Thursday, June 30, 2011

Happy 83rd Birthday, Yo-Yo

Pompeyo "Yo-Yo" Davalillo was born in the oil producing town of Cabimas, Venezuela 83 years ago today. He was 8 years old when his brother, Vic, was born in the more agricultural and picturesque Churuguara. Vic Davalillo would go on to play 16 seasons, with 6 teams in the Big Leagues.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Looking for Arms?

The last time we publicly looked for arms, we used our 12-team H2H league as a case study and concluded with the decision to stick with Marc Rzepczynski. He didnn't last long on the team and turned into Carlos Carrasco, who has been outstanding.

After the jump are five under-owned options, and one over-owned player to avoid.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Respecting Honus Wagner

One hundred years ago, Honus Wagner was a 37-year old shortstop on the Pittsburgh Pirates. He would still be very productive for a couple of more years. No doubt the Yankees are hoping their 37-year old shortstop, Derek Jeter, can raise and maintain his production level for the next 2+ seasons.

People who pass away go on living when those who remain remember them. The following is our sincere expression of high regard for man they used to call The Flying Dutchman.

Darvish vs. Murton 2011

Nothing says "Saturday Night" like two-week old video from a Japanese baseball game. The following shows the promising Yu Darvish facing the established Matt Murton. Enjoy.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Kemp and Lopes 20/20 First Half

Earlier today, I tumbl'd this tweet from @STATS_MLB:
Matt Kemp joined Davey Lopes (1979) as only #Dodgers w/ 20HR & 20 SB before All-Star break since team moved to LA in 1958. #MLB
I was 8 when rooting for this guy
Kemp has been a favorite of mine for years, and Lopes was one of my favorite Cubs as a child, in the mid-80’s. He stole bases and seemed pretty cool. Who knew he ever had that kind of power?

I never thought Davey Lopes hit 20 HR's in a single season. In 1979, he finished with 28 HR's, 44 SB's, a .265/.372/.465 triple-slash line, and a 128 OPS+. Reinforcing my affinity as a child, in 1986, before the Cubs traded him for the cult classic, Frank DiPino, Lopes hit .299/.419/.490, with a 144 OPS+.

Matt Kemp is a completely different athletic specimen. Davey Lopes was listed at 5'9' 170 lbs, Kemp is 6'3" 217 lbs.

"I was born in East Providence!"
Kemp, naturally, has shown more power, as demonstrated by plate appearances per Home Run:

Davey Lopes: 47 PA/HR
Matt Kemp: 26 PA/HR

Neither player gained a big advantage from their defense, and their avWAR per 600 plate appearances are almost identical:

Davey Lopes: 3.5
Matt Kemp: 3.4

Now, we'd like to see Matt Kemp compete with Davey Lopes's old mustache. That would be something.

Monday, June 20, 2011

McCourt Lifestyle: "Put it on the Underhill's"

From Larry Behrendt’s awesome work, sharing the inside scoop on the Dodgers debacle...
There is no doubt: Commissioner Selig should reject the Dodgers-Fox contract, seize control of the Dodgers, and sell the team to a responsible owner who will (with the grateful help of millions of my fellow left coasters) restore the team to its former greatness. Selig must act to prevent Frank McCourt from continuing to plunder the team. Selig must act before the team is saddled with even greater debt, while the team’s reputation can still be salvaged and the team is still marketable to a worthy owner.
Click image to enlarge
The Dodgers team is owned by a company called TeamCo, which in turn is owned by four other companies, the last of which is owned by Frank McCourt. If you follow a different branch of the enterprise tree, you’ll find Blue LandCo, the company that owns the Dodger Stadium parking lots. Blue LandCo owns these parking lots because McCourt caused the Dodgers to give these parking lots to Blue LandCo. The Dodgers got nothing for this give-away, but they now pay anywhere from $6 million to $9 million a year in rent for these parking lots. With this rental stream as security, McCourt was able to borrow somewhere between $60 million and $70 million through Blue LandCo, most of which went to “fund the lifestyle” of the McCourts.
There is more juicy stuff before and after those snippets. If you're at all interested, take some time to enjoy the entire post.

Feel free to also check out what I'm willing to guess is one of Frank McCourt's favorite comedy movie exchanges (only :34 sec)

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Cubs Outfield Defense, Misnomer

Photo by Bob Busser
In the shadowy right-field corner of Wrigley Field, Jeff Baker tepidly reached out with his glove for a high flyball off the bat of Mark Teixeira. Since there is next-to-no foul territory in the outfield corners, the ball landed fair and Teixeira cruised into 2nd base.

The atrociousness of the Cubs' 2011 season has provided me a sense of numbness. Since I can't really take this team's competitiveness seriously, I've reached the enlightenment of temporary apathy. Sure, there are some players to cheer for, and games within the game to root along, but my heart isn't out there to get crushed when the Cubs don't pull it off in the end. My sincerest hope is that they have at least ONE good trade of a veteran for prospect(s), and my heart is once again filled with hope next season.

