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MLB Notes
Posted by Dalton Del Don at 7/22/2008 3:23:00 PM
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I didnít aggressively pursue Chad Billingsley in drafts this year because I felt his command left him still a ways off from dominance, but after another 3.5 months of seasoning, itís time to start treating him as an elite starter. His control still comes and goes, but Billingsleyís 9.81 K/9 IP mark is the best in baseball. Over his last five starts, he has a 2.45 ERA and a 1.15 WHIP with a 38:11 K:BB ratio. Heís going to win a Cy Young someday.

Ian Stewart isnít a bad pickup in medium-deeper sized leagues. Heís currently hitting toward the bottom of the Rockiesí lineup, but he should see significant playing time with Todd Helton sidelined, and it sounds like that could be for a while. Still just 23 years old, Stewart had 19 homers and slugged .607 in Triple-A this season, and he obviously has the benefit of Coors Field on his side. Heís even eligible at second base in some leagues (Yahoo).

Josh Johnson is going to be inconsistent during his first season back from Tommy John surgery, but heís a must-add in most leagues anyway. Showing terrific promise before getting injured during his rookie season, Johnson is now reaching 96-97 mph on the radar gun. Itís not that the actual Tommy John procedure adds to your fastball, itís just that pitchers returning from it are finally throwing at 100 percent, and even though he wasnít considered injured during the first part of that 2006 season, like all pitchers, his arm had some wear and tear. Now, itís back to being fresh. The added velocity makes Johnson someone to watch moving forward.

Speaking of injured arms, Iím curious to see if the time off did Ian Snell any good. His numbers havenít shown any improvement during three starts since coming off the DL, but he claims heís feeling the best he has all season. His .367 BABIP is the second highest mark in all of baseball, so maybe some correction is due. However, his 5.20 BB/9 IP mark is the very worst in baseball, so heíll need to also drastically improve his command for it to happen. Snellís probably more hurt than heís letting on.

Free Dallas McPherson! The guy leads professional baseball with 32 homers, and heís also chipped in 12 steals as well. He has a career .972 OPS in 2,139 minor league at-bats. Jorge Cantu obviously deserves to stay in Floridaís lineup, but the Marlins should be selling Mike Jacobs, or some other team should be after McPherson. Of course, the Giants could have had him for free before the season started but instead elected for Jose Castillo, whose defense might actually be worse than his career .300 OBP.

Speaking of the Giants and ineptitude, Bruce Bochyís recent handling of Tim Lincecum was beyond deplorable. Making his first start after being hospitalized, Bochy brought Lincecum back out for the seventh inning Sunday even though he was approaching 110 pitches already and left him in to rack up a total of 121 Ė the second most of his career. This wouldnít even make sense in a pennant race, but given the fact SF is rebuilding, this decision was as insane as Scientology.

Last Giants rant Ė I promise. Over 157 at-bats this season, Omar Vizquel has four extra-base hits. Four! His .191 slugging percentage is dead last in major league baseball by a mile.

How good is Scott Baker? Over his last four starts, heís posted a 24:3 K:BB ratio and nearly hurled a perfect game. His 5.07:1 K:BB ratio is the third best mark in the game.

Imagine how bad Homer Bailey would be if he wasnít so lucky. He has a 6.29 ERA yet a .260 BABIP in the bigs this season. Since heís also struggled in the minors all year, itís long past time to start seriously worrying about his future. The loss in velocity is a big deal, evidenced by his 3.33 K/9 IP mark. Heís also done his first name proud, serving up 2.96 HR/9 IP.

Itís too late (or improbable) to sell Todd Wellemeyer in most leagues, but he might cease being useful even in NL-only versions soon enough. One of baseballís best surprises over the first two months, Wellemeyer simply wore down, as he had never thrown even 90 innings in a season before this year. He hasnít struck out more than three batters in any of his past six outings and is throwing less and less in between starts, as his arm gets increasingly sore. Soon, heís not going to throw any side sessions at all. Heís not lasting the season.

Despite a career 2.86 ERA, Huston Street has converted 78 percent of his save opportunities. To put that in perspective, Brian Wilson currently sports a 4.93 ERA but has successfully converted 93 percent of his save chances. Closers are a weird beast.


.191 slugging? Wow. I remember seeing Jason Bartlett's slugging at .262 (or something like that) earlier in the year and thinking it couldn't get much worse.

