h2h Corner ~ Katy Perry All-Stars XVI

It’s playoff time. Your friends and “purported experts” will tell you what you need to do: pull out all the stops, leave everything on the field, blah, blah, blah. They’re wrong. What you need to do is be strategic.

As I’ve noted before, if you’re playing in a standard 5×5 h2h leagues, you really only need to win five categories (just make sure you win the tie-breaker (typically ERA)). Typically, I shoot for saves, steals and WHIP. The fifth category is a wild card, depending on how my team matches up with my opponent. If the other guy has a bunch of boppers, I typically concede HRs/RBIs. In this instance, I would play guys who get on base (AVE/OBP) and score runs. We all want to win 10-0 each week. But lets be honest, that just doesn’t work once the playoffs start. A well-rounded team gets you into the playoffs, a smart manager that knows when to sit and play his guys, however, is what wins them. We can call this the Trent Dilfer approach to the play-offs, I know I’m mixing sports, here but go with my analogy

That said, you need to be careful with your roster moves. If you’re coming up on your moves limit, it’s important that you only drop/add those guys that will give you a clear advantage from both your current opponent and your future opposition.

Names of players should mean nothing right now. The only thing that matters is numbers – you can’t wait on production from vets, you need to jettison them for promising rooks. That said, here are the Hot ‘n’ Cold performers from the last week. Also, because this is a special playoff edition, I’m including additional available hitters/pitchers you should own if your opponents don’t.

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

Drew Stubbs – Stubbs was quickly added in my 20-team league and then summarily dropped. I somehow missed his return to free agency and was surprised when another owner picked him up today. Needing all the steals I can get, this was a serious error on my part. In just the last week, Stubbs has been for the Reds everything they wanted Wily Taveras to be: eight runs and three steals. He also hit .300, though he only posted a .317 OBP – very Taveras-like. If he can adjust to major league pitching, he could be a Julio Borbon-lite, which is pretty good if you need steals/runs

Felix Pie – I love pie, you love pie, everyone loves pie! I also love paella. With Adam Jones hurting, and the real potential that the Orioles will shut him down for the rest of this season, Pie will get regular at bats down the stretch. Last week, this translated into four homeruns. Don’t count on that or buy him as a power source, however. While they may be dwelling in the AL East basement, the Orioles do in fact have a very good lineup, Pie could, therefore, be a sneaky source of both steals and runs. In addition, he has been getting on base better of late, posting a .478 OBP over his last 20 at bats and a .380 OBP over his last 64 ABs. Small samples, I know. But the only thing left in the season is small samples.

Milton Bradley – Bradley has not been very good at baseball this year. However, there are signs that he is righting the ship. Last week, he scored nine runs, smacked two dingers and posted a .384/.484 AVE/OBP. Those in OBP leagues should be grabbing and starting the 32 percent-owned Bradley. He has a career OBP of .373, but hasn’t had one lower than .370 since 2005.

Rod Barajas – Who would have thought that Barajas would make two Katy Perry All-star teams in one season? Last week, Canada’s favorite catcher (sorry Russell Martin) smacked four homers and added eight RBIs. He has 16 HRs on the year, and a 21-HR season under his belt (albeit in 2005 for the Rangers), so four more bombs aren’t out of the question. The Jays are at Texas right now, and play in New York, Detroit, and Boston down the stretch. Throw in a home series against the Orioles, and the Jays offense could finish nicely.

Garrett Jones – Garrett Jones reminds a lot of people of Chris Shelton, circa March/April 2006. That’s not quite fair, as Jones contributes in many more ways than Shelton ever could. In addition to his three HRs last week, Jones also stole two bases and hit for a nifty .300/.400 AVE/OBP. Over his last 104 ABs, he has four steals and seven HRs, while not killing his owners in either AVE/OBP. There are a lot of options at OF/1b, but if you need some steals from a corner infielder, he is worth a flier.

Miguel Montero – How Montero is only owned in 48 percent of leagues is beyond me (Russell Martin is owned in 87 percent of leagues). Last week, Mighty Miguel scored seven runs, knocked in six and added a .375 AVE and .444 OBP. In the past month, the 94th ranked player by Yahoo! has scored 16 runs and knocked in 18. Meanwhile, far lesser catchers (Pierzynski, Martin, Wieters, Doumit, Inge and Ianetta) have higher ownership rates. The Diamondbacks travel to Colorado this weekend and then are home for their next six games before traveling to yucky-hitter-park-San-Diego.

