Posts Tagged ‘as’

h2h Corner ~ Check You Out on the Flip Side: John Wasdin

Sometimes when I read the backs of these cards, I am like, WTF, what the what, the ladylike, just like me? Yeah I don’t get my brain sometimes either.

I’m not even real sure where to start with this. I’ll go ahead and get the obvious typo out of the way – I don’t think Wasdin “hel opposing hitters…” I’m guessing he held them, held them tight with his clarineting and saxaphoning.

But, let’s dig into the massive factual inaccuracies on the back of the card. I really believe the narrative on the back was written about someone else and they simply assigned it to Wasdin.

I can find no evidence that Wasdin was a classically trained saxophonist or clarinetist. In addition, it’s hard for Wasdin to be a mound Maestro in 1995 given he appeared in just 5 games (and 17.1 IPs) for the Athletics. He didn’t even pitch particularly well: 4.67 ERA and 6.10 FIP. Moreover, he didn’t record a single save in the majors until 1999 and only recorded seven in his major league career and just four in the minors. He might have ranked among the save leaders of those pitchers who appeared on June 11, 1999 – but that’s it.

The actual vignette had to be written about one of a select group: Randy Myers, Tom Henke, Heathcliff Slocumb, Todd Worrell, Roberto Hernandez or John Wettland – as they finished in the top 10 in saves and all had K rates near nine. I couldn’t find any references to Myers, Henke, Slocumb, Worrell or Hernandez. Then, I hit pay dirt (I mean you had to assume it was Wettland, given his first and last name, right?).

Googling John Wettland’s 1996 Topps card leads to this link: http://mikekenny.blogspot.com/2010/07/classic-card-of-week_08.html. So we’ve got a culprit.

Poor John Wasdin, not even good enough to have the anecdote on his rookie card right. And it’s not as if John Wasdin was some career journeyman…yet. He was the 25th overall pick in 1993 and progressed nicely in the minors: before the 1995 season, he was the #53 prospect. The following year he was the #84 prospect.

Unfortunately he could never pitch like Wettland and crisscrossed the country during a 12-year career. In 1997, Wasdin (and cash!) was traded to the Boston Red Sox for Jose Canseco. He played four years for the Red Sox, earned $1.5 million and was worth 1.7 WAR. He was bitten by the Green Monster a lot: 1.4 HR/9, leading to the nickname “Way Back Wasdin” a riff off Jerry Trupiano’s signature homerun call.

Having lived out his welcome in Boston (after two miserable post-season performances against the Indians in 1998 and 1999), Wasdin (along with Jeff Taglienti, Jeff Frye and Bran Rose) was shipped to the Colorado Rockies for Rolando Arrojo, Rich Croushore, Mike Lansing and cash.

He stumbled around from there, pitched a perfect game for the Nashville Sounds that only 750 people saw, and ended up in Japan.

It’s odd to think that the most memorable aspect* of Wasdin’s career is the erroneous back of a baseball card. I certainly never would have investigated his career had I not been initially stunned by the verbiage.

*As Bill Parker, who writes awesomely and uncommonly for the Platoon Advantagepoints out:  John Wasdin’s change-up in one of the late 90s version of Triple Play was randomly clocked at 120 MPHs. If I knew this, I forgot, if I didnt, I’m ashamed. 

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Don’t Look Back In Anger: Cliff Pennington & Nolan Reimold

For Razzball: Don’t Look Back In Anger: Cliff Pennington & Nolan Reimold http://razzball.com/dont-look-back-in-anger-cliff-pennington-nolan-reimold/

 

 

h2h Corner ~ Knowing ADP – How To Win Your League Before It Starts: Gio Gonzalez

Gio Gonzalez – Current ADP 178th; 49th SP – My Rank: 49th Pitcher; 42nd SP

I was on the Gio bandwagon hard last year and don’t see any real reason to jump off now.

Sure he benefited from an impressive A’s bullpen (78% strand rate) and had a little luck on balls put into play (.274 BABip – he did lower his line drive rate to 15.4%), but his FIP* was only 3.78 and his xFIP* rested at 4.18.

*From Fangraphs, Fielding Independent Pitching (FIP) measures what a player’s ERA should have looked like over a give time period, assuming that performance on balls in play and timing were league average. Expected Fielding Independent Pitching (xFIP) is a regressed version of FIP. It’s calculated exactly the same as FIP, except it replaces a pitcher’s homerun rate with the league-average rate (10.6% HR/FB) since pitcher homerun rates have been shown to be very unstable over time.

The real important thing about Gonzalez’s 2010 is that he posted a 7.4% HR/FB rate – something he had struggled to get into single digits throughout his professional career. The other surprising stat from his 2010: a 7.67 K/9 – a number much lower than most expected.

