Justin Fensterman and Trevor Ray are getting you ready for your playoff push. They give you some strategies to get you through the end and a few players to grab or avoid down the stretch.
Are you a fantasy baseball fan? Are you looking for a new challenge? Do you have a few bucks laying around that you could potentially turn into a life changing experience…? If so, this is the post for you.
Who wants a chance part of the $24,000 prize package on Friday from Fanduel.com? Better yet, who wants to also get a shot to win $200,000 with an all expense paid trip to Vegas as well? All you need is $10 bucks and some fantasy baseball knowledge. I thought that might get your attention.
$1 Million Daily Fantasy Baseball Championship on FanDuel
Each weekly winner will then be flown to Vegas, all expenses paid by FanDuel.com, and given a shot at the $200,000 grand prize. That’s right. Win two weekly matchups and you’ve got $200,000 coming your way. And don’t think that you have to enter hundreds of times to win. And don’t think that you have to enter hundreds of times to win. Jordy Nelson last year entered once, one time, and he ended up in the Finals in Vegas cause he won his weekly matchup. He then proceeded to win that year’s grand prize of $100,000. All from one $10 entry.
So what do you do? You go to FanDuel.com and sign up for today’s contest that also gives you a chance to win part of the $24,000 in prizes for Friday’s event.
You then put together your salary cap team (the rules are very simple and can be found at the top of the page if you follow the link). If you win, it’s Vegas here you come. If you don’t, there are still plenty of cash prizes that you can pocket in the tournament for your mere $10 entry fee (there are 250 cash prizes handed out).
Here are some of my best plays for Friday.
Pierzynski has eight hits in 20 at-bats (.400) vs. Mark Buehrle.
Montero is finally, f i n a l l y, hitting. He faces Eric Stults who has pitched well of late though he’s given up a .308-1-5 line to Montero in 13 at-bats.
Swisher has handled Gio Gonzalez well hitting .400 with a homer and six RBIs in 15 at-bats.
Amarista has five hits, including a homer and three RBIs, in nine at-bats versus Trevor Cahill.
Raburn has been really hit or miss this season. He might be a hit Friday versus Gio Gonzalez who he has six hits, two homers, in 11 at-bats.
Starting Miggy is never wrong. It’s oh so right Friday as he takes on the weak Scott Diamond who he’s gotten 10 hits against in 19 at-bats (a .526 average and six RBIs).
Donaldson, aka little Miggy, has launched seven hits in 14 at-bats against the soft tossing Joe Saunders.
Aviles has hit .308 vs. Gio Gonzalez in 13 at-bats, and he’s also stolen four bases.
Escobar vs. the struggling Matt Moore is 3-for-3 with a rare homer.
Baker is killing everyone he faces this season, and he’s long had success against Mark Buehrle (6-for-14 with a homer and .429 average).
Willingham crushes Rick Porcello. Blasts him off the bump. Willingham has seven hits, including two homers, in 13 at-bats. He’s also driven in seven runs while walking four times on his way to a 1.821 OPS.
Arroyo has held current Brewers batters to a .229 average and .706 OPS over 297 at-bats.
Medlen has had two starts in June and he hasn’t allowed a run yet. He hurls at home versus the Giants and he has a 2.31 ERA in six home starts this year.
Dominates. That’s what Gio Gonzalez does the Indians as he’s 5-0 with 0.72 ERA in his career, though yes, there are a ton of new fellas on the squad.
Lohse has handled the Reds in his career with a .228 batting average, .637 OPS and just one homer allowed in 123 at-bats.
@MLBDailyLineups – lists all the lineups in one spot so you can make sure you don’t have someone in your lineup that is sitting on the bench that day.
To see how others are evaluating players don’t forget to go to Fleaflicker.com where you can check out the owned percentages of all your favorite players.
By Ray Flowers
In fantasy baseball circles I’m known as the ‘anti-pitcher’ guy. I tell people all the time that in re-draft leagues there is no reason to take a pitcher at the top of a draft, and I practice what I preach (see how my staff turned out in the recent FSTA Experts Draft where I waited until the 8th round to take my first hurler). I know though that many others disagree with that line of thought. So for the sake of thoroughness and seeing both sides of the coin, I decided to flip my traditional script on its ear and go pitching early in a draft. Not only did I go pitching early, I went bonkers with pitching early.
