Monday, May 19, 2008

Fantasy Errata

It's been a whirlwind weekend celebrating my 31st (*sob*) birthday. Quite a bit of fantasy baseball blogging to catch up on while I ice my head. In retrospect, a magnum of Stone's Double Bastard Ale might have been too much for two people.

-- Tadahito Iguchi, ignored by many fantasy owners, has been great over the last month. Folks scrambling for MI replacements could do worse.

-- I tried to buy low on Soriano when he went on the DL with no success. He's managed to rack up 10 homers and three stolen bases, and rank 43rd in the Yahoo player pool, with only 125 at-bats. Why is he still batting leadoff? He's not running as much due to persistent leg problems. I don't get it.

-- Ryan Braun has eight home runs in the last week. He probably was feeling the pressure of playing for hundreds of thousands of dollars instead of tens of millions. Now that his contract (and his great grandchildren) are taken care of, he can focus on playing baseball.

-- Xavier Nady was batting .352 not too long ago. Now it's down to .309. He last hit a home run on May 7th. If you can still sell on him, I'd do it. He's going to be cut in a lot of leagues before the All-Star break. His splits have "Mr. April" written all over them.

-- I finally had a chance to sit down and watch all of Prince Fielder's at-bats. Both Beckett and Manny Delcarmen used the same strategy: fastballs high and away, off-speed stuff inside. Beckett caught a little too much of the plate with a fastball, and Fielder promptly bopped it into the seats. He was sitting dead red on fastballs. I'd hate to think he's become a mistake-pitch hitter. Even worse would be if he's waiting for fastballs because of a decline in bat speed (due to vegetarianism or weight?). In any event, I'm worried.

-- Aramis hasn't exactly fallen off a cliff, but he doesn't have a home run since April 23. Considering that Wrigley turns into a hitters paradise as the weather warms, this should be a concern. I'd start scouring the Chicago newspapers for hints of some sort of an injury.

-- Adam LaRoche has four home runs in the last 10 days but is still batting in the low .200s. The time to buy low or pick him up off the waiver wire in shallow leagues is quickly running out.

-- Carlos Zambrano's pitch counts since April: 90/106/107/101/101/114/111/113/96. I'm starting to think he's not going to break down anytime soon. Physical marvels do come along every once in a while, and he's now kept this up long enough that he's earned "freak" status.

-- Shane Victorino was benched over the weekend. I'm now left without a center fielder in my "big money" league. The best waiver wire option? Gary Matthews Jr. Oh, boy. Victorino has six stolen bases and one home run in severely shortened time, but he's batting .235. His replacement, Jayson Werth, has a three-home-run game, is batting well over .300, has seven stolen bases (and I think he's been caught fewer times), and his blood heals lepers. I actually think Geoff Jenkins should be benched, but regardless, Victorino is looking like a monumental draft-day bust.

-- Matt Stairs: still a free agent in way too many leagues.

-- Berkman's sixteen home runs are far, far, far, far less surprising then his eight stolen bases. Nevertheless, I would count on a 60/20 season.

-- Jeter had two home runs and a stolen base over the weekend, giving him a less than impressive 3/1 split on the year. Jose Reyes, not to be outdone, also hit two home runs. Reyes is looking like a mild buy-low candidate.

-- Evan Longoria, even with five hits in his last 12 at-bats, is hitting .231. For all the hype, there are probably better options sitting on many leagues waiver wire.

-- I thought Chris Duncan would be the breakout St. Louis outfielder. While Duncan isn't playing miserably, Ryan Ludwick is the one who has come out of nowhere. Inexplicably, I still see him in the "most added" category. In what league has Ryan Ludwick not been owned for weeks?

-- Adam Dunn attempted a sacrifice bunt, twice, yesterday. After failing, he promptly hit a ball out of the ballpark. Dusty Baker is a moron. He actually hit one further on Saturday and has now homered in four straight games. His batting average remains atrocious.

-- Carlos Pena was dropped in one of my leagues. It isn't a particularly shallow league, either.

-- Kobayashi had one bad outing, and everyone drops him. Someone has to close in Cleveland. Right?

-- There are 36 shortstops who have been more valuable in 5x5 leagues than Carlos Guillen over the last month. You know what? I'd sell. If you can still get fourth, fifth, or sixth-round value, move him.

-- Brian Wilson, meet non-save situation. Brian Wilson owners, meet four earned runs in two-thirds of an inning. It wasn't even a tie game!

-- Scott Hairston Jr. is seemingly eligible everywhere but catcher, is batting .340, and has four stolen bases. His career is less than impressive, but I need a bench MI player and someone who can fill in for Victorino at CF (when he's not playing). He only has 50 at-bats, so he's pretty well camouflaged in most leagues.

