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The Baker Bowl: Some Brotherly Love for a Lost Diamond

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The Baker Bowl: Some Brotherly Love for a Lost Diamond

Posted on 08 January 2013 by Trish Vignola

The Vet. Connie Mack Stadium. Shibe Park. The Baker Bowl. Doesn’t ring a bell? Known as Philadelphia Base Ball Grounds from 1887 to 1895 and later as National League Park from 1895-1913, the Baker Bowl was considered groundbreaking for its time. Yet, it was still lost within the footnotes a city’s proud sporting history until recently. Why?

BakerBowl

The Baker Bowl was located on a small city block bounded by North Broad Street, West Huntingdon Street, North 15th Street and West Lehigh Avenue. Still doesn’t ring a bell? William F. Baker, a former New York Police Commissioner, owned the Philadelphia Phillies from 1913 to 1930. It was during his tenure that the Philadelphia Phillies captured their first and only pennant until 1980.

When the Baker Bowl opened, it was considered a technological fete. Unfortunately, a ballpark boom would follow soon after. Capitalizing and improving on ideas established by the Baker Bowl, this bandbox was outdated quickly. By the time the team left the Baker Bowl, it was considered an embarrassment. Today, all that is left is a plaque and a ghostly footprint located by the SEPTA (Southeastern Pennsylvania Train Authority) North Broad train station.

In 1883, Alfred J. Reach, the sporting goods magnate, bought a cellar-dwelling professional baseball franchise from Worcester, Massachusetts. He moved that team to Philadelphia with the help of his partner, Colonel John I. Rogers. Reach turned the “Philadelphias” (also known interchangeably as the Quakers until 1890) into a relevant contender within the National League. In fact, the “Phils’” original home – Recreation Park (located at 24th and Ridge) – could no longer handle the mounting spectators surging through the turnstiles. Plans were made, ground was broken and a ballpark built specifically for the team opened in 1887.

At the time of the park’s opening, the media praised the Baker Bowl as state-of-the-art. Note that this particular version of the Baker Bowl is not the cantilever structure, commonly associated by historians with the Baker Bowl today. That structure and why the ballpark would need to be rebuilt will come later.

This first Baker Bowl was entirely made of wood (except for outside walls). This original ballpark was the first to offer pavilion seating for customers. Yes, thanks to the Baker Bowl, you get to sit in an actual seat at the ballpark today. The 1943 issue of the Sporting News Guide has a descriptive sketch of the original facility. Being that photography in the late 1800s was not easy to come by, this sketch is pretty important in visualizing how the ballpark first looked.

The Sporting News Guide stated, “The Phillies National League Park completed in 1887 at the cost of $80,000 was one of the finest pavilions in the United States.” By all media accounts, this is true. However, final costs of constructions are debated. It been quoted as a high in some sources as $101,000.

The original Baker Bowl had a setting capacity of 12,500. That’s about twice as many as Recreation Park. There were 5,000 seats in a pavilion behind home plate. There were also 7,500 seats in the grandstands that extended down the left and right field lines.

A relatively low wall surrounded the outfield. Center field was fairly close and railroad tracks ran behind it. When the park became known a bandbox, which was hard to accomplish being that we’re speaking about the deadball era, the tracks were lowered. The field was extended over top of them, allowing the outfield fences to be pushed further back.

When the first Baker Bowl opened, left field had a four-foot fence. The center field clubhouse had a thirty-five foot fence and right field proved to be pretty interesting. The right field wall was originally twelve feet high. With the foul pole a mere 280 feet from home plate, the team felt it was a tempting target. Frank Jackson of “The Hardball Times” argues that perhaps it was “too tempting.” By the time the park closed, the right field wall was forty feet high and consisted of tin over brick. It was extended to approximately four times its original height.

Almost the entire ballpark burned to the ground on August 6, 1894. It began at 10:40 AM. The Phillies were preparing for a game against the Baltimore Orioles, when one of the players noticed a fire in the grandstand. The players ran toward the fire in an attempt to put it out, but they were ultimately pushed back. Unsuccessful in extinguishing the flames, the fire began to spread quickly in the mostly wooden stadium.

The players escaped without harm. However, that was not confirmed before third baseman Tricky Charley Reilly’s shirt caught on fire and pitcher George Harper had to jump from a window. Fans were seated in temporary stands for home games for the duration of the 1894 season. When the new stadium was constructed, only part of the exterior outfield wall remained. It was incorporated into the newly constructed stadium.

