Posts Tagged ‘Blue Jays’

Bottom of the Ninth: Introducing the BS Meter for @Razzball

Bottom of the Ninth: Introducing the BS Meter for Razzball: http://razzball.com/bottom-of-the-ninth-introducing-the-bs-meter/. A historical look at blown saves and a run down of the closing positions for the White Sox, Cubs, Nationals, Indians, Orioles, Red Sox, Cardinals, Blue Jays, Mets, Royals and more! It includes roto and fantasy baseball analysis.

h2h Corner ~ Check You out on the Flip Side: John McDonald

I really don’t want to drag McDonald through the mud…but the person who wrote the back of this card must have about the loosest grasp of the game of baseball as anyone.

Since when does a pivotal base runner steal just six bases? If your previous career high was 3 stolen bases two years ago, saying he established a career high is meaningless. Rickey Henderson or Tim Raines establishing a career high, now that’s back of card worthy.

Similarly, two years before this card was printed McDonald accumulated 14 RBIs. It’s just not interesting (or maybe in that fact that it is so uninteresting it has become interesting) that he beat that total by two.

The author did get something right – it looks like McDonald was good defensively in 2005. He had the third best UZR of his career, so there’s that.

In actuality, 2005 was McDonald’s best season, but not because he stole six bases or knocked in 16 guys. No sir. It was the only time his average on balls in play was above .290 (his career number is .267). It’s really amazing that he has stuck around for 13 seasons. I can’t imagine the author of the back of this card lasted that long.

Still, his career isn’t without note. In 2007, he was voted the most popular Blue Jay (beating Roy Halladay). He is often known as the “Prime Minister of Defense” which, apparently, is a play on the first prime minister of Canada (yeah I thought they just let those Mounties run the country also).

But, most notably, McDonald is one of two players in major league history, according to Wikipedia, to be traded for himself.

Of course the most momentous trade of McDonald’s career would come in 2011, when the Blue Jays shipped him and Aaron Hill to Arizona for Kelly Johnson. The desert wasn’t kind to McDonald who batted just .169/.222/.203 for his new team, but he’s been average on defense!

As a glove man, he’s fantastic. As a baseball player, he’s better than Willie Bloomquist.

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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.

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

Austin Jackson – Action Jackson (Ajax for short) over the last seven days flashed 2010’s brilliance: 11/29 with a home, a steal and seven RBIs. That brought his yearly RBI total to…16.  But no one owns him for those numbers. To date,Jackson is just 4/6 in SB attempts, after going 27/33 last season. Clearly his speed pace is way down, mostly do to his complete inability to get on base (.227 average, .284 OBP). Not surprisingly, his .396 BABip last year is being replaced by a somewhat more human .327. A large portion of that has to do with more ground and fly balls and less line drives. He is being pitched roughly the same as last year and isn’t swinging and missing more or making demonstrably less contact. Is the last seven days a sign of resurgence? Sort of, I think. He’s not this bad of a hitter; he’ll get to .260 with his typical seven percent walk rate (i.e., .315 OBP). He’ll get 22-25 steals. In a lot of leagues, that is useful.

Continue reading

h2h Corner ~ Knowing ADP – How To Win Your League Before It Starts: Brett Cecil

Brett Cecil – Current ADP Not Ranked; 105th+? SP – My Rank: 77th Pitcher; 62nd SP

Cecil made an inauspicious debut in 2009 with the Toronto Blue Jays, posting a 5.30 ERA and not showing the 9+ K/9 rate he flashed in his minor league career. Still, he was beset by a .338 BABip (it was never higher than .313 in the minors) and a 74% strand rate – oh and it was only 93 innings. So his xFIP was 4.68.

He followed up his 2009 with 172.2 innings in the majors in 2010. His BABip was .293, he struck out 6.1 batters per nine innings and his strand rate was right at 70%. So he had a 4.22 ERA and 4.32 FIP.

Cecil, only 24, seems ready to take a step forward in 2011. He lowered his line drive and HR/FB percentage last year. He also increased the amount of times batters swung at pitches outside the zone, lowered his contact rate and increased his swinging strike percentage.

In short, I see Cecil incredibly capable of throwing up an ERA that hovers around 4.00 +/- .15. I think he’ll continue to miss more bats and see his K-rate improve to around 7. I’ll give him 175 innings, so good for 140 Ks or so with a bit of upside. If he can maintain a walk rate under three free passes per nine innings, we’re looking at a WHIP between 1.30-1.35.

