Tuesday, May 31, 2011

The Choice is Joyce

After a long holiday weekend in Northern Michigan its time to get back to Baseball. Hope you all had a great holiday too.

Coming into the current season Joyce was virtually undrafted in all formats. He was projected to be a platoon player at best with super utility man Ben Zobrist getting the majority of the starts in RF for The Rays. That strategy for Maddon lasted about 10 days. From the 2nd week of the season Joyce has been a fixture in Tampa’s OF. He has played in 50 of the Rays’ 53 games and started 44 of those with a majority coming in RF and a handful over in LF. Joyce started the season batting in the 7th hole but after a .348 April he had moved into the cleanup spot where he has stayed. Even after that .348 BA for April Joyce was still a waiver wire after thought. No one thought he would keep hitting because he was a .274 career hitter who has never been an everyday player. Now that May is ending it may be too late to jump on the Joyce bandwagon. Not only has he kept up his current hitting but he has increased his BA to .368 for the year. Here is what his month of May looks like. He is 35 for 85 for a .412 clip with 6 HR and 19 RBI. That type of hitting has put him as the 8th best hitting OF in Fantasy to date and has the 3rd highest OPS (1.046) only trailing Bautista and Berkman. This is due to his incredible .426 OBP.
Fantasy owners all knew he could hit but were shied away by the potential lack of playing time back on draft day. Worry no more. He will be playing for that mad scientist Joe Maddon until the end of the decade. He is currently someone who continues to stuff the stat sheet on a nightly basis. Whether it be a grand slam against Minnesota or the 2 triples game against Florida, Joyce is a true hitting machine this year.  If you have any weaknesses in your OF look to pick up Joyce, via trade or waiver. Like I mentioned earlier he went from being undrafted, to being owned in 30% of leagues to start May, to 87% of leagues today.
If we project his current numbers throughout the year we have a line of 24 HR and 84 RBI with 10 SB. The BA should trend downward but could hover above .300 in that line-up. The Rays should settle into a spot where Joyce consistently hits behind Longoria thus producing numerous RBI opportunities and good pitches to hit.  So let’s give Joyce a final line of 25 HR 96 RBI and 12 SB. With that type of production you are looking at a Shin-Soo Choo or Nelson Cruz type of player, worthy of a top draft pick in 2012.?.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

The Boys Are Back In Town

Many All-Star players came off the DL yesterday. We need to examine their potential moving forward. Though it is good for their respective Fantasy managers to have the added early picks back on their rosters they must be willing to continue to take the risk of rostering them. Let’s look at each of their injuries and their significance in the batting order along with their fantasy value in each category.
Nelson Cruz is coming off a quadriceps strain. I had concerns early in February about his new running style and predicted he would not be stealing bases like he had in the past. Here is the post scroll down to the 2/8/2011 post. To date he has 1 SB and is under performing for a 2nd round pick. The average in dismal but the power is still prevalent and he is hitting in that run producing line up so the RBI will be there. If I owned him I would hope he comes back hot and move him ASAP before you get burned with his 2nd and 3rd trip to the DL.
Josh Hamilton is coming back from the freaky fracture of his right arm. I see Hamilton settling right back into MVP mode while hitting in the 3 hole. I would hope The Rangers would continue to use him in the DH for as long as possible until he is needed in the field.  The biggest challenge for Hamilton will be avoiding the odd and unnatural baseball injuries that have followed him throughout his career. Roster him, start him; gloat when he puts up the monster numbers.
Chase Utley suffered through patellar tendinitis for 3 months. Getting older and having an injury that will prevent him from running like he has in the past has turned me against owning him. I know all of you who had him on your DL all season do not want to hear that but he is a Brian Roberts in the making; that he is on the downhill slide of a good career. In my preseason rankings I stated that if you can keep him healthy he performs. His debut was a 0-5 (Box Score Blues) and looked out of rhythm. He may only play 4 to 5 games a week too. Until his timing is completely back he will struggle. So forget about the SB and the team is not hitting well together, they had a stretch were they only produced 36 runs in a 16 game stretch during May.
Jim Thome had old man syndrome…back pain. So of course he comes back with 2 HR 2 BB and 4 RBI for the slumping Twins. I would not own him unless you are in the deepest of leagues or have close to a double digit bench spots. Still a good guy to cheer for and hope he gets to 600 HR soon. I suggest the Twins sit him for a week at time then bring back and put him in the lineup for monster games. Owning Thome is high risk high reward with lots of disappointment. Anyone who has ever gambled knows the big wins are never as sweet as the devastating losses hurt.
Rafael Furcal is suffering from injury # 26 in his career, this time a broken thumb. I didn’t like him last year, before the injury, and still don’t like him. Remember when he was ready to retire until his agent talked him out of it. If you like 34 year old injury prone SS the Furcal is your man.   He may not reach .200 this year with less than 20 RBI and 30 Runs.

