Posts Tagged ‘Fantasy Baseball 101’

h2h Corner ~ Check You Out On the Flip Side: Mike Pagliarulo

Pagliarillo BackPagliarillo front

Before we had LeBron James wearing a Yankees cap to an Indians game, Wade Boggs and Johnny Damon switching teams and 2004, there was Mike Pagliarulo.

Pags—as I call him—was born in Medford, Massachusetts. So, it isn’t shocking that he liked to attend Celtics and Bruins games. Sure he was drafted by the Yankees in the sixth round in 1981, but that wasn’t enough to sway his love from the Celtics to the Knicks or Bruins to the Rangers – his kids must be ecstatic now as the Celtics are in relatively good shape, especially compared to the Knicks.

This card was printed 23 years ago. Times have changed. If this card were printed recently, there’d be a spotsnation chat about it immediately. He’d be booed lustily – by New Yorkers and Bostonians alike. It’d be pretty easy to boo Pagliarulo – he played the majority of his career at third base and posted a .349 slugging percentage. Further, he only got on base at a .277 clip. Frankly, it’s surprising he lasted 11 seasons.

What most surprises me: my memory of Pags is of a light hitting utility man, whereas, in reality, he earned his career in the 1986 and 1987 seasons during which he blasted 28 and 32 HRs, respectively.

Still, I wish Pags was playing in the early part of 2000 during the epic Boston-New York showdowns – it would have given Tim McCarver and Joe Buck additional things to be incredulous/pompous about.

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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 ~ Check You Out On the Flip Side: Mike Davis

mike davis back mike davisIt’s official, the Oakland Athletics had one bizarrely interesting team in 1987. Just wait until you see the Moose Haas and Carney Lansford posts.

Mike Davis was a third round pick in the 1977 draft. Three years later, at age 21, he would play 51 games in the big leagues. He would ultimately play a full season in 1983 and post a respectable .275/.322/.402 slash line. He’d perform poorly in ’84, but post a truly good season in 1985 – the kind of season any kid would take. He’d hit .287/.348/.484, smack 24 HRs and steal 24 bases. That’s a pretty good roto star right there – especially for 1985. He wouldn’t reach those heights again.

Still, he would be serviceable throughout the next two years. So, what lead him to aspire to have a real estate career? Davis, quite simply, had a job that millions and millions of people aspire to, but, realistically, have no chance. Yet his aspirations weren’t athletics, but selling houses or commercial land? Sure, there is money in real estate, but Davis made $3,660,000 in his career – no small lump, especially back in the ‘80s.

If you would ask his brother, Mark, I’m sure he’d say he aspired to be a full time ball player. Mark was a 12th round pick of the White Sox in 1986. He would make the majors in 1991 with the California Angels. He would play in three games, get two plate appearances and record outs both times. He would spend seven seasons in the minors, but those two ABs were the only ones he would get in the show.

Maybe Mike would open a real estate firm with Mark after their playing days. Mike could talk about playing in the postseason and dreaming of selling houses, while Mark could talk about those two at bats he got against major league pitching.

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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 ~ 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 ~ 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.

Again, I’m going to use this space to talk about a Reality TV show near and dear to my heart, Big Brother.

In case you missed it, Matt used the diamond power of veto last night to save himself and, de facto, evict Kathy. It was a long time coming for Kathy who was useless, boring and seemed dumb. At what point does “flying under the radar” turn into just plan ole poor performance. Anyway, Kathy deserved to go a few weeks ago.

Still, I was hoping Matt would put up Enzo. I use to like Enzo, but he has proven himself to be a craptastic player (ala Colby in Survivor All-stars). He hasn’t won or come close to winning anything. He talks like a fool (but, I must admit, is sometimes funny). I think Matt realizes that the brigade is a useless alliance for him and will switch to Britney, Ragan and Lane. It’d be a fierce battle between them and Hayden/Brendon/Enzo. Ultimately, Britney has the power this week and I think she nominates Brendon and Hayden. We shall see.

Either way, it’s been a great season, thanks mostly to crazy drama Queen Rachel who reminds me of Jenn from the Evil Dick season. Who do you think is going to win? I’ve still got my money on Lane, but Matt has proven to be intelligent about the game.

