Posts Tagged ‘rangers’

h2h Corner ~ Check You Out On the Flip Side: Kerry Wood

Wood back Wood front

I must admit that I’ve always scoffed at Kerry Wood — especially when he came to the big boy league. However, when he was traded to the New York Yankees and I pulled the above card, I simply had to write about him.

In baseball, there are revered names — one of the biggest in George Herman Ruth – otherwise known as the Babe and a litany of other sandlot nicknames. Outside of boozing and chasing skirts, if you are linked to the Babe you are linked to baseball immortality. Quite simply, legends never die.

Anyway, it was shocking to me that, in the history of baseball, Wood and Ruth are the only two players with at least 1,200 innings while allowing fewer than 1,000 hits. Of course, like Wood’s career, all good things must come to an end. If you look at the card closely, you’ll realize that Wood finished the 2009 season with 995 hits allowed. And sure enough, he allowed a few more hits this year to inch over the 1,000 threshold to give the Babe back another solo record.

Regardless, Wood was a real good pitcher for a few years – the heir apparent to Roger Clemens who was the heir apparent to Nolan Ryan. In three of his first five healthy seasons in the majors, Wood had a K/9 rate in double digits. In the 2002 and 2003 seasons, Wood would post a 3.34 ERA, 483 Ks and a 1.22 WHIP. Not bad.

Will his career resemble a glorified Kelvim Escobar? Sort of – but so what. For a couple of years he was absolutely unhittable and he happened to share a record with one of the most hallowed names in all of sports.

Follow h2h Corner on Twitter (http://twitter.com/h2h_Corner)

For the history of this series, check out this article: Check You Out On the Flip Side: Howard Johnson.

h2h Corner ~ Check You Out On the Flip Side: Terry Harper

harper back harper front



As previously noted, mining the 1986 Topps set for interesting tidbits hasn’t been overly fruitful — at least I pulled a Ripken All-star card, Clemens, Eddie Murray and Mike Schmidt recently.

Anyway, the Terry Harper card above fits the “stringent” parameters that would allow for a Flip Side posting. I’m a huge baseball fan, in case you couldn’t tell, but I never knew Hammerin’ Hank Aaron had a brother – let alone one who made it to the majors. Heck the internet barely knows – if you search for “Tommie Aaron baseball ref”, Hank’s page comes up first.

Tommie was signed by the, then, Milwaukee Braves as a free agent in 1962. That was eight years and 298 HRs into hank’s career. Tommie would do some decent things in the minors — posting a .285/.333/.439 slash line and stealing 33 bases in 45 tries. The majors would be a (sort of) different story, as Tommie would not succeed (.229/.292/.327) and steal just nine bases in 17 tries.

For his career, Hank would steal 240 bases in 313 tries. He’d steal 28 bases in the 1968 season and never more than nine in a season during the rest of his career. Tommie would steal three bases in 1968 and never another for his career.

Regardless of HR or SB totals, you have to think that one of the greatest memories the brothers have is of September 24, 1968. With Tommie on first and Hank on third, the duo would execute a flawless double steal. Hank, after scoring and wiping the dirt and dust from his uniform, must have looked into the sun across the diamond to see Tommie knocking the dirt and dust from his uniform and smiling back. Outside of back-to-back HRs, a double steal by brothers would be pretty special.

As for Terry Harper? He was just as bad a hitter (.253/.321/.371) and base stealer (37/65) as Tommie. Both would also go 0-1 in their only post-season at bat and achieve a negative WAR for their careers. If only Terry had a brother like Hank…

Follow h2h Corner on Twitter (http://twitter.com/h2h_Corner)

For the history of this series, check out this article: Check You Out On the Flip Side: Howard Johnson.

h2h Corner ~ Check You Out On the Flip Side: Ozzie Virgil

Virgil back Virgil front

I’ve never flown a model airplane – unless we are talking the paper variety in second grade religion class. I made some model airplanes, but mostly got bored when I had to glue all the little pieces together — logistics weren’t my thing. Still, I can think of two scenes that involve flying model airplanes and I imagine you can think of more.

The first is in Rushmore when Max first meets Margaret – maybe I’ve seen that movie too much – but it’s a poignant and understated scene. The second is from the hilarious Modern family when Jay rams Phil in the face — good comedy includes violence — trust me.

