Posts Tagged ‘Astros’

h2h Corner ~ Katy Perry (Hot ‘N’ Cold Fantasy Baseball) All-Stars

Players get hot and cold over a seven-day period, it’s as sure as the samples are small.

That is why Katy created the Hot ‘N’ Cold All-stars.

‘Cause you’re hot…you’re yes…you’re in…you’re up

Austin Jackson – Action Jackson (Ajax for short) over the last seven days flashed 2010’s brilliance: 11/29 with a home, a steal and seven RBIs. That brought his yearly RBI total to…16.  But no one owns him for those numbers. To date,Jackson is just 4/6 in SB attempts, after going 27/33 last season. Clearly his speed pace is way down, mostly do to his complete inability to get on base (.227 average, .284 OBP). Not surprisingly, his .396 BABip last year is being replaced by a somewhat more human .327. A large portion of that has to do with more ground and fly balls and less line drives. He is being pitched roughly the same as last year and isn’t swinging and missing more or making demonstrably less contact. Is the last seven days a sign of resurgence? Sort of, I think. He’s not this bad of a hitter; he’ll get to .260 with his typical seven percent walk rate (i.e., .315 OBP). He’ll get 22-25 steals. In a lot of leagues, that is useful.

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h2h Corner ~ Katy Perry (Hot ‘N’ Cold Fantasy Baseball) All-Stars

Immanuel Kant, one of the craziest thinkers I’ve ever encounter (I hate the Critique of Pure Reason), created something called the categorical imperative. Basically, it was one tenet that would govern all actions. When you boil it down, Kant thought a person should only do something that everyone should be allowed to do, or in his words: “Act only according to that maxim whereby you can, at the same time, will that it should become a universal law.”

This got Kant into some sticky trouble when it comes to lying to save a life. The example goes: say someone runs into your house with a murderer hot on their heels. The polite murderer rings your doorbell and asks if the intended victim is inside. According to Kant’s morality, you have to respond that the person is inside because an act is moral not because of its consequences, but in and of itself. If you were to lie in this circumstance that would mean it was okay to lie in every instance of this circumstance, and, thusly, the soon-to-be murderer would know you were lying.

I’m not a big categorical imperative fan. I believe the outcome of actions should have a bearing on morality (and our rule of law, haphazard as it might be, somewhat reflects this, i.e., if you drive drunk and kill someone you get a higher penalty than simply driving drunk).

In my view, outcomes matter, I’m not as worried about how you get there. The same goes for fantasy baseball, especially head-to-head. All you have to do is win, it really doesn’t matter how. I routinely win h2h leagues with teams, that if it had been roto, would have finished in the middle of the pack.

At about this point in the year/week, you know what categories you are strong in. If Morneau zapped your power and there isn’t much to be had on the wire, it’s time to switch tactics. Look to gobble up speed demons – field an outfield of Jose Tabata, Juan Pierre and Michael Bourn and assure yourself of certain categories early in the week, and then try to focus on those you remain close in. If you go out to an early 8-2 lead in wins, it’s time to load up on relievers to massage those ratios and turn in some saves. Continue reading

h2h Corner ~ Knowing ADP – How To Win Your League Before It Starts: Bud Norris

Bud Norris – Current ADP 317; 87th SP – My Rank: 114th Pitcher; 90th SP

I have always been a Bud Norris fan. One main reason is that it allows me to link to Wall Street quotes.

The second reason is that Norris has a career 9.1 K/9 rate. So, I’m a little disappointed that I ranked him so low. There are clearly a lot of players – I probably ranked over 600 – but Norris fell through the cracks.

It’s true that Norris hasn’t been overly healthy in his professional career and has only accumulated 209.1 MLB IPs. Still, he’s an h2h pitcher’s dream as he can post monster K numbers in just one start – and, if he gets two starts, double digit Ks are a given.

Of course, people will balk at his career 4.82 ERA – however he has outperformed that when you look at FIP (4.33) and xFIP (4.19). While last year was his worst ERA, there were some promising signs: he increased his GB%, lowered his HR/FB% and increased the amount of times batters swung at his pitches outside the zone.

If Norris can stay healthy, he is a legitimate 180+ K candidate. Sure, playing for the lowly Astros likely wont result in many wins and his ratios (at best a 4.30 ERA and 1.45 WHIP) will leave a lot to be desired, but having the fireballer in your hip pocket could help you win Ks on a weekly basis.

Toward the end of drafts, he’s a definite option.

