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.
The world is full of good and bad. Sometimes it’s perception that shapes our point of view, sometimes it’s reality. I know, a deep way to start out an article isn’t it? I’m not going to break down Aristotle or Euripides today, that would be something though. Instead, I’ll talk about a handful of fellas that did something of note Monday night that led me to want to toss their names out to you all today.
Everyone is talking about Zach Wheeler, Dan Straily, Tyler Skaggs, Kyle Gibson etc., but little attention seems to be paid to Jose Fernandez who has flat out killed it this year. Fernandez has a better ERA than Shelby Miller (2.72 to 2.79), a better WHIP (1.06) than Matt Cain (1.07) and Shelby Miller (1.07), and he’s struck out 94 batters in 92.2 innings. He might have an innings pitched cap this season of 160 or so, but the guy has been the nuts. More people should be talking about him. For more see this report from ESPN Stats Info.
Juan Francisco has gone deep four times in his last six outings and he now has 10 homers in 177 at-bats. He’s also hitting just .232 in that time. Nothing new though for Francisco who has a nice power bat but struggles for consistency, partly because of his poor approach at the dish. Juan has 538 at-bats in his career and he’s gone deep 24 times with 88 RBIs. He’s hitting just .249 with a .298 OBP thanks in no small part to 35 walks and 184 strikeouts.
Todd Frazier had four RBIs against the Giants Monday. Through 78 games of action he’s hitting a paltry .243 with a decent .748 OPS, but he has gone deep 10 times with 41 RBIs for the Reds. Pretty much what should have been expected.
Yovani Gallardo is as frustrating an own as there is in baseball. Gallardo is a terrible 6-8 with a 4.78 ERA after getting lit up for eight runs against the Nationals. Gallardo is also sporting a 7.26 K/9 mark which is a career worst. Oh, and so is his 1.46 WHIP. Still, I have some faith (I know, I’m totally lame). Gallardo has a 1.79 GB/FB ratio. That would be the best mark of his career. Second, there’s no way that batters will finish the year with a 25.5 percent line drive rate against him. Third, his xFIP is only three tenths above his career rate, unlike his ERA that is up a full run. Fourth before his most recent beating, Gallardo had allowed three earned runs in his previous four starts.
I went to Hawaii a couple of weeks ago for my first extended vacation in seven years. I’ve been there six times (including one time for 11 weeks as I attended summer school while in college – thanks Mom and Dad), and I have to tell you each time I go I get the itch to move out there. Question – would life be better if you were living there sipping fruity drinks on the beach as you watch the sunset each night or would you become used to it and lose the feeling of magic it brings when you’re there? If I knew it would be the first and not the second outcome I’d move, by the end of the year. Something about that place just feels like home to me, know what I mean?
Curtis Granderson averaged 42 HRs last two years. Mark Teixeira averaged 31 homers the past two years (his season is over by the way as he had surgery on his injured wrist). Alex Rodriguez, who starts game action today in his return from hip surgery, averaged 17 homers the last two years. That means the trio averaged 90 homers the past two years. This season they’ve hit a combined total of four: Tex has three while Granderson has one.
Jason Marquis is 9-4 with a 3.74 ERA, not bad for a guy who went 8-11 with a 5.22 ERA last season. It is amazing that he’s had that much success given that he’s walking more batter than at any point before – his 5.35 BB/9 mark is straight pitiful. Because he doesn’t strike anyone out, he has six more whiffs than walks, his K/BB ratio is 1.10. And you thought that Yovani Gallardo was in trouble. The bottom is going to fall out on Marquis, quickly, if this keeps up.
Cody Ross has four homers in 216 at-bats this season. With an effort like that he very easily could lose a lot of playing time once Adam Eaton is ready to go. Gerardo Parra hurt himself last night when he banged his noggin on the ground when he tried to make a diving catch. He doesn’t have a concussion. He’s been impressive this year hitting .301 with a .360 OBP and 47 runs scored, but with only seven homers and six steals he’s still more of a depth option in mixed leagues.
By Ray Flowers
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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).
Who should you have in your lineup? Never say that The Oracle isn’t a nice guy. In the video below I will discuss some of the matchups and some names that you might consider adding to your lineup, as well as those you would be wise to consider passing on for this Friday.
