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25 Random Thoughts on Baseball

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25 Random Thoughts on Baseball

Posted on 24 August 2012 by Chris Caylor

Random thoughts are fun. Baseball is fun. Put the two together and you get 25 Random Thoughts on Baseball!

1) I get that Red Sox management is upset that only four players on the current roster attended Johnny Pesky’s funeral, but from what I’ve read, many of the other players were attending a charity bowling function sponsored by Josh Beckett. It’s not like they were playing golf or at the shooting range. Only in Boston does this become such hysteria.

2) In any event, I continue to enjoy the hell out of this hideous season Boston is experiencing. All we need now is for Toronto to move up and dump the Dead Sox into last place. Hurry back, Joey Bats.

3) As terrible as the Astros are now – and make no mistake, they’re a traveling Keystone Kops routine some nights – with Jeff Luhnow as the GM, they’re in good hands. The Cardinals’ farm system was never considered one of the best while he was in charge of it, but look at all the homegrown players contributing to the Cards this season:

Allen Craig
Barret Browning
Daniel Descalso
David Freese
Fernando Salas
Jaime Garcia
Jason Motte
Joe Kelly
Jon Jay
Lance Lynn
Maikel Cleto
Matt Adams (injured)
Matt Carpenter
Ryan Jackson
Shane Robinson
Tony Cruz
Trevor Rosenthal
Tyler Greene (since traded to Houston)

Players like Lynn, Kelly, Carpenter, Descalso and Browning have filled crucial roles for St. Louis this season. I don’t recall seeing their names listed as blue-chip prospects, but they are solid major-league players who have met or exceeded expectations this season, and they are a big reason why the Cardinals have been able to weather the loss of Albert Pujols as well as they have. Astros fans can hope Luhnow is able to replicate that success in Houston. It just might take a while.

4) Speaking of the Disastros, they are 6-33 since the All-Star Break and 7-43 in their past 50 games. Oy.

5) Good luck in the AL West next year.

6) The Tampa Bay Rays still have the worst attendance in MLB, despite being on track to make the playoffs again. The franchise deserves to be in a better city.

7) I may get accused of blasphemy by my Cardinal-fan friends, but I’m not really a big Mike Shannon fan. That said, this one-liner from Thursday’s game vs. the Astros is a beauty: “This 5th inning is longer than an orphanage’s grocery list.”

8) What in the H-E-double-hockey-sticks was Dan Uggla doing at the end of that game against the Nationals?

9) How much fun would it be to see Billy Hamilton (who just broke Vince Coleman’s stolen-base record in the minors) try to steal against Yadier Molina?

10) Jon Jay is doing a great job making Cardinal fans forget about Colby Rasmussen, er, Rasta…what was that other guy’s name again?

11) Gregor Blanco is not doing a good job making Giants fans forget about Melky Cabrera.

12) Not a baseball-related item, but the “Skip Kardashian” headline and article Thursday on Fox Sports was awesome on multiple levels.

13) Good to know that folks with the Phillies have kept their sense of humor in the midst of a disappointing season:

14) News: Colorado Rockies complete 4-game sweep of New York Mets at Citi Field. Views: Not getting sucked in by all the media or players proclaiming, “Watch out for the Rockies next year!” Nope, not again. Sorry.

15) The Stephen Strasburg Shutdown has been debated ad nauseum, but what I can’t understand is why the Nationals did not do a better job of managing his starts up to this point so he would have plenty of innings left in September-October. Seems to be that skipping a start here and there, plus a couple extra weeks around the All-Star break so they could have their ace available for the most critical time of the season would be simple common sense. Did GM Mike Rizzo and the rest of the Nats’ front office not believe the team would be so good this year?

16) After I listed the Dodgers in my list of teams with the hottest starting rotations, San Francisco invaded Los Angeles and swept the Dodgers right out of first place. You’re welcome, Giants fans.

17) Meanwhile, the Seattle Mariners have won 8 games in a row and inch closer to the .500 mark. Don’t seem to be missing Ichiro much, do they?

18) Three guesses who the leaders are in quality starts for the NL so far this year – Strasburg? Nope. R.A. Dickey? Guess again. Matt Cain? Bzzzz, thanks for playing. Yovani Gallardo is first with 21, followed by Kyle Lohse and Jordan Zimmermann with 20 each.

