Posts Tagged ‘Phillies’

Baseball Daily Digest Radio with Joel Henard and Albert Lang Tape From yesterday

Baseball Daily Digest Radio with Joel Henard and Albert Lang taped from yesterday for your mind’s enjoyment. Download it and see if we got the future of the play-offs correct. Also, some prospects for you to check out in the Arizona Fall League and we slammed the Red Sox and other squads for being too reactionary.

Have a listen! http://www.blogtalkradio.com/thefantasyinsiders/2011/10/03/baseball-daily-digest-radio-with-joel-henard-and-albert-lang

h2h Corner ~ I’m a Believer: June Edition

You’re hitting the tough part of the fantasy baseball season. At this point you’re really doubting your struggling stars and the urge to drop is high. But it’s still somewhat early. Patience isn’t always a virtue, but, in this instance, it is.

Players who will bounce back: Dan Uggla, Evan Longoria, Carl Crawford, Alex Rios, Ubaldo Jimenez, Max Scherzer, Chris Carpenter, and Mat Latos.

Remember when I said Anibal Sanchez was a sleeper this year? 13th in Ks right now!

I love James Shields (always own him), but he’s not the second best fantasy pitcher…right? Can’t be….

One thing I am certain of? Kyle Lohse is not the third best pitcher in fantasy (maybe on his team, but not in baseball).

I’m amazed by the Marlins – Johnson injured, Hanley not so good/injured. I thought they’d be good, but had you told me about their injury woes and the craptastic way Vazquez has pitched, I’d be shocked they were in the play-off hunt. That said, I still think the Braves run away with the Wild Card.

Continue reading

h2h Corner ~ Katy Perry (Hot ‘N’ Cold Fantasy Baseball) All-Stars

Immanuel Kant, one of the craziest thinkers I’ve ever encounter (I hate the Critique of Pure Reason), created something called the categorical imperative. Basically, it was one tenet that would govern all actions. When you boil it down, Kant thought a person should only do something that everyone should be allowed to do, or in his words: “Act only according to that maxim whereby you can, at the same time, will that it should become a universal law.”

This got Kant into some sticky trouble when it comes to lying to save a life. The example goes: say someone runs into your house with a murderer hot on their heels. The polite murderer rings your doorbell and asks if the intended victim is inside. According to Kant’s morality, you have to respond that the person is inside because an act is moral not because of its consequences, but in and of itself. If you were to lie in this circumstance that would mean it was okay to lie in every instance of this circumstance, and, thusly, the soon-to-be murderer would know you were lying.

I’m not a big categorical imperative fan. I believe the outcome of actions should have a bearing on morality (and our rule of law, haphazard as it might be, somewhat reflects this, i.e., if you drive drunk and kill someone you get a higher penalty than simply driving drunk).

In my view, outcomes matter, I’m not as worried about how you get there. The same goes for fantasy baseball, especially head-to-head. All you have to do is win, it really doesn’t matter how. I routinely win h2h leagues with teams, that if it had been roto, would have finished in the middle of the pack.

At about this point in the year/week, you know what categories you are strong in. If Morneau zapped your power and there isn’t much to be had on the wire, it’s time to switch tactics. Look to gobble up speed demons – field an outfield of Jose Tabata, Juan Pierre and Michael Bourn and assure yourself of certain categories early in the week, and then try to focus on those you remain close in. If you go out to an early 8-2 lead in wins, it’s time to load up on relievers to massage those ratios and turn in some saves. Continue reading

h2h Corner ~ Knowing ADP – How To Win Your League Before It Starts: Bobby Abreu

Bobby Abreu – Current ADP 117; 32nd OF – My Rank: 50th hitter; 24th OF Continue reading

h2h Corner ~ Knowing ADP – How To Win Your League Before It Starts: Jimmy Rollins

Jimmy Rollins – Current ADP 40; 4th SS – My Rank: 112; 10th SS

Much like J-Lo, J-Roll has fallen hard. I use to love J-Roll, he (along with Matt Holliday and Grady Sizemore) helped me win my most emphatic championship. At one point, he was my favorite baseball player not on the Orioles. I have written eloquently about him.

