May 2008

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Roundtable: Your Biggest Fantasy Rival

This week's roundtable asked:

Who do you consider your biggest fantasy baseball rival and describe your most gratifying victory and most painful defeat involving them?

Our answers can be found here.  Do you have any fierce fantasy rivalries?


Full Story |  Comments (7) | Categories: Roundtable

Weekend Spot Starters

Here are some pitchers you may consider picking up for a short-term boost this weekend.

Saturday

  • Jon Lester vs. Orioles.

Sunday

  • Paul Byrd vs. Royals.
  • Sidney Ponson vs. A's.
  • Darrell Rasner vs. Twins.
  • Bartolo Colon vs. Orioles.
  • Jon Garland vs. Jays.
  • Sean Gallagher vs. Rockies.


Full Story |  Comments (2) | Categories: Matchups

Season-To-Date MVPs

Which players have had the most roto value at each position?  I used the player rater at ESPN to find out.

C - Brian McCann.  He's supplanted Geovany Soto.  We may be seeing another '06 from McCann, making him a huge bargain in the fifth round.  Bengie Molina has quietly moved into the #2 ranking, racking up RBIs as many thought he would.

1B - Lance Berkman.  He's still crushing the ball and has stolen six bases this month.

2B - Chase Utley.  He's having an off-month, but that still means an .851 OPS.

SS - Hanley Ramirez.  Miguel Tejada is threatening, Rafael Furcal is dropping.

3B - Chipper Jones.  The race for .400.  It's only May though.

OF - Josh Hamilton, Nate McLouth, Carlos Quentin.  I am still amazed that aside from Berkman, these are the three best fantasy outfielders.  Players like these win leagues, since they were so mildly regarded in March.  And Ryan Ludwick ranks sixth.

SP - Cliff Lee, Edinson Volquez, Roy Halladay, Brandon Webb, Shaun Marcum.  This group is similar to the outfielders - Lee, Volquez, and Marcum got very little respect in drafts.

RP - Mariano Rivera, Jonathan Papelbon, Kerry Wood.  Wood has eight saves and 20 Ks this month.


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Jose Valverde For Felix Hernandez?

A trade was reached last night in the RotoAuthority league.  The deal was struck between my team (second place with 85 points) and Ms. Behavin' (third place with 72 points).  Volvo Stationwagons is holding steady in first with 92.5 points, by the way.

Ms. Behavin' proposed the deal early in the morning: she'd send me Felix Hernandez for Jose Valverde.  Now, 9 out of 10 trade offers should probably be rejected or countered (and that's not a bad thing).  But with this offer I suppressed my urge to immediately reject it.  I gave it some thought and my starting rotation was way too crappy to turn this down (I'd traded away Cliff Lee and still haven't seen any return on Rafael Furcal).  But before I could approve the trade, she pulled the offer with cold feet.  I inquired in the evening and she decided to go for it. 

My starters prior to the trade were Dan Haren, Ted Lilly, Todd Wellemeyer, Jon Lester, Gil Meche, and Jesse Litsch.  This is not the staff of champions (the last three were picked up recently).  I am currently tenth with a 4.10 ERA and eighth with a 1.32 WHIP.  Plenty of room to progress on both.  I am also seventh in Ks, third in wins, and fourth in saves.  Since I had three other closers (Kerry Wood, Ryan Franklin, and Salomon Torres), I pulled the trigger.  It's a risky move, since those closers are far from locks.

Ms. Behavin' is eleventh with 20 saves.  She already had Billy Wagner, J.J. Putz, and Rafael Soriano (plus backups Carlos Marmol, Joey Devine, Heath Bell, and Taylor Buchholz).  She is third in Ks so she could stand to part with Felix. 

Felix hasn't been amazing.  His control has been poor and his BABIP is high again.  He's had recent calf issues and hasn't been particularly good in May.  Valverde is the opposite - a lights out May after a lousy April.

What do you think of the deal?


Full Story |  Comments (13) | Categories:

Running More

I have to admit that our little plate appearances per steal attempt stat is flawed, because it doesn't account for changes in a player's OBP or times on first base.

Baseball HQ uses a stat they call SBO, or Stolen Base Opportunity %.  That is calculated as (SB+CS)/(singles + BB).  That's a good one to look at too.

Anyway, here are the players who are running more this year, for one reason or another.