-- What will it take for the Giants to send Barry Zito to the minors? I mean, really?

-- Jose Guillen was batting .168 on May 3. He's now at .245. I guess he was going to take those 15 days off whether he was suspended or not.

-- Mike Jacobs dicks his owners around for a week, then when he finally plays hits home runs on back-to back-nights. I managed to insert him for the second game. If he can just stay on the field, he's looking at 35-40 home runs. I'd be happy with 30 and a .275 average.

-- John Smoltz experienced shoulder pain in his attempt to comeback from ... shoulder pain. They're calling it biceps tendinitis, but it sounds like rotator cuff damage. I wouldn't count on his pitching before July or August. I have a suspicion that he'll come back at some point this year, and all of next year, to try and reach 200 saves. Two hundred wins and 200 saves, along with the 3,000 Ks, will make him a shoe-in for the Hall of Fame. I actually think he should get in now. In any event, Soriano and Smoltz don't look to be challenging Acosta anytime soon.

-- Jake Peavy admitted he's had elbow soreness for three or four starts. This is the danger in drafting pitchers early. No matter how dominant they are, something like this can happen. How scared should Peavy owners be? Well, I'd be very scared. Elbow soreness? Yipes.

-- Pat Burrell has quietly become a sell-high candidate. He was batting .333 on May 1. Now he stands at .292. His best batting average months, historically, are April and September (which is weird). And they're his best months by a wide margin. He only has two home runs in May. I'd sell. Maybe he and Carlos Guillen for Jose Reyes? I'd consider that a huge coup.

-- Congratulations Billy Wagner. You are the last pitcher with double digit IPs to not allow an earned run.

-- Edwin Jackson has now allowed one earned run since his start on May 2. The fact that his bullpen keeps blowing his wins has kept him on the waiver wire. But for how much longer?

-- Mike Napoli: two more home runs. He now has ten. In only 89 at-bats. Mike Scioscia needs a good talking to.

-- Oliver Perez, after three murderously bad outings, seems to have righted the ship. I watched his 7.2 IP against the Yankees last night and he looked sharp. That slider was biting and he was locating his fastball well. He made mistakes to two hitters which led to two runs, but given the situation, it was understandable. The prior half-inning took about 30 minutes to play, thanks in part to the refs conferring for 10 minutes on a Carlos Delgado home run, then getting the call wrong (they eventually called it foul).

-- Orlando Cabrera, left for dead in many leagues, had two home runs yesterday. He's still batting .217 on the season. If you can't get on base in front of Carlos Quentin, you've got problems.

-- Ryan Franklin owner, keep an eye on Chris Perez (actually, everyone should). He'll probably be closing in St. Louis by August. Young pitcher caveats apply.

-- Roy Oswalt has not only been pretty bad this year, now he's nicked up. Can you still move him?


Andy said...

I celebrated my birthday this weekend too. Yay.

Benjamin said...

Welcome to the 31 club. I'm 6 months into it myself, and I can attest that it's pretty bizarre. I seriously can't remember my age anymore when people ask. My usual reply is "30 . . . Wait, I mean 31." I've let "32" slip a few times as well. It's just such uncharted territory. When we turned 21, it was monumental, so there was no problem remember the age. But the most recent monumental birthday was last year --- now we're just stuck in the middle of nowhere like we were from 22 to 29, except that saying the word "thirty" is like a knife to the ears.

That said, should I be shopping Rios? I'm scared to think what his final numbers will look like if he tacks on a second-half power swoon to his dismal start.

waters96 said...

Happy Birthday!

Jacobs, Konerko, or Helton for the rest of the year.

Steve Lorenz said...

To Benjamin,

Shopping Rios right now would be a mistake because his value is at an all-time low. You should hold onto him because he is too good to continue to play at this level.

Mike Bock said...

Jacobs by a hair over Konerko, and by a wide margin over Helton. That being said, I would strongly consider a Konerko offer given that Jacobs over his career can't seem to stay healthy for more than three weeks at a time.

Who are you going to shop Rios to? Nobody's going to give you more than mid round value for him. Rios illustrates the danger of projecting value: sometimes guys don't keep getting better year after year.

Projecting value is something I like to do in the mid to late rounds, but not with my first five or six picks. The only way you're going to move Rios is for a similarly slumping player. Someone like Verlander or Victor Martinez. If I could trade Rios for Victor Martinez, I'd do it -- so long there are no injury rumblings around V-Mart.

Benjamin said...

Ugh. You're right (and that includes you, Steve). Maybe I just need to view my team as a perfect hedge fund: Rios and C R Young will come around just in time to offset when Chipper, Jacobs, Quentin and Volquez hit the wall.