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MLB Notes
Posted by Dalton Del Don at 7/6/2008 5:32:00 PM
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At worst, Grady Sizemore is a top-10 fantasy player and probably top-5. Since April ended, he has 19 home runs. While heís not a big asset in batting average, he can take a walk, and his stolen base success rate has been fantastic (87 percent). Few leadoff/speed guys offer his kind of RBI potential, although poor campaigns from Travis Hafner and Victor Martinez will hurt his otherwise fine runs scored total. Sizemore is going to be baseballís next 40/40 member.

Johnny Cueto has allowed three runs or fewer in nine of his last 10 starts, but because he still lacks command, he rarely pitches deep into games and hasnít been a big help in WHIP. However, thereís reason for optimism, since heís allowed just one homer over his last four outings. Cuetoís K rate remains elite, and his LIPS ERA suggests heís pitching much better than his cosmetic stats indicate. Thereís some concern Cueto could be shut down early with the Reds out of contention, but heís the type of player to gamble on who could help win your league for you over the second half of the season.

I cringed when the Angels gave Torii Hunter a $90 million contract this offseason, and the first year of the deal has only solidified that sentiment. Hunter will turn 33 years old in two weeks, and he sports a career OBP of .324 Ė and thatís not even factoring in his subpar SB rate. His past production was solid for a Gold Glove centerfielder, but this is a player in decline, both in the field and at the plate. Over the last month, heís taken one walk.

Grant Balfour was a terrific prospect back in the day for Minnesota before he was ravaged by injuries, so his 2007 has to be looked at as more real than mirage. He still walks far too many batters, but it doesnít get much better than just six hits allowed over 17.2 innings. Few pitchers can match his velocity, evidenced by his remarkable 14.1 K/9 IP mark.

Manny Ramirez is clearly playing hurt right now. Heís seen his slugging percentage drop from .564 on June 10 all the way down to .495 currently. He has just three extra base hits in what nearly amounts to a month.

I wouldnít exactly be selling my farm system to acquire Matt Holliday if Iím a contending MLB team right now. Donít get me wrong, heís a fine player and might have even deserved the MVP award last season, but the fact he calls Coors Field home cannot be underestimated. He has a career .790 OPS on the road with just 38 homers over 1,173 at-bats. His slugging drops from .660 to .450. Holliday has improved his hitting away from home over the past couple of years, and his current .873 OPS on the road is a career-high, but it hardly screams elite player either. Additionally, heís going to command a huge contract in 2010.

They donít call him Da Meat Hook for nothing. Check out Dmitri Youngís listed weight.

Iím picking up Sean Marshall if available. It looks like he has a chance at sticking in the Cubsí rotation, was excellent during his start Sunday and has a 12:2 K:BB ratio over his last two outings. He posted a 4.2:1 K:BB ratio in Triple-A this season with a 1.01 WHIP. Moreover, he gets the Giants next time out.

How good was the Roger Federer/Rafael Nadal Wimbledon final? Iím not typically a big tennis watcher, but that match was nothing short of fantastic and one of the best Iíve ever seen.

After a solid April but a down May, Nick Markakis has really turned it on. He hit .339 in June with more walks than Ks and also has 15 RBI and 17 runs over the past two weeks. Remember, this is someone who hit .325/.389/.550 with 14 HR/61 RBI after the break last season, and heís improved his OPS by 175 points against lefties this year. Markakis has big potential moving forward. And whatís going on with teammate Aubrey Huff? Heís having one of the bigger surprise seasons of anyone in baseball in 2008.

Help a bald brother out. And stop cancer.

My thoughts on the C.C. Sabathia to Brewers trade? Iím conflicted you see, as it certainly helps my preseason bet I placed on Milwaukee to win the World Series this year (25/1 odds), but also, I blew all my FAAB in NL-LABR, so some team is about to get a whole lot better. Oh, you meant from a fantasy perspective and not selfishly? Sabathia gets a nice bump moving to the NL and there isnít a pitcher Iíd rather own. Also, pick up Matt LaPorta even in mixed medium sized leagues.