Anyway, I feel like Virgil would have enjoyed the later. He’s a stout dude (6’1 180) who caught for part of 11 seasons in the majors (mostly for the Philadelphia Phillies) and was a two-time all-star. Over a two-year span (from 1984-1985), he’d catch 272 games, post a respectable slash line (.254/.330/.433) and hit 37 HRs. In 1987 he hit 27 dingers for the Atlanta Braves.

He would finish his career as a more productive player than his father, Ozzie Virgil, Sr. who would finish his nine-year career with a .231/.263/.331 slash line. Regardless, here’s hoping they shared a few chuckles about the pitchers they caught while flying model airplanes.

Follow h2h Corner on Twitter (http://twitter.com/h2h_Corner)

For the history of this series, check out this article: Check You Out On the Flip Side: Howard Johnson.

h2h Corner ~ Check You Out On the Flip Side: Max Venable

venable bvenable f

As you likely know, this series started because I bought a bunch of cheap 1987 Topps packs off the internet, opened them and found good cards but, more importantly, interesting nuggets of info on the backs. Let’s just say it’s a good thing I didn’t start with the 1986 set. Man it is totally George Blanda — if there is info, it is usually such-and-such ballplayer collected his first hit on such-and-such date – yuck.

Occasionally there are some “Talkin’ Baseball” sections which seem to be the precursor to SCOOTER, i.e., they are inane. The one you see on the back of Venable is actually not the only one to reference player’s names and palindromes – apparently that was a set-wide motif.

So why did I choose this one out of the myriad of boring palindromes captured forever in the 1986 set? Because Max just happens to be Will Venable’s father. Will got his first full-time action this year for the San Diego Padres in his age-27 season and performed kind of well. In fact, I believe he had a truly bizarre, yet effective season. Sure his 0.1 WAR would suggest otherwise, but he did hit 13 HRs and swipe 29 bases. Maybe he is more of a roto, specifically h2h, player, then real-life, but I see a guy who, if he could stay healthy for 162 games, would put up a 20-30 season. His average and OBP aren’t great, but they aren’t as bad as some other regulars people trot out there.

Still Will will likely have a shorter major league career than his pops. Max played in parts of 12 seasons, finishing with a .241/.302/.345 slash line predominantly for the Cincinnati Reds and San Francisco Giants. He only once played in over 100 games and would hit just 18 HRs in his career.

The oddest thing about the father/son combo? They both drew the attentions of the Baltimore Orioles but never played for the organization. In February of 1988, the Orioles signed Max, but released him in March of the same year. On June 7, 2004, the Orioles drafted Will in the 15th round, but would not sign him.

As for old palindrome Eddie Kazak? He’d play parts of five seasons, mostly with the St. Louis Cardinals before being traded to the Reds along with Wally Westlake for Dick Sisler and Virgil Stallcup. Talk about some interesting (old-timey) names. Kazak would appear in just 13 games for the Reds and bat .067. Those were the last hacks he took in the big leagues. Oddly enough, Dick is the son of baseball legend George Sisler.

Baseball is often described as the great bridge between fathers and sons. It’s also a game where just showing up can land you in the (obscure) record books…just ask Kazak who was a Red for 13 games.

Follow h2h Corner on Twitter (http://twitter.com/h2h_Corner)

For the history of this series, check out this article: Check You Out On the Flip Side: Howard Johnson.

h2h Corner ~ Check You Out On the Flip Side: Mike Pagliarulo

Pagliarillo BackPagliarillo front

Before we had LeBron James wearing a Yankees cap to an Indians game, Wade Boggs and Johnny Damon switching teams and 2004, there was Mike Pagliarulo.

Pags—as I call him—was born in Medford, Massachusetts. So, it isn’t shocking that he liked to attend Celtics and Bruins games. Sure he was drafted by the Yankees in the sixth round in 1981, but that wasn’t enough to sway his love from the Celtics to the Knicks or Bruins to the Rangers – his kids must be ecstatic now as the Celtics are in relatively good shape, especially compared to the Knicks.

This card was printed 23 years ago. Times have changed. If this card were printed recently, there’d be a spotsnation chat about it immediately. He’d be booed lustily – by New Yorkers and Bostonians alike. It’d be pretty easy to boo Pagliarulo – he played the majority of his career at third base and posted a .349 slugging percentage. Further, he only got on base at a .277 clip. Frankly, it’s surprising he lasted 11 seasons.

What most surprises me: my memory of Pags is of a light hitting utility man, whereas, in reality, he earned his career in the 1986 and 1987 seasons during which he blasted 28 and 32 HRs, respectively.

