April 2008

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Borowski To DL

Joe Borowski's on the DL, but I'm not seeing much of a scramble for Rafael Betancourt.  That's because he was already rostered in all five of my 12-team mixed leagues.  Wouldn't be shocking to see Betancourt keep the gig all year.

If he bombs for some reason, I'd keep an eye on Masahide Kobayashi, Rafael Perez, and Jensen Lewis (in that order).

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Facing The Giants and Twins

As I suggested before the season, spot-starting pitchers against the Giants and Twins looks like a viable fantasy strategy for '08.  Indeed, these two clubs have the worst offenses in their respective leagues on the young season.  The Twins are due for some improvement, but they'll still have a lot of easy outs.

Below are the starting pitchers opposing these two clubs in upcoming games. 

Facing the Twins:

  • Jamie Shields on Wednesday (obviously unavailable)
  • Jason Hammel on Thursday (solid spot-start candidate)
  • Cliff Lee on Friday (definitely work a pickup, for this start and beyond)
  • Jake Westbrook on Saturday (also worthy)
  • Paul Byrd on Sunday (questionable pickup)

Facing the Giants:

  • Brandon Webb on Wednesday (obviously unavailable)
  • Todd Wellemeyer on Friday (intriguing spot-start; has 20 Ks in 18 IP)
  • Joel Pineiro on Saturday (questionable pickup)
  • Braden Looper on Sunday (probably worthy)
  • Micah Owings on Monday (probably unavailable in your league)

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Don't Be Dumb

I own Zack Greinke in two of my five leagues, and it's been a joy watching him shut down the Mariners tonight.  Nine innings, five hits, one run.  Greinke seems like he only goes after a strikeout when he needs it, instead preferring to go deep into the game.  The man is absolutely on fire.

So what did I do today?  I accidentally left him on my bench in my Fantasy Baseball Search H2H league.  He and Hiroki Kuroda (who has a shot at a win also).  Since it's H2H, I might be able to get away with it.  But it still makes me sick, because it was plain sloppy. 

My point?  If you have daily lineups, and especially multiple leagues, you have to be very careful each and every day to have the right guys starting.  I committed the same act of negligence a couple of times last year too.  I already set my four daily lineups as part of a morning routine; I guess I just need to double check them.

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Fantasy Baseball Search Expert League Blog

The Fantasy Baseball Search Expert League has been a lot of fun so far - all owners are actively engaged and trash-talking.  Here's a look back at my draft day roster.

In case you'd like to follow along with this mixed H2H league, we have a blog going where many league members contribute.  I just evaluated a major trade in a post.

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True .300 Hitters

How about we bust out some True .300 Hitters?  For this exercise, we'll identify who has a contact rate ((AB-K)/AB) of 85% or better and a walk rate (BB/PA) of 10% or better.  The true criteria, devised by Ron Shandler and Co., are a bit tighter (86%/11%).

Anyway, this should help us identify some early AVG under/overperformers.

The first list is those who meet the true .300 hitter criteria and have at least 30 PAs.  It's nice to see Luke Scott in this list.  These guys are fairly legit. (Props to Mike Sweeney - zero whiffs so far!)

A.J. Pierzynski 91.4% 10.3% 0.400
Albert Pujols 90.2% 24.1% 0.390
James Loney 86.4% 11.8% 0.386
Billy Butler 86.4% 10.2% 0.386
Angel Pagan 89.7% 14.3% 0.385
Luke Scott 86.1% 12.2% 0.361
Alfredo Amezaga 96.2% 20.6% 0.346
Kevin Youkilis 90.9% 11.5% 0.341
Yunel Escobar 85.1% 14.3% 0.340
Raul Ibanez 93.9% 14.0% 0.327
Ryan Garko 90.0% 20.0% 0.325
Josh Bard 91.2% 12.5% 0.324
Brian Schneider 86.5% 13.6% 0.324
Jeff Keppinger 96.0% 10.3% 0.320
Brian McCann 95.1% 10.6% 0.317
Carlos Guillen 88.6% 20.5% 0.314
Lance Berkman 86.7% 10.0% 0.311
Eric Byrnes 90.0% 12.3% 0.300
Brian Giles 90.0% 12.5% 0.300
Eric Hinske 85.2% 12.9% 0.296
Melky Cabrera 90.3% 10.5% 0.290
Milton Bradley 85.7% 12.2% 0.286
Conor Jackson 92.9% 13.5% 0.286
Shannon Stewart 92.0% 16.1% 0.280
David Dellucci 90.9% 20.0% 0.273
Nick Johnson 86.8% 15.2% 0.263
Mike Sweeney 100.0% 12.8% 0.256
Mark Ellis 88.5% 13.1% 0.250
Skip Schumaker 92.5% 13.0% 0.250
Hank Blalock 87.8% 10.6% 0.244
Aubrey Huff 86.7% 10.0% 0.244
Ryan Theriot 87.8% 10.6% 0.244
Austin Kearns 85.7% 17.0% 0.238
Aramis Ramirez 87.2% 12.5% 0.234
Kevin Millar 86.4% 10.0% 0.227
Orlando Cabrera 90.0% 16.3% 0.225
Justin Morneau 85.0% 14.6% 0.225
Cesar Izturis 90.6% 19.0% 0.219
Mark Teixeira 87.2% 11.3% 0.213
Luis Castillo 89.7% 14.3% 0.207
Jose Vidro 91.5% 11.3% 0.191
Gary Sheffield 85.7% 23.7% 0.179
Kenji Johjima 91.2% 10.5% 0.118
Jason Giambi 85.7% 18.9% 0.107

And now the flip side - those hitting .300 who do not meet the criteria.  Some guys can consistently hit .300 anyway, but many on this list will regress.