Andy Marte – Marte is playing himself into serious contention for Katy’s late-bloomer of the year award (I was thinking about bloomin’ onions). Last week, Marte blasted three HRs and knocked in seven. While his average over that span (.304) is incredibly useful, it is not likely to stay so high. Also, his .320 OBP has to leave owners a little weary. Down the stretch, he is likely to be of no help in OBP and will hurt your AVE. Still, he does have four HRs in his last seven games – a HR binge is not out of the question.

Carlos Guillen – Guillen, who qualifies at 1b, 3b and OF, turned in a tidy week: .330 AVE, .444 OBP and three HRs. Over his last 84 ABs, Guillen (only 32 percent owned!) has mashed seven HRs while posting tasty ratios: .297 AVE and .385 OBP. Guillen is capable of putting together a very strong month – he should be on your radar.

Kevin Kouzmanoff – The Kouz is on this list for one reason: RBIs. Over his last 100 ABs, there is no one less owned with more RBIs than Kouzmanoff. If you need RBIs and are not worried about anything else, this is your guy.

Michael Cuddyer – If you need RBIs and are worried about other categories, take a look at Michael Cuddyer. Despite his recent productivity (over his last 106 ABs, he has scored 17 runs, hit seven HRs and added 14 RBIs), he is available in 48 percent of leagues. If you need someone who contributes in multiple categories, Cuddyer is not a bad option. He and Carlos Guillen are among the most-well rounded readily available fantasy players on the wire.

Elijah Dukes – By most counts, Dukes had a crappy week, registering just one run and one RBI. Look a little deeper, however, and you’ll see that he batted .391 and posted a .500 OBP – both of which are very useful. Dukes, whose ownership has plummeted to just 18 percent, has been productive in his last 84 ABs by knocking in 21 RBIs. He is a little like Kouzmanoff in that he is owned primarily for his help with RBIs. Dukes is not, however, as one dimensional a player as his stats seem to indicate. He has the potential to go off (in more ways than one) and could provide useful HRs or SBs down the stretch.

Clay Buchholz – Buchholz has been a tantalizing talent throughout his short career. His most recent start left the baseball world wanting more: 8.1 IPs, one win, nine Ks, a 1.08 ERA and 0.60 WHIP. Amidst all the talk of him not living up to his potential, Buchholz has turned in a tidy last 32 IPs: 22 Ks, a 3.38 ERA and 1.25 WHIP. He is not someone you should necessarily jump on, but you should definitely keep your eye on him if you need a spot start. He is still inconsistent, though one or two good turns could create a trend.

Brian Duensing – Who is Brian Duensing? He is a 26 year-old starter for the Minnesota Twins, who selected him in the third round of the 2005 draft. He was also a college teammate of Joba Chamberlain and Alex Gordon. Now, onto things you care about. In 57 AAA games, Duensing posted a 4.00 ERA and 1.32 WHIP, while posting a 5.6 K/9 rate and a 2.49 K/Walk rate. Against Texas in his last stat, Duensing went seven innings, struck out eight and posted a 1.26/0.57 ERA/WHIP en route to the win. Over his last 21.1 IPs, he has 20 Ks and a 3.38 ERA. His WHIP over that span (1.41) is a little disconcerting but a K per inning is nothing to scoff at. He could be someone to tab for streaming down the stretch.

UPDATE: In his start on September 2, Brian Duensing went 7 IPs, stuck out seven, allowed five hits, two walks and no runs.

Brian Matusz – I love Brian Matusz. In his most recent start, Matusz went seven strong, struck out eight and posted a 0.71 WHIP. While his ratios this year 5.28/1.73 ERA/WHIP leave a lot to be desired, he does have 31 Ks in 30.2 IPs. The Orioles have a brutal schedule down the stretch, but the lefty could be coming into his own. He is definitely someone to keep tabs on. Keep in mind that I am an irrational Orioles fan.

Homer Bailey – Speaking of someone potentially coming into his own, Bailey recently went eight strong innings at home against the Dodgers. He even struck out seven batters. Bailey hasn’t been particularly good this year (just 44 Ks in 70 IPs), though he has shown signs of improvement lately (17 Ks over his last 26.2 IPs). Given his team (they stink) home ballpark (good for hitters/bad for pitchers), he isn’t someone you can plug and play. But if the match-up is right, he might be a worthy spot starter.

UPDATE: In his start on September 2, Homer Bailey went 6.1 IPs, struck out eight, allowed seven hits, three walks and three runs. He earned a victory for his efforts

Gio Gonzalez/Luke Hochevar – I wonder if Gio Gonzalez sees Luke Hochevar when he looks in a mirror. Both guys were huge prospects who have lost a little (or lot) of their sheen this season. In ten team leagues, these guys are likely at the top of available pitchers regarding strikeouts. In Gonzalez’s last 33.2 IPs, he’s registered 38 Ks, a 4.54 ERA and a 1.60 WHIP. In Hochevar’s last 34.2 IPs, he’s recorded 32 Ks, a 6.75 ERA and a 1.62 WHIP. While those are some disgusting ratios, these two guys consistently put up Ks. If you need Ks, you can do worse. If you have lost ERA in a week and one of these guys has a spot start, why worry about their ratios – go for the sexy Ks. Also, start anyone against the Mariners.

