Posts Tagged ‘Houston Astros’

Bottom of the Ninth: That Heath Crunch for @Razzball

Bottom of the Ninth: That Heath Crunch for Razzball: Check out a roto and fantasy baseball analysis of the bullpen and closer situations for the Pittsburgh Pirates, San Francisco Giants, Houston Astros, Minnesota Twins, Chicago White Sox, Los Angeles Dodgers, Miami Marlins and Washington Nationals.

No Lyin’: Jordan Lyles may be a 2012 Fantasy Baseball Sleeper for @theFantasyFix

No Lyin’: Jordan Lyles may be a 2012 Fantasy Baseball Sleeper for The Fantasy Fix: Looking at the ability of Jordan Lyles to limit walks and become a fantasy baseball and roto sleeper. 

Wandy Rodriguez: Houston, we have a Fantasy Baseball Sleeper for @TheFantasyFix

Wandy Rodriguez: Houston, we have a Fantasy Baseball Sleeper for The Fantasy Fix:

An article analyzing the 2012 fantasy baseball sleeper status of Houston Astros starting pitcher Wandy Rodriguez.

Baseball Daily Digest Radio with me & Joel Henard from 2.6

Baseball Daily Digest Radio with me & Joel Henard from 2.6:

We discussed Jeremy Guthrie, the Baltimore Orioles, Manny Ramirez, Jeff Francis, Freddie Freeman, Gaby Sanchez, Mike Stanton, Ike Davis, Paul Goldschmidt, Brandon Belt, Yonder Alonso, Anthony Rizzo, Mat Gamel, the Miami Marlins, Chicago White Sox, Houston Astros, baseball cards, Ken griffey Jr, fantasy baseball, dynasty leagues, Jorge Posada, Trevor Cahill, Gio Gonzalez, Andrew Bailey, Justin Verlander, Jaime Moyer, Prince Fielder, David Wright, Jose Reyes, Ryan Howard, Jay Bruce, Jason Heyward, Mike Trout and much more

h2h corner ~ Check You out on the Flip Side ~ Charlie Kerfeld

I feel like this entire card is an homage to a practical joke. While the grammar leaves one wanting, it’s pretty darn accurate. Kerfeld was absolutely a free spirit: when Jim Deshaies signed for $110,000 in 1987, Kerfeld demanded $110,037.37 and 37 boxes of orange Jell-O. His uniform was number 37.

Kerfeld, it is rumored, also always wore a Jetsons’ tee shirt because of the name of the dog in that particular cartoon. He hung out with Larry Anderson and Dave Smith in the bullpen while wearing Conehead heads…no talk of whether they played pong, drank Southern Comfort or ate bar-b-q.

A former first round pick in the June secondary draft of 1982, Kerfeld was a good reliever for exactly one season for the Astros. That happened to be 1986, which had to be the highlight of his life for so many reasons. He went 11-2 in 61 appearances, spanning 93.2 IPs. He walked a ton of batters (as he did his entire career), but made up for it with a good strand rate and BABIP.

The Astros happened to be a pretty darn good team in 1986 – good enough to win the NL West (back when the Astros were in the West division). If you don’t know, he gave, perhaps, the greatest drunken interview in the history of sports after they clinched: Kerfeld is a good ole boy, who drank a Busch on camera and got away with pouring a beer on Nolan Ryan (1:48 mark).

He pitched pretty well in the post-season that year, making three appearances and posting a 2.25 ERA, 0.75 WHIP and 4 K:BB rate in four innings. Unfortunately, he gave up the winning run on a Gary Carter single in the bottom of the 12th inning of game five. Two-time flip sider, Jesse Orosco got the win…go figure.

Kerfeld would battle regression, poor walk rates and calcium deposits and other injuries for the rest of his career. He was out of baseball after the 1990 season.

You might wonder what that good ole boy is up to now. Well, he’s special assistant to the general manager for the Philadelphia Phillies…go figure.

@h2h_corner on twitter:!/h2h_corner

h2h Corner ~ Don’t Look Back: J.R. Towles

“Don’t look back in anger, I heard you say”

From 2008 – 2010, J.R. Towles put up a .158/.247/.286 line with seven HRs in 275 plate appearances. Of course, he was a massive sleeper going into 2008 based on 44 plate appearances in 2007, during which he went .375/.432/.575.