I was invited by Cory Schwartz of MLB.com to participate in a 15 team mixed league (23 rounds with 14 hitters and nine pitchers, but no bench). I drew the 13th pick in the draft and thought, what the hell, I’m taking a hurler in the first round to see how my team would turn out since I know so many of you are drafting hurlers in the first round. I took Clayton Kershaw. When my second turn came up, pick #18 overall, guess which dominating righty was still available? If you said Justin Verlander you are correct. If you said that I did the unthinkable and took Verlander as well… you’d be right again. Not only did I blow past my ‘never take a pitcher in the first round’ strategy, I multiplied the pitching love by grabbing the top two arms in the game with my first two selections. How did my team turn out? Let’s take a look.
To sign up for your baseball league this year make sure you check out Fleaflicker.
C: Matt Wieters (6th round), John Jaso (17)
1B: Adrian Gonzalez (4)
2B: Marco Scutaro (20)
3B: Pablo Sandoval (5)
SS: Alcides Escobar (11)
MI: Josh Rutledge (12)
CI: Adam LaRoche (14)
OF: Jay Bruce (3), Nelson Cruz (7), Carl Crawford (8), Shane Victorino (9), Nick Markakis (10)
UT: Brett Gardner (16)
I certainly went as big as one could in the first two rounds on the hill, but then I didn’t take another arm until the 13th round, and my third starter didn’t come until the 15th (I would bet many who do go big early on pitching then sit back and wait to fill out their staff with the thought being that they got a stud or two early so now they can afford to wait). This was only a 23 round draft, there were no bench rounds, so you can be assured that at least two, possibly three, of my bench spots would have been devoted to starting pitchers to round out the group. Still, with the two best arms in baseball at the top, a strong ratio guy (Hudson), a potential 180 K guy (McDonald), and a cheap/solid arm (Wandy), I like this group given the constraints I was working under.
I also love my bullpen arms. You might be saying to yourself ‘but Ray you only have one closer,’ and that’s fair, but look at those four arms. That quartet of relievers should be good for 10 strikeouts per nine innings. They are also likely to flat out kill it in ERA and WHIP. In fact, that foursome could very easily dust both Kershaw and Verlander in ERA, WHIP, K/9… and they have the chance to pick up a few saves as well. Basically, if everything goes according to plan, I’ll win Ks, ERA and WHIP. Wins, should be solid enough, and with an injury or poor performance here or there I could get some lucky saves love as well. Remember, only 23 round in this draft, so there would be plenty of time to add more depth to a unit that is filled with power arms in the reserve rounds.
So the staff is impressive. What about the offense, is it offensive like stinky cheese?
My duo at catcher is strong. In a 15 team league to get a duo that is capable of doing the things of Wieters and Jason – gotta like that.
A-Gone is about as good a bet to go .300 with 100 RBIs as any first baseman in baseball not named Pujols or Votto. Sandoval is a potential .300-25 guy at the other corner if he can avoid that third helping of plantains at dinner (his career bests would leave him with a .330-25-90 line). Up the middle I’ve got solid but boring Scutaro. He’s not likely to blow blast past .300 this year (see his Player Profile). Escobar is a solid add for the speed, but there are some questions about his overall game (see his Player Profile). At corner infield LaRoche is boring but does he ever put up numbers in the counting categories. Rutledge doesn’t have a big league season under his belt, but there’s 15/15 potential there.
The outfield is solid. I’ve got Bruce and Cruz for some pop, and then went all-around game with Crawford and Victorino. Questions abound about what Crawford has left to give, and if Victorino can hang on for another season (see his Player Profile), but if they are both healthy there no disputing that the results could potential lead to a bounty of offense. Markakis isn’t a big name, but since most of the big names went off the board while I was grabbing my two arms, he was a strong fallback play for my squad. Ditto on Gardner who people forget averaged 48 steals and 92 runs scored in 2010-11.
So to wrap it up. The offense has solid speed (Gardner, Escobar, Victorino and Crawford). There’s some decent pop but nothing over the top. I had to take chances on talent that was coming back from injury as the depressed value allowed the fellas to be available for me to roster well later than they would be if they were coming off a healthy 2012 (Sandoval, Crawford, Markakis, Gardner). If that foursome of players all play 150 games then this offense will be pretty decent for a 15 team league.
Is it a perfect team? No sir. Is it a solid enough team that I could compete with it? I think the answer is yes. However, there are certain health risks on offense, and how those players perform in 2013 will likely determine how this team will ultimately finish after I spent my top two picks on the best lefty-righty duo anyone in the fantasy game could put together in 2013..