I concur about Ian Stewart and tend to think Andy LaRoche is going to be viewed in a similar light in another week or so (young prospects finally being given a chance at 3B).
Posted by MPStopa at 7/22/2008 4:18:00 PM
One word of caution on McPherson: Albququerque. Remember when Billy Ashley was the prospect to end all prospects?
Posted by Erickson at 7/22/2008 4:59:00 PM
who had July 19th as the day brandon Lyon would remember he stunk?

Rauch will take over in Arizona me thinks...

Does ayala finally get to close in DC or will they go with Hanrahan?
Posted by billgoofnow at 7/22/2008 5:14:00 PM
Jeff - Yeah that's a good point and one I purposefully chose to ignore b/c I need him called up if only for the sake of my LABR team. McPherson is playing in a terrific environment for hitting right now. But he does have a track record as well (which also includes too manky Ks).
Posted by Dalton Del Don at 7/22/2008 5:24:00 PM
billgoofnow - I'll go with Hanrahan. But it's a guess.
Posted by Dalton Del Don at 7/22/2008 5:24:00 PM
I actually agree with that guess... I also agree that Bruce Bochy is about as dumb as it gets. I was listening to the game in the car on XM and Lincecum pitched the 5th inning and as he finished that inning the announcers were like "that will likely be all for Tim Lincecum today coming off that hospital stay"

I then find out that not only did he pitch the SIXTH but he was brought out to be slaughtered in the seventh as well.

So long as Bochy is running the show in SF, Tim Lincecum is more likely to become the next Mark Prior than he is to become the next Pedro in his prime.
Posted by billgoofnow at 7/22/2008 5:48:00 PM
I'll see your Omar Vizquel and raise you one Willie Bloomquist. using Isolated Power, which better measures a player's power because it filters out meaningless singles, Bloomquist is the worst slugger in baseball. His ISOP is .008. Yes, that's right -- .008. (Vizquel's for comparison's sake is .025.) Bloomquist has one XBH in 128 AB. *Thirty-seven pitchers* have a higher ISOP. Among position players, only Johnny Estrada (48 AB) and Norris Hopper (50 AB) have fewer XBH (zero). Bloomquist makes $1M and plays nearly every day.

Another word of caution on McPherson: much of his track record came at Salt Lake City.

Another kudo for Billingsley: only four pitchers have a K/9 higher than 8.0 and a G/F higher than 1.50. Billingsley, A.J. Burnett, Felix Hernandez, Edinson Volquez.
Posted by Jason Thornbury at 7/22/2008 5:54:00 PM
All right, Bloomquist wins. That's ridiculous.
Posted by Dalton Del Don at 7/22/2008 7:15:00 PM
ok DDD here's one for ya

Gun to your head - more saves between now and Oct 1 2008

Joel Hanrahan
Ryan Franklin
Posted by billgoofnow at 7/22/2008 8:06:00 PM
Really tough call. Hanrahan has more upside with the K ability, but he's also been worked awfully hard this season already. Even if Franklin has a SLIGHT higher chance at more saves from here on out, I'd go with Hanrahan, b/c he's the better pitcher and doesn't have much competition in the Nats' pen.
Posted by Dalton Del Don at 7/22/2008 8:43:00 PM
My money was on Saul Rivera in DC, but after seeing him used with the Nats down 5-3 tonight, having second thoughts.

And please Jeff, let's not invoke the ghost of Billy Ashley. I was convinced he and Greg Brock were the second coming of Duke Snider and Gil Hodges.
Posted by vtadave at 7/22/2008 10:32:00 PM
The Nats site seems to clearly confirm Hanrahan as their guy. He's the youngest of the three and with the most upside, it's the right play.
Posted by spianow at 7/22/2008 10:50:00 PM
I agree on hanrahan... Also factor in that ayala has just been so bad this year, it is likely hanrahan's to lose...

I think last night could prove to be a last straw for the cardinals. Their top three options in their pen have successively blown leads in each of their past three games. I bet they go out and get one of Fuentes, sherrill, or street this week. So I think franklin will get fewer than hanrahan.

That mets loss last night was an absolute embarrassment. Johan finally steps up with a big outing and the team meltsdown in the ninth. The nl world series rep is coming out of the central
Posted by billgoofnow at 7/23/2008 4:52:00 AM
I definitely wanted Billingsley in Puppet Show. You made me very unhappy, Dalton.
Posted by spianow at 7/23/2008 10:05:00 PM
I heard the Lincecum game on the radio too and was miffed. They kept saying how he was on a limited pitch count and he leaves at 121. Very strange.
Posted by skinsnut at 7/24/2008 9:34:00 AM

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