Matt Kemp, Evan Longoria, Tim Lincecum, Joahn Santana, James McDonald, Mike Stanton, Paul Goildschmidt, Hanley Ramirez, September call-ups.
Matt Kemp, Evan Longoria, Tim Lincecum, Joahn Santana, James McDonald, Mike Stanton, Paul Goildschmidt, Hanley Ramirez, September call-ups.
It’s Thursday, so it’s time to answer the questions you’ve sent me at the BaseballGuys’ Twitter account.
Mike Stanton for Bryce Harper/Trevor Plouffe/Andre Ethier?
Reality check everyone. As great as Stanton is and will one day be, he’s merely an impressive power hitter right now. The best hitter on the planet in May, he’s been pretty darn blah the other two months of the season. In the end he’s on pace to hit .274 with 35 homers, 100 RBI and 90 runs. Those are impressive totals indeed, but they are not the jump off the page I’m going to win a fantasy championship because of them numbers. Did you listen when I told you to back down from expectations before the season started?
I know that Ethier injured his left oblique Wednesday, and that there is no clear cur answer as to how much time he is going to miss throwing his value up in the air, but do you know what his current pace is for the Dodgers? How about 291 with 20 homers, 115 RBI and 75 runs. Is that really that far off of Stanton’s pace? Harper has slowed a bit but he’s still hitting .281 with a .841 OPS and a pace that would lead to a 20/20 season over a full slate of games.
Plouffe is the wild card. Over his last 10 games he has hit .243 with one homer, a far cry from the insane pace he set early in the month when he blasted nine homers with 16 RBI in 12 games. The power is legit, he’s gone deep 25 times in 512 career at-bats, but he’s also hit .232 with a mere .299 OBP – not exactly the stuff of legend. Still, he qualifies at shortstop and third in all league, and in most he’s also eligible in the outfield and possibly even second base.
If Ethier was healthy this would be a killer deal. Even with him injured it’s certainly not an awful haul, even though Stanton is the most exciting player in the group. I think the question becomes which two players would you need to drop since you’re adding three players and only sending one away? Add in those two players and the deal likely won’t make sense.
Where is Wil Myers going to play if KC promotes him? How long before promotion?
I get this question all the time, and here is my standard answer.
Alex Gordon will be playing everyday in the outfield.
Jeff Francoeur, unless he is traded (the club is probably hoping they can move Frenchie), will be playing everyday in the outfield.
Lorenzo Cain, slated to start in CF this year before injuries struck (remember when he was killing it in the preseason leading to people drafting him as one of the potential breakout starts of 2012?), is closing in on a return to the big leagues as his rehab work (hip issue) was shifted to Triple-A this week.
Billy Butler is the DH and Eric Hosmer is the first baseman.
Where can Myers fit in there? He can’t is the answer. The Royals will need to trade Francoeur, or Cain will have to stall out in his recovery to give the power hitting Myers a chance to play everyday in the bigs (Myers is killing it hitting .325 with 35 homers and 65 RBI in 75 minor league games this year). As I wrote last November in my AFL – 2011 Review column, the guy is gonna be a star – we’re just going to have to wait a bit longer.
Any chance Logan Morrison will have a decent second half?
After hitting 23 homers with 72 RBIs last year there was some hope that LoMo would take his game to the next level this season as a prime time run producing force. He hasn’t. His average is down .020 points to .227 and his OBP has dropped to .305 (career .340). He’s on pace for about 18 homers and 55 RBI. He’s also walking less than he did in either of his two previous seasons. Toss in a sickly .241 BABIP, some .041 points below his career rate, and there really isn’t much to get excited about here at all. I can’t envision a player of his skill set being this bad all year long, but there’s nothing going on here that screams to me that LoMo is going to be a significant player in the fantasy game the ROTW.
Jon Lester and Michael Bourn for Justin Verlander?
