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).

Jeff Francoeur – I didn’t think he was even worth writing about; however, someone asked if they should trade Johnny Damon for Jeff Francoeur. Sure, he is the 12th ranked player, his ownership is climbing (currently 78% owned in Yahoo! Leagues) and he has a nice .315 average and seven HRs, BUT, in his career, his batting average is only over .275 in April/March and his slugging percentage is only over .457 in those months. Additionally, he isn’t walking anymore or striking out less in 2011 than normal. Furthermore, never before has he had a HR/FB rate above 15.3% (that was in 2006). His HR/FB rate is 20.6% this year. If you add up the last three year’s HR/FB rate, you get 21.2%. Sure, his swinging strike percentage is down and his contact rate is up, but he isn’t striking out less. That will come back to earth, his average will plummet and his HRs will dry up. If you can get most anything for him, please do so.

Placido Polanco – I like Polanco, the 16th ranked fantasy player to date. But I don’t believe he’ll maintain a .375 BABip when it is .313 for his career and never higher than .346. Consequently, I’m not buying his .375 average. Will he hit .315? Absolutely, but we’re talking about a non-batting title guy who will add just single digit home runs and virtually no stolen bases. The runs will be there. But with all the third basemen going down, I imagine you can sell Polanco for a pretty steep price. I’d do so.

Kyle Lohse, Josh Tomlin – Neither pitcher is more than a match-up guy in NL-/AL-only formats. As such, I’d happily deal them for even a relief pitcher with a chance to close. Neither will strike out more than 100 batters. You can do better in almost every iteration of the game.

Jair Jurrjens – I have never been a Jurrjens fan: see here and here. It’s hard to quibble with his start though: 29.2 IPs, three wins, 18 Ks, a 1.52 ERA and 1.01 WHIP. Or, is it? Currently, he has am 87.4% strand rate and .264 BABip. In his career, his strand rate has been firmly tucked between 66% and 79%. Meanwhile his BABip is .282. Furthermore, his swinging strike percentage is down and his K/9 rate has gone with it – batters are simply making more contact, and, on the positive side, batters are posting a 52% groundball rate. Still, I’m not buying that to continue: his GB rate was 39.9% last year and 42.9% the year before (in arguably his best year). I do think his Ks will approach his career norms, so I’m not predicting him to fall of in a major way. However, he’ll look a lot more like a pitcher with a 3.40 ERA, 1.25 WHIP and 120 Ks than what he does now. That can be found on the wire a lot of places.

Don Draper sales time (moderately/slyly begin to move)
The Don Draper sales time requires that you be a less obvious trade partner. I advocate proposing a range of players that are available. Make sure to include those players who you think your trade partner might slightly overvalue. If he is interested, emphasize the positive stats of your Don Draper candidate. However, don’t seem eager. The best reaction to a trade proposal is a slow one. Take your time; be fair and vague, like how Don Draper picks up women.

Howie Kendrick – Kendrick has been so good that his stats would play at first base. He is hitting .294 with six HRs and has scored 21 runs! I’ve got no problems with the batting average, that should remain in the vicinity of .290 throughout the year. However, he has never posted the kind of HR/FB rate he is experiencing this year. Nearly 23% of his fly balls are leaving the yard. I don’t expect his power to dry up, but he isn’t hitting anymore fly balls than usual, so 20 HRs does not seem like a possibility. I’ll give him somewhere in the 16-18 range with 12 SBs or so. That’s a useful and good player at second base. However, if someone is buying on his power surge, I’d be dealing.

Lance Berkman – I believe Clark at Elite Fantasy beat me to this. In short, he isn’t striking out as much as normal, yet his swinging strike percentage is about what it has been for his career. In addition, everything he has put into play has dropped (.400 BABip), owning somewhat to a vastly improved line drive percentage (currently 25%…it hasn’t been higher than 22.9% ever and that was six years ago). Lastly, he has a 33.3% HR/FB rate – 13 points higher than his career line and double digits more than anything he has produced in a season other than 2006.

Alexi Ogando – I’m a risk adverse fantasy baseball player, especially when it comes to pitchers. Ogando, who has pitched 37.1 impressive innings (27 Ks, 2.17 ERA and 0.88 WHIP), threw 41.2 innings all of last year. He has virtually doubled his MLB innings total this year. His relatively small minor league history includes just three starts out of 18 appearances. In short, I have no idea what to expect when he approaches 100 and 150 innings. It’s a no brainer that his ERA is due for some correction (93.1% strand rate and .186 BABip). Those would be out of your mind historic numbers should they continue. Still, I think we can expect an ERA in the low- to mid-3.00s with a K-rate around eight. So, I’m not saying dump him for nothing, but if someone believes there will be a full year of this performance, let him take on the risk.

