Everyone has heard that 3B is one of the scarcest positions this year so Justin Fensterman and Trevor Ray break down players to grab if you have missed the elite options at the position (Ray Flowers also wrote an article about the third base position as well in Third Base, A Wasteland?).
How good has Antonio Bastardo been this season for the Phillies? Amongst NL relievers he is first in batting average against allowing a mere .119 average. He’s also 8th in K/9 at 10.93 while his 1.99 ERA is 10th. Amazingly, he’s been even better of late with the strikeout ball. Over his last 7.2 innings he’s posted 15 Ks leading to an unheard of 17.60 K/9 mark in that time.
Emilio Bonifacio leads the NL with 31 hits since August 23rd. Yes, I’m just as shocked as you are. Emilio also leads the NL with 40 infield hits, just three behind the major league leader Juan Pierre (43). The good news continues with Bonifacio as he leads NL leadoff batters, minimum 50 games in the leadoff spot, with a .381 OBP. He’s also third at the spot in batting average at .306, behind only Starlin Castro (.333) and Jose Reyes (.330). I know, totally out of nowhere has been this effort, and as a result, everyone who took a stab at him off waivers in mixed leagues ended up with one hell of a player.
Ryan Doumit and the Pirates face the Dodgers for the next four games. This year Doumit has hit .583 against the Dodgers (7-for-12) and in 33 games in his career against the club he is batting a resounding .358 with 22 RBI in 33 games. Doumit is also locked in right now. He’s picked up 15 hits in his last 33 at-bats that has led to a .455 average and .1,258 OPS in the month of September. What are you waiting for? Grab him if he is on waivers right now.
Danny Espinosa has hit a poor .231 this year helping to drain his value. Still, the second sacker has scored 64 times, knocked in 60 runs, and stolen 14 bases. He’s also hit 19 long balls. While that last number doesn’t jump out at all, it’s a borderline historic number actually. I know it’s hard to believe, but only two second basemen in the history of baseball have hit 20 homers in their first season. The only two second baseman to have hit 20 in their inaugural campaigns are Alexi Ramirez (21 in 2008) and Dan Uggla (27 in 2006).
Justin Turner of the Mets is batting .385 in September (15-for-39), the 7th best mark in the NL. Just another hot name to ride if you’re desperate. By the way his teammate, Jason Bay, is hitting .340 in that time, 15th best in the NL. He returned to action last night after missing a game with a sore shoulder.
Looking for an arm to considering streaming? Take a gander at the Cubs’ Randy Wells. Yes he’s an uninspiring option on the surface, but that doesn’t mean that he isn’t pitching well right now. In fact, over his last eight starts he’s 5-0 with a 3.02 ERA. The only other pitchers with at least eight starts, five wins and no loses since August began are the soon to be AL Cy Young winner Justin Verlander (8-0) and the Yankees’ Ivan Nova (6-0). I wouldn’t lead you wrong would I?
By Ray Flowers
You ask, I answer. Here are some of my thoughts on the questions that I receive all week at the BaseballGuys’ Twitter account.
Do you see Drew Stubbs coming back in the second half? He’s been terrible lately.
Perception isn’t always reality.
All of us, at one time or another, get sucked into the sample size morass, yet very few of us emerge from it with our senses intact. Example. Emilio Bonifacio may be the most valuable player in the fantasy game in the month of July as he’s hitting .441 with eight steals and 10 runs scored in nine games. So you pick up Bonifacio, ride him until he returns to being the below average hitter he has always been (.259/.319/.333 for his career) and move on. The problem is, most of the time in just such a scenario you don’t realize that the minor player is hot until they’ve been that way for two weeks, so by the time you actually make the move to pick them up they’re already tailing off. It’s why, more times than not, going with the more skilled player results in a better outcome than trying to play the hot hand over and over again. Two weeks or even a month just isn’t that long when the season goes on for six months.
As for Stubbs, he is a highly skilled, albeit flawed, player. There’s no disputing that he has struggled of late as he’s hitting .206 over his last 10 games, has gone 14 contests without a homer, and the last time he stole a base was June 27th, 13 games ago. But back to our old friend sample size. Let’s look past his work the past three weeks and compare his season long pace this year to the numbers he produced last year.
