Saturday, May 29, 2010

Newest Good Friend: Buster Posey

We dropped Matsuzaka and picked up Gerald Demp "Buster" Posey.

According to Andrew Baggarly, of the San Jose Mercury News...
A very good source just told me that the Giants will recall a position player before Saturday’s game and it will be none other than Gerald Demp “Buster” Posey.

This tip came to me after 11 p.m. and I haven’t been able to confirm it at this late hour. So please, please, please take it for what it is.

But if true, it makes complete sense.

Posey started at first base for the second consecutive time Friday night. Cuuurious. It’s a pretty safe assumption he was doing more than just resting his knees from catching. He was 2-for-3 with a double, a walk and an RBI, lifting his PCL average to .349.

Plus GM Brian Sabean personally scouted Posey last week and told KNBR that “the kid’s really improving.”

Added Sabean: “But when we bring him here, we want to make sure he’s on the field at least five days a week.”

As you know, Posey is the Giants’ best position prospect since the days of Will Clark and Matt Williams.

I think Posey will get most of his starts at first base, with Aubrey Huff moving to left field. But Bengie Molina was hitless again Friday night and extended his streak to 19 games without an RBI. He’s hitting just .203 in May.
Wow, the best position prospect since Will Clark and Matt Williams? No pressure, kid. Well, besides the fact that you're on our fantasy team. Who knows? If this kid can really hit, we might be looking to trade Joe Mauer for some other hitters around the infield.

More realistically, we should temper our expectations. I don't think it is prudent to expect him to necessarily outshine what Matt Wieters did last season, which was .288/.340./.412, with 9 HR's in 96 games and 385 Plate Appearances.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

PTI Knockoff: Fortune Teller

Derrek Lee is two (2) home runs away from getting to 300 for his career. He won the World Series with the 2003 Florida Marlins, but had most of his best personal season with the Cubs. Most notable, Lee shined as a Cub in 2005, when he led the league in total bases and OPS+.

He was an All-Star, won his second (of three) Gold Gloves, won the Silver Slugger for 1st basemen, and finished 3rd in MVP voting. Lee’s standard stats in 2005 were memorable, as well. He hit .335, with 46 Homeruns and 50 doubles.

Since that remarkably hot 2005 season, Derrek Lee has been a steady, and sometimes exceptional, leader for Dusty and Lou. He’s a fan favorite and has become a valued part of Chicago’s philanthropic community.

When “borrowing” Tony Kornheiser’s fortune teller crystal ball, however, I don’t see Derrek Lee in a Cubs uniform beyond this season.

Our fortune teller prediction: The Cubs 2011 First Baseman will NOT be Derrek Lee.

Okay, so that’s not enough of a bold prediction to even mention?

More aggressive fortune teller prediction: The Cubs 2011 First Baseman will be Adam Dunn.

Other candidates include Adrian Gonzalez, Carlos Pena, and Jorge Cantu. To upset South Side White Sox fans, they could sign Paul Konerko. Or, if they want to upset their own fans, they could call up Josh Vitters and move Aramis Ramirez to first base.

I can see why Tony likes wearing the turban and making predictions. It’s fun. Maybe we’ll have more PTI Knockoff posts, where we can play Toss Up, Over/Under, or something like that. We should at least have another predictions post of ideas that are intriguing but slightly unlikely to happen. In conclusion, let's simply R.S.V.P. the Cubs for the Upgrade First Base Party/Adrian Gonzalez Sweepstakes.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

All Appreciation Team

This list is subject to change on a daily basis. It is simply a list of the player we appreciate the opportunity to watch play at each position. We could, I guess, also call it our favorite player team, but it’s more about the actual feelings of “Wow, I’m glad we get to see Player XYZ play!”

C: Joe Mauer, Twins
The Legend of Joe Mauer is well-known and unnecessary to delve into here. Besides, we don’t need a reason to have him on this list besides the swing. We love the swing.

1b: Miguel Cabrera, Tigers
Forgetting for a moment our distaste for the Cardinals, it would be easier to appreciate Alber Pujols if his games didn’t come with a family-sized portion of Tony LaRussa (standard). What stands out to me when watching Miguel Cabrera hit is his tremendous balance, plate coverage, and power. I like to this he’s a combination of Tony Gwynn, Manny Ramirez, and George Porter, Jr.