Vision Lexicon

BloSwin: When your Closer blows the save and then picks up the win.

Box Score Blues: The feeling you get when the player you own puts up no counting stats yet his team puts up monster numbers. i.e. Chase Utley went 0-5 upon his return yet the Phillies put up 10 Runs and 14 Hits.

Driving on the I-80: Insert any Intersate number here which represents a players batting average when the are hitting under .200 to date. i.e. Uggla went 0 for 4 tonight lowering his AVG to .180 hence I-80.

Getting Kemped: When your player's manager bats him farther down in the line-up than where he should be hitting. Torre routinely hit Matt Kemp in the 6-7-8 holes. Thus hurting his fantasy value.

Getting Posey'd: The conjunction of spending a high draft pick on a catcher then watching him get hurt protecting the plate then being out for the season.

Pilfer and Parker: When the player you own collects a SB and hits a HR in the same game.

Monday, May 23, 2011

The Gab on Gaby

The hometown boy is making good (Miami U grad). Probably the only Marlin’s fan to ever be a Marlin is putting up numbers that cannot be ignored. As a permanent fixture at 1B, and the Marlins clean-up hitter, we need to start considering him as one of the top 1B in the league. With 1B as the strongest position in terms of Fantasy Baseball, Sanchez is making a case for respect league wide. To me he is the 2011 version of 2010 Konerko. Someone drafted in the 300s but has a top 40 value.
To date he is hitting .311 with 7 HR, 27 RBI and 25 Runs. One of his biggest assets is he plays every day and he has not missed a game all year. At 26 there is still room for improvement too.  Let’s take his current numbers and project them out over 600 at bats. That gives us 26 HR, 99 RBI and 92 Runs. That puts him in line for what last year’s top 20 1B averaged. That line looked like this .285 30HR 99 RBI and 85 Runs. Though he hasn’t stole a base this year he did swipe 17 one year in AA ball, so the potential is there. While hitting clean-up, he has no real need to run with Stanton hitting behind him.
Can his numbers improve this year? I say yes. The reason is; Hanley has not done much to get on base in front of him and Morrison is now coming back from injury where he missed 20+ games. With those two setting the table for Gaby look for improved RBI numbers. Sanchez possesses one of the best K-rates on the team. He is only striking out 16% of the time.
I checked out some recent trades made straight up for Sanchez. Those he was traded evenly for include: Choo, Stanton, Cain, Sabathia, and Brett Anderson. Those names are now or have been Fantasy studs. It looks like the secret in Miami is out. Sanchez is good, will continue to be good and must now be considered a top flight Fantasy player. His current Yahoo ranks are as follows: 4th best NL 1B, 9th overall 1B, 25th best ranked hitter and 43rd ranked overall player. Being ranked 43rd overall is better than both Alex Rodriguez and Ryan Howard finished last year.  Good company to be around! Still he is only owned in 84% of yahoo leagues so if you are weak at 1B or CI go scoop him up today.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

And Sometimes It Rains

Sometimes you win, sometimes you lose, and sometimes it rains. Remember that line from Bull Durham? Well, so far this season it has rained and rained some more. There have been 10 more rain outs so far this year than all of last year.  Can these rain outs affect your fantasy leagues? The answer is very much so. They have consequences on having someone in your line-up when the game is postponed therefore taking up a spot where you could have plugged a bench player into for that day. Rain outs also have the opposite effect. You plug someone from your bench into the starting roster you may have not wanted too. By doing this you peel off another game from your game limits for the season.
Tommy Lasorda always said a win in May is worth 2 in September but that may not be the case in Fantasy. With the 30+ rain outs in 2011 you may be over your limits in games played/innings pitched to date. That current overage may come back to haunt you late in the season when these rain out games start getting played. I am in leagues where managers are already close to 100 projected innings over their limit. Good for me, bad for them. With these pending games be rescheduled later in the season you must be aware of possible double headers and games being made up on off days. With this in mind let’s look at some Yahoo rules and regs you may not know about.
These rules cover your team when reaching limits on games played. Most leagues have a 162 games limit per position. Multiply that number by the number of players per position. Example; two catcher leagues get 324 games played limits. Four OF leagues get 648 games played limits and so on. The key here is to know what happens when you are 1 game from reaching you limits. In the 4 OF scenario if you are at 647 of a possible 648 games played limit you still get credit for all stats generated from all 4 of your OF for that day. Yes you are going over your limit but you get credit for all players’ stats playing while reaching your limit. Good info to know.
As far as pitching, the same applies. Your league has a 1400 innings limit and your team enters the day at 1399 innings pitched and your team have 3 SP going that day and 4 RP slotted. You will get the credit for every win, K, Save, ERA and WHIP adjustment. You could literally pick up a couple of Wins, Saves and 20 Ks.
The lesson here is to keep an eye open for these make-up games being re-scheduled, your limits along with your other league manager’s limits and maximizing that last day’s stats when reaching your limits. It may seem minor but it could just win you a League Championship come late September.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