Lester has a 5-5 record, 4.53 ERA and 1.34 WHIP. After years of upper echelon work those are terribly disappointing numbers. Still, he’s tossed 5-straight “quality starts” as he slowly seems to be rounding into form. Oddly, Lester has lost more than a batter off his K/9 rate while also dropping a batter off his BB/9 rate. The result us a 2.93 K/BB ratio that would actually be a three year best if you can believe it. He’s also produced a 1.76 GB/FB ratio that is better than his 1.44 career rate. The real issue is that his he’s been getting hit hard. Currently his line drive rate is 23.3 percent, an unheard of level for a guy with a 19 percent career mark that has kept that mark under 21 percent each of the past four years. I’d expect his effort to continue to improve.
Bourn has been an elite performer — just like I said he would be. Oddly though, he’s accomplished it in a bit different way that was expected. After hitting seven homers the past three years he has gone deep seven times this season. Clearly this is one of those random things that just happens sometimes (don’t expect him to go deep 15 times this year). However, after 3-straight years of at least 52 steals he has “only” 20 thefts this year. He’s still on pace for a fifth straight effort of 40-steals, but it would be nice to see a few more stolen bases. Still, you can’t complain when Bourn is hitting .309 with 50 runs scored in 74 games.
Verlander is as good as it gets. His ERA is up a tenth from last year to 2.52, his WHIP is up less than a tenth to 0.97, and his K/9 rate is down three tenths to 8.64. Wow, he’s really fallen off. He’s the pinnacle of the elite. Period.
The deal is pretty fair for both sides. Most people don’t want to give up the “best player” in a deal, but the return here is significant – an elite outfielder and a solid hurler who is slowly rounding into form.
I was offered Chase Utley or Billy Butler for Derek Jeter? I have Jose Reyes to play SS and Allen Craig to play 2B.
Pull the breaks on the hype train. Utley returned to action, and homered in his first game, but there is NO way you can take him for Jeter straight up, even if you do have Reyes to fill in at shortstop. None. Utley missed nearly the first three months of the season with knee issues, this coming on the heels of seasons of 115 and 103 games played. You know the Phillies aren’t going to play him every day the rest of the way either (he’s resting Thursday). I’m all for taking a shot on Utley because I think he will still be an effective hitter when on the field, but you’d be better off pouring soap in your eye and trying to read a smutty novel than doing this deal.
The Butler offer does make sense. Though everyone always likes to put the guy down, or just flat out overlook him for some reason, Butler is a hell of a hitter. Not only is he hitting .297, he’s hit at least .291 each of the past three years, he’s also on pace for a career best in the homer category with 15 through 72 games (his previous best is 21 homers). I don’t think he’ll get to 30 homers, it’s not likely that he’ll be able to keep his 22.1 percent HR/F rate given that it’s double his career rate of 11 percent, but that doesn’t mean a .300-25-100 season can be ruled out for the Royals’ hitter.
In this situation, with Reyes ready to take over at short, I’d take Butler in the deal. Jeter has solid all-around numbers (.305-7-25-40-6) but he’s had only 12 RBI and hit a mere .269 over his last 50 games played after his tremendous start to the year.
Ray Flowers can be heard daily on Sirius/XM Radio on The Fantasy Drive on Sirius 210 and XM 87 from 5-8 PM EDT, Monday through Friday.
Ask anyone and they will tell you that Mike Stanton is a future star in this game. The owner of prodigious power, no park in the land can contain the ferocity with which Stanton sends balls into orbit. Because of his almost unparallelled ability to drive the ball into the cheap seats, Stanton’s value in the fantasy game continues to grow. Take a look over at MockDraftCentral and you’ll find that Stanton’s Average Draft Position is inside the top-25 (24.4 actually). Two questions come to my mind when I see that. (1) Can Stanton live up to those expectations? (2) How can Stanton possibly live up to those expectations? I know those are in effect the same question, I’m just trying to make a point — I think it’s going to be pretty darn difficult for Stanton to be as productive in 2012 as people expect him to be based on where he is being drafted. Before I get to that line of thought, he’s a quick run down of Stanton’s skill set.