NAME PA/Att 08 PA/Att 07 Diff
Lance Berkman 20.1 66.8 -46.7
Delmon Young 20.5 52.4 -31.9
David DeJesus 21.7 50.2 -28.5
Matt Holliday 23.8 47.5 -23.8
Mark Ellis 26.6 49.4 -22.8
Ray Durham 27.0 44.0 -17.0
Alex Rios 17.5 33.9 -16.3
Randy Winn 21.8 36.3 -14.5
Chase Utley 47.2 61.3 -14.1
Troy Tulowitzki 38.7 52.5 -13.8
Kelly Johnson 30.0 43.4 -13.4
Tony Pena 37.0 48.7 -11.7
Melvin Mora 33.7 43.9 -10.3
Hunter Pence 22.4 30.3 -7.8
Matt Kemp 14.2 20.7 -6.6
B.J. Upton 11.9 18.3 -6.3
Shannon Stewart 38.8 45.0 -6.3
Joey Gathright 9.1 15.4 -6.2
Ichiro Suzuki 10.3 16.4 -6.1
Ryan Theriot 12.9 18.7 -5.8
Ian Kinsler 17.1 22.6 -5.5
Rafael Furcal 15.4 20.7 -5.3

That Berkman has attempted 11 swipes in just 221 PAs is a surprising and welcome development.  It's also nice to see disappointing hitters like Rios and Young running more to partially make up for it.


Full Story |  Comments (5) | Categories: Stolen Bases

Pick Up Dan Wheeler

Troy Percival just went down - go grab Dan Wheeler for saves in Tampa Bay.  Percival will have an MRI on his hamstring.


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Not Running

I looked at all players who attempted 15 or more steals in 2007.  Then I compared their plate appearances per attempt (lower is better) to see who has stopped running in '08.  Here are the offenders:

NAME PA/Att 08 PA/Att 07 Diff
Mark Teahen 98.5 33.8 64.7
Alfredo Amezaga 70.5 22.4 48.1
Michael Young 79.3 43.3 36.1
Gary Sheffield 54.3 22.0 32.4
Ryan Braun 55.0 24.6 30.4
Akinori Iwamura 57.8 28.0 29.8
Alfonso Soriano 54.3 24.7 29.7
Gary Matthews Jr. 55.5 26.3 29.2
Melky Cabrera 63.0 34.0 29.0
Chris Young 46.4 18.9 27.5
Carlos Lee 71.3 46.5 24.9
Alex Gordon 53.0 33.4 19.6
Carlos Guillen 48.0 30.0 18.0
Derek Jeter 48.5 31.0 17.5
Alex Rodriguez 42.3 25.3 17.0
Eric Byrnes 28.6 12.3 16.3
Curtis Granderson 41.3 25.0 16.3
Bobby Abreu 34.7 21.2 13.5
Nate McLouth 28.8 16.6 12.1
Felipe Lopez 27.0 20.3 6.7
Johnny Damon 25.6 20.2 5.5
Russell Martin 26.0 20.7 5.3
Torii Hunter 29.3 24.1 5.2

Why is this happening?  Some players have stopped running due to injury, like Soriano.  (By the way, I think it's time to demote him from second-round status).  But then you've got a guy like Chris Young.  He used to attempt a steal every 19 plate appearances, this year it's every 46.  Can't blame his OBP, it's much improved this year.


Full Story |  Comments (3) | Categories: Stolen Bases

Jay Bruce To Debut Tomorrow

According to Baseball Digest Daily, the Reds will promote top prospect Jay Bruce and he'll debut tomorrow.  Wouldn't be surprising to see Corey Patterson designated for assignment.

Bruce should be owned in all leagues; he's that good.  Will he mash from Day 1?  No idea.  Could be the next Alex Gordon, could be the next Ryan Braun.  The 21 year-old is hitting .364/.393/.630 in 184 Triple A at-bats (10 HR, 8 SB).  What more do you need to know?  Bruce has been available in Yahoo leagues for some time, so there shouldn't be a waiver period.



BABIP, Anyone?

Time for another installment of everyone's favorite BABIP, Anyone? series.  Here we look at pitchers with abnormal batting averages on balls in play.  I've incorporated ISO into the chart as well.  ISO, or Isolated Power, is calculated as SLG-BA.  It is a measure of extra-base hits.  League average is right around .150 in both leagues.

