May 2009

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Lost Control

Which pitchers have seen the biggest increase in BB/9 so far this year?

  1. Oliver Perez - 3.85
  2. Jonathan Sanchez - 3.25
  3. Josh Beckett - 2.67
  4. Aaron Laffey - 2.42
  5. Randy Johnson - 2.40
  6. Aaron Cook - 2.31
  7. Adam Wainwright - 2.25
  8. Jose Contreras - 2.25
  9. Jeff Karstens - 2.22
  10. Daniel Cabrera - 2.17
  11. David Purcey - 1.94
  12. Derek Lowe - 1.84
  13. Dana Eveland - 1.79
  14. Kevin Correia - 1.79
  15. Chris Sampson - 1.67

Honorable mentions: Manny Parra, Gavin Floyd, Mike Pelfrey, Edinson Volquez, Andy Sonnanstine, Braden Looper


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BABIP, Anyone?

Minimum 20 innings pitched.  Holding all else equal, these pitchers will see their WHIPs rise:

NAME BABIP K/BB ISO ERA WHIP
Matt Garza 0.190 2.12 0.156 3.51 1.00
Edinson Volquez 0.202 1.40 0.125 3.47 1.29
Chris Volstad 0.215 2.13 0.138 2.97 1.10
Tim Wakefield 0.218 1.39 0.076 2.93 1.13
Jeff Karstens 0.220 0.69 0.301 5.85 1.55
Kevin Millwood 0.221 3.13 0.161 2.78 0.99
Jonathan Sanchez 0.222 1.28 0.200 3.80 1.55
Ted Lilly 0.222 3.44 0.204 3.11 1.01
Yovani Gallardo 0.224 3.25 0.140 3.02 0.96
Jered Weaver 0.225 3.44 0.155 2.66 0.98
Brian Bannister 0.233 1.27 0.057 1.48 1.19
Jair Jurrjens 0.238 1.25 0.117 2.01 1.19
Brian Tallet 0.239 1.57 0.276 5.83 1.40
James Shields 0.242 1.77 0.170 3.51 1.20
Jason Marquis 0.243 1.58 0.144 3.92 1.21
Mark Buehrle 0.243 2.18 0.109 2.61 1.08
Dan Haren 0.246 5.67 0.080 1.84 0.86
John Maine 0.247 1.22 0.103 5.20 1.37
Scott Richmond 0.247 2.17 0.157 2.67 1.22

On the other hand, expect the WHIPs of these players to come down:

NAME BABIP K/BB ISO ERA WHIP
Dana Eveland 0.429 0.94 0.093 7.40 2.34
Felipe Paulino 0.424 1.70 0.107 5.23 1.89
Josh Beckett 0.396 2.12 0.158 6.75 1.82
Brian Bass 0.383 2.86 0.259 6.20 1.72
Ricky Nolasco 0.379 3.00 0.209 7.03 1.63
Oliver Perez 0.379 0.95 0.191 9.97 2.26
Kevin Slowey 0.376 12.50 0.216 5.50 1.51
Joe Blanton 0.373 2.56 0.223 6.84 1.75
Todd Wellemeyer 0.369 1.82 0.139 4.75 1.61
Kevin Correia 0.368 1.31 0.088 5.92 1.77
Brad Bergesen 0.368 1.57 0.156 4.98 1.75
Jon Lester 0.368 3.58 0.193 5.11 1.46
Matt Harrison 0.365 1.00 0.179 6.41 1.91
Andy Sonnanstine 0.363 1.67 0.134 5.79 1.65
Adam Eaton 0.360 2.30 0.188 7.18 1.67
Justin Verlander 0.359 3.75 0.157 5.66 1.37
Cliff Lee 0.359 2.80 0.117 3.92 1.54
Justin Masterson 0.358 2.60 0.092 5.28 1.41
Tim Lincecum 0.355 4.17 0.097 3.05 1.20
Carl Pavano 0.353 2.88 0.186 6.61 1.53
Scott Olsen 0.352 1.85 0.248 6.54 1.71
Eric Stults 0.351 1.07 0.140 4.94 1.77
Kenshin Kawakami 0.351 1.79 0.262 6.41 1.73
Ubaldo Jimenez 0.351 1.50 0.105 5.45 1.61

Players to target: Nolasco, Slowey, Lester, and Verlander.  Lee and Masterson should be considered as well.


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Popular Adds

A run through ESPN's most popular additions to fantasy teams...

