Tag Archive | "San Francisco Giants"

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Who’s Hot: Trade deadline edition

Posted on 29 August 2012 by Chris Caylor

For this week’s edition of Who’s Hot, Who’s Not, we journey back in time…about a month. The Dodgers-Red Sox mega-deal got me thinking: first, about that whole “let’s move the trade deadline back” media movement I addressed a few weeks ago. The blockbuster trade proves that the trade deadlines are just fine where they are, just like I wrote. Second, I was reminded about the deals made before the July 31st deadline. Which players have given their new teams a boost? Which players have fallen flat? There are some of each. Before we dive in, let’s just acknowledge that any stats from July 31 to now constitute a small sample size and should be regarded as such. At the same time, though, this time of year, those SSS (small sample size) numbers may make the difference between October baseball and October tee times.

Who’s Hot

Hanley Ramirez, Los Angeles Dodgers – There must be something about guys named Ramirez being traded to LA. This year, it’s the enigmatic HanRam, a frequent loafer while with the Marlins. Since joining the Dodgers, Ramirez has been worth 0.7 WAR in just 32 games (thru Tuesday), whereas he was worth 0.5 WAR in 93 games with Miami. Fantasy owners may never again see the days where Ramirez hits over .300 or steals 20+ bases, but they have to be much happier with his stats in LA than the end of his tenure in South Florida. With Adrian Gonzalez, Matt Kemp and Andre Ethier batting around him and the allure of a pennant race, Ramirez should be a top performer for the Dodgers and fantasy owners.

Paul Maholm, Atlanta Braves – There are low-profile acquisitions every season, whether by trade, free agency or minor league recall, that give teams an unexpectedly pleasant shot in the arm. Maholm has been guy for the Braves. In his 8th season, finally in a pennant race, he is enjoying his finest season. Since being traded to Atlanta, Maholm has responded by averaging over 7 innings per start and spinning a 0.98 WHIP. His H/9 and K/9 ratios are career bests as well. Atlanta has struggled with injuries to its rotation all season, but Maholm and Kris Medlen are helping to steady the ship.

Marco Scutaro, San Francisco Giants – Here is another example of an under-the-radar trade that has paid big dividends for the buyers. Scutaro was scuffling through a hum-drum season in Colorado before Christmas came early in the form of a trade to San Francisco. After putting together a .271/.324/.361 line for the Rockies, a revitalized Scutaro has posted a much more respectable .331/.359/.430 line. As a Scutaro owner, I had been considering dropping him altogether, even though he was playing half his games at Coors Field. Now that he is playing every day for the Giants (and hitting well), he is a decent middle-infield option for NL-only leagues and deep mixed leagues.


Francisco Liriano, Chicago White Sox – With the exception of one clunker of a start against Oakland on August 11, the former Twin has pitched pretty well for the Pale Hosers. While with Minnesota, Liriano compiled a 77 ERA+ in 22 games. Since being dealt to Chicago, he has pitched to an ERA+ of 102, or just a tad above average. Accordingly, his ownership percentage in roto leagues has increased since the trade. He was forced to leave last Monday’s start against the Orioles due to leg cramps, so he should be fine for his next start.

Shane Victorino, Los Angeles Dodgers – The Flyin’ Hawaiian was already having a down season with the Phillies, and he hasn’t taken off since arriving in L.A. His batting average and OPS numbers would be the worst of his career if the season ended today, while his WAR numbers would be the worst since becoming an everyday player for Philadelphia in 2006. He is capable of a hot streak in the season’s final month, and he continues to be an excellent source of steals. With Ramirez, Kemp, Gonzalez and Either to drive him in, all Victorino needs to do is get back to career-average numbers and he will return to elite status.

