You can listen to the podcasts here
The two new podcasts are the "We're Back" and "Blackhawks Hockey"
TBO and myself just recorded some podcasts for your listening pleasure. Sorry to all but we had to change podcasting hosting sites so we are slowly but surely moving away from Gcast (the site you click to on top of the page) over to MyPodcast.com. Soon we will have the new site attached to iTunes. But for now, please enjoy!
David "MVP" Eckstein v. The 'Bright' One
1) Will DME's Mangolicious team have a WHIP under 1.20?
Projected Winner: TBO (No)
DME's current WHIP: 1.35
2) Ditry Scherz vs. Masterson
Projected Winner: TBO (Scherzer)
a. Boy DME really believed in Masterson, huh? b. Even after a minor league stint, a 14 K game will tend to instill confidence back into a player
3) 25 HR for Morales?
Projected Winner: DME (No)
A broken leg tends to kill any chance Morales had
4) 20 HR for Kelly Johnson?
Projected Winner: DME (Yes)
Something tells me Johnson can hit 8 more dingers this year
5) Longoria vs. Wright
Projected Winner: TBO (Longoria)
Longoria is currently the best 3B this year and the 2nd best offensive player.
6) Vernon Wells vs. Jose Guillen
Projected Winner: TBO (Wells)
Once Guillen gets off his Luke Scott-esque tear, Wells will come out on top, no matter how badly Wells will play
Overall Projected Winner: The 'Bright' One (4-2)
Cubsfan4ever vs. The 'Bright' One
1) Top 25 Batter for Z-Pack?
Projected Winner: Cubsfan (No)
Zimmerman currently is the 52nd best player and he's been putting up Zimmerman numbers
2) Top 115 Batter for Adam Jones?
Projected Winner: TBO (No)
What a really random number, 115? Anyways, Jones is currently the 181st best offensive player.
3) 35+ SB for Reyes?
Projected Winner: TBO (Yes)
Reyes' Speed Score is back to normal and he's on pace to steal 42 bases.
4) 55+ SB for Brett Gardner?
Projected Winner: Cubsfan (Yes)
Gardner is on pace for 58 SB this year
5) -2.20 ERA for Ubaldo?
Projected Winner: TBO (Yes)
A .88 ERA with a 2.8 FIP tends to equal awesomeness
6) Weaver vs. Kershaw
Projected Winner: Too Close To Call
Weaver (17) is currently beating Kershaw (30) but both have great peripherals that anything can happen
7) 25 HR for CQ?
Projected Winner: Cubsfan (No)
How is Kelly Johnson (12) beating Quentin (5) in HR this year!? WTF!
8) -3.00 ERA for Hanson
Projected Winner: TBO (No)
A 4.06 ERA with a 3.60 FIP with a 3.93 xFIP suggests Hanson's ERA will be north of 3
Overall Projected Winner: The 'Bright' One (4-3-1)
Cubsfan4ever vs. David "MVP" Eckstein
1) Hamels vs. Hanson
Projected Winner: Too Close To Call
Hanson (59) currently is beating Hamels (65) but both have similar numbers that it could come down to just wins, which you just can't predict
2) Cruz vs. Kinsler
Projected Winner: Cubsfan (Cruz)
Even with Cruz's trips to the DL, Cruz has still been a top 20 player. And Kinsler is no picture of health himself
3) Sabathia vs. Votto
Projected Winner: DME (Votto)
Oh! our first pitcher vs. batter and with Sabathia's struggles, Votto is coming out like a rose
4) +.270 BA for Borbon
Projected Winner: DME (No)
As DME said, "This kid can't hit" He's currently hitting .236
5) Sizemore vs. Lind
Projected Winner: Cubsfan (Lind)
Maybe if the corpse of Grady can get off the DL. Maybe.
6) CQ v. Lind
Projected Winer: Cubsfan (Lind)
I hate to tell you DME, CQ's low BABIP could just be that he sucks and not luck
Overall Projected Winner: Cubsfan (3-2-1)
Sexy Rexy v. Cubsfan4ever
1) Jeter vs. Rollins
Projected winner: Sexy Rexy (Jeter)
All those DL trips tend to hurt your fantasy value.
2) Soto vs. Montero
Projected Winner: Sexy Rexy (Soto)
See: Rollins, Jimmy (above)
3) Sheets vs. Santana, Ervin
Projected Winner: Cubsfan (Santana)
Jesus Christ Ben Sheets is just bad. No excuse for me here.
Overall Projected Winner: Sexy Rexy (2-1)
Sexy Rexy v. The 'Bright' One
1) Is Brad Lidge a top 10 RP?
Projected Winner: Sexy Rexy (No)
Even when healthy, I still think he just sucks
2) On 5/19, a QS for Masterson?
Actual Winner: Sexy Rexy (No)
Overall Projected Winner: Sexy Rexy (2-0)
Sexy Rexy v. David "MVP" Eckstein
1) Will Cubs Make Playoffs?
Projected Winner: Sexy Rexy (No)
Hard to catch up to that Big Red Machine!
2) Over/Under .287 BA for Beckham
Projected Winner: Sexy Rexy (Under)
Can we just concede that I won this bet already?
3) Over/Under .270 BA for DME's Mangolicious Fantasy Team?
Projected Winner: DME (Over)
I'm not going to bother to do the math but I'm sure even with Bacon on the team, the original team DME drafted is good.
4) Over/Under 44.5 SB for Pierre
Projected Winner: Sexy Rexy (Over)
Dude leads the majors in SB. I love it.
5) Is Hamels a Top 15 SP?
Projected Winner: Sexy Rexy (No)
For the sake of my crappy draft team I hope I'm wrong
6) More Home Runs: Soto vs. V-Mart or Mauer
Projected Winner: Sexy Rexy (V-Mart or Mauer)
V-Mart powers, activate!