2b: Robinson Cano, Yankees
There are a lot of blog favorites at the keystone position including Ian Kinsler, Chase Utley, and Rickie Weeks, as well as blast from the past: Mark Grudzielanek and new favorite: Martin Prado.

SS: Starlin Castro, Cubs
It’s nice to see a Cub on this list, but he may be here because we haven’t had too many chances to see him play, yet. What we have seen so far is killer bat speed, a slick glove, and a brilliant smile.

3b: Adrian Beltre, Red Sox
He hasn’t really been a productive hitter in a few years, but he still looks like he can hit. Film historians claim that many of Alfred Hitchcock’s classics and Steven Spielberg’s Jaws succeeded in scaring audiences by hiding the villain until necessary. Enhancing the audience’s enjoyment through additional suspense and anticipation can occur on the baseball field, as well. We may know that some players with poor OBP’s are likely to make outs, but if they’ve ever had any power, and they look like they can hit, that’s usually enough for the fans to enjoy. Even if I’m delusional and everyone knows he Beltre can't hit, we still enjoy his defense. He can play the hot corner like nobody else in a long time. His manager, Terry Francona, was on the Mike Francesa show last week and said that Beltre is “all over the field” and “making incredible plays”.*

*Why don’t more writers use Zagat-style quote writing? It's fun.

LF: Carl Crawford, Rays
Speed + athleticism + power + impending free agency + team has best record in baseball sounds like a recipe for enjoyment. So far, Crawford’s numbers have been a saucy .321/.377/.509, with 11 stolen bases and 32 runs in 42 games.

CF: Matt Kemp, Dodgers
If Kemp had been a Yankee, it’d be appropriate to argue that he’s better than Bernie and perhaps just beneath DiMaggio & Mantle on the vaunted franchise’s legendary Centerfield hierarchy. Alas, Kemp is a Dodger, which has it’s own legends. My quick thoughts of who are the best centerfielders in Dodger history come out like this (1) Duke Snider, (2) Matt Kemp, (3) Willie Davis. Who else is there?

RF: Ichiro Suzuki, Mariners
As many of you know, I’m a big softy, so hearing the story about how Jason Heyword chose #22 choked me up and places him comfortably next in line, when Ichiro fades away into the sunset. For now, however, we have not moved on from Ichiro; he is an all-time favorite. His defense is world class. Ichiro walks up to the batter’s box, and the din in the stadium changes. Flash bulbs start popping, and people pay attention. His precise steps and elegant balance only prepare the audience’s palette for that breathtaking speed. Ichiro is slower than he once was, but he’s still faster than most. The Hall of Fame will be a richer place upon Ichiro’s first ballot induction because of his respect for baseball history and unparalleled on-field production.

SP: Tim Lincecum, Giants
We have two favorite pitchers now: Lincecum and King Felix. Felix, is someone that I root for like a family member. It’s like baseball provides the best reality television, and we’ve been rooting for Felix for the last 5 or 6 years, since he was a teenager. Lincecum is a little different because he went to the University of Washington, and we never saw him pitch there. Still, we’ve liked him since before him ML debut, he’s the best right now, and his delivery, velocity, movement, and strikeouts make him a true sight to see.

RP: Jose Valverde, Tigers
I wouldn’t like his antics against my team in a big situation, but he seems harmless enough. I really just like his delivery, his fat belly, and the way he throws the ball right by people. I appreciate the chances we get to see Big Valverde pitch more than anyone because of the way he pitches, but I really want to point out what Jonathan Broxton is doing this season. He has pitched 18 and 2/3 innings, given up 16 hits, 3 runs, and 2 walks with 29 strikeouts. That’s Rolaids Relief Pitcher of the Year Award stuff right there. The fact that he’s been unlucky with a .404 BABIP against means that the Dodgers 9th-inning leads should be safe for the time being.

*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*

Readers, who are your most appreciated players? Let us know in the comments section.

Why We Don't Pay for Saves

We're going to try something different today. Below is a photographic exhibit of why we don't pay for saves.









Friday, May 21, 2010

Expecting Good Things, Brandon Morrow

We're not exactly expecting greatness yet, but we like what we're hearing about something clicking with Morrow after his teammate, Shaun Marcum, gave him a tip that helped him find his release point and feel more comfortable on the mound.