The Grandyman Can...For Now

The Grandy Man can because he hits the ball real far and makes your team look good.
Remember when Granderson was a leadoff hitter with speed?  He was someone who had more combined doubles and triples than HR. So what’s going on with this guy? He once lead the league in triples and may now may lead the league in homers. I’m sure that has never happened before. Someone call that Elias Sports group to confirm my suspicions.
Let’s look at the numbers he has produced so far and then extrapolate them out for a full season. To date he has 4 Doubles, 3 Triples, 14 HR, and 31 RBI at the quarter pole of the season. Granderson plays every day without many days off and could play 162 this year. By season’s end on his current streak he could end up with 17 doubles, 12 triples (ok those seem reasonable) 58 HR, 129 RBI (uhhh…no Efing Way!!). His career highs in each category are 30 HR and 74 RBI. Even if I bump those career numbers up by 30% (39 HR and 96 RBI) he doesn’t even come close to the pace he is currently showing. So is it for real? Well yes and no. The numbers are for real currently but the end game will resort back to the mean. In other words he will not sustain these numbers. Here is the biggest reason why for me. His career numbers vs. leftys and his yearly numbers vs. leftys.
He is currently hitting .275 with a .326 OBP a .850 SLG and a 1.176 OPS
His career numbers are .218 AVG with a .277 OBP a .371 SLG and a .648 OPS
At some points in his career he got so bad against leftys his manager would sit him against the elite ones. So what to conclude form all this. To me his production levels are at an all time high and his fantasy value could not be higher. If I owned him I would shop him around to fill any needs your team has and get the most bang for your buck this week.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Yesterday's Rundown...Lowlights Version

You gotta hit over .250 before you get Capicola

Albert Pujols gets plunked in the 9th on a 0-2 fastball from Cordero and finishes 0-4 lowering his AVG to .266 on the season. He finished the series with Cinci going 3 for 12 with 1 R and 0 RBI. Could the best player in baseball be showing his age? Maybe the “hug” earlier in the week has some lingering effects.
Javier Vazquez gets torched for 6 in the opeing frame and goes on to last 4 whole innings. He now has an ERA well over a touchdown and a WHIP near a two point conversion. After the game Vasquez had this to say. “Believe me. I’m doing my best, but nothing’s working. Nothing’s working. Nothing. Absolutely nothing,” Your owners know Javy…they know.
Jimmy Rollins goes 0 for 5 and finishes the series 2 for 14 with an RBI and a Run scored with no swipes over the weekend. At least he is still the best SS over 30 years old. That is if you like 30+ year old SS…personally I do not.
Sam Fuld puts up another O-for and now is batting .238 after his memorable start. I see the hot hitting Desmond Jennings getting called up by the end of the month to take over for Fuld. It was fun while it lasted Sammy but you have been exposed and have not adjusted…hope you enjoyed it.
Jason Bay adds 20% to his Run total in one game with 2 runs scored. He even got a hit to make his AVG climb to .216 now. He is also carrying a OPS of .664 which is just ahead of the powerful hitting Coco Crisp at .658.
Corey Hart has played in 15 games now and has as many HR as I do…zero. Last year was a career year and he will be lucky to get a dozen dingers this year. I see him dropping down to the 8 hole here in the near future even hurting his value or lack of value more.
Juan Rivera looks more like 38 than 32 to me. He had a 2 for 14 series with 1 R and no RBI. Why do I feel Carlos Beltran gets traded to the Yanks or Jays as a DH before the deadline?
Torii Hunter let me introduce you and your .234 AVG and 1 for 12 weekend series to Mike Trout; he is hitting .314 with 6HR 17 RBI and 6 SB. He will have your job by next year.
Mat Latos first of all he needs another T on his first name then he needs to warn all that drafted him of the Verducci Effect. Then call up management and demand some Run support like you got yesterday every time you pitch.
Adam Dunn, please quit hitting directly into the shift they put on you. There is this other part of the park they call Left Field. Look it up and then take BP and slap the ball that way at least once a game. If you do I guarantee you will not continue to hit .210 all year with 0 for 3 and 0for 4 every other day. If you would like that in Spanish like Ozzie would say here it is: Bota la pelota al campo izquierdo…Porfavor!!
Kelly Johnson, how do you hit 2nd-3rd and 4th in the lineup and only have 7RBI? Oh, I see you get 150 AB with 10 XBH and 45 Ks. Well done sir. You may want to look at the tape of Zobrist getting 8 RBI in one game…its worth watching.
Dustin Pedroia needs to be hitting over .250 before he gets a sandwich. Capicola or not…everyone knows that.
On a side note, my favorite sandwich named after someone is a Duane Purvis from the Triple XXX Restaurant in my home town.