Stanton has only 875 big league at-bats in his young career so that makes prognostication somewhat more difficult than normal. The guy has one season of 375 at-bats, so the old sample size question can be rightly brought up here as an uncertainty.
Stanton has hit .259 and .262 in his two big league seasons. In those two years he has hit .261, just every so slightly above the big league average of .256. Can he produce a better batting average than that moving forward? On a positive note he did boost his walk rate by three percent while cutting his strikeout rate by 3.5 percent in his second season. However, his BB/K mark was slightly below the league average at 0.42, and he still struck out in more than a quarter of his at-bats (27.6 percent to be precise). That doesn’t sound like a guy who is primed for a batting average increase. Stanton also owns a mere 16.4 percent line drive rate in his career (16.5 and 16.3 percent the last two years). While he should be able to maintain his average given the homers he will hit that don’t count in this measure but lead to hits, it is somewhat concerning that Stanton is pretty far removed from the 19-20 percent big league average.
Stanton is all about the power which he has flashed since day one. However, and yes there actually is a ‘however’ when talking about his power, I have one small concern with Stanton. Much like Ryan Howard, another prodigious power bat, Stanton doesn’t hit as many fly balls as you think. In fact, Stanton’s career fly ball rate of 39.3 percent is only about two percent above the league average. He really doesn’t hit that many balls into the air. As a result, the only way he is going to blast 40+ homers is going to be if he converts a large percentage of those fly balls into home runs. Stanton has done that the last two years with an impressive 24.0 percent HR/F rate, and last year his 24.8 percent HR/F rate was the highest mark in baseball (to compare, the average big league posts a mark of about 10 percent, and even a huge power bat like Albert Pujols had only an 18.3 percent mark last season). Maybe Stanton can lead the league in this category year after year, it’s certainly possible. All I’m saying is that he’s going to have to be near the top of the leader board in HR/F ratio if he wants to hit 40 homers if he doesn’t hit more balls into the air.
Finally, an athletic 6’5”, Stanton has stolen five bases in each of his big league seasons but he’s just not going to run very much – it’s not his game.
So what do we have in Stanton?
(1) We had an hitter who strikes out far too much.
(2) We have a hitter who profiles as a league average contributor in batting average.
(3) We have a hitter with elite power, though one who struggles to hit a lot of fly balls.
(4) We have a player who is unlikely to steal many bases.
Does that sound like a top-25 fantasy player to you?
Let me ask you this – would you be happy if Stanton hit .264 with 40 homers, 106 RBI and 101 runs scored in 2012? You had better say yes because all four of those numbers would be career bests for Stanton. You know who put up those exact numbers in 2007? Try Adam Dunn. Did anyone, EVER, look at Dunn and think he was a top-25 fantasy performer? Anyone? Of course you didn’t. What if Stanton hit .248 with 39 homers, 111 RBI and 90 runs scored in 2012? That would also be considered a career best effort for Stanton so you would have to be please wouldn’t you? Mark Teixeira did that last season and he’s being drafted after Stanton (Tex has a 27.8 ADP). Would you really rather have Stanton over a guy like Teixeira who has hit 30 homers with 100 RBI each of the past eight years given that Tex is also in a great offensive ball yard in a potent offense with the Yankees?
If Stanton improves across the board and has a rather impressive third season, something like either the Dunn or Teixeira campaign’s I mentioned above, he’s still not likely to live up to his top-25 billing. He offers little on the bases to augment his value, and that league average batting mark isn’t going to do him any favors either. I’m not saying to avoid Stanton or that he will fail. I’m merely pointing out that the hope of a huge power season might be causing people to draft Stanton at a point where he can’t possibly live up to expectations.
Don’t forget to pick up a copy of the 2012 Fantasy Baseball Draft Guide.