7) Over/Under 100.5 GP for Quentin
Projected Winner; DME (Over)
Here's hoping he's HBP while getting plantar fachitis (I don't care that I spelled this wrong)
8) Who finishes higher: Indians or ChiSox?
Projected Winner: Sexy Rexy (ChiSox)
When I win, I'm videotaping DME when he literally eats his words
9) Better ERA: Danks or Masterson
Projected Winner: Sexy Rexy (Danks)
Now I know for a fact DME wishes he could have this one back
10) Will the Indians finish bottom 2 in AL Central?
Projected Winner: Sexy Rexy (Yes)
What, you mean the Indians right now are just as bas as everyone thought they would be? Shocking. I'm truly taken aback.
11) Napoli vs. Iannetta
Projected Winner: Sexy Rexy (Napoli)
Maybe if either of these guys got playing time...
12) Hawpe vs. Juan Rivera
Projected Winner: Sexy Rexy (Rivera)
This is almost as bad as the Iannetta vs. Napoli bet. Both suck.
13) Lester vs. Nolasco
Projected Winner: Sexy Rexy (Lester)
see Bacon, Gordan
14) Over/Under 4.00 ERA for Peavy
Projected Winner: DME (Over)
Jesus Christ is Peavy bad. What a P.O.S.
15) Figgins SB vs. Howard HR
Projected Winner: Too Close To Call
DME (Figgins) is currently winning 10-8
16) Over/Under 2.5 HR for Pierre
Projected Winner: DME (Under)
Replace "HR" with 'XBH" and I think I'd still lose. BTW, 3 HR is so small and easy to attain that I still think this is too close to call.
17) Over/Under .250 BA for Andruw Jones
Projected Winner: DME (Under)
I took this bet when Jones was hitting .300. He's now hitting .230. You suck Andruw Jones.
18) Hughes vs. Vazquez
Projected Winner: DME (Hughes)
I'll concede this one if you concede the Bacon bet! haha
19) Votto or Cabrera
Projected Winner: Sexy Rexy (Cabrera)
Amazing what being sober will do to you
20) Is Callaspo a top 10 2B or 3B?
Projected Winner: DME (Yes)
Currently he's the 10th best 2B, but WAY outside among 3B. Come on D-Ped and Zobrist, you can do it! I still think this should be too close to call though...
21) Is Bobby Jenks a top 10 RP?
Projected Winner: DME (No)
Boy was I sucked into to some dumb White Sox bets towards the end here
Overall Projected Winner: Sexy Rexy (12-8-1).
If I win, can I write for The Hardball Times?
So instead, I'm going to do what every good blogger, er every blogger does and that's bitch and moan about shit that really no one cares about. Cuz hey, that's what blogs are for, right?
-Joe West, you can go fuck yourself. I know GOI is trying to be more politically correct, but I'm gonna say what everybody else is thinking (and what Ozzie said): Go fuck yourself Joe West. Because the official MLB rules are so vague as to what is considered a balk, what Mark Buehrle did may have technically been a balk, but you're just a fat piece of shit umpire West for calling TWO balks on Buehrle and then sending your publicist to every media outlet to try to set up interviews about the incident. Hell, GOI even got an email from West's publicist (God, I wish). Keep your damn mouth shut.
-After the Orlando Magic beat the Boston Celtics in Game 4 of the Conference Finals, ESPN all but declared the Magic the winner of the series- even though the Celtics had won the first three games. Essentially every analysts said the Celtics were done and that Boston fans should hit the panic button. I don't care if this series does end up going to a Game 7, no NBA team has ever won four straight after losing the first three and this RARELY happens in sports. Sure the Boston Red Sox in '04 and the Philadelphia Flyers just did it against the Boston Bruins, but relax Celtics fans, you're going to the Finals.
-How messed up and neurotic are we as Chicago sports fans in general that we are not overwhelming expecting the Blackhawks to win the Stanley Cup? Listen, I get that the Flyers are not to be passed over just because they were a seventh seed and I will give the team all the credit in the world for getting this far. And just ask the Detroit Tigers in 2006 how it feels to play an inferior team and lose. But the Hawks are so damn good, young, deep, and talented that we should all expect a victory. You never heard Indianapolis complain in the past about their Colts did you?
-A Twins/Yankees game got rained out so I benched Derek Jeter, because he obviously wasn't playing that day. A few days later the game was rescheduled for a double header. The rescheduled game was the first game of the double header in which Jeter hit a home run. However, because I benched Jeter during the original rain out, I didn't get the HR (even though I started Jeter for the double header). This has nothing to do with anything but I'm really pissed at Yahoo! right now. But I'm over it now, can you tell? Fuckers.
-The New Jersey Nets were BY FAR the worst team in basketball this year and probably had one of the worst years ever for an NBA team. Their reward? The #3 pick in the NBA Draft. What horse shit. As a Bulls "fan" I should be happy by the lottery system because this BS system allowed the team to get Derrick Rose (and, cross your fingers, LeBron) but seriously this system is so messed up. NBA's logic is that the lottery system will prevent teams from "purposefully taking a dive" in order to earn the #1 draft pick. Do you really think the Nets winning 12 games is dependent on where they want to draft? Teams don't take dives- no matter what the sport. A few years back, in Week 17, the Texans played the 49ers and the loser of the game was guaranteed to have the #1 pick in the NFL draft. Players came out and said they would MUCH rather win the game than earn the 1st pick in the draft. (An exact quote was from a Texan "we don't want Reggie Bush". At the time everyone interpreted that quote as we don't want to lose this game because that means we get the #1 pick and we will use that pick on Reggie Bush. However in hindsight, he may have just been pleading to his GM to not draft Bush because he is really bad at professional football.)