Anyway, you know the drill here. With time running out on the season, you need to make the strategic moves that put you over the top. So let’s delve into a bit of the performances over the past seven days.

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

Coco Crisp – Crisp remains owned in too few leagues (19% of Yahoo!). I’ve written about him a lot. So I’ll just leave you with how helpful his last week would have been to your team: sex runs, one HR, four RBIs, four SBs and a .407 AVG).

Yuniesky Betancourt – Betancourt would have to be as hot as he is (.381 AVG, two HRs over the last seven days; five HRs and a .282 AVG over the last 30) for me to mention him. He is simply not a trustworthy fantasy commodity. He doesn’t get on base (one walk this month) and doesn’t have much upside. In a super deep league, where every viable starter is snapped up, sure Betancourt could be owned. I’d feel sorry for that owner, though.

Wilson Betemit – I’ve talk about Betemit in the past and sort of like him. He isn’t getting a ton of playing time, but when he has played he’s produced (last seven days: .368 AVG, two HRs). He seems to destroy the ball at home, so, if you need a hitter pick-up during a Royals home stand, Betemit isn’t the worst option for deep leaguers.

Matt Tuiasosopo – I mostly included Tuiasosopo because his last name is so cool to say. It even sounds good in my internal monologue. While he has had a decent seven-day stretch (two HRs, seven RBIs and a .333 AVG), this will likely be the best seven-day stretch of his career. Given he qualifies at every IF position except SS and the OF, he could be a speculative add in Al-only leagues, but don’t expect anything.

Gregor Blanco – It must be the mid-80s with all the Royals making the All-star team. Blanco has been a secretive stolen base weapon over the past few weeks. Last week alone, he swiped four bases and batted .375. If you need steals, speedster Blanco would be a good ad.

Paul Janish – With Orlando Cabrera on the DL, Janish has been given ample playing time and, well, he hasn’t been bad. Over the last seven days, Janish hit .368, and added one HR and one steal. There isn’t much upside, but he won’t kill your batting and will score the occasional run. He’s certainly more attractive than Betancourt.

Brandon Inge – Inge came off the DL swinging (two HRs and a .273 AVG over the last seven days) and is capable of prodigious home run binges. He is only owned in nine percent of leagues, yet could provide some great power numbers down the stretch (especially RBIs if he bats behind the continually walkable Miguel Cabrera).

Bud Norris – Please, just pick Bud Norris up already. He is only six percent owned, but has killed it recently (14 IPs, two wins, 18 Ks, 2.57 ERA, and 0.71 WHIP). Grab him before your league mates do.

Bryan Bullington – Speaking of the Royals, because, apparently, Katy loves blue, Bullington, a one-time number one-overall pick a long time ago, secured his first career win in a spot start for the Royals. Over the last seven days, he pitched eight innings, didn’t allow a run and posted a 0.38 WHIP. He gets the White Sox tomorrow, which could be a good outing. If you need a starter and are in a deep league, you might as well give the Bouillabaisse a try.

Brandon Lyon & Wilton Lopez – Brandon Lyon is the de facto Astros closer. If you miss him, Wilton Lopez could pick up occasional saves. Lyon is owned in only 20% of leagues, Lopez is only three percent owned. Every save counts in a lot of leagues, don’t be shy about adding one of these guys.

Ross Ohlendorf – Ohlendorf has had a sneaky good season (3.90 ERA, 1.37 WHIP and 79 Ks in 108.1 IPs). He was even better over the last seven days (14.2 IPs, 12 Ks, 1.84 ERA and 0.82 WHIP). The biggest negative about Ohlendorf is that he doesn’t get to pitch against his own team. All kidding aside, he does have a minusculely lucky BAbip (.291) and his FIP is 4.43. Basically, he is benefiting from a lucky HR/FB rate (7.7%) which is about three points higher than his career norm. Still, as a low-cost option, Ohlendorf isn’t bad. He certainly won’t just fall off a cliff. I’d avoid starting him at homer-friendly parks though.

John Lannan – Don’t look know, but John Lannan is on a K-binge (last seven days: 12.1 IPs, 10 Ks, 2.92 ERA and 1.05). He has actually been fairly useful over his last 23.1 IPs (3.09 ERA, 1.20 WHIP). In addition, he has been a bit unlucky this year (.333 BAbip, 67.4% strand rate) and he has a FIP around 4.67. Still, he doesn’t have much upside, as he has never really posted a useful MLB K-rate.

