Posts Tagged ‘Orioles’

h2h Corner ~ Opening Day(night)…thank god – or An Ode on Opening Day

It sure didn’t feel like Opening Day today. Usually the build up is akin to Christmas morning. That wasn’t the case today. Maybe I had done a lot of prep work, maybe it was how I awoke (a tongue in my ear and paw on my check at 6:03 – that’s how my puppy monster signals it’s time to go to the dog park). Continue reading

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

Mark Reynolds– Current ADP 129 – My Rank: 150th hitter; 22nd 3B

This one via Twitter and my co-host @JoelHenard.

For a devoted Orioles fan, I sure am down on their new acquisition. After posting a massive year in 2009, Reynolds decided to make things harder on himself by becoming the right-handed National League version of Carlos Pena (now Pena is in the NL and Reynolds the AL, odd). While the 32 HRs are not bad (it was the second most by a third basemen), he stole 17 less bases and hit just .198 in 2010.

While his walk rate went up a smidge to a career high at 13.9%, his K-rate somehow found a way to increase about four percent. Basically, 2009 and 2010 were polar opposite seasons:

  • 2009 BABip: .338; 2010: .257
  • 2009 Line Drive percentage: 17.4; 2010: 13.3
  • 2009 Fly Ball percentage: 47.3; 2010: 54.9
  • 2009 HR/FB: 26%; 2010: 19.9%

In short, everything that went into making Reynolds a monster in 2009 turned him into a lamb in 2010.

Thankfully, we can take the middle ground here. I think he is basically a .240 AVG, 35 HRs, 10 SBs player with a .335 OBP and .492 SLG. For what it’s worth, Bill James has him at .233/.337/.490 with 35 HRs and nine SBs.

Clearly he is worth more than a Carlos Pena type given his position and speed – however I do worry about his transition to a tougher league and environment. If he maintains his current ADP, I’m not getting him in any league and I’m ok with that.

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: Rance Mulliniks

mullinkis backmullinkis frI feel like I am incredibly qualified to comment on the back of this card. See, my full name is Albert Leroy Lang III.

The name Albert stands out…and not in a good way like the name Dylan (stupid 90210) does. Furthermore, with a middle name like Leroy (even if it means ‘the King’ – and I do nominate we call LeBron LeBroy) there isn’t much to fall back on. So, for most of my life, I kinda sorta didn’t like my name.

But that began to change as I began to age and standing out of a crowd was much better than fitting cozily inside a fence. My name, while unoriginal, is original. But, more importantly, it represents the history of my family on my father’s side. Plus my initials spell a word – take that haters/younger me!

The original ALL was a hilarious and generous man who never graduated high school. He was a decorated member of the Baltimore City fire department and started his own plumbing business. He was a fierce Baltimore Colts fan and could pick a crab cleaner than Ozzie Smith could a ground ball.

The sequel would be my father, who went to local Loyola College, became a mathematician and NSA employee, got some MBAs, grew to understand the wave of the future (computers) and met my mom! Not bad…he was also a devoted Baltimore Colts fan…who has grown into a reasonable Washington Redskins fan.

I am a Philadelphia Eagles fan. The one thing all three iterations have in common – outside of our name – is a love of the Baltimore Orioles. I & II are the reasons I can recite the great Balmore teams of the Robinsons, Paul Blair, Boog Powell, Len Sakata, Apparicio, Jim Palmer, Eddie Murray and the immortal Earl Weaver.

So, when I first checked out the back of Mulliniks card, my initial reaction was why would your ever name you kid Rance? But just like with Bert Blyleven, initial reactions betray us; the card quickly lead me to thoughts of my own lineage. Thoughts I’m incredibly proud of.

Hopefully Rance II is as proud of his father’s accomplishments – he should be. Mulliniks would see his first major league action in 1977 as a 21 year old with the California Angels. However, he’d be used sparingly (appearing in just 150 games over three years with the major league club).

In 1979, he’d be traded with Willie Aikens to the Kansas City Royals for Al Cowens, Todd Cruz and Craig Eaton. Unfortunately, it’d be the same ole same ole for Mulliniks, as he’d see action in just 60 games over the next two seasons.

Then, at age 26, he’d be traded to the Toronto Blue Jays for Phil Huffman. Primarily a shortstop/utility man for the Angels and Royals, the Blue Jays would make Mulliniks a third basemen and he’d take off (sound familiar, Jose Bautista – well sort of).

In his first season, he received 353 plate appearances, and would post a decent slash line (.244/.326/.363) – this was 1982 after all. Then, in what should be called his second full season, Mulliniks would go .275/.373/.467. He clearly understood the point of the game was to avoid making outs. From 1983-1988 (his 26 through 32 birthdays), Mulliniks averaged a .374 OBP and only once had an OBP lower than .371.

He’d be out of the majors three years later, but not much could beat that prime of his – of course except for the opportunity to pass along one’s namesake.

When it was all said and done, Mulliniks posted the 16th highest batting average as a pinch hitter (min. 150 ABs) in MLB history.