It might be hard to believe because he’s struggled so much of late, but Stubbs is actually on pace to have a slightly better fantasy season this year than last because of the addition of the steals and runs which help to negate the loss in homers and RBI.
If you drafted Stubbs expecting him to hit .280, you were fooling yourself. If you drafted him thinking he would be as consistent as the sun rising and falling, you were fooling yourself. Stubbs is an all or nothing type hitter who strikes out too much, and therefore has long stretches of ineffectiveness, but as long as he keeps up his year long pace his numbers will be just fine at years end.
Just saw that Ryan Raburn hit .315 with 13 homers last year in the 2nd half, better than Robinson Cano’s .299 and 13 effort.
I know this isn’t a question, but I’ll use it as a springboard to mention something that you should all be made aware of – first and second half splits usually mean little. But you’re going to say ‘Player A hits .050 points higher in the second half, how could you not care about that?’ My response is – it’s totally random. Why not choose May 3rd through June 29th as the sample size to review? Because it’s ugly to look at. Using the All-Star game as a dividing line makes all the sense in the world because it’s a natural break point. However, that’s all it is – a natural break point. Let me give you an example.
Let’s say Player A is a .250 hitter in the first half, but a .300 hitter in the second half. If you saw an article pointing that out, your natural inclination would be to add that player right now. But should you? Let’s say that Player A had exactly 250 at-bats each of the six years he has been in the league in the second half. Again, let’s postulate that he is a .300 hitter in the second half. What if I told you the following hitting line would give you a total of .300 for a second half average despite looking pretty scary?
.250, .350, .375, .225, .335, .265
Those totals would net you an average of .300, but as you can tell, two of the years Player A was well below average, and one season he was league average at best. If you get the player who hits .375 you win your league. If you get the guy who hits .225, well, fantasy football will start soon (we all hope). Also, don’t forget about sample size. Make sure there is enough data at your disposal to truly ferret out what is going on as two seasons of splits isn’t likely to give you a crystal clear outlook on the situation.
Be very careful not to buy into a number without checking out the data behind that number. As much as I love numbers, even I know that they can be deceiving at times.
Mike Napoli’s back. Will he get more playing time?
Napoli’s usage over the years is one of the more vexing situations in the game. Year after year the guy flat out mashes, yet his manager never seems to have confidence in him. He’s not the greatest defensive catcher in the game, though his Catchers Earned Run Average (CERA) says otherwise (he’s tops amongst all catchers in baseball who have appeared in 25 games behind the plate), but his bat is elite in terms of power. Napoli has hit a mere .232 this season, but his OPS is .873, fourth at the position amongst fellas with 180 plate appearances. He’s also powered 12 homers with 33 RBI for the Rangers in just 155 at-bats. That’s a pace that would net him 36 homers and 99 RBI over 465 at-bats. Why isn’t someone willing to use him at catcher, first and DH to give him 500 at-bats? I guess no team in baseball could use 30 homers.
Honestly, with the way that the Rangers have used him all year, I don’t have much faith that their suddenly going to start running him out there every day. The best way for that to happen would likely be if he was dealt to a team that understands the talents he possesses.
I have Logan Morrison. Matt Joyce is available. Swap them?
Remember at the top when I said perception isn’t always reality. The perception is that Joyce started out hot and is now a dud, while LoMo is a better all-around hitter. However, is that true?
One thing is completely clear, Joyce was phenomenal, and then poor – there is no dispute there. Joyce hit .370 with nine homers over his first 51 games, and since then he’s hit .163 with three homers. Yikes is right. LoMo has also struggled recently. After hitting .320 over his first 32 games he’s hit .221 over his last 37 games. Still, I bet it would surprise many of you out there to learn that Joyce still bests LoMo in runs, batting average, OBP, SLG and OPS.
Joyce: .290-12-41-45-5 with a .351 OBP, .513 SLG, .864 OPS
LoMo: .267-12-42-29-1 with a .343 OBP, .489 SLG, .832 OPS
Surprising isn’t it?
