Posts Tagged ‘andre ethier’

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.

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h2h Corner ~ I’m a Believer: May Edition

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Welcome to May’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 April performances we can believe in.

Still, believing in something is always difficult. These days, any hero seems vulnerable to money, the opposite sex, drugs, etc. Even numbers can lie as much as Tiger did with wannabe porn stars (too easy?).

But I’m here to tell you to “Don’t’ stop believin’!” We can look at fantasy baseball numbers and form an impression of what kind of player that person will be in the future.

“Then I saw her face, now I’m a believer/Not a trace of doubt in my mind.”

Ryan Braun can challenge to be the #1 fantasy hitter for the season.

Andre Ethier will remain a top 10 hitter for the balance of the year.

As much as I hate to admit it, Robinson Cano will end up the number one second baseman.

Kelly Johnson is not this year’s Aaron Hill.

Brett Gardner is playing over his head (hello .380 BAbip)…but will remain more valuable than Juan Pierre, Rajai Davis and Michael Bourn throughout 2010.

Orlando Hudson is quietly putting together a productive campaign from the second base position (he’s 10th in runs scored!).

Ty Wigginton is everything I’d thought he’d be when he came over to the Orioles, i.e. a .280+ hitter with upside to 25 HRs.

You better not sell low on Aramis and Alexei Ramirez – both start the year horrifically.

You can sell low on Grady Sizemore. Grady’s ladies have become hairy and ugly.

Troy Tulowitzki is going to pick it up to better heights soon – he performs poorly in March/April, picks it up in May and mashes throughout the rest of the season.

Mark Reynolds is way more valuable in h2h leagues than roto leagues.

Brian McCann is the reason you don’t reach for catchers (outside of Mauer) in the top 10 rounds. For additional evidence: only five catchers rank in the top 200 hitters (none over 148). Those five catchers (in order): Ivan Rodriguez (largely undrafted), Geovany Soto (mid- to late-round pick), Joe Mauer (returned to “power” norms?), Jorge Posada (injury risk) and Miguel Olivo (a one-time time-share backstop). The position is just fickle.

The shortstop position makes second base look as deep as the Grand Canyon. If you can buy Troy Tulowitzki low, please do so. Of the top 10 SS, one is Cliff Pennington, another is Rafael Furcal (DL) and another is Alex Gonzalez. Basically, 30 percent of the top producing shortstops wont be that way for long. This is why I had Jeter rated so high in the preseason and why you can’t give up on Alexei Ramirez.

You can’t sell fast enough on Kosuke Fukudome – he can’t hit once we get to summer.

Austin Kearns is now more useful than kernel corn.

You need to get on the Carlos Lee train. While it’s as late as Amtrak, it’ll eventually get to the station.

In 12-team leagues, you can drop Mark DeRosa, Carlos Beltran, Todd Helton, Alcides Escobar, Russell Martin, and JJ Hardy.

If Cameron Maybin can ever learn to get on base, he’ll be a star. With a .236 AVG and .302 OBP, he is tied for the 10th most runs and has stolen three bases.

Julio Borbon will steal 40 bases.

Starlin Castro has the best name since Castor Troy.

Pitchers remain a fickle bunch, and you should always draft a comparable National League pitcher over a comparable American League pitcher

I’d rather have a whole host of pitchers (including no-strike out Brad Penny) over Jake Peavy.

Roy Halladay would rather pitch to an “All-star” line-up comprised of every other National League East team than the Phillies line-up.

Zack Greinke would rather not be making the point that his season is making (that wins are meaningless in determining a pitcher’s worth).

Most aces you are worried about (Santana, Verlander, and Felix Hernandez) will be just fine. Still, the rope has gotten a little tighter on Wandy Rodriguez and Javier Vazquez – no one could fault you for selling on $0.50 on the dollar.

I knew I should have ranked Ubaldo Jimenez higher. (I swear).

Barry Zito is suddenly not Barry Zito circa 2002. Call me when he hooks another Hollywood hottie.

I’d be trading Francisco Liriano. The first time he’ll stay healthy over a full year will be the first time he’s done it. If he stays healthy, oh well, you got more value than what you paid for him (or where you drafted him). If you trade him, the risk is elsewhere. That’s better for you.

Phil Hughes is on his way to a bright career, any potential injuries notwithstanding, but I still prefer Phil Dunphy to Hughes.

Colby Lewis will end up top 10 in strike-outs this year.

You should be buying Cole Hamels. At some point his bad luck will turn into no or good luck. I call this the cooler principle.

Ricky Romero was drafted over Troy Tulowitzki for some reason.

Ryan Dempster continues to be an undervalued commodity – good Ks, not bad ratios, solid performer.

Relative unknown bullpen arms, Tim Stauffer and Kris Medlen, will provide some decent Ks as starters at some point this year.

Evan Meek, Matt Thornton, Fernando Rodney, and Alfredo Simon will end up with double digit saves.