I can’t imagine his numbers will be any worse than someone like Carl Pavano, Mike Pelfrey, and others. He could even outperform the likes of Wade Davis, Trevor Cahill and Tim Hudson. Certainly, if he is going undrafted in a lot of leagues, he’ll provide phenomenal value.

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: Aaron Hill

Aaron Hill – Current ADP 163 – My Rank: 108th Hitter; 15th Second baseman

There was really no way Hill could replicate his impressive 2009 campaign. Coming off a concussion and completely under the radar, Hill posted a .286/.330/.499 line with 36 HRs. His HR/FB% sat at 14.9% — by far the highest he had ever posted.

So, what happened in 2010? Well his line drive percentage plummeted (from a career mark of 18.5% to 10.6%), his HR/FB% came back to earth at 10.8% and his average on balls in play (.198) was about as lucky as the cooler.

Still, Aaron Hill is more the 2009 version than the 2010 version – but how much more is the question. If you average out the two seasons, you get a guy with 31 HRs and a .250/.304/.453 line. That strikes me as a tad low on the ratio side of things, but a smidge high on the gross power number.

Unfortunately, I’d think you’d rather have a .250 hitting second basemen with 30+ HRs, then the .260 hitter with just 20-25 HRs that I think Hill will be in 2011. Basically, his slash line will come back some, but I don’t see him coming all that close to 30 HRs. In addition, given his poor OBP, he likely won’t come near the 100 runs he scored in 2009.

Aaron Hill.2011 looks like a 25 HR guy with 70 Runs/RBIs and a .260 average. That’s not useless, but I’m probably not taking him in the 16th round or so – he strikes me as more of a 20th round type of value.

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: Fred Lewis

Fred lewis backWhen you compare the info from the older cards to the newer cards, you see a natural progression. There seems to be more professionalism, better information and a subtle sense of “stat-geek” influences with the new cards. Of course, in today’s modern world it is much easier to edit things and gather information.

Still, I like the neatness of the Fred Lewis card…the card calls his career highlights “unique” because they are – they aren’t “great” or anything he really controls, just unique. The factoids are beautifully odd: Lewis hit safely in his first three at bats, his first homer was part of a cycle, his next two dingers were grand slams, and he stole home twice (the coolest thing besides flying jets).

This card is part of the 2010 Series I, which means it doesn’t include the tidbit that on April 15 he was traded to the Blue Jays for cash/player to be named. Clearly the Giants were willing to give up on the 29-year-old outfielder who had been a second round selection in 2002. It’s not exactly clear why. Set aside the fact that the Giants were not bursting with hitting talent, Lewis managed a useable (especially in the NL) slash line (.277/.355/.420) over 1,528 plate appearances. Not surprisingly, Lewis would post a .262/.332/.414 line in the AL. Given the harder competition it makes sense that he’d hit a bit worse in the harder league.

However, the bizarre thing about this is the decision to trade Lewis for, essentially, nothing. He had done all those cool things — stole home, hit grand slams, hit for the cycle and was decidedly useful. The Giants would use Aaron Rowand (331 ABs), Nate Schierholtz (227 ABs) and an assortment of other players in a spot that Lewis could have manned easily. Sure Lewis earned .8 WAR this year, but Rowand earned a negative WAR and Schierholtz earned just .2 WAR.

Maybe I’m a sucker for players who act like Benny “the Jet” Rodriguez, but I found it incredibly odd the way the Giants handled Lewis this year. At the very least, Lewis has had one of the most unique careers of any baseball player — and that is saying something.

Fred lewis front

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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 ~ 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.

I might have been a little late to the Twitter party, and might still think it is kind-of-sort-of stupid, but there is no denying the utility of the thing. People (hotties), like Katy Perry and Eliza Dushku have active and interesting Twitter handles. In fact, Katy Perry “used Twitter to announce [her] album release” yesterday morning.

Quite simply, you learn stuff on Twitter before others who look to mainstream media outlets. You don’t even have to take part, just think of it as your sports news fix. It’s where I learned Brandon Lyon was the latest Houston closer, that AROD was going on the DL, that Joe Nathan was out for the year, that Favre was retiring and then unretiring, that Sidney Rice just had surgery, etc.. Really, you learn news there before your league mates. All you have to do is get a generic handle and follow me (https://twitter.com/h2h_Corner). I pass along all fantasy baseball and football information I can.