That’s not exactly fair, as Towles had built a pretty good minor league resume, posting good averages and great on base percentages. Continue reading

h2h Corner ~ Knowing ADP – How To Win Your League Before It Starts: Hunter Pence

Hunter Pence – Current ADP 81; 21st OF – My Rank: 24th hitter; 11th OF

Collin Hager did a phenomenal job comparing Pence to Shin-Soo Choo. I want to do an equally awesome job comparing Pence to where he is going in drafts – and yes, I’ll play the dis-r-e-s-p-e-c-t card.

In his first three full years in the majors, Pence has averaged 25 HRs, 82 runs, 82 RBIs, and 14 SBs a year. He has also hit .278 over that span, but it is bogged down by a .269 average in 2008. He has hit .282 on the dot the last two years (also 25 HRs on the dot the last three).

Furthermore, Pence seems to be maturing as a base runner as he turns 28. After going a combined 25/46 in SB attempts in 2008 and 2009, he went 18/27 last year. Consequently, he’s a lock for over 15 SBs, with upside to 20.

Pence tied for 27th in the majors in runs scored last year, 28th in RBIs, 41st in HRs, 52nd in average and 39th in stolen bases. He just puts up consistent, top 50, numbers across the board, year in year out.

In the early rounds, you can’t miss on a pick and you need to accumulate a smorgasbord of statistics – that is Pence. I’m not sure why the likes of Curtis Granderson, BJ Upton, Alex Rios and several other guys are being selected well before him.

I’d happily grab Pence as a top tier #2 OF in the 6th round!

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


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 ~ Check You Out On the Flip Side: Scott Servais


I know you can’t assume a level of intelligence in your audience. However, what is the likelihood that people would think that Scott Servais and Scott Service are related, merely because their last names are pronounced the same?

It’d be like me explaining that Tom Green and Graham Greene, although they arent related, pronounce their surnames the same. No crap – there’s an e on the end of one! (Also in Greene’s homeland they pronounce it HER-b, because there’s a fucking ‘H’ in it!). See more Izzard here!

Service didn’t have much of a playing career (although it did span 11 seasons). He finished with a .245/.306/.375 line in 2,778 plate appearances. He showed promise in 1993 as a 26 year-old, smacking 11 HRs and posting a .244/.313/.415 line (it was before steroids were invented, so that’s legitimate power) in just 291 PAs. The following strike-shortened season saw him, mostly, replicate those power numbers (nine HRs) in 251 PAs.


After the strike, he’d hit 13 HRs in 304 PAs, but wouldn’t get full-time playing duties until he was shipped (along with Luis Gonzalez) to the Chicago Cubs for Rick Wilkins in 1995. He’d be in Chicago for parts of four years — and over his three full seasons with the club he averaged 428 PAs, eight HRs, and a .251/.311/.364.

Clearly, the highlight of his playing career was on May 25, 1992, when he singled and scored a run off his nemesis Scott Service. For his career, Servais would be 2/6 against Service with a walk, two Ks, and a sacrifice. It’s quite the Professor X.-Magneto battle.

But in reality, Servais’ sweeping success would come later. He is the director of player development for the Texas Rangers…who have seen a great farm system allow the major league squad superior flexibility (Neftali Feliz as a closer instead of starter, Justin Smoak got them Cliff Lee, Mitch Moreland stepped in, Nelson Cruz became good, Ian Kinsler developed, etc.).

As for Service, well, he’d finish with a 4.99 ERA, 1.48 WHIP, 8.9 K/9 rate and a 3.9 BB/9 rate. He was also once purchased by the Chunichi Dragons from the Montreal Expos and part of a trade involving Neon Deion Sanders. Outside of that, his best year would be 1998 (oddly enough, or not, the year he pitched the most innings). He threw 82.2 innings and recorded 95 Ks.

Other than the Japanese experience, his biggest baseball moment was probably being in the bullpen for the first game in Colorado Rockies history. Ahhhh, who am I kidding, it was clearly the 10 times he faced the diabolical Scott Servais.

Swear to god, I just realized, their forenames are pronounced the same, but, I just checked, and they’re not related!

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

boddicker backboddicker frontFinally, we get to a Baltimore Oriole. I have a number in my queue to write about (Jim Traber, Nick Markakis, Cal Ripken, etc.), but we’ll turn to Mike Boddicker first, a player who was name-dropped in the first Flip Side column – 47 columns ago.

