June 2008

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BABIP, Anyone?

Been a while since we looked at the winners and losers of BABIP.  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 pitchers have a BABIP below .260, and are therefore likely to see their WHIPs rise.  Be extra skeptical of those with K/BB ratios below 2.0.

NAME BABIP K/BB ISO ERA WHIP
Gavin Floyd 0.209 1.63 0.186 3.39 1.12
Armando Galarraga 0.212 1.79 0.155 3.32 1.11
Shaun Marcum 0.228 3.19 0.140 2.65 1.00
Justin Duchscherer 0.229 3.06 0.084 1.91 0.91
John Lackey 0.235 4.15 0.121 1.44 0.89
J.P. Howell 0.242 2.05 0.111 3.02 1.14
Scott Olsen 0.243 1.45 0.159 3.47 1.25
Cole Hamels 0.243 3.32 0.166 3.38 1.03
Dave Bush 0.246 1.88 0.210 4.94 1.23
Joe Saunders 0.246 1.83 0.130 3.06 1.15
Tim Wakefield 0.246 1.64 0.154 3.88 1.25
Daisuke Matsuzaka 0.250 1.36 0.125 3.21 1.39
Ryan Dempster 0.250 2.10 0.119 3.26 1.18
Scott Kazmir 0.253 3.00 0.121 2.28 1.04
Matt Garza 0.253 1.90 0.128 3.76 1.21
Jeremy Guthrie 0.256 2.18 0.148 3.50 1.20
Dan Haren 0.257 5.05 0.134 2.85 0.97
Greg Reynolds 0.259 0.82 0.190 5.75 1.46
Adam Wainwright 0.259 3.10 0.161 3.14 1.09

The following pitchers have BABIPs above .340 and should see their WHIPs come down:

NAME BABIP K/BB ISO ERA WHIP
Ian Snell 0.385 1.31 0.155 5.99 1.93
Shawn Hill 0.374 1.70 0.165 5.83 1.75
Bronson Arroyo 0.372 2.51 0.224 6.19 1.67
Kevin Millwood 0.359 1.94 0.142 5.08 1.67
Franquelis Osoria 0.355 2.45 0.201 6.02 1.64
Andrew Miller 0.354 1.76 0.122 5.05 1.59
Livan Hernandez 0.354 1.95 0.161 5.22 1.60
Randy Johnson 0.350 3.17 0.168 4.94 1.44
Barry Zito 0.345 0.92 0.149 5.91 1.82
Mike Pelfrey 0.344 1.17 0.110 4.47 1.65
Doug Davis 0.342 1.69 0.114 3.68 1.54
Andrew Sonnanstine 0.341 3.53 0.169 4.60 1.39
Javier Vazquez 0.341 3.25 0.181 4.49 1.39
Nate Robertson 0.341 2.36 0.175 5.23 1.52

Randy Johnson and Andy Sonnanstine look like solid buying opportunities.  You want guys with ISOs close to .150, because that means they're just giving up lucky singles.


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RotoAuthority League - Best Pickups Last Week

This feature is written by Jeff, owner of the Volvo Stationwagons.

6/25 – Aubrey Huff’s $34.99ers picks up Mike Mussina
The veteran Mussina is in the midst of a bounceback season, leading the Yankees in victories with his 10-5 record.  Moose isn’t much of a source for strikeouts anymore, but he has walked a paltry 13 batters in his 89 innings so far in 2008.  He’s been very hittable, but with the vaunted Yankee offense behind him he ought to be able to get a few wins while not doing too much damage to the $34.99ers’ ratios.

6/25 – Philly Cheez Puffs picks up Adam Lind
The firing of John Gibbons as the Blue Jays’ manager coincided closely with the callup of Lind, who despite struggling at the major-league level still holds a career line in the minors of .318/.379/.509.  New manager Cito Gaston has publicly stated that he’s “going to play,” so he’ll certainly have the opportunity, and if he can finally make those pretty minor-league numbers translate to the majors he will be a nice find for the Cheez Puffs.

6/26 – Men With Wood picks up Jason Bartlett
Bartlett was nominated in this Fantasy Roundtable as a player who could be a sleeper for SB down the stretch.  His OBP and SLG still pretty poor and won’t contribute a whole lot in any of the other offensive counting stats, but he ought to provide the Men With Wood a few cheap SB to stay in first place in that category.

6/28 – Volvo Stationwagons picks up Billy Butler
Butler struggled early in 2008 and was demoted to the AAA Omaha Royals, which acted as a wakeup call of sorts.  After tearing apart minor league pitching to a tune of .337/.417/.564, Butler was promoted Saturday due to Alberto Callaspo’s personal troubles opening up a roster spot.  If given regular playing time, Butler could finally become a force in the Royals’ lineup, contributing a solid batting average to a Stationwagons team that desperately needs it.


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The Halfway Point - Hitter Projections

Most teams haven't hit the 81 game mark yet, but many will this weekend.  How would the leaderboards look at year's end if we simply doubled current stats?  Who do you feel is likely to fall off the pace?

