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MLB Notes
Posted by Dalton Del Don at 7/24/2008 4:02:00 PM
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Howie Kendrick spits in the face of logic, as he currently sports a .347 batting average despite a 37:5 K:BB ratio. Of course, his .405 BABIP is the highest in baseball, but heís got a career mark of .358 in that department, so this isnít out of nowhere. His 22.4 LD% certainly doesnít hurt.

Mike Mussina has to be considered one of the biggest surprises during the 2008 season. Despite a fastball that no longer reaches 90 mph, Mussinaís 5.06:1 K:BB ratio ranks third in baseball. His 1.19 BB/9 IP ranks No. 1. And itís not like heís even been lucky with balls in play either. Over his last four starts, heís posted a 23:1 K:BB ratio. At age 39, Mussina has completely transformed himself as a pitcher, and the result may very well be the first 20-win season of his career.

On the opposite spectrum, Chris Young (Ari) has been a massive disappointment. Wednesdayís big game finally got his OPS over .700, and he has just seven stolen bases all year. He hasnít taken advantage of Chase Field, as all those strikeouts have resulted in a career .236 batting average, with a .219/.277/.420 line against righties. Thereís still plenty of time for development, but his lack of running is disconcerting.

Clay Buchholz hasnít been any good this year, but 58 strikeouts over 57.1 innings suggest a very bright future is still in store. Heís been remarkably unlucky (.378 BABIP, .66 strand rate), and he needs improved command, but that K rate combined with a 1.20 G/F ratio means big things are to come. It might even happen during August and September.

Iíd currently treat Jonathan Broxton as a top-3 NL closer. The Dodgers rank toward the bottom of the league in save opportunities, but that figures to change, and itís not like Broxton has been overworked either. Two real ugly outings (9 ER, .2 innings) have marred an otherwise stellar campaign. Heís struck out 11.3 batters per nine innings during his career, and Takashi Saitoís prospects look rather glum.

My claim of CC Sabathia being the No. 1 fantasy pitcher after the trade to Milwaukee was met with some trepidation, but heís certainly made me look good so far. Three straight complete games, are you kidding me? Plus, he can rake. Itís crazy to think just how brutal he was to begin the year. Too bad I own him in zero leagues.

It looks like Freddy Sanchezís shoulder is starting to finally feel better, as heís recorded multiple hits during each of his last four starts, including two homers and three doubles. The former batting champ isnít a big fantasy asset due to his lack of speed/power, and heís striking out more than ever this season, but he might return to usefulness in some formats from here on out. The same cannot be said, unfortunately, about teammate Ian Snell. Put a fork in him for 2008, heís done.

The Randy Wolf trade by Houston was so ridiculous, I wonít even go over the absurdity, but I also question Washingtonís dealing of Jon Rauch. Clearly Rauch was a property who made sense to shop around, but sometimes I get the feeling GMs make trades like that because they feel like they have to. If there arenít any offers worth biting on, might as well stand pat, no?

Madison Bumgarner, who is still 18 years old, currently has a 110:18 K:BB ratio with a 1.93 ERA in Single-A Augusta. In 3-4 years, the Giants could theoretically have four members of their pitching staff all vying for the MLB strikeout crown. Of course, itís highly unlikely all stay healthy, and the lineup will still be a joke, especially since Angel Villalona has been a disappointment.

An update on fun stats: Christian Guzman is third in MLB with 130 hits. Brian Roberts has the most doubles (38). Adam Dunn leads baseball in walks (76) and homers (29), and yet, is still largely viewed as a bum. No one has been caught stealing more than B.J. Upton (13), and Derrek Lee has grounded into the most double plays (21). Albert Pujols has been intentionally walked 23 times. The second most has 13. Ubaldo Jimenez has both walked the most batters (65) and thrown the most wild pitches (14). Livan Hernandez has allowed 20 more hits than any other pitcher in baseball, yet Francisco Liriano continues to rot in Triple-A. Joe Saunders has allowed the fewest line drives (13.5%) of any pitcher in the league.


indeed, the Wolf trade was a stupid one for the Astros....who have no chance of catching the top of that division...even if they had acquired a difference maker, which Wolf is not.

the Nats are a joke. I don't even see a light at the end of even a long tunnel for them.

on the flip side, I can't believe Mussina's success. I gave him up early for peanuts in a dynasty league (since I'm rebuilding)....I probably could have done better if I waited. but, who could have predicted this?
Posted by catman2051 at 7/24/2008 4:22:00 PM
Broxton might be third. The closers in the NL have HORRIBLE peripherals (Shhhhh in the relief pitchers section, Rotowire has Troy Percival listed 26 AND 27 and believe or not Broxton is 28th). You could have added Cust's K record in the fun facts or just the total amount for the year so far. Chris Young is at a rock bottom for buy low (injury maybe?), especially in keeper leagues. Mussina in my book is at a sell high. Nice to another blog in less than a week (that wasn't backhanded or sarcastic).
Posted by kevinccp at 7/24/2008 4:35:00 PM
Meant Broxton is 29th, sorry.
Posted by kevinccp at 7/24/2008 4:36:00 PM
Jim Bowden shouldn't be anywhere near a major league front office.

kevin - where are you seeing that? If it's here: it appears to have been fixed, though I'd agree Broxton is way too low. Clearly the AL has better closers, but they're not all terrible in the NL (Lidge, Wagner, Wood...).

Bumg has been great, but in 3-4 years, the Giants will still be hamstrung by the Zito and Rowand deals.