For the full results click on the link to MLB.com Draft.
Don’t forget to get your copy of the 2013 BaseballGuys Fantasy Baseball Draft Guide which is now available. Nearly 150 pages of insight to help you dominate the competition in 2013.
By Ray Flowers
After a couple of middling years as a middle infield option in league specific setups, Alcides Escobar went from a relative afterthought to someone who can legitimately be looked at as a potential top-12 option at shortstop in mixed leagues in 2013, or can he? Is that too much praise or could he possibly live up to that hype next season? Before breaking down the effort of Alcides and what that means for the future, let me regale you with what he accomplished in 2012.
Escobar was second at the shortstop position in batting average at .293 (min. 502 plate appearances). Second best folks. Only Derek Jeter was better at .316. Escobar hit .299 against righties and .277 against lefties so he doesn’t need a platoon partner.
Escobar stole 35 bases, the third highest mark at the position and an AL leading mark for shortstops. He was only caught five times.
When you can steal 35 bases and hit nearly .300, and you play shortstop, people take notice. It’s not like the rest of his game was very exciting, he had a mere five homers, had 52 RBIs and 68 runs scored, but that’s still a solid enough of a fantasy line to deserve being looked at closely when trying to add a little bit of speed to your lineup.
Now the concerns…
Though he hit nearly .300, and has the speed to push that mark again, there are a lot of negatives. First, his BABIP was .344 which is .041 points better than his career mark. He posted a 23 percent line drive rate, 2.4 percent above his career rate. Players with speed can post numbers like those two on a fairly regular basis, but Escobar will need to prove he can do that before it can just be accepted.
One thing in his favor is that he knows what his skills are – he beats the ball into the ground and runs (a 53 percent ground ball rate each of the past two years). Of course, the grounders preclude Escobar from doing anything to help in the homer category (he’s hit all of 14 home runs in 505 career games). He will not develop into a power hitter. He will also never likely be a big run producer either… his SLG is .356 for his career and his .390 mark in 2012 was a career best (minus his four at-bat 2008 cup of coffee). By the way, that’s awful (it also doesn’t help that he spent more than half the season hitting out of the #2 hole). Since we are talking about awful, how about that .307 career batting… I mean OBP. That’s right. The guy barely gets on base at a .300 clip for his career, some .020 points lower than a traditional league average type. Escobar did push that number up to .331 in 2012, but again, that’s barely league average. Will that lack of an ability to get on base preclude Escobar from pushing 40 steals in 2013? I’m afraid I’m going to have to say yes. In fact, a sub .330 OBP might even make it tough for him to repeat his 35 steal total from 2012.
So is Escobar a top-12 option at shortstop for 2013? It’s a little to early for a definitive answer, I certainly haven’t crunched all the numbers, but my initial response would be – no. I’m still not convinced that Escobar is a .293 hitter. I’m also not certain that he will be able to repeat his 35 steal total given his relative inability to get on base. That lack of times on base might also limit his ability to score runs. After all, he’s yet to record 70 in a season despite three years of at least 145 games played. Escobar profiles as a solid middle infield option in mixed leagues because of the wheels, but anything beyond that is pushing it.
By Ray Flowers
Justin Fensterman and Trevor Ray discuss the problems people can run into while trading. Like we said last week everyone is trying to trade right now but there is nothing more frustrating then getting close to a trade only to have it never get done….
Ryan Braun, Aramis Ramirez, JD Martinez, Alcides Escobar, Paul Konerko, Juan Pierre, Jim Johnson
I’ve tried to explain how in the world that Jose Bautista is doing what he’s doing, an I’ve pretty much come up craps. In Take a Swing, Jeff Passan takes his hacks.
I don’t remember the last time I did this, but I’m going to quote myself (how narcisitic is that?). Here’s a Twitter post of mine from earlier today. “Did you listen to me about Trevor Cahill? Last five starts: 0-4, 7.52 ERA, 2.06 WHIP, 0.71 K/BB.” Well did you listen and downgrade him when I told you to or did you blindly push forward irrespecitve of my advice?