By Ray Flowers
My three part series on Las Vegas wraps up today. In PART I thanks was given to many of the people in the industry an I explained some of the exploits that I was a part of over the weekend in Sin City. In PART II I took a look at the team I drafted for the FSTA Experts League that was covered live on air by SiriusXM Fantasy Sports Radio. Today I’ll finalize the week in Vegas by giving some thoughts on how the FSTA Draft played out.
For the full results click on FSTA 2012 Experts Draft.
Anthony Perri of Fantistics set the room on fire taking Troy Tulowitzki with the first overall pick. He’s a big believer in position scarcity and put his money where his mouth is. Tim Heaney of KFFL then took Albert Pujols second leaving my #1 guy, Matt Kemp, for Steve Gardner/Howard Kaman of USA Today to grab third overall.
I’d much rather have Prince Fielder at #13 than Adrian Gonzalez at #6.
The 21st overall selection was Mike Stanton. My question is this – should he be taken that high? If he hits .270 with 45 homers and 110 RBI that’s great, but unless he steals 15 bases I don’t think he returns this value, not with his batting average woes. Is he really any different than Adam Dunn in his heyday?
The first pitcher taken was Clayton Kershaw at #23. I don’t have a problem with him going off the board as the top pitcher, but you know me, I’m not a fan of taking a hurler this early.
The third round turned out to be the round of risk. Starlin Castro was taken and he’s dealing with that off the field issue with the ladies. Carl Crawford was taken there as well, and we learned about 13 hours after the draft was completed that Crawford had wrist surgery and that leaves him somewhat doubtful to be good to go on opening day. Another casualty of having a draft this early were Glenn Colton and Rick Wolf who took Victor Martinez in the third. Sixteen hours later we found out that he had a torn ACL that will likely end his season.
Per usual, the experts waited to draft starting pitching. Don’t plan on being able to take Felix Hernandez in the 5th round like Chris Liss of Rotowire did in your draft. CC Sabathia and Cole Hamels also went in the 5th round.
Craig Kimbrel was the first closer off the board. He was taken in the 8th round.
I like Vernon Wells as much as the next guy and can see a comeback this season, but taking him in the 9th round ahead of guys like Chris Young or Billy Butler, who were also taken in the 10th, I’m not a fan of that.
Ron Shandler, who knows this game as well as anyone, has a faith in Cory Leubke taking him ahead of guys like Shaun Marcum, Justin Masterson, Tim Hudson, Hiroki Kuroda etc.
I’m a fan of R.A. Dickey in the 29th round as long as he doesn’t kill himself climbing mountains this offseason.
The best pick of the draft or the worst? The answer to that question is likely to be Javier Vazquez who was taken in round 28 by Fantasy Sharks. If he retires it was a wasted pick, but if he somehow ends up on the hill this season this could be a difference making selection.
How the mighty have fallen. Francisco Liriano was taken in the 26th round. He’s well worth the risk at that point (he was my target for that round). Another perpetually injured an underachieving lefty is Erik Bedard. He was taken in the 22nd.
Justin Smoak in the 12th round? What does Jeff Mans of Fantasy Alarm know that we don’t? I don’t think anyone on his team is old enough to have a five o’clock shadow.
Everyone had a laptop out during the draft but myself and Charlie Wiegert if I’m not mistaken. Old school.
Todd Helton is a shell of his former self, but as a 27th round selection I’ve got no complaint at all.
Jason Bay in the 23rd round sounds absurdly low doesn’t it? He’s gotta be able to outperform that. His teammate, Daniel Murphy, went in the same round. I think that was an excellent selection.
Look at the team from Mastersball. It shows you what you can accomplish when you you take stable players early even if the names don’t jump off the page at you. You end up with a pretty solid squad.
Buster Posey went in the middle of the 6th round. If healthy he will surpass that cost. If he has any setbacks physically that’s gonna be a pick that Liss will be able to look at as one of the reasons his team struggled.