-Speaking of LeBron James: YOU HAVE ABSOLUTELY NO IDEA WHERE HE WILL END UP! Sure, you can speculate and discuss and make up any bull excuse like "He wants to go to a franchise where he will be the best player in the team's franchise" (hence he's not going to Chicago) or "The reason he changed from number 23 to number 6 is because Michael's number 23 is retired" (hence he is coming to Chicago). Don't get me wrong, I think it's fun and interesting to talk about it, but if you're in the 'business' just say what it really is: just pure speculation and blind hope. The day after the Cavs got kicked out of the playoffs, ESPN had a reporter from New York, New Jersey, Chicago, and Cleveland- all of which said LeBron is coming to their sports team. Me personally, I think LeBron goes to the Nets and D-Wade comes home to Chicago. But what will really happed is that Chicago will get Bosh and Joe Johnson.
-Rihanna cheated on Chris Brown, gave Brown herpes, so Brown beat Rihanna's ass. Now there's no excuse to EVER harm a woman, but it makes you think differently about the situation now doesn't it?
-I think the Chicago Bears had a really bad offseason, especially by not addressing their O-line. Yet they are still light years ahead of the Detroit Lions.
-When is a book gong to be written on the Tampa Bay Rays? Jesus Christ they are awesome.
- I hate you: Justin Upton, Aramis Ramirez, Ben Zobrsit, Lance Berkman, and Octavio Dotel for messing up my GOI draft fantasy baseball in some way, shape, or form (mainly because they suck donkey balls). Now I have to do offensive AND pitching research instead of just pitching research for next year.
-Having the Superbowl at the Meadowlands is a really dumb idea. As awesome as the potential to have the Superbowl in Chi-Town is, I'm a firm believer it should only be in a place where the weather can not (or the chances of it affecting the game are very slim) affect the outcome of the most important football game of the year.
02 - Roy Halladay
03 - Felix Hernandez
04 - Dan Haren
05 - Adam Wainwright
06 - Jon Lester
07 - Justin Verlander
08 - Josh Johnson
09 - Zack Greinke
10 - Ubaldo Jimenez
11 - Cliff Lee
12 - Chris Carpenter
13 - Stephen Strasburg
14 - CC Sabathia
15 - Tommy Hanson
16 - Roy Oswalt
17 - Matt Cain
18 - Cole Hamels
19 - Yovanni Gallardo
20 - Johan Santana
21 - Ricky Romero
22 - Ryan Dempster
23 - Hiroki Kuroda
24 - John Danks
25 - Jered Weaver
On the cusp (26-40): Ricky Nolasco, Jonathan Sanchez, Max Scherzer, Clayton Kershaw, Phil Hughes, Francisco Liriano, Shaun Marcum, Clay Buchholz, Matt Garza, David Price, CJ Wilson, Colby Lewis, Scott Baker, James Shields, Brett Anderson
Just missed: Josh Beckett
Marmol's 2010 Stats:
24.2 IP, 1.46 ERA, 1.84 FIP, 2.09 xFIP, 1.14 WHIP...17.88 K/9.
That's right, 17.88 K/9. 49 K in less than 25 IP. By contrast the almighty Johan Santana has 49 K in 63.1 IP this year.
In the history of baseball, amongst all pitchers who have tossed 150+ innings for their career (and there are 3,641 of them), Carlos Marmol has the lowest Hits per 9 (H/9) rate of all of them
at 5.64. Billy Wagner has the second lowest H/9 at 6.08. Interestingly enough, the top 5 is rounded out by Troy Percival of all people (6.09), Francisco Rodriguez (6.16) and Joakim Soria (6.23).
The five worst pitchers in terms of H/9 on this list are a bunch of guys whose names I don't recognize, but scrolling thru the list, the worst H/9 pitcher whose name I do recognize is Carlos Silva, at 10.89.
This segues into the tangent point.
Can the Cubs please trade Carlos Silva? His smoke and mirrors routine this season may have certain clubs in need of a RHP sufficiently enticed to allow the Cubs to trade him. Put the Silva is overperforming argument aside. The Cubs need to move a starter and Silva is the worst of the bunch, despite the fact that he is 6-0 and "pitching well." For example, the Cubs might be able to trade Silva to the Dodgers, who want to get rid of George Sherrill. Alternatively, what about trading Silva to the Rangers for Rich Harden and Frank Francisco? Cubsfan4ever suggested that one, and I think it's plausibly possible.
Next, can the Cubs please get rid of Ryan Theriot? Theriot is an average/decent player up the middle, but his "value" comes from his ability to play shortstop, not his weak bat, and Theriot is no longer needed for the shortstop position. Plus, I love Mike Fontenot.
Theriot's weak arm, only slightly above average range, and generally poor offensive skills (good OBP, no power) make him entirely expendable for the Cubs, who have runs-producing/bullpen needs. Personally, I think a trade of Theriot to the Angels for Kevin Jepsen makes the most sense, followed closely by a trade of Theriot to the Padres for Luke Greggorson or Mike Adams (maybe this latter trade is just fantasy).
The Cubs have done well over their last 10 games, but somethings need to change if they are to compete this year.
Week 8 in the AL Waiver Wire series assesses the value of Carlos Santana, Jake Fox, Max Scherzer, Julio Borbon, Luke Scott, amongst others ... plus Jose Bautisa watch!
Fast forward to today. Fangraphs has added historical WAR (Wins Above Replacement) data to their database and with both players retired, the verdict is in. According to Fangraphs' WAR data, Ruth (177.6 career WAR) beat out Bonds (1702 career WAR) by ~7 WAR for his career, or about ~3.2 runs per season.
To put their greatness in perspective, consider the following:
- Bonds and Ruth are the only major league players to even accumulate 165 WAR.