19) Where would the Yankees be without Hiroki Kuroda? I’m guessing third place in the AL East.

20) Usually Jeff Francoeur makes shake my head in disbelief while at the plate. Not this time.

21) Remind me again why the Royals don’t DFA Frenchy and call up Wil Myers. Anyone? Bueller? Bueller?

22) Here’s a good addition to the list of current player nicknames: Andrew Brown of the Rockies, coined “UPS” while in Triple-A Colorado Springs. Now he just needs to stick in the majors long enough so we can see what Brown can do for Colorado.

23) I’m now referring to Indians closer Chris Perez as “Barfy.” Seems apropos after his actions earlier in the season at St. Louis and a few days ago in Oakland.

24) So Roger Clemens wants to pitch again. Perfect example of an athlete with no other practical skills, so he continues to come back time and again to embarrass himself. In other words, baseball’s version of Brett Favre.

25) Naturally, ESPN will televise his start, because that’s what the Worldwide Leader in Shoveling Crap does.

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The Hump Day Look See 5/30/12 – Panic in pitchertown!

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The Hump Day Look See 5/30/12 – Panic in pitchertown!

Posted on 30 May 2012 by J. Ellet Lambie

The Hump Day Look See is your weekly Wednesday foray into all things fantasy baseball. Sneaky stat lines, rapid risers, trends and tricks to help maximize your roster are all celebrated here. Equal parts analysis and common sense with a splash of humor, served fresh every Wednesday morning right here on Full Spectrum Baseball.

THE END IS NIGH! RUN FOR THE HILLS!

That is, if you happen to own Roy Halladay or Jered Weaver, who were both shelved this week with injuries. Halladay is expected to miss 6-8 weeks, there is not yet a timetable for Jered Weaver to resume his duties on the bump. Also hobbling to the sidelines in the past two weeks: Ted Lilly, John Danks, Danny Duffy and Marco Estrada. LIGHT THE LANTERNS AND HEAD FOR THE SHELTER!

Or….you could look elsewhere on the disabled list to names such as Brandon McCarthy, Jonathan Sanchez and Vance Worley – all three should return in the next week and change. Aces they are not, serviceable stop gaps that could become more? Sure, it’s possible.

And don’t forget to frantically check the free agent pool in all of your leagues for Roy Oswalt, now that he has agreed to join the Texas Rangers. I have to imagine we’re looking at a couple of weeks minimum of stretching him out before he toes a major league rubber, so don’t expect a miracle this week. Also of note, his career OPS against at Ameriquest (Arlington) is .878, with a 4.78 ERA and 9 HR allowed in 52.2 innings pitched. Caveat Emptor my friends.

I had a couple of inquiries following the first HDLS post last week, wondering why I listed the top 10 added and dropped hitters, but not pitchers. A fair question. With a decent percentage of players in ESPN standard 5 x 5 rotisserie leagues streaming pitchers each week, I’ve found it skews the numbers, and paints a confusing picture. So to balance the coverage, I’ll make an effort to highlight pitching options in other ways each week – see above. You can also check out the AL and NL weekly Pitching Planning posts right here at Full Spectrum Baseball.

Top 10 Added Hitters in ESPN Standard Leagues – Last 14 Days:

Player % Add/Drop %
owned
Notes
Dayan Viciedo CWS – OF +52.8 83.2 #4 last week, added +20% since. 22/55 with 7 HR, 20 RBI in last 15 games.
Jeff Francoeur KC – OF +40.1 81.2 Frenchy is too good to have been that bad for that long, .375 with 4 bombs in last 15, hope you bought low.
Jonathan Lucroy MIL – C +34.4 78.4 News of his broken hand will put out this fire, but keep him on your watch list for mid/late July.
Justin Morneau MIN – 1B +33.1 91.3 5 HR and 16 steaks since his return from the DL. If he stays on the field he should stay in your lineup.
Mitch Moreland TEX – 1B/OF +33 87.1 On the fringe last week. Multi-position eligible, power stroke like the weather, getting warmer.
Chris Davis BAL 3B/1B +25 74.4 6th most dropped last week, streaky hitter that will inspire the Yo-Yo effect.
A.J. Pierzynski CWS – C +22.3 85.6 Top 5 among ALL catchers in Hits, Runs, HR, RBI – How is he still available in 15% of leagues?
Jed Lowrie HOU – 3B/SS +17.1 94.6 Health and a change of scenery have done wonders – 1/2 of his HR (4 of 8) in last 15 games.
A.J. Ellis LAD – C +16.5 28.2 Almost June and still hitting .315, smells like a regression candidate to me (.282 career), but he’s extra scrappy.
Michael Brantley CLE – OF +15.8 37.5 Hit safely in 8 straight games, 7 RBI and 6 SB in that stretch.

