Archive for the ‘Player News’ Category

h2h Corner ~ A save in the Hanrahan is worth two in the Bush

According to an important Twitterer that everyone should follow @KristiePie, Joel Hanrahan, not Evan Meek and not a timeshare will nail down the door for the Pittsburgh Pirates.

While this might seem like small potatoes, I think it is a relatively important change to note for the fantasy baseball community. I originally thought Hanrahan would see the multitude of early save chances in the hopes of driving up his value to trade him come the second half – but this adds a lot of certainty.

I’ve always been a big fan of Hanrahan (and for some reason Pirates closers, in general). Hanrahan burst on the scene in 2008 with a nine save performance and a brilliant 9.9 K/9 rate. Next season saw an increase in that K-rate to 10.13, however he had a .378 BABip, a 66.2% strand rate and some injuries. It was a down year by any measure.

However, he bounced back nicely in 2010 to post an even better k-rate (12.92) and a more stabilized BABip and strand rate, which lead to a 3.62 ERA.

Hanrahan has also averaged 88 Ks (including the somewhat short/injury-riddled 2009 campaign) over the last three seasons. While he’ll be volatile (given his career 4.7 BB/9 rate) and Evan Meek is always present, Hanrahan will be a top closer over the first part of the year.

Hanrahan has been the 251st person off the board in early mock drafts, making him considerably undervalued. Obviously, that will change, but I see him as a top 90 pitcher (he was previously 119) and a top 20 reliever (he was previously 27).

You can follow me on twitter at http://twitter.com/h2h_Corner.

h2h Corner ~ I’m a Believer: August Edition

Welcome to this month’s “I’m a Believer” column. Yes, I got the name from a Monkees’ song. And yes, I like the song. Did you know that Neil Diamond wrote it, as well as many other songs by the Monkees? Isn’t Neil Diamond cool (Red Sox fans)?

Like the song teaches us, this column attempts to be a fun, quick read, mostly focused on what performances we can/can’t believe in.

Without further ado, I’m a believer that:

If you need speed, Emilio Bonifacio makes an interesting add in deep leagues.

Jonathan Broxton, Francisco Rodriguez and Brad Lidge have been three of the worst relievers over the last month. With Lidge actually being the most valuable of the trio. Go figure.

The best thing about summer that isn’t sports or bikini related is Big Brother. I like big boobed chemist sounds like Maria from Celebrity Apprentice. Agree? Also I feel like Matt is a less nerdy version of Ronnie. He is playing way too hard this early. The brigade will be picked apart when Enzo turns on Hayden because of Kristen. The winner: Lane. I think he is sneaky smart. Also Britney is very pretty/bitchy.

Jered Weaver is a dream weaver.

As I mentioned last month, the Astros have, at least one intriguing young player in Chris Johnson. The Astros should trade anyone they can to get young cheap pieces for, including Brett Myers.

This is the easiest column to write. It’s lazy, like you and me.

I still don’t buy Adrian Beltre’s production (.358 BAbip). Just an FYI: his average has gone down from .349 to .333 over the last month. During the last 28 days his BAbip was .265. That is closer to his career total of .294.

Ed will win Hell’s Kitchen.Boy was I wrong with that one. My girlfriend thought Holli a few weeks ago. She might be right.

The minute I give up on Cole Hamels he starts to dominate again.

I thought I was crazy when I said Billy Wagner could strike out 100 batters this year. Well he has 61 Ks already.

You never should draft a catcher high. Your top 5 fantasy catchers on the year: Joe Mauer, Miguel Olivo, Brian McCann, Mike Napoli, and John Buck. Three were afterthoughts on draft day. Buster Posey has been the number one fantasy player over the last month.

I will own James Shields all year – I will never give up on him.

Rickie Weeks is one of the best kept fantasy secrets – a top five second baseman. He is Dan Uggla with a little speed and better average.

I still find it hard to trust Josh Hamilton. Let’s call it a hunch.

I’ve tried to write negative things about Alex Rios, but I can’t find any facts to support those negative views. In short, he’ll continue to be the rock star I thought he was a few years ago.

Ricky Nolasco is back: 49 Ks over his last 40 IPs with a sub 1.00 WHIP

I’ll still take Albert Pujols as the top first basemen next year, even if he finishes behind Miguel Cabrera, Joey Votto and Ryan Howard this year.

