Tag Archive | "Bryce"

I’m in Dead Last Place – An Ode to Stephen Strasburg

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I’m in Dead Last Place – An Ode to Stephen Strasburg

Posted on 26 April 2013 by Trish Vignola

Stephen Strasburg is killing me. Seriously. He is 1 and 4. I traded Ryan Braun for him and Josh Hamilton (another sore subject for me). Man, can I pick ‘em? I guarantee if anyone else had him in my league, he would be 4 and 1 right now.


For everyone who currently has Strasburg on his or her team, I’m sorry. This start is atrocious. It’s my fault. Need I bring up Joey Votto-Gate of 2012?

There are positives if you squint hard enough. Strasburg did have a decent outing. He struck out seven, had one walk and threw six scoreless after allowing three in the first. However, this means nothing when you are sucking wind in wins! The Nationals only gave him one run of support for the third straight game. The club has yet to score over three runs in any of his starts. Really, Bryce Harper?

Strasburg’s overall numbers are fine. He has a 3.16 ERA and a 3.33 FIP through Wednesday’s action. However, he needs wins! I’m in dead last place. CBSSports.com claims that it’s “only a matter of time” before the Nationals’ team puts some runs on the board for him. What is your definition of time? Can we bend it at this point? Did I mention I’m in dead last place?

The Washington Post doesn’t put all of the blame on the Nationals for Strasburg’s faltering. They point out that on a whole, Strasburg’s first pitch strike percentage has fallen. In 2011, Strasburg threw first-pitch strikes 71.6 percent of the time. That was the highest in baseball. The Washington Post talks about Strasburg carrying over his “challenge” mentality from college. There is no doubt that Strasburg put (and probably still puts) fear of shame into hitters. Last year, he threw 62.3 percent. That was still 34th among starters, but he was coming back from injury. Nevertheless, as of yesterday, he was down to 56.2 percent first strikes for the season. That makes him 84th among 107 starters. I’m in last place!

Strasburg fell behind four of the first five Cards hitters. He had to throw strikes on the hitter’s terms at that point. The game was lost before it began. Now, the Washington Post doesn’t deny that the Nationals are in a slump. Nonetheless, they note “the worst thing a team in a hitting slump can endure is an early deficit before it even gets to bat.”

CBSSports.com reports that Strasburg’s overall power ranking is 59. Yes, that’s up from last week. However, CBSSports.com predicted that he should really be somewhere in the higher 50s. Please note that as of this moment, Zack Greinke currently has a higher power ranking then Strasburg. He’s on the Disabled List and still has a higher power ranking than Stephen Strasburg. Last place = me.

To be fair, Strasburg hasn’t given me less than 10 points each week. However, he hasn’t come anywhere near the 24 points he allotted me in the first week. I understand that Strasburg is used to a shorted season but it’s definitely longer than one week. I’m in last place! I’m sure that the Nationals’ bats will awaken and Strasburg’s numbers will improve. However, for long-term success, Strasburg needs to start throwing first pitch strikes. If he doesn’t, I don’t think there is much further I can go then dead last place.

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Believe It Or Not

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Believe It Or Not

Posted on 27 February 2013 by Will Emerson

That’s right folks, it’s time for a bit of “Believe it or not?”! Excited? No? What’s that? You have no idea what ”Believe it or not?” is, exactly. Oh. Well, then allow me to elaborate here.

“Believe or not?” is when I take at a look at some numbers from last season and see if I believe them or…..not. Not, people. I really thought you would get that. Anyways, what I have done is picked a few pitchers to look at and see if we should believe in their 2012 numbers. So, away we go!