We can read Morrow’s take on the story in Yahoo's game recap:
Marcum noticed Morrow was collapsing on his back leg as he faced the Red Sox and pointed it out after the pitcher was pulled. Along with pitching coach Bruce Walton, they compared video to Morrow’s previous start, and the difference was immediately apparent.

“When I’m really bad mechanically, like I was in Boston, I have a tendency to break down on my back side and become really rotational and spin open,” Morrow said. “Today I was just a lot slower mechanically. To anybody who watched last week and this week, that was probably the biggest difference, staying tall with my body and slowing down my mechanics.”

The difference, Morrow said, was “like night and day.”

“From pitch one I knew things were better mechanically,” Morrow said. “I was able to get on a little bit of a roll and things seemed to be a lot better.”
Our favorite part is that "From pitch one..." reference. If something clicked, we want in.

Brandon Morrow's control has always been suspect, and he struck out 8 while walking only 1 last time out. He still throws very hard, in the mid to upper 90's. His strikeout numbers have been great, 54 strikeouts in 41 innings, and that means a lot for rotisserie. Blue Jay fans should be happy that their franchise, at the very least, has strong starting pitching. Their rotation is healthy with Marcum, Morrow, Ricky Romero, and Brett Cecil. Dana Eveland isn't horrible as a 5th starter, and they have excellent reserves in the minor leagues & disabled list with Mark Rzepczynski, Dustin McGowan, Scott Richmond, and Jesse Litsch.

We really like Rzepczynski, and McGowan was a phenom before suffering a difficult injury.

Brian Tallet is a decent swing man, between the rotation and bullpen. He reminds us of Glendon Rusch in 2004, except he looks more like a porn star and less like Corky from Life Goes On.

Jeeze, you know the Cubs are bad when one of their pitchers that I remember fondly from the past 10 years reminds me of Corky from Life Goes On.

Good luck tonight, Brandon Morrow.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Willkommen, Drew Storen

The not so big news from last night is the Nationals' decision to call up rookie relief pitcher, and #10 overall pick in the 2009 draft: Drew Storen. We've hinted at this guy's talents since last June, so regular readers know we're excited about him.

Our roto team, Good Friends, picked him up last night (dropping Frederic Lewis). We still believe Fred Lewis can be a productive rotisserie player this season, and the immediate future. We have to ability to start Storen, with Brad Lidge reassuming his position on the Disabled List. So, we decided to stick with our hitters with no bench, to get an extra power arm in the bullpen.

We expect Storen to help immediately with strikeouts, ERA, and WHIP. As many of you know, Tyler Clippard has surprisingly ganked seven (7) wins in the first 6 weeks of the season. He's not going to win 30 games, but I think that Storen might mature into the player that comes in when the game is on the line and the starter exits. Clippard's maturity and success, even dating back to a very nice 2009 campaign, may promote him exclusively to set-up duties, when the Nats already have the lead.

Of course, no-one is sure what these players' roles will be. Storen is being molded into the closer of the future, but than could mean 2011 or 2012. Reports say Manager, Jim Riggleman, and Pitching Coach, Steve McCatty (great name!), are going to "ease him in". That could mean that Riggs won't blow his arm out until next August.

We've always said that in fantasy sports, it is more fun to root for someone than have someone on your bench. Classic strategy for a league like ours says that relievers only have predictive value if they are in line for Saves. Poppycock, we say! Unless he is going to turn into this season's version of Andy Pratt, I think we're going to be fine with his peripheral stats. If not, we'll pick up one of the 75 RP's we ranked in this post.

Have a great week, everyone. There are no off days for any teams this week, so enjoy the action and Go Cubs!

Saturday, May 15, 2010

The Power/Speed Elite

The Bill James Power/Speed formula is 2*(HR*SB)/(HR+SB)

We looked through players' 2009 numbers and production from this young 2010 season, to come up with the best team made up of power/speed guys.

As if you needed another reason to like these guys, here is what we came up with. (If you think we've ommitted anyone important, please let us know.)