However, that has to stop. I need to remain somewhat objective (even if it means praising Derek Jeter and Rivera).

Quite simply, things have not gone well for Rollins since his MVP season in 2007. His average has dropped from .296 to .277 to .250 to .243 (the last being in only 88 games). During that four-year trek to the dregs, his line drive percentage has tanked, his ground ball percentage has gone up, and his HR/FB rate has gone down.

I’d love to blame last year’s poor performance on injuries and BABip (it was .246); however, in 155 healthy-ish games in 2009, he posted a .251 BABip. Rollins has also started to swing at more balls outside of the zone than he did in his younger years; and consequently is seeing less balls thrown inside the strike zone. Still, by most metrics he remains a solid fielder, so his legs are still there – no small feat for a 32-year-old who has logged over 1,500 games (when you count the post season).

Unfortunately, no matter how hard I try, I can’t see Rollins getting back to that .275 hitter he was during his peak – and he has never taken any walks. So, at this point, there is very little AVG/OBP upside.

He might push 15-20 HRs and 25-30 SBs, but will likely rest on the low end of the spectrum for each.

Even though shortstop is incredibly shallow, you can make up his numbers with any sort of player – I prefer to take a Rafael Furcal and pair him with a decent back-up rather than spending a top 40 pick. In the 40s, you can get the likes of Andrew McCutcheon, Adam Dunn, Jose Bautista, Jayson Werth, Jason Heyward, etc. etc. etc.

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 ~ 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 ~ Check You Out On the Flip Side: Don Slaught

slaught back slaught frontLet’s just hope Don Slaught has a better speech writer than the writer he had for his baseball card…could you imagine trying to incorporate that sentence into a speech? You wouldn’t say “I spend my off-season in Arlington where I’m member of Rangers’ Speakers Bureau.” Very Phil Hartman like!

There are a couple of words missing there – “a member” of “the bureau” would sound a bit better.

Putting that aside, at most we’re talking about 40 Ranges players — how many of them are members of the bureau? Was Nolan Ryan a member? Did he perform a moving soliloquy about the Robin Ventura tragedy? That’d be kind of cool actually – someone should turn the incident into a one-act Greek play and have Ryan act it out.

For all of his speaker’s bureau membership, Slaught would spend just three uneventful years in Texas before being traded to the Yankees. Regardless, Slaught is most known for his days with the Pirates. Before going to Pittsburgh, Slaught, from 1982-1989, posted a .269/.317/.408 slash line. For the Pirates he would go .305/.370/.421. Sure the slugging isn’t there, but a .370 OBP in 1,434 ABs is nothing to scoff at. He’d finished with 20.7 WAR for his career, 9.6 of that accumulated with the Pirates. Unfortunately, like the rest of his teammates in the early ’90s, he’d perform worse in the play-offs. While he got only 40 ABs, he’d hit just .225.

When I think of the Pirates of that era, I think of Slaught and Mike LaValliere. I was a catcher in little league so I naturally gravitated toward backstops. I always thought the duo was a tad underrated and it seems like they were. LaValliere, with the Pirates, posted a .287/.364/.351 slash line. Sure the power was absent but at least he got on base.

Regardless, I’m sure Slaught is a hit a parties with all his stories – he must have some doozies about Bonds and Bonilla. Thanks to the Rangers’ Speakers Bureau he received the training to address parties of all sizes.

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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: Tim Stoddard & Dennis Rasmussen

stoddard back

The Yankees had one dynamic and athletic pitching staff in 1987. Tim Stoddard started on the North Carolina State team, which, in 1974, beat Marquette and effectively ended UCLA’s run of seven consecutive NCAA basketball titles.

Ras BackNot to be outdone, Dennis Rasmussen played ball (basket variety) at Creighton. While he was there he played against the immortal Larry Bird (who played for Indiana State) and with Kevin McKenna. McKenna would log 243 NBA games and score 1,320 points. Definitely no slouch.