Wandy Rodriguez/Travis Snider/Gaby Sanchez, Pittsburgh Pirates – After the Derrek Lee/Ryan Ludwick trades failed to boost the Pirates to the postseason in 2011, Pirates GM Neal Huntington went in the opposite direction this year, trading for players whom the Pirates will control beyond 2012. The three players acquired in July all fall into the lukewarm category:

 Snider – The most intriguing player of the three, Snider has taken the opportunity and run with it. His improved plate discipline (lower strikeout rate, higher walk rate) has led to better pitches to hit, especially with men on base (1.117 OPS). Clearly, he is enjoying batting ahead of Andrew McCutchen in the Buccos’ lineup. The power isn’t showing up yet, but he is still just 24. Count me as a Snider fan. He is most definitely worth a roster spot in NL-only roto leagues and even as a matchup play against lefties.
 Rodriguez – I list Wandy here in the lukewarm category after watching him deal six shutout innings in a critical game Wednesday night against the St. Louis Cardinals. That had to be more like what Pittsburgh had in mind when they dealt three prospects for the former Astros southpaw. Prior to that start, Rodriguez hurled career-worst numbers in H/9, BB/9 and K/9. I wouldn’t blame you if you’ve already dropped him from your fantasy team (if you even had him in the first place). Keep an eye on him for the next start or two, though, and see if he can build on his gem against the Cards.
 Sanchez – He fell out of favor very quickly in Miami, despite hitting 19 home runs each of the past two seasons. Sanchez has been a part-time player in Pittsburgh. While he hasn’t exactly proven the Marlins wrong yet, he has improved, raising his batting line from an embarrassing .202/.250/.306 to merely a below average .250/.291/.365, which is no worse than the Pirates were getting from the now-departed Casey McGehee. Either way, Sanchez has no business being on your fantasy roster unless you’re in the deepest of fantasy leagues.

Who’s Not

Zack Greinke, Los Angeles Angels – Greinke might be the biggest bust of the entire trade season. The Angels were expecting the ace worthy of a 2.4 WAR with the Brewers; instead, Greinke has depreciated in every critical pitching category. A -0.1 WAR was definitely not what the Angels had in mind. He isn’t just on a run of bad luck; his pitches are getting hammered for major damage. The worst thing for fantasy players is that benching or cutting Greinke is not really an option. He is capable of an 8-inning, 1 ER, 10K gem at any point. Like the Angels, you’re stuck waiting for it to happen.

Hunter Pence, San Francisco Giants – Someone show Pence the way to San Francisco. The always-entertaining outfielder energized the Phillies lineup in 2011 with an OPS+ of 157 after being acquired from Houston, but it hasn’t happened for the Giants. Pence is slugging a puny .324 and whiffed in nearly one-third of his at-bats since the trade. To me, Pence has always been a bit overrated by most fantasy owners (similar to Nick Markakis in the American League); as such, he probably cost a either a mid-to-high draft pick or auction price tag. If you own Pence, you probably can’t just dump Pence unless you’re in a ridiculously shallow league. If that’s the case, you need to find a more challenging league.

Ryan Dempster/Geovany Soto, Texas Rangers – The Rangers swooped in at the last minute and poached Dempster from the Los Angeles Dodgers, but you have to wonder if they would like a do-over. Dempster has not adjusted well to the junior circuit (83 ERA+, 1.47 WHIP). His struggles are less surprising considering that he had crafted a career-best ERA+ and WHIP at age 35, but the Rangers had to be expecting better. He’s not undroppable like Greinke, but he should be a matchup play in head-to-head leagues. Keep him active if you’re desperate for wins in a roto league, but only if you can stand the hit in the other pitching categories. Soto replaced Mike Napoli, but has not done much better than Yorvit Torrealba, who was cut loose to make room for Soto. He looks like a shell of the player who won the 2006 NL Rookie of the Year award.

As we jump back to the present, this is what we see: Ramirez has worked out well for the Dodgers, but the other high-profile acquisitions have not made the desired impact for their new teams. It’s the lower-profile deals that have worked out best: Maholm, Scutaro, even Edward Mujica has been a demonstrable upgrade to the Cardinals bullpen. Meanwhile, the Angels have lost ground in the playoff hunt since Greinke joined the team (not that it’s solely his fault by any stretch; he’s had plenty of help). The Giants are in first place, but Scutaro has been a bigger contributor to their recent success than Pence. Nate Schierholtz has been as productive (read: not very) as Pence, and the Giants wouldn’t have had to surrender any talent. Dempster was 98% on his way to Atlanta; how different would the Braves rotation look if Dempster ended up there and pitched the same way he has in Texas? What would the Rangers have done to upgrade their rotation?