C: Russell Martin
1b: Albert Pujols
2b: Ian Kinsler
SS: Hanley Ramirez
3b: Mark Reynolds
LF: Ryan Braun
CF: Matt Kemp
RF: Nelson Cruz

Bench: Chase Utley, Jayson Werth, Carl Crawford, Justin Upton, Troy Tulowitzki, and Shin-Soo Choo.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Updated Relief Pitcher Rankings

For you fantasy baseball players out there...
  1. Mariano Rivera, NYY
  2. Jonathan Broxton, LAD
  3. Jonathan Papelbon, BOS
  4. Jose Valverde, DET
  5. Heath Bell, SD
  6. Joakim Soria, KC
  7. Francisco Rodriguez, NYM
  8. Carlos Marmol, CHC
  9. Francisco Cordero, CIN
  10. Brian Wilson, SF
  11. Andrew Bailey, OAK
  12. Billy Wagner, ATL
  13. Rafael Soriano, TB
  14. Ryan Franklin, STL
  15. David Aardsma, SEA
  16. Matt Capps, WAS
  17. Matt Lindstrom, HOU
  18. Kerry Wood, CLE
  19. Leo Nunez, FLA
  20. Jon Rauch, MIN
  21. Neftali Feliz, TEX
  22. Trevor Hoffman, MIL
  23. Kevin Gregg, TOR
  24. Octavio Dotel, PIT
  25. Huston Street, COL
  26. Chad Qualls, ARI
  27. Brian Fuentes, LAA
  28. Bobby Jenks, CHW
  29. Brad Lidge, PHI
  30. Joba Chamberlain, NYY*
  31. Matt Thornton, CHW
  32. Mike Gonzalez, BAL
  33. Alfredo Simon, BAL*
  34. Jose Contreras, PHI*
  35. Manuel Corpas, COL
  36. Carlos Zambrano, CHC*
  37. J.J. Putz, CHW
  38. Frank Francisco, TEX
  39. Fernando Rodney, LAA
  40. Evan Meek, PIT
  41. Mike Adams, SD
  42. Joel Zumaya, DET
  43. Daniel Bard, BOS
  44. Luke Gregerson, SD
  45. Sergio Santos, CHW
  46. Todd Coffey, MIL
  47. Chris Perez, CLE
  48. Tyler Clippard, WAS
  49. Michael Wuertz, OAK
  50. Edward Mujica, SD
  51. Jeremy Affeldt, SF
  52. Arthur Rhodes, CIN
  53. Jason Frasor, TOR
  54. George Sherrill, LAD
  55. Grant Balfour, TB
  56. Ryan Perry, DET
  57. Matt Guerrier, MIN
  58. LaTroy Hawkins, MIL
  59. Kyle McClellan, STL
  60. Franklin Morales, COL
  61. Alfredo Aceves, NYY
  62. Sergio Romo, SF
  63. Takashi Saito, ATL
  64. Brandon Lyon, HOU
  65. J.C. Romero, PHI
  66. Jason Motte, STL
  67. Hisanori Takahashi, NYM
  68. Ramon Troncoso, LAD
  69. Esmailin Caridad, CHC
  70. Dan Meyer, FLA
  71. Tony Sipp, CLE
  72. Renyel Pinto, FLA
  73. Dan Wheeler, TB
  74. Juan Gutierrez, ARI
  75. Sean Marshall, CHC*
*denotes player should have SP eligibility.

Get Well Soon, Juan Cruz

Yesterday, Buster Olney tweeted the news that Juan Cruz is having season-ending surgery.

Upon further tweeting by Mr. Olney, we discover that due to a cyst in his shoulder, he''s having that cleaned up and should be ready for winter ball.

Tim Dierkes concludes that this "explains why the Royals gave up on him after five appearances this year and he did not sign elsewhere after his release."

Get well soon, Juan Cruz. May we be the first to suggest that you skip Winter Ball all together to rest up for the 2011 season and beyond. Also, we suggest you sign with the Cubs.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Working Some Trades

This post sprung from a chain of emails that started with our good friend, Mulhearn, emailing me the following:
"What was more impress last night. Dice-K pitching 3 hit ball with no walkers, or the Celtics destroying the Cavs last night"?
With that, folks, we conclude the NBA-talk portion of today's blog post.

I responded with one word: "Daisuke".

In one of my proceeding messages in the chain, I asked for Mulhearn's suggestion with a roster issue we've been navigating in rotisserie baseball. Upon sending the email, it became clear that this was a time to share some of our problems with the blogosphere.