- Only five major league players (Ruth, Bonds, Mays, Cobb, Aaron) eclipsed 150 WAR in their career, while only six (the sixth being Honus Wagner) reached the 150 WAR plateau.
- Ted Williams "only" accumulated 139.7 WAR (blame the war).
- Alex Rodriguez has amassed 105.2 WAR in his career. Will he last (and be effective) long enough to challenge Bonds and Ruth?
Round 3 of voting made a lot of sense. With Omar Minaya voted out early (beyond my comprehension), NL Central GMs Ed Wade of the Astros and Jim Hendry of the Cubs move on to face each other in the NL GM playoffs for worst GM in baseball. Meanwhile, in the junior circuit, Dayton Moore of the Royals, who can't be long for his job, and former Blue Jays GM J.P. Riccardi go head to head in the AL component of this competition. As expected, Billy Beane and Jon Daniels did not advance.
Now we enter round 4 of voting, the playoffs. In round 4, voters are to cast one vote for worst GM of each league. The GM with the most votes for "worst GM" in each league will move on to the championship round. Voting for the playoffs will be open until June 10 (or maybe July 10th at the pace I have run this survey). You can cast your vote by clicking the giant blue link atop the page or by clicking HERE.
It was a published last week, but click here to read my AL Waiver Wire article for Hardball Times.
True, Dan Haren posted a less-than-Dan-Haren-like 4.62 ERA and 1.26 WHIP after the All-Star break (Haren, Adam LaRoche and Mark Teixeira have collectively patented the "one-half struggler" complex) and true, Haren has posted a very un-Haren-like 4.83 ERA and 1.37 WHIP through his first 59.2 IP this season. Nonetheless, one should not be concerned. Haren's ERA and WHIP are merely cosmetic reflections of incredibly poor luck and sabermetrics, unlike beauty, is not only skin deep.
A look at Dan Haren's advanced statistics reveals that Haren has continued a trend of increasing his K/9 that extends back to his rookie season; it currently sits at a career high 9.39 mark. True, Haren's walk rate per nine is up over 50% this year, but it still sits at a very quality 2.26, which is top 35 amongst all major league pitchers who have logged 30+ innings and well below the major league average of 3.56. Haren's combination of stuff and control of said stuff gives him a strong K/BB rate of 4.13, which is more than double that of the league average, top 10 in baseball and top 5 in the NL. Even with the unlucky 13.1% HR/FB rate and 1.21 HR/9 rate, Haren has a superior 3.56 FIP.
Dan Haren's peripherals scream bad luck and impending progression. His 2010 66.9% LOB% is well below his career mark of 73.1%, his .357 BABIP is 18.2% higher than his .302 career mark, and the Diamondbacks team defense, as rated by UZR/150, is the third best in the major leagues at the moment (ahead of the super defensive Tampa Bay [Devil] Rays).
This is not the profile of a pitcher you give up on. Especially when you consider that Dan Haren' s 47.7% groundball rate is at a career high after dipping to a post-rookie season career low 42.9% mark last season. Haren's xFIP is a spectacular 3.22 -- the seventh lowest mark in the major leagues. Considering that the Diamondbacks infielders (both starters and non-starters) collectively have a +31.0 UZR/150 this season, it's hard to imagine Dan Haren's struggles continue much longer.
ZiPS projects Dan Haren to post a 3.19 ERA and 1.10 WHIP with 12 Wins and a 8.63 K/9 to boot for the reason of the season. There is absolutely no reason, barring God's continued hatred of Dan Haren, that Haren will not at least post those numbers here out. If anyone in your league is dumb enough to be shopping him [at a discount], you buy.
I was looking through the history of NBA drafts and stumbled across the greatest sports name in sports history. Drafted in with the 46th overall pick in the 1997 NBA draft by the Washington Bullets was non other than God Shammgod. Although his collegiate statistics were not very strong at Providence College, it would be a sin to not draft a guy named God Shammgod. As a self proclaimed sports expert, I feel guilty that I had never heard of this guy before. He only netted 61 points in the association, but his name should be retired and put in the hall of fame. G.O.A.T
SP-Jorge De La Rosa
SP-Manny Parra (pre-2010)
And let us all now take a moment of silence to remember the career that never was of Ian Snell.
From 2005 to 2008, Pat Burrell was a beast averaging 31 HRs per year, 16.75 BB%, and a .243 ISO. Sure he was inconsistent month to month which pissed off Philly fans (but really, what doesn't piss off Philly fans?) but with his awesome four year stretch, it seemed odd when Philly didn't re-sign Burrell. Especially when Tampa Bay gave Burrell (2 year/ $16 million), less money than the aging, Matt Kemp-powered Raul Ibanez (3 year/ $30 million). Tampa Bay seemed to be getting a steal. Sure Ibanez may be overpayed, but at least he's in the starting lineup for the Phillies as opposed to Burrell who just got designated for assignment.
So what gives? Why the decline of Burrell?
Sure it didn't help that Burrell was 32 years old when he went to free agency. But Ibanez was four years older and he's still productive. Sort of.
Over the past two seasons, Burrell's walk rate has plummeted from 16.75% to 11.2% and his power has bottomed out with an ISO under .150 (one home run per ~36 PA). Since coming to Tampa, Burrell's OBP has looked like Derek Jeter's batting average and his slugging percentage looked like Hanley Ramierz's batting average. Pat Burrell went from having Miguel Cabrera power, jumping down ten spots to Carl Crawford power. Awful, just awful numbers.
But why? Sure a decrease in numbers was to be expected because of Burrell's age, but why this drastic change?