Great article on ďThe Freak,Ē AKA Tim Lincecum. I especially liked the part where Lincecumís dad throws Mark Prior under the bus. And apparently Dice-K and Jake Peavy are next. And how is Rick Peterson unemployed right now? But someone needs to tell Tom Verducci (and the general media) win/loss records mean nothing in regards to pitching performance. My favorite part was Lincecumís reasoning for not icing his arm after games: ďNever. Like my dad says, ĎIce is made for two things: injuries and my drinks.í Ē


I just finished reading the Freak article in SI, an interesting article. I sincerely hope that Holliday remains at Coors; I have in every league in which I play. A Holliday trade could really hurt my teams. I wonder if I should consider trading him before the potential trade. Right now, I am staying put... Picked up Granderson early in the season when a disgruntled owner dropped him. Patience does pay off -- at least sometimes. What is the deal with Cabrera and that hip flexor? I have genuine concern regarding his performance this year. And, lastly, you have a fantasy crush on Cueto. I concur that he is talented, but you always praise him as the next coming. Perhaps this is true in keeper leagues, but Cueto still has growing pains. He gives up the big inning too much. DDD, engaging blog -- as always. Unlike my fantasy players, you are consistent.
Posted by jhermann at 7/6/2008 6:02:00 PM
When discussing the next 40/40 guy, you have to mention Hanley and Kinsler, too. Speaking of which, my top five fantasy players, if I were drafting right now: 1. Hanley; 2. ARod; 3. Kinsler; 4. Utley; 5. Sizemore.

Why is nobody talking about Kinsler (besides me and spianow in private emails)? I love Sizemore, but the 2B eligibility gives Kinsler and Utley a small edge over Sizemore, I'd say.

Anyway, good stuff as usual, Dalton.
Posted by MPStopa at 7/6/2008 6:58:00 PM
Great blog as usual DDD :) I definitely thought of you when THE FREAK article showed up in my mailbox hehe

That wimbledon final was riiiiidiculous. It really brought me back to the good ol' days when I was really into tennis growing up. *tear*

Did you just say that you would take Sabathia over any pitcher in the NL ? I can't say I'd agree with that if so :) He should be pretty darn good on the Brewers though - I am going to bid pretty heavy on him in my NL only league. I could see him posting a 3.5 ERA the rest of the way with close to double digit wins.

Just for fun I'm gonna toss our NL-only AL-waiver system out there for y'all to applaud or abuse :)

We have a "posting" system for the AL-waiver in our league. So let's say 3 teams bid on Sabathia. When you are bidding for him, you bid what you are willing to pay him in next year's draft:

Team 1 - $10
Team 2 - $9
Team 3 - $8

Team 1 would be awarded CC Sabathia at a contract of $9, year 1 status - the 2nd place bid.

Team 1 would have to pay an automatic $4.50 POST amount for the rights to Sabathia and would have control of him for the rest of 2008 and beyond if it chooses.

If team 1 protects Sabathia, they pay the remaining $4.50 of the $9 salary heading into the auction draft and he is a year 2 player

If Sabathia gets hurt and is out for the year or, or is so bad he is not worth protecting, or gets signed by an AL team, team 1 is out $4.50 but can release him without paying the remaining amount. We put that in place last year and it spiced things up at the deadline.
Posted by billgoofnow at 7/6/2008 7:32:00 PM

out of curiosity - who did you blow your FAAB on in the LABR NL league?
Posted by billgoofnow at 7/6/2008 8:19:00 PM
I don't like the Brewers deal and I am a brewer honk.....If I can't get CC without dealing Gamel/Laporta I don't friggen do it.....Unless there is a contract agreement that I don't know about I think it sucks ass. LaPorta is going to be a super stud,IMHO I think he will be better than Corey Hart or at worst just as good.....I would of rather rented Rich Harden or Matt Cain for much cheaper....Brewers farm is real deep and real good, can't believe the bit on Laporta. I got them to win the WS along with 3D, so screw it....better get er dun this year so I can tuck away my big fat bottom lip! ! !
Posted by Zenguerrilla at 7/6/2008 8:55:00 PM
jhermann - Def. don't go selling Holliday on trade speculation, but if you can get full value (or very close to) for him, he's someone I'd be willing to let go. Not only is M. Cabrera not quite 100 percent, I'm now convinced more than ever that it takes a hitter some time to get comfortable switching leagues. I still think he's someone to target right now though. Guilty as charged regarding my Cueto crush.
Posted by Dalton Del Don at 7/6/2008 9:31:00 PM
Stopa - I was heaping praise upon Kinsler just a few weeks ago.
Posted by Dalton Del Don at 7/6/2008 9:33:00 PM
billgoofnow - Interesting posting system. After a 2.44 ERA in May and a 1.89 ERA in June, I'd be surprised if Sabathia isn't much better than 3.5 in the NL from here on out.