By Ray Flowers
Jayson Werth is one productive player, and he’s often being overlooked in fantasy baseball in 2013. Should you join the heard and ignore him, or should you buck that trend and target the Nationals’ outfielder in your fantasy baseball draft?
In 2008 Werth, while a member of the Phillies, went 20/20.
In 2009 he was one RBI and two runs away from a 30-100-100-20 season.
In 2010 he hit .296 with 106 runs scored.
In 2011 he saw his average dip to .232 though he was one steal from yet another 20/20 season.
Last year Werth was limited to just 81 games. But were you aware that he hit a career best .300 last season? Did you know that his OBP was .387, .025 points better than his career mark? Did you know that his OPS was .827, just slightly ahead of his career .824 mark? Despite all of that information Werth is currently being drafted just inside the top-50 at the outfield position. That must mean he is a potentially valuable add on draft day, right?
It’s a surprise to many that the following statements are true about Werth’s 2012 season (remember he was limited to just 81 games played so his overall numbers are a bit skewed).
If Werth maintained his pace through 81 games last year over the course of a 162 game season he would have hit .300 with 84 runs scored and 16 steals. That’s a pretty good season, isn’t it?
How is a guy like that being drafted to late?
The most obvious thing to point to is that Werth missed half of the games last season. On the plus side he had appeared in at least 150 games each season from 2009-11 so recent history would seem to suggest that he has a good chance of rebounding in 2013.
Perhaps people look at the eight steals and aren’t impresses. As I noted though, he was on pace for 16 steals over the course of a full season. From 2009-11 he averaged 18 steals a season.
Perhaps people aren’t buying the .300 average. It was a career best, and he does own a .267 career mark. Why was his average elevated last season? His GB/FB ratio was 1.08, just slightly above his career 0.95 career mark. His 12.2 percent walk rate was just above his 12.1 percent career mark. His 18.9 percent line drive rate was a three year high but still below his career rate of 20.4 percent. Nothing going on there explains why his average went up. Two key points that I’ve yet to mention. After posting a career K-rate of 24.0 percent, Werth cut that number down to 16.6 percent last season. That’s damn impressive. Since that mark had never been below 22.5 percent since 2003 it makes you wonder if he can hold on to that again (the odds say he won’t). If he can it would go a long way to supporting his strong batting average. The other factor to look at is that .356 BABIP. That’s a really big number, but perhaps his give back in that column won’t be as pronounced in 2013 as some might think. (1) He owns a career mark of .327. (2) He had a .352 mark in 2010 an a .389 mark in 2007 showing that he can produce at that level for the course of a season.
To sign up for your baseball league this year make sure you check out Fleaflicker.
The other issue that has many nervous is his lack of pop last year, and I get why people are nervous there. From 2008-11 Werth never hit fewer than 20 big flies and averaged 27 homers a seasons. Last year he hit five, a pace that would equal 10 homers. Part of the reason that his power dissipated was the injury to his wrist that landed him on the 60 day DL. I say it all the time – hand/wrist injuries can sap a players power, especially right after they return. However, there is more to it than that. He simply didn’t perform up to normal standards. Remember earlier when I noted that his GB/FB ratio was a bit higher than normal at 1.08? That still isn’t a huge number, the league average was about 1.20 last season, so it’s not like he was hitting a ton of ground balls. However, his fly ball rate was 38.9 percent. That was the first time in four years he had failed to post a mark of 40 percent (his career mark is 40.8 percent). That’s a rather minor thing though an certainly doesn’t speak to a 50 percent drop off in homers. The reason that happened is that his HR/F fell to 5.3 percent. Not only is that about half the big league average, it’s a massive drop off for a guy who owns a 14.4 percent career mark, and one who had posted a mark of at least 12.3 percent each of the previous five seasons. As long as his wrist is healthy, he should see his homer total go back up.
So what to do with Werth? The National announced that they were moving Bryce Harper’s spot in the batting order. Harper will hit third behind Denard Span and Mr. Werth. That’s a great spot for Werth as he will see a lot of fastballs so that Span will have a harder time stealing and so that the game’s greatest phenom isn’t always coming to bat with players on base. With health there is a very reasonable expectation that Werth will provide numbers like he always has, and that means a .270-20-65-85-15 type of season is very well within the realm of possibility for a guy who it looks like you may be able to tab as your 4th or 5th outfielder. I like the sound of that a lot and so should you.