Carlos Carrasco has five wins in his last six outings and over his last two efforts, spanning 15.1 innings, he’s held the Twins and the Yankees off the scoreboard. All of a sudden everyone is interested in the Indians’ hurler. Carrasco, a former Phillies’ minor league standout, has done a good job limiting the walks at less than three per nine innings. However, his K-rate is barely over 5.50, and that portends trouble unless you are able to generate a lot of ground balls. Fortunately Carlos does a good job of inducing grounders with a 51.4 percent career GB mark. What I see here is a solid AL-only arm, but one that would be a stretch in a 15 team mixed league. When he’s got the ground balls flowing he can pitch very well, but the lack of strikeouts means he isn’t going to be someone who makes a true impact in the fantasy game.
I’m still fielding questions about Josh Collmenter. Please tell me you aren’t one of the people asking if you’re in a mixed league. Collmenter has gotten by to this point with a boatload of luck, batters are having a hard time picking up his release point, but the truth of the matter is that Josh simply isn’t a very good pitcher. I know he has a 1.86 ERA an a 0.86 WHIP through 14 games which makes me look stupid, but scouts will tell you that he doesn’t own a single pitch that grades out as better than big league average. He doesn’t strike anyone out (5.74 per nine), doesn’t get any grounders (40 percent of batted balls), and has been one lucky devil with a .205 BABIP. He might end up with passable numbers by the time the season is over, but even if that’s the case there is a ton of regression coming down the pipe.
Alcides Escobar has hit .500 during his seven game hitting streak. He’s still hitting just .235 on the year, but he might be a person of interest in deep mixed leagues who use a middle infielder because in addition to all the hits of late he’s also started to run again with four steals in nine games. The key to that is simple – he’s finally getting on base. The owner of just 10 walks this season, Escobar owns a pathetic .267 OBP. You can’t steal a bag if you can’t get on base.
Everyone in the world seems to think that Jason Heyward is a wussy, and that he has lost all his talent and value. I don’t get that at all. Oh he might be a wussy or diva-like in not wanting to play when he isn’t 100 percent physically, but the skills are still elite (as an aside, he’s traveling to Atlanta to have his shoulder looked at and he could be back in action for the Braves very quickly). His is an example of people simply panicking because they aren’t seeing it on the field. I’m telling you, the young man still owns Hall of Fame talent, still lashes liners harder than just about any person on the planet, and should still be a building block if you’re in a keeper league. I’d bet that in two years you’ll have forgotten all about his dismal first half in 2011.
Josh Johnson was transferred to the 60 day DL. That means the Marlins’ ace will be out of action until at least July 16th. Johnson has yet to throw off the mound since hitting the DL with his shoulder woes, but the team remains confident that he will be ready to go as soon as he’s eligible. When injured he left behind some of the best numbers in the game (1.64 ERA, 0.98 WHIP, 56 Ks in 60.1 IP), but the guy is probably the riskiest top-10 hurler in the game.
Joakim Soria has saves in three straight outings since he returned to the closers role for the Royals. He also picked up a win in his outing previous to the saves run, and he is unscored upon in his last six outings. All is right in the world yet again.
By Ray Flowers
In Part III of my review of the K-BAD experts draft at KFFL, I’ll wrap things up by breaking down my final eight selections and then giving a quick review of the squad I assembled. Here are some links that are pertinent to the piece as well.
* Note: All comments were written in real time meaning they were penned right after the choice was made (the draft is a “slow draft” type setup where people have two hours to make a selection as we are all squeezing in the draft during our busy work days).
Round 21-8: Alfonso Soriano, OF, Cubs
s a 5th outfielder, as long as he is healthy, Soriano should be fine. Looking at the available options, I just didn’t see many who could hit 25 homers while scoring/knocking in 90.
Round 22-5: Gavin Floyd, SP, White Sox
I almost pulled the trigger on Floyd in the 20th round, so I pretty much had to take him in the 22nd. People always seem to neglect Floyd who has been stable, and pretty darn good the past two years.
Round 23-8: Brandon League, RP, Mariners
I’m not at all convinced that David Aardsma will be healthy and/or effective (he’s likely to miss the start of the year coming back from hip surgery). I wrote about this situation in A Hip that Makes You Hop.
Round 24-5: Ryan Doumit, C, Pirates
Honestly, this is a total shot in the dark. He’s the only catcher left on the board who I think could go .270-15-60, though he’ll need a trade to get anywhere close to that. He could be the first player I dump.