I spent too much FAAB on replacement players for guys on my DL in NL LABR, but more to the point, there are guys toward the top of the standings who have all $100 left, so it won't end up mattering if I have $80 or $10 left ultimately.
Posted by Dalton Del Don at 7/6/2008 9:45:00 PM
tumanic - Nitpicking here, but Cain isn't a free agent until 2012, so he's not really a rental. That said, I can fully understand a Brewer fan being hesitant with the deal - I'm big on LaPorta as well. Problem is - where were they going to play him? This is a great example of why franchises should draft players based on skill, not positional need - people questioned the LaPorta pick just last year and yet it already netted them one of the game's best pitchers. Still, it would have been nice to get someone long-term, and Mill. better do some serious damage now. I will say this makes a bit more sense realizing Sheets might be gone next year, so going for it now makes some sense. Too bad Gallardo is out for the year.
Posted by Dalton Del Don at 7/6/2008 9:53:00 PM
I'm a pirates fan not a brewers fan so I'm not emotionally invested in the trade and thus its easier for me to take this stance on the trade. When the brewers drafted laporta I said "this guy has nowhere to play... They totally just drafted him hoping he'll be a deadline deal piece in a couple years." laporta does look like he's going to be a great hitter, but if selig had said at the draft two Junes ago: "the brewers have traded their 2006 first pick to the Indians for a pitcher in 2008 who will get them into the playoffs in 2008 and give them the best 1-2 postseason punch since schilling/Johnson" I think you have to be pretty happy with that move

Huge if coming but if sheets can stay healthy the brewers are the team to beat in my opinion...
Posted by billgoofnow at 7/7/2008 4:57:00 AM
I am not against trading LaPorta, I just think it is stupid to deal him for a rent a player for 3 months.....It would be like trading Braun last year this time for Santana....I would much rather deal him for a guy like CAIN who is locked up for a few years and who won't cost 20 mil/yr. The Brewers have to many guys whose contracts are going to be coming up at the same time...Braun is locked up but you sitll have Fielder, Hart, Weeks, Hardy, Gallardo, Sheets.... not to mention other free agents..... who will be up for big paydays very soon....It would make more sense considering the Brewers financial situation that they spread out some of the contrats....Laporta/Gamel are locks IMHO to be very good players.....I understand in todays world it is win now or get fired, so I understand managements point of view....Just think this is lame deal for the future....By the way, I move Braun back to 3rd, or move Hart to centerfield or last, trade Hart or Fielder to make room for LaPorta.....I was hoping they would move Hart to center, Gamel to 3rd, Laporta to OF and trade Hall and everyone else in the minors, for pitching.....Hopefully they win the WS this year or sign CC to a one year contract next year to give them a 2yr window.....I already picked up LaPorta in a mixed league 1yr league....dude is gonna be good, real good....
Posted by Zenguerrilla at 7/7/2008 5:44:00 AM
No minor league hitter, no matter how good, is a "lock" to be a very good player.

There's no way Milwakee has the $$ to sign Sabathia long term. One of the big market teams will pay him something insane.

Dalton, you're right. My bad.
Posted by MPStopa at 7/7/2008 6:07:00 AM
LaPorta has a current range factor of about 1.7 at Huntsville right now. Even with defensive stats not being tremendously reliable, that's a terrible number. It basically means that he's as slow as a turtle out there. The Indians will play him at DH/1B and LaPorta won't see much if any time in the OF in the majors.

The only thing the Brewers lose by trading him is the ability to trade him during the offseason for a different pitcher. On top of that, they traded him for the best player available AND they did it early enough that they get three months from that player instead of just two. The Brewers have Fielder under their control for three more seasons, they have plenty of time to figure out a future play for first base.

An interesting side note - LaPorta is only eight months younger than Prince Fielder.

I love this trade from a Brewers perspective. LaPorta looks like he'll be a great hitter, but he's likely limited to first base in the NL. Rob Bryson could be a solid pitcher, but it's likely to end up in the bullpen and he's still very young. Taylor Green is rumored to be the last player in the deal and he's a solid ball player. He profiles as a good average/moderate power third baseman who could also play an average second base defensively. His upside is probably Mark DaRosa, which isn't bad at all, but he doesn't profile as an All-Star type.

The Brewers are 29-15 since they hit rock bottom on May 19th, which is the best record in the NL over that time by four games. It's still hard to see them catching the Cubs, but I think they have a great chance to win the wild card.

Posted by herbilk at 7/7/2008 7:33:00 AM
Tumanic- I disagree with your Braun assessment. It is easy to say that now but at this time last year Braun was a great prospect who had not proven to be a star major leaguer. For every Braun there are at least 3 or 4 "great prospects" that do not pan out like Braun has.

Acquiring Sabathia gives Milwaukee a legit shot at winning a World Series. Good trade for both teams. Besides, the Brewers had absolutely no place to put LaPorta in the foreseeable future.
Posted by skinsnut at 7/7/2008 9:14:00 AM
The halos have made 2 bad signings 2 years in a row. Matthews Jr. was a smaller contract but not a great sign especially with "inflated" numbers from playing at Arlington. Hunter just seems to be a 2.0 version.
Posted by kevinccp at 7/7/2008 5:11:00 PM

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