Wade Miley

First up is Wade Miley. Mr. Miley actually could have won the National League Rookie of the Year Award had it not been for that no-name, out of nowhere Bryce Harper. Of course that could also speak to the weak rookie class outside of Miley, Harper and Todd Frazier. Nevertheless Miley was very solid, going 16-11, with an ERA of 3.33 and a WHIP of 1.18. Not too shabby, right? You’re darned tootin’, right. Miley is by no means an ace and no one seems to think he is either, as evidenced by his general preseason ranking in the 90s. So let’s say you’re in a 12 team fantasy league, Miley barely ranks as rosterable. Is rosterable a word? Ah, no matter. According to RotoChamp, Miley was just inside the top 25 fantasy starting picthers last season, so his current rank and general draft positions seem to show that know one believes in Miley’s 2012. But should they? Well outside of the those superficial numbers you’ve already seen, let’s look into some other numbers. Miley posted an xFIP of 3.75, which points to a good ol’ regression in ERA.  Well, if that doesn’t, that 6.66 K/9 combined with a 43.3 ground ball rate certainly should. Wins are obviously a crapshoot, but with that low amount of Ks and lowish amount of groundballs, in a hitter’s park, nonetheless, that WHIP and ERA are sure to shoot on upward. So I would tend to agree with the masses in the case of Wade Miley and say that I do not believe in his 2012 numbers.

Next up is Reds “ace” Johnny Cueto. Ya see how I put ace in quotation marks? Looking at Cueto’s 2012 numbers, he was ace-like. He was 19-9, with an ERA of 2.78 and a WHIP of 1.17. Dems right there are Cy Young type numbers. Based on Cueto’s 2011 numbers, it does not appear the 2012 numbers were completely out of nowhere. In 2011 Cueto was 9-5 with an ERA of 2.31 and a WHIP of 1.09, so the 2012 numbers were not completely unprecedented, although you will notice the slight increase in ERA and WHIP. However, while those numbers are great and all, he also posted a 3.90 xFIP in ’11 and a 3.65 xFIP ’12, well above his ERAs for those respective seasons. Cueto’s ERA and WHIP are due for a sizeable regression and with a career K/9 under seven, I don’t see him being a top 20 fantasy pitcher in 2013. So I guess I am saying I do not believe in Cueto’s 2011 or 2012 numbers. I’m not saying that he will be a flop in ’13, but I tnink he should be drafted as a three or four SP, instead of a one or two, which is where it appears he is being taken in early fantasy drafts.

Next up, we have former Cy Young Award winner, Timmy Lincecum. Lincecum had, without a doubt, his worst season in the majors, in 2012. An ERA over 5?! What?! That’s right the former Cy Young Award winner who posted a sub three ERA in 2011 had an ERA over five in 2012. However, his xFIP was 3.82 which is not great, but much, much, much better than his actual ERA. Plus, he still posted a K/9 over nine, so he was still striking guys out in 2012. The biggest problem for Lincecum in 2012 were walks and the longball. Lincecum had a 4.35 BB/9 and a HR/FB of 14.6%. Timmy’s fly ball rate was about the same as it has been over the past few seasons, but when batters were putting balls in the air against Lincecum in 2012 they were putting them over the fence at almost twice of his 2011 rate. Now there was a slight increase in hard hit balls for Lincecum, so expecting the Cy Young Award winning Tim Lincecum to show up in 2013 may be a bit of a stretch, but I would say you can expect much better than 2012. So when it comes to Lincecum’s 2012 numbers, I would say I do not believe in them that much. You will see a stat line in the middle of Lincecum’s 2011 and 2012 numbers.

So there ya have it kids. What did we learn this week? Well with regards to these three pitchers, I guess I don’t believe in any of their 2012 numbers. Maybe I should have just called this article, “Three Pitchers Whose 2012 Numbers I Just Plain Don’t Believe In”? Eh, seems a bit wordy, don’t ya think? Anyways, to be fair, it’s not like I was being all negative in my disbelief, right? I did not believe in Lincecum’s 2012 numbers, but in a good way. Unlike with Miley and Cueto, I do believe Lincecum’s numbers will improve over his 2012 campaign. So for now, take a tip from Journey and don’t stop believin’. Or, I guess, based on this post, don’t start believin’?