Runs

1. Lance Berkman - 140.
2. Hanley Ramirez - 134.
3. Ian Kinsler - 132.
4. Nate McLouth - 118.
5. Jose Reyes - 116.
6. Chase Utley, Dan Uggla - 114.
8. Derrek Lee, Carlos Beltran, Jason Bay - 110.

Home Runs

1. Dan Uggla - 46.
2. Chase Utley - 44.
3. Lance Berkman, Adrian Gonzalez - 42.
5. Ryan Braun - 40.
6. Pat Burrell, Josh Hamilton, Ryan Howard - 38.
9. Adam Dunn, Mike Jacobs - 36.

RBIs

1. Josh Hamilton - 152.
2. Adrian Gonzalez - 132.
3. Ryan Howard - 130.
4. Lance Berkman, Chase Utley - 126.
6. Justin Morneau - 124.
7. Jose Guillen, David Wright - 120.
9. Carlos Lee - 118.
10. Dan Uggla - 116.

Stolen Bases

1. Willy Taveras - 70.
2. Jacoby Ellsbury - 68.
3. Ichiro Suzuki - 66.
4. Juan Pierre - 64.
5. Michael Bourn - 60.
6. Jose Reyes - 56.
7. B.J. Upton - 44.
8. Brian Roberts - 42.
9. Shane Victorino, Carlos Gomez - 40.



Roundtable: Exceeding Expectations

This week's roundtable question:

Which pitcher and hitter are exceeding expectations so far in 2008 and are unlikely to keep it up?

I'm not alone in my answer for the pitcher.  Read all the answers here.


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Chris Davis Gets The Call

Haven't seen this elsewhere yet - the Rangers have called up first baseman Chris Davis, according to his hometown paper.  I took a look at him in this post.  Big-time power.

Davis is available in CBS leagues, so go snag him if you have the roster space.


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Dan Wheeler Worth Hanging On To

Troy Percival, 38, is anything but a lock as the Rays' closer.  He continues to be day-to-day with a balky hamstring, meaning you should hold on to or pick up Dan Wheeler.  Wheeler has been lights out this month and could definitely pick up more save opportunities this season.  At the least, he helps your ratios a bit.



Don't Forget About Clay Buchholz

Clay Buchholz is in Triple A, but with virtually any of the other 29 organizations he'd be in the Majors.  The Red Sox haven't given any indications of an impending callup, but Buchholz is tearing it up.

I am a huge fan of Buchholz, and he is on most mixed league waiver wires.  If you have room to stash him, do it.  If he's less talented than Joba Chamberlain, it's not by much.

Boston's rotation is deep, but they're a smart organization and Buchholz won't be held down in the minors if a veteran is underperforming.


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The Next Russell Branyan

32 year-old third baseman Russell Branyan hit .359/.453/.693 in 179 Triple A plate appearances.  In 86 big league plate appearances, Branyan has tallied up a .297/.384/.770 line.  That includes ten home runs, a nice boost for those who picked him up in fantasy leagues.  Let's see if there are any similar minor league mashers at Triple A.

  • 29 year-old outfielder Jeff Bailey, hitting .315/.415/.657 with 22 HR in 254 ABs for the Pawtucket Red Sox.
  • 27 year-old first baseman Brad Eldred, hitting .265/.332/.620 with 26 HR in 279 ABs for the Charlotte Knights (White Sox).   He doesn't draw enough walks to fit the profile, but he has the Ks.
  • 30 year-old third baseman Mike Hessman, hitting .265/.366/.583 with 23 HR in 283 ABs for the Toledo Mud Hens (Tigers).
  • 28 year-old outfielder Jonathan Van Every of the Pawtucket Red Sox, hitting .288/.368/.559 with 17 HR in 236 ABs.
  • 27 year-old outfielder Nelson Cruz of the Oklahoma RedHawks (Rangers) hitting .357/.457/.714 with 23 HR in 252 ABs.  Maybe the Rangers won't give him another chance, but some other team ought to.
  • 27 year-old third baseman Dallas McPherson of the Albuquerque Isotopes (Marlins) hitting .301/.412/.682 with 26 HR in 239 ABs.
  • 26 year-old first baseman Joe Koshansky of the Colorado Springs Sky Sox (Rockies), hitting .297/.373/.616 with 18 HR in 276 ABs.  Slugging only .483 on the road, though.

Most of these non-prospects are buried on the depth chart, but it wouldn't be hard for another team to pry them loose and unearth another Branyan (or even better, Jack Cust).


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Will You Give The Man His PrOPS?

Today's guest article is by Mike Podhorzer of The Fantasy Baseball Generals.

PrOPS, or predicted OPS, is a stat that really hasn’t generated that much discussion, at least not that I’ve seen. It was developed by JC Bradbury and you could read all about it in this introductory article. Today I’ll be looking at those players with the biggest difference between their PrOPS and actual OPS. First up are the players whose actual OPS exceeds their PrOPS by the most, which might suggest that they have been lucky, or their actual OPS could be expected to decline going forward.