The following is an adaptation of my email...

...Incidentally, [Dice-K] is on our Good Friends roto team. We dropped him and picked him back up in between these past two starts. We were going to drop him last night for a new player*, but he pitched so well that we kept him. We have too many pitchers, but no-one will trade with us.

*We wound up dropping J.J. Putz to pick up Jose Contreras.

Starting Pitchers on our current roster:

Tim Lincecum
King Felix
Tommy Hanson
Gio Gonzalez
Daisuke Matsuzaka
Mat Latos
Mike Leake
Aroldis Chapman
Stephen Strasburg

We're not sure what to do because we don't want to drop any of these guys. We don't want to trade Lincecum or Felix, and we can't find any trades for the rest of them.

I'm sure Mike Leake will have poor starts in the future; you know, regression to the mean, unsustainable WHIP's, and all that. So, we'll be benching him against good teams. In order to not fly past our innings limit, we will have to occasionally start Leake, Latos, Gonzalez, and maybe Chapman. In the coming week, for instance, we will be benching Gio @ Texas (today), Leake vs St Louis, and Dice-K @ Yankees.

Since you've made it this far, loyal reader, we reward with the same inquisition: What kind of trade targets should we look for in an OBP league, if we want to trade some of these pitchers for hitters that can help with any categories and play any position except catcher?

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Belated Players of the Month

We wanted to get this post out over a week ago and even avoided news of who was actually selected as MLB Players of the Month for April.

Based on our recollections and brief look at last month's stats, here are some under appreciated awards from the BAseball Reality Tour.

American League Player of the Month of April
Robinson Cano, 2b, Yankees
Slash numbers of .400/.436/.765 would look even better if he had the patience to take a few more walks. It’s not really his fault. He’s got a sweet swing, and he likes to use it. As they say in San Pedro de Macoris, “You don’t walk off the island.” (Of course, they say it in Spanish.) The meaning is that you have to hit your way off the island. Pro scouts want to see you square the ball. Moreso, they want to see a prospect have strong hands, a quick bat, good bat control, plate coverage, fluid mechanics, and a propensity to have the head of the bat in the strike zone for a long time, while maintaining bat speed. That’s just in the batter’s box. Of course, there are other tools that are important, like speed, fielding, and throwing, but hitting is what transcends position players above the amateur ranks.

Cano’s swing is majestic. As a very young player, old-timers made comparisons to Rod Carew. He may not wind up with the career success that makes Carew an All Time Great, but he does have a quick, balanced lefty swing. And, he plays half of his games in a paradise for left-handed hitters.

National League Player of the Month of April
Ubaldo Jimenez, SP, Rockies

Our favorite Rockies’ starter is putting up Stephen Strasburg double-A numbers in the National League. I think he had another great start against Dick Enberg’s Padres on May 3rd, but his April numbers are near perfect. As Dick Enberg pointed out in the broadcast, Yorvit Torrealba is the only guy who seems to drive in runs against the Big U.

Oh man, I was about to take off with tangential comments about "biggest surprises" and the players of the week, for the 1st week of May. To compensate for the tardiness of this post, we wanted to showcase a few extra players. Unfortunately, I am falling asleep at my keyboard, so it'll have to wait 'till ASAP.

Looking Ahead, Along the Way

Due to our recent silence, it's going to be a busy next few days here on the ol' blog.

I was going to do one long, rambling Clearing the Notebook column covering a myriad of topics, but instead think it'll work best to keep some of these ideas as separate pieces.

A preview of things to come...

- Players of the Month/Week
- The Young & the Old of May 7th
- Stadium Rankings
- The Cubs 2011 First Baseman will be...
- Checking the Temp of the Rotisserie

Well, I just don't feel right with a post that contains no new information, opinions, or even a potential punchline.

So, I visited the old stand-by for conversation starters: the standings. After looking at where the teams stand after approximately 30 games, and considering the action we've seen on TV, at CitiField, and imagined from box scores this season, we currently feel the 2010 Playoff teams will be:

AL: Yankees, Twins, Rangers, & Rays
NL: Cardinals, Phillies, Giants, & Rockies

As most people are beginning to learn, the playoffs are a crap shoot. I'm feeling unseasonably confident right now in these being the playoff teams. Have a great Saturday & try to enjoy some games!