Round 25-8: James Loney, 1B, Dodgers
Boring, but I needed a corner infield option, and I certainly didn’t want to take Chipper Jones. Loney has little upside, but he does have 268 RBI the last three years which is, shockingly, seven more than Paul Konerko.
Round 26-5: Alcides Escobar, SS, Brewers
I wanted to bolster my pitching staff, but there are a handful of starters and relievers still available who I could go with, so I backed up my weakest hitting position by adding this speedster (my other SS is Jason Bartlett).
Round 27-8: Ryan Madson, RP, Phillies
Best pitcher, skill wise, left amongst relievers. Still, I gave heavy consideration to Jake McGee who could close for Rays and Clay Hensley as a handcuff to my ealier selection of Leo Nunez.
Round 28-5: Cameron Maybin, OF, Padres
I wanted to add depth in the outfield with my last pick and also gave a thought to calling out Roger Bernadina, Alex Gordon or David DeJesus (though DD was taken the pick before me).
* This team has lots of speed. Pierre should push 50 steals, Upton should get 40, and it wouldn’t be surprising to see McCutchen go for at least 30. I’m also expecting 15 from guys like Utley, Braun, Bartlett and Zobrist. Barring injury, I should win this category.
* My average might be lacking a bit since I took Dunn and Reynolds. Still, they are about as powerful a 1B/3B combo as anyone could hope to have. Yadier Molina usually has a decent average versus other catchers, and Utley, Braun and Kendrick should hit .300 to keep me respectable here – I hope.
* The power of this club is strong. I should get at least 70 bombs from Dunn and Reynolds, and if I don’t get at least 60 from Braun and Utley I’d be surprised. Zobrist, Lee, Upton, McCutchen and Soriano should all also hit 20.
* On the hill, saves are a bit of a question. Soria is a star as my anchor, and Hanrahan was named the Pirates’ closer two days after I drafted him which certainly helps. If Nunez can hold on to his strikeout and ground ball gains from last season, I could have three solid closers. I also expect League to start off as the closer with Aardsma coming back from injury, and Madson is just one pitch away from an injury to Brad Lidge to being called on in the 9th inning for the Phillies. Maybe this unit isn’t a bad as I thought.
* At the top Sabathia and Hanson are a dynamic 1-2 punch, and I’ll take Billingsley as a #3 in any league. If things come together for Nolasco he will be the best 4th SP in the league, and guys like Baker and Floyd give me a strong top-6. Still, I do regret going against my normal tradition of waiting on pitching. Even though I took two SPs in the first seven rounds I’m not convinced that my team is appreciably better than it would have been if I had waited until the 8th round to take my first hurler.
Every team has a weakness, but overall I really like the way this draft played out. I picked up a bunch of the players that I targeted, so if everyone stays healthy I should be in line for another top-3 finish… but there is a whole of baseball that has to be played before we’ll know for sure how I did.
By Ray Flowers
It’s Friday and I’m tired. It’s been a long week, I’m not complaining just laying out the facts, and I’m looking forward to what promises to be a nice weekend. My brother’s daughter has her second b-day party on Saturday – we’re getting one of those bouncy castle things to jump in, and don’t think I’m not joining in – followed by a trip down to San Jose as my Dad and I hope to see the San Jose Sharks defeat the Red Wings to move on to the third round of the NHL playoffs. Then on Sunday we have Mother’s Day (you had better run out and get a gift for your mother if you forgot), and I’m getting together with the family to celebrate the best mom in the world which should be great fun.
With my itinerary for the weekend out of the way, here are some thoughts on a handful of younger ballplayers who have been in the news today.
* Jeff Clement is out of the starting lineup again for the Pirates as he continues to work on his stroke on the side. Many thought that they had a steal if they were able to roster Clement as a catcher eligible player, but it just hasn’t happened. You can read more of my thoughts on Clement at Around the Horn.
* Alcides Escobar entered the 2010 season as one of the potential breakout stars at the shortstop position because of his speed on the base or paths. Escobar stole 34 bags in 2008 and last season swiped 46 bags in the minors (42) and with the Brewers (four), and many were looking at him to once again surpass the 30-steal mark in his first full season in Milwaukee. While it could still happen, it would take a rather monumental shift from the way Escobar has performed thus far. To this point, and we’re talking about 25 games and 99 plate appearances, Escobar has attempted just one theft – and he was caught. It certainly doesn’t help that his OBP is awful at .296, but he has never been a big OBP guy (his career minor league mark is just .333). Mike Cameron said that the Brewers limited his attempts on the bases – could the club be doing the same thing with Escobar this season?