Ok, that was completely self-serving – well somewhat, at least. Anyway, what I want to do with the rest of the column is pass along some players who will help you get into the play-offs and dominate in head-to-head leagues.  As always, if there is a player I missed that you have a question about, post a comment (or hit me up on Twitter).

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

Omar Infante – The great Rob Neyer outlines a case where Infante might win the batting title. In so doing, Infante might give fantasy owners a similar stretch as Freddy Sanchez did in 2006. Certainly Infante’s last seven days (.452 AVG, eight runs and three HRs) pour gasoline on the fire. Still, there is nothing in the 28-year-old’s career to suggest he is anything other than a light hitting utility player capable, but not assured, of batting around .300. Enjoy the surge while it lasts, but don’t count on it.

Lyle Overbay – Overbay has been on an RBI bender over the last seven days (he has 10 of them!). Still, the writing is on the wall and it is pretty clear Overbay is toward the end of his career. He does get great opportunities for as long as he mans first base for the Blue Jays, but he might not get consistent playing time down the stretch. If he has some decent match-ups in a given week, feel free to roll with him, otherwise, unless you are in dire need of RBIs, feel free to ignore the Bay.

Gregor Blanco and Wilson Betemit – See last week’s Royals binge. Not much else to say here, except Blanco keeps swiping bags Willie Mays Hayes-style and Betemit keeps hitting ropes like I thought he would back in 2003.

Gaby Sanchez – Early in the season, I predicted Sanchez would approach 20 HRs and be as valuable as James Loney. (I also linked to awesome photos of Katy Perry, Eliza Dushku, Rachel Billson and Allison Brie – different links than those). Well technically Sanchez is ranked higher and has hit more HRs and posted a better average. Seven-day stretches like Sanchez had recently had (two HRs, nine RBIs and a .333 AVG) make him a far better option than Loney from now until the end of the year.

Brandon Inge – recently, I tweeted with @fakebaseball (a tremendous follow for any baseball fan) about possible AROD replacements. I think a decent alternative is Inge, who has been smacking the ball around since coming off the DL (last seven days: .429 AVG, five runs and six RBIs). He will never bat that high, but has the potential to hit some HRs and scoop up some Miguel Cabreras.

Roger Bernadina – Did you know Roger Bernadina and James Loney have the same number of HRs (eight) this season? Crazy eh? Well Bernadina is trying his best to get your attention – over the last seven days, he stole two bases, hit one HR and scored four runs. He has a couple of 40+ steal seasons in the minors, which makes him an attractive free agent addition from the waiver wire for those in the need of speed.

Josh Bell – It’s always fun for me when I get to talk about young Orioles with promise. It’s even more fun to watch a young blue-chip prospect smack two HRs off of Cliff Lee. In fact, over the last seven days, Bell has the two HRs, five RBIs and a .333 AVG. Bell, a switch-hitter, hasn’t really flashed much power from the right side, so he shouldn’t be used against lefty starters. Still, if you’re in a deep league and are chasing some upside, Bell is a decent add at third base.

Armando Galarraga – Galarraga isn’t my favorite kind of pitcher (just 5.8 K/9), but he will get some starts against the most woeful line-ups the AL has to offer (Kansas City and Cleveland). He should be a pretty safe deploy in those outings (over the last seven days, he started against Cleveland and went seven IPs without allowing a run, struck out eight batters and posted a 0.43 WHIP). He gets Kansas City today.

Rich Harden – Don’t blink, or you’ll miss Rich Harden’s latest attempt to stay off the disabled list. In his first start back, Harden went 6.2 no-run innings and posted a 0.75 WHIP. He also fanned six batters. Harden is always a good type to have on your bench in case you are losing ratios and trying to make a run at Ks. He’ll hurt your WHIP, typically, but the Ks will, generally, be there.

Joe Blanton – Blanton could not have found his groove any faster for the Phillies. Over the last seven days, in 13.1 IPs, Blanton struck out 16 batters and posted a 2.02 ERA and 1.05 WHIP. He has been successful in the past and has been pretty unlucky this year (.336 BAbip). He actually has a FIP of 4.28 – there might be far more good outings down the stretch than bad.