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3 Up and 3 Down

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3 Up and 3 Down

Posted on 20 September 2012 by Gary Marchese

3 Up and 3 Down:

Here is my weekly 3 up and 3 down column.  You can reach me at gmarchesej@aol.com through email, @gmarchesej through twitter and on facebook.  You can also comment under this article and as always thanks for reading my column and the sites in general.  I feel that this is a great site and everyone does very good work.

Up: Alex Rodriguez

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Alex Rodriguez was on the DL with a broken hand.  His absence definitely hurt the Yankees.  Rodriguez in his last 18 games has hit safely in 17 of them.  He is batting 329 with four homeruns and 12 RBI.  He has an RBI in every game except one since he came back.

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Snooki finds something new to dumb down …. The New York Mets

Posted on 30 August 2012 by Trish Vignola

Before she was a reality TV star. Before she became a famous one-name celebrity. She was a Mets fan. Of course, I’m talking about Snooki.

Why is she famous again? Ugh.

As a little girl, Nicole Polizzi, now known as “Snooki,” learned baseball from her Mets’ loving grandfather. Like any family, the love of baseball is inherited. Because her grandfather was a Mets fan, Snooki became a Mets fan.

Like the Mets didn’t have it hard enough.

The Polizzi allegiance to orange and blue was apparent during a recent appearance at Citi Field. Decked out in Mets gear, Snooki tried her hand at broadcasting an inning of a game with the Nationals.

Sigh. To think I went to college and I can’t get anyone to view my tape.

Accompanied by her fiancée, Jionni LaValle, Snooki joined MLB.com’s Jeremy Brisiel to call an inning from the Citi Field broadcast booth. The broadcast was a part of a new MLB.com venture called “Expressed Written Consent.” The goal is to bring nontraditional broadcasters into the booth.


I’m a big advocate of almost everything Major League Baseball has been doing to expand the game and its community. I’m even ok with presenting fresh takes to the game in the booth. However, to have a woman made famous for getting publically drunk at Seaside Heights call a professional baseball game? Again, Why?

To their credit, Snooki and Jionni approached their inexperience as broadcasters with a touch of humor. They laughed at themselves for not knowing exactly how to fill airtime between pitches or exactly how to call an opponent’s home run. That got old quick.

The moment most quoted for its cringe worthiness was Bryce Harper‘s two-run homer early in the game:

“Why are they clapping?” Snooki said. “Throw some French fries at him.”

“This kid’s unbelievable,” LaValle responded. “I’m five years older than the kid and he’s hitting home runs at Citi Field.”

Snooki retorted with “What a jerk.” Oy. Broadcasting is not her forte…obviously.

To her credit, if there is one thing we’ve learned about Snooki, it’s that she’s not afraid to take on new ventures. Her “Jersey Shore” spinoff with fellow Shore-ite, Jenni Farley, “Snooki & JWoww,” premiered on June 21. A second season was confirmed earlier this month. She also recently released her third novel, “Gorilla Beach.”

Who knew she could read? My bad.

When approached to call an inning from the booth, I guess it makes sense that Snooki would embrace the opportunity.

It’s the person who invited her we need to have a long talk with.

Other pearls of wisdom included:

“What do you think they say to each other when they huddle up like that?” she asked during a mound meeting. “Like, ‘Start playing baseball.’”

“Start throwing strikes?” LaValle guessed. “Keep your head up.”

Um. Ok. Don’t even get me started on their play-by-play:

“Foul ball back, out of play,” LaValle said.

“There’s a little kid running on the field,” Snooki offered.

“That’s the ballboy,” LaValle said.


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In Focus: NL Rookie of the Year Candidates

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In Focus: NL Rookie of the Year Candidates

Posted on 28 August 2012 by Dennis Lawson

Wade Miley

If you want a good idea of which NL Rookie has the highest Q Score, then you probably have not watched much baseball this season.  Media darling Bryce Harper has absolutely owned the spotlight for much of the year as the RoY front runner.  Has he lived up to the hype, or has another rookie given him a legitimate run for the award?