Justin Upton 75.6% 9.6% 0.400
Hanley Ramirez 79.2% 7.4% 0.396
Clete Thomas 66.7% 6.5% 0.370
Ryan Doumit 83.8% 2.6% 0.351
Matt Holliday 78.7% 7.7% 0.340
Jermaine Dye 83.3% 6.7% 0.333
Brendan Harris 84.8% 7.9% 0.333
Alex Gordon 81.3% 4.0% 0.333
Ryan Church 81.4% 6.4% 0.326
Coco Crisp 83.9% 5.9% 0.323
Stephen Drew 82.9% 4.5% 0.317
Adrian Gonzalez 75.9% 5.2% 0.315
Grady Sizemore 77.1% 8.8% 0.313
Ian Kinsler 79.2% 7.1% 0.313
Brandon Phillips 78.8% 8.8% 0.308
Bobby Abreu 78.3% 8.0% 0.304
Kevin Kouzmanoff 79.2% 3.5% 0.302
Manny Ramirez 70.0% 7.4% 0.300

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Matchups For Tuesday

There is some argument to whether the batter vs. pitcher matchups have any significance.  I won't pretend to have done a study on this, though I did read a promising one.  I feel that it's helpful for this data to to guide certain decisions.  But if you find the sample sizes too small then by all means skip these posts (they will not affect the amount of other RotoAuthority content).

Coco Crisp vs. Paul Byrd: 5 for 11, 2B
Marcus Thames vs. Scott Baker: 3 for 5, 2 HR
Luis Castillo vs. Odalis Perez: 9 for 22, 3B, HR
Austin Kearns vs. Mike Pelfrey: 5 for 11, HR
Matt Diaz vs. Scott Olsen: 7 for 15, 2 2B, 3 HR
Jason Kendall vs. Braden Looper: 7 for 15, 2 2B
Andre Ethier vs. Matt Morris: 6 for 14
Jose Bautista vs. Hong-Chih Kuo: 4 for 5

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Liriano, Carrasco, Mailbag

Let's kick off the week with some random fantasy tidbits.

  • Phillies starting pitching prospect Carlos Carrasco is looking very sharp in Double A.  It wouldn't be surprising to see him in the big club's rotation a few months from now.
  • There was more going on than simply rust following Francisco Liriano's 19-month layoff.  It's just one start, but Liriano's 2008 does not look promising.  Might make sense to keep him benched until he shows something.  And if it's time to pull the plug a month from now, treat his draft position as a sunk cost.
  • Ask a question for my Hardball Times mailbag by emailing rotoauthority@gmail.com.  Please remember not to ask anything specific to your team.

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Fallen Aces: Oswalt, Sabathia

We're three starts in.  Roy Oswalt and C.C. Sabathia, typically 4th-7th round ace starters, have been brutalizing their teams' ratios (especially Friday night).  What's the deal?

The "Avoid Oswalt" bandwagon was already full in the preseason, but I thought he provided good value in the seventh round.  I had him at a 3.50 ERA and 1.25 WHIP, and thought he could at least come close to those numbers (3.75/1.30).  It's no mystery he's on the decline, but that doesn't make him worthless.  Early on the damage has been the result of home runs and hits, not walks or a lack of Ks.

The hits are tied to a through-the-roof .431 BABIP.  Last year no full-season starter was above .339.  Improvement on hits allowed is a given.  Regarding the homers - his groundball rate remains solid; his home runs per flyball is an absurd 41.5%.  10-11% would be normal.  Again, regression there is a given.  The only concern is that Oswalt's biceps bothered him a week ago.  His owners have to just hope he goes to the DL if an injury is inhibiting him. 

Sabathia logged 253.3 innings in '07, an increase of more than 60 from '06.  There's cause for concern that the workload will affect him this year, a Cy Young hangover.  His strikeout rate's been fine, but his increased walk rate is worrisome.  With a .457 BABIP and 16.7% HR per flyball, better days are ahead on hits and home runs.  I would start to worry if his elite control (BB/9 of 2.0 or less) continues to evade him.  He's also not getting grounders like he usually does.  Still, as with Oswalt, his owners pretty much just have to ride this out. 

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Matchups For Monday

I'm not committing to doing these matchups regularly.  But let's take a look at some interesting batter-pitcher matchups for Monday's games.  The focus is on players who might be on your mixed league waiver wire.

Coco Crisp vs. Jake Westbrook: 6 for 8, 2B
Hank Blalock vs. Ervin Santana: 8 for 21, 2 2B, 3B, 2 HR
Gerald Laird vs. Ervin Santana: 5 for 9, 2B, 3B
Casey Kotchman vs. Kevin Millwood: 4 for 12, 2 HR
Rich Aurilia vs. Randy Johnson: 16 for 47, 2B, 3 HR
Conor Jackson vs. Jonathan Sanchez: 4 for 5

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Matchups For Sunday

Here are some batter pickups to consider for Sunday's games.

Brian Schneider vs. Jeff Suppan: 7 for 16, 2 2B
Paul Lo Duca vs. Tom Glavine: 13 for 28, 2 2B
Chris Snyder vs. Aaron Cook: 8 for 15

A coincidence that all three are catchers.  I was surprised I couldn't fine more favorable batter-pitcher matchups who might be on your waiver wire.  Oh well.

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