Adam Wainwright in the 8th round? If healthy we’ve seen what he can do, but coming back from Tommy John surgery you can’t be thinking he’s gonna throw 200-innings this year. I’d rather have 9th round guys like Gio Gonzalez, Matt Garza and Madison Bumgarner. Hell, I’d rather have my first four arms.
Keeping the dream alive. Justin Morneau was taken in the 14th while Kendrys Morales went in round 19.
By Ray Flowers
Matt Moore has been called up by the Rays. If you don’t know who he is, here’s a little crash course. Moore is a 22 year old, left handed starting pitcher for the Rays. He owns a fastball that can hit 94 mph, but it’s his curveball, roundly regarded as the best in all of minor league baseball (he explains how he throws it in this video), that leads to his dominating strikeout totals. Moore made 18 starts in Double-A this season before taking the hill for nine starts in Triple-A. The results were astounding.
12-3, 1.92 ERA, 0.95 WHIP, 12.19 K/9
That’s right, the lefty struck out more than 12 batters per nine. Even if that number comes down by 25 percent in the bigs we’re still talking about a strikeout per inning arm.
Don’t go overboard with expectations this season. He’s going to start by working out of the pen, and though there is some hope that he will make a start on September 21st, it’s not certain that he will make any starts for the Rays this season. Next year? This kid has the talent to be the left-handed, AL version of Stephen Strasburg, he honestly could make that big of an impact. Be ready to pay dearly on draft day if you’re planning on acquiring his services.
Albert Pujols watch. He’s dealing with a sprained ankle, but he’s pushed his season line up to .297-34-89-93. The guy is simply amazing.
Mike Stanton did not suffer a setback with his injured hammy, but Marlins’ manager Jack McKeon pulled Stanton from a start Saturday because the slugger simply cannot run. “I can’t put him out there if that’s the fastest he can run,” McKeon said. I’d suggest extreme caution when deciding what to do with Stanton. Personally, I wouldn’t take the risk on the slugger who has 32 homers and 81 RBI unless I simply didn’t have any other options.
Troy Tulowitzki (hip) might miss both games of the mini series with the Brewers this week. Terrible timing for those of you in the fantasy playoffs. If you need a fill in, how about Marco Scutaro of the Red Sox. Why you ask? Because he has been killing it of late with multi hit games in five of his last seven outings. In fact, he has 14 hits in his last seven games while he’s knocked in 11 runs.
Look who is suddenly hot. B.J. Upton may only be hitting .232 on the year, but he’s gone 20/20 (20 homers and 27 steals), and he’s pushed his RBI total up to 71. In his last seven games Upton has knocked two long balls, including a grand slam, on his way to 10 RBI and 12 hits. The recent hot streak has upped his average from .220 up to .232. It’s still a terrible number, and it’s looking like he’ll finish the year with a third straight season hitting less than .242, but Upton still has value for his counting stat production.
Chase Utley (concussion) isn’t likely to return until later this week. He passed his first neurological test, and the team has set up one more for him to work through before he gets back out on the field. Luckily for the Phils they have the luxury of taking their time with Utley since they have a 12 game lead over the Braves. Utley is hitting only .262 on the year and if you give him 550 at-bats at his current level of production we’d be looking at a season of 16 homers, 65 RBI, 79 runs and 21 steals. That’s a far cry from what we are used to seeing from Chase.
By Ray Flowers
Things are finally starting to heat up. Games are underway, baseball fever is starting to percolate once again meaning there are plenty of topics to discuss as MLB gets ready for the 2011 season. Today, I’ll focus on one aspect of the spring talk by breaking down the situation of a few of the players who have been in the news for the wrong reason – they’re dealing with some type of injury concern.
Shin-Soo Choo is dealing with a hyper extended elbow. Everyone is saying the right things, and the big key is that this does not appear to be related to previous Tommy John surgery. Keep an eye on the situation, but it looks like Choo should be good to go when it counts in his attempt to post a third straight 20/20 season with a .300 average (Choo and Hanley Ramirez are the only two players who have hit all three of those levels the last two years).
