Posts Tagged ‘oakland’

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).

______________

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).

________________________________________

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: Raul Mondesi/Ruben Sierra

mondesimondesi frontI thought I’d kick of “deck the halls (aka music)” week with a two-fer!

I am in awe of Mondesi’s info. First of all it is supremely awesome to step to the plate in any major league stadium. It must be infinitely more awesome to do so while your own music is playing. It’s like banging the hottest chick in the world on top of a billion dollars while your multi-platinum Barry White cover-CD is playing in the background (yes the one that Sade graciously sung back-up vocals for).

Any who, I kind of feel like I grew up with Mondesi a bit. I was 11 in 1993 and he was one of the first big rookies of my time. I kind of stopped following baseball intently when I hit college which is about when this card was printed. What people seem to have forgotten was how good Mondesi was with the Dodgers. Sure he flamed out in the AL East for the most part, but, for seven seasons in LA, Mondesi put up a .288/.334/.504 slash line. He also earned 21.3 WAR during his time out west.

Unfortunately for the Blue Jays and Yankees he would earn just 6.2 WAR combined with them over 4 years.

Still, Mondesi amassed some impressive numbers. He owns the 56th best slugging percentage in MLB history by a right hander — .485. He is tied with the great, yet somewhat forgotten, Joe Adcock.

sierra backNot to be outdone, six years before Mondesi’s 2002 Topps announced to the world that Raul is a better name then Enrique, Ruben Sierra released his second salsa CD. While that’s somewhat impressive (I mean Ron Artest has released like five million albums), what’s more astounding is that Sierra performed at Madison Square Garden. I would bet his performance was better than anything the WNBA has thrown out there (Lauren Jackson, Sue Bird notwithstanding).

sierra frontLike Mondesi, Sierra was also a hot prospect who put in some serious work for the club who first signed him. In his 10 years with the Texas Rangers, Sierra put up a .280/.323/.473 slash line with 180 HRs and 90 SBs. He was an 18.4 WAR player for them. While his early career resembled Justin Upton, Andruw Jones, and Adrian Beltre, when we look at the totality of it, his numbers look a lot more like Joe Carter and Bobby Bonilla – not bad, but eh.

So what happened? Well, in 1992, the Rangers traded him to spacious Oakland along with Bobby Witt and Jeff Russell for Jose Canseco. While Canseco is largely remembered as a flop with Texas, he was worth 3.4 WAR over three seasons and put up a .269/.363/.512 slash line. Meanwhile Sierra would stumble in his four years in Oakland (.253/.303./.435) and earn -1.7

Still, coming off the juice of his promise, the Athletics were able to turn Sierra into Danny Tartabul. In his first stint with the Yankees, Sierra was worth -1.4 WAR. After rejoining the Rangers in 2000 and posting a positive WAR (0.7) in 2001 for the first time since 1994, the Rangers would move Sierra to the Yankees again. This time it was for Marcus Thames and this time, again, Sierra would be worse than a replacement level player (-0.4 WAR).

In all, Sierra was traded four times and signed by eight different organizations. Outside of the Rangers, he was worse than a replacement level player for every single organization. I feel like there should have been a Mad TV lower expectations commercial about him.

Somewhat shockingly, given Sierra’s lack of non-musical value, he ended up with the 15th most at-bats by a switch-hitter and the ninth most doubles by a switch hitter (428). He also tied for 18th for the most seasons with a HR in MLB history. He hit a HR in 19 seasons, which was also done by Gary Sheffield, Craig Biggio, Barry Larkin, Gary Gaetti, Ken Griffey Sr., Alan Trammell, Willie Stargell, Enos Slaughter and Ernie Banks.

Lastly, let’s hope his salsa music helped soothe and relax him during his career as he ended up posting the 25th most career game-ending outs. Sierra ended a game 113 times (try finding a replacement player that can do that!), two more than Ricky Henderson.

Follow h2h Corner on Twitter (http://twitter.com/h2h_Corner)

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

h2h Corner ~ Red Light District, the Closer Carousel

People seem to devalue closers in h2h leagues, viewing them as one-category wonders that can’t be trusted to either retain a job or post consistent saves from week-to-week. While the latter half of that statement might be true, that doesn’t mean closers have less (or no) value.

It’s important to remember that there is always safety in numbers. Rather than getting a few good closers, stockpile a bunch of decent closers. There is no reason to be carrying Mariano Rivera and Jonathan Paplebon as your only closers. I’d much rather own George Sherrill, Matt Capps, Rafael Soriano, and Huston Street, plus fringe-relievers like JP Howell and Fernando Rodney – or you can substitute in Andrew Bailey, Leo Nunez, David Aardsma, CJ Wilson…you get the point. To break it down further, for a 25-man roster you need to have at the least three closers, but hopefully five or six depending on the roster spots available.