This isn’t to say that making deals at the trade deadline doesn’t work. Just last year, the St. Louis Cardinals made a huge trade – sacrificing a talented young center fielder – which fortified the starting rotation and bullpen and led to an exhilarating World Series championship. In 2010, the San Francisco Giants picked up Cody Ross as a spare part and he helped lead them to their first title in 56 years. Making a trade – especially a blockbuster – is a calculated roll of the dice. We won’t know the true impact of the trades until after the season at the earliest. These are just first impressions of the deals made a month ago. The storylines are still being written.

Hit me with any feedback (well, unless you’re a Red Sox fan). Follow me on Twitter @chriscaylor.

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Tim Lincecum

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Fantasy Baseball Stock Watch – Come on down, Timmy!

Posted on 27 August 2012 by Patrick Hayes

It’s that time again. We are racing towards the end of August (HOLY CRAP) and some fantasy leagues have already started their playoffs. This edition will be the last one with a focus on the current year. Next week (depending on if I push one out for Labor day) I plan on writing with an eye on next year, with an emphasis for keeper leagues. I will also end the year with a recap of how my buy, sell and holds have played out. So that will be neat, eh?

Tim Lincecum – SP, San Francisco Giants

Tim Lincecum

#152 on ESPNs 5×5 Player Rater for SPs

I write this knowing that Lincecum is throwing live on ESPN right now, but I’m not watching (still no cable) so the results shouldn’t be factored into what I’m about to write. Any-who, Timmy has had quite the wild ride of a year. After seeing the wheels completely fall off the train in the first two months with an ERA well north of 5.00, he has regained some of his magic of late. Post All-Star break he has an ERA of 3.10.

So what has changed? Actually, a lot, and not for the better. He is walking more batters (3.5+ BB/9) and is striking out batters less (15.3% from his avg of 22-24%). However, he isn’t giving up the long ball as he was in the first half of the year (HR/FB of 6.3% in August, 17% in July). After seeing these numbers, and knowing that he is allowing a lot of base hits still (30 hits in last 29  2/3 IP), I am still holding him. Going in I was solid in buying, but I’ve just changed my mind. He isn’t a keeper for your team next year but he still can provide a boost for your championship run.

My verdict: Hold,  just like that pile of clothes you keep meaning to give to Goodwill.

Gio Gonzalez – SP, Washington Nationals

Gio Gonzalez

#13 on ESPNs 5×5 Player Rater for SPs

Gio Gonzalez started the 2012 year lights out for his new team in the National League. He is a great example of a steal in the draft for where you picked him up at (134 ADP). The first two months saw him have an ERA near 2.00 and fanning batters at a rate in 10+/9. The case could be made that these numbers, along with a BABIP of near .230, that the NL opponents simply haven’t had a chance to adjust to seeing Gio for their first time.

That isn’t the case anymore, hitters are becoming very comfortable with Gio now. His ERA during the early summer months ballooned to above 4.00, but have now regressed to near 3.oo-ish. It seems that the hitters got to Gio the 2nd time through and he as made adjustments to end up somewhere in the middle of the two extremes so far. The downside is that his K/9 rate has fallen to under 8.0 the past two months and his BABIP has rebounded to near the league average. He still is a solid play in all formats and should be inserted into your lineup with confidence, just know that the beginning of the year is a distant past and to have reasonable expectations.

Side note, Gio might have the most hilarious face when he releases the ball out of any pitcher I’ve seen.

My verdict: Selling! His value has maxed out and now is the best time to try and capitalize on it.

Brandon Morrow – SP, Toronto Blue Jays

Brandon Morrow

#51 on ESPNs 5×5 Player Rater for SPs

After a bit of time on the DL, @2morrow23 has only made one appearance, and it was a short one (struck out 7 in 4 2/3 IP). Sure he plays on a team that has been playing with half of its firepower, not to mention completely cemented in the basement of the AL East. That won’t stop me from pursuing him on my team though. When he is on, his K/9 is on the front page of the leaderboard of all MLB. His 2012 year has been a little step back as far as K’s go, but his ERA is sitting nicely at 3.06. He has simply stopped walking as many batters as he used to (2.73/9 down from 3.46/9 in 2011).

If he can remain healthy for the rest of the year he could be a real nice piece to have for your fantasy baseball stretch run. Although I don’t have him right now, I’m mentally placing him on  my targeted list of starting pitchers I like for next year. As far as acquiring him this year, work the health angle with the current owner. His upcoming slate of starts is somewhat favorable too – vs TB, @ BAL and vs SEA. Go and get him!