I think the best place to start is to look at Burrell's plate discipline. Since 2006 on, Burrell swung at more and more pitches outside the strike zone and swung at more and more pitches. However, P.B. hasn't been missing those pitches outside the strike zone. This year (granted in only 92 PA), Burrell swung at a career 25.8% of pitches outside the zone but also hit a career 71.4% of those pitches.
Burrell has made less overall contact since coming to Tampa Bay (especially compared to his last two seasons in Philly; 81.1, 81.3, 79.1, 77.3 contact rates from '07-'10 respectively), but nothing TOO drastic to explain a complete drop off. Sure, his contact rate would help explain why he wasn't AS GOOD as he was in Philly and his age probably decreases his bat speed which just makes sense to see a natural decline in contact rate. However, you add him making less contact while striking out more and it certainly doesn't help your walk rate and OBP. But a .400 and .367 OBP in '07 and '08 to a .315 and .292 slide in '09 and '10 doesn't seem to be explained by his contact, walk, and strike out rates.
The biggest reason I can see for Burrell's low OBP is his BABIP. Last year and this year, Burrell had a .273 and .271 BABIP. Not too far off from his .271 and .276 BABIP from his previous two years. However, in his last two years in Philly, Burell had a batting average of .253. But in his time as a Ray, he's had an average of only .212.
So Burrell's low OBP can be explaining by his up tick for striking out more causing him to walk less and bad luck with his BABIP. But what about his power?
On average, 11.5% of all fly balls go for home runs. So I think the best place to start is by looking at Burrell's fly ball and ground ball propensities. Across the board, from GB/FB% to IFFB%, Burrell's numbers in Tampa Bay look exactly like they did from when Burrell was a Philly. However, the biggest disparity is the home run per fly ball percentage. From 2005 to 2008 Burrell had a 17.5, 18.1, 16.2, and 18.0 HR/FB%. Yet even though Burrell's FB% in his AL stint looked similar to that of the FB% of his NL stint, his home run rate looks vastly different. In 2009 Burrell had a 9.8 HR/FB% and a mere 7.4% this year. His home run per fly ball rate essentially cut in half since coming over to Tampa Bay.
My first reaction that the reason for this was because of the ballparks, but Citizens Bank is not THAT much of a home run friendly park over Tropicana. Last year, Citizens Bank ranked 16th in HR's given up and Tropicana was only 6 spots lower ranking 22nd overall. In 2008 there was a greater gap (11th for Citizen Bank vs 25th for Tropicana) but in 2010 more home runs have been hit in Tropicana than in Citizens Bank. But I think this fluctuation just goes to show how good the teams and offenses are of the Phillies and the Rays as opposed to the park themselves.
So why the sudden and drastic decline in Pat Burrell? Maybe his injuries have caught up to him. Maybe having Chase Utley and Ryan Howard in the order gave Burrell better pitches to hit. But if you ask me, I say it's the natural progression of old age added with a lot of dumb luck and a sprinkle of the Grady Sizemore effect of striking out too much.
- The Yankees have a disgustingly good team. 100 win season easy. 12-2 home record. Posada refuses to age. Pettitte is 5-0 with a 1.79 era. Arod has yet to explode. Javy Vazquez is their 5th starter. I'd say it's great to be a New Yorker except they dont have LeBron
- Why is Lou Piniella allowed to coach baseball when he is clearly old, senile, and super cranky. Only in baseball is an 80-yr-old man allowed to manage anything. Most 80 year olds can't even manage their own bowel movements. Cubs lose their 7th straight to the Pirates as they find a new, imaginative way to lose. At least Ramirez raised his BA to .170
- It should be noted that Marlon Byrd is the second coming of Mark Derosa for the Cubs. 2 problems though 1) Cubs are losing 2) Starlin Castro(5) has more walks than Byrd(3)
- Ricky Romero was drafted ahead of Troy Tulowitzki in of 2005 draft. He's finally living up to the potential with a complete game 12K shutout.
- Ubaldo raised his ERA to 1.12 despite 8 dominating innings against the Nats
- Todd Helton is becoming less useful than Jason Giambi as he now has borderline Joey Gathright power. Thank goodness for their young talent: CarGo, Tulo, Ubaldo
- Adam Dunn went deep in both end of the double header. His 16.3%BB(16.8), 30.6%K(32.4), .273iso(.270) .256BA(.249), are all in line with his career numbers. Yeah, he's consistent. I'll just add 40 homers to the back of his baseball card
- Chris Narveson continues the train wreck that is the Brewers rotation. Everyone is hitting for the Phils, except for Ryan Howard who's ISO is below .200
- Tim Lincecum said he was "out of rhythm" and "fighting his mechanics" all day and still pitched 8IP 1ER ball. Inspiration for all hippies around the world. Roy Oswalt now has 5 loses with a 2.62 ERA
- Mike Sweeney will not die as he homers for the 4th straight game while taking the loss on a Willy Aybar walk-off. For those who started following baseball in 2006 (DME and Sexy Rexy) may not be aware of Sweeney's tremendous career. He was considered one of the best right handed hitters in the early 2000's. A poor man's Edgar Martinez and perennial White Sox killer as a member of the Royals. Still kicking at 36.
- Only a matter of time before Alfredo Simon blew up (just look at his horrendous numbers in the minors). Well that day was today as the Orioles entered the 9th leading 2-0 and left with an 8-2 loss to the tribe
- Dirty Sherzer was optioned to AAA for Armando Galarraga. Definition of rock bottom for anyone not named Josh Hamilton. Dontrelle Willis has a very Oliver Perez like start(7BB in 3IP) and may not be far behind Sherzer. Brandon Boesch is beginning to look like Matt Joyce. Maybe they can trade him to the Rays for Edwin Jackson again
- White Sox grind out a win over the Royals with 3 stolen bases as Frank Thomas did color commentary with Hawk. Question, has Alexei Ramirez added a single pound of weight since defecting from Cuba and making major league money? Can someone introduce him to Wendy's crispy chicken sandwiches
- D'backs strike out 13 times but hit 3 homers to knock around Tommy Hanson and the Braves.