Carlos Marmol will end up the top ranked closer at the end of the year.

FB101’s 411: Stick to your guns. Don’t stop believing, if you think Julio Borbon will steal 40, don’t give up.

All stats as of May 6.

h2h Corner ~ Keep, Trade or Drop: Andre Ethier, Hunter Pence, Ben Zobrist?

Ben Zobrist is quite the conundrum for fantasy owners. He seems to qualify everywhere, he hit 27 HRs last year, stole 17 bases, batted .297 and posted a .405 OBP. What’s more, that HR total wasn’t completely flukey, as he smacked 12 dingers in only 62 games in 2008, so there was a chance he could hit more given the opportunity. Of course, he only managed to hit 23 HRs and steal 20 bases in 1,335 minor league ABs – so there was a ton of reasons to doubt him. Zobrist will be 29 in May, so he is in the sweet spot of his prime. I think you can bank on decent AVEs and OBPs, 20 or so HRs and 15 SBs for the next couple of years. Continue reading

h2h Corner ~ Katy Perry All-Stars IV

Welcome to the latest installment of the weekly hot and cold fantasy trends update.

Speaking of cold, I can’t believe I’ve watched this much hockey in the last week, nor has Washington D.C. been this abuzz with hockey talk. Of course, all that came to a shattering halt last night when the Caps got demolished, at home, in a game seven, by the Pittsburgh Penguins. I deride hockey as much as the next guy. I rarely know what is going on, I can’t follow the puck, etc. But I was CAPtivated by the Caps (I went to college to write like this, can’t you tell?).

Anyway, yesterday’s game got me thinking about hype. Essentially, fantasy sports writers are ever-competing serial hypers. I try to tread lightly when I hype and only back ideas I completely believe in.

Before the season, I absolutely, deeply and dearly loved Adrian Gonzalez, Jason Bay and Javvy Vazquez. I’m happy with their achievements so far, because, well, it’s not enough for me if they are trying their hardest (do you hear me Dan Uggla?). On the other hand, I’ve deadpanned people like Chris Davis, Josh Beckett, etc. It’s nice to be right. Of course, I’ve hyped some losers in my day: Uggla, Bronson Arroyo, and Randy Johnson to name three.

Still, I’d like to think I was most diligent about AGON, Bay and Vazquez and I think I was. I guess what I’m saying is that yesterday’s Caps game made me thankful for the times when the product lives up to the hype. It is refreshing (like that Sprite commercial where the people jump into each other and turn into water like Spiderman’s hydro villain) when hype is fulfilled, like Lady Gaga’s follow-up to Just Dance, Poker Face.

But I digress, so let’s move on to things that matter to you, like who’s hot and likely unowned:

Jerry Hairston Jr. – Over the last week, Hairston (the one time Orioles phenom – I kid) received regular playing time and didn’t disappoint. He scored eight runs, hit two HRs, and stole two bases. Given his position eligibility (Hairston qualifies at second, shortstop and outfield in most leagues), Hairston could provide some real value this season. And, it’s not like he hasn’t put together productive seasons before. Just last year, while also playing in Cincinnati, Hairston hit .326 with 47 runs and 15 SBs in just 261 at bats. Hairston could be a sneaky source of runs and SBs. Hitting in the bandbox known as the Great American Ballpark certainly won’t hurt his numbers.

Adam Rosales – Speaking of the production benefits of playing in Cincinnati, Rosales scored six runs and bagged two HRs last week, while posting a .385 OBP. In 497 AAA at bats, Rosales hit 15 HRs, stole nine bases, and recorded a .306 AVE with a .358 OBP He is little old (26) for a prospect, but could provide some nice pop while Edwin Encarnacion is out.

Casey Kotchman – I’ve never liked Kotchman. Generally, I am not a fan of soft-hitting first basemen (Kotchman has never hit more than 14 HRs in a season). Still he managed to knock in 11 teammates last week, while hitting two HRs. These numbers are pretty streaky, but his season so far is in line with the 152 at bats he had with Atlanta in 2008. Kotchman is only 26, even though it seems like he has been around for a long time, so he should be entering his prime. He could hit mid-teens HRs and near 100 RBIs.

Todd Helton – For someone recently left for dead, Helton has had a remarkable season so far. Last week alone, he hit two HRs, while posting a .375 OBP. For the season, Todd Helton has hit .343 with four HRs and 20 RBIs – vintage Helton. Still, I can’t imagine this will continue. First, Helton was recently quoted – in talking about his troubled back – as saying “it’s still a battle, don’t get me wrong.” Second, his BABIP over the last 28 days is .389, last 14 days .405. His career BABIP is .336. Luck can continue, but typically doesn’t – expect a regression.