Yep...thats peanut butter oozing out from under that 1/3 lbs burger.

2 Start SP...Time To Stream

With close to 60 pitchers this week with 2 start options, everyone should be on board with big pitching numbers over the next 7 days. Not a single team gets a day off this week. If the White Sox stick to their new 6 man rotation they will be the only team without 2 SP getting 2 starts in week 7. Below are some of the best options for pickups that are owned in less than 50% of leagues. If you arrange your line-up correctly and have room to stream a couple of guys you could amass over 70 Ks this week…especially in daily leagues. Keep an eye on your innings limits and remember interleague starts later this week.
Jordan Zimmerman (Pit vs. Morton, @ BAL vs.  Britton)
Ivan Nova (@TB vs. Shields, NYM vs. Niese)
Rick Porcello (Tor vs. Drabek, @Pit vs. Maholm)
Jason Vargas (Min vs. Duensing, @SD vs. Stauffer)
Jesse Litsch (@Det vs. Coke, Hou vs. W. Rodriguez)
Homer Bailey (CHC vs. Garza, @Cle vs. Carrasco)
Jonathon Niese (Fla vs. Nolasco, @NYY vs. Nova)
Paul Maholm (@Was vs. Lannan, Det vs. Porcello)
Chris Tillman (@Bos vs. Dice K, Was vs. Lannan)
Armando Galarraga (SD vs. Richard, Min vs. Duensing)

Friday, May 13, 2011

Honking the Hosmer Horn

First just want to say it’s good to be back online. My host site, or whatever then term is, BlogSpot has been down for 3 days. I had a couple of good rundowns on the days games wasted. Anyway we are back up so play ball!
Hosmer hit his 1st MLB HR in the Mecca of all MLB ballparks, Yankee Stadium this week. That hit coupled with his SF to center in the 11th gave the Royals the win over the Bronx Bombers.  The next day he connected again for a HR. On the year now he is hitting .333 with 2 HR 5RBI and has as many walks as strike outs for the 21 year old. Add that all together and we get a tasty 1.156 OPS. Do we smell something special brewing here? Let’s see what Royals hitting coach Kevin Seitzer thinks. “In spring training Hosmer was ridiculous; he was as good as any hitter we had in camp.” Manger Ned Yost followed those comments with this gem. “He’s up there with the likes of Prince Fielder when he came up, with Ryan Braun when he came up, and Chipper Jones when he came up.” Remember Yost managed the Brewers when both Fielder and Braun were Rookies.
In the hitter friendly PCL league Hosmer was more than absurd at hitting a baseball. After his first 25 games he was hitting .430 with 3HR 14RBI and 3SB. He had coerced 18 walks for an unreal .518 OBS with only 15 Ks. He had a 7 game hitting streak where he went 16 for 26. Hosmer consistently hit 3rd in AAA and looks like he will hit 3rd 5th and 6th for the Royals while playing 1B. Still available in over 50% of leagues he should be seized now. I will be looking to pick him up in all leagues just to keep my competition away from him.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Sizing Up Scott Sizemore

In 2009 Sizemore was the 2nd best prospect in the Tigers organization. In 520 ABs between AA and AAA Sizemore hit 17HR and stole 21 bases. His line for the year ended .308/.350/.500 that included 29 doubles and 5 triples while knocking in 66 in 130 games. In 2010 he became their opening day 2nd Baseman. As their lead off hitter it didn’t work out well. After just 30 games and a Mendoza Line average he was sent back down. He came back in mid September for a call up and finished the year with a .224 BA with virtually no power numbers.
Going into 2011 Sizemore knew he was the odd man out at 2nd Base with the injured Carlos Guillen and Will Rhymes ahead of him. Sizemore could had sulked and been discouraged about his situation but instead he dominated the International league with a .408 average.  Before being called up he had a 1.100 OPS and an unsustainable .518 BABIP which of course helped him achieve the .408 BA.
So now he is back in Motown and hitting in the 2 hole for now. His first game back he goes 3 for 4 with 2R scored and things look pretty good. He has settled back down to earth and is now hitting .261 (league average for 2B is .256) with a SB. The one bright spot since his call up is he is hitting .571 with RISP. The caveat to that is he has a 36% K-rate.
Do I think he is here to stay? I would guess until the break and depending on where the Tigers are in July.  Is he worth owning? In the deepest leagues, yes or a bench spot in others. With Austin Jackson not hitting or running Sizemore has a chance to shine if he can get on base and steal some bags. The Tigers have only 12 SB as a team on the year.  I would keep him on your radar at MI for SB and R support.