Player

PrAVE

PrSLG

PrOBP

PrOPS

OPS

OPS-PrOPS

Lance

Berkman

0.300

0.590

0.394

0.984

1.137

0.153

Fred

Lewis

0.257

0.393

0.334

0.727

0.823

0.095

Johnny

Damon

0.291

0.426

0.361

0.787

0.881

0.094

Dan

Uggla

0.263

0.585

0.348

0.932

1.026

0.093

Matt

Holliday

0.296

0.469

0.379

0.849

0.931

0.082

Alex

Rodriguez

0.300

0.575

0.384

0.959

1.035

0.077

Joe

Mauer

0.299

0.395

0.391

0.786

0.861

0.075

Kevin

Youkilis

0.274

0.471

0.350

0.821

0.896

0.075

Carlos

Gomez

0.231

0.346

0.267

0.613

0.687

0.074

James

Loney

0.281

0.415

0.343

0.758

0.832

0.073

Lance Berkman is already cooling off so the window to sell extremely high is closing. However, there really aren’t too many players you could be sure would outperform him, so holding tight is probably the best move. Johnny Damon is sporting a .362 BABIP, which should regress toward his career .311 mark, bringing down his actual OPS more in-line with his PrOPS. Dan Uggla has been discussed many times on the Generals blog, but he just keeps hitting HRs, making us look foolish. I’d still look to trade him. Carlos Gomez has a .304 OBP, thanks to a putrid 3.9% BB%, and yet continues to be trotted out into the leadoff slot on a daily basis. It’s scary to think that PrOPS believes he’s actually been lucky this year, even though his actual OPS is only .613! I wouldn’t be shocked if he gets sent down sometime this year if he falls into another extended slump. He has also only been successful 69% of the time stealing bases, which has been his biggest contribution to fantasy teams thus far. He could become a 0-category fantasy player if he starts getting the red light.

Now let’s take a look at the players who are underperforming their PrOPS.

Player

PrAVE

PrSLG

PrOBP

PrOPS

OPS

OPS-PrOPS

Nick T

Swisher

0.287

0.460

0.393

0.853

0.741

-0.112

Robinson

Cano

0.283

0.392

0.322

0.715

0.600

-0.114

Ryan J

Howard

0.272

0.545

0.362

0.908

0.788

-0.120

Adrian

Beltre

0.293

0.519

0.359

0.878

0.753

-0.125

Jack

Cust

0.290

0.526

0.442

0.968

0.837

-0.131

Adam

Dunn

0.278

0.589

0.431

1.020

0.879

-0.141

Marco

Scutaro

0.302

0.409

0.390

0.799

0.657

-0.142

Jose

Vidro

0.282

0.419

0.322

0.741

0.587

-0.154

Freddy

Sanchez

0.297

0.410

0.324

0.734

0.575

-0.159

Paul

Konerko

0.288

0.465

0.386

0.850

0.691

-0.160

Nick Swisher is looking like a great trade target. He’s been hitting better of late, but he has still been underperforming and it shouldn’t take much to acquire him. He’d been an even better bet going forward if he could ever move back up in the lineup, maybe into the 2nd slot where A.J. Pierzynski has somehow staked his claim. I still stand by my article several weeks ago analyzing Robinson Cano, where I determined that most of his slow start has just been bad luck. PrOPS agrees, and luckily he still hasn’t gotten hot, giving non-owners an opportunity to trade for him. Adam Dunn looks like a nice target as he’s slumped of late and Dusty has continued to make sure his lineups make absolutely no sense, dropping Dunn now to 6th in the order. His owner might be sick and tired of his .220 average, but he’s walking at the highest rate of his career and his HR/F ratio is the 2nd highest of his career. In fact, I wouldn’t be surprised to see him finish the year with a career high OPS. I’m embarrassed to admit that Paul Konerko is my favorite player as he’s off to a horrific start, and injuries certainly haven’t helped his cause. Hopefully PrOPS is right that it’s just been bad luck, as he obviously has the track record to suggest it’s only a matter of time before he starts hitting. You might be able to acquire him for peanuts at this point.


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Charlie Morton A Sleeper?

24 year-old Braves righty Charlie Morton seemingly came out of nowhere to post a 2.05 ERA in 79 Triple A innings this year.  That included a solid 2.67 K/BB ratio.  Morton hadn't appeared in Baseball America's top 30 Braves prospects since '05.  Can't blame them - he'd never posted an ERA below 4.29.

Reading this article from BA, Morton seems like a guy whose numbers never caught up with his plus stuff.  So far he's made two big league starts, giving up three runs in each.  Because of injuries to Tom Glavine and Mike Hampton, Morton has the Braves' fifth starter job for now.  Glavine could return around the All-Star break, while Hampton is Hampton.  He did make a rehab start recently though.

My point, I guess, is that Morton has flown under the radar for quite some time and has the repertoire to become a quality big leaguer in a hurry.  He's more of an NL-only guy for now but keep an eye on him.


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