The Rauch deal was a joke. A very good reliever signed to a below-market deal through 2010 for a guy that's likely headed towards being a utility guy? Just crazy. Also guessing the next Nats GM will be begging teams to take on Guzman's $8 million a year salary by next July if not sooner.
Posted by vtadave at 7/24/2008 5:11:00 PM
Freddy Sanchez is indeed starting to show signs of life.

As a long-suffering Pirates fan, it is shocking to me that we are losing so many games this year with the offense we are putting up on a daily basis. The Buccos are displaying a "never say die" attitude (See 7 runs off Valverde in 9th on Monday - also fun would be to have witnessed my realization about 40 minutes after being excited that he was one of the two closers in the NL-only league we just drafted...) that I haven't seen since the early 90s. We just have ZEROOOOO pitching. Ian Snell - I put a fork in him in late May.

Indeed a good call on CC so far - dude has been ridiculous.

I don't get the Rauch trade at all - he is signed cheap for two more years - strange dump trade by a team that is looking forward. Interesting strategies by two NL teams... the Brewers are trying to get as FAT as possible and the Diamondbacks are trying to get as TALL as possible.

Xavier Nady with another homer tonight - let's hope for about 3 more of those in the next 7 days so the Pirates can finally rip someone off again a la Brian Giles to the Padres many moons ago.
Posted by billgoofnow at 7/24/2008 5:17:00 PM

Dave past those 3, the NL closers are horrible, look at peripherals as I said, Wilson, Valverde, Codero have horrible ERAs and WHIP. I don't like Wood's injury risk, so I'd actually give Broxton the nod over him (I could put Torres or Gregg up there also).
Posted by kevinccp at 7/24/2008 5:21:00 PM
Mike Gonzalez isn't horrible, Marte is pretty solid...but yeah, while the NL dominates in top-shelf starters, the AL has cornered the market on closers.

I'd love to see the Rays deal for Nady and Marte. Of course it would take something like Hellickson, Brignac, and Eduardo Morlan, if not more.
Posted by vtadave at 7/24/2008 8:09:00 PM
catman - Wolf's home/road splits make it even more ridiculous...I wouldn't kick myself for giving up Mussina for peanuts early on. I would have definitely done the same and in no way saw this coming.
Posted by Dalton Del Don at 7/24/2008 11:01:00 PM
Kevin - Cust's Ks deserve mentioning, but Ryan Howard actually has 9 more this year! I agree with you about Young being a buy-low in keeper leagues and Mussina being a sell-high in all leagues.
Posted by Dalton Del Don at 7/24/2008 11:14:00 PM
Dave - Bowden needs to be gone ASAP. I hear you regarding the Zito/Rowand deals, but does that mean you think SF won't be able to retain that fearsome foursome?
Posted by Dalton Del Don at 7/24/2008 11:17:00 PM
Mark, why is it "billgoofnow" and not some variation of your real name? Anyway, I do remember you saying Ian Snell was done way back in May. Good call.
Posted by Dalton Del Don at 7/24/2008 11:21:00 PM

When I was in 6th grade, I was the commish of a MICRO LEAGUE BASEBALL league. We blew it all up, drafted 14 teams (all-time players), and I ran the games one by one as we kept standings, tracked stats, etc... We did seven full seasons over the years - crazy...

One of the best moments ever in that league was when Mike Scott pitched a no-hitter for my younger brother's team (the California Boo Boos) in a one-game playoff with the Miami Munch to win 1 - 0 and advance to the divisional playoff series. A close second was Nolan Ryan's 23 strike-out peformance against the Weston Warriors. Ahhhh the good old days... some point, I came up with BILL GOOFNOW as the commish's name. He has gone on to stick as the name/face behind all of my fantasy sports teams :)

Posted by billgoofnow at 7/25/2008 6:47:00 AM
Xavier Nady taken out of the buccos lineup in the 2nd inning

Reid Brignac not starting for AAA Durham

Me thinks the buccos are about to pull off the trade to get the SS I've wanted. I wonder if we will pull another good prospect from them in the deal as well.
Posted by billgoofnow at 7/25/2008 4:46:00 PM
oy it appears he's been dealt to the Yankees with Damaso Marte for Ian Kennedy and some other prospect.

I like that a lot less than Reid
Posted by billgoofnow at 7/25/2008 4:51:00 PM
Mark - Thanks for clarifying. Sixth grade, impressive. Apparently, Pitt didn't even get I. Kennedy in the deal.
Posted by Dalton Del Don at 7/25/2008 8:57:00 PM
Don't even get me started on that Pirates trade.... deja vu all over again I guess in the Burgh
Posted by billgoofnow at 7/26/2008 8:11:00 AM
I'm starting to really wonder about the utility of BABIP -- maybe Kendrick just has a high one because he hits more line drives than everyone else? And Clay Buchholz has a high BABIP because he is leaving more balls in the middle of the plate, rather than being unlucky? I understand that it can explain minor variances, but I don't think you can expect Kendrick to normalize down to the median. I'm sure people have already debated this (I don't subscribe to BP), but maybe the relevant stat should be BABIP relative to a batter's/pitcher's career BABIP?
Posted by bscwik at 7/26/2008 12:34:00 PM
That's exactly it, Bret. First off, hitters do have control over it, and there are plenty of guys who have career marks in the .330-.340 range. I fully expect Kendrick to be one of them. As for pitchers, instead of assuming they'll fall into the .300 area, it's best to compare a small sample size (any given season) versus their career mark - then expect a normalization either way.
Posted by Dalton Del Don at 7/26/2008 1:38:00 PM

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