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).

Matt Joyce – It’s safe to say, I’ve been a Matt Joyce supporter (see: here & here). However, I can’t buy his current production: .367/.426/.608 with six bombs. Currently his isolated power* is in line with last year, so his power profile is somewhat legit (although his HR/FB is elevated over last season). In addition, his line drive percentage is about 10% higher than in 2010. In short, he is straight crushing. However, he isn’t making anymore contact than normal, is swinging and missing a tad more and walking less, yet that hasn’t seemed to affect him. You know why? Because nearly half of what he puts into play becomes a hit (he’s got a .418 BABip). I’m going to update my projections for Joyce a tad. I was thinking of him as a 15-17 HR guy with a .270 average. I think he is in the 19-21 HR range with a suitable .285 average. I don’t think he’ll play full time (cant hit lefties) and that’s not a bad thing. However, right now he’s been crushing a bevy of righties and you can sell on this somewhat continuing.

*“Isolated Power (ISO) is a measure of a hitter’s power. Or, to look at it another way, it measures how good a player is at hitting for extra bases.”

Melky Cabrera – A few years ago, Melky’s production (.269/.305/.461 with five jacks) would not have been all that astounding. However, two of his last three seasons have not been good at the plate with ridiculously bad on base percentages and no power/speed to make up for it. Melky, who is just 26, currently has the highest isolated power of his career – mostly due to him hitting slightly more fly balls and turning slightly more of those balls into homers. That said, he did have a similar HR/FB in 2009 (during which he socked 13 HRs in 154 games). So, what can you expect? I think 2009, i.e. a .270/.315/.413 line with 12 HRs. He doesn’t get on base enough to really impact runs or steals but he could still hit career highs with 70 runs and 11 SBs. He’s just so hot now, it’ll cool.

Jaime Garcia – Garcia, just 24, has been in baseball since 2006. In his first minor league season, he threw 145 innings. In 2007, he threw 103 innings. In 2008, he threw 122 innings. In 2009, he threw 27 innings. In 2010, he broke onto the scene and threw 163.1 innings with a special 2.70 ERA. Certainly he couldn’t improve upon that effort. Well, to date, he has a 1.89 ERA that isn’t all that lucky. Sure he has a .280 BABip, 74.7% strand rate, and miniscule HR/FB rate. But they aren’t out of whack with last season and he is getting even fewer line drives this year. But he can’t be this good, right? I don’t think so and I think there are two problems when it comes to Garcia. The first: no one is this good. Can he post a 2.90 ERA? Absolutely. Will he maintain his K-rate? Probably not. But it’ll be close to 8. I just worry about his innings. Until he actually throws 175, 190, 200 innings, color me skeptical that he can. If you don’t pair quantity (innings) with quality (his rates and ratios) the strike-outs and beneficial impacts on ERA/WHIP won’t be there as much as you think. If someone is buying based on Garcia being a 200-inning guy, I think you have to trade him.

Erick Aybar – Aybar, who has missed time this year, is comfortably within the top ten at his position. Currently, Aybar is hitting .339/.363/.475 with 10 steals. He stole a career high 22 bags last season, has hit over .300 once and has a career .321 OBP. Aybar just doesn’t walk, which isn’t a great quality in a guy who needs to steal. For his career, he walks 5% of the time. So far, in 2011, he is walking 4% of the time and striking out 15.3% of the time. He has about the same swinging strikes as he always has and isn’t making anymore contact. So what gives? Well, he has a 21.9% line drive rate. His career number is 17.3% and last season he had a 15.3% mark. Still, the 21.9% isn’t that much higher than his 2009. That season, Aybar hit .312/.353 yet stole just 14 bases (he was caught seven times). So far, Aybar is 10/10 in steals. That won’t continue and neither will his .384 average on balls in play. Aybar’s average and OBP will come down and with it his stolen base pace. I think he could be a .300 hitter, but without any walks he won’t get on base more than 34% of the time. He’ll also get caught stealing a bit, so he looks like a 25 steal guy to me. Suddenly, Aybar sounds a bit pedestrian, no?

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.

Adrian Beltre – If it weren’t for someone named Jose Bautista, Beltre would be the #1 third baseman in all the land. After batting .321 last season, his average is a more typical .258. Of course he has made up for that by enjoying the bigness of Texas, i.e. the long ball. He is already more than 1/3 of the way to last season’s homerun total. Certainly his new home ballpark is helping, but Fenway is no slouch. Currently, Beltre has a .245 isolated power, higher than last season’s (which was the second best mark of his career). He also has a higher HR/FB ratio and is hitting a lot more fly balls this season than in years past. Those are coming at the expense of line drives. His LD percentage is down 3.3% from last year and about the same off his career average. It sure looks like he is going after long balls. Quite simply, his HR pace is out of whack with virtually every season of his career. I think we’ll see similar power numbers to 2010, but with a .275 average. That isn’t bad at all. However, I think you can sell Beltre as a 35 HR guy with a chance to hit .290. If someone is paying that price, he’ll be worth dealing.