There are theories about the fire’s origin. Most point to a potential spark caused by a nearby locomotive. The $80,000 in damage (equal to $2,148,923 today) was covered fully by insurance. It did however spread to the adjoining properties, causing an additional $20,000 in damage, equal to $537,231 today. The Evening Bulletin, a popular Philadelphia paper of the time, went as far as to blame a tramp starting a fire to keep warm. Nonetheless, the cause of the August 6th fire was never substantiated. The Phillies finished their season at the University of Pennsylvania and Al Reach immediately began the rebuild. This time though, Reach vowed there would be no fires.

The second incarnation of the ballpark opened on May 2, 1895. The Baker Bowl’s upper deck was notable for having the first cantilevered design in a sports stadium. Cantilever is a structural design where there are vertical supports. The fixed end is in compression and the free end is in tension. Basically, any and all ballparks since the Baker Bowl are based on this idea. The second Baker Bowl was also the first ballpark to be constructed primarily from steel and brick.

Ironically the first and second Baker Bowl looked nothing like an actual bowl. Alliteration most likely supported the popularity of the park’s moniker. There is evidence though that the park was also used as a velodrome, or a cycle-racing track. Velodromes typically had steeply banked curves and were found in stadiums of the time. The perimeter of the field was slightly banked, which happened to also give it the appearance of a shallow bowl. It was probably created to capital on the cycling craze of the late 19th century.

During a game on August 8, 1903, a fight on 15th Street caught the attention of fans in the bleachers down the left field line. Many of them ran to the top of the wooden seating area to see what was going on. The added stress on that section of the bleachers caused it to collapse into the street, killing 12 and injuring 232. The Baker Bowl officially had a body count. This tragedy led to more renovation of the stadium and forced the ownership to sell the team. The Phillies temporarily moved to the Philadelphia Athletics’ home field, Columbia Park, while the Baker Bowl was repaired. The Phillies ultimately played sixteen games at Columbia Park in August and September 1903.

During a game on May 14, 1927, parts of two sections of the lower deck extension along the right-field line collapsed. This time it due to rotted timbers and again triggered by an oversize gathering of people. This time spectators were seeking shelter from the rain. No one died during the collapse (this time), but one individual did die from heart failure in the subsequent stampede that injured 50. The Phillies rented from the Athletics while repairs were being made to the old structure. This was the second and far from the final time the Phillies would look to the Athletics as renter.

In 1915, the right field wall was raised to forty feet in an attempt to keep deadball home run hitters, the few that there were, in the ballpark. By 1929, the Phillies added a screen. Frank Jackson of “The Hardball Times” attributes these renovations to the introduction of a livelier baseball. The total height of the wall was now sixty feet.

BakerBowlLifeBuoy

There is evidence that the Baker Bowl’s right field wall set precedence and was a forerunner to such classic ballparks as Fenway Park. We see evidence in the right field wall at Baker Bowl in what would become the Green Monster of Fenway. Like the Green Monster, the Bowl’s right field wall was initially cluttered with ads. Eventually, that gave way to a well-documented enormous Lifebuoy soap advertisement. The ad boasted that “The Phillies Use Lifebuoy.” The iconic ad was known to prompt the response from a local vandal, “And they still stink.”

Beyond the mere use of Cantilever design and a Green Monster-esque wall, references to the Baker Bowl can be seen in other modern of ballparks today. The main entrance of Baker Bowl was an octagonal turret. Although not octagonal, the turret as main entrance would show up in a later iconic ballpark, Ebbets Field. Ebbets Field opened in 1913. That entrance would be referenced again. The New York Mets open declare that Ebbets Field’s entrance inspired the Jackie Robinson rotunda of Citi Field, which opened in 2009.

The Phillies were respectable in the deadball era; nonetheless once a livelier ball was introduced they almost always finished in last place until the mid 20th century. The livelier ball along with the bandbox specs of the Baker Bowl was a big reason why the team hit the underwhelming milestone of 10,000 losses on July 15, 2007. During its last two decades, the Baker Bowl was for lack of a better word, hell, for the Philadelphia Phillies’ pitching staff. Although, it is interesting to note, the team did not fare better they made the move to Shibe Park.

