... GOO

Posted by billgoofnow at 5/23/2008 8:02:00 PM
 
Despite all this, by the way, I'm still not trading Johan unless I get a GREAT offer - but I think what we'll see come October is a LOT of 2nd place fantasy baseball teams that have Johan Santana on them.
Posted by billgoofnow at 5/23/2008 8:10:00 PM
 
Good stuff.
Posted by Dalton Del Don at 5/23/2008 8:44:00 PM
 
Regarding Carlos Gomez - I don't think that he is that good just yet. Check out the BB:K - it's pretty scarily bad. There's a reasonably good chance that his BA tanks. He's very good defensively, but offensively he's a much better roto player than real life player.
Posted by Erickson at 5/23/2008 10:50:00 PM
 

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