Adrian Gonzalez is swinging the bat though we’re talking about him hitting balls off a tee and in soft toss, and we are talking about a max of 60 swings a day. I take that many cuts a day when I’m stretching to lift weights in my garage. I expect Gonzalez to be fully healthy by the start of the year, but does that mean we should expect him to be operating at 100 percent? I know he is an elite talent, but we are just about a month away from regular season games and he hasn’t even come close to taking batting practice. Doesn’t that make you nervous? Think of the case of Chipper Jones. He’s coming back from knee surgery and everyone is freaked out that his career is over (granted there is a massive difference with the health record of each, and Chipper is about 29 years older, but still). I hate to break this to you all, but Chipper is way ahead of A-Gone right now since he’s fielding, sliding, and even DH’ing on Monday. Is perception reality?
I had a nice, lazy weekend. It’s amazing what fun doing nothing can be if you actually have the time to do nothing. After years of working 65+ hours every week I might actually like this having a normal work day type of thing. At the same time, I might go bored out of my mind too, so time will tell.
It looks like the Pirates are planning on using Andrew McCutchen in the third hole this season, his rightful place given that he is by far and away the best hitter wearing a Pirates’ uniform. In each of the last two years he has hit .286 with a .365 meaning only some slight improvement will take his game to the elite level. If there was one guy who hasn’t hit 20 homers with 30 steals but could this season it’s McCutchen. I don’t think the move to third in the order will cut down on him swiping a bag, and it should help to boost his RBI total substantially.
Mike Stanton tweaked his right quad on Sunday, and everyone started panicking. It doesn’t appear that he blew the leg out or anything, but the team will obviously take a measured approach with their future power hitting star (reports suggest that he could be out of game action for two weeks). Stanton only appeared in 100 games last season, but if you give him 150 games played at last years pace you’d end up with 33 homers, 89 RBI and 184 strike outs. Where have I see that before… oh yeah, Adam Dunn.
The Beastie Boys really have annoying voices don’t they? Still they have some dope beats, yes I just wrote “dope beats,” and I still enjoy their music. I can also remember the horn tweeters in my pick-up truck blasting Paul Revere back in the day.
Brandon Webb might be showing all kinds of positive signs but let’s slow down the plans for a ticker tape parade. He’s tossed only four innings the past two years, and shoulder woes are very tough to recovery from. Plus, just because throwing long toss and tossing the pill off flat ground is going well, that doesn’t mean you can pencil him in for 180 quality innings this year. He might end up being a solid fifth starter type in mixed leagues, but there is no way I’m drafting him expecting that to become reality.
I know this is a year old, but I still love my artwork in the video so I’m going to re-post it for all of you. It’s a brief history of who Ray Flowers is, and what his goals are in the fantasy sports world, and it’s called The Illustrated Ray Flowers.
Joel Zumaya tossed his first inning of the spring and reported no problems with his body. When healthy, and he never is, there isn’t a more fearsome pitcher in baseball which begs the question – is it possible that Zumaya actually throws too hard for his body? By that I mean does he generate such torque and power that his body literally can’t stand the stress? It’s a fair question for a man who has thrown his average fastball at 98.5 mph in his career. Still, ever time he comes back from injury the heat is always there. In 2009 he tossed only 31 innings but his heater was 99.3 mph, the same speed it was last year when he threw 38.1 innings. You can only take a shot on him late in AL-only drafts, but if he could ever stay healthy — well, just look at his rookie season for proof of what he could do (1.94 ERA, 1.18 WHIP, 10.48 K/9). Amazingly, he hasn’t thrown even 40-innings in any of the last four years.
Finally, my thoughts go out to the family and friends of Duke Snider who passed away at 84 years old. For more on the “The Duke of Flatbush” give Ben Walker’s piece a read.
By Ray Flowers
There’s no theme whatsoever to my article today. I just threw everything into a hopper and wrote about the names that fell out. Oh don’t worry, it’s really insightful stuff, there just isn’t a common thread to tie everything together.