- Mike Leake is still undefeated for the Reds who can take over first place in the Central with a win tomorrow over the Cards
- Jose Reyes was moved back to the lead off spot and responded with a couple hits and runs. Still the Omar Minayas lost to the Jefferey Lorias
- Is it just me or is Clayton Kershaw the next Sandy Koufax aka The Jewish Jesus aka the greatest Jew to ever live? I say yes. I'm starting to think that 30 homer Kyle Blanks prediction by Matthew "TMR" Berry was a tad premature
- Eric Patterson hit his 4th homer and has a cool .290 ISO, but that was outdone by 2 blasts from Kendry Morales
I will still continue to be a part of Game Of Inches, but you can now catch me in another place online as well.
- I looked at Corey Patterson's new swing with my eyes and it is now short, choppy, and he uses both hands a la Geovany Soto. 3 more hits today. A home run robbing catch. Corey Patterson for MVP? You can't tell me otherwise
- Grady Sizemore put up another 0-4 day. I will create the "Grady Sizemore All-Stars" team consisting of guys who are automatic 0-4 in the box score. Early candidates are Jose Reyes, Carlos Pena, any of the rotating White Sox DH's
- Cubs surrendered 10 runs to the Pirates, equaling the Buckos past week's total. Jones and McClutchen both had 5 hits and a homer. Zambrano continues to get shelled as a reliever. Can a guy with a 3:1 K:BB and a 1.5 GB:FB ratio possibly get a start?
- I will update Aramis Ramirez's batting average in every box score until it reaches .280 - don't believe me? Yesterday .159, today .168
- Max Scherzer does not like the AL. 27 runs in last 18 innings all earned. Good news is that Edwin Jackson is just as horrible. At least they Austin Jackson.
- Arod was 4-6 with 3 homers against Matt Guerrier when he came up against the righty with the bases loaded in the 7th. Granny. Brett Gardner also deserves recognition for hitting .330, 11% walk rate, 16 for 17 in steal, and great defense at multiple positions.
- Rich Harden must die! Walk, fly ball, home run machine. Fastball is down to 89mph. Blue Jays knock out 16 runs on 5 homers
- Pujols breaks a 64 at-bat homer less streak and Jaime Garcia continues to prove Dave Duncan sold his soul to the devil
- Breaking news: Oliver Perez is still bad. 4 homers in 3 innings bad. Jose Reyes with another 0-4, and Dan Uggla is magically hitting .288
- Franklin Gutierrez is overrated defensively...at least in relation to last season where he had a 6 WAR season thanks to Andrew Jones like defense. Ben Zobrist has regressed to Darin Erstad power, while BJ Upton still have BJ Upton batting average
- Ian Kennedy was my sleeper pitcher of the year. His only problem this year has been the worst bullpen in the history of bullpens. Last year's Nationals bullpen thinks the D'backs bullpen needs to man up.
- The White Sox have 4 guys in the starting lineup hitting below the Mendoza line. Alexie Ramirez(.214) and Mark Keahen(.216) are a close 5 and 6. Lets keep our fingers crossed they get there. The anti-Aramis Ramirez-o-meter
- Omar Vizquel has a .396 OPS. Can you please retire before I forget that you're a HOFer
- As a Cubs fan, it makes me happy to see the BreCrew waste their above average hitting with horrendous pitching every year. Phils smack around 30 million dollar man Randy Wolf
- Dallas Braden goes .2 perfect innings before giving up a hit and eventually the game 4-0 to the Angels. Looks like Billy Beane is going with the all-AAAA roster. Was Ronnie Cedeno and Matt Murton not available?
- Andre Ethier is this years Joe Mauer leading all baseball with a .500 wOBA. Just like Ubaldo Jimenez is this years Zack Greinke. The symmetry of baseball is beautiful
- Berkman and Oswalt are willing to waive their no-trade clause if it helps the Astros rebuild. Proving once again Drayton McLane is the dumbest person ever and does not understand that old, white guys only get older and whiter and eventually need to be replaced. I'm shocked Biggio, Bagwell, and Bell were allowed to retire. McLane probably still has them on speed dial in case Geoff Blum goes down
- Corey Patterson made his triumphant return to the big leagues with a home run and walk-off outfield assist to throw out the potential tying run at home plate. Alfredo Simon continues to prove closers are a dime a dozen while King Felix gets screwed out of a win
- The Astros have won 4 straight and have been .500 since a 1-9 start. Bud Norris and his career 5.49 era has allowed just 1 runs to the Cardinals in his career
- Miguel Cabrera has to the early season MVP in the AL as he tagged C.C. for a homer and 419 foot 2-run double adding to his 1.120 OPS
- C.J. Wilson is proving bullpen success can translate to the rotation as he is 7 for 7 in quality starts. Vlad is a career .395 hitter at Arlington and is hitting .417 at home this season after getting the game winning single tonight
- Did you know in Greinke's last 50 starts, he has an era in the low 2's and the team record is 23-27? Finally earned his first win of the season, while Grady Sizemore is becoming the next Vernon Wells
- Mat Latos is the latest pitcher to toss a 1 hits shutout, a la Cueto, as the Padres move to 22-12 with a 1-0 win over the Giants.