* Don’t forget to pick up 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
The 2013 major league baseball season is about to begin, so now is a great time to touch on two topics that are in the news on a daily basis – injured players and those that might be guilty of PED use.
WORKING WITH THE INJURY BUG
All those players have significant injury concerns that will cost them one, possibly two months of the season (maybe even more in the case of Tex). The general reaction is to run away from those players immediately and not even bother looking at them on draft day. Is that the right way to look at this situation? Let’s use the case of HanRam.
Hanley was injured while playing third base in the World Baseball Classic (another reason to get rid of the event?). He tore a ligament in his right thumb and will be out of action two months as he needs surgery. Gone are his chances at being a top-25 player this season as he will miss a third of the season. So we just forget about him, right? Not so fast. Follow me here.
HanRam will likely be able to play 2/3 of the season this year. Let’s assume last year’s numbers are his baseline. Ramirez hit .257 with 24 homers, 92 RBIs, 79 runs scored and 21 steals, numbers by the way that are his worst in a full season at any point in his career. He played 157 games last season. Let’s say he plays 105 games at that level this season. If he were to do that here would be his fantasy line: .257-16-62-53-14. Those numbers still wouldn’t be awful for a shortstop if you were in a 12 or 15 team league, and they would certainly be solid for a middle infield option. But remember this salient point – while Hanley is out of action you will have an open spot in your lineup to fill. Let’s say that you roster Alexei Ramirez who you plan on starting until Ramirez returns. Let’s say that Ramirez plays 50 games for you while Hanley is shelved. Per 162 games in his career Ramirez has gone .276-17-77-77-14. How does that pro-rate over 50 games? Take a look: five homers, 24 runs, 24 RBIs, four steals
Let’s put the two players together.
HanRam (105 games): .257-16-62-53-14
Alexei (50 games): .276-5-24-24-4
* The batting average is the .257 average of HanRam from last season and the .276 career average of Alexei giving 105 games to Hanley and 50 to Ramirez which equates to 156 hits in 594 at-bats.
That’s darn near a 20-90-80-20 effort.
Make sure you don’t discount players too quickly just cause they are injured. You still might be able to get strong numbers from a position if you are smart about what you pay for the assets that will fill those spots.
ACCUSATIONS – SHOULD THEY CHANGE YOUR OPINION?
I don’t know who will break the law tonight.
I don’t know who broke the law in the past.
I don’t know who is cheating or has cheated.
Neither do you.
I bring this up cause I get the question every single day, multiple times, about when to take Ryan Braun. My response is always the same, even if it’s misguided – he’s the #1 guy on my board. ‘But Ray, didn’t you read Jeff Passan’s piece about how major league baseball is targeting Braun in what seems to be a very aggressive and over the top manner?’ Of course I read the article. I wouldn’t have linked to it otherwise, and it does disturb me that MLB appears to be on a witch hunt to get Braun. But for now I’m not going to draft based on fear. I KNOW there are players in the majors right now who are cheating. You know it too. The problem is we don’t know who those players are. Do you pass on drafting a guy who gained 12 lbs of muscle over the winter? Do you pass on a guy because some vague/unsubstantiated rumor suggests that there is a possibility that something may have happened in the past? You certainly can choose to do that. However, as I led off this section with, none of us knows what is going on behind closed doors.
Maybe a guy is doing recreational drugs.
Maybe he boozes too much.
Maybe he beats his wife.
Maybe he’s going through a painful divorce.
Maybe his child is sick.
Maybe his parent died.
Maybe he’s got an illness that he’s hiding.
On, and on, and on…
The point is, playing the “what if” game gets us nowhere. We all have to admit that every player, every single one of them, comes with risk. If you feel Braun is too much of a risk because of the PED cloud, then pass on him. Realize though that Miguel Cabrera has an alcohol problem. Mike Trout can’t repeat what he did last year and has one season of big league experience. Robinson Cano is without Alex Rodriguez, Curtis Granderson and Mark Teixeira. Matt Kemp & Joey Votto are coming off surgery… they all have issues folks.