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

Carl Pavano – The Pavano resurgence has been Alyssa Milano’ed (last week: two starts, seven Ks, a 6.57 ERA and 2.11 WHIP). He’s been downright horrible over his last 40 IPs (3.66 ERA and 1.58 WHIP). Sure he has a slightly lucky BAbip on the year (.285), but his FIP (3.72) isn’t much higher than his ERA (3.52). So what do we make of his last few miserable outings? I think they are just random poor occurrences. Over the last 28 days, Pavano has a .409 BAbip, over the last 14, a .431. If your trading deadline hasn’t passed, Pavano makes a good buy low. I wouldn’t worry about him going forward.

Fausto Carmona – It’s tough when a two-start pitcher takes it upon himself to royally screw you (7.36 ERA, 1.82 WHIP and just four Ks). Those Ks are the reason I don’t like pitchers like Carmona. There is no help when he struggles. At least Pavano (by no means a strike-out pitcher) secured seven punch-outs last week. Dr. Faustus is what he is this year, a guy with about a 4.00 ERA and risky WHIP who doesn’t K anyone. I’d be careful when I use him going forward.

Edinson Volquez – Weeks like the last one (5.06 ERA and 1.78 WHIP) highlight the reasons I told you to be weary of Volquez. While his to-date Ks are nice (35 in 34 IPs), I don’t think you can expect much relief in the ratios. In his short season to date, he has an 80.9% strand rate. Sure he has a .334 BAbip (which is unlucky), but his FIP is 5.68. I love his K upside. He is someone it’d be nice to have in the arsenal to throw out there if I wasn’t worried about my ERA/WHIP, but other than that, I don’t see Volquez as being particularly helpful.

Matt Kemp – Matt Kemp has been a top 80 player this year, which isn’t bad (unless you compare that to the top five some were predicting). Kemp, as his last seven days can attest (.087 AVG) has never got into a groove. He’ll still end up a 20/20 player, but, at this point, is a certain disappointment. So, what caused the 2010 pitfall? Well, his career BAbip is .349, while it rests at .305 this season. So there has been a bit of fluctuation. Of course, Kemp hasn’t been around forever, so we don’t know exactly what his BAbip performance will be. In addition, Kemp has lost his eye at the plate. He is on pace for about 30 more Ks this year than last. He is also getting caught stealing at a near 50% rate – far higher than anything we’ve seen from him. Looking into the crystal ball, he’ll be a top four round pick next year with some upside. It’s just a shame he didn’t continue his career arc. But, hey, players don’t (Nick Markakis)

Miguel Olivo – It’s borderline dumps time for Olivo. He has come back to earth after a scorching hot 60% of the season. Quite simply, we all knew this would happen as he has never been someone who could get on base 30% of the time, let alone hit .300. If there are more attractive options out there, feel free to bombs away. At this point, I’d like to have a backstop who didn’t destroy by AVG/OBP every week.

All stats as of noon on August 20, 2010

FB101’s 411: Be sure you know how to judge a hot streak. Crisp, Lyon, Lopez, Norris, Ohlendorf, and Blanco make good adds. Keep your eye on Inge, Lannan, Janish and Betemit. You are allowed to sort of give up on Miguel Olive.

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h2h Corner ~ Katy Perry (Hot ‘N’ Fantasy Baseball Cold) 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.

Ok, so maybe I’m showing my immaturity here, but why didn’t pop stars crash my senior prom? Sure, at that point, I was very anti-pop music, way more into folk/classic rock/DMB/Outkast, but it would have made for a good story if, like, Jewel showed up. Ok maybe not.

But I’m sure some Aussie high schools were thrilled when Katy “popped into [a] school dance taking place in her hotel in Australia when she heard the DJ playing her hit single California Gurls.”

I swear this has some value – other than reminding me of my smoking hot prom date who I ditched for a less attractive girl who would put out.