- Pitching continues to dominate this year as Santana and Josh Johnson both dominate, and both record a throwing error. Someone explain to me why Jose Reyes is hitting 3rd and David Wright 5th? Arod hitting 8th in the playoffs thinks thats messed up
- One word - Zpack. Zimmerman hits 2 homers in the heavy rain and drives in 6 as they blow out the Rockies
One player of interest on my xBABIP sheet is Jayson Werth. Werth is a catcher-turned-outfielder facing Free Agency at the end of this season. The "payday effect" aside, Werth has built on his 2008 and 2009 breakout campaigns to post a spectacular .345/.423/.681 triple slash line (.465 wOBA) with 7 HR to boot through his first 33 games in 2010. Werth's power is up and his strikeout rate is a tad down. All is well, right?
Thanks to a .407 BABIP, Werth's batting line is sitting pretty in fantasy baseball land. Werth, a career .269 hitter, is simply not going to keep hitting for average. Given his current batted ball profile, THT's formula says Werth's current xBABIP is .324. In other words, of Werth's 40 hits this season, 7 of them were "luck" (in theory). If we subtract these 7 hits and optimistically assume that all of Werth's luck hits were of the single variety, then Werth's triple slash line "plummets" to .284/.372/.620 (.992 OPS). That is still a fantastic and useful fantasy line, but it is a strong reality check on Jayson Werth's batting average for the rest of the season.
A few disconcerting signs exist in Werth's game this year. For starters, his BB%, which is still well above average at 11.7%, is at the lowest mark in his Phillies career. Additionally, Werth's speed score is down from 4.8 (league average) last season and 6.6 (above average) in 2008 to a career low 3.7 (below average) mark. Guys with 3.7 speed scores last year include Ryan Zimmerman, Pablo Sandoval, Nick Markakis and J.D. Drew. The four of them, combined, stole 15 bases last season. What this means for Werth owners is a strong probability of a lower SB/SBA (and less SB opportunities as well, if the OBP dips with the BABIP) for Werth this year. As a result, Werth will likely accumulate less SBs on the season.
Does all this, however, translate into a "sell high" recommendation? Probably not. Personally, I would not recommend selling high on Werth. There are very few players out there who can perform at Werth's actual talent level. Werth's power, his greatest asset, is for real and his RBI opportunities will be aplenty batting behind Utley and Howard. Werth will hit at least 30 HR this season and he's currently on pace for 35. Unless you are a fantasy owner with plenty of power who is in need of elite batting average and stolen bases for the rest of the season, there is really no reason to sell Jayson Werth (or Nelson Cruz, for that matter).
Just in case you want a second opinion, ZiPS seems to agree with me. ZiPS forecasts a rest of season batting average of .285 for Jayson Werth. Compared to me, ZiPS' ROS projections are more bearish on Werth's power (20 more home runs) but bullish on his speed (10 more stolen bases). My personal rest of season forecast for Werth is .284 BA, 27 HR, 74 RBI, 8 SB.
In response to a positive test in September that apparently showed Texas rookie LB and reigning rookie of the year Brian Cushing was on steroids last season, the AP decided to re-vote on the award. And the winner of the re-vote: Brian Cushing. Great job AP. Way to stick to football and all those "cheating scumbags." You made as much of a dent on steroids in sports as the Phoenix Suns did on changing the Arizona's legislatures mind about asking for papers by wearing "Los Suns" on their jerseys. Thank you for wasting our time AP.
- Popups: ~0.024
- Groundballs: ~0.262
- Flyballs: ~0.762
- Line Drives: ~1.014
- Popups: NO DATA, but Tom Tango puts it at approximately .020.
- Groundballs: 0.239
- Flyballs: 0.138
- Line Drives: 0.725
- Popups: 0.004
- Groundballs: 0.023
- Flyballs: 0.624
- Line Drives: 0.289
Using Fangraphs' batted ball profile data, I have created a spreadsheet (which you can download by clicking here) which ranks guys based on GB%+IFFB%. In essence, it is a list which ranks players from guys who are most likely to post low ISOs this year to guys who are least likely to post a low ISO this year. Guys who lead the majors in GB%+IFFB% (and are thus likely to post low ISOs this season if all remains constant) include Hunter Pence (0.143 ISO so far this season), Lastings Milledge (.071 ISO), Rajai Davis (0.052 ISO), Chris Coghlan (0.009) and Troy Tulowitzky (0.118), strangely enough. Guys not likely to post low ISOs include Alfonso Soriano, Jayson Werth, Adam Dunn, Josh Willingham and Nick Swisher.
QUESTION: Why does Aramis Ramirez, who is hitting 60% of his total batted balls in the air (the highest rate of his career), doing so poorly this season? Perhaps its age. Perhaps its lingering shoulder problems (just ask Geovany Soto). Maybe it's the 25% popup rate on fly balls. Maybe it's the MLB-lowest .179 BABIP...it's a situation worth monitoring. If these stats continue, the BA should remain low, but the ISO, which currently sits at 0.095 (thanks to 1 xBH (a double) since April 17), should rise. Ramirez has the 7th lowest GB%+IFFB% in the majors this season.
CAN YOU GUESS THE PLAYER?: Take a guess which MLB player currently stands alone, thanks to Chris Coghlan's double last night, with a 0.000 ISO (that is to say this person, and only this person, has no extra base hits on the season). Hint: he's top 10 in GB% this season.
Between just Mark Reynolds, Justin Upton, Chris Young, Chris Snyder, Adam LaRoche and Kelly Johnson, the Diamondbacks have 199 strikeouts this season. The Diamondbacks' 75.1% team contact rate is the worst in the major leagues. If it wasn't for David Wright, the desert snakes would have the two highest strikeout total guys in the major leagues at the moment. In fact, of the seven players who are currently striking out in at least 1/3 of their at bats, the Diamondbacks own two of them. To put this all in perspective, consider the following: the Diamondbacks are but one team of thirty in the major leagues, yet their players comprise 4.5% of major league baseball's total strikeouts to date. Only the Blue Jays even crack the 4% mark (at 4.25%).