Feeling a sense of, 'oh well those are the 2011 Cubs', I was ready to let Teixeira's free double go, ready to give Jeff Baker a break. He's versatile and was just moved out to that position that inning, in fact. But, something happened on the way to nirvana.

One batter after Teixeira's free double, allow me to rephrase: THE VERY NEXT BATTER, Alex Rodriguez lifts a towering flyball to left-center field. It appears, by the Cubs outfielders' body language that it will land in the first couple of rows of the bleachers. As the ball begins its descent, the body language of the fans appear to indicate the ball will land in the basket. To just about everyone's surprise, the ball lands on the field, at the base of the wall. The left fielder, Alfonso Soriano, should have had it. He's terrible with the glove. Reed Johnson, from Centerfield, lamely raised his hands after the ball landed as if to say the ball was buried in the ivy. He quickly gave up those efforts and threw the ball back in after it was clearly sitting at the base of the wall. Reed has actually had a great series, season, and even an albeit limited Cubs' career.

Kal Daniels was different in LF
This is definitely the worst outfield defense I've seen since the Cubs trotted Kal Daniels out to left field in 1992.

It could be the worst they've had in my lifetime.

So, how about those Bears?

Go Bears

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Cheryl Miller Looks Like...

The SATs were a month or two ago, I think. For all the young adults out there who've been thinking about this stuff, here's something: Cheryl Miller is to Lois Einhorn as Chris Rock is to Mr. Finkel. Finkel is Einhorn. From where I'm sitting, Cheryl Miller is Chris Rock in this photo with, her brother, Reggie Miller.

"I love you, man."

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Time to Shine: Andrew Miller

Earlier today, we started hearing whispers and rumblings that Andrew Miller was going to get called up. He has a contract clause allowing him to opt-out of his deal if he's not in the Majors by June 15th. What we don't know is in what capacity he'll be used.

I wanted to get excited about him for fantasy; he had good results the last two times out. Still, that was too small of a sample to do anything. After taking a peek at this blog post from the Boston Globe's esteemed Peter Abraham, we pulled the trigger and added Andrew Miller to our fantasy team staff.

The post is worth a read, but the main selling points for us were:
In his last five starts, Miller has allowed seven earned runs over 30.1 innings with seven walks and 30 strikeouts.

Miller went 5.1 innings against Charlotte tonight, allowing one run on five hits with one walk and 10 strikeouts. He has a 2.47 earned run average this season.

According to the source, the Sox are planning to start Miller against the San Diego Padres next week
We have always said that big lefties take longer to figure it out. Although Andrew failed on our fantasy team in the past, that was our fault; he wasn't ready. He has our full confidence.

No pressure, Andrew, we're all counting on you.

Cuban Preselections

This is an exciting time for über cyber-scouts out there, especially when talking about the difficult to chronicle Cuban talent. Courtesy of a website called "CUBADEBATE. Contra el Terrorismo Mediático: Círculo de Periodistas Cubanos contra el Terrorismo", we have the announcement of their preselected players for tournaments this Winter.

I'll try to translate, which I haven't done since AP Spanish.

Apparently, these 92 ball players are competing to make the Cuban roster for the 2011 IBF World Cup Games in Panama and the 2011 Pan-Am Games in Guadalajara.

2017 Future Star: Daniel Vogelbach

Yesterday, we took a brief look at the Cubs' 2nd Round selection from the June Draft: Dan Vogelbach.

He's still just an unsigned amateur, and may end up accepting a scholarship from the University of Florida if the Cubs do not meet his asking price, which could be in the neighborhood of a $1,000,000 signing bonus.

In this article from, Craig Handel writes:
The Cubs did consider taking him with the ninth pick in the first round, they said.
-- snip --
Vogelbach said, "The Red Sox and Rays were interested as well."

Before pick No. 68, teams asked the Vogelbachs if they'd lower their signing bonus figure. The family said no.

"We made a decision of what it would be worth not to go to college," said father Dan Vogelbach, whose son received a scholarship to attend the University of Florida. "We were not going to deviate, so we agreed not to go lower."

Before the draft, the Vogelbachs wrote down the bonus amount they wanted, sent it to the Major League Scouting Bureau and asked that it be given to every team.

Dan Vogelbach said what they asked for is a little higher than what past picks at No. 68 averaged. Those ranged from $477,000 to $1.1 million the past five years.

"Four teams said it was an extremely fair number," Dan Vogelbach said.
Due to his very large size, comparison's to Milwaukee's Prince Fielder have been common. It is almost irresponsible to compare high school statistics, since they are small sample sizes against varying competition, and in potentially starkly different environments. Of course, that's never stopped us before. Here are their numbers from High School Senior Year...