The following starters have BABIPs below .260.  All else being equal, their WHIPs should rise.  Considering moving guys with K/BBs below 2.0 (with a few exceptions).

NAME BABIP K/BB ISO ERA WHIP
Shaun Marcum 0.173 2.95 0.153 2.80 0.87
Gavin Floyd 0.176 0.93 0.149 2.93 1.08
Armando Galarraga 0.205 1.53 0.140 3.70 1.14
Ryan Dempster 0.218 2.04 0.075 2.70 1.06
Scott Olsen 0.228 1.00 0.150 3.38 1.28
Joe Saunders 0.234 1.53 0.085 2.31 1.06
Daisuke Matsuzaka 0.236 1.39 0.122 2.40 1.32
Brandon Webb 0.247 3.29 0.082 2.69 0.98
Paul Byrd 0.247 3.29 0.181 4.10 1.14
Daniel Cabrera 0.247 1.40 0.151 3.70 1.29
Jeff Bennett 0.248 1.23 0.129 3.60 1.35
Erik Bedard 0.252 2.00 0.189 4.70 1.30
Tim Redding 0.253 1.87 0.140 3.59 1.23
Jeremy Guthrie 0.253 1.91 0.144 3.62 1.25
Jose Contreras 0.255 2.63 0.084 3.06 1.05
Todd Wellemeyer 0.255 2.41 0.148 3.36 1.13
Tim Hudson 0.255 2.80 0.110 2.97 1.05
Justin Duchscherer 0.256 3.75 0.074 2.16 0.96
Ben Sheets 0.257 4.08 0.168 2.92 1.05
Cole Hamels 0.257 2.95 0.132 3.18 1.07
Scott Feldman 0.259 1.69 0.180 4.57 1.27

There are some incredibly low WHIPs here that have no chance of lasting.

Conversely, these pitchers have BABIPs over .350 and should see their WHIPs decrease.  There are a host of solid buying opportunities here.

NAME BABIP K/BB ISO ERA WHIP
Bronson Arroyo 0.383 2.50 0.185 5.68 1.65
Andrew Miller 0.382 2.20 0.137 5.33 1.66
Miguel Batista 0.379 1.13 0.175 6.47 1.97
Clay Buchholz 0.365 2.15 0.105 5.53 1.63
Ian Snell 0.355 1.58 0.138 4.84 1.70
Manny Parra 0.351 1.50 0.148 5.11 1.72
Nate Robertson 0.350 2.47 0.175 5.88 1.56
Chris Sampson 0.350 2.08 0.163 6.04 1.56
Mike Pelfrey 0.349 0.95 0.136 5.00 1.73
Paul Maholm 0.349 2.05 0.113 5.11 1.52
Kenny Rogers 0.348 0.93 0.192 6.66 1.88
Nick Blackburn 0.347 3.09 0.120 3.55 1.41
Andy Pettitte 0.346 2.94 0.111 4.27 1.44
Jarrod Washburn 0.345 2.46 0.210 6.54 1.51
Matt Chico 0.344 1.82 0.246 6.19 1.67
Jason Marquis 0.343 1.45 0.159 4.97 1.64
Jamie Moyer 0.343 1.86 0.182 4.37 1.60
C.C. Sabathia 0.342 2.80 0.169 4.74 1.43
Barry Zito 0.341 0.96 0.153 5.65 1.80
Randy Johnson 0.341 3.92 0.183 4.03 1.32

I wouldn't say that all of these pitchers will come around, but most should get better.  Many are already on their way, like Sabathia, Arroyo, and Miller.


Full Story |  Comments (0) | Categories: BABIP, Anyone?

Clayton Kershaw Time?

Looks like phenom Clayton Kershaw may debut in Chicago on Tuesday.  The 20 year-old has these numbers in Double A:

43.3 IP
9 starts
2.28 ERA
1.08 WHIP

9.76 K/9
3.12 BB/9
3.13 K/BB
6.65 H/9
.291 BABIP
0.00 HR/9

In an early Kerry Wood sort of way, it's likely that Kershaw will have a strong WHIP even if control is worse than average.  That's because he'll be very tough to hit.  He has ace stuff.

I can't tell you what kind of adjustment period Kershaw will need.  Try to look at the bigger picture if he struggles at first.  He's skipping Triple A by design, but he's still missing out on that experience.  I would use a #1 waiver priority on him, if only for the strikeout potential alone.




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