During an astounding fifty-one and a half seasons at the Baker Bowl, the Phillies managed only one pennant. That was in 1915. Nonetheless, the 1915 World Series was significant for a couple of reasons. First, the team would ultimately lose. It was also the first time a sitting President of the United States of America attended a World Series game. President Woodrow Wilson threw out the first pitch prior to Game 2. The Series was also the first (of many) post-season appearances by Babe Ruth. He was a pitch hitter. Also noteworthy, Pete Alexander picked up his first World Series victory in Game 1.

If futile is the politest word you can use to describe the Phillies’ history at the Baker Bowl, the World Series of 1915 is technically not the only World Series to be played there. The Baker Bowl of Philadelphia was one of three sites (the others being in Baltimore and Chicago) to play host to the very first Negro League World Series. It was a 1924 match-up between the Kansas City Monarchs and the Hillsdale Daisies. The Hillsdale Daisies were a local team that played regular season games in suburban Darby, Pennsylvania.

Other historical footnotes in the Baker Bowl’s oft-forgotten history included a moment in 1929. Rogers Hornsby hit a homerun through the clubhouse in centerfield. On June 9, 1914, Honus Wagner hit his 3,000th career hit at the Bowl. And, as he made his first post-season appearance at the Bowl, Babe Ruth would also have a second milestone there. He played his last major league baseball game at Baker Bowl on May 30, 1935.

When Baker Bowl was first opened, it was praised as the finest baseball palace in America. By 1938, the Phillies abandoned it. At this point, it had been the punch line for years. The Chicago Tribune in fact ran a series of articles on baseball parks during the summer of 1937. The article about Baker Bowl was exceptionally brutal in its ridicule.
The Phillies chose to move 5 blocks west on Lehigh Avenue. They made the newer and more spacious Shibe Park their home, renting from the Athletics for the third time in their history. The team’s president at the time, Gerald Nugent, cited the move as an opportunity for the Phillies to cut expenses, as stadium upkeep would be split between two clubs.

The diamond of North Broad Street fell quickly into disrepair. In the early days of its vacancy, the stadium was used for sports ranging from midget auto racing to ice-skating. Its old centerfield clubhouse even served as a piano bar. Nonetheless, by the late 1940s, all that stood were the four outer walls and a field of weeds. The remains of the ballpark were finally demolished in 1950. The footprint has since featured a gas station where the centerfield clubhouse once stood, garages, a car wash and a SEPTA station.

Fifty years after its demolition, the Baker Bowl was finally given its due when a marker was dedicated on August 16, 2000 at Veterans Stadium (also known as the Vet). Unveiled by former-Phillies shortstop Bobby Stevens, who played for the team at the Baker Bowl 1931 and then-current-Phillies pitcher Randy Wolf during a pre-game ceremony, the marker was displayed through the end of the 2000 season at the Vet. It was then moved to the footprint of the Baker Bowl, just behind where the right field foul pole would be.

Standing on Broad Street just north of West Huntingdon Street, the marker stands. Titled “Baker Bowl National League Park”, its text reads:

The Phillies’ baseball park from its opening in 1887 until 1938. Rebuilt 1895; hailed as nation’s finest stadium. Site of first World Series attended by U.S. President, 1915; Negro League World Series, 1924-26; Babe Ruth’s last major league game, 1935. Razed 1950.

Philadelphia has always been known for an immense respect of its history, especially its sports history. Nonetheless, the Baker Bowl was lost to its footnotes. Ironically like every other home the Philadelphia Phillies ever occupied throughout the franchise’s history, the Baker Bowl opened to praise and closed to scorn. (Good luck to Citizen’s Bank Ballpark.)

Condemned to a history of rubble, as its successors rose like a phoenix in the distance, the Baker Bowl is undeservedly the most forgotten of Philadelphia’s diamonds. Yes, the Phillies abandoned the Baker Bowl before historians were thinking to respect the footprints and importance of sports and the impact of its venue on their culture. Absolutely, they had a pretty horrific record at the Bowl. For that case, they also had a body count. Nevertheless, aspects developed for the Baker Bowl and consequences of what happened there can still be found in the architecture of the game today.