Feel free to share your insights below or at my Twitter (@h2h_corner).

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Maximizing every drop of value in every pick is hugely important. Taking a player in the fifth round that you could just as easily have taken in the sixth round is a major mistake. To avoid this, you need to know all about Average Draft Position (ADP).

While no two drafts are identical, knowing where a player typically goes gives you a general idea of where he will go in your draft. That said, be sure to do homework on your league mates subjective tendencies. For example, if there are Red Sox fans, be sure to snag guys like Lester and Youkilis a bit earlier than you normally would. In addition, you should talk up your sleepers before the draft (discretely of course) to see if anyone is on to them. If you don’t, an opponent with an itchy trigger finger who hasn’t done his ADP homework might snag one of your sleepers a round before anyone else is typically taking him.

Now that you know WHY ADP is important, I want to show you HOW to exploit it by highlighting those players who are going too low compared to players with similar ADPs. You can grab an ADP report at Mock Draft Central.

Feel free to share your insights below or at my Twitter (@h2h_corner).

h2h Corner ~ Katy Perry (Hot ‘N’ Cold Fantasy Baseball) All-Stars

Players get hot and cold over a seven-day period, it’s as sure as the samples are small.

That is why Katy created the Hot ‘N’ Cold All-stars.

Again, I’m going to use this space to talk about a Reality TV show near and dear to my heart, Big Brother.

In case you missed it, Matt used the diamond power of veto last night to save himself and, de facto, evict Kathy. It was a long time coming for Kathy who was useless, boring and seemed dumb. At what point does “flying under the radar” turn into just plan ole poor performance. Anyway, Kathy deserved to go a few weeks ago.

Still, I was hoping Matt would put up Enzo. I use to like Enzo, but he has proven himself to be a craptastic player (ala Colby in Survivor All-stars). He hasn’t won or come close to winning anything. He talks like a fool (but, I must admit, is sometimes funny). I think Matt realizes that the brigade is a useless alliance for him and will switch to Britney, Ragan and Lane. It’d be a fierce battle between them and Hayden/Brendon/Enzo. Ultimately, Britney has the power this week and I think she nominates Brendon and Hayden. We shall see.

Either way, it’s been a great season, thanks mostly to crazy drama Queen Rachel who reminds me of Jenn from the Evil Dick season. Who do you think is going to win? I’ve still got my money on Lane, but Matt has proven to be intelligent about the game.

Anyway, you know the drill here. With time running out on the season, you need to make the strategic moves that put you over the top. So let’s delve into a bit of the performances over the past seven days.

Cause you’re hot…you’re yes…you’re in…you’re up

Coco Crisp – Crisp remains owned in too few leagues (19% of Yahoo!). I’ve written about him a lot. So I’ll just leave you with how helpful his last week would have been to your team: sex runs, one HR, four RBIs, four SBs and a .407 AVG).

Yuniesky Betancourt – Betancourt would have to be as hot as he is (.381 AVG, two HRs over the last seven days; five HRs and a .282 AVG over the last 30) for me to mention him. He is simply not a trustworthy fantasy commodity. He doesn’t get on base (one walk this month) and doesn’t have much upside. In a super deep league, where every viable starter is snapped up, sure Betancourt could be owned. I’d feel sorry for that owner, though.

Wilson Betemit – I’ve talk about Betemit in the past and sort of like him. He isn’t getting a ton of playing time, but when he has played he’s produced (last seven days: .368 AVG, two HRs). He seems to destroy the ball at home, so, if you need a hitter pick-up during a Royals home stand, Betemit isn’t the worst option for deep leaguers.

Matt Tuiasosopo – I mostly included Tuiasosopo because his last name is so cool to say. It even sounds good in my internal monologue. While he has had a decent seven-day stretch (two HRs, seven RBIs and a .333 AVG), this will likely be the best seven-day stretch of his career. Given he qualifies at every IF position except SS and the OF, he could be a speculative add in Al-only leagues, but don’t expect anything.

Gregor Blanco – It must be the mid-80s with all the Royals making the All-star team. Blanco has been a secretive stolen base weapon over the past few weeks. Last week alone, he swiped four bases and batted .375. If you need steals, speedster Blanco would be a good ad.

Paul Janish – With Orlando Cabrera on the DL, Janish has been given ample playing time and, well, he hasn’t been bad. Over the last seven days, Janish hit .368, and added one HR and one steal. There isn’t much upside, but he won’t kill your batting and will score the occasional run. He’s certainly more attractive than Betancourt.