Bryce Harper (Nationals OF, age 19) – .248/.320/.412/.732, 18 doubles, 6 triples, 12 home runs, 37 rbi, 98 OPS+, 2.1 WAR in 104 games.

Kirk Nieuwenhuis (Mets OF, age 25) – .252/.315/.376/.691, 12 doubles, 1 triple, 7 home runs, 28 rbi, 91 OPS+, -0.1 WAR in 91 games.

Wilin Rosario (Rockies C, age 23) – .245/.292/.516/.809, 15 doubles, 20 home runs, 51 rbi, 100 OPS+, 1.1 WAR in 86 games.

Wade Miley (Diamondbacks P, age 25) – 14-8, 2.80 ERA, 151.0 IP, 154 ERA+, 1.106 WHIP, and 3.8 WAR in 25 appearances.

Zack Cozart (Reds SS, age 27) - .247/.290/.406/.696, 31 doubles, 3 triples, 14 home runs, 30 rbi, 82 OPS+, 2.1 WAR in 121 games.

Todd Frazier (Reds 3B/1B/OF, age 26) – .293/.354/.550/.904, 21 doubles, 5 triples, 18 home runs, 60 rbi, 134 OPS+, 2.0 WAR in 101 games.

With just a quick glance at the raw numbers, Nieuwenhuis and Rosario drop out immediately.  Nieuwenhuis simply lacks the overall production the rest of candidates have generated, and he hasn’t shown an impressive amount of power or defensive prowess.  He does not cover a spectacular amount of ground, and he does not possess a particularly strong throwing arm, either.  He may very well be a very solid corner outfielder who eventually grows into more of a power bat for the Mets, but right now he falls short of the other players on the list.

Granted, Rosario plays the toughest position on the field, and he does so pretty well.  If RoY voters take that into consideration, then maybe he makes the top 3.  He also needs to change the perception that every Rockies player benefits significantly from inflated numbers due to Coors Field.  In truth, Rosario splits .237/.289/.520/.809 at home and .256/.296/.512/.808 on the road.  Rosario’s defense could very well be undervalued by voters, but I’m sure his teammates in Colorado appreciate it.  That still will not be enough to make him a top 3 candidate, but he at least deserves to have his named mentioned on most short lists.

Frazier has the distinction of being a great rookie and not even being considered the best rookie on his own team.  That speaks volumes about the young talent on the Cincinnati roster.  He has all the makings of a legitimate major league hitter, although his defense could use some work.  The lack of great glove work may be explained by his ability to play multiple positions.  In fairness, he probably spends too much time getting work at multiple infield positions and in the outfield as opposed to concentrating on 1 spot.  The 2.5 oWAR indicates that his bat will earn him playing time, and his defensive flexibility does not hurt at all.  If he can improve his defense at a specific position, he has the makings of an All-Star.

At this very moment, Bryce Harper finishes in 3rd place, but that should not be considered a knock on Harper.  If you take age into consideration, he wins the award running away.  To be honest, I think voters will use age as a factor, and that will push him to the front by the end.  His numbers at age 19 put him in elite company in terms of what he can do with a bat.  He has tremendous raw skills that helped get him to the big leagues.  What he does to refine those skills should keep him there for a long time.  That still does not mean he’s the best “rookie” in the NL.

If the RoY award was limited to position players, Cozart would have probably have to consider making room for a new trophy on his shelf.  Defensively, he plays SS about as well as someone can play the position.  Among qualifying shortstops, he ranks 3rd with 7.4 UZR/150 (per Fangraphs).  Offensively, he has basically equaled Bryce Harper, but his slightly better defense at a more important defensive position gives Cozart a distinct advantage.

Unfortunately for Cozart and company, Wade Miley has been pitching like a machine out in the desert.  He stands 5th in the NL in ERA, 6th in wins, 6th in WHIP, 9th in SO/BB, and 2nd in ERA+.  Forget just the RoY, those rankings make him a top 5 Cy Young candidate as well.  Unless he falls apart down the stretch or voters hold his 40.0 IP in 2011 against him, Miley stands out just a bit above the rest at this point.

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