It was the Baker Bowl that made moments like President Bush throwing the first pitch out at the 2001 World Series a common and welcomed occurrence. It was the Baker Bowl that also allows you to have an actual seat at the ball game. For the people of Philadelphia, the Baker Bowl was also the first home its professional football franchise, the Philadelphia Eagles. That made the ballpark the first dual-use stadium in Pennsylvania history. Ironically, their record was not much better than their spring brethren. Most importantly though, it was an angry fan at the Baker Bowl that is why we’re allowed to keep foul balls today.

The fires that besought the Baker Bowl influenced Shibe Park’s pioneered use concrete and reinforced steel. Learning from the mistakes of the Baker Bowl, this new design led to safer parks and greater capacity. The use of the outfield wall to prevent home runs as well as to generate revenue (as advertising space) is still seen in ballparks like Fenway. The grand entrance with cupola in the Baker Bowl upgraded it from a mere park to a grand stadium. That type of entrance was later seen in classic ballparks like Ebbets Field and is still seen today in places like CitiField.

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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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DomonicBrown

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Welcome (Back) to the Bigs, Kid: Domonic Brown

Posted on 02 August 2012 by T.J. McDonald

Tuesday, the day of the MLB trade deadline, the Philadelphia Phillies traded CF Shane Victorino to the Los Angeles Dodgers fo reliever Josh Lindblom and Double-A pitcher Ethan Martin. In a separate deal also Tuesday, the Phillies then sent RF Hunter Pence to the San Francisco Giants for RF Nate Schierholtz, Double-A catcher Tommy Joseph and Class A pitcher Seth Rosin. After the trade dusts cleared the Phillies were left with two vacant starting outfield spots, leading to the call up Tuesday of a once heralded and once-top five prospect in all of baseball, Domonic Brown. Making this his third stint in the majors, I will now go on to profile this post hype prospect and his potential value for yearly and keeper/dynasty fantasy leagues.

Domonic Brown is a 24 year old right fielder drafted in the 20th round of the 2006 Major league draft out of Redan High School in Stone Mountain Georgia. Following the draft he planned to attend the University of Miami to play wide receiver on the football team but the the Phillies offered him a $200,000 signing bonus to choose baseball instead, which he ultimately did.  He was ranked as the 48th best prospect by Baseball America in 2009, #15 in 2010 and #4 in 2011.  Baseball America also had him ranked as the Phillies best prospect in 2009, 2010 and 2011. He initially made his major league debut on July 28th 2010 and had another stint in the majors in 2011. In 280 major league ABs he has not met expectations with a career line of .236 with 7 HRs and 32 RBIs.  However in 1989 minor ABs he hit a solid .296 with 58 HR, 106 SBs and a .343 OBP%. He has added left field and center field to his resume and Charlie Manuel said he could see time at all three outfield positions. The initial plan was to have him in the lineup Tuesday night, but a delayed flight out of Syracuse meant he did not arrive until game time. He ended up pinch-hitting, knocking a single up the middle in the eighth inning to improve his batting average to 1.000. He was in the starting lineup Wednesday batting 6th and playing left field. He went 0 for 4.

Now as for his fantasy value, I know a lot of yearly and even some keeper/dynasty league owners may have given up on this once heralded prospect.  However post sleepers come along more frequently than most think. A recent example being Alex Gordon and with Brown only being 24 he has the potential to be the next one. In yearly leagues he is a somewhat a debatable add due to his past disappointing performance at the major league level. However depending on your roster strength and teams needs, he could be a valuable piece to your team for the rest of the season. If you are looking for an outfielder with good speed potential and a high OBP% he is your guy. Due to the open spots left in the Phillies outfield by the departures of Pence and Victorino, Brown should get very solid playing time for the rest of the season. The Phillies will want to know if he is the player they thought they were getting when they drafted him in ’06 and if he fits into their long term plans.  This will lead to him being an everyday player and a possibly a valuable waiver wire add for the stretch run in yearly leagues.

Now for keeper and dynasty leagues, he is a must add.  While he has under performed in the past he will be given every chance to succeed this time around as the Phillies seem to be on the verge of rebuild mode. With everyday playing time and 5 or so weeks left in the fantasy year before playoffs start.  What better time to add Brown let him boost your teams OBP% and steal numbers as well as audition for a potential keeper spot on your team. He is only rostered in 4% of yahoo, 1% of ESPN &  19% of CBS leagues.  While he is still widely available in all leagues strike while the iron is hot. If he goes on a tear in the next week or two his availability will no longer be so widespread.