Prince Fielder (2002): .524 BA, 13 Doubles, 10 HR
Dan Vogelbach (2011): .467/.571/1.239, 6 Doubles, 19 HR

This link contains a scouting report from the 2011 World Showcase this January:
Daniel Vogelbach is a 2011 1B/OF with a 5-11 280 lb. frame from N. Ft. Myers, FL who attends Bishop Verot HS. Extremely strong build, has lost weight and looks great. Short simple swing mechanics, outstanding bat speed, ball jumps hard on contact, different sound than other hitters this age, easy plus power to all fields, hit one 400' feet to LCF in batting practice, very confident in his ability to hit.
David Rawnsley's draft report in the same links states:
Vogelbach is enormously strong, and along with his loose, easy wrists generates outstanding bat speed from the left side of the plate. Another factor that makes Vogelbach unique in the scouting community is that it is almost easier to break down his mental approach to hitting, rather than his physical approach, especially after granting him his raw strength and bat speed. The young man eats, sleeps and breathes swinging a bat, and is an exceptionally-confident hitter who doesn’t believe that any pitcher should ever get him out.
It sounds like he will likely sign with the Cubs. This kid weighed over 280 lbs a couple of years ago, worked very hard to lose weight, raising his draft stock, and is likely looking to cash in. If you subject his body to three years of college (the minimum before he's eligible for another draft), he could very well gain a Freshman Fifteen each year. Would he go in the top 68 picks in 2014, if he weighs 280-290 lbs? That is literally a huge risk.

Of course, it's a risk the Cubs would be taking by using their 2nd Round pick on him and potentially investing close to a million dollars that his body continues to improve, rather than the alternative. All told, I hope he does sign with the Northsiders. Perhaps, he'll be part of something special for the Northsiders in about 5 or 6 years, but I'd settle for him being part of a special trade in about 3 seasons.

We shared this slide show on tumblr yesterday, but since many of you stay here for your dose, we included the images after the jump, too:

Monday, June 13, 2011

Have You Seen Dan Vogelbach?

Chicago Cubs 2nd Round pick, Dan Vogelbach, is an 18-year old first baseman from Bishop Verot High School in Florida.

Looking at the MLB site of the Cubs' Draft, we see Vogelbach is listed at 250 lbs, and he won't turn 19 until December. Holy Cow.

Keith Law's concise write up (sub req'd) states:
"Dan Vogelbach will be a fan favorite ("Heavy D" seems to be the obvious nickname) if he makes it to the majors as a super-sized left-handed hitter with power to match and no defensive value whatsoever."
Avoiding stats for the moment, check this out...

Our tumblr will soon host a photo tribute to MLB's new Heavy D.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Love and Baseball

For all you youngsters out there, this is the only way it's acceptable to propose at a ballgame...


As Harry Caray would say, "Ah, young love."

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

My Own Private Mississippi

This was an interesting weekend. One of my best friends, Colonel Mustard, visited with his lady-friend, Honey Mustard, on Friday night. We went to an outstanding new Thomas Keller restaurant in the Lower East Side called CO-OP Food and Drink. It's really a tasty dining experience. I'm not real friends with Keith Law, but he reads routinely checks his inbox. I should probably recommend Co-Op to him for the next time he's in New York.

On Saturday morning, I drove to the Lehigh River, in the Poconos*, which oddly reminds me...

*Early memory: watching 'The Newlywed Game' (or worse), and someone won a trip to the Poconos. I was about 10 years old, or so, at the time, and thought the Poconos sounded exotic, like Tahiti. So, I thought that was an exotic prize. Looking back now? Please, I'd rather be in Lake Geneva, Wisconsin.

Anyway, one of those odd things that sticks with you is what the weirdo announcer said something like "You can't pick your nose in the Poconos." I think it's because one of the questions in the game was something about an embarrassing habit, or something, and the guy admitted to picking his nose a lot.

Regardless, what a mundane thing to never forget. Twenty years later and I'm still scarred. We should come up with a list of the ten dullest things we've remembered for at least 12 years.

We can discuss the rest of Memorial Day 2011 another time. Quickly, the reason we're here tonight is to amend our Happy Birthday post to Bob Dylan from last week. I listed my 100 favorite Dylan songs but failed to mention Mississippi.

No excuses, just sorry, it should be in the Top 25 area... Again, here's a link to our Top 100. Well, maybe we should take it easy with the apologies. I mean, it's not like Dylan's Mississippi is an all-time favorite of millions of fans. It's a more recent song, from Love and Theft. He has played it live, as the video below will show, but the official Dylan website says he's never played it live.

Please enjoy at your leisure, lyrics after the jump...

Drop the Kid, Take the Cannoli

One line that has always stayed with me is oddly lovable and disarming Clemenza's "Leave the gun, take the cannoli."

The following video is not at all reminiscent of any moments in The Godfather, but non sequitur seem to be all the rage this year.

It's actually a terrible father dropping his kid to drop a foul ball.

The Dodgers are having a dreadful year.