Robinson Cano, depending on how much you paid/where you drafted him, could be a very nice keeper next year. I’ll go ahead and call him the next fantasy Chase Utley (he doesn’t have Utley’s glove or base running acumen).

I stand by July’s statement: “Dan Haren, notwithstanding his regular second half swoons, makes an interesting buy. If he is traded, we could see an uptick in performance.”

While he hasn’t been exceptional, Mark Teixeira is looking at 35+ HRs and a top 30 ranking at the end of the year.

Ranking Alex Rodriguez in 2011 will be very interesting. Evan Longoria (on pace for a near 30-30 season with over 100 runs and RBIs), Kevin Youkilis and David Wright seem to have left him behind. Is he a third rounder?

Justin Upton has brought his average up to .280. He’ll have a monster rest of the year.

It really shouldn’t be a shock that Derek Jeter (in a semi-unlucky/down year) is the second best fantasy shortstop. At some point, we have to just believe.

Tim Lincecum’s 2010 is exactly why you don’t draft a pitcher in the first round. You never know what can happen. Another reason? The top five pitchers this year: Adam Wainwright, Josh Johnson, Roy Halladay, Cliff Lee and Ubaldo Jimenez. The next five Mat Latos, Jon Lester, Jered Weaver, Carl Pavano and Felix Hernandez. That’s crazy preseason fluctuation.

That said, people are overreacting to Lincecum’s swoon. I’d have no problem buying him. I certainly see him as a top 15 pitcher going forward.

Elvis Andrus has a just enough Chone Figgins in him to scare me a tiny bit.

Vicente Padilla has been downright nasty over his last 34 IPs. He won’t continue to be this good.

Next year I am only drafting Rangers outfielders. If Nelson Cruz could stay healthy, he might challenge for top 10 status.

People are always happy when they draft Torii Hunter. There he sits in the top 50 again this year above the likes of Hollywood Matt Kemp, Phenom Justin Upton, and lefty-masher Jayson Werth.

Ryan Dempster is the most underrated fantasy pitcher. Teammate Ted Lilly isn’t too far behind.

I’m surprised Andrew McCutchen barely sneaks into the top 100 and that his numbers are marginally better than Andres Torres. I like Torres, he has been a godsend in an NL-only league where I finally traded Jason Bay and dropped Nate McLouth. By the way, Jose Tabata should be owned a lot more.

Speaking of speedy Pirates, Nyjer Morgan is starting to get on base and not get caught stealing.

Jim Thome benefits the most from Justin Morneau’s concussion.

I’m looking good for saying Alfredo Simon would end up with “the most saves of anyone who is SP-eligible.”

FB101’s 411: Stick to your guns. Don’t stop believing.

All stats as of July 28.

h2h_Corner on Twitter

h2h Corner ~ the Closer Carousel

As Kevin Nealon said, “yeah, lot of pressure. You gotta rise above it. You gotta harness in the good energy, block out the bad. Harness. Energy. Block. Bad. Feel the flow, Happy. Feel it. It’s circular. It’s like a carousel. You pay the quarter, you get on the horse. It goes up and down and around. Circular. Circle. With the music. The flow… all good things.”

It is no different than with a majority of major league closers. Sure some are like violent roller coasters (Armando Benitez) and some are like the teacups (Mariano Rivera), but most are in the muddy middle. Thus introduces your weekly reliever mash-up.

Relievers you should be jumping on (in order):

Chicago White Sox – I feel like I’ve written this story a dozen times this year: “The White Sox’s closer’s role is open,” reports Mark Gonzales for Chicago Breaking Sports. From a baseball sense, you would like Guillen to always play the match-ups, given that he has two shut-down righties and one shut-down lefty. Continue reading

h2h Corner ~ the Closer Carousel

As Kevin Nealon said, “yeah, lot of pressure. You gotta rise above it. You gotta harness in the good energy, block out the bad. Harness. Energy. Block. Bad. Feel the flow, Happy. Feel it. It’s circular. It’s like a carousel. You pay the quarter, you get on the horse. It goes up and down and around. Circular. Circle. With the music. The flow… all good things.”