In fact, it has fantasy value because it is about time to think about the play-offs in h2h leagues. Depending on your categories, you need to start prioritizing what you can win and the weaknesses of your opponents. If you are a lower seed in the play-offs, start building your roster for your likely match-up. If you know steals might be hotly contested, go out and grab a Jose Tabata or Michael Brantley or Rajai Davis. If saves might be close, speculate widely on the Mets situation. Meanwhile, if you think you have a good shot at wins/Ks, make sure you do by adding some pitchers (Marc Rzepczynski, Bud Norris, etc.).

In short, start to take stock of your team and what categories you need to secure. Also, know your league tie-breaker (usually it’s ERA). If you can secure that category, you only need to win four out of the remaining nine to win a week. Following this method a lower-seeded team can crash the fantasy play-offs and end up in the championship.

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

Michael Brantley – Brantley continues his surge to relevance (last seven days: .375 AVG, seven runs, two SBs). I’ve covered him a good deal because I like speedy players. He’ll be a good add for most leagues, especially those in needs of steals.

Ryan Raburn – Raburn has become a budget Swiss army knife of sorts for the Detroit Tigers. Now qualifying at first and second base and the outfield and batting behind Miguel Cabrera, Raburn is getting an opportunity to impact multiple fantasy line-ups. Over the last seven days, Raburn blasted four HRs and hit .360. He will not continue that HR binge, but could provide very cheap power numbers from the second base position. Think of him as a healthy version of Mark Ellis, or, if you prefer, a poor man’s Aaron Hill.

David Murphy – With injuries surrounding the Rangers outfield, Murphy is getting more and more at bats, which have translated to delicious home-cooking (over the last seven days (with five home games) he hit .389 with six RBIs and three SBs). He is a safe start at home going forward.

Luke Scott – Luke’s father must have been Eric Camden from Seventh Heaven, because Luke absolutely demolishes pitching in Camden’s yard (get it?). Come on, it was a way to link to Jessica Biel several times. Anyway, over the last seven days, Scott batted .333 and added two HRs. For his career, Scott owns a .293/.374/.575 line when he plays in Baltimore. He has 44 HRs in just 173 games started there. Not bad. Start him when he is at home.

Brooks Conrad – It’s hard to find a silver lining in Chipper going down for the year. I’ve been a fan for awhile, probably because of his real name. On the bright side, we get to see scrappy Brooks Conrad play more. Over the last seven days, Conrad batted .316 and added two HRs. He won’t provide much pop, but those of you in NL-only leagues should take notice and scoop him up.

Omar Infante – Speaking of the Braves and low-power utility men, Infante has been a very useful fantasy commodity of late (over the last seven days he posted a .360 AVG and scored five runs). He qualifies all over the diamond (everywhere but first and catcher) and should score some runs.

Logan Morrison – Morrison had an impressive stretch over the last seven days. He hit .400 and scored seven runs. An inaugural member of the David Wooderson All-Stars, Morrison has shown great plate discipline throughout his career and could post decent ratios and a bunch of runs as long as he remains in the majors.

Jim Thome – You know what you get with Thome, an average in the .260-.270 range, but serious power potential. In fact, he blasted two HRs over the last seven days and is seeing increasing playing time with Justin Morneau out indefinitely. Thome is playing his way into 10-team mixed-league relevance right now.

Russell Branyan – This, apparently, is the meat of Katy’s order, the place where cheap power flourishes. Over the last seven days, Branyan hit two HRs. While he wont add many runs or RBIs (he doesn’t get on base that often and the rest of his line-up is pretty bad), for those in need of HRs, he should be your first pick-up.

Wade LeBlanc – I admit that I wrote off LeBlanc long ago. He is making me eat my words. Over the last seven days, LeBlanc worked 12.2 IPs, secured two victories, and posted 15 Ks and a 2.13 ERA /1.03 WHIP. Those numbers match-up well with his season to-date (although the Ks are a little on the high side). So far, he is certainly benefiting from the Padres stalwart bull pen (83.3% strand rate), but that only means that his ERA could jump a bit (to the 4.20-4.40 range). He remains a pretty safe pitcher who should be owned in more than 11 percent of leagues.