So who would I take rest of the way? You got a coin to flip? I’d go with Morrison, but I admit that it’s quite possible that the numbers of the two outfielders this season will end up being pretty similar.
Ray Flowers can be heard daily on Sirius/XM Radio on The Fantasy Drive, 5-8 PM Eastern, on Sirius 210 and XM 87.
(1) Jose Reyes likely out three weeks for Mets.
(2) Is Dan Uggla as bad as you think?
(3) Everyone is freaking out about Drew Stubbs – why?
(4) Who is Jeff Karstens and should you care about him?
(5) Pablo Sandoval is hot – 17-game hitting streak.
By Ray Flowers
(1) The Reds will not demote Drew Stubbs. You can also read My Tooth Hurts.
(2) Who is gonna lead off for the Marlins – Cameron Maybin, Chris Coghlan or Emilio Bonifacio?
(3) Jair Jurrjens to DL – replaced by Kris Medlen.
(4) Juan Uribe or Freddy Sanchez for Giants?
(5) Is Matt Garza a top-10 SP? You can also read Impact Report – Matt Garza.
(6) Lance Berkman will waive no-trade clause.
(7) Carlos Lee finally goes deep.
(8) What are the Orioles going to do in the 9th inning?
By Ray Flowers
It’s Friday, so forgive me. I’m all over the map as we wrap down the week. I’ve got a cold and I’m tired, but I also have plenty of fun scheduled for the weekend starting tonight with Game 7 of the NHL Finals (you can read more about that below). So proceed with caution moving forward – hopefully you won’t nauseous as I’ll be jumping around from sport to sport in today’s entry.
Emilio Bonifacio will hit ninth in the batting order in interleague play with the Marlins using a designated hitter for their pitcher. Since his red hot start that included 16 hits in his first 33 ABs (.485) Emilio hasn’t hit like he belongs in the big leagues with a 50-for-219 stretch that has produced a .228 batting average. Emilio may stay in the ninth hole once the club returns to the NL brand of ball, that is if the Marlins decide to use their pitcher in the eighth hole like Tony La Russa. Chris Coghlan figures to continue to hold down the leadoff role for the club with his .350 OBP this season, a number that is .365 in his 12 games in his current role at the top of the order.
Ryan Madson since Brad Lidge was placed on the DL: two appearances, no runs, two saves. Like a cool drink on a hot day.
It came out a few days ago, but did you see the report in the USA Today that said it’s not wind conditions that is leading to all the home runs at Yankee stadium, the real reason is that the dimensions of the part are so small? “The wall structure is slightly different than the old park,” AccuWeather said. “The main difference involves curvature. The gentle curve from right field to center field seen in original Yankee Stadium has largely been eliminated at the new stadium… Not only is the famed short porch even shorter in the new stadium, but the walls themselves are not as tall.” AccuWeather reported that 20 of the first 105 home runs hit at the new ball yard would not have gone out of old Yankee Stadium. This is significant in that the new yard is on pace to surrender 293 home runs this season, a total that is just 10 homers off the major league record which is held by Coors Field in Colorado in 1999.
I’m pretty sure that when Joe Mauer was out of the spotlight his body became inhabited by the spirit of Ted Williams. Mauer hit his 13th home run of the season Friday, and with three more RBI he now has 39 ribbies in 39 games. Despite missing the entire month of April, Mauer is not only the top catcher in baseball in standard 12 team mixed leagues according to the Player Rater, he is also one of the to-10 offensive weapons in the game at the time of this writing. That’s utterly amazing.
I touched on the moron that is Chad Ochocinco the other day in Woe is Me, but this guy just cannot stay out of harms way – he simply cannot help himself. According to the Cincinnati Enquirer Johnson has gotten three tattoos on his face (look for a link to a picture on the right side). Yes, I said face. He has two crosses on his right cheekbone, on the left side of his face he has a map of Florida, and on the bridge of his nose he has the letters “OC” for his name. Good to know that if he ever passes out drunk people will know that he is a Christian who lives in Florida and likes to drink Orange Juice.