Coco Crisp has been activated by the A’s. He hit .590 with five RBI during his rehab work in the minors signaling that his body might finally be right, finally. Still, there are about seven outfielders with the A’s club, so it remains to be seen if he will have a spot in the daily lineup, especially since his skills are so similar to those of Rajai Davis.
Mark DeRosa’s season is over as he will need surgery to repair his injured wrist. In the first year of a $12 million two year contract, DeRosa gave the Giants all of one homer, 10 RBI and 93 at-bats. That’s almost as bad an investment as The Bachelor’s Jake Pavelka made in his lady friend, Vienna Girardi. Oh stop acting like you don’t watch the show – we all know you do.
Josh Hamilton is back, and it appears that he is better than ever before. Josh is hitting .337, has a 16 game hitting streak, and is sporting a .981 OPS. Back in his “breakout” 2008 effort he hit .304 with a .901 OPS. He’s frighteningly talented.
Trevor Hoffman has been awful for most of the year, everyone knows that. However, he has improved tremendously of late and appears on the cusp of reclaiming his 9th inning role. “We kind of talked about that several times today,” manager Ken Macha said. “We’ll see how some things go. That is two good outings in a row, so I’ll talk to him [Thursday] and see how he’s feeling about himself.” If you are a John Axford owner you’ll want to hold on, but make sure Hoffman isn’t on waivers if you play in a deep league.
Jamie Moyer is almost old enough to join AARP as he is 47 years old. Amazingly, he has stuck around long enough to pile up 265 victories. That total places him 10th all-time in victories by a lefty, an it’s also one behind the immortal Bob Feller and three behind Jim Palmer. Need some more info about just how amazing Moyer’s career has been? Since turning 30 he has won 231 games, the sixth most ever from that age to the end of a player’s career. To put that win total in perspective, Roy Oswalt has 142 victories, Tim Hudson 155 and Roy Halladay 156 — in their entire careers.
Buster Posey, everyone’s darling when he was called up, has hit the skids of late with a mere .186 average and a .524 OPS over his last 43 at-bats. His average is still shade over .300 at .303, but his .421 SLG is a pretty pathetic number for a first sacker (the NL average for the position is .458). I know it borders on heresy in some corners, but Posey really needs to pick it up or he could start to lose playing time (he isn’t in the lineup on Tuesday night as Pablo Sandoval is at first with Juan Uribe at third).
Mike Stanton, who I spoke of yesterday in my Around the Horn, June 21st video, deserves to be mentioned again. Here is, in written word, what I spoke of yesterday; you simply cannot have success in the big leagues if you strikeout more than 40 percent of the time. I know it’s a miniscule sample size we’re breaking down with the talented Fish, but 19 whiffs in 43 at-bats gives him a K-rate of 44.2 percent. Chris Davis, basically demoted to the minor because he whiffs too often, owns a K-rate of 34.7 percent in his career. Other noted purveyors of the strikeout follow with their career K-rates in parenthesis: Ryan Howard (32.3), Adam Dunn (32.4), Mark Reynolds (38.2) and Jack Cust (39.1). As you can tell from that list you can be mighty successful in the bigs even if you pile up copious amounts of strikeouts, but if Stanton wants to make his mark this season he’s gonna have to knock like 10 percentage points off his current rate.
By Ray Flowers
(1) Stephen Strasburg makes his big league debut on Tuesday. You can read more of my thoughts about that in What can we expect from Stephen Strasburg who makes his debut on Tuesday?
(2) Mike Stanton makes his big league debut on Tuesday.
(3) Orlando Hudson to DL. J.J. Hardy has cortisone shot in wrist.
(4) Jeff Clement like to be sent down next week in favor of Steve Pearce.
(5) Brian Roberts and Mike Gonzalez hit roadblocks.
(6) Jacoby Ellsbury getting a second opinion on broken ribs.
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