* For those that follow me on the Baseball Guy’s Twitter Page this isn’t going to be news, but here is what the Marlins’ owner, Jeffrey Loria, had to say about the phenom that is Mike Stanton. “[Stanton] will probably be (with the Marlins) this summer. The baseball people don’t want him to come and fail… When he’s ready – June, July. I don’t know. Hell probably be here this summer. But he’s got to continue to keep developing. Don’t forget – that’s a lot of pressure to put on a 20-year-old man.” Reading that it’s easy to see that Stanton doesn’t appear headed for Florida until after the All-Star break barring something unforeseen, though if he keeps hitting 500 foot home runs or keeps pounding the ball into the seats with such frequency – 14 homers in 100 ABs – the team could surely amend their current plan.
* Eugenio Velez of the Giants is a talented athlete, but he has had trouble transitioning his physical gifts to the ball field. With his average down to .186 and without a single steal attempt through 17 games, the Giants decided on Friday to send him back to the minors. In 614 career at-bats Velez has hit .259 with a terrible .303 batting average, meaning the only area he has really helped in is with his wheels which have led to 83 runs and 30 steals. Problem is, Velez is frequently picked off when on base, and his instincts often have him taking a first step in the wrong direction. He might need to be moved to another organization because it appears that the Giants have just about given up on him.
And finally, I know he isn’t a “youngster,” but I couldn’t just let go the news out of Atlanta that Brian McCann is once again having trouble with his vision. McCann, who has already undergone two LASIK procedures, will apparently have to wear glasses when he returns to the active lineup on Saturday. Keep a very close eye on this situation – a simply horrible pun as I’m aware – as McCann has hit under .200 over his last 50 at-bats in what has got to be a rather significant concern for the Braves, their medical staff, those who own him in the fantasy game and for McCann himself.
By Ray Flowers
I’m still ticked off that Jim Thome was moved to the Dodgers. Not only does that kill his value for a couple of teams that I have him, the deal also came down after I set my lineups for this week meaning I’ll likely get two or three at-bats out of my UT spot this week. Great. If you want to read some actual analysis of the deal and not just me complaining about it, click on my Around the Horn piece. Make sure you read the part about the monster helmet that David Wright will be wearing now that he is back from a concussion. Good stuff – even if I’m biased cause I wrote it myself. And if you are wondering if it’s bad form to give yourself props about something you have written the answer is certainly yes, but I’m still going to do it anyway.
Good job Ray.
I mentioned it today in my Player Rater piece, but is there anyone out there that knows that Michael Young has an 18-game hitting streak? That guy is flat out money, the Ichiro of the infield if you wish – minus the steals, the cool name and the sweet gliding stroke.
Am I the only one getting whiplash from all of these rookies being called up? I remember back in the day when I didn’t care about who the 33rd guy was on the Giants. Now that it’s my job, man, this is a lot of work.
Let me see if I got this right. The Brewers ostensibly sent J.J. Hardy to the minors under the auspices of two main lines of thought. (1) Hardy was hitting only .229 with a .367 SLG so he was hitting terribly. No disputing that fact. (2) The club wanted to give flashy youngster Alcides Escobar a chance to show his wares in the majors which he has done pretty well hitting .286 over 49 at-bats. He has made three errors in 17 games, but overall he has been pretty much as advertised. However, there is a third and more insidious reason that Hardy was sent to the minors; it was to avoid paying him money or in the least to maintain control over him for another season. Turns out that by sending him down for three weeks the Brewers were able to delay his free agency until after the 2011 season. Real classy Brewers.
The Royals did the same thing to their third basemen, Alex Gordon, when they sent him to the minors ostensibly because he was struggling after fighting his way back from hip surgery to return to the field. Gordon was hitting .222 with a .643 OPS in about a month’s worth of games with the Royals, so like Hardy he wasn’t exactly tearing it up, but it appears that this decision was merely undertaken to push Gordon’s free agency back to after the 2013 season. In the Brewers case at least they had a real reason, after all they are super high on Escobar, but the Royals have no one to plug into third if Gordon isn’t there. Not just that, wasn’t Gordon supposed to be their franchise player? I’m almost willing to give the Royals the benefit of the doubt here, after all they did bring in guys like Jose Guillen and Kyle Farnsworth who have contracts that far outpace their on-field work, but even if I do give the club a free pass, I think the way they are handling Gordon is awful. If he wasn’t healthy, wouldn’t it make more sense to give him three more weeks at Triple-A and then recall him to the majors for good versus the other way around? Overall Gordon is hitting .307 with a .985 OPS in 75 minor league at-bats, so it’s not doing him much good spending time on the farm.
