Tag Archive | "Jeopardy"

Bike Spokes and Shoe Boxes – 2013 Topps Heritage Review

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Bike Spokes and Shoe Boxes – 2013 Topps Heritage Review

Posted on 25 March 2013 by Tim Danielson

Per Box Items:
24 packs per box
9 cards per pack
one autograph or relic per box

The 2013 Topps Heritage set features today’s stars in the 1964 Topps design. The standard sized cards feature a color head or posed shot of the player. Bordered in white, the cards list the team name on the top of the card. The player’s name and position are on the bottom graphic. In most of the pictures and poses, the players are not looking at the camera. The card backs are photo-less and have a two tone orange and cream color to them again in the 1964 design. The backs list moderate biographical information, complete career statistics, brief career highlights, a trivia questions and spot for an autograph.

What I pulled:
215 cards + one box topper
201 base set cards
8 duplicates
11 inserets
2 Heritage Chrome
1 ‘Real One Autograph’

Base card front and back:

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The inserts: (not all scanned)
Memorable Moments: Trout, Miguel Caberera
New Age Performers: Cespedes, Kershaw, Granderson
Flashback: Robinson, Jeopardy!, Yaz, World Fair
Then and Now: Aparicio/Trout, Mathews/Dunn
Heritage Chrome #/999: Scherzer, Jones

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Box Topper:

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The Hit:
Tom Brown autograph

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Personally, I have never been a big fan of throwback style and designed cards. 2013 Topps Heritage really is not that bad though. the first thing I noticed was that in most of the pictures the players are not looking directly at the camera. This is typical for the design however. Manager, league leaders and World Series highlights cards are sprinkled throughout the base set. The inserts are pretty cool and should provide some fun in chasing. The autograph is ‘on-card’ and looks good. the Heritage Chrome cards are real sharp. This is the first Topps product that I have received in a long time that has this many duplicates. Obviously no duplicates and a few less inserts would get us that much closer to a complete set.

The Bottom Line:
I give 2013 Topps Heritage a buy rating. You will need at least two boxes plus some light trading to complete the base set. Shop around for the best price on your boxes!

The Final Score:
Final Ratings (Out of 10):
Base set collect-ability: 4/10
Big-hit Hunter: 8/10
Prospector Hunter: 9/10
Value: 9/10
Overall Quality: 9/10

Overall: 39/50 (78% = C)
the biggest reason being that you will need 2+ boxes to complete the base set

Thanks to Topps for making this review possible!

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craig kimbrel

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The Captivating Closer Conundrum

Posted on 08 August 2012 by Will Emerson

You have probably heard plenty this year about the closer carousels in the majors this season. Every year solid closers can be a tough commodity, with a plethora of closers jobs in jeopardy and every fantasy owner eying the successors to the 9th. This is nothing new. When and how often closing jobs switch hands, well that can certainly change from season to season. Injuries and the phrase “by committee” start making things interesting for fantasy owners and baseball fans alike. So today we are going to look at the closers in the playoff chase and how they could affect their teams respective fates down the stretch. This may also be a good way for you fantasy owners to start evaluating some closers for your playoff runs or, for those owners fading, or already, out of the playoff hunt, to start evaluating for next season especially in keeper and dynasty leagues. Finding a consistently good closer can be tough for real and fantasy teams alike. Apparently it’s hard for everyone, except for TNT, who found one just fine. Never is a closer more important than in the midst of a playoff hunt and during the playoffs. But how should closer goodness be evaluated? Well really, unlike TNT, you would rather have your closer, not know drama.

What I mean is, you cannot just look at the counting stat that is saves, to evaluate a closer. Yes I know that sounds counter intuitive since that is basically THE stat for closers. But think about it this way, a save is valued the same despite the leverage of the situation. Coming in to protect a three run lead has the same value as coming in to protect a one run lead. Saving a game with a 1-2-3 ninth, or saving game after loading the bases, is still a SV in the good ol’ box score. In theory, by law of averages, those closers allowing the baserunners and constantly working into jams, can only wiggle their way out of said jams so often. I’m sure any baseball fan would rather have their team’s closer, more often than not, breeze through the 9th with with very little effort. So although a closer may be racking up the saves, unless you are fan of the closer’s real life team or happen to own said closer in fantasy, you may not have a true idea of their effectiveness. Got that? Okay, allow me to elaborate.

Ideally as a fan, as I mentioned, you would want your team’s closer to breeze through the 9th, 1-2-3. I went ahead an sifted through some game logs and found the closers with the most 1-2-3 innings in save opportunities this season:

Craig Kimbrel, ATL- 20
Fernando Rodney, TB- 16
Joel Hanrahan, PIT- 13

Coincidentally, or not so much, as of the end of play Sunday these are three of the four closers with 30 plus saves and all three of their teams are in the playoff hunt. Of course these three have had more opportunities than most, so naturally they should have higher numbers in this category. But, of the 27 closers that have recorded 10 or more saves this season, only 11 have double digit 1-2-3 innings in a save opportunity. But how about we see if we can put this in to slightly better perspective.