Given the rate at which this Diamondback's team is fanning, it's going to be a cold summer in Arizona.
Once upon a time, DME coined the phrase "Matt Kemp Power" when referring to any player with an .180 ISO (that's isolated power for anyone who doesn't know *cough* Matthew Berry *cough*). ISO is a great judge of power because is measures total bases gained above those messily singles. Anyone can luck into a few bloop singles here and there, just look at Juan Pierre's whole career, but it takes a special talent to get a baseball to the wall, especially over it. It should be noted that Matt Kemp no longer has Matt Kemp power(.18o iso) as he has blossomed into a 30 home run hitter, but his name will forever be linked to his early year power numbers.
We at Game of Inches decided to expand the list of named isolated power numbers because it's so much more personable to say Tyler Colvin has Justin Morneau power as opposed to a .220 iso. It's not like we live in our mother's basement over the summers or anything. Without further adieu, I present the complete list of named isolated powers
Mad Max seems about as broken as Javier Vazquez. Scherzer's velocity is down two miles per hour across the board. The fastball, which once sat comfortably in the mid-90s, is now struggling to reach 92. As it's been shown time and time again, velocity and success are highly correlated. The pitch selection and usage remains the same for Scherzer this year compared to last, but there is a notable change in effectiveness.
Though Mad Max is getting more batters to swing at his pitches outside of the zone, those batters are making more contact with all of his offerings -- both inside and outside the zone. The result, a substantially lower K/9 rate and a 6.03 ERA/1.46 WHIP after tonight's 10 ER fiasco, has been substantially less pretty than the 3.78 ERA I predicted for him this offseason.
Am I still behind my man? Not at the moment. I've cut him loose in all leagues which I owned The Dirty Scherz, either by trade or waiver claim. There are a few points of concern regarding Scherzer going forward that should be monitored closely if you wish to retain or acquire his services on the cheap:
1) Declining GB%
Scherzer, who posted a 41.7% groundball rate in both 2008 and 2009, was never going to be confused with Brandon Webb or Derek Lowe. However, he maintained a respectable GB/FB rate (above 1.00) in those two seasons. This year, however, the groundball rate has precipitously fallen five points to 36.3%. Most of these non-groundballs have seen themselves in the form of line drives. The result? More hits, more home runs, more problems.
2) Declining Speed
It's not just the fastball which is down 2 MPH. All of Mad Max's pitches have less gas on them this year. Is it injury? Change in delivery? His general mechanics seems to be about the same this season (compare his 04/28/10 movement and release points to his 07/08/09 midseason form). Who knows what is wrong? Until you do, tread with caution.
3) Neutral LOB% and BABIP
Entering tonight's start, Scherzer had a 70.6% strand rate (this normalizes around 72% over time) and a .309 BABIP. Nothing about those two numbers screams "bad luck." Scherzer has just plain pitched poorly.
On a bright note, it is good that Mad Max is walking less guys this season (2.28 BB/9 entering tonight's game versus a 3.22 career mark). However, the decreased velocity, groundballs and strikeouts paired with an increase in contact makes me worried. Max is young enough and the season is early enough for Scherzer to right the ship. But is the gamble worth it? Probably long term, but I would at least bench Scherzer until he works things out. At least with Jaime Garcia, who had a great outing against the Phillies tonight, waddling on the waiver wire.
The first nominee of the year unequivocally goes to Miguel Olivo, who passed a kidney stone in the 8th inning of yesterday's Rockies-Diamondbacks game...and then came out to play in the 9th inning. Quote:
Olivo's humbleness and intangibility gives him a slight edge over my second nominee for the 2010 DEGOTY Award, Brian Kownacki. Kownacki will forever go down as baseball's most acrobatic player for jumping over a catcher in a tied ballgame to score the winning run. Video of the amazing play below. Who else will make the nominee list? Time will only tell. There are still five more beautiful months of baseball remaining.
Rather than sit out as most mere mortals would, Olivo exited the bathroom, grabbed his catching gear and finished the game.
Olivo insisted that despite evidence to the contrary, he's not superhuman.
"Believe me, it’s not fun," Olivo told the Post. "Sometimes, when I’ve got that thing, I just want to die. But I can handle pain a little bit. Once it's gone, I'm normal, I'm good. Let's play baseball."
Olivo is hitting .314 with five homers already this year, which is all well and good, but he's bringing a new meaning to "doing the things that don't show up on the stat sheet."
In the draft league, currently DME is winning it (HUGE surprise), and TBO, Cubsfan, and myself bringing up the last three spots. It's still early as even though nobody on team is hitting, two of my top four pitchers are on the DL, my top pitcher had an awful April, and two of my three closers are shitty/injured I'm not worried. Not worried at all. Things are going to be fine. Fuck my draft.
Speaking of draft, I have actually set up a league on which every team in this Mangolicious league is exactly how the owner drafted; a league to see how a team would look like if no trades were made. Obviously, if no trades were made, there are still guys in the FA pool that is either better than your current roster or better because your team has an injury. Also, managers over and under manage all the time so me managing the teams isn't ideal either. However, part of drafting is not only drafting good players, but also healthy players. Anyway, here's how the same league would look with no trades or FA pick ups.
TBO, Cubsfan, and myself are still towards the bottom of the league, but no surprise, DME is only in 7th place as opposed to first. I guess ten million trades a day ripping people off pays off.
Lastly, here's the update for the Fantasyland auction league
This league is a lot closer seeing that the four authors are within 13 points of each other and within 4 spots of each other. Cubsfan is currently in 3rd, DME is 4th, and TBO and myself is tied for 5th. Close race.
So there you go kiddies. Hopefully you've gotten your GOI fix and you can take off your tourniquet now.