Jhonny Peralta – Peralta hit 24, 21 and 23 HRs in 2005, 2007 and 2008. In 2005 and 2008 his isolated power was close to .200. Right now, Peralta’s ISO is .214. He has also, somehow, at age 29 diminished his swinging strike percentage and K-rate. Currently he has a 91.1% contact rate on balls thrown out of the zone. I just can’t imagine that will continue. So, his average is going to come down to somewhere in the .270-.280 range. I also don’t think his power will continue at these levels but could see another 10-12 HRs for the season. He isn’t someone you have to move, but he isn’t a .305 hitter with 25 HRs.

James Shields – Shields is the 16th ranked player in all of fantasy baseball. He’s been incredibly impressive, sporting a nifty 2.08 ERA and 0.96 WHIP to go along with 51 Ks in 60.2 IPs. I also own Shields everywhere so it pains me to have to do this…but he just can’t continue at this rate. He is giving up less HRs this season than ever before, has a .245 BABip (it was .341 last year and .304 for his career) and has an 86.8% strand rate. It does seem like Rays pitchers are benefiting from some bullpen wizardry, but that number could come down 10% and still be high. He is getting more ground balls and fewer fly balls, which could be the result of him throwing his curveball more than ever. So there is some hope that he won’t get bitten as often by the HR bug. However, he’s going to end up being a 3.40-3.70 ERA, 1.22 WHIP guy. That’s very good and a great return on your investment, but if anyone thinks he can continue at this pace, they’d be paying you way too much.

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.

Edwin Jackson – Edwin Jackson at home: 3.12 ERA, 1.35 WHIP, 3.57 K:BB rate. Away: 5.76 ERA, 1.75 WHIP and 1.33 K:BB rate. It’s pretty valuable to know when a pitcher will suck and when he won’t.Jackson is that guy. Seems simple to me.

Chris Carpenter – Carpenter’s ERA is just barely under 5.00. In a full season, it has never been over 3.50. Carpenter hasn’t lost any velocity, but, for some reason, is throwing his curveball a lot less than he has recently. As a result, he is throwing his fastball more and it is getting hit hard. He has a 23.1% line drive rate, which would be the third highest of his career and a 12.7% HR/FB rate which would be his highest since 2004. It is a tad disconcerting that he isn’t throwing the curveball with as much frequency. If you look at his game log, you’ll realize that 5 of the 7 HRs he has given up have been on the road at places like Atlanta,Cincinnati andArizona. He’s been fine at home this season and pitched well at Los Angeles. I think he has the ability to right the ship and will remain a must start in home games. He might just be a bit tricky at Cincinnati or Chicago.

Aramis Ramirez – Ramirez has a .287 average and .347 OBP. Last year he went .241 and .294, yet added 25 bombs in 124 games. This year he has a .368 slugging percentage. In six of the last seasons, Ramirez had an ISO over .200. The one season he didn’t, it rested at .199. Right now he has a 1.9% HR/FB rate and 0.79 ISO – which is stupid bad. I think he has at least 15 more HRs in him and should hit a solid .280. With 3bs struggling all over the place, there is no reason to give up.

Alex Rodriguez – I thought AROD was going to pass the 3b crown this year to a bunch of guys who are hurt or not playing very well. I also started this sentence yesterday then got busy with puppy related activities. Since then, AROD, who is not washed up, hit his seventh and eighth home runs and jumped from the 160th (or so) ranked player to 83. Certainly this is not AROD in his prime. However 30 HRs and 100 RBIs are a given.

Carl Crawford – Things have not gone well for Crawford this season – he is walking less, striking out more, and his ISO is way down. His slash line (.208/.241/.283) looks like Mario Mendoza. He is also just 6/9 in SB attempts, after going 47/57 last year and 60/76 the year before. So far, he isn’t being pitched differently – still seeing the same amount of fastballs, sliders, curves, etc. He also isn’t swinging and missing more (and is actually below his career line) and his contact rate is normal. For some odd reason, he is swinging at balls inside the strike zone less than his career and almost every year aside from 2009. In 2009, Crawford hit .305 with a .342 BABip. In 2010, Crawford hit .307 with a .342 BABip. In 2011, Crawford has a .248 BABip. Crawford’s line drive rate is down from his career average by three percent; however it is in line with last season. While he is hitting more ground balls than typical, it isn’t by a lot and he has had several seasons during which he hit a higher percentage of balls on the ground. Right now, his HR/FB rate is the most out-of-whack batted ball ratio. I can’t believe Crawford turned into a bad fastball hitter because he signed a huge contract. I just can’t. Going forward, I look for at least 30 more steals and 10 more HRs and for him to raise his average to .270 at worst. I still believe.

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