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

Jered Weaver – Jered Weaver always reminds me of three things: The Scout, the Great Earl Weaver and this scene. His last seven days must have reminded owners of a nightmare however (11 IPs, seven Ks and an 8.18 ERA and 1.64 WHIP). While his K/9 rate has clearly spiked this season (9.78 compared to 7.82 for his career), there really aren’t any underlying statistics to say his performance is absurdly lucky. His FIP (3.31) is right in line with his ERA (3.21), his BAbip is right around .300 and he has a slightly lucky strand rate (75.9%). Basically he had a couple of rough road outings and should be fine going forward.

Barry Zito – I must have mentioned a dozen times that Zito was prime for a fall. So shame on you if you were stuck with him over the last seven days (8.2 IPs, three Ks, 9.35 ERA and 2.08 WHIP). His K/9 rate has actually dropped from 7.22 last year to 6.57 this year. In addition he has a .282 BAbip and a 76.1% strand rate. He’s been a tad lucky which is why his FIP (4.13) is a decent amount higher than his ERA (3.75). All of this is by way of saying that you should be very careful with the way you use him going forward.

Tim Hudson – It appears some of Tim Hudson’s luck has run out (last seven days: 13 IPs, seven Ks, a 4.15 ERA and 1.38 WHIP). Quite frankly, Hudson’s ratios have been incredibly lucky so far this season. He has a .239 BAbip and 83.5% strand rate. In fact his FIP (3.89) is 1.6 points higher than his ERA (2.28). While Hudson is clearly not a sub-3.00 ERA pitcher, he is someone who can pitch in the 3.50-4.00 range and win some ball games – just be careful when he faces some of the more imposing line-ups in the NL.

Adam Lind – Did Jose Bautista somehow zap all of Adam Lind’s and Aaron Hill’s (more on him below) power? No one really thought Lind would repeat last season’s exploits, but he seemed a lock for 25+ HRs. Unfortunately, he has continued his miserably unsuccessful season over the last seven days (.067 AVG). At this point, if you have held onto him (he is 69% owned), it might be time to test the free agent pool. Just go with the latest hot hand – it’ll be much more worth your time than Lind.

Aaron Hill – Yucky, Aaron Hill’s 2010 campaign has been one to forget, yet people are still using him (76% owned) through the rough stretches (.053 AVG over the last seven days). Sure, second base is deep, but Omar Infante does qualify there. At the least, Infante won’t prohibit you from competing in AVG from week-to-week.

All stats as of noon on August 24, 2010.

FB101’s 411: Be sure you know how to judge a hot streak. Omar Infante, Gaby Sanchez, Gregor Blanco, Joe Blanton, and Rich Harden make good adds. Keep your eye on Josh Bell, Armando Galarraga, Roger Bernadina, Brandon Inge, and Wilson Betemit. You are allowed to sort of give up on Adam Lind and Aaron Hill.

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h2h Corner ~ Team Profile: Toronto Blue Jays

The Toronto Blue Jays have scored more runs than the Rays (and every other American League team not nicknamed the Bronx Bombers). The Blue Jays have the most extra base hits – 35 more than the Red Sox, who have the second most. The Blue Jays have 16 more HRs than the second place team (also the Red Sox). The Blue Jays have the most RBIs. While the average (fourth to last) and OBP (third to last) aren’t good, they have been four category dominators. Continue reading

h2h Corner ~ Jason Frasor Controls the Closer Carousel

Strike this is not all that surprising: Jason Frasor has been named the closer of the Blue Jays. There has been some speculation that Scott Downs or Kevin Gregg would take over duties or at least form the scariest three-headed closing hydra ever. But, alas, Cito Gaston has shown some intelligence and picked his best reliever (whether he should be used only in closing situations is a matter of another debate). Continue reading

h2h Corner ~ Keep, Trade or Drop: Travis Snider, Elijah Dukes, Garrett Jones?

It’s become scary how many baseball players are now younger than me. That’s no different for Travis Snider, who just turned 22. Snider has only had 101 major league games and 356 plate appearances, so it is a bit hard to judge what kind of pro he will be. Still, if we project out his career (so far) over 162 games, he averages about 18 HRs. That’s not bad for a 22-year old. The real exciting thing about Travis Snider is his minor league track record: 1,506 Minor League ABs resulting in a .304/.382/.533 (AVE/OBP/SLG). Snider does strike-out a lot, so slumps will be common. However, when he is hot, he has the potential to put up monster power numbers as soon as this year. For someone you can get later in drafts, he is a sneaky 25+ HR candidate. Continue reading

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