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The Hump Day Look See 5/30/12 – Panic in pitchertown!

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The Hump Day Look See 5/30/12 – Panic in pitchertown!

Posted on 30 May 2012 by J. Ellet Lambie

The Hump Day Look See is your weekly Wednesday foray into all things fantasy baseball. Sneaky stat lines, rapid risers, trends and tricks to help maximize your roster are all celebrated here. Equal parts analysis and common sense with a splash of humor, served fresh every Wednesday morning right here on Full Spectrum Baseball.

THE END IS NIGH! RUN FOR THE HILLS!

That is, if you happen to own Roy Halladay or Jered Weaver, who were both shelved this week with injuries. Halladay is expected to miss 6-8 weeks, there is not yet a timetable for Jered Weaver to resume his duties on the bump. Also hobbling to the sidelines in the past two weeks: Ted Lilly, John Danks, Danny Duffy and Marco Estrada. LIGHT THE LANTERNS AND HEAD FOR THE SHELTER!

Or….you could look elsewhere on the disabled list to names such as Brandon McCarthy, Jonathan Sanchez and Vance Worley – all three should return in the next week and change. Aces they are not, serviceable stop gaps that could become more? Sure, it’s possible.

And don’t forget to frantically check the free agent pool in all of your leagues for Roy Oswalt, now that he has agreed to join the Texas Rangers. I have to imagine we’re looking at a couple of weeks minimum of stretching him out before he toes a major league rubber, so don’t expect a miracle this week. Also of note, his career OPS against at Ameriquest (Arlington) is .878, with a 4.78 ERA and 9 HR allowed in 52.2 innings pitched. Caveat Emptor my friends.

I had a couple of inquiries following the first HDLS post last week, wondering why I listed the top 10 added and dropped hitters, but not pitchers. A fair question. With a decent percentage of players in ESPN standard 5 x 5 rotisserie leagues streaming pitchers each week, I’ve found it skews the numbers, and paints a confusing picture. So to balance the coverage, I’ll make an effort to highlight pitching options in other ways each week – see above. You can also check out the AL and NL weekly Pitching Planning posts right here at Full Spectrum Baseball.

Top 10 Added Hitters in ESPN Standard Leagues – Last 14 Days:

Player % Add/Drop %
owned
Notes
Dayan Viciedo CWS – OF +52.8 83.2 #4 last week, added +20% since. 22/55 with 7 HR, 20 RBI in last 15 games.
Jeff Francoeur KC – OF +40.1 81.2 Frenchy is too good to have been that bad for that long, .375 with 4 bombs in last 15, hope you bought low.
Jonathan Lucroy MIL – C +34.4 78.4 News of his broken hand will put out this fire, but keep him on your watch list for mid/late July.
Justin Morneau MIN – 1B +33.1 91.3 5 HR and 16 steaks since his return from the DL. If he stays on the field he should stay in your lineup.
Mitch Moreland TEX – 1B/OF +33 87.1 On the fringe last week. Multi-position eligible, power stroke like the weather, getting warmer.
Chris Davis BAL 3B/1B +25 74.4 6th most dropped last week, streaky hitter that will inspire the Yo-Yo effect.
A.J. Pierzynski CWS – C +22.3 85.6 Top 5 among ALL catchers in Hits, Runs, HR, RBI – How is he still available in 15% of leagues?
Jed Lowrie HOU – 3B/SS +17.1 94.6 Health and a change of scenery have done wonders – 1/2 of his HR (4 of 8) in last 15 games.
A.J. Ellis LAD – C +16.5 28.2 Almost June and still hitting .315, smells like a regression candidate to me (.282 career), but he’s extra scrappy.
Michael Brantley CLE – OF +15.8 37.5 Hit safely in 8 straight games, 7 RBI and 6 SB in that stretch.

And the Yang of failure, also known as the 10 most dropped:

Player %
Add/Drop
%
owned
Notes
Cody Ross BOS – OF (DL) -37.3 27.3 Victim of nervous injury drops, might be back in a couple of weeks.
Chipper Jones ATL – 3B (DL) -37.2 47.3 Hopes to return soon, surgery to drain fluid from his leg not an encouraging sign.
Lance Berkman STL – 1B/OF -22.4 49.8 Residual dropping from 6-10 week prognosis of last week.
Miguel Montero ARI – C -21.7 67.9 Missed 5 games with a groin injury, signed a massive new deal, still hitting .248 with only 2 HR’s, but OBP .342 – excellent buy low candidate.
Torii Hunter LAA – OF -13.6 61.4 Hangover droppage from time away for family issues. Returns Tuesday night.
Bryan LaHair CHC – 1B/OF -12.9 87.1 Returned to earth with a miserable week. 3 for 4 Monday, but likely to sit against lefties (3-22 this season).
Emilio Bonifacio MIA – 2B/SS/3B (DL) -11.2 86.7 Oh sweet Emilio, curse your balky thumb. Out for a while but speed doesn’t slump, keep your eyes on him close to his return.
Jon Jay STL – OF (DL) -8.8 29.4 Could be back in 10-14 days, should resume a starting role then. 9 Hits and 8 Runs in final 10 games before injury.
Jemile Weeks OAK – 2B -8.2 51.5 .235 with 3 Runs, 1 SB, 0 HR, 0 RBI in last 15 games. Perhaps track is his forte.
Robert Andino BAL – 2B/SS/3B -7.8 31.4 Ladies and gentlemen, this is what regression to the mean looks like while wearing an orange hat.