* Don’t forget to pick up 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
Last season only two outfielders in major league baseball had more RBIs than Josh Willingham while only four outfielders hit more homers than Willingham. In retrospect it was a bad decision to view Willingham as nothing more a mid round draft pick in fantasy baseball on draft day in 2012 (many expected the move to Minnesota to erode his value somewhat). Should that view be changed, that Willingham is nothing more than a solid option for 2013, or should he be an early round draft pick because of the power that led to 35 homers and 110 RBIs last season?
By the way, Josh Hamilton (128) and Ryan Braun (112) had more RBIs. Hamilton (43), Curtis Granderson (43), Braun (41) and Ginacarlo Stanton (37) had more homers. As I also pointed out the other day in Things You Should Know, his production last season leaves a very favorable impression when his numbers are compared to those of Giancarlo Stanton.
Here is what I know.
Willingham set a career-high in homers in ’12. He had never hit 30 homers in a season before with his previous best being 29 in 2011.
Second, Willingham set a career-high with 110 RBIs. He had never reached 100 RBIs before (98 in 2011).
Third, Willingham set a career-high with 85 runs scored. His previous best was 75 back in 2007.
Part of the reason for all those counting category high’s is that he set a career best with 145 games played in his seventh season (his 615 plate appearances were also a career best). It should be noted though that this fella has failed to reach 525 at-bats in any season as a big league player (just pointing that out). Willingham has long been an injury risk and just cause he was out there a lot in 2013 shouldn’t cause you to forget that since he became a full-time player he has averaged 131 games a season meaning that over the past seven years he’s averaged a full month of missed games. That’s something you need to keep in mind when evaluating Willingham.
To sign up for your baseball league this year make sure you check out Fleaflicker.
As for the power, the guy does have 64 bombs the past two years, so it’s pretty hard to write his pop off as something anomalous. It’s also pretty impressive that he hit 29 homers in 2011 in Oakland and 35 in Minnesota in 2012 despite Park Factors in the home run column of 26th and 14th. Neither park is a homer haven by any means. The fact is that Josh has posted HR/F marks of 17.5 and 21.2 percent the past two years, both big numbers (career 15.5). I won’t say it’s a pace he can’t sustain though as he has proven that he can have that level of success. He also hits a lot of fly balls, over 48 percent in two of the last three seasons, so his homer total pretty much rests upon how many games played he can drag his body out onto the field.
IF Willingham can remain healthy, he still has three major issues in the fantasy game.
(1) He isn’t a very good all-around hitter. A career .261 hitter, Josh has hit better than .268 only once in seven years (.277 in 2006). He’s consistently league average. That’s all he is.
(2) He never steals a base. For his career he’s swiped 32 bases, and in four of the past five years he’s been limited to four or fewer thefts.
(3) He plays in the outfield, a position that has a lot of strong hitters, so his offensive exploits aren’t over the top good, especially with no base stealing speed and an inability to do anything other than match the league average in batting average. He’s just not an exciting player, especially when you toss into the mix his injury filled history.
I’m not saying Willingham is useless, he’s far from that. You can’t be useless if you are 11th in baseball with 64 homers the past two years and 8th in RBIs (208) – eighth (who knew?). But consider that he is tied for 55th in runs (154), is 92nd in batting average (.253) and 133rd in steals (15 tied with seven others). Toss in the fact that’s he’s failed to play 140 games in four of the past five years and that he plays outfield, and there just isn’t the pull for his services that you might think there should be. Willingham is a solid add for a club, but don’t go reaching or you will end up being disappointed (there is a chance others will view him the same way and he will fall on draft day in which case he would become a solid target – it’s all about the cost with this slugger).
- Don’t forget to pick up 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
Now that the 2012 season is over, it’s time to review how my predictions went for each position in fantasy baseball. To that end, I will review my top-10 at each position and give a brief rundown on how each of the ten performed. I’ll also list which player was a “Hit” (someone who lived up to expectations) as well as a “Miss” (the player who simply failed to impress).
Note: All of these rankings are taken from the 2012 BASEBALLGUYS DRAFT GUIDE
For more on the Draft Guide you can click on the link.
For an update on what you missed in the Draft Guide, click on the link.