I think he will give up a handful more home runs, likely have his strand rate go down a tad (although the A’s bullpen again appears to be excellent) and post a BABip around .300. However, I think those will all be small regressions and he will get back to striking out a batter an inning.

Consequently, Gonzalez is a 4.00 ERA/1.35 WHIP guy with 200+ Ks. The more I think about it, the more he should be at least 10 spots higher and close in value to Jonathan Sanchez.

Sanchez, like Gonzalez, posted a banner 2010 year – Sanchez had a 9.54 K/9 rate, lowered his HR/FB rate to single digits and benefited from a fierce bullpen (79.5% strand rate) and a little luck on balls in play (.252 BABip). I see both guys putting up similar numbers – I do give the nod to Sanchez to post an ERA in the 3.75 range, but their WHIPs should be identical and both should hit around 210 Ks if they get to 200 IPs.

While I love Sanchez, I love Gonzalez and his price a little bit more.

Feel free to share your insights below or at my Twitter (@h2h_corner).

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Maximizing every drop of value in every pick is hugely important. Taking a player in the fifth round that you could just as easily have taken in the sixth round is a major mistake. To avoid this, you need to know all about Average Draft Position (ADP).

While no two drafts are identical, knowing where a player typically goes gives you a general idea of where he will go in your draft. That said, be sure to do homework on your league mates subjective tendencies. For example, if there are Red Sox fans, be sure to snag guys like Lester and Youkilis a bit earlier than you normally would. In addition, you should talk up your sleepers before the draft (discretely of course) to see if anyone is on to them. If you don’t, an opponent with an itchy trigger finger who hasn’t done his ADP homework might snag one of your sleepers a round before anyone else is typically taking him.

Now that you know WHY ADP is important, I want to show you HOW to exploit it by highlighting those players who are going too low compared to players with similar ADPs. You can grab an ADP report at Mock Draft Central.

Feel free to share your insights below or at my Twitter (@h2h_corner).

h2h Corner ~ Knowing ADP – How To Win Your League Before the Season Even Starts: Trevor Cahill

Trevor Cahill – Current ADP 92 – My Rank: 111th pitcher; 88th SP

I wanted to get in on this before the Twitter universe completely bashes anyone taking Cahill anywhere near the top 10 rounds – it’s a massive mistake.

There is no denying Cahill’s 2.97 ERA last season or his 1.11 WHIP – those will play and lead to excellence in tough categories to wrangle. However, he only posted a 5.4 K/9 rate, which lead to a paltry 118 Ks last season. Those Ks put him 73rd overall, behind such immortals as Jeremy Guthrie, Fausto Carmona, Jeff Neimann, Kevin Millwood, Joe Blanton, Jason Hammel, Anibal Sanchez, Barry Zito, etc. etc. etc.

In short, even in the best of times, Cahill isn’t a real impact arm. And believe me, 2010 was by far the best of times. Cahill had a 76.5% strand rate (a number that is usually around 70% and completely out of a pitcher’s control) and a .236 BABip (a number that a pitcher can control somewhat but also requires slick fielders behind him – the typical BABip is around .300).

Batters made contact with Cahill’s pitches 84.9% of the time – so I see little optimism for him improving his K-rate. Meaning we are looking, once again, at a guy who will, at most, strike out 130 batters. Let’s also suppose his strand rate normalizes a tad and use the BABip Bill James projects for Cahill (.260). Even with that low BABip, Cahill’s ERA will balloon to 3.67 and there is a chance he’ll be much worse.

Remember when I tried my darndest to warn people off Rick Porcello? Well, Cahill’s 2011 could be just as bad – seriously stay away.

Feel free to share your insights below or at my Twitter (@h2h_corner).

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Maximizing every drop of value in every pick is hugely important. Taking a player in the fifth round that you could just as easily have taken in the sixth round is a major mistake. To avoid this, you need to know all about Average Draft Position (ADP).

While no two drafts are identical, knowing where a player typically goes gives you a general idea of where he will go in your draft. That said, be sure to do homework on your league mates subjective tendencies. For example, if there are Red Sox fans, be sure to snag guys like Lester and Youkilis a bit earlier than you normally would. In addition, you should talk up your sleepers before the draft (discreetly of course) to see if anyone is on to them. If you don’t, an opponent with an itchy trigger finger who hasn’t done his ADP homework might snag one of your sleepers a round before anyone else is typically taking him.

Now that you know WHY ADP is important, I want to show you HOW to exploit it by highlighting those players who are going too low compared to players with similar ADPs. You can grab an ADP report at Mock Draft Central.

