Posts Tagged ‘Red Sox’

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 ~ 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 ~ Encino Man, Baseball Fan

I was going through my 1991 Upper Deck set the other day and saw all the wonderful Curt Schilling, Pete Harnisch and Steve Finley cards as Orioles…then I got to the Astros and saw them all as Astros, then I got to Glenn Davis and remembered I tossed away his Orioles cards.

Then I watched Encino Man on TV and wondered, what if I was frozen in the backyard of someone’s place in California, thawed, and had to decide what baseball team I would root for.

Clearly, there’s a graphic for this already, but I wanted to go one step further and see what team unfrozen caveman lawyer would root for. To give a caveman’s astute analysis as he travels through the graphic.

Continue reading

h2h Corner ~ Knowing ADP – How To Win Your League Before It Starts: Jed Lowrie

Jed Lowrie – Current ADP 336; 27th SS – My Rank: 192; 25th SS

I kind of fell into Lowrie as a product of the weekly radio show I do with Joel Henard (follow us HERE!). As I researched the Red Sox, I realized how impressive Lowrie was in 2010.

Sure, it was a small sample size of 55 games and 197 plate appearances but he posted a .287/.381/.526 line – that’s impressive. The biggest step Lowrie took was cutting down his K-rate to just 14.6% – his career line is 22.6%. He actually decreased the percentage of the time he swung at balls inside the strike zone while increasing the percentage (albeit slightly) of times he swung at balls outside of the strike zone. Somehow he became a bad ball hitter – he had an 81.7% contact rate on pitches outside of the strike zone. He had never been over 60% in any other year and his career line is just 64.6%.

Still with all that contact, his BABip didn’t change markedly nor did his line drive percentage – the only thing that changed was an increased HR/FB rate to 11.4%.

Clearly we can’t project his most recent 55 game performance to be replicated over a full year. However, if he gets the at bats that a starter would, I think Lowrie could be a .275/.355/.455 player with 15 or so HRs. At a weak shortstop position, that’ll play.

I see Lowrie as worth a tad more than he is currently going and should be a decent low-cost option in deeper leagues. Feel free to draft in the early 20s of a standard league.

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: 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.

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 ~ Check You Out On the Flip Side: Bill Buckner

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

Buckner - 1973 BackBuckner - 1973 Front

While this card doesn’t exactly have a zany tale on the back, it does serve as a Homer-esque prologue to what will become an enigmatic career.

Buckner, from a young age, was always adept at putting the ball in play. Through just three minor league seasons, he posted a .328 AVG, but just a .345 OBP. As this 1973 Topps Card suggests, Buckner wowed the team in spring training, earning full time duties at just 21-years-old. Continue reading

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.

h2h_Corner on Twitter