Kevin Slowey had a huge game on Friday as he struck out 10 Cubs on his way to his ninth victory of the year against only two loses. That gives him a run of six quality starts in seven outings, and in that time he has lowered his ERA from 5.50 to 4.23.
Game 7 of the NHL Finals is about an hour away. Are you as excited about the tilt as I am? Probably not, but if you want a little extra NHL knowledge in regards to the series and Game 7 in particular click on the link to may latest NHL article titled Western Conference Review. There is nothing like the majesty and tension of an NHL Game 7, and with this one being in the Finals, do yourself a favor and watch the game on NBC or CBC even if you aren’t a hockey fan. Trust me, you won’t be disappointed, and perhaps you can approximate the thrill that the players will be experiencing tonight if you merely think back to your childhood when you used to screw around with your friends setting up that Game 7 scenario so that you could win the Cup for your club. Someone will get to turn that dream into reality tonight.
By Ray Flowers
By Ray Flowers
Another day, another series of injuries to report in the world of baseball. Also, I want to spend a moment detailing the failures of one of the hottest waiver-wire pick ups in the game. Am I surprised that he has struggled mightily? Hardly. Oh, and I have to give a shout out to the Sharks before I close this entry down as well.
How bad is Emilio Bonifacio? He is just 3-for-35 (.086) to drop his season long average to .270, and he hasn’t plated a run since April 11th (12 games). Seems like I warned people about this didn’t I? Oh yeah I did back on April 8th when everyone was going ga-ga over his hot start in an Impact Report. Here are a few direct quotes from that piece.
(1) “…Bonifacio simply must do a better job of making contact if he ever hopes to reach his ceiling as a hitter.” Emilio has 19 K in 74 at-bats, that’s a strikeout in more than 25% of his at bats, and also has resulted in a contact rate of 74%, well below the major league average of 80%.
(2) “Bonifacio needs to continue to work on his plate discipline and control of the strike zone. At this point he is clearly operating at below major league average levels in this respect.” With 19 K and four walks, Emilio’s BB/K mark is a pitiful 0.21 (ML average is 0.50).
(3) “…it might even be advisable to move him because, as we have long preached… take advantage of the weak if you can, it’s survival of the fittest in fantasy baseball.” As you saw above, the time to move Emilio has clearly vanished as his production has dwindled to the point of irrelevance. Hopefully you listened.
Carlos Delgado is out of the Mets’ lineup on Monday after he aggravated his hip sliding into third base on a triple. You think that he somehow innately knew he would be injured if he was asked to slide into third base so that is why he has hit only 18 triples in his career of over 2,000 games? Nah, me neither.
Carlos Gomez will leave the team on Tuesday to witness the birth of his first child. Perhaps while he is away he can ask the doctor for a hitting transplant as he is batting just .195 this season.
Josh Hamilton has a rib injury that has been bothering him for a few days. He had a cortisone shot on Sunday, and it usually takes a few days down time to return after one of those. People just assumed that Hamilton would hit another 30+ home runs with 120+ RBI, but the fact is that it just isn’t that easy no matter how immensely talented one is. So far this year, Hamilton is hitting just .242 with a .660 OPS in 19 games.
Just how much rope will Oliver Perez be given? The club said he will make his next start against the Phillies, but that may be it if he lays another egg. Through four starts he owns a 9.31 ERA, a 1.97 WHIP and a ghastly, maybe atrocious, possibly abysmal, let’s just say pathetic total of 6.98 walks per nine innings. For a pitcher with as much raw stuff as this guy, the fact that he simply cannot throw the ball over the plate to see what would happen is just shocking. His BABIP (.354) is way too high (.296 career) and his LOB-rate is amazingly low (54.6% vs. his career 73.3% mark), but it’s still all about base runners. If you have seen Perez pitch this year there is no way you would believe that once upon a time he posted a 2.98 ERA with a 1.15 WHIP and 239 K (good for a 10.97 K/9 mark). Look it up though, he actually did that all of that in 2004.
I can’t sign off without mentioning the Sharks. They are mere hours away from their biggest game of the year. They trail the Ducks three games to two, and will need to win the next two games to avoid an ignominious end to a season that started with such promise. They simply must win tonight. If they do, anything can happen in a Game 7.