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h2h Corner ~ Check You Out On the Flip Side: Jesse Orosco

orosco backorosco front realInstead of the standard title, this epic could have been called “Ode on an Oroscan Urn.”

At the baseline, this card gives us even more evidence of Orosco’s love of the art of pitching. At one point, Orosco had to play semi-pro ball in Canada to make his dream come true. Semi-pro ball in the states was so devoid of luxury that one can only imagine the standard of living for semi-pro players north of the boarder. It is likely they lived in huts on frozen lakes and bathed in holes cut in the ground (what, that’s not the intent of the holes?).

Orosco was originally drafted by the Twins in the second round of the 1978 draft. However, in December, he’d be sent to the Mets in exchange for Jerry Koosman. He’d have his longest tenure with the Mets, win a World Series and appear in 372 games with a 2.73 ERA, 1.21 WHIP and 2.11 K:BB ratio. He was worth 12.2 wins above a replacement player in his eight seasons in New York.

Unfortunately, one year after winning the World Series, he would be part of a massive trade that included Bob Welch, Alfredo Griffin, Jay Howell, Kevin Tapani and several others. At the end of the dealings, Orosco would be a Dodger. The year was 1988 and Orosco would be part of another World Series champion.

His time in Los Angeles would be only one-year and start his sojourn through both leagues. Ultimately, he’d pitch 12 years in the AL and 13 in the NL for nine different teams. He retired in 2003 with the Minnesota Twins, the very team that drafted him 25 years before.

In between draft and retirement, Orosco amassed the most career games by a pitcher in MLB history – 1,252, a bit more than one-time teammate John Franco. Franco and Orosco are also one-two when it comes to games by a left-handed pitcher. While Franco has the most saves ever by a lefty, Orosco has the 12th most in MLB history — 144 – just behind Willie Hernandez. Orosco is also tied for 26th all time for the most seasons with a win. He has 20 seasons with a win – the same as David Wells, Mike Morgan, Goose Gossage, Tom Glavine, Tom Seaver, and Warren Spahn.

Orosco finished with a 3.16 ERA, 3.61 FIP, 76.6% strand rate, .276 BABip, and a 2.03 K:BB rate. More notably, he possess the 26th highest K/9 rate in MLB history — just below Mariano Rivera. He also has the 310th most Ks in MLB History.

That aside, I’ll remember his time with the Orioles the most (1995-1999). He was a stabilizing player on the best Orioles teams of my lifetime. He’d be worth 5.3 WAR over those five seasons, during which he’d turn 42. If you think that wasn’t overwhelmingly valuable, the Orioles let Armando Benitez pitch 203.2 innings during that span. I hold no fondness in my heart for the years Benitez took off my life. After leaving the O’s Orosco pitched four more seasons in the Bigs.

Orosco, like Jamie Moyer, is truly a rarity that only the game of baseball can produce.

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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.

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

Wilson Betemit – Betemit’s frequent Katy Perry appearances have dried up of late. That is, until he clocked two HRs, batted .440 and added nine RBIs over the last seven days. He is batting .317 in 230 ABs this season, what more do you need from him? I’m not sure why Pedro Alvarez is owned more than Betemit.

Hideki Matsui – As John McCLane would say, “Welcome to the party pal!” Matsui has been a hibernating Godzilla for most of the year. However, he has come alive of late (.400 AVG and two HRs over the last seven days). Over his last 75 ABs, he is hitting .360 with five HRs and 20 RBIs. He is someone I’d be much more comfortable running out there than Alfonso Soriano.

Ryan Kalish – Kalish makes the second appearance on Katy’s All-stars of his young career. And what scout wouldn’t beam with pride because of this accomplishment? Something tells me the scout that pushed for him is a bit prouder of his last seven days of performance (.273 AVG, seven RBIs and one SB). He probably won’t help much in the AVG department, but he will score some runs and knock some in, while providing some light speed. There are many a-league where that’ll play.

Orlando Cabrera – Quick, which baseball player with the last name Cabrera had the best last seven days? No, not Daniel Cabrera. No, it wasn’t Orlando either. It was a trick question. Miguel Cabrera had the best last seven days, but Orlando was a close second (seven runs and a .346 AVG). Orlando is hitting .412 since returning from the disabled list and will bat amongst a potent Reds line-up. Really, at this point, you might rather have O-Cab than Elvis Andrus.

Felix Pie – Judging by my readership numbers, the majority of the 50 of you are Americans. What do Americans love most besides explosions, big breasts, celebrities, cheeseburgers, paradise, and Budweiser? Pie!!! Yet the fantasy playing community hasn’t gotten behind good old Felix? Over the last seven days, he was as sweet as mom’s apple pie cooling on the ledge (.333 AVG, five runs and a stolen base). Sure he has been dinged up this year, but no worse than the General Lee. Flat-out, when he’s healthy he has produced. If you want an outfielder who can pop the occasional homerun, score and steal a base, gobble, do not sex, the Pie.

Brett Wallace – Wallace has been anything but his namesake lately. But he has shown rock-throwing flashes of late (.353 AVG and a HR over his last seven days). He will not get many RBI opportunities and won’t score much given the Astros line-up, but it is good to see he can, at least, hang with major league pitching. While he has the pedigree, I wouldn’t be hanging my h2h play-offs on his performance.