It is no different than with a majority of major league cl Continue reading

h2h Corner ~ the Closer Carousel

As Kevin Nealon said, “yeah, lot of pressure. You gotta rise above it. You gotta harness in the good energy, block out the bad. Harness. Energy. Block. Bad. Feel the flow, Happy. Feel it. It’s circular. It’s like a carousel. You pay the quarter, you get on the horse. It goes up and down and around. Circular. Circle. With the music. The flow… all good things.” Continue reading

h2h Corner ~ the Closer Carousel

As Kevin Nealon said, “yeah, lot of pressure. You gotta rise above it. You gotta harness in the good energy, block out the bad. Harness. Energy. Block. Bad. Feel the flow, Happy. Feel it. It’s circular. It’s like a carousel. You pay the quarter, you get on the horse. It goes up and down and around. Circular. Circle. With the music. The flow… all good things.” Continue reading

h2h Corner ~ the Closer Carousel

As Kevin Nealon said, “yeah, lot of pressure. You gotta rise above it. You gotta harness in the good energy, block out the bad. Harness. Energy. Block. Bad. Feel the flow, Happy. Feel it. It’s circular. It’s like a carousel. You pay the quarter, you get on the horse. It goes up and down and around. Circular. Circle. With the music. The flow… all good things.”

It is no different than with a majority of major league closers. Sure some are like violent roller coasters (Armando Benitez) and some are like the teacups (Mariano Rivera), but most are in the muddy middle. Thus introduces your weekly reliever mash-up.

Relievers you should be jumping on (in order):

Milwaukee Brewers – Up until yesterday, Trevor Hoffman had pitched three scoreless innings in a row. Unfortunately, he couldn’t maintain the momentum as he gave up three runs in just one inning last night. Of course, on the year, his WHIP is still north of 2.00 and ERA is comfortably in the double digits. Meanwhile, John Axford has recorded two saves and has struck out 13 batters in eight innings. He has posted a much more friendly 2.25 ERA and 1.00 WHIP. While I think the Brewers will give Hoffman every opportunity to pursue save 600, his complete ineptitude might prohibit him from doing his Joe Borowski impression. Axford is a good add right now as someone who could maintain the closer role

Toronto Blue JaysKevin Gregg is happy to see May go away (5.11 ERA and 1.95 WHIP). Unfortunately, his struggles are following him (one could say they have followed him throughout his career), as he blew a save in spectacular fashion going only 0.2 IPs, while walking FIVE, allowing one hit and four runs. Meanwhile, since a disastrous start, Jason Frasor has been good. He has lowered his ERA to 4.64 and WHIP to 1.69. While those aren’t great, they are light years better then where they were at the end of April (8.38 ERA and 2.59 WHIP). Still, the best Blue Jays reliever has been lefty Scott Downs. He sports a 2.96 ERA and 1.07 WHIP. Even though he is a lefty, I’d prefer to have Downs if I am speculating for saves in Toronto. When in doubt, take the best arm and that is certainly Downs.

Philadelphia Phillies – Apparently the fountain of youth is a move to the bull pen in the National League as Jose Contreras has been super dominant (0.56 ERA and 0.75 WHIP). Unfortunately, Charlie Manuel seems to believe that Brad Lidge is both healthy and effective (he hasn’t been either for 1.5 years). According to Matt Gelb, “We’ll work him in,” Phillies manager Charlie Manuel said of Lidge. “I’m not going to say how long it’s going to be. It probably won’t be very long.” JC Romero’s usefulness has ended. Keep Contreras around for awhile, as Lidge is not far away from a bad outing or DL-stint.

Arizona Diamondbacks Chad Qualls hasn’t been any good all year – neither have the other arms in the bullpen. If you own Qualls or need to speculate, Aaron Heilman, while imperfect, is the addition here.

Chicago White Sox – The White Sox are 8.5 games behind the Minnesota Twins. No one outside the AL East is earning the Wild Card. Soon the White Sox will be sellers. Clearly Bobby Jenks can be moved as the Sox have two viable replacements in Matt Thornton and Sergio Santos. Both have pitched well this year and sport K/9 rates over 10. Thornton has seven years on Santos. So, long-term, the White Sox will want to see if Santos has the stuff to be their closer of the future. I say Santos will get the most save opportunities down the stretch (when the White Sox are out of it). However, if they stay in the race, the Sox could split time between Santos and Thornton, with Thornton getting heavy lefty line-ups. Either way, Santos should get the most save opportunities, if Jenks gets dealt.

If you need help with a snap closer decision, check out the below hierarchy of middling relievers.

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All stats as of June 1.

h2h_Corner on Twitter

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