Will you be picking up Domonic Brown? I did. Or has this once top prospect bright future dimmed to much for your liking?  Let me know in the comments and, as always, follow me on Twitter @FantasyzrTJ for all your fantasy baseball needs.

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travis_snider

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The Waiver Wire: Travis Snider

Posted on 02 August 2012 by Daniel Aubain

The Major League Baseball Trade Deadline has come and gone with the usually flurry of deals as some teams prepared to make a final push to lock up a playoff spot while others made deals with an eye to the future. This is the same strategy you should be using over the final two months of your fantasy baseball season, too, especially if you are in a dynasty, keeper or a league which utilizes some sort of minor league system.

Many of the deadline trades made have changed the immediate fortunes of some players and increased their fantasy baseball value. Below, I’ll take a look at a handful of those players whose value has positively been changed due to a deadline deal being made.

Outfielder Travis Snider is a player the Toronto Blue Jays organization, their fans and fantasy baseball owners have been waiting since 2008 to burst on the scene and live up to the dreaded “hype” and “potential” of a player who recently had many thinking would only amount to nothing more than a Quad-A player.

After a relatively average Spring Training landed him back in AAA Las Vegas to start the 2012 season, fantasy owners may have finally written him off as a bust. He was called up to the Blue Jays July 20th for what, in hindsight, was a showcasing of his talents to move him prior to the trade deadline. Snider responded with a .250 batting average with three home runs and eight RBI in 10 games and found himself shipped off to the Pittsburgh Pirates for SP/RP Brad Lincoln.

Snider was immediately inserted into the starting lineup in right field and, in two games, has batted second and fifth, so far. He’s gone 3-for-9 with three runs scored, a walk and two strikeouts and should be a vital part of the Pirates’ offense down the playoff stretch. Not convinced? His 162-game averages for standard 5×5 scoring leagues would be .248/73/21/75/11 with 37 doubles.

He’s only owned in 8.6% of ESPN leagues, 6% of Yahoo! leagues and 23% of CBS leagues and should be a nice addition to your fantasy outfield as you make a run towards fantasy gold.

Here are some other players whose fantasy baseball value was positively impacted by a trade deadline deal:

RP Greg Holland, Kansas City Royals: Jonathan Broxton was traded to the Cincinnati Reds, opening up the closer’s role for Holland to inherit. He’s sporting a healthy 12.71 K/9 ratio but a troubling 1.56 WHIP. If there are saves to be had for the Royals, it looks like Holland will be guy earning the opportunities. (27.1% ESPN; 34% Y!; 33% CBS)

3B Chris Johnson, Arizona Diamondbacks: In three games since his trade from the Houston Astros, Johnson is 6-for-11 (.545 BA) with a double, two home runs and  seven RBI. The D’Backs are surging and Johnson is thriving with his new team. If you’re still looking around for an Alex Rodriguez replacement, look no further. (22.4% ESPN; 24% Y!; 51% CBS)

OF Nate Schierholtz, Philadelphia Phillies: Schierholtz has been the odd man out in San Francisco for some time now and may finally get a chance to play regularly to prove his worth. He’s off to a good start, too. Batting second between Jimmy Rollins and Chase Utley, Schierholtz went 2-for-5 in his debut with a home run. (0.6% ESPN; 2% Y!; 4% CBS)

OF Denard Span, Minnesota Twins: Span was rumored to be on the move to the Reds right up to the 4PM EST deadline but wound up staying put. All he did was hit .361 (35-for-97) in July with 13 RBI, 13 Runs and four stolen bases (three caught stealings, UGH!). He’s also in the midst of a 10-game hitting streak. Do you think the Reds made a mistake not making this trade? (36.4% ESPN; 20% Y!; 53% CBS)

 2B/SS Marco Scutaro, San Francisco Giants: The Giants acquired Scutaro to fill the hole left by injured third baseman Pablo Sandoval and he’s hit in all five games since the trade and creeping toward gaining third base eligibility. He could be a valuable player to fill multiple positions down the wire. If your league has a max/min games played rule, be sure not to leave any games unused. (65.6% ESPN; 28% Y!; 71% CBS)

OF Domonic Brown, Philadelphia Phillies: This may be time to “put up or shut up” for Brown because with Shane Victorino and Hunter Pence being dealt, there’s no time like the present to show if he’ll be part of the future with the Phillies. He made a pinch hit appearance in his debut and singled but followed that up with an 0-for-4 performance. Deep and NL-only leaguers are the only ones who should be diving in this early. (0.8% ESPN; 4% Y!; 19% CBS)

How did trade deadline deals affect your fantasy teams, especially those of you in league-only types of ultra-deep keeper/dynasty leagues? I’d love to hear what players you’re targeting as we start winding down the fantasy baseball season. Does your head-to-head league have a playoff system in place? If so, what week do they begin? Feel free to leave a comment and/or hit me up on Twitter @DJAubain.