And the Yang of failure, also known as the 10 most dropped:

Player %
Add/Drop
%
owned
Notes
Cody Ross BOS – OF (DL) -37.3 27.3 Victim of nervous injury drops, might be back in a couple of weeks.
Chipper Jones ATL – 3B (DL) -37.2 47.3 Hopes to return soon, surgery to drain fluid from his leg not an encouraging sign.
Lance Berkman STL – 1B/OF -22.4 49.8 Residual dropping from 6-10 week prognosis of last week.
Miguel Montero ARI – C -21.7 67.9 Missed 5 games with a groin injury, signed a massive new deal, still hitting .248 with only 2 HR’s, but OBP .342 – excellent buy low candidate.
Torii Hunter LAA – OF -13.6 61.4 Hangover droppage from time away for family issues. Returns Tuesday night.
Bryan LaHair CHC – 1B/OF -12.9 87.1 Returned to earth with a miserable week. 3 for 4 Monday, but likely to sit against lefties (3-22 this season).
Emilio Bonifacio MIA – 2B/SS/3B (DL) -11.2 86.7 Oh sweet Emilio, curse your balky thumb. Out for a while but speed doesn’t slump, keep your eyes on him close to his return.
Jon Jay STL – OF (DL) -8.8 29.4 Could be back in 10-14 days, should resume a starting role then. 9 Hits and 8 Runs in final 10 games before injury.
Jemile Weeks OAK – 2B -8.2 51.5 .235 with 3 Runs, 1 SB, 0 HR, 0 RBI in last 15 games. Perhaps track is his forte.
Robert Andino BAL – 2B/SS/3B -7.8 31.4 Ladies and gentlemen, this is what regression to the mean looks like while wearing an orange hat.

And for the value shopper, this week’s 5 Under 50 – five players owned in less than 50% of ESPN standard leagues that can help your roster right now. Last week I recommended Anthony Bass of the Padres, who then proceeded to have his worst outing of the year, arguably. Consider this proof I am not in fact omnipotent. With that being said, stick with the kid, he’s been far more good than bad this season. I also pointed a finger at Joe Blanton, insert joke here. On the upside, Alcides Escobar, J.P. Arencibia and Daniel Nava did not burst into fantasy flames (Arencibia did hit .136, but had 2 HR), so I suppose there is hope after all.

Paul Goldschmidt ARI – 1B 35.4%: He hit a 471 foot HR the other day. Not kidding. 471 feet. The former prized prospect has hit in 7 straight games through Monday, with 4 doubles and 7 runs scored over that span. He’s at least worth a stash if you’re thin at 1B short term.

Michael Brantley CLE – OF 37.5%: As mentioned above in the most added section (#10), he’s been hitting and running and doing all sorts of fun fantasy things. If he keeps it up he’ll be ineligible for this category in no time.

Gregor Blanco SFG – OF 19.6%: 21 runs scored with a .397 OBP in 95 at-bats from the leadoff spot this year. Sustainable long term? Eh, perhaps not, but even with a bit of a slide he’ll remain above average. 6 steals on the year to boot.

Casey Janssen TOR – RP 46.6%: He’s picked up 4 saves since taking over closer duties in Toronto, and boasts a respectable 2.89 ERA and an impressive 0.91 WHIP in that time. Most closers suffer a hiccup here and there, and he won’t be immune, but he should bolster your bottom line more than he hurts it.

Homer Bailey CIN – SP 12.5%: As I type this Bailey just nailed down complete game win, allowing 1 run on 4 hits against the Pirates. That’s 3 straight wins and 4 consecutive starts with 3 or fewer earned runs allowed. He’s walked 5 in those starts while striking out 21.

Your questions and thoughts are welcomed, and encouraged, both here in the comments and on twitter @lembeck451. All stats accurate as of 10 PM EDT 5/29/12. 

 

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