My verdict: Buy and stash under your bed just like that guitar you purchased but never play.

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

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The Waiver Wire: Jon Jay

Posted on 21 August 2012 by Daniel Aubain

As we head into the final weeks of the fantasy baseball season, staying active on the waiver wire could be the difference between finishing the season in the money spots or being just another also-ran. If you’re in a head-to-head league, your playoffs may have already started this week. And it’s very possible some of your fellow owners are already focusing on fantasy football (what’s that?). This edition of The Waiver Wire will point out the names of some players making an impact right now and who are available in a majority of ESPN, Yahoo! and/or CBS leagues. Feel free to send me a slice of your winnings. I accept PayPal.

Outfielder Jon Jay of the St. Louis Cardinals came out of the gates on fire this season, going 22-for-55 (.400 BA) in 15 April games with two doubles, two home runs, eight RBI, seven runs and a .986 OPS for a virtually undrafted player (ESPN ADP: ~260.0; Y! ADP 244.3; CBS ADP 268.02).

May, June and July were less favorable to Jay as he dealt with right shoulder issues which landed him on the DL for 36 games from mid-May to late-June. In 45 games played over those three months, Jay hit just .247 with no home runs and a .305 slugging percentage.  Fantasy baseball owners who felt smart for grabbing him in April bailed in droves as his fantasy numbers continued to fade.

The dog days of August have been anything but that for Jay as he’s heating up as the temperature continues to rise. In 17 games, he’s produced a robust 5×5 line of .365/10/2/8/3 and should be owned in all formats. As of now, he’s only owned in 47.4% of ESPN leagues, 25% of Yahoo! leagues and 37% of CBS leagues. The Cardinals are only two games back in the NL Wild Card race and you can expect Jay to be a fixture at the top of the lineup going forward.

Here are some other fantasy baseball players worth a look who may still be available on your league’s waiver wire:

SS Erick Aybar, Los Angeles Angels – Aybar returned from a recent stint on the DL on August 6th and has gone 20-for-50 (.400 BA) with a double, a triple, three home runs, seven RBI, 11 runs scored and four stolen bases in 13 games since. His ownership numbers are a bit high (58.3% ESPN; 41% Y!; 62% CBS) to be available on the waiver wire in any league worth a damn but make no assumptions. The Angels are only 4.5 games out of the AL Wild Card race and Aybar should get the majority of the starts at shortstop.

1B Brandon Belt, San Francisco Giants – Belt is finally seeing regular playing time and making the most of it. Since July 25th, when his average was at a season low .229, he’s hitting .378 with seven RBI, 11 runs scored and three stolen bases but lacks a single home run. If you don’t have a need for home runs, Belt could be a nice pick up as a corner infielder, infielder, utility or DH player (depending on your league’s depth) for the stretch run. Could a playoff run be enough to wake his power stroke up? I’m willing to take a chance on that. He’s only owned in 16.8% of ESPN leagues, 19% of Y! leagues and 29% of CBS leagues.

OF David Murphy, Texas RangersSince July 20th, Murphy is hitting .368 (35-for-95) with 12 doubles, two home runs, 14 RBI, 13 runs scored and a .971 OPS. He should continue to see the majority of starts in left field as long as his bat stays hot. With relatively low ownership numbers (13.3% ESPN; 13% Y!; 45% CBS), Murphy could provide some nice offensive numbers for a team looking to add some outfield depth.

OF Anthony Gose, Toronto Blue Jays – I’ll admit, my fantasy baseball credibility may be shot for recommending a player who’s hitting .203 in 74 at bats since his July 17th debut but there is a method to my madness. Over his last 13 games (10 GS), Gose is hitting .235 with eight stolen bases and just one caught stealing. If your team needs stolen bases and can absorb the hit against your team’s overall batting average, he may be the short-term fix you’re looking for. Owned in just 2.1% of ESPN leagues, 2% of Y! leagues and 11% of CBS leagues, Gose is proving to be a one-dimensional player (speed!). Be sure to check out our own T.J. McDonald‘s assessment of Gose’s future in the big leagues.