So how did the pitching staff with the best basketball acumen do? They’d throw 1,446.1 innings, give up 1,475 hits, 542 walks, and 179 HRs. They would also strike-out an even 900 batters, and post a 4.36 ERA and 1.39 WHIP. That’d be good enough for 89 wins and the sixth best ERA. Unfortunately the Tigers and their 4.02 ERA would take the division that year.

stoddard frontStoddard would be a decent help to the cause in 1987, logging 92.2 innings out of the bull-pen and posting a 3.50 ERA and 7.6 K/9 rate – both better than his career average. Apparently, not too long ago, relievers were men who pitched nearly 100 innings a season. In addition, Stoddard is the only man in history to win an NCAA basketball title and a World Series (he did so with the Orioles in 1983).

Before being traded, Rasmussen started 25 games, pitched 146 innings and would post an unfriendly 4.75 ERA. A tall guy at 6’7, Rasmussen would go on to have a fine 1988 campaign (200+ IPs, 3.43 ERA) for the Reds and Padres. However, that’d be his last relatively useful season in the majors.
Ras front
Still, before he got traded, I hope he had a chance to post up the 6’7 Stoddard.

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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: Kerry Wood

Wood back Wood front

I must admit that I’ve always scoffed at Kerry Wood — especially when he came to the big boy league. However, when he was traded to the New York Yankees and I pulled the above card, I simply had to write about him.

In baseball, there are revered names — one of the biggest in George Herman Ruth – otherwise known as the Babe and a litany of other sandlot nicknames. Outside of boozing and chasing skirts, if you are linked to the Babe you are linked to baseball immortality. Quite simply, legends never die.

Anyway, it was shocking to me that, in the history of baseball, Wood and Ruth are the only two players with at least 1,200 innings while allowing fewer than 1,000 hits. Of course, like Wood’s career, all good things must come to an end. If you look at the card closely, you’ll realize that Wood finished the 2009 season with 995 hits allowed. And sure enough, he allowed a few more hits this year to inch over the 1,000 threshold to give the Babe back another solo record.

Regardless, Wood was a real good pitcher for a few years – the heir apparent to Roger Clemens who was the heir apparent to Nolan Ryan. In three of his first five healthy seasons in the majors, Wood had a K/9 rate in double digits. In the 2002 and 2003 seasons, Wood would post a 3.34 ERA, 483 Ks and a 1.22 WHIP. Not bad.

Will his career resemble a glorified Kelvim Escobar? Sort of – but so what. For a couple of years he was absolutely unhittable and he happened to share a record with one of the most hallowed names in all of sports.

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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: Terry Harper

harper back harper front



As previously noted, mining the 1986 Topps set for interesting tidbits hasn’t been overly fruitful — at least I pulled a Ripken All-star card, Clemens, Eddie Murray and Mike Schmidt recently.

Anyway, the Terry Harper card above fits the “stringent” parameters that would allow for a Flip Side posting. I’m a huge baseball fan, in case you couldn’t tell, but I never knew Hammerin’ Hank Aaron had a brother – let alone one who made it to the majors. Heck the internet barely knows – if you search for “Tommie Aaron baseball ref”, Hank’s page comes up first.

Tommie was signed by the, then, Milwaukee Braves as a free agent in 1962. That was eight years and 298 HRs into hank’s career. Tommie would do some decent things in the minors — posting a .285/.333/.439 slash line and stealing 33 bases in 45 tries. The majors would be a (sort of) different story, as Tommie would not succeed (.229/.292/.327) and steal just nine bases in 17 tries.

For his career, Hank would steal 240 bases in 313 tries. He’d steal 28 bases in the 1968 season and never more than nine in a season during the rest of his career. Tommie would steal three bases in 1968 and never another for his career.

Regardless of HR or SB totals, you have to think that one of the greatest memories the brothers have is of September 24, 1968. With Tommie on first and Hank on third, the duo would execute a flawless double steal. Hank, after scoring and wiping the dirt and dust from his uniform, must have looked into the sun across the diamond to see Tommie knocking the dirt and dust from his uniform and smiling back. Outside of back-to-back HRs, a double steal by brothers would be pretty special.

As for Terry Harper? He was just as bad a hitter (.253/.321/.371) and base stealer (37/65) as Tommie. Both would also go 0-1 in their only post-season at bat and achieve a negative WAR for their careers. If only Terry had a brother like Hank…

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.

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