And for the value shopper, this week’s 5 Under 50 – five players owned in less than 50% of ESPN standard leagues that can help your roster right now. Last week I recommended Anthony Bass of the Padres, who then proceeded to have his worst outing of the year, arguably. Consider this proof I am not in fact omnipotent. With that being said, stick with the kid, he’s been far more good than bad this season. I also pointed a finger at Joe Blanton, insert joke here. On the upside, Alcides Escobar, J.P. Arencibia and Daniel Nava did not burst into fantasy flames (Arencibia did hit .136, but had 2 HR), so I suppose there is hope after all.

Paul Goldschmidt ARI – 1B 35.4%: He hit a 471 foot HR the other day. Not kidding. 471 feet. The former prized prospect has hit in 7 straight games through Monday, with 4 doubles and 7 runs scored over that span. He’s at least worth a stash if you’re thin at 1B short term.

Michael Brantley CLE – OF 37.5%: As mentioned above in the most added section (#10), he’s been hitting and running and doing all sorts of fun fantasy things. If he keeps it up he’ll be ineligible for this category in no time.

Gregor Blanco SFG – OF 19.6%: 21 runs scored with a .397 OBP in 95 at-bats from the leadoff spot this year. Sustainable long term? Eh, perhaps not, but even with a bit of a slide he’ll remain above average. 6 steals on the year to boot.

Casey Janssen TOR – RP 46.6%: He’s picked up 4 saves since taking over closer duties in Toronto, and boasts a respectable 2.89 ERA and an impressive 0.91 WHIP in that time. Most closers suffer a hiccup here and there, and he won’t be immune, but he should bolster your bottom line more than he hurts it.

Homer Bailey CIN – SP 12.5%: As I type this Bailey just nailed down complete game win, allowing 1 run on 4 hits against the Pirates. That’s 3 straight wins and 4 consecutive starts with 3 or fewer earned runs allowed. He’s walked 5 in those starts while striking out 21.

Your questions and thoughts are welcomed, and encouraged, both here in the comments and on twitter @lembeck451. All stats accurate as of 10 PM EDT 5/29/12. 

 

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NL Pitching Planner: May 7 – 13

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NL Pitching Planner: May 7 – 13

Posted on 06 May 2012 by Mark Sherrard

We are now one month into the fantasy baseball season.  Those of you languishing in the middle of the pack, don’t fret, its still early.  Keep diligently setting your lineups each week and hope that the other owners are getting lackadaisical.

To help you along, here are the two start pitchers and favorable matchups for week 6, as well as the results from week 4 and YTD:

Two-Start Pitchers

No-Brainers

Roy Halladay: 5/7 vs NYM; 5/13 vs SD – Phillies ace gets to face to weak teams

Wandy Rodriguez: 5/7 vs MIA; 5/13 @ PIT – has pitched well, just don’t expect any wins

Lance Lynn: 5/7 @ ARI; 5/13 vs ATL – ride him while he’s hot

No Brainers results

Week 4 – 1 GS, 1 QS, 0 W, 6.1 IP, 7 H+BB, 7 K’s, 3 ER, 4.26 ERA, 1.11 whip (rough week for the no-brainers)

YTD – 17 GS, 14 QS, 6 W, 106.2 IP, 118 H+BB, 108 K’s, 31 ER, 2.62 ERA, 1.11 whip

Not Too Shabby

Tommy Hanson: 5/7 @ CHC; 5/13 @ STL – Cardinals lead the NL in runs scored, Cubs are 12th

Jonathon Niese: 5/7 @ PHI; 5/13 @ MIA – Phillies miss Chase Utley & Ryan Howard, Marlins are 14th in runs

Edwin Jackson: 5/8 @ PIT; 5/13 @ CIN – Pirates are last in runs scored, Reds are 11th

Joe Saunders: 5/7 vs STL; 5/13 vs SF – Giants offense takes a hit with Sandoval injury, Cardinals are a concern though

Jeff Samardzija: 5/7 vs ATL; 5/13 @ MIL – has been a pleasant surprise so far

Ted Lilly: 5/7 vs SF; 5/13 vs COL – Rockies are last in runs scored on the road

Edinson Volquez: 5/7 vs COL; 5/13 @ PHI – Phillies are 14th in runs scored at home

Carlos Zambrano: 5/7 @ HOU; 5/13 vs NYM – I don’t entirely trust him, but he has favorable matchups

Bronson Arroyo: 5/7 @ MIL; 5/13 vs WAS – 18/3 K/BB ratio is impressive.  Can he keep it up?