Justin Masterson – I am one of the few, it appears, that actually likes the city of Cleveland. I have been there twice now and totally enjoyed myself – great sports bars/pubs, phenomenal ballpark and a relatively clean and walkable city. I didn’t particularly care for the Rock n Roll Hall of Fame, but that’s because 40% of it was consumed by Michael Jackson. Nevertheless, Masterson is rocking (40 IPs, 29 Ks, 2.25 ERA and 1.15 WHIP). Going into the year I thought he could be a better version of Luke Hochevar – the pitcher on your waiver wire worth streaming against bad options who could throw up six Ks or so. He, like most of the pitchers mentioned above, is benefiting from a high strand rate (80.3%) and relatively low BABip (.271 compared to a .302 career number). He also isn’t allowing any homeruns (just a 3.3% HR/FB rate compared to 10.5% for his career). He has also facedDetroit,Kansas City twice, a poor hittingBaltimore squad, Seattle and the White Sox – not exactly league average hitters. There are positive signs as he has taken yet another step in getting more ground balls. So what does Masterson look like at the end of the year? How about a 4.00 ERA, and 1.37 WHIP with 155 Ks. If someone wants to pay more, go ahead.

Michael Pineda – Think of this as slightly similar to Ogando. Pineda has been excellent, no doubt (30 Ks in 31.3 IPs, a 2.01 ERA and 1.09 WHIP). However, he hasn’t pitched over 140 innings at any level. He also has a pretty low BABip (.262) and hasn’t allowed a homerun. That will change, especially as he faces the league a second time. I’m not down on him (and wouldn’t move him in most keeper leagues), but there will be bumps in the road. He will be a 3.00-3.50 ERA guy with a 7.50 K-rate and 1.30 WHIP.

The Ed Norton hold pat time (Keeping the Faith)
I don’t love Edward Norton because he’s an Orioles fan (although that doesn’t hurt). I love him because he is an awesome actor. The players in his group can’t be moved for fair market value and shouldn’t be dropped in any competitive league. They’ll likely rebound to near draft value so don’t sell low. Instead, if you see any of these guys available, you should be buying at a discount.

Ubaldo Jimenez – Ubaldo has been bad since starting the year with a little health bump. His ERA (7.20) and WHIP (1.55) have just been horrible. Still, he has managed 20 Ks in 20 innings. So far, almost half the runners who have gotten on against Jimenez have scored and he is giving up way more HRs per fly balls than normal. Still, part of that is location – he has given up a slightly elevated line drive rate and way more fly balls – consequently way less grounders. His fastball velocity is down quite a bit and he is getting burned on it. Still, his contact rates are down across the board. So, why do I think you should keep the faith/buy low? Easy, it’s 20 innings! He’s also been fabulously good over the last three seasons and he does have that impressive 9.00 K/9 rate. Jimenez, to me, is a 3.40 ERA guy with 180+ Ks and a 1.27 WHIP. That’s mighty fine…young cannibals.

Matt Garza – Clearly, I have no idea what to say about Garza. I really thought he was going to break out last year and early signs pointed to that happening – however it never clicked. Now, in the National League, I thought things would go better, but not this good. Is he perfectly good at being bad? While that near-4.00 ERA looks pedestrian, his FIP is 1.18 and his xFIP is 1.97 – that’s amazing. He has a ridiculous 11.87 K/9 rate and hasn’t given up a homer. The second half of that sentence will change for the worse, but his .400 BABip and 60.4% strand rate will change for the better. So, who is Matt Garza, or at least what will his 2011 look like? I’m going with 200 Ks (that’s right), a 3.75 ERA and 1.25 WHIP. His swinging strike percentage and lack of contact has me impressed.

Carl Crawford – I was not alone in placing Crawford easily amongst top 10 on draft day, but I definitely defended that position the hardest. Let’s go through our checklist: he isn’t striking out more than normal, he isn’t walking that much less than normal, he has a smaller swinging strike percentage than normal and a higher contact rate than usual. His line drive percentages have gone down (part of a three-year trend) but it hasn’t shown up noticeably in a ton more ground balls. What’s more, he has a 3.2% HR/FB rate – that won’t continue. I think Crawford is good for at least 10 more HRs, 35 more steals and a good average going forward. I’m not at all worried.

Kelly Johnson – I liked Johnson coming into this year quite a bit and the power/speed combo has been nice (three HRs and four steals), however he is hitting just .173.  He has a .221 BABip (.314 over his career), and has been swinging/missing more and striking out more. It appears his .284 average of last year could be the high watermark for his career. Still, a .250 hitter with 18 HRs and 15 SBs from second base. I think you’d take that.

Nick Swisher – I’ve always been a Swisher fan. Coming off a career best average, he is posting a dismal .231 average. However, he has gotten his walk rate back to his double digit ways without striking out anymore. He is still hitting line drives and not hitting more ground balls. However he is hitting a few less fly balls – none of which are leaving the field of play (3.3% Hr/FB rate). I’m not really concerned – he’ll end up with a .250 average and the usual 20+ HRs.

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3 responses to this post.

  1. […] I’ve not let my love of Ubaldo Jimenez be hidden over the last several years (here, here, here, here). He was, perhaps, one of my greatest sleeper calls ever. But I had him as a top […]


  2. […] Swisher – I feel like the leader of the Swisher apology club. Thankfully, at the meeting this week, we were able to cite a small yet promising seven-day trend: […]


  3. […] Swisher – I feel like the leader of the Swisher apology club. Thankfully, at the meeting this week, we were able to cite a small yet promising seven-day trend: […]


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