Still, I wish Pags was playing in the early part of 2000 during the epic Boston-New York showdowns – it would have given Tim McCarver and Joe Buck additional things to be incredulous/pompous about.

Follow h2h Corner on Twitter (http://twitter.com/h2h_Corner)

For the history of this series, check out this article: Check You Out On the Flip Side: Howard Johnson.

h2h Corner ~ Check You Out On the Flip Side: Mike Davis

mike davis back mike davisIt’s official, the Oakland Athletics had one bizarrely interesting team in 1987. Just wait until you see the Moose Haas and Carney Lansford posts.

Mike Davis was a third round pick in the 1977 draft. Three years later, at age 21, he would play 51 games in the big leagues. He would ultimately play a full season in 1983 and post a respectable .275/.322/.402 slash line. He’d perform poorly in ’84, but post a truly good season in 1985 – the kind of season any kid would take. He’d hit .287/.348/.484, smack 24 HRs and steal 24 bases. That’s a pretty good roto star right there – especially for 1985. He wouldn’t reach those heights again.

Still, he would be serviceable throughout the next two years. So, what lead him to aspire to have a real estate career? Davis, quite simply, had a job that millions and millions of people aspire to, but, realistically, have no chance. Yet his aspirations weren’t athletics, but selling houses or commercial land? Sure, there is money in real estate, but Davis made $3,660,000 in his career – no small lump, especially back in the ‘80s.

If you would ask his brother, Mark, I’m sure he’d say he aspired to be a full time ball player. Mark was a 12th round pick of the White Sox in 1986. He would make the majors in 1991 with the California Angels. He would play in three games, get two plate appearances and record outs both times. He would spend seven seasons in the minors, but those two ABs were the only ones he would get in the show.

Maybe Mike would open a real estate firm with Mark after their playing days. Mike could talk about playing in the postseason and dreaming of selling houses, while Mark could talk about those two at bats he got against major league pitching.

Follow h2h Corner on Twitter (http://twitter.com/h2h_Corner)

For the history of this series, check out this article: Check You Out On the Flip Side: Howard Johnson.

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.

Lately I’ve had too many meandering thoughts to give you something consistently coherent.

Thoughts such as: Remember last year when I gave periodic updates on my running? Well, I’m somewhat ashamed to admit, but it took me a long time to get back to good fitness after I fractured a bone in my left heel, but I have. Last night, I ran five miles in 34:53 – which I was stoked about. I’ve been out of town recently, so I haven’t been to the grocery store, which means no bananas, which means my calves are rocks right now – but it was worth it. Oh – and what I’m actually ashamed to admit – I listened to the Dixie Chicks cover of “You Cant Hurry Love” three times, grooved to some Fallout Boy, Kanye (Stronger, please), Pat Green, and, of course Katy Perry!

Meandering thought number two: why cant people use automated machines? It is 2010 people, and we’re almost done with it. The CVS stores in D.C. have instituted automated tellers and it takes me about 30 seconds to pay with a credit card – you have to push like four buttons! Yet other people need assistance, get confused, try to pay with cash, come on – it’s a plastic world! I’m grateful for Bank of America leading the way in ATM functionality, but recently I stood behind someone for four minutes as they couldn’t figure out how to slide their card in and out – then they kept inserting checks upside down. I had more checks and spent half the time!

Last meandering thought: luck and fantasy are intertwined. This is more present in football because there are 12-14 games total, so there is a super small sample size. Further, it’s really hard to know which teams are good and bad. Nevertheless luck is involved in fantasy baseball as well (and I’m not necessarily talking about FIP, BAbip, HR/FB, etc.). So I’m going to take this spot to thank my good luck charm, my girlfriend. First, I’ve allowed her to open several of my baseball card packs lately – she was 2/2 in landing me Topps Million Card unlocks and got me the retro looking Cal Ripken card. Then, last night, when she opened a Topps 1987 pack (complete with 13-year-old bubble gum that she thinks is gross) she pulled the Barry Bonds rookie – not too shabby. But I must thank her for demanding I select Carlos Gonzalez in my NL-only keeper league – he has more than made up for the Nate McLouth (outright dropped) and Jason Bay (mercifully traded) terrible picks.

Hopefully reading the below will ignite the neurons that lead to an h2h or roto championship!