2012 OUTFIELDERS Top-20
1 Ryan Braun
2 Matt Kemp
3 Carlos Gonzalez
4 Justin Upton
5 Jacoby Ellsbury
6 Andrew McCutchen
7 Matt Holliday
8 Michael Bourn
9 Curtis Granderson
10 Hunter Pence
11 B.J. Upton
12 Ginacarlo Stanton
13 Shane Victorino
14 Nelson Cruz
15 Josh Hamilton
16 Adam Jones
17 Jay Bruce
18 Shin-Soo Choo
19 Brett Gardner
20 Jayson Werth
Braun was my #1 player heading into the year. He may have been edged out by Mike Trout for the honor of the best player in fantasy baseball, but Braun was simply amazing and just as good as he was in his MVP effort of ’11.
Kemp hit .303 with 23 bombs, 69 RBIs, 74 runs scored and nine thefts in a tremendous letdown season. Still, his pace for 160 games would have led to an effort of .303-35-104-112-14. If he did that, would you have complained?
CarGo produced a third straight 20/20 effort though he also had three year lows in homers (22), RBI (85), runs (.89) and OPS (.881). All things considered though, he was still an elite fantasy performer.
J. Upton was terrible. Just ask one of his owners. Justin had only 17 homers and 67 RBIs a year after 31 and 88. But was he really as bad as you thought? Not even close despite the popular perception. Upton hit .280, two points better than his career mark, stole 18 bases (he averaged 20 the previous three years), and scored a career best 107 runs, the second highest total in the NL. So much for a terrible season.
Ellsbury appeared in 74 games, the second time in three years that he didn’t make it out onto the field for half the Red Sox games. The talent is undeniable, but his inability to stay healthy is a huge concern, as is the fact that he hit just four homers in 303 at-bats. Remember, he had 32 of his career total of 56 homers in just 660 at-bats in 2011 meaning he has 24 homers in his other 1,675 ABs.
McCutchen dominated as every talent evaluator in the game thought he could. Andrew went 30/20 and just missed out on also going 100-100 as he had 96 RBIs and 107 runs scored. Toss in a .327 batting and you have a top-5 fantasy campaign.
Holliday was supposed to struggle without Albert Pujols, remember? Uh, no. Holliday hit .295 with 27 homers, 102 RBIs and 95 runs scored for the Cards.
Bourn was pathetic at the dish hitting a mere .225 over his final 70 games, but in summation his season was an unqualified success as he hit .274 (career .272) with a career best nine homers and 57 RBIs. Toss in 96 runs (one off his career best) and 42 steals, and he had another elite fantasy season.
Granderson, somewhat surprisingly, hit 43 homers with 106 RBIs and 102 runs scored giving him 2-straight years of 40-100-100. However, he also failed to hit .250 for the third time in four years, and his maddening stolen base trend continued. Here are his steals totals since 2007: 26, 12, 20, 12, 25 and 10.
Pence hit a career worst .253 with a career-low five steals. The good? He hit 24 homers with 104 RBIs, the second number being a career best. A solid though somewhat disappointing effort.
B.J. Upton started the ball rolling late because of injury, but by the end of the season he was a mere two bombs short of his first 30/30 effort. Upton only hit .246, but this was the 5th straight 30 steal effort and a second straight 20/30 performance. He also recorded 79 runs for the 6th straight year.
Stanton flashed his unsurpassed power with 37 homers and 86 RBIs in just 123 games played. What was really surprising to see was the .290 batting average, a number that he will find it hard to replicate given his approach at the plate (143 Ks just 46 walks in those 123 games).
Victorino struggled for large portions of the year and his .255 batting average was a major disappointment as were his 5-year low in RBIs (55) and his 6-year low in runs (72). At least he stole 39 bags, a career best.
Cruz appeared in 159 games, a shocking total for a player who had never taken the field 130 times. Amazingly, his per at-bat numbers were four years worsts as he hit 24 homers with 90 RBIs on the year. Those are solid numbers, but more was expected from him if he was healthy able to play 150+ games. He also isn’t running anymore with eight steals in 2012 and 17 the past two years (he stole 37 bases in 2009-10).
Hamilton had a monstrous season batting .285 with 43 dingers, 128 RBIs and 103 runs scored. For the most part he kept himself out of trouble, and he even managed to play 148 games, a four year high. An effort like this was always possible, but he was as low as he was in my rankings because of the constant off the field concerns and his inability to stay healthy making him a sizable risk. For one year those concerns disappeared.