Feel free to share your insights below or at my Twitter (@h2h_corner).

h2h Corner ~ Check You Out On the Flip Side: Moose Haas

mosse haas back

moose haasThe 1987 Oakland Athletics had the most eclectic team judging from the back of their baseball cards. If you don’t believe me, continue to read on. I have at least five or six more in addition to Mike Davis and Carney Lansford to write about.

None, however, are more interesting than Moose Haas. Man, I’ve wanted to write about this one for so long. Basically, he is Jean-Claude Van Damme combined with Gob. Bluth and a dash of MacGyver. Of course, there is also the tiny fact that he goes by Moose (even though his real name is Bryan Edmund). He was also born in Baltimore, which is a city I love.

Unfortunately for the nickname-, karate-, magic- and locksmith-loving public, 1987 would be the last year in the majors for Haas. He ended with a pretty impressive 12-year career going 100-83 with a 4.01 ERA and 1.30 WHIP.

In reality, he could have used a bit more Bluth/MacGyver in him as he posted a miniscule 4.6 K/9 rate and a 1.96 K:BB rate. With a little more illusionary capabilities, Moose Haas could have been a household name.

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

h2h Corner ~ I’m a Believer: September Edition

h2h Corner ~ I’m a Believer: September Edition

Welcome to September’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:

While Ryan Braun ranks in the top 30 players this year, he has had a disappointing season. Who has been the biggest disappointment on your roster? Post below! Continue reading

h2h Corner ~ Keep, Trade or Drop: Gio Gonzalez, Bud Norris, Luke Hochevar?

By most accounts, Gio Gonzalez didn’t have a great 98 IPs last year (5.75 ERA and a 1.71 WHIP). Still he did rack up 109 Ks (9.9 K/9). So there was value there. He was, probably, the best source of strike-outs on every league’s waiver wire. It’s hard to fathom how someone who strikes out so many batters can be so bad when it comes to base runners allowed. Well, one reason for this would be his abnormally large BAbip (.363). When that corrects itself to the historical norm of around .300, his WHIP and ERA will come down markedly. Gonzalez has pretty much torched the minors (3.58 ERA, 1.26 WHIP and 783 Ks in 684 IPs), so there is some optimism in the young lefty, who won’t turn 25 until September 19. If Gonzalez can find his way to a rotation spot and a little luck, he might be a real bargain.

Much like Gonzalez, Luke Hochevar was probably one of the best sources of Ks on your waiver wire. He did strike out 106 batters in 143 IPs and his ratios weren’t that much different either: 6.55 ERA and 1.49 WHIP. Hochevar also struggled with a high BAbip (.323). Of course, it wasn’t as high as Gonzalez’, but still Hochevar will likely be better in 2010. Hochevar will be 27 on September 15, so he has about two years on Gonzalez. This makes Gonzalez a more likely fantasy keeper than Hochevar.

Bud Norris will be 25 in March and only has 55.2 Major League IPs to his name. In those innings, Norris compiled a 4.53 ERA and 1.51 WHIP, while striking out 54 batters (8.7 K/9). In so few innings, it’s not unlikely to see an uncommon BAbip (Norris’ was .318). Norris also has a pretty good track record in the minors: 3.67 ERA, 1.32 WHIP and 361 Ks in 340.2 IPs.

I think it’s pretty clear you should keep Gio Gonzalez. He is the youngest, is left-handed and has a tantalizing strike-out ability. I’d trade Bud Norris in this instance. I think you can easily make the argument that with a little seasoning, Norris could be a very cheap source of Ks for the next few years. Hochevar is simply too old to hold his ground in this competition. I do like him as a deep league draft filler or a $1 buy in auctions for his K-upside, but nothing more.

Keep: Gio Gonzalez
Trade: Bud Norris
Drop: Luke Hochevar

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Reading this column guarantees that you will achieve fabulous wealth and success in your fantasy baseball league. That’s right, you guessed it: it’s time to debate Keep Trade or Drop (KTD).

While there are tons of player rankings available, they are all for 2010 and nothing more. So, if you are drafting in a start-up keeper league, how do you decide who to take? For example, if they’re both on the board, do you go for tried and true Carl Crawford, or do you roll the dice (but only barely) and select the slightly less proven Justin Upton. Read enough of these columns and you might just get your answer.

The KTD series focuses solely on giving keeper league advice. It poses the question: if you are in a keeper league, which player would you rather keep, which would you rather trade and which would you be forced to drop. Rarely is the decision easy to make, but it might just decide whether you compete and win your championship, not just this year, but for years down the road as well. It will also help you make a snap decision when three similar players are on the board and the clock is ticking.

If you want other KTDs, please let me know. Also, feel free to share your insights below or at my Twitter (@h2h_corner)/Facebook pages.