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

Danny Espinosa – In one game against the hapless Mets, Espinosa made a life-long dream come true by hitting a grannie. Over the last seven days he has batted .400, hit three HRs and added nine RBIs – most of the damage done against the Mets on Tuesday September 7 (two HRs, six RBIs). Still, he wasn’t doing anything super spectacular in the minors (.268 with 22 HRs). For the time being, however, he is someone of interest in NL-only leagues.

JJ Hardy – Maybe because I loved the Hardy Boys books growing up, I’ve simply transferred that love to JJ Hardy. He hasn’t done much this year until recently (.400 AVG, one HR and nine RBIs over the last seven days). With all the crap people are running out there in the middle infield, I’d definitely give Hardy a long look going forward.

Russell Branyan – People need power, right? I hear all this noise about this being the year of the pitcher (it isn’t really, but whatever), yet people let Branyan (four Hrs over the last seven days) sit on the wire? Ditto for Jim Thome. Remember, chicks dig the long ball.

Logan Morrison – I’ve written about Morrison intermittently over the year. He was someone I thought had a clearer path than Mike Stanton to the majors because of Morrison’s approach at the plate. While I was wrong about who would reach the majors first, I’m pretty confident that Morrison will be a more reliable fantasy player. He simply avoids outs. Over the last seven days he has a .440 AVG and has scored eight runs. In 151 MLB ABs, he has a .318 AVG and .431 OBP. When you get on base that much you score. If you need runs, he is a must add.

Dexter Fowler – Fowler is another of my and Katy’s favorites. He’s had an up and down year, but has put together an impressive seven-day stretch: .345 AVG and six runs. In just 358 ABs this season, Fowler has managed to lead the league in triples, and while the average isn’t nice (.251 on the year), he flat-out gets on base (.350 OBP in 2010, .363 last year, and .399 over six minor league seasons). Clearly he is a darling in OBP leagues and less so in AVG ones, but he’ll score for you.

Seth Smith – Speaking of the Rockies, Seth Smith seems to make late-season cameos on Katy Perry’s All-stars quite frequently – and with good reason. Over the last seven days, he hit .353, hit a homerun and scored seven runs. For those of you tallying at home, that brings him to 17 round trippers on the year. He is an under-the-radar 20-HR producer. He is also someone who is easily utilized: don’t start him against lefties (career against southpaws: .190/.267/.331) or away (career on the road: .245/.316/.400). So if he has a week with lots of home games against righties, grab him.

Chris Capuano – Fact: four years ago Capuano was fantasy relevant. Fact: over the last seven days Capuano was a fantasy star (12 IPs, one win, a 1.50 ERA and 0.83 WHIP). Those innings were accumulated against St. Louis and Philadelphia – not exactly Pittsburgh and San Diego. But is he useful going forward? Sort of. Basically he is what he was four long years ago: a pitcher with an ERA around 4.00 who will strike-out 7.90 batters per nine innings. I think you’ll be surprised at how useful a line like that is.

John Lannan – With all the Nationals making Katy Perry’s All-stars lately, you’d think they were the best team ever and this is yet another appearance for John Lannan. Over the last seven days, Lannan struck out seven, won a ball game and posted a 1.29 ERA and 0.86 WHIP. Obviously a super small sample size and the outing was against Pittsburgh. Further, he doesn’t really strike anyone out (4.48 per nine in his career), so, unless he is pitching against the Pirates, there have to be better options out there.

Dillon Gee – Yes, Dillon Gee is a real person’s name. And, no, he was not a member of the Bee Gees. Gee had an impressive debut (seven IPs, one win, a 1.29 ERA and 0.71 WHIP), during which he took a no-hitter into the sixth inning. According to Amazin’ Avenue, Gee is the Mets #20 best prospect and “has the unfortunate stigma of being a small right handed pitcher with a mediocre fastball.” He had a 4.96 ERA in the minors this year and wasn’t much better last year (4.10). While he has shown some promise at the lower levels, it’s unlikely that Gee will be much help for fantasy teams.

Carlos Zambrano – Way back on August 5, I said Carlos Zambrano was prime to be a useful player down the stretch. Since that time, in six starts, he has four wins, a 1.98 ERA and 30 Ks in 36.1 IPs. Most notably, Big Z dominated the Mets (sure I know, it’s the hapless Mets) over the last seven days, striking out eight batters, posting a 2.57 ERA and a 0.86 WHIP. I like him as an above average match-ups play going forward.