Kevin Correia – Correia has had an inverse Oreo-cookie season, with the middle being cruddy and the outside being delicious. Over the last seven days, Correia went 12.1 IPs, struck-out 12 and posted a 2.92 ERA and 0.89 WHIP. There isn’t anything to suggest Correia isn’t the pitcher he has been this year, so kick the tires and light the fires. He’ll be a useful match-ups play down the stretch.

Marc Rzepczynski – The best Russian block export since Ivan Drago (none of this is accurate), Rzepczynski has torn up the competition since coming back to the Bigs this season (last seven days: one start, seven IPs, one win, six Ks, no runs and a 0.29 WHIP). He gets Oakland up next, so pick him up before the hordes realize.

Bud Norris – Let it be known that I love Bud Norris and his K-potential. Norris won Ks singlehandedly for teams over the last seven days (seven IPs, 14 Ks, a 2.57 ERA and 0.86 WHIP). Up to this point, Norris had been criminally unlucky (.350 BAbip, 62.6 percent strand rate), yet has posted a ridiculously awesome 9.75 K/9 rate. If he is available (he is only 3 percent owned), I’d be adding him immediately.

Homer Bailey – The Reds rotation is about as curious as curious can be. There are a ton of arms floating out there with upside (Aaron Harang, Edinson Volquez, Travis Wood, etc.) which make it hard to see how the starts will be divvied up. Bailey, in his first start off the DL, did his best to muddy the waters (six IPs, a win, four Ks, no runs and a 0.50 WHIP).

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

Josh Beckett – It’s times like these that I’m happy I’ve never been a Josh Beckett fan (as a fantasy analyst – what he has done in the play-offs is very cool). Last week, in just one start, he posted a 10.80 ERA and 2.20 WHIP. Small sample size, say you? Well, he has pitched 76 IPs this year and has a 6.51 ERA and 1.54 WHIP. Sure there are some signs that he hasn’t had the luckiest of campaigns (.353 BAbip and 60.8% strand rate). But his Ks are down and his walks are up. Furthermore, he has a lousy ERA at home (4.60 in 342.2 IPs). Basically, I’d only trust him on the road against teams not named the Yankees or Rays. There is some reason for optimism that he isn’t this bad, but it’s fading with every horrible outing.

Vicente Padilla – Remember when I said Padilla was a match-ups play? Well, his last week was the reason why: two starts, 9.1 IPs, 11.57 ERA and 1.93 WHIP. He really isn’t as good as his numbers suggest (.256 BAbip), but he actually isn’t that much worse (3.96 ERA compared to 4.20 FIP). He is an upper echelon flotilla-play for the season.

Daisuke Matsuzaka – I find myself being a bigger Matsuzaka fan than most people. Sure his last seven days (12.1 IPs, 5.84 ERA and 1.46 WHIP) leave a horrible taste in your mouth, but at least he fanned 15 batters. At this point, I like him a lot more than someone like AJ Burnett. I think he can improve a bit and ends the season with a sub-4.00 ERA.

Chone Figgins – I am definitely a Figgins apologist (although only in OBP leagues). Still, there isn’t much defending I can do for a guy with a sub-.250 AVG. The 30 SBs are nice, but he scores no runs and doesn’t knock in any. His last week (.125 AVG) was indicative of his entire season. Unless you are focusing on SBs and ignoring power, there are better third or second base options out here.

Justin Upton – Man, it must be hot in the desert given how many times Upton fans (get it!?!?!?). He is three Ks away from last year’s total and well on his way to 190 Ks on the season. Anytime someone strikes out that much, his average will be volatile (to wit his last seven days: .043 AVG). Until he can keep his Ks in check (say around 125-145) he won’t be the talent that we all thought.

Lance Berkman – I don’t think Berkman ever thought he’d be dropped for someone like Bobby Parnell, but I did that in one league. There isn’t much to like about him since he joined the Yankees, especially his last seven days (.167 AVG). If you have a speculative play out there, given Berkman’s age and ailments, I think he is a very safe drop.

All stats as of noon, August 17.

FB101’s 411: Be sure you know how to judge a hot streak. Scott, Brantley, Murphy, Thome, Rzepczynski, LeBlanc and Correia and Norris make good ads. Keep your eye on Infante, Morrison, Branyan, Bailey, Raburn and Conrad. You are allowed to sort of give up on Lance Berkman and Chone Figgins.

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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. Continue reading