Brandon Inge – Inge came off the DL swinging (two HRs and a .273 AVG over the last seven days) and is capable of prodigious home run binges. He is only owned in nine percent of leagues, yet could provide some great power numbers down the stretch (especially RBIs if he bats behind the continually walkable Miguel Cabrera).

Bud Norris – Please, just pick Bud Norris up already. He is only six percent owned, but has killed it recently (14 IPs, two wins, 18 Ks, 2.57 ERA, and 0.71 WHIP). Grab him before your league mates do.

Bryan Bullington – Speaking of the Royals, because, apparently, Katy loves blue, Bullington, a one-time number one-overall pick a long time ago, secured his first career win in a spot start for the Royals. Over the last seven days, he pitched eight innings, didn’t allow a run and posted a 0.38 WHIP. He gets the White Sox tomorrow, which could be a good outing. If you need a starter and are in a deep league, you might as well give the Bouillabaisse a try.

Brandon Lyon & Wilton Lopez – Brandon Lyon is the de facto Astros closer. If you miss him, Wilton Lopez could pick up occasional saves. Lyon is owned in only 20% of leagues, Lopez is only three percent owned. Every save counts in a lot of leagues, don’t be shy about adding one of these guys.

Ross Ohlendorf – Ohlendorf has had a sneaky good season (3.90 ERA, 1.37 WHIP and 79 Ks in 108.1 IPs). He was even better over the last seven days (14.2 IPs, 12 Ks, 1.84 ERA and 0.82 WHIP). The biggest negative about Ohlendorf is that he doesn’t get to pitch against his own team. All kidding aside, he does have a minusculely lucky BAbip (.291) and his FIP is 4.43. Basically, he is benefiting from a lucky HR/FB rate (7.7%) which is about three points higher than his career norm. Still, as a low-cost option, Ohlendorf isn’t bad. He certainly won’t just fall off a cliff. I’d avoid starting him at homer-friendly parks though.

John Lannan – Don’t look know, but John Lannan is on a K-binge (last seven days: 12.1 IPs, 10 Ks, 2.92 ERA and 1.05). He has actually been fairly useful over his last 23.1 IPs (3.09 ERA, 1.20 WHIP). In addition, he has been a bit unlucky this year (.333 BAbip, 67.4% strand rate) and he has a FIP around 4.67. Still, he doesn’t have much upside, as he has never really posted a useful MLB K-rate.

Then you’re cold…then you’re no…then you’re out…then you’re down

Carl Pavano – The Pavano resurgence has been Alyssa Milano’ed (last week: two starts, seven Ks, a 6.57 ERA and 2.11 WHIP). He’s been downright horrible over his last 40 IPs (3.66 ERA and 1.58 WHIP). Sure he has a slightly lucky BAbip on the year (.285), but his FIP (3.72) isn’t much higher than his ERA (3.52). So what do we make of his last few miserable outings? I think they are just random poor occurrences. Over the last 28 days, Pavano has a .409 BAbip, over the last 14, a .431. If your trading deadline hasn’t passed, Pavano makes a good buy low. I wouldn’t worry about him going forward.

Fausto Carmona – It’s tough when a two-start pitcher takes it upon himself to royally screw you (7.36 ERA, 1.82 WHIP and just four Ks). Those Ks are the reason I don’t like pitchers like Carmona. There is no help when he struggles. At least Pavano (by no means a strike-out pitcher) secured seven punch-outs last week. Dr. Faustus is what he is this year, a guy with about a 4.00 ERA and risky WHIP who doesn’t K anyone. I’d be careful when I use him going forward.

Edinson Volquez – Weeks like the last one (5.06 ERA and 1.78 WHIP) highlight the reasons I told you to be weary of Volquez. While his to-date Ks are nice (35 in 34 IPs), I don’t think you can expect much relief in the ratios. In his short season to date, he has an 80.9% strand rate. Sure he has a .334 BAbip (which is unlucky), but his FIP is 5.68. I love his K upside. He is someone it’d be nice to have in the arsenal to throw out there if I wasn’t worried about my ERA/WHIP, but other than that, I don’t see Volquez as being particularly helpful.