SP Jaime Garcia, St. Louis Cardinals – In his first game back from a lengthy stint on the DL due to a shoulder injury, Garcia pitched eight innings of five-hit ball, walking none and striking out 10 batters. I’d say he’s healthy and ready to contribute to the Cardinals run at the playoffs. He’s owned in 42.8% of ESPN leagues, 50% of Y! leagues and 74% of CBS leagues. Act now if he happens to be available on waivers. He won’t be there much longer.

RP Dale Thayer, San Diego Padres – If there is a save to be had for the Padres, one can assume Thayer will get the first crack at it. Huston Street is eligible to come off the DL on August 26th, so any pickup of Thayer should be considered a very short-term solution unless your league utilizes Holds, too. He’s owned in 34.8% of ESPN leagues, 22% of Y! leagues and 19% of CBS leagues.

Other than Thayer and Gose, all of the other players I suggested you give serious attention to picking up off waivers are on teams involved in the playoff race. These teams are going to stay committed to the players who’ve proven they can handle the stress and strain of a playoff race. As teams begin dropping out of the playoff race and start calling up players from the minors in September, a whole new batch of waiver wire options should start appearing as those teams begin preparing for 2013. Did someone say “keepers”?

Be sure to leave a comment about which players you’re targeting for your playoff run or race to the finish line in rotisserie formats. Are you targeting specific players for specific categories? PS, you should be! Connect with me on Twitter @DJAubain to continue talking all things baseball (mostly) as the 2012 fantasy baseball season winds down. Good luck!

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An Open Letter to Melky Cabrera

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An Open Letter to Melky Cabrera

Posted on 16 August 2012 by Trish Vignola

Dear Melky,

Can I call you Melky? No, I won’t call you “The Melk Man”. I’m not that brilliant wordsmith, John Sterling.

You were a bright shinning beacon for my otherwise dismal fantasy baseball team. On a team that provided my league with such memorable moves like taking Joey Votto as my first draft pick. Joey Votto? You know Joey Votto – 2010 National League MVP, hitting .342, disabled list. How about Johan Santana? Oh, he was my sleeper pick. Sure, he pitched the first no-hitter in New York Mets franchise history. Now? If his earned run average were a child, it would be entering the first grade.

You though were different. You were the Most Valuable Player of the 2012 All-Star Game. You’re hitting .346, the second highest average in the National League. You have 11 home runs and 60 runs batted in. You lead the major leagues with 159 hits and 84 runs. Did I mention that you are playing for a San Francisco Giants team that was tied with the Los Angeles Dodgers for first place in the National League West entering today’s games? You sir, kept me from dead last place.

Surprise! Today, you gave me the gift that keeps on giving. You tested positive for testosterone. No, that’s not my fancy way of saying “You da Man!” That is though my fancy way of saying Major League Baseball suspended you for 50 games effective immediately.

Don’t worry. I’m not going to give you a speech about “cheaters never winning” and how I hope the effects of losing the rest of your salary has some impact on your psyche. Based on the false pretense in which you presented your services, I hope this has more of an impact on the Giants accounting department. It’s obvious that you were over paid.

I’m not going to talk about how people would give their eyeteeth for just one shot to do what you do every day. The Giants have 45 games remaining. It looks like you’ll miss the rest of the regular season and then either five games of a playoff run or the first five games of next season. It’s totally not worth it to give our eyeteeth to do what you do now – you know, sitting on your couch watching “Baseball Tonight”.

Dude! You were on a legitimate playoff contender. Do you realize that last year you were on the Kansas City Royals? Seriously. After what you did, my fantasy baseball team might as well BE the Royals.

“My positive test was the result of my use of a substance I should not have used,” you said in a statement released by the Major League Baseball Players Association. “I accept my suspension under the Joint Drug Program and I will try to move on with my life. I am deeply sorry for my mistake and I apologize to my teammates, to the San Francisco Giants organization and to the fans for letting them down.”

Cue the “NBC ‘The More You Know’ Music.”

I could take the high road. I could release a fantasy statement regarding my fantasy baseball team just like the Giants did. “We were extremely disappointed to learn of the suspension of Melky Cabrera for violating Major League Baseball’s Joint Drug Prevention & Treatment Program. We fully support Major League Baseball’s policy and its efforts to eliminate performance-enhancing drugs from our game. Per the protocol outline by Major League Baseball’s collective bargaining agreement, the Giants will not comment further on this matter.” But, I am.