Jones hit 16 homers in the first 51 games before slowing down the rest of the way to end the year with 32 big flies, a career best. He also stole 16 bases and scored 103 times, more career bests, as was his .287 average (by three points). Add in 82 RBIs and you’ve got yourself one hell of a campaign.
Bruce was very good, but far from the breakout star many predicted. Still, his yearly improvement is impressive and historic.
2008: 21 homers, 52 RBIs
2009: 22 homers, 58 RBIs
2010: 25 homers, 70 RBIs
2011: 32 homers, 97 RBIs
2012: 34 homers, 99 RBIs
Choo didn’t make it all the way back to his 2009-10 heyday, but he was damn impressive (.283-16-67-88-21). His season really took off when he was inserted into the leadoff spot (.310/.389/.493 in 99 games).
Gardner’s elbow literally had him on the edge of a return like six times. In the end he hit .323 with two steals in 16 games after swiping 96 bases with 185 runs scored in 2010-11. A massive letdown.
Werth hit .300 with a .387 OBP, tremendous numbers, but he only appeared in 81 games with five homers, eight steals and 31 RBIs. Just not what his owners, or the Nationals, were hoping for.
Hit: Alex Rios (#23), Dexter Fowler (#33)
I highlighted Rios as the best option outside the top-20 at the position, and for that I drew derision from many fantasy circles. I had the last laugh though as he hit .304 with 25 homers, 91 RBIs, 93 runs scored and 23 steals. Efforts like his win fantasy championships. Fowler was another player that people shied away from, and while his effort wasn’t as good as that of Rios it was still plenty helpful (.300-13-53-72-12 in just 454 at-bats).
Miss: Josh Hamilton, Hunter Pence
Misses due to injury: Ellsbury, Gardner, Werth, Carl Crawford (#21)
By Ray Flowers
The MLB playoffs are just about ready to get underway, so baseball is on the cusp of starting its “second season.” Before we get there, let’s take a look back at the just completed regular season. I’ve found a few numbers there that are certainly worth taking note of.
How many players in baseball have gone 40-100 the past two years? The answer is one. He’s also the only player who has, obviously, gone 40-100-100. He’s also the only option in the game, redundancy anyone?, who has gone 40-100-100-10 the past two years. The answer is Curtis Granderson. Sure his average dropped to .232, and his OBP fell to .319, and those numbers aren’t good in any world, but he’s as impressive a counting number performer as there has been in baseball the past two years. Granderson is a faster version of Adam Dunn, you’ll just have to learn how to work around his so-so batting average (Granderson has hit .247 the past four years, so you shouldn’t have been shocked to see his .262 batting average from last season fall).
How many pitchers in the AL won 15 games while striking out 200 batters? You’ve got your standard in Justin Verlander (17, 239), and if you thought of Verlander you most likely also also hit on Max Scherzer (16, 231) who also led baseball with a K/9 mark of 11.08 (that mark allowed Scherzer to post the 19th best single season mark in the history of baseball for a pitcher who tossed at least 162 innings). Given that he is starting the AL Wild Card today you probably also thought of Yu Darvish (16, 221) who had a very successful first season in the States even if he walked too many batters (89 in 191.1 innings). Hopefully you also remember the guy who appears to have a strong shot to win the AL Cy Young Award, the man who tied Jered Weaver for the league lead in wins (20), and that is David Price. The Rays’ lefty won 20 games, struck out 205, posted a 2.56 ERA and had a 1.10 WHIP. So here’s the question. Who is the lone pitcher in the AL to win 15 games and strike out 200 batters who I didn’t mention? The answer can be found below.
Brandon Moss had an amazing run for the A’s to close the year that included a .690 SLG over his last 26 games. When the season was over he had accrued only 265 at-bats, but boy did he use them to great effect. Moss was a tremendous weapon for the A’s as he hit .291 on the year with a .358 OBP and .596 SLG. Moss also drove in 52 runners while scoring 48 times as he had a great season for a guy who struck out nearly a third of the time. The most amazing part of his effort? Let’s look to the home run. Moss hit 21 of them in just 296 plate appearances. No player has ever hit more than 21 homers in under 300 palte appearances. The others who have hit that mark are Art Shamsky (1966), Johnny Blanchard (1961), Kevin Maas (1990) and David Ross (2006). How about that?
