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Circling the Bases: Trevor Cahill vs. C.J. Wilson

Ray Flowers

The co-host of The Drive on SiriusXM Fantasy Sports Radio (Sirius 210, XM 87: M-F at 5-8 PM EDT), Ray Flowers has spent years squirreled away studying the inner workings of the fantasy game to the detriment of his personal life. You can follow Ray on Twitter (@BaseballGuys), he never sleeps, and you can also find more of his musings at


Trevor Cahill or C.J. Wilson?

According to ADP information from Mock Draft Central, in 5x5 leagues Cahill is being taken with the 94th overall pick, Wilson the 200th. Oh how we haven't come as far as we think.

I simply don't understand how Wilson is coming off the board 106 picks after Cahill. Am I screaming alone in the wilderness on this one, or are others lurking just out of the site of the camp fire? Let's simply look at the performance of each hurler in 2010 as a starting point.

Cahill: 18 wins, eight loses
Wilson: 15 wins, eight loses
Pretty much a wash - especially since there is really no way to predict wins.

Cahill: 196.2 innings
Wilson: 204 innings
Pretty much a wash.

Cahill: 2.97 ERA, 1.11 WHIP, .220 BAA
Wilson: 3.35 ERA, 1.21 WHIP, .217 BAA
Obviously Cahill comes out ahead in this section, but there is no way that this difference can possibly explain an ADP gap of 100 places.

Cahill: 118 strikeouts
Wilson: 170 strikeouts
Yikes is right. Maybe people don't think that 52 extra strikeouts are valuable. I tend to disagree.

Cahill: 1.87 K/BB
Wilson: 1.83 K/BB
Neither one of these guys managed a league average mark (2.17), but still, again, we are looking at nearly identical marks for the righty and lefty.

Are you coming around as to why this stuff with the ADP makes no sense at all?

For those of you who really like to dig into the numbers...

Cahill: 76.5 LOB%, 4.19 FIP, 2.2 WAR
Wilson: 72.4 LOB%, 3.56 FIP, 4.4 WAR
It's pretty clear that Cahill was a bit more fortunate last season. WAR isn't fooled in the least.

Straight up I would take Wilson over Cahill. If I could wait 5-7 rounds to take Wilson - sign me up for that windfall.

Miguel Montero or Kurt Suzuki?
According to ADP information from Mock Draft Central, in 5x5 leagues Montero is being taken with the 122nd overall pick, Suzuki the 178th. Which would you rather have?

Some guys get no respect. Kurt Suzuki is one of those guys. Here is the data.

The past three years amongst catchers:

Suzuki is tied for first in games played (426).
He is tied for 12th in homers (35).
He is 5th in RBI (201).
He is 4th in runs (183).
He is 6th in steals (albeit only 13).

In the very least, his ability to be on the field as much as any catcher in the game allows him to be capable of putting up solid numbers - at least in the counting categories. Being able to rack up games played is a rather rare thing for backstops. Does that make him a better option than Montero who appears to be the anti-Suzuki?

Montero has just one season in his career of 90 games played. He should blow past that number this year if he can stay healthy. Montero does posses more power than Suzuki, but their performance the past two years, when stacked up against each other, might surprise you a bit - or maybe not..

Montero: .283/.345/.461
Suzuki: .259/.309/.395
OK, it's a blowout here. Montero has clearly been the more dangerous hitter the past two years, no two ways about it.

Montero: HR ever 28.9 ABs, RBI every 7.08 ABs, Run every 7.44 ABs
Suzuki: HR every 38.0 ABs, RBI every 6.70 ABs, Run every 8.26 ABs

If the two catchers were to get 450 at-bats in 2011 it would seem that Montero is better set to outproduce his catching compadre from Oakland. At the same time, you have to give some love to Suzuki for his ability to stay on the field consistently, a huge benefit in catchers. I can't say that drafting Montero over Suzuki is a bad call, the data simply doesn't support that position, but that doesn't mean I wouldn't prefer Suzuki given each catchers draft day cost.

BREAKING DOWN: Aaron Harang, Padres
Current ADP: 391 overall, 97th starting pitcher.

In 2006-07, Harang was a star. Harang was 11th in baseball in base runners per nine innings (11.18) and 20th in ERA (3.75). He was even more impressive in strikeouts with 434, the third highest total in baseball. He hardly issued a free pass leading to a stellar 4.02 K/BB ratio - the fourth best mark in baseball. He also won 32 games, tied for fifth in baseball. He was damn good. Unfortunately, he has been borderline awful since, or has he (more on that in a moment)? Harang has gone 18-38 the past three years, posted a 4.71 ERA, had a 1.44 WHIP and thrown only 458.1 innings. The blame has long been laid at the feet of overuse by Dusty Baker, especially Harang's use of the bullpen when he was asked to throw four relief innings in May of 2008 (Harang said he had to alter his mechanics due to fatigue which has caused all sorts of problems).

