Tag Archive | "Ryan Braun"

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.

StephenStrasburg

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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An Open Letter To My Fantasy Baseball Team

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An Open Letter To My Fantasy Baseball Team

Posted on 23 April 2013 by Trish Vignola

Dear Team “Beat with an Uggla Stick,”

Yovani Gallardo, Milwaukee Brewers, must frustrating pitcher ever?

Hi,there! Remember me? I’m Trish, your general manager. I’ve given you the finest in fantasy facilities. I even forwent telling your fantasy girlfriends about your fantasy wives. I’ve treated you well.

So, riddle me this…why are you falling apart on me so early in the season?!

First, Yovani Gallardo – what are you doing? CBSSports.com projected that you were good to give me 205 innings and 18 wins. Do you know what you’ve given me so far? 7 points in three weeks and a DUI charge. A DUI charge?! If I wanted prospective prolonged absences due to legal issues, I would have kept Ryan Braun! You of course are one of my keepers. Nonetheless, you are useless to me when you have to miss a game due to a court date. It looks like you’ll be ridding my fantasy pine for a while.

Next, Josh Hamilton – which personality are you working with today? You gave me 9 points the first week, 23 the next week and -1 the next. Negative one! I didn’t even know you could do that. CBS Sports says that you cites an adjustment period behind your slow start. An adjustment period? I’m starting a new job. I get an adjustment period. You have a 5-year, $125 million contract. You doesn’t get an adjustment period.

Your adjustment period has resulted in 10 strikeouts and just one hit in your first stretch of games. Your 3-for-4 performance on Sunday lifted your batting average above .200 for the first time this season.

“Of course, there’s always an adjustment,” you told MLB.com on Sunday. I’m starting to hate that word.

“You go to spring training and you think you’re adjusted and then you make another move. You had to bring the family to L.A., had to get settled in and get in a routine as far as finding where things are around the stadium. It’s just a process. It’s been good to get into routine.” Really? Get a map.

I’m not going to start on Barry Zito and your atrocious outing this week. You were going to have to lose at some point. However, let’s discuss you, Ryan Vogelsong. You are another one who found new and exciting ways to give me negative points. Really?! However, I’m not giving up on you yet. You struggled last April before turning things around in May. Apparently, it’s normal for you to deal with reduced velocity early in the year. Last season, you were only throwing in the high-80s early in the season. By September, you were hitting between 92 and 94 mph with your fastball. I won’t cut you loose after just two starts. However, you don’t have until September to get warmed up. If I don’t see drastic change happening soon, you might see yourself on the bench next to that dummy Gallardo.

In my fantasy Steinbrenner days, I would have backed the fantasy truck up on my fantasy baseball team a week ago. I’m hanging tough for now. Nonetheless, Willin Rosario cannot hit for the entire team. If things don’t start improving soon, I will ignite a fire sale that would make the Marlins organization blush.

Love Always,

Your General Manager

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Josh Hamilton – Keeper or Bust?

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Josh Hamilton – Keeper or Bust?

Posted on 08 April 2013 by Trish Vignola

Is Josh Hamilton a keeper? He is a bust? Or is it too late to proclaim? If you have been following my fantasy baseball woes, I traded Ryan Braun for Steven Strasburg and Josh Hamilton before the season started. Sure, Braun was named the 2011 National League Most Valuable player. Strasburg was named the Opening Day starter and Josh Hamilton can hit homeruns in his sleep. Strasburg may (or may not) have a pitch count. Hamilton might be a sensitive soul but Braun? Braun was connected to the Biogenesis scandal! Was I wrong to not hedge my bets?

JoshHamiltonAngels

You are talking to the same woman who had Joey Votto on her team last year. In fantasy baseball, I’m frankly the Democratic Party.

And not in the good sweeping victory of the 2008 Presidential election way…

Did I make the right move? Is Hamilton’s prospective 30 to 40 home runs worth just as much as Braun’s prospective 30 to 40 home runs (minus the Major League Baseball investigation)? Hamilton debuted for his new team, the Los Angeles Angels, on Monday against one of his old ones, the Cincinnati Reds. He started in right field and hit fourth.

Hamilton was unable to score any hits against Johnny Cueto. He went 0 for 4 with a run scored and two walks with a strikeout in his performance. In fact, Hamilton went 0 for 9 before his first hit on Thursday. In the top of the third inning, Hamilton singled with Erick Aybar and Albert Pujols on base. Both runners scored, giving Hamilton his first two RBI this year.