This is another occupation I guessed completely wrong on (wait for the Ed Wojna post). I assumed a grain elevator operator was someone who manually operated the elevator that moves grain along the process (very technical analysis, I know). Apparently, my knowledge from Witness is not accurate, as a grain elevator operator “buys grain from farmers, either for cash or at a contracted price, and then sells futures contracts for the same quantity of grain, usually each day” (Wikipedia). So, basically, Mike Boddicker was the grain version of Billy Ray Valentine (who traded in orange juice), making him a maize salesman of sorts, not odd for someone who grew up in Iowa.

Of course, he’d leave that all behind in 1978 when the Orioles chose him in the 6th round of the draft. He’d make short work of the minor leagues and appear in the Bigs in 1980 at 22. He’d be up for good in 1983 at age 25. He enjoyed two awesome seasons to start his career, posting a 2.77 ERA and 1.08 WHIP in ’83 and a 2.79 ERA (which lead the league) and 1.14 WHIP in 1984. He averaged just 0.7 HRs per nine IPs, 220 innings and 124 Ks across those seasons.

Given his weak K-total, it isn’t surprising to see him vastly outperform his FIP in ’83 and ’84 (3.57 and 3.23, respectively). In addition, he benefited from pretty decent BAbips (.250 & .243) and strand rates (73.2% and 76.9%). He would never reach those heights of variance again. His best ERA after ’84 would be 3.36 in 1990.

Of course, he still had some juice from those early bouts of greatness in ’83 and ’84 – enough to help the Orioles deal Boddicker to the Boston Red Sox for Brady Anderson and Curt Schilling in 1990. That was not a good year for Red Sox trades, as they also dealt Jeff Bagwell for Larry Anderson. It is possible that the Sox traded two future Hall of Famers and one PED Hall of Famer for two fringy arms.

Unfortunately, the Orioles wouldn’t wait on Schilling to mature. In what can only be major karmic payback for the Frank Robinson trade, the Orioles would send Schilling, Pete Harnish and Steve Finley to the Houston Astros for Glenn Davis. So, in the matter of two years, the Astros somehow turned an average pitcher and decent first basemen (with a severely failing back) into two Hall of Famers and two long-term major league regulars…the early ’90s were not kind to the Orioles/Red Sox.

While Boddicker should be known as the guy who brought Anderson and Schilling to Baltimore, his career wasn’t devoid of achievement. He is tied with two others for the 38th most put-outs by a pitcher in MLB history with 245. Greg Maddux leads with 510. Not surprisingly, Boddicker also has the 5th best season in terms of most put-outs in MLB history — 49 — in 1984. As with the Orwell novel, it didn’t get much better than 1984 for Mike Boddicker.

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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: Aurelio Lopez

aurelio lopez back lopez front

I love Community – the show, not the sense of itSeñor Chang is one of my favorite characters, but really so are Jeff, Troy, Abed and Chevy Chase. Incidentally, I am from Chevy Chase, MD — it’s a rocking little town.

But enough about a deliciously hilarious show – seriously watch the paintball episode! I cant think of a better nickname for a relief pitcher beside Señor Smoke — with all the Lincecum-pot jokes, I’m surprised there hasn’t been a movement to nickname him Señor Smoke instead of (Jevon Kearse, er) the Freak…

Did Lopez really live up to his nickname? Probably not so much– he averaged 6.28 K/9 for his career and only struck out over 100 batters in one season. Sure he was a reliever, but you’d hope for a higher K-rate, at least. What he did do: throw a ton of innings — topping 115 IPs in four separate seasons, almost entirely in relief (he started one game across those four seasons).

Unfortunately, we’ll never really know whether he deserved the nickname because he wouldn’t become a full time player until he was 29 — so there is definitely a possibility his career could have been much more than it was. But he did accomplish some neat feats: he finished seventh in Cy Young voting in 1979 and was an All-star in 1983 – the year before he helped the Detroit Tigers get to and win the World Series. In that same world championship season, Lopez pitched 137.2 innings in relief — good enough for 32nd most all time.

However, before all that, in 1980 he won 13 games in relief, good enough to tie for the 29th most in a season in baseball history. He shares the spot with some immortal relievers like Al Hrabosky, Rollie Fingers and Goose Gossage.

Set aside the World Series and the records, Señor Smoke had a statue erected in his honor in his hometown of Tecamachalco, Puebla.

But – perhaps – the coolest thing about Lopez: the Detroit rock band Electric Six named their 2005 album, Señor Smoke in his honor, according to Wikipedia.

An eclectic nickname for an eclectic career!

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