You can guarantee that your team will win at least one category by accumulating fringe closers. Doing so means you only need to worry about winning five other categories. With a cadre of “below average” closers, you’ll have one step up on the competition because your team only has to win 5 categories out of 9 to take a week, whereas your opponent has to take 6 out of 9. It’s that simple. Build a strong base of closers and an average team will be in a much better position to post a near .600 winning percentage.

You might be concerned about the ERA/WHIP ramifications of carrying crappy closers. I wouldn’t worry – you can pitch upwards of 70 IPs a week, so your starters will have more to say about your ratios than your motley crew of closers.

So, before your league mates figure this out, obtain cheap closers. Trade the Papelbons, Riveras, Bells, Nathans of the world for a combination of two lesser closers. In 5×5 h2h, there is really no such thing as a quality closer, only a quantity of closers.

Relievers you should be jumping on (in order):

Florida Marlins — If for some reason, an owner soured on Leo Nunez (and he is available in 77 percent of Yahoo! leagues), I’d be jumping on him right quick. Sure the Marlins haven’t had a save chance in 12 games, but the first person to get the opportunity was Nunez, not Dan Meyer. Also, according to the Miami Herald, there is no target date for Lindstrom’s return. If you have Meyer, I’d still holding onto him; however, if someone more attractive (like CJ Wilson) becomes available, go for it.

Texas Rangers – Frank Francisco has hit the DL for the 99th time this year. According to MLB.com’s T.R. Sullivan, Francisco has a mild case of pneumonia. Those rushing to grab CJ Wilson shouldn’t get too enamored with him as Francisco is eligible to come off the DL on Sunday. Still, Francisco hasn’t been the picture of health, so having CJ Wilson (especially if you are a Francisco owner) is a good insurance policy for those speculating for saves.

Los Angeles Dodgers – Much like with Francisco, Jonathan Broxton has a murky injury situation. Since Joe Torre said that Broxton’s big toe was something “that won’t be 100 percent anytime soon,” people went to the wire in droves to add Ramon Troncoso. Much to their chagrin, Broxton picked up back-to-back-to-back saves on July 18, 19 and 20. He pitched three innings, allowing one hit and two walks, while striking out six. Still, there is no telling when the big fella might reaggravate the toe. If I owned Broxton, I’d also pick up Troncoso (if he’s available). If you’re trolling for saves, you could do much worse (cough: Joe Beimel).

Oakland Athletics – Don’t fret Andrew Bailey owners. There isn’t a changing of the closer guard. Michael Wuertz received the save opportunity because Bailey had pitched three innings over the past three days. However, this does show that Wuertz is a very valuable middle reliever. He is on pace for 105 Ks and has posted a 2.78/1.01 ERA/WHIP. He’ll get the odd save chance as well, so you could do worse than to roster Wuertz – I mean he has two less saves than MacDougal and so many more Ks. Also, there are wisps from the San Francisco Chronicle that Bailey was injected with Synvisc recently in his left knee. Wuertz just got a little more appealing.

Washington Nationals – It wouldn’t be a closer carousel without mention of the Nationals. While MacDougal seems to be doing well (2.37 ERA and five saves), it is mostly an illusion. His ERA is shielded by three unearned runs and a healthy 1.68 WHIP (which keeps going up). Oh and don’t forget his atrocious 7:11 K to walk ratio. Lately, new manager Jim Riggleman has said that he will “[look] at a closer-by-committee with MacDougal, and Joe Beimel.” So, if you’re in a deep league you should grab Beimel if he is available. Still, don’t expect too many returns, as the Nats have only 26 wins, doing there best to make the Amazins look good.

Trade Bait: much like if there is a fluke injury, you should understand the chart below. If you’re in a deeper league, you should probably handcuff the following closers as the trade deadline approaches (the appropriate handcuff is listed below):

  1. George Sherrill (Jim Johnson)
  2. Matt Capps (John Grabow)
  3. Chad Qualls (Jon Rauch)
  4. Huston Street (Manny Corpas)
  5. Bobby Jenks (Octavio Dotel)
  6. Kerry Wood (Chris Perez)
  7. Heath Bell (Edward Mujicia)

If there is a fluke injury to a closer, please refer to the handy dandy closer chart below.

closers

All stats as of July 21.