Posts Tagged ‘yankees’

h2h Corner ~ Knowing ADP – How To Win Your League Before It Starts: Nick Swisher

Nick Swisher – Current ADP 121; 33rd OF – My Rank: 54th hitter; 25th OF

This is where I get to claim that I don’t have an unnaturally negative bias of the New York Yankees because of a 12-year-old boy.

Swisher has hit 29 HRs on the nose for the Yankees the last two seasons. He also hit .270 over his time with the club and added 86 RBIs/season and 88 runs/season.

Sure his .288 average last year (owing to a .335 BABip) is somewhat of a mirage – his career BABip is just .286. However his near 25% walk rate will continue to get him on base and scoring runs for a potent line-up. Even if he bats .260, he’ll post a .360 OBP, which means he’ll score 90 runs or so. He also has the potential to eclipse 30 HRs, with 25+ a lock and knock in 80 at minimum.

Give his ability to put up the counting stats, add in a decent amount of homeruns and not completely destroy your batting average, I’m surprised at how low he is going.

I’d much rather have Swisher than someone like Delmon Young who wont score nearly the same amount of runs and possibly hit 10 less HRs – ditto for Corey Hart and Nick Markakis and Vernon Wells and Alfonso Soriano. Swisher is a #2 OF for your squad who you can get at a #3’s price. As a 10th rounder, he provides a ton of value.

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 ~ Knowing ADP – How To Win Your League Before It Starts: Mark Teixeira

Mark Teixeira – Current ADP 12; 5th 1b – My Rank: 27; 6th 1b

Mark Teixeira was barely in the top 20 first basemen in batting average – he was 19th. He was not in the top five in HRs at his position (he was sixth). He was tied for fifth in RBIs and he was second in runs. He did not steal a base.

Coming off three straight .290+ seasons, clearly 2010’s batting average (.256) was a shock. While his K-rate increased a smidge, his BABip declined from a career line of .303 to .268. This was not due to a change in line drives, ground balls, or fly balls – all were about the same as 2009. Of course, since joining the Yankees, Teixeira has gone from hitting about 40% fly balls to averaging about 44% – and, somewhat surprisingly, his HR/FB rate has declined since joining the Yankees.

The major 2010 culprit: Teixeira swung at more pitches out of the strike zone than he has in any previous year. The rate was about five percent more than his career average. In addition, pitchers seemed to catch on as Teixeira saw a lot less pitches inside the strike zone than he normally does.

I just threw a ton of numbers and percentages and ratios at you. Basically, his BABip was historically low and it should rebound. However, given that his patience at the plate has declined (as noted by his increasing fly ball percentages and swings at balls outside the zone), he won’t return to his .290/.300 hitting self.

In short, Teixeira looks like a guy who will hit .280 with 35 HRs, 100 runs and 120 RBIs. Is that much better than Adam Dunn who is going 38 picks later? Or Andre Ethier who is going 23 picks later? Given the depth of the position, I don’t see a need to select Teixeira at the end of the first round – his value is a lot closer to the third round than the first.

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: Chili Davis

chilli daivs back chilli front

Man, Topps had a real succinct way to sum up Davis’ life as it stood in 1987. He likes to cook, swim, jog and travel – but one thing is missing: hitting (more on that later).

Cooking, yeah that can be fun and delicious, travelling – not so bad (if you’re not being literal). However, who really likes yogging? I mean it’s just running for as long as you can. Some of my long-term readers know I run a decent amount, but I don’t enjoy it — it’s simply the easiest way to get cardio and combat the two helpings of French Fries I had last weekend. Seriously, just because I run fast (did 7.3 miles in 51:29 recently) doesn’t mean I like it. In fact, it means I hate it and want to get it over with ASAP.

That is all well and good, perfect and succinct (tongue and cheek) analysis, but I’ll posit that what the card misses is Davis love of hitting. Davis has the 11th most at bats in major league baseball history by a switch-hitter (8,673 — more than Mickey Mantle, Ruben Sierra, Bernie Williams and Maury Wills). He also has the (not surprisingly) 13th most hits by a switch hitter with 2,380 — just 35 less than the Mick. He wasn’t hitting wimpy singles either — he logged the ninth best slugging percentage (.451) by a switch hitter, just behind Carl Everett of all people. With that slugging percentage, it wouldn’t surprise you that he ended with the fifth most RBIs by a switch hitter…more than Pete Rose and Chipper Jones.

Oddly enough, he finished with the 16th most career intentional walks since 1955. Davis had 188 which was tied with Ted Simmons and more than Dave Winfield, Rafael Palmeiro, Frank Thomas, Reggie Jackson and Harmon Killebrew. Another thing he did better than just about every player? Hit home runs from both sides of the plate in a single game — he did it 11 times and tied for the most all-time with Eddie Murray.

Lastly, Davis played in the 62nd most games in MLB history (2,436) — more than Killebrew and Mike Schmidt. I’ll submit that any time you do several things that Hall of Famers didn’t, you’ve had a worthwhile career.

Maybe all that cooking helped him relax and focus. Clearly the swimming and yogging must have helped his longevity. Also a like of travelling couldn’t hurt as the daily baseball grind includes long hours in planes. But, in reality, I’m sure a love of putting the ball in play made Chili an underrated player in the ’80s and ’90s.

One question? Do you think Davis made chili? If so, was it caliente?

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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: Candy Maldonado

Maldonado backMaldonado frontReally? I mean, really? Travelling is an enjoyable experience? Maybe the mid-80s were different — there weren’t interminable security lines and strip searches that would make Demi Moore blush. Maybe back then you could bring whatever food you wanted on a plane and meet people at the gate.

I didn’t fly much as a youngster in the 80s — my family drove places. It was not a good thing…for anyone. The only saving grace was the Game Boy and Tetris.

I abhor travelling, but I like vacationing. Occasionally, air travel is fun – like on an overseas flight that isn’t too long but full of free booze. That’s my kind of travelling. But in reality, getting from point A to point B has gotten more painful than ever before.

I’m sure this isn’t want Maldonado meant when he marked “travelling” under the “enjoyable experiences” portion of the questionnaire. But I’m literal.

It’s a good thing Maldonado liked to travel, as baseball, at each level, involves a fair bit of it. In addition, Maldonado played 15 seasons in the pros for seven different teams (Dodgers, Giants, Indians, Blue Jays, Rangers, Cubs and Brewers). He was traded three times…for Alex Trevino, some nobodies and Glenallen Hill (more on him later). As mostly a part time player, he’d earn just 9.7 WAR for his career.

That doesn’t do justice to his career though. When you play 15 seasons in the Bigs you accumulate some interesting stats and, as it turns out, Maldonado was quite adept at hitting pinch-hit HRs. For instance, Maldonado is tied for 16th all time in MLB history for pinch-hit HRs. He hit 11, just two behind Hill and five behind Willie McCovey.

Perhaps the oddest thing about Maldonado’s career: only three times in MLB history has a pinch-hit homerun been the only run of the game. Maldonado accomplished this “feat” against Mark Davis on April 13, 1985.

Speaking of pinch-hitting, Maldonado had the 16th best season in MLB history in terms of pinch hit average — .425 in 1986. Not too shabby. He also earned roughly $9 million in his career – enough to make travelling at lot more relaxing…

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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: 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…

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