Isn’t it fitting that the best lefty in baseball, Johan Santana (elbow) had surgery the same day that his teammate and arguably the biggest left-handed tease in the game, Oliver Perez (knee), also went under for a medical procedure? Both should be fine for the start of 2010, though that means something totally different for both hurlers – one will likely return to excellence, the other will just be trying to avoid hitting batters who are in the on-deck circle.
One last positive note. It likely won’t have any bearing on a single fantasy team, but it’s great news that Aaron Boone has made a miraculous recovery from open heart surgery and he has been added to the Astros roster. Good for you Aaron.
By Ray Flowers
There were two ginormous injury reports today, and yes not only do I love that word, I honestly believe my friend invented it back in college though I guess he didn’t file a copyright on the word so he’ll never get the credit he deserves. Let’s get to it.
Carlos Delgado has been suffering from a hip issue for a while now, and therefore no one was too surprised to see him end up on the DL as a result. However, his right hip impingement is apparently a much more serious condition that was originally thought. In fact, Carlos will be forced under the knife on Tuesday to repair a torn labrum and remove a bone spur from the area. The team hasn’t released when Delgado will return, though early estimates are that he will miss two months.
What will the Mets do? It looks like they will try a three-headed monster at first of Daniel Murphy, Fernando Tatis and Jeremy Reed. First off, I can’t see Reed being involved to heavily, not after picking up just 28 at-bats in 32 games. After all he owns just a .260 batting average and just 11 home runs in 1,089 career at-bats after some solid minor league work that he just hasn’t been able to convert into big league production. Tatis has returned from oblivion and has hit .299 with 13 home runs and 56 RBI for the Mets in his last 338 ABs dating back to the start of last season. During that time he has posted a .854 OPS while being a terrific option all over the field. Still, he hasn’t been an everyday player since 1999, the last time he had more than 385 at-bats in a season. That leaves Murphy as the most likely option in my mind, especially considering that the dude has never been confused with Torii Hunter on defense in the outfield. This likely means that Gary Sheffield could be in the lineup every day in the outfield, just in time as his bat has come alive as he has gone 9-for-22 (.409) in his last five games.
As for the loss of Delgado, that’s obviously a significantly blow for Delgado owners considering that he has gone deep 24 times with at least 87 RBI in each of the past 13 seasons. No other big leaguer can match that level of offense during that time.
A little to the east is the other big-time injury news of the day, this one to my “breakout” star of the year Rickie Weeks who was, not surprisingly (only a little bit of modesty here), on his way to a true breakout campaign. Weeks was hitting .272 with nine home runs, 24 RBI and 28 runs scored, meaning he was on pace (I know its unscientific) to go roughly .270-35-95 with 110 runs this season more than making up for the fact that he has stolen only two bases (putting him on pace for 8-10 steals). Alas, Week’s injured wrist is worse than initially feared, and it now appears that he will be forced to undergo season ending surgery on his left wrist to repair a torn tendon sheath in that left wrist. This is actually the same injury that Weeks had in his right wrist in 2006. “Dr. Sheridan said he never had a patient who had that in both wrists,” said Brewers’ trainer Roger Caplinger. Apparently, the operating belief is that Weeks swings with such ferocity that he basically injures himself on his swing. Don’t know how you fix that other than to wrap those puppies really tightly.
It appears that Craig Counsell will take over in the short-term at second base and he is hitting .339 right now, but dude hit just .223 in 2007-08 over 580 at-bats, so you should be very wary, as should the Brewers, of Craig continuing to be remotely this effective moving forward. Minor league shortstop Alcides Escobar will spend some time playing second base, but he will not be called up for a while yet as his offense his still lagging (.268-2-12 with a .677 OPS in 153 ABs at Triple-A). Perhaps the team will re-sign free agent Ray Durham who hit .280 in 107 late season at-bats with the club last year after he was brought in from the Giants? Time will tell, but the loss of Weeks is likely one that the Brewers will not be able to overcome barring some big-time trade – which seems unlikely to occur.
By Ray Flowers