Marco Estrada: 5/7 vs CIN; 5/13 vs CHC – borderline risky, but matchups are nice

Not too shabby results

Week 4 – 21 GS, 16 QS, 9 W, 133.0 IP, 160 H+BB, 105 K’s, 41 ER, 2.77 ERA, 1.20 whip

YTD – 61 GS, 43 QS, 24 W, 382.2 IP, 443 H+BB, 293 K’s, 117 ER, 2.75 ERA, 1.16 whip

Risky at best

A.J. Burnett: 5/8 vs WAS; 5/13 vs HOU – you don’t need K’s THIS bad

Alex White: 5/7 @ SD; 5/13 @ LAD – replaces Jhoulys Chacin in rotation, but not trustworthy yet.

Barry Zito: 5/7 @ LAD; 5/13 @ ARI – I just don’t trust him

Risky at best results

Week 4 – 3 GS, 2 QS, 1 W, 20.3 IP, 23 H+BB, 15 K’s, 7 ER, 3.10 ERA, 1.13 whip

YTD – 25 GS, 13 QS, 8 W, 151.3 IP, 193 H+BB, 102 K’s, 74 ER, 4.40 ERA, 1.28 whip

Other Favorable Matchups

Anibal Sanchez: 5/8 @ HOU

On a roll and facing an Astros team he owns to the tune of 3-1, 2.48 for his career.

Zack Greinke: 5/9 vs CIN

3-0 with 2.57 ERA and 38 K’s in 28 career IP against the Reds

Stephen Strasburg: 5/10 @ PIT

Strasburg against the worst hitting team in the NL.  Umm…yeah.

Johan Santana:  5/11 @ MIA

Santana is an incredible 6-1 with a 1.46 ERA in his career against the Marlins.

Cole Hamels: 5/12 vs SD

7-2 with a career 2.22 ERA against the Padres, who are only scoring a little over 3 runs a game this year

Other favorable matchups results

Week 4 – 2 GS, 1 QS, 1 W, 13.1 IP, 19 H+BB, 13 K’s, 5 ER, 3.38 ERA, 1.43 whip

YTD – 11 GS, 6 QS, 7 W, 66.0 IP, 82 H+BB, 60 K’s, 19 ER, 2.59 ERA, 1.24 whip

Next up is the AL matchups.

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Best Kept Secrets in MLB Until Now

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Best Kept Secrets in MLB Until Now

Posted on 30 April 2012 by Dennis Lawson

Kirk Niewenhuis Prior to Awkward Yet Intimate Manhug Celebration

No matter how much you scour the leader boards, stat sheets, box scores, and the interwebz, there are always a few players than somehow stay under the radar longer than they should.  In order to try and identify some of these hidden gems, I have taken an approach that involves searching for players that are just shy of meeting certain qualifying metrics for being listed among the league leaders in different categories.  Then I looked at all the players within a certain window below the qualifying level and sorted them by games played to try and differentiate between part-time players getting more at-bats than usual and regular starters that simply haven’t played enough games to qualify.  To basically provide a point of reference, I’ve also included a few lesser known players who deserve an “atta-boy” or something.  The numbers are surprising for some.