Here are the percentage of 1-2-3 innings in one inning save opportunities for the closers who are locked in the playoff hunt:

Casey Janssen, TOR- 70.0%
Craig Kimbrel, ATL- 60.6%
Alfredo Aceves, BOS- 59.0%
Fernando Rodney, TB- 55.2%
Tyler Clippard, WAS- 55.0%
Joe Nathan, TEX- 54.5%
Kenley Jansen, LAD- 50.0%
Ernesto Frieri, LAA- 50.0%
Jose Valverde, DET- 48.0%
Joel Hanrahan, PIT- 44.8%
Jim Johnson, BAL- 38.7%
J.J. Putz, ARI- 36.4%
Aroldis Chapman, CIN- 34.8%
Ryan Cook, OAK 30.8%
Rafael Soriano, NYY- 27.3%
Santiago Casilla, SF- 26.3%
Addison Reed, CHW- 20%
Jason Motte, STL- 8.3%

Now there can always be factors outside of the pitchers control that can affect a 1-2-3 inning, but 8.3%, Jason Motte?! Of the pitchers who have recorded 10 or more saves this season the average percentage is around 40%. Basically guys below this mark, may be having their fans reaching for the Mylanta a bit too often and, in Motte’s case, well, buying their Mylanta in bulk from Costco. But this is not all that should worry Cardinal fans. Oh, no, no, no.

Motte has converted one, yes just one, of his five save opportunities where he has come in to protect a one run lead. This is a super small sample size, sure, but still not making anyone in St. Louis breathe easy, or at all, when Motte enters the game. But I would not be too quick to judge or laugh if you are a Giants fan either.

Santiago Casilla, he of the eye-popping 26.3% of innings that have gone 1-2-3, has been slightly better than Motte, but converting five of nine save opportunities protecting a one run lead is hardly confidence inspiring. Here are the conversion percentages when the playoff contending closers have tried to protect a one run lead, with the number of opportunities in parentheses:

Joe Nathan, TEX- 100% (7)
Casey Janssen, TOR- 100% (2)
Fernando Rodney, TB- 90.9% (11)
Jim Johnson, BAL- 87.5% (16)
Craig Kimbrel, ATL- 85.7% (14)
Joel Hanrahan, PIT- 82.4% (17)
Ernesto Frieri, LAA- 80.0% (5)
Rafael Soriano, NYY- 77.8% (9)
Aroldis Chapman, CIN- 77.8% (9)
Addison Reed, CHW- 76.9% (13)
Tyler Clippard, WAS- 75.0% (6)
Kenley Jansen, LAD- 69.2% (13)
J.J. Putz, ARI- 57.1% (7)
Jose Valverde, DET- 55.5% (9)
Santiago Casilla, SF- 55.5% (9)
Alfredo Aceves, BOS- 50.0% (8)
Ryan Cook, OAK- 50.0% (6)
Jason Motte, STL- 20.0% (5)

It appears that Johnson, Soriano, Chapman and Reed can at least get it done in the higher leverage situations, but you have to wonder when the law of averages will catch up to these closers when they are allowing more runners to reach.

But let us delve in just a bit deeper and use the shutdown and meltdown numbers, courtesy of Fan Graphs. For those of you not in the know, a shutdown is when a closer has increased his team’s win probability by six percent and a meltdown is basically that other end of the spectrum, where the closer has gone ahead and decreased his team’s win probability by six percent. Here is a look at the ratio of shutdowns to meltdowns for these playoff contending closers:

Fernando Rodney- 23.00
Jim Johnson- 10.00
Joel Hanrahan- 8.67
Craig Kimbrel- 7.00
Aroldis Chapman- 5.80
Ernesto Frieri- 5.00
Casey Janssen- 4.33
J.J. Putz- 4.25
Rafael Soriano- 4.20
Tyler Clippard- 4.17
Kenley Jansen- 3.71
Addison Reed- 3.67
Joe Nathan- 3.40
Ryan Cook- 3.29
Jose Valverde- 2.67
Alfredo Aceves- 2.44
Jason Motte- 2.00
Santiago Casilla- 1.07

Basically Fernando Rodney has been super duper effective for the Rays. Now, it looks like Cook and Casilla are in the midst of losing their jobs as closer already but the Cardinals, Red Sox and Tigers should really be keeping a close eye on the back of their bullpen as well. And although Soriano is above average in the shutdown/ meltdown department, I feel some implosions in his future. If the Braves and Rays fold down the stretch it certainly seems like it won’t be because of their closers. Now, of course, their teams just need to to the ball in their hands.

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The Waiver Wire: Drew Smyly

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The Waiver Wire: Drew Smyly

Posted on 12 April 2012 by Jared Thatcher

Were you one of the managers that had Doug Fister or some other struggling starting pitcher on their roster this week? Well, lucky for you, I have an idea. If you over-manage like I do, then you are probably looking to make some changes in your starting pitcher lineup after only a few games.

My suggestion to you is to add Detroit Tigers starting pitcher Drew Smyly immediately. I took a little heat when I ranked Smyly higher than almost everyone else on my Top 100 Prospects list, but I have faith he can make it in the bigs. I have so much faith in him in fact, that I also projected him as the AL Rookie of the Year for 2012.

Smyly is owned in 0.5% of ESPN fantasy leagues. That number could increase dramatically after tomorrows start if he performs even close to what how I think he will. If your league gives points for Wins then Smyly is an easy pickup due to the fact that he might have the best offense in years behind him. The Tigers should be able to give him a comfortable lead early, which will allow him to pitch without any restrictions or worries.

Smyly might walk a few batters but he definitely has the stuff to strike out a few batters as well. At Double-A last year, he averaged 10.4 strikeouts per nine innings and registered a sterling 1.18 ERA. He has excellent control and even better command of his pitches. The Tigers have never been afraid of throwing young pitchers out there so I don’t expect his rotation spot to be in jeopardy very quickly.

Pick up Smyly as a spot starter this week and be prepared to make him a stable part of your rotation going forward.

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