Brian Tallet – Tallet had a great game, albeit against the Oakland A’s, last week. He struck out seven in seven innings while allowing one run on two hits and two walks. For the year he has posted a 1.24 WHIP and struck out 29 batters in 36 IPs. Tallet is 31 and has been a reliever for the majority of his career. He was a second round draft pick in 2000 and has a career 3.71 ERA and 1.33 WHIP. You should keep your eye on him in case he continues posting a low WHIP and a good K-rate.

Manny Parra – Parra did post a 1.67 WHIP last week, though he had a nice 3.75 ERA. More importantly he struck out 13 batters over 12 innings. For the year, Parra has 36 Ks in 37.1 IPs. If you are looking for an upside starter, Parra, who is owned in 26 percent of Yahoo leagues, would be a solid bet.

D.J. Carrasco – Carrasco, the White Sox’ long reliever, pitched seven innings last week. In those innings he struck out nine batters, while posting a 2.57 ERA and 1.14 WHIP. Carrasco could ultimately take over Jose Contreras’ rotation spot, so, in deep leagues, he might be someone to keep on your radar.

THE FLIP SIDE (the supposed good guys who are stinking up the joint)

Time to move on to those cold salamanders that are likely owned in your league, yet have sucked lately. These are the players who have been ice cold, alright, alright, alright, alright, alright, alright, alright, alright.

James Shields – People have been hating on Shields lately – not sure why. Sure, last week, he had a 7.50 ERA and 1.83 WHIP, but at least he posted seven Ks. For the year, his WHIP is a very useful 1.28 and he has stuck out 30 batters. Shields is more than a match-up pitcher, though just barely. If you are close in ERA/WHIP in a given week and he is playing on the road, you might want to bench him. Shields has a career 3.28 ERA and 1.13 WHIP at home, while a 4.71 ERA and 1.29 WHIP away.

Armando Galarraga – Galarraga had a horrible week for a two-start pitcher. Specifically, he hurt your ratios badly (8.49 ERA and 1.54 WHIP). For the last month, Galarraga has a 5.29 ERA and 1.56 WHIP. The wheels could be coming off the Galarraga wagon. If you can sell at pre-season draft value, I’d encourage you to do that.

Grady Sizemore – Talk about a ratio category killer: Sizemore hit .160 last week with a .250 OBP. Not surprisingly, he managed to score only two runs while knocking in just one. For the season he is hitting just .232 and not really getting on base (.313 OBP). And, when he doesn’t get on base, he can’t steal. Still, Sizemore is seeing his pitches. If someone is shopping him, I’m buying.

Alexei Ramirez – It was not a good week for the Ramirezes (unless of course your first name was Hanley). Aramis hit the DL, Manny got suspended, and Alexei got one hit in ten at bats. I never liked Alexei (LINK), but he is playing much worse than even I thought he would: .212 AVE, .244 OBP, one HR, 11 RBIs and six SBs. The steals aren’t bad, but the rest is regrettable.

Andre Ethier – I wish they had a stat for with Manny and without. I’ll sort of buttonhook it. In the first half of 2008 (pre-Manny), Ethier hit .283 with a .351 OBP and .459 slugging percentage. In the second half, Ethier hit .335 with a .409 OBP and .583 SLG. In March/April of 2009, Ethier hit .306 with a .423 OBP and .553 SLG. Last week, Ethier hit .115 with a .207 OBP. Ethier clearly has talent, but, just as clearly, he misses Manny’s presence in the Dodger’s lineup.

Brandon Inge – Last week, Inge hit .176. Yet, he is owned in 90 percent of Yahoo leagues. Over the last month, Inge has hit .260. He did add four HRs, which is why you own him. Well actually, you own him because he has catcher eligibility. Expect a .260 hitter with moderate pop from here on.

Josh Beckett – Beckett has been a weekly member of the Katy Perry All-Stars. So far, he has looked bad (6.42 ERA and 1.77 WHIP). Still, he has struck out 41 batters in 40.2 IPs. Given the great 1:1 strikeout to inning ratio, I think you have to stick with him and hope he finds a way to bring his ERA and WHIP down. If given the opportunity, I’d be buying him right now — that K-rate is pretty spectacular. You can lose the ratio categories if you have high-K pitchers like Beckett.

Scott Kazmir According to Dave Cameron, the brilliant FanGraphs writer, “Scott Kazmir is broken.” Cameron finds that Kazmir lost his slider last year and, in so doing, “saw his GB% [groundball ratio] sink.” Kazmir did nothing last week (5.40 ERA, 2.20 WHIP, just two Ks) to alleviate these concerns. If you can find a buyer at near draft value, I’d pull the trigger.

David Ortiz – Ortiz managed a usable .364 OBP – that’s the good news. The bad news: .176 AVE, two runs, ZERO HRs and one RBI. Ortiz simply hasn’t been good in a long time. If someone’s buying low, I’m selling. People seem to think his bat speed looked great last Sunday – however, my little eye spied someone who was behind fastballs and “looked great” while he was fouling off change-ups. I’m not loving a power hitter who can’t yank the ball and is only UTIL eligible.

All stats are as of May 12.

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