The most dangerous “pull” hitter in baseball in 2012 was Giancarlo Stanton, and when you read the numbers I’m about to list your eyeballs might fall out of your head. Stanton hit .507 in the 140 at-bats in which he pulled the ball. That’s 71 hits in 140 at-bats folks. His SLG mark was 1.164. His slugging was 1.164. His OPS? Get out the video game. That number was 1.671. Stanton also hit 24 homers in at-bats when he “pulled” the ball. That number didn’t lead baseball though. The leader in “pull” home runs was none other than Mr. Curtis Granderson who had 37 homers in 201 at-bats.
ANSWER: The fifth pitcher in the Junior Circuit to pull off the 15-200 trick in 2012 is a teammate of one of the other four. Still not able to narrow it down? A hint. He struck out 15 batters in his final start of the season. That man is none other than James Shields who won 15 games with 223 Ks. Shields also won 16 games with 225 Ks last season. Why not keep the good times rolling? How many hurlers in baseball have won 15 games with 220 Ks each of the past two years? The answer is two – Verlander and Shields.
By Ray Flowers
The 2012 regular season is over. Special congratulations should be handed out to Miguel Cabrera for winning the Triple Crown, and to the Orioles who made the playoffs winning 93 games a year after they lost — 93 games. To celebrate the end of the regular season I thought I would list some of my favorite tweets of the last 24 hours. You are all following the BaseballGuys’ Twitter account, right? If you are this will seem a bit redundant, but it’s still nice to have all the tweets in one spot. Don’t make me come looking for you in the offseason. Sign up. It’s free, hopefully entertaining, an always informative.
@BaseballGuys Will Miguel Cabrera win AL MVP? 5 times a player has won TC and not been MVP: Williams (’42, ’47), Gehrig (’34), Klein (’33) & Hornsby (’22)
@MLBStatoftheDay Since the start of play on June 4, the @Athletics own a 70-37 record – the best in @MLB.
@MLBStatoftheDay Craig Kimbrel’s 0.654 WHIP is 3rd lowest in history for a pitcher with at least 50 IP, behind Dennis Eckersley’s 0.607 in ’89 & 0.614 in ’90
@MLBStatoftheDay Chase Headley is first @Padres player since Dave Winfield in 1979 to finish the season as the NL leader in RBI.
@ESPNStatsInfo Adam Dunn struck out 222 times this yr, the most in AL history and 2nd-most in MLB history (Mark Reynolds, 223 in 2009).
@ESPNStatsInfo Fernando Rodney posted an 0.60 ERA this season, the lowest in MLB history among pitchers with at least 50 IP.
@ESPNStatsInfo Cliff Lee is the 1st pitcher in the Modern Era (since 1900) to strikeout 200 batters and have 6 or fewer wins in a season.
@Jonathan_Gantt Best pitching staff ever to not make playoffs? 2012 Rays led @MLB in ERA (3.19) and opp. avg. (.228) and led AL with 1,383 Ks.
@MikeDiGiovanna Torii Hunter pulled after two ABs, closes year with .313 average, oldest player since 1957 to hit .300 first the first time.
@STATS_MLB Curtis Granderson is the fifth Yankees outfielder to hit at least 42 home runs, joining Maris, Ruth, Mantle and DiMaggio.
@beckjason In 5 seasons of AL ball, Miguel Cabrera now owns back-to-back batting titles, 2 home run crowns and 2 RBI titles.
@Haudricourt Aramis Ramirez finishes with .300 average, 50 doubles, 27 HRs 105 RBI. Not to bad as Prince Fielder’s replacement.
@richardjustice The Athletics used 16 players in clinching the AL West. GM Billy Beane acquired 9 of the 16 in the last 10 months.
@SBerthiaumeESPN Athletics join ’06 Twins, ’51 Giants as only teams whose only day alone in 1st place was the last day of the season.
@susanslusser Athletics 1st in history to win a division or pennant when trailing by 5 games or more w/ no more than 10 games left.
@PeteAbe $103 million later, Daisuke Matsuzaka pitched 668.1 innings in 6 years for the RedSox with a 4.52 ERA.