We all recognize that Hamilton has been one of the game’s best hitters over the past five seasons. Nonetheless, he isn’t known to have the best plate discipline. Chris Cwik of CBSsports.com reports that Angels’ manager Mike Scioscia doesn’t want Hamilton to alter his approach regardless of Hamilton’s slow start. He said, “You wouldn’t ask a guy like Vlad Guerrero to try to draw more walks.” Scioscia points out that Hamilton’s aggressive mentality at the plate has worked for him in the past. He feels at this point there’s no reason to starting tinkering with Hamilton’s approach.

On Friday, the team hoped Hamilton would turn his fortunes around against another former team of his, the Texas Rangers. However, he wasn’t that lucky. Hamilton went 0 for 4 with two strikeouts in the game. He failed to work the count and was very aggressive at the plate. In his first game back, Rangers’ fans booed him loudly

As of 10 pm today on CBSsports.com, Hamilton has earned me 3 measly fantasy points. Braun has earned his lucky managers 16 fantasy points. Thankfully, Strasburg bailed me out a bit with 29 points. Nonetheless, I’m in trouble.

Listen, who says that Braun is not innocent? Can you name another person who was able to dispute his testosterone test and win an appeal of his 50 game suspension? I will not cast any dispersion on his name. Nonetheless, if I kept Braun, I guarantee that he would have been tossed from the game indefinitely.

I am the black widow of fantasy baseball. So to those of you who have Braun on your team, you are welcome. For those of you who wanted Hamilton, you are also welcome. At the rate he’s going, he should be batting my weight shortly. As long as he is on my team, he won’t be wreaking havoc on yours.

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Ryan Braun – Is he a keeper?

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Ryan Braun – Is he a keeper?

Posted on 04 April 2013 by Trish Vignola

Well, I guess that’s too late to figure out now. I traded him for Steven Strasburg. Sure, Braun was named the 2011 National League Most Valuable Player. However,Strasburg was named the Nationals’ Opening Day starter. Sure, he may (or may not) have a pitch count but Ryan Braun was … connected to the Biogenesis scandal. I did not want to hedge my bets.

RyanBraun2

You are talking to the same woman who had Joey Votto on her team last year.

The same Joey Votto who missed like a third of the season due to injury.

In fantasy baseball, I’m kind of the kiss of death.

However, did I make the right move? Is 190 innings worth losing a prospective 30 to 40 home runs? The Milwaukee Brewers outfielder collected his first RBI of 2013 season on opening day and added to that total Tuesday night against the Rockies. He went 1 for 4 with a home run in the 8-4 loss. The 29-year-old launched a two-run shot off starter Jorge De La Rosa in the third inning. Braun has gone 2 for 8 with three RBIs through two games.

As of 7 pm today on CBSsports.com, Braun has earned his lucky managers 9 fantasy points. Strasburg has earned me 29. Nonetheless, the week is far from over.

Regarding anything that would keep Braun preoccupied…like I don’t know, the Biogenesis scandal, Major League Baseball claims that Braun is not at the center of the investigation. Michael Hurcomb of CBSsports.com reported on March 20th that Major League Baseball Vice President Rob Manfred denied allegations the league was targeting the Brewers outfielder in its investigation of the Biogenesis clinic in Miami. Biogenesis, for those of you who don’t know, was an anti-aging clinic located near the University of Miami. It is alleged that the clinic sold performance-enhancing drugs to what is growing to be a laundry list of baseball players, including Alex Rodriguez and Ryan Braun.

These newer reports contradicted an earlier USA Today report which suggested that Braun was “MLB’s Public Enemy No. 1″ in its investigation of Biogenesis. “Everyone whose name has surfaced surrounding the Miami New Times story and Biogenesis is being investigated with equal vigor,” Manfred said in a statement to the Journal Sentinel.

Listen, who says that Braun is not innocent? Can you name another person who was able to dispute his testosterone test and win an appeal of his 50 game suspension? I will not cast any dispersion on his name. Nonetheless, if I kept Braun, I guarantee that he would have been tossed from the game indefinitely.

I am the black widow of fantasy baseball.