Matt Kemp – Matt Kemp has been a top 80 player this year, which isn’t bad (unless you compare that to the top five some were predicting). Kemp, as his last seven days can attest (.087 AVG) has never got into a groove. He’ll still end up a 20/20 player, but, at this point, is a certain disappointment. So, what caused the 2010 pitfall? Well, his career BAbip is .349, while it rests at .305 this season. So there has been a bit of fluctuation. Of course, Kemp hasn’t been around forever, so we don’t know exactly what his BAbip performance will be. In addition, Kemp has lost his eye at the plate. He is on pace for about 30 more Ks this year than last. He is also getting caught stealing at a near 50% rate – far higher than anything we’ve seen from him. Looking into the crystal ball, he’ll be a top four round pick next year with some upside. It’s just a shame he didn’t continue his career arc. But, hey, players don’t (Nick Markakis)

Miguel Olivo – It’s borderline dumps time for Olivo. He has come back to earth after a scorching hot 60% of the season. Quite simply, we all knew this would happen as he has never been someone who could get on base 30% of the time, let alone hit .300. If there are more attractive options out there, feel free to bombs away. At this point, I’d like to have a backstop who didn’t destroy by AVG/OBP every week.

All stats as of noon on August 20, 2010

FB101’s 411: Be sure you know how to judge a hot streak. Crisp, Lyon, Lopez, Norris, Ohlendorf, and Blanco make good adds. Keep your eye on Inge, Lannan, Janish and Betemit. You are allowed to sort of give up on Miguel Olive.

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h2h Corner ~ Keep, Trade or Drop: Gio Gonzalez, Bud Norris, Luke Hochevar?

By most accounts, Gio Gonzalez didn’t have a great 98 IPs last year (5.75 ERA and a 1.71 WHIP). Still he did rack up 109 Ks (9.9 K/9). So there was value there. He was, probably, the best source of strike-outs on every league’s waiver wire. It’s hard to fathom how someone who strikes out so many batters can be so bad when it comes to base runners allowed. Well, one reason for this would be his abnormally large BAbip (.363). When that corrects itself to the historical norm of around .300, his WHIP and ERA will come down markedly. Gonzalez has pretty much torched the minors (3.58 ERA, 1.26 WHIP and 783 Ks in 684 IPs), so there is some optimism in the young lefty, who won’t turn 25 until September 19. If Gonzalez can find his way to a rotation spot and a little luck, he might be a real bargain.

Much like Gonzalez, Luke Hochevar was probably one of the best sources of Ks on your waiver wire. He did strike out 106 batters in 143 IPs and his ratios weren’t that much different either: 6.55 ERA and 1.49 WHIP. Hochevar also struggled with a high BAbip (.323). Of course, it wasn’t as high as Gonzalez’, but still Hochevar will likely be better in 2010. Hochevar will be 27 on September 15, so he has about two years on Gonzalez. This makes Gonzalez a more likely fantasy keeper than Hochevar.

Bud Norris will be 25 in March and only has 55.2 Major League IPs to his name. In those innings, Norris compiled a 4.53 ERA and 1.51 WHIP, while striking out 54 batters (8.7 K/9). In so few innings, it’s not unlikely to see an uncommon BAbip (Norris’ was .318). Norris also has a pretty good track record in the minors: 3.67 ERA, 1.32 WHIP and 361 Ks in 340.2 IPs.

I think it’s pretty clear you should keep Gio Gonzalez. He is the youngest, is left-handed and has a tantalizing strike-out ability. I’d trade Bud Norris in this instance. I think you can easily make the argument that with a little seasoning, Norris could be a very cheap source of Ks for the next few years. Hochevar is simply too old to hold his ground in this competition. I do like him as a deep league draft filler or a $1 buy in auctions for his K-upside, but nothing more.

Keep: Gio Gonzalez
Trade: Bud Norris
Drop: Luke Hochevar

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Reading this column guarantees that you will achieve fabulous wealth and success in your fantasy baseball league. That’s right, you guessed it: it’s time to debate Keep Trade or Drop (KTD).

While there are tons of player rankings available, they are all for 2010 and nothing more. So, if you are drafting in a start-up keeper league, how do you decide who to take? For example, if they’re both on the board, do you go for tried and true Carl Crawford, or do you roll the dice (but only barely) and select the slightly less proven Justin Upton. Read enough of these columns and you might just get your answer.

The KTD series focuses solely on giving keeper league advice. It poses the question: if you are in a keeper league, which player would you rather keep, which would you rather trade and which would you be forced to drop. Rarely is the decision easy to make, but it might just decide whether you compete and win your championship, not just this year, but for years down the road as well. It will also help you make a snap decision when three similar players are on the board and the clock is ticking.

If you want other KTDs, please let me know. Also, feel free to share your insights below or at my Twitter (@h2h_corner)/Facebook pages.

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