Marc Rzepcynski – You’d think I’d know how to spell Rzepcysznki’s name by now – he has been on my squad in the 20-team league for awhile and I’ve been writing about him for a couple of weeks. Well, let’s just say I’m a slow learner. In his last two starts, Marc (I swear I’m not trying be an ass like those people that call Roethlisberger ‘Ben’) struck out 16 batters over 12 IPs. His WHIP was bad (1.50), but his ERA (3.75) was good. That low of an ERA will never last with that high of a WHIP. However, if we broaden the sample to his last 33.2 IPs, Marc has a 1.34 WHIP, which is totally serviceable. He also has 30 Ks. What do I say about a K per inning? It brings home the bacon (ok I just made that up). Going forward, Marc is a very viable spot starter. Keep an eye on him.

Ryan Rowland Smith – I finish up this list with the fashionably nicknamed RRS. Not sure why I think his nickname/initials are fashionable, but there is a certain streamlined nature to them –like a battleship or something. Well, RRS had a good last turn, albeit against Kansas City (the only team worse at the object of the game [scoring runs] than the Mariners), going eight innings, striking out seven and posting a 3.38 ERA and a 0.75 WHIP. Over his last 37.1 IPs, RRS has 26 Ks and a 4.34/1.21 ERA/WHIP. If he can maintain that WHIP, his ERA should come down. Don’t expect many wins, as the Mariners don’t have any intrasquad games lined up, but he isn’t a bad ratio option.

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

Geovany Soto – trust me, you’d much rather have Mighty Miguel.

Ditto goes for Iannetta, Dioneer Navarro, Kelly Shoppach, Russell Martin and maybe even Mike Napoli and Ryan Doumit. Mighty Miguel is good.

Jermaine Dye, Raul Ibanez – if you need someone now. If you secured a bye in your playoffs, you can afford to wait a bit longer. But not too long. Both these guys have been scary at the plate recently. Cuddyer isn’t a bad option. Nor is Garrett Jones.

BJ Upton – if you don’t need speed.

Alex Rios – tantalizing talent, but his season speaks for itself. Drop him for any of the above named outfielders (if you need steals, maybe you hold onto him, but that .220 OBP over his last 77 ABs makes it difficult to keep carrying him).

Miguel Tejada – can someone say Erick Aybar? Everth Cabrera? Asdrubal Cabrera? There has to be an available Cabrera and, chances are, he is better than Tejada. Also what about Elvis Andrus for speed?

Alfonso Soriano – you may be tempted to wait out the results of the cortisone shot. Don’t be. Over the last month you would have done better starting no one instead of Soriano (.213 AVE, .250 OBP, five runs, one HR, seven RBIs and one steal). Even if the shot helps, it’s not going to get him running.

James Loney – there has to be a better 1b option out there. Garrett Jones? Adam LaRoche? Loney has been awful at getting on base lately (.202 AVE and .316 OBP over last 84 ABs).

Adam Jones – wait out the injury, but the Orioles could definitely shut him down (and he hasn’t been all that good recently due to injuries). Also be on the look-out and ready to add Grady Sizemore’s replacement for the same reason.

Ian Stewart – he doesn’t get the playing time to truly be effective. I’d rather have Marte, Carlos Guillen, Ryan Roberts, or Eugenio Velez (for speed).

Rafael Furcal – if you need runs, he’ll score a bit. But his ability to get on base has disappeared lately (.226 AVE and .274 OBP over his last 115 ABs– that is damaging). Look at Erick Aybar. Seriously, I’m not kidding.

To quote my hero, Jack Bauer, you’re running out of time. You have scant weeks left. You’ll feel better dropping stumbling, bumbling stars for hot hitters. Even if your disgraced star goes on a hot streak and someone picks him up, you have a hot hitter yourself, so you didn’t lose anything. If the hot player you picked up goes cold, there is always someone else ready to emerge. If you have no moves limits, you must navigate the waiver wire with impunity. If you have a moves limit, be a bit more careful, but not timid. And in the words of all those domineering fathers who are living through their 12-year old sons, let’s have some fun out there.

All stats of September 1.

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One response to this post.

  1. […] As stated in the Katy Perry All-star by-laws, Barajas must make at least one appearance every year (here, here and here). We were beginning to run out of time though, so it was nice to see Barajas really […]

    Reply

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