Alex Sanabia – For whatever reason even though there has been ample opportunity, Katy has shied away from naming Sanabia to her All-star squad. With the dearth of usable pitching out there and his recent performance (6.2 shutout IPs, one win and a 0.90 WHIP), she could wait no more. Sanabia has been downright effective all season, going 54.2 IPs and posting a 3.95 ERA and 1.32 WHIP. Surely you think the 32nd round draft pick in 2006 is being lucky. Well, not so fast my friends. He has a 3.57 FIP. What concerns me about him is just a 5.4 FB/HR rate – I’m pretty sure he won’t be able to sustain that. Still, there is a lot to like in Sanabia, especially as a streaming option. Be careful about HR hitting line-ups and parks though.

Brad Bergesen – As an Orioles fan, I’m stoked with what Bergesen has done lately (pitching his third career complete game, allowing just one run and posting a 0.78 WHIP). Over his last 35.2 IPs, Bergesen has a 2.52 ERA and 1.15 WHIP. Unfortunately, there isn’t much upside for Bergesen with a miniscule 4.32 K/9 rate. Basically, the Orioles have been playing some inspired defense around him lately (.214 BAbip over the last seven days; .227 over the last 14 and .261 over the last 28). Until Bergesen learns to strike more batters out, he is, at best, a fringe option.

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

Alfonso Soriano – There hasn’t been a whole lot to like about Soriano’s season, especially his last seven days (2/15). I hope he isn’t a starter for your team during crunch time. If he isn’t, why not drop him for a streamable pitcher or a hot bat? Frankly, there can’t be too many super deep leagues where it is advantageous to hang onto Soriano as he plays out the string. He is 77 percent owned – that’s way too high. I’d rather have Pie.

Pedro AlvarezWhen Alvarez goes on a binge, it is Tommy Gavin-esque. However, those have been few and far between, especially over the last seven (4/26) and 30 (18/95) days. He is 14 percent owned – which isn’t a ton, but about 13 percent more than it should be. He can’t hit righties and really can’t hit lefties. Grab Wilson Betemit.

Mark Buehrle – I think I told you to drop Buehrle previously, but that was probably 20 Katy Perry All-stars ago. Over the last seven days, he did squads no help (6.75 ERA and 1.67 WHIP with just five Ks in 12 IPs). He hasn’t been a totally useless fantasy entity (4.16 ERA, 4.08 FIP and 12 wins), but his 4.12 K/9 rate is the worst of times. Frankly, he has no upside. If I’m streaming, he is someone I will ignore.

JA Happ – The wheels have come off the Happ bandwagon a bit lately. Over the last seven days, Happ pitched 9.1 IPs and posted a 5.79 ERA and 1.82 WHIP. He did strike-out nine, so it wasn’t a complete loss. Is this the beginning of the performance readjustment that statheads have predicted? Sort of. Does that mean he loses all value? No. Think of Happ as a guy who can post an ERA from 4.00 – 4.50 with a 7.00 – 7.50 K/9 rate. That’ll play in most places as a bench/streaming option. Certainly, I like him more than Buehrle.

James Shields – Man James Shields is killing me. I have him in most leagues and the glimpses of the best of times have been good, but he always seems to muck up the works. To wit: over his last two starts he went 11.1 IPs, posted 12 Ks and a 3.97 ERA. Of course he also had a debilitating 1.50 WHIP. At a certain point, with so little season left, it’s hard to suggest Shields will suddenly morph into the 4.22 FIP pitcher we all expect him to be. The Ks have been there (8.47 per 9) all season, which is nice, but he has been murdered by a .347 BAbip. I like Shields going forward, but you need to be careful with your ratios this time of year, so be cautious with how you deploy him.

FB101’s 411: Be sure you know how to judge a hot streak. Betemit, Matsui, and Cabrera make good adds. Keep your eye on Kalish, Pie, Wallace and Sanabia. You are allowed to sort of give up on Soriano, Buehrle, and Alvarez.

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h2h Corner ~ Katy Perry (Hot ‘N’ 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.

Normally, in this section, I take time to talk about something from Katy Perry’s life and how it applies to fantasy. Instead, please allow me a semi-brief reality TV rant. Why am I doing this? Well because it is a long baseball season and a guy needs to switch something up every now and again (just ask Hugh). Continue reading

h2h Corner ~ the Closer Carousel (Updated per Orioles)

As Kevin Nealon said, “yeah, lot of pressure. You gotta rise above it. You gotta harness in the good energy, block out the bad. Harness. Energy. Block. Bad. Feel the flow, Happy. Feel it. It’s circular. It’s like a carousel. You pay the quarter, you get on the horse. It goes up and down and around. Circular. Circle. With the music. The flow… all good things.”

It is no different than with a majority of major league closers. Sure some are like violent roller coasters (Armando Benitez, Jose Mesa) and some are like the teacups (Mariano Rivera), but most are in the muddy middle. Thus introduces your weekly reliever mash-up. Continue reading