@ESPNStatsInfo Orioles are now 29-9 in one-run games. According to Elias, that’s the best win pct since 1890 Brooklyn Bridegrooms (14-4)
In the coming days I will start to break down players as we start the inevitable process of looking toward the 2013 season. I will also review how my teams did this year, and let’s just say I gave better advice this year to others than myself. With that I hope that everyone had a successful fantasy season in 2012. Enjoy it. Soon enough it will be time to start focusing on what lies ahead in 2013.
By Ray Flowers
I had an odd weekend. There was less booze than I anticipated. There was less fun than I anticipated. There was about the level of worry on Sunday for fantasy football as I expected (I’m in too many leagues to worry about certain plays or players in Week 1). There was a great novel (The Bourne Supremacy by Robert Ludlum, who by the way was one hell of an author. If you’ve seen the movies with Matt Damon it’s still worth your time to read Ludlum’s three novels as they have little to do, in plot at least, with the Hollywood films). At least there was plenty going on in the world of baseball to hold my attention.
Curtis Granderson has socked 35 homers for the Yankees this year on his way to 86 RBIs and a .235 batting average after his five RBI effort Sunday (he’s also scored 85 times). Still, he’s looked an awful lot like Adam Dunn with his all or nothing approach. Over his last 53 games, that’s a third of a season, Granderson has hit .213 (Dunn is hitting .208 on the year for the White Sox with 38 homers, 88 RBIs and 79 runs scored). The counting stats are great, but that’s an awfully high price to pay in the batting average category.
Nick Markakis will have surgery on his broken left thumb Tuesday. The Orioles are hopeful that they will make the playoffs and hang around long enough for us to see Markakis again this season. Don’t count on that happening. Regardless, Nick’s regular season is over. Thanks to hitting .335 with a .390 OBP over his last 54 games Markakis will end the year with a .298 average and .363 OBP, numbers nearly identical to his career marks (.295 and .365). He’s not an elite fantasy option, but he’s solid an about as consistent as they come.
I watched The Change Up this past week, a stupid film in which Jason Bateman and Ryan Reynolds party, pee in a fountain while drunk, and miraculously change bodies (apparently the fact that they made a “wish” while urinating in the fountain caused the goddess statue in the fountain to grant them their drunk wish – to live the others life. I told you it was a stupid movie). Why the hell would I bring this clunker up? Olivia Wilde. She is, simply put, gorgeous. If you look into those eyes and don’t feel a tingle, you aren’t a lover of women.
Mike Napoli is ready to rock as his quadriceps muscle is finally strong enough for him to go out and perform in game action. He’ll begin his rehab assignment at Double-A Frisco Tuesday. A big time disappointment after being a top-3 catcher selection in nearly every league this year, Napoli has hit just .233 with 17 homers and 40 RBIs this season, light year from the pace that saw him net a .320 average, 30 homers, and 75 RBIs in 2011. Still, Let’s compare his 2010 effort in 453 at-bats, to the pace that his effort this season would net him in 453 at-bats (he actually has 301 this season).
2010: .238-26-68-60 with a .784 OPS
2012: .223-26-60- 68 with a .771 OPS
I don’t see any difference at all there, do you?
Alexei Ramirez was scratched from the White Sox lineup Sunday since he showed up late to the ballpark (maybe he was watching Olivia Wilde in something?). When he has made it to the field on time Alexei has been fairly productive in the second half hitting .284 with a .771 OPS, numbers that are very similar to the .278 and .733 career marks that he owns. With one more homer he will also post his 5th straight 10 homer season, and it will also be his 4th 10/10 season in five years (he stole only seven bags last year or he would have pulled off the double/double in all five of his big league seasons).
If you like spy shows, comedy, cartoons, hell if you have any taste, you have to check out Archer on FX if you haven’t already. It’s flippin awesome — and I hate that word, but it truly fits.
B.J. Upton is trying to put the slow start he had to the season behind him. The elder Upton bashed three long balls Sunday giving him six homers in his last 11 games. His overall numbers include a mere .256 batting average, but he’s driven in 66 runs, has scored 65 times, and has gone 20/20 yet again (21 homers, 29 SBs). This is the third 20/20 effort of his career, the second in a row, and with one more steal he’ll also have 5-straight efforts of at least 30 thefts. He’s a ballplayer that brings everything in the fantasy game, other than batting average of course.
By Ray Flowers