Harang signed a 1-year, $3.5 million deal to pitch for the Padres, and we all know that Petco has a way of curing a hurlers ills. Is there reason to think Harang could rebound in 2011 or is his current ADP indicative of what we should expect?

Here is what I see, and mind you, all of this is predicated on Harang being healthy which certainly appears to be the case at the moment.

Even when many of his numbers have looked awful the past three years, in certain respects, he really hasn't been that bad, in fact, he's been the same old guy he's always been.

Over 78 appearances Harang still had a 7.40 K/9 mark, a very strong total for a starting pitcher. Moreover, that mark was better than the big league average of 7.12 per nine in that time.

Harang also did a solid job at limiting the walks with a 2.57 mark per nine innings. Again, that mark is well clear of the big league average in that time of 3.44.

As a result of his work in those two categories he once again posted a well above average K/BB ratio of 2.88 (the big league average was 2.07).

Think of his performance this way. Amongst pitchers who threw 450-innings the past three years, do you know how many had a K/9 rate of 7.25, a BB/9 rate under 2.60 and a K/BB ratio of at least 2.75? The answer is just 17 - and one of them was Aaron Harang. There's more to the game than strikeouts and walks, but that is certainly a pretty strong foundation for Harang to build off of.

An issue with Harang has always been his propensity to give up the long ball. In each of the last five seasons his HR/9 mark has been over one, and the last three years that ratio has been terrible if the goal is to prohibit runs from being scored - 1.71, 1.33 and 1.29 (career 1.22). This situation could easily be remedied by simply switching home parks. From 2008-10, according to Park Indices, Great America Ballpark in Cincinnati was the second best park for home run hitting in the National League. Where did Petco in San Diego rank? Dead last of course.

So let's sum up this quick review.

A look at Harang's ability to strike out batter the past three years shows that he is still striking out batters at a very proficient rate. In fact, his K/9 rate the past three years is only 0.07 down from his carer rate. Second, Harang also has keep his walks down. His rate of 2.57 the past three years is only 0.05 above his career rate. Third, a pitcher who has long been burdened by the homer, Harang leaves a homer hitting haven for the Death Valley of home run hitters in the NL.

If he's healthy, and that is certainly a valid concern, it would seem that the seeds of success are germinating with this righty. Given the fact that he is basically being left undrafted in 12 team leagues, you might want to consider running to your waiver-wire to pick him up if you are getting nervous about any of your other starting pitchers.


I'm pretty good at everything on the offensive side of the game.

I've hit .300 on six occasions and own a career mark of .296.

I've hit 35 doubles 11 times.

I've managed to sock 20 long balls nine times.

I've been pretty good at knocking in runs as well with 10 seasons of 85 RBI.

I can swipe a bag too. I've stolen 20 bases 12 times.

Oh, and don't think about keeping me off base. I own a career OBP of an even ,400.

I might be Hall of Fame bound - maybe.

Who am I?

The answer is below.


12.9: The percentage of inherited runners that Matt Thornton allowed to cross the plate last season, the best mark in the AL amongst pitchers who inherited at least 30 runners. Now you can understand why there is some hesitancy from the White Sox to move him into the 9th inning role since he is so good at putting out a fire. While that is a great number, two men in the NL bettered it. Santiago Casilla of the Giants inched ahead with a 12.8 percent mark, but the leader was Wilton Lopez of the Astros. Amazingly, only three percent of his inherited runners crossed home plate.

32: The league leading double play total of Tim Hudson who induced a plethora of the twin killings. Fausto Carmona led the way in the AL with 30 GDP's. There were 16 men who induced at least 25 double-plays, with two names that stood out. Only one of the 16 men had an ERA in the 4.00's - Gavin Floyd who had 25 GPD's and a 4.08 ERA. However, he wasn't the real outlier. That was A.J. Burnett who also had 25 GDP's but somehow ended up with a 5.26 ERA.

40: The league leading “holds” mark of Luke Gregerson last year. The second man on the list, with 38, was teammate Mike Adams. The AL leader was Daniel Bard, the only AL arm with more than 30 (he had 32). The top lefty was actually a tie between Arthur Rhodes and Scott Downs. Each man had 26. Finally, there were 13 men who had least 23 holds last season. No one in that group had more than three saves (Bard, Chamberlain) and the entire group had 14 saves.

I AM...
You knew this one right? It was pretty easy... I hope. Before I reveal the name that everyone already knows, how about one last hint.

This guy is the only player in the history of baseball to have 12-straight years of 15 homers, 75 RBI, 85 runs and 20 steals. No one else has a streak longer than 9-straight (Barry Bonds from 1990-98).

He is Bobby Abreu.

Ray Flowers can be heard daily on Sirius/XM Radio on The Fantasy Drive, 5-8 PM Eastern, on Sirius 211 and XM 147. Ray's baseball analysis can be found at and his minute to minute musings can be located at the BaseballGuys' Twitter account.

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