  • Jon Jay (Cardinals CF) – At this moment, Josh Thole is 10th in the National League in batting with a .322 average, and Matt Kemp is leading the league at .425.  Jay started the day just shy of qualifying, and his 1 for 3 performance actually dropped his average approximately 4 points.  He now stands at exactly .400 which would be good for 2nd place.  With a full batting line of .400/.441/.545/.986, he will not remain a secret for much longer.  (Owned in 37.4% of all ESPN fantasy baseball leagues)
  • Kirk Nieuwenhuis (Mets CF) – Perhaps Nieuwenhuis has gotten lost in the feelgood story that is the Mets so far this year, but he deserves some serious credit for bringing it in a big way this season.  He is one of 5 Mets players in the top 20 in the NL in batting.  For his part, Nieuwenhuis is sporting a .316/.381/.474/.811 line which is good enough to help his popularity soar to that point that he is on 12.3% of all ESPN fantasy baseball leagues right now.
  • Bryan LaHair (Cubs OF/1B) – After seeing him play a few games in person, I’m even more impressed than I was just based on his numbers.  He does not qualify for the batting average leader board, but he is hitting .382/.470/.727/1.197 in 55 at-bats.  Even more importantly for the Cubbies, LaHair only costs them $482,500 in salary this season.  The crazy part?  LaHair was the 1180th player taken in the 2002 draft.  That’s the 39th round, folks.  If MLB ran the draft like the NFL does, that pick would have taken place about a month or so after the first pick was selected.  (Owned in 59.5% of ESPN fantasy baseball leagues)
  • Ted Lilly (Dodgers P) – Lilly has only pitched 20.0 innings in 3 games, so he does not qualify for the ERA leader board, but watch out when/if he does.  He is currently sporting a 0.90 ERA which equals the 0.90 that league leader Joe Saunders has posted.  His ownership percentage in ESPN leagues has just risen to a season high 94.1% due in at least part to a jump of 3% in the last week.
  • Ryan Dempster (Cubs P) – Dempster also has the misfortune of having only 3 starts under his belt this season, and his 20 1/3 innings pitched are not enough to qualify him for the ERA title quite yet.  If he can maintain anything close to his current ERA of 1.33, he won’t be flying low for much longer.  (Owned in 80.1% of all ESPN fantasy baseball leagues)

All ESPN fantasy baseball league information provided courtesy of ESPN which is wholly owned and operated by ESPN and is a division of ABC/ESPN and its conglomerate of 411 cable channels and 47 geostationary satellites.

By the way, you can follow me on the Twitteh -> gr33nazn (Eco-friendly + Asian)

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A Very Special Episode of Arli$$ – Let the Roger Clemens Jury Selection begin!

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A Very Special Episode of Arli$$ – Let the Roger Clemens Jury Selection begin!

Posted on 19 April 2012 by Trish Vignola

The perjury retrial of Roger Clemens is back and more ridiculous than ever. This Wednesday, U.S. District Judge Reggie Walton allowed the feds to respond to a filing from Clemens’ lawyers over the potential testimony of former/future Yankee and Ex-Clemens’ teammate – Andy Pettitte. Do I smell a very special episode of “Arli$$” here?

Pettitte is expected to testify that Clemens acknowledged using human growth hormone (HGH_ in the early 2000′s. In 2008, Clemens famously told Congress that Pettitte “misremembers” their conversation. Pettitte is also expected to say that he tried HGH himself a few years later. Remember that awkward YES Network press conference?

Prosecutors ultimately wants Pettitte to testify that he got the HGH from Clemens’ former strength trainer, Brian McNamee, who allegedly injected Clemens with steroids and HGH. Clemens’ lawyers claim that would be “classic ‘guilt by association’ evidence.”

Prosecutor Steven Durham said the source of Pettitte’s HGH was crucial to the story. Durham noted that Pettitte and Clemens frequently worked out together with McNamee over several years. Didn’t Ted Lilly work out with them too? Why isn’t he being called to testify? Oh wait. Who are we kidding?

Judge Walton did not give the defense a chance to respond, opting to return to jury selection. The judge said he planned to rule on the filing Thursday.

Clemens is on trial for charges that he lied to Congress at the 2008 hearing and at a deposition that preceded it. The first attempt to bring the case before the court ended in a mistrial last July when prosecutors played a tape for the jury that contained a short segment of inadmissible evidence. Is it me or is the gang that couldn’t shoot straight prosecuting Clemens’?

The judge originally estimated that the trial would last up to six weeks, but that timeframe is starting to appear optimistic given the pace of jury selection. The court has been working since Monday to narrow the initial jury pool of 90 to 36. From that number, the final 12 jurors and four alternates will be selected. The extra 20 are needed because Clemens’ lawyers are allowed to strike 12 candidates and prosecutors eight. For once, I actually want to be called for jury duty.

By the end of today (Wednesday), 28 potential jurors had survived the first cut while others were sent home for a multitude of reasons. Some were bounced for already having a strong opinion about the case one-way or the other. At last report, Mike Piazza was not called for jury duty.

One potential juror thought last year’s mistrial resulted from inappropriate contact with jurors. Another mistakenly thought that the 2007 Mitchell Report contained references that Clemens’ wife took injections ahead of a photo shoot for Sports Illustrated. Both made the cut. Apparently an IQ test is not needed with this crew.

A recurring theme throughout the week has been potential jurors questioning whether Congress should have been investigating steroid use in sports in the first place. One woman felt the government should be doing “more important things,” but she nevertheless felt “Even if Congress asks you stupid questions, you shouldn’t lie.”
That woman was dismissed. Well, guys! The circus is back in town.

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