So to those of you who have Braun on your team, you are welcome. Braun is projected for 38 home runs, 109 RBIs and a .312 batting average. Steven Strasburg? I hear he’s projected to buy a new insurance policy now that he knows I kept him.

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The Purity Of The Pastime

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The Purity Of The Pastime

Posted on 01 March 2013 by Nick Schaeflein

The game of baseball is something that is near and dear to me. It has been passed down from family members and played since a young age. The game, along with the eventual bride to be, is two things that I am absolutely crazy about with the hopes of making baseball a career some day. Growing up, if the uniform was not dirty, everything was not left out on the field. Playing the game hard and the right way were core values given to me by some great coaches. The beauty of baseball can also be turned into life lessons as well.

RetroBaseball

Steroids are a delicate subject currently in baseball. It is a line in the dirt that has affected the game for the wrong reasons. However, it has not ruined the game entirely. Despite all of the reports, congressional hearings, PED’s, HGH, and any other abbreviations there is still much to be celebrated.

This past offseason, the latest report naming players that allegedly took substances was released with more high profile names included such as Ryan Braun again and Gio Gonzalez. The latest report appears to have a common factor of ties to the Miami area and university. The university has already had its fair share of troubles and this is seemingly being added to the list of dark clouds.

Since the mid 90’s, the game as been viewed as the “steroid era” and the image and commissioner have both taken a hit for that facing the questions of just how clean is the game? While the commissioner has implemented great things that have improved the game such as the Wild Card and instant replay, many believe the stance on drug use was turned the other way.

Some may even forget that these talks and questions really began to take shape in 2005 and 2006 when Jose Canseco released the book Juiced. The information published in that book caused a serious stir around the game. Denials of any and all claims mentioned became the thing to do and Canseco became an outcast. Fast forward nearly a decade and now many of the things written have been discovered as truths rather than fiction.

In baseball, much like the other sports has some bad that comes with the good. For someone that loves the true meaning of sports that is hard to accept. The beauty of sports should be that for those two or three hours that the game is being played nothing else should matter. The game should be the story, the heart, and hustle. There should be no back drop of steroids, or criminal allegations to clutter things. It is sad when the games fans love are taken advantage of, because who would not give anything to trade places with a professional athlete? We should take notice of the clubs and players doing things the right way as opposed to the select few that do not.

Inner circles use the terms like dirt bags or grinders. Guys that seemingly give every ounce they have for their team and leave it all on the field. Guys like Dustin Pedroia, Chipper Jones, and Derek Jeter often have uniforms where dirt is the primary color and earn that respect from their peers. Steroids are never brought up about guys like this. Rather, the effort and hustle are praised. They are just a few players that do not take the game for granted.

This year, for the first time in a long time no players were elected into the Hall of Fame. The question is what does that mean for future players? Will a few bad apples ruin it for the rest? I do not believe so. During the era, some players still did it the right way and will be honored. Upcoming Hall of Fame eligible players include Frank Thomas, Greg Maddux, and Ken Griffey Jr. who should all be first ballot inductees.

No question, my favorite player is The Kid. Along with the on field talent, he brought that energy, that purity, and that smile to the game. He was a human highlight show and role model with the purest swing in the game. For the saber metrics, Griffey’s 1997 MVP season reads as a .304 batting average, 56 home runs, 147 RBI’s, and the most important number, 0. Zero being the number of steroid reports, PED’s, and accusations leaked.

The use of steroids should never be condoned, however the era should never be completely ignored or have an asterisk next to it either. It should be treated and accepted as apart of the game and just another chapter as good still emerged during the same period as well. The same time frame brought us stories such as the 2001 Arizona Diamondbacks and Cal Ripken becoming the new iron man. History does not discount the dead ball era and in today’s game this should be no different. No asterisks are found on pitchers stats such as the great Bob Gibson prior to 1969 when the pitching mound was different and clean players today should not be discredited with accomplishments either.

The purpose of the Baseball Hall of Fame committee is to vote and elect the best players from the sport and enshrine them in Cooperstown. They are to be impartial and select only the few worthy players. As the game hopefully moves away from the PED’s and gets cleaned up, those players will still rise above the rest and become enshrined.

As Opening Day approaches, here is to the steroid cloud hopefully fading away. The game still has and will always have many things to cherish about it. The core is still pure. To borrow a line from a movie, “The game does not stink, it is a great game.”

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