Derek Holland – I’m not sure my man-love has been fully documented for Holland yet – he has a long and successful career ahead of him. So, let me let his last seven days of performance tell a tale, a tale of 13 Ks in 11.1 IPs, a sublime 3.18 ERA and miniscule 1.06 WHIP. For the year he is posting an 8.85 K-rate, with a 4.31 ERA and 1.34 WHIP. That k-potential doesn’t normally sit unowned on the wire. Go, seek him out and let him lead you to a championship.

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

Daisuke Matsuzaka – We saw a lot of the bad of Dice-K over the last seven days (10.1 IPs, 10.45 ERA and 1.84 WHIP). But there was some good, namely 10 Ks. So while he mercilessly destroyed your ratios, he did help you in Ks. I still like Matsuzaka as a fantasy asset however, he just makes your work for it. If Matsuzaka is starting for you late in the week, you’ll have a clear picture on what you need. If you need Ks and aren’t worried about ERA and WHIP, Dice-K is great, if you need to help your ratios, you need to bench or drop Dice-K. It’s pretty simple. At the start of the week, I’d be careful about using him because he can do some irrevocable harm. I will add that he is subject to the whims of the strand rate more so than some other pitchers because he walks so many batters (4.14 per nine IPs).

Bronson Arroyo – I am always happy to get twitter questions, but it sometimes makes me a bit nervous. A good follower of mine asked whether he should start Arroyo this week or Zambrano. I cited Arroyo’s success against and in Colorado, but ultimately thought Big Z was the better pitcher, so you should roll the dice with him. Thankfully, Arroyo pitched poorly and hasn’t done well over the last seven days (10.1 IPs, five Ks, an 8.71 ERA and 1.65 WHIP). While Arroyo typically pitches well at the end of the year (3.40 ERA/1.18 WHIP in 390 September/October innings), his 4.09 ERA is a bit of a mirage this year (.245 BAbip). I’d be real careful about how I use Arroyo down the stretch.

Andre Ethier – Ethier has been abysmal lately (3/20 over the last seven days and 26/101 over the last 30). He is getting murdered by southpaws — .224/.277/.336. So only start him when he is facing a righty starting pitcher.

Jose Lopez – Why is he owned in 37% of Yahoo! leagues? He went 5/27 last week, 24/103 over the last 30 days and 125/525 over the season. He has been brutal – drop him for anyone, please.

James Loney – The Dodgers are a listless bunch – they have the out-of-contention malaise going big time. Loney hasn’t escaped the disease (4/17 over the last seven days; 21/97 over the last 30 days). What’s worse? The 69% owned first baseman has all of nine HRs this season. Please drop him for the 41% owned Gaby Sanchez or 12% owned Logan Morrison. Either player is like way more valuable

All stats as of noon September 9, 2010

FB101’s 411: Be sure you know how to judge a hot streak. Russell Branyan, Logan Morrison, Carlos Zambrano and Derek Holland make good adds. Keep your eye on Danny Espinosa, JJ Hardy, Dillon Gee, Seth Smith, Dexter Fowler, and Chris Capuano. You are allowed to give up on Jose Lopez and James Loney.

h2h_Corner on Twitter (http://twitter.com/h2h_Corner)

h2h Corner ~ The Buddy Garrity, Don Draper, Ed Norton Sales Convention

Buddy Garrity sales time (sell now)
When it is Buddy Garrity sales time, you should be moving players immediately. These are players that will likely regress to means or not perform as well as they have been (i.e., sell high candidates). In addition, they include guys I don’t think will perform well at all during the rest of the season. These are players you are best cutting your losses with. Continue reading

h2h Corner ~ Video Killed the Radio Star

Ok, I am, by no means, a star on the radio. Last night, I sure stumbled over my words in some parts, but I think we had some great discussions on fantasy and, more broadly, baseball related topics.

I was thankful to Joel Henard (of Baseball Daily Digest Radio, The Fantasy Insiders and Talking Baseball Live fame) for asking me to guest on his show. It was awesome to work with Kevin Orris as well. For those of you who don’t know, he is the founder and president of Baseball Insiders. Follow them on twitter, they are chalk full of great info and insights. Continue reading

h2h Corner ~ I’m a Believer: July Edition

Welcome to July’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:

It is only going to get hotter in Texas – barring injuries, Vlad Guerrero and Josh Hamilton will remain fantasy stalwarts. Continue reading

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 1,756 other followers