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Who’s Hot, Who’s Not: Adam Dunn

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Who’s Hot, Who’s Not: Adam Dunn

Posted on 31 July 2012 by Chris Caylor

We have a couple of unexpected names in this week’s edition of Who’s Hot, Who’s Not. Let’s dive right in, shall we?

Hottest of the Hot: Adam Dunn, Chicago White Sox

Dunn vowed to rebound from his ghastly 2011 season, and boy, has he ever. The slugger who averaged 40 home runs a season between 2004-10, then plummeted to 11 last year, is on pace to hit a career-high 50 big flies in 2012. In the past week, the Big Donkey batted .375/.423/.833 with 3 homers, 8 RBI, and 9 runs scored. Dunn even stole a base. For the season, Dunn leads both leagues with 31 home runs (plus 73 RBI). The .215 batting average is still a killer for those in roto leagues, but his .356 OBP confirms that his selective batting eye is as sharp as ever. Combine Dunn’s season with the consistent excellence of Paul Konerko, and it’s easy to see who is keeping the White Sox in contention for the AL Central.

Who else is hot?

Carlos Gomez, Milwaukee Brewers – Gomez has had himself quite a week. You’ve probably already seen his “foul” home run trot, but don’t let that overshadow how productive he has been for the Brew Crew. The speedy centerfielder put together a battling line of .346/.379/.884 with four home runs, 10 RBI and three stolen bases. With Zack Greinke gone, watching Gomez may be one of the only interesting things about the Brewers left in 2012.

Jeremy Hellickson, Tampa Bay Rays – Hellickson has had an up-and-down season, but July has definitely been an extended “up” period for the young righty. Hellickson has hurled five consecutive quality starts this month, with a 2.67 ERA and 0.95 WHIP. Thanks to their horrendous hitting, though, the Rays only managed to win two of Hellickson’s starts. Thanks to Hellickson (and teammates David Price and Fernando Rodney), the Rays may have something to play for when Evan Longoria returns in August.

Paul Maholm, Atlanta Braves/Chicago Cubs – Here’s a name you wouldn’t expect to see in this space. The lefty Maholm, however, is on a roll like no Cubs pitcher has experienced in decades: six straight starts of at least 6 IP and 1 or fewer ER allowed. Maholm, never considered a power pitcher, has struck out 37 batters and walked only 13 during his streak. As a reward for his outstanding pitching, Maholm was traded Monday night to the Braves, where he will attempt to help Atlanta reach the postseason.

Who’s Not

Omar Infante, Detroit Tigers – Since being traded back to the Tigers, the versatile Infante is just 3 for 21, with no home runs or extra-base hits. With Detroit counting on him to upgrade their dreadful second base production, Infante needs to snap out of his funk sooner rather than later.

Tyler Colvin, Colorado Rockies – After being one of the hottest players in baseball in June, Colvin has come crashing back to Earth like Skylab (raise your hand if you got that one). In his past 14 games, Colvin has gone 6 for 46 with 17 strikeouts, including an 0 for 15 stretch. With Todd Helton returning from the DL, Colvin’s playing time figures to decrease until he can stop his descent.

Roy Halladay, Philadelphia Phillies – Here’s a name you would never expect to see in the “Not” section. In his past four starts, Halladay has only 16 strikeouts, allowed 19 hits, and thrown one quality start. In that same time frame, Ross Ohlendorf, Joe Kelly, and the aforementioned Maholm have outpitched Halladay. For the season, Doc has an ERA+ of 93, which would be his worst since 2000. It truly is shaping up to be a season to forget in Philadelphia.

Follow me on Twitter (@chriscaylor), as well as the rest of the outstanding stable of writers at Full Spectrum Baseball.

Stats through Sunday 7/29

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