As you sit on your butt for the rest of the season, all I hope is that you stay away from R.A. Dickey and you get really fat. If you need me, I’ll be digging my hole deeper until this season finally ends.

Yours truly,


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Who’s Hot, Who’s Not: Aroldis Chapman

Posted on 14 August 2012 by Chris Caylor

Welcome to this week’s edition of Who’s Hot, Who’s Not. This week we appropriately feature a flamethrower and a repeat performer from last week (in a different category) plus a few others. Away we go…

Hottest of the Hot

Aroldis Chapman, Cincinnati Reds – Unhittable. That’s what Chapman has been virtually all season. Over the past two weeks, he has racked up 7 saves and 12 strikeouts in 7 1/3 innings with no walks. So far this season, Chapman has punched out 106 batters in 57 innings versus a mere 14 walks. In 2012, he has decreased his BB/9 from 7.4 in 2011 to 2.2, while his K/BB ratio has improved from 1.73 in 2011 to an eye-popping 7.57. To give you a basis for comparison, Mariano Rivera pitched to a 7.50 K/BB ratio during his sterling 2011 campaign. That’s how good Chapman has been this year.

Who Else is Hot?

Buster Posey, San Francisco Giants – Posey has picked up where he left off in 2010, when he won NL Rookie of the Year. In the past week, he clubbed 6 home runs, drove in 16, and put together a.465/.586/.930 batting line. The catcher position is no longer the shallow fantasy baseball wasteland it used to be (unless you’re in a two-catcher league), but Posey is a Top 5 catcher, and his first base eligibility is handy too.

Matt Kemp, Los Angeles Dodgers – I think Kemp likes having Shane Victorino and Hanley Ramirez around him in the lineup. He has hit safely in 14 of his past 15 games, batting .443 in that stretch. Kemp sports a 1.067 OPS for the season and has approved proportionally in each category over last season. The Dodgers and fantasy owners are happy to have Kemp back and productive.

Adrian Gonzalez, Boston Red Sox – Look who’s finally heating up. After getting off to a miserable start, Gonzalez is punishing the ball the way we have become accustomed. In the past week, A-Gon has hit a pair of homers, driven in 14 runs and slugged .857. Although the home run numbers remain down, Gonzalez is on pace to drive in over 100 runs for a fourth season.

David Price, Tampa Bay Rays – Price’s stats this year are remarkable. Putting aside the 15 wins (on pace for 20), Price hasn’t lost a decision since June 13. Given how feeble the Rays lineup has been without Evan Longoria, I find that noteworthy. Price also is on pace for over 200 strikeouts, with a K/BB ratio of 3 to 1. Similar to Justin Verlander, Price is consistently able to throw in the mid to upper 90s late in ballgames. With the Rays’ exceptional pitching and the return of Longoria, the Rays will be a fascinating team to watch the rest of the season.

Who’s Not?

Albert Pujols, Los Angeles Angels. Last week, Pujols was leading the Who’s Hot list. This week, not so much. The big slugger has gone 1 for 23 the past week, good for a batting line of .043/.120/.043. Last week, I mentioned that the Angels were a scary team because of all the big names on the roster and how good they could be if they put it all together. However, they are 3-7 in their past 10 games and have fallen to third place, behind the amazing Oakland Athletics. Pujols’ up-and-down weeks illustrate the Angels’ enigmatic season perfectly.

John Axford, Milwaukee Brewers – Last year, he was the Ax Man, a long-haired, flame-throwing closer who led the NL in saves. This year, he has become the Wax Man, because opposing lineups are mopping the floor with him. Although his K/9 ratio has gone up this year, it is completely offset by drop-offs in his H/9, HR/9 and SO/BB ratios. In 2011, Axford was worth 2.4 WAR; this season, it’s -1.5. Yikes.

Lance Berkman, St. Louis Cardinals – As sensational as 2011 was for the Big Puma, 2012 has been the polar opposite. The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported Sunday that Berkman suffered cartilage damage in his left knee, most likely due to overcompensating for his surgically-repaired right knee. He insists he will return in 2012, but you have to wonder how effective he would be. If he does return in 2013, Berkman may be better off doing so as a DH in the American League. I hope he is able to return. Baseball is a better game with guys like Berkman in uniform.

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