Tag Archive | "Mid Summer Classic"

Ryan Dempster, starting pitcher Texas Rangers

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Fantasy Baseball Stock Watch – Ryan Dempster Fire Sale

Posted on 13 August 2012 by Patrick Hayes

Fantasy Baseball Stock Watch – Ryan Dempster, Clay Buchholz, Cliff Lee

And here we are, back again for another version of Fantasy Baseball Stock Watch, this week featuring three starting pitchers who all have first names less than or equal to five letters. Each of these three have had their hurdles throughout the year thus far and could finish the year a complete 180 degrees from where they are now. The rest of the article gets better, I promise.

Ryan Dempster – SP, Texas Rangers

Ryan Dempster, starting pitcher Texas Rangers

29# on ESPNs 5×5 Player Rater for SPs

Ryan Dempster started the year as a northsider, throwing for the Cubs of the National League variety. As the Mid-Summer Classic passed, it was only a matter of time until he was moved to a team not as atrocious as the Cubs. After rumors flying from each of the big baseball markets, Dempster found himself in Texas, after he pulled the plug on the Atlanta Braves because his feelings were hurt about the news reaching the public early. This is just the type of guy I want on my team!

Personal feelings aside, Dempster currently sits with an ERA of 2.65, which is good enough for eighth in MLB. Walks have always been an issue for Ryan and this year he has found a bit of control with a walk rate of 2.42 per 9 IP, down from his career average of 4.05. This control has also witnessed his K/9 drop to his lowest in 11 years of 7.41, it’s that game of give and take, I suppose. While it was great for the Cubs to benefit in the long run for moving him, the Rangers are about to regret their latest acquisition (if they don’t already). His SIERRA stands at 3.83, a full 1.18 higher than what he has experienced. Team this fact up with his lower BABIP of .255, as well as facing DH’s and other angry AL teams, this baby is cooked. The writing is on the wall and won’t end pretty.

My verdict: Sell the Dempster fire immediately!

Clay Buchholz – SP, Boston Red Sox

Clay Buchholz, Boston Red Sox starting pitcher

#72 on ESPNs 5×5 Player Rater for SPs

Unchecked fact of the night: Clay Buchholz’s favorite ice cream is Rocky Road. Oh wait, that’s just been his season to this point throwing for Red Sox Nation (I wanted to give him a nickname of Claynation but am on the fence). The first two months of the year yielded Clay an ERA north of 7.00. That’s awful. As of late however, he has an ERA of 1.79 in 45 1/3 IP. Why the late resurgence?

Simple, he has regained his control. After walking 28 batters in the first two months, he has half that since June 1st. His last outing was a complete game at Cleveland and he takes on the Orioles at Camden Yards in his next outing. If the Red Sox want to have any chance of the postseason (ESPN says 11.5% chance), Clay will have to continue his performances of late, including his highest first pitch strike percentage of his career at 63.8. Will it be enough? Probably not, but get on the bandwagon and ride it on through the remainder of the year.

My verdict: Buy low while admiring the five dollar bill you found in your pants that you haven’t wore since last year.

Cliff Lee – SP, Philadelphia Phillies

Cliff Lee, starting pitcher Philadelphia Phillies

#60 on ESPNs 5×5 Player Rater for SPs

Yes, this reads correctly, Cliff Lee has a record of 2-7. Two wins, seven losses. I am conductor of the train that believes win-loss records for a pitcher are meaningless and only for the simple minded, but that record is just jaw dropping. He has A/A+ stuff and had a team that has dominated in the years prior, funny how things change so fast. For whatever reason, Cliff has witnessed his HR/9 jump up to 1.22 from well under 1.00, where it’s been since 2008.

He is still striking out more per nine than his career numbers, but is inducing less swings-and-misses than he did in 2011 (8.3% down from 9.3%). Looking at the rest of his statistics and it’s difficult to pinpoint the reason to his disappointing campaign. His velocity has remained consistent but his BABIP is only a tick or two above normal (.314 from .296 avg), nothing too severe. The only slight changes from last year is the increased occurance of his change up (15.5% from 12.8%) and the higher flyball rate of 34.8% from 32.4% last year. So what the Phillies are toast this year, Cliff will still perform for your team, just not at the pace he has the past few years, just don’t expect a W when you play him.

My verdict: Hold while scratching your noggin and wondering WTF

Reactions and opinions are always welcomed. Find me on twitter: @pf_hayes

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Bike Spokes and Shoe Boxes – All-Star Edition

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Bike Spokes and Shoe Boxes – All-Star Edition

Posted on 10 July 2012 by Tim Danielson

Welcome to the mid-summer classic, the brief time every season when records, standings and division rivalries are put aside. For a few special days in July both fans and players alike come together for the joy that is the Major League Baseball All-Star game.

MLB’s All-Star weekend provides a tremendous opportunity for collectors. The different activities surrounding the game are all great places for obtaining autographs and collectibles. Even players have admitted to wanting to get autographs from each other.

For as long as there has been an All-Star game, baseball card manufacturers have been making All-Star cards. These All-Star cards have come in different forms and styles. One popular way card companies highlight the annual event is by creating a ‘sub-set’ of All-Star cards in their regular set. These cards are considered base set cards and the set is not complete without them. Often the players are pictured in their All-Star uniforms, but the card will almost always have a special graphic designating them as All-Star cards. Another type of card to collect is All-Star insert cards. These special cards are randomly inserted into packs of regular cards. The inserts can have a different design from the base set cards, and usually have a much smaller print run and are a smaller set then the base set.

This week, Bike Spokes and Shoe Boxes will look at some different All-Star cards of my favorite player from the 1980’s and early 1990’s.

1982 Perma Graphics AS – From 1981 to 1983, Perma Graphics worked with Topps to produce these credit card sized cards actually made of plastic.

 

1984 Topps Glossy Send-in AS – These cards were obtained by sending in Topps card wrappers.

1985 Topps AS – Actually part of the base set, this sub-set features players from both the American and National League squads.

 

1986 Fleer AS – An early insert card, the Rickey Henderson card from this 12 card set is actually an un-corrected error card and has his name miss-spelled on the back.

1987 Topps Glossy AS – Another early inert card featuring 22 players each form the American and National Leagues.

 

1992 Upper Deck FanFest – A 54 card set commemorating past present and future All-Stars of the game. There is a much rarer Gold Foil version. I have both, no, I am not a stalker.

 

1993 Topps Finest – The first super premium card set produced with higher quality, better photographs and a limited print run. This card is part of the base set. The ‘refractor” parallels of this set are still some of the most soft after cards today.

American League or National League fan, an easy way to start collecting and enjoy the sport more is with All-Star cards.

Until next week, keep collecting, collect for the joy of the hobby and collect for the fan in all of us.

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