  • Russell Branyan.  Monster start to the season for Branyan, who's at .321-7-15-18-1 in 89 plate appearances.  He qualifies at both infield corners in most leagues.  Branyan's contact rate is 74%, an improvement on years past.  Playing more regularly doesn't hurt.  He's even hitting lefties a bit so far.  I remain skeptical that Branyan can hit .280 from here on out, but he could easily finish the year with 25 homers.
  • Hank Blalock.  Blalock blasted six homers in April, causing fantasy leaguers to wonder if he can reach 30 HR again.  His contact rate is up, but his OBP is ugly.  One has to hope his contract year will push him to rack up 550 ABs.  Health is the biggest question.
  • Scott Richmond.  Richmond's peripherals aren't too bad - 7.7 K.9, 3.6 BB/9.  His HR rate may come down a bit, but his .247 BABIP and hits allowed figure to come way up.  Richmond strikes me as a guy who will help the Jays a lot more than your fantasy team, as his ERA and WHIP may be in the 4.50/1.40 range from here on out.
  • Phil Hughes.  Two starts for Hughes - one good, one bad.  His fastball is up a tick from last year, and I expect a pretty good year if Hughes has health and opportunity.  I'd roster him in a mixed league but wouldn't want to be relying on him for a big contribution.
  • Asdrubal Cabrera.  Cabrera is hitting .319 with 19 runs scored and 4 steals in 94 ABs.  With a 78% contact rate that AVG is destined to come down.  But it is possible he scores 90 and swipes 20.  That is the upside.
  • Scott Downs.  Not sure what kind of league didn't have Downs owned several weeks ago.  For what it's worth, I expect him to keep the closer job when B.J. Ryan comes off the DL.
  • Dexter Fowler.  Fowler drew a lot of attention for stealing a hundred bases off Chris Young.  He had an intriguing April but has not hit in May.  Having skipped Triple A, Fowler may experience growing pains.  I'd keep him on the bench.
  • Ryan Franklin.  Similar to Downs, Franklin was owned a good while ago.  His strikeout rate is up, and he's rediscovered his impeccable control.  He'll blow a few saves once the .143 BABIP comes up, but I can envision Franklin holding on to the job for most of the season.
  • Melky Cabrera.  The Melk Man is up to .344-4-10-13-2 in 64 ABs.  He did flash this kind of ability over a three-month stretch in '07.  A poor man's Ryan Spilborghs maybe?
  • Kendry Morales.  With 4 HR in the last two weeks, Morales is up to .267-4-16-13-0.  A 20 HR season seems reasonable, but you might require more out of a mixed league corner spot.
  • Matt LaPorta.  LaPorta got the call after hitting .333/.414/.640 with 5 HR in 75 minor league ABs.  He'll play semi-regularly while Travis Hafner is out.  He's got a homer in 10 ABs so far and is good for 20 HR and a questionable AVG if he reaches 400 ABs this year.


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Roundtable: Early Regrets

I am hosting this week's roundtable.  My question:

Here on April 30th, what is your single biggest fantasy baseball regret of the year?

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Sean Sultaire, Fantasy Baseball Geeks:

My biggest regret of the year occurred on draft day.  Each year I am determined to wait as long as possible to pick a starting pitcher and this season was no different.  So my regret is not having a legit ace on any of my rosters.  Now this does not mean my teams will not be competitive or even perhaps win, but rather that I do not have the pleasure on knowing Johan is going to get 20 wins and Lincecum is gold for 220 K's.  This strategy has been engrained in me for many years and I have had some very good success, however I do wish that just one year I could deviate from my plan and get a bona fide ace.  For now I have to hope that my roster's ace Matt Cain takes the next step into the elite otherwise I will watch Santana's stat line and wonder "what if."

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Brett Greenfield, Fantasy Phenoms

My biggest fantasy regret of this young season is drafting Ervin Santana on several of my teams.  On every team of mine that he's on, he was drafted prior to the injury announcement, but having what was supposed to be your ace not throw a single inning yet in 2009 is a killer.  While it's hard to regret much this early, having Santana on my teams has to be the biggest regret of all.

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Tommy Landry, RotoExperts

My biggest regret off the young season is that I did not do enough research about all of the new parks in MLB. Take the Yankees' new stadium for instance. In only nine home games as of Sunday, May 3, the team has already mashed 17 HR at home. The park is set up rather similarly to the old digs, but it has been oriented in a different direction, which supposedly helps balls carry by aligning a tail wind from home plate to the outfield. Given the trend for balls to carry farther in warmer weather, this could be the start of something notable as we head into the heat of summer. Had I done enough digging in this area, I'd have stacked up a lot more of the New York position players in pretty much every format. And I'd have avoided the pitching staff altogether.

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Adam Ronis, Newsday

I don't have a lot of regrets so far. Check back with me in a few weeks, though. One that I do is drafting Fausto Carmona in an AL-Only league in an auction. I didn't talk about him much or write about him. I wasn't someone pimping him out for a comeback. So what possessed me to draft him? Did I anger my girlfriend that day and she performed some voodoo to sink my team? I really don't know what drove me to take this guy. His control was awful last season and no matter how many groundballs you induce, a walk rate hovering around 5 isn't going to cut it. Even in his great 2007 season, his K/9 was below 6. He needs to be pinpoint to be successful. I also failed to take a lot of players that I endorsed to my readers such as Aaron Hill -- entry posted on Jan. 16 -- and Paul Maholm.

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Rudy Gamble, Razzball

Right now, I'd have to say by biggest regret is betting big on catchers in 2 catcher leagues.  Catchers have just been snakebit this year.  McCann and Doumit get freak injuries.  Soto has a bum shoulder.  Russ Martin hasn't shown up yet.  It's quite annoying for me because I think the tradition of two catchers in 'expert leagues' is stupid and I always punt catchers when in 1 catcher leagues.

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Jon Williams - Advanced Fantasy Baseball

I wish I could say something clever based around not owning either Carl Crawford or Dexter Fowler for their five-plus steal days. But that would not be accurate. I guess my biggest regret is that I played it so straight this season. My usual style of drafting involves taking at least a few giant risks in hopes that that one or two will pay off big time. I had a hunch that a few Texas starters would shoot up in value this season. That idea appears to be right on so far, but I did not invest in any of them. I wrote a post touting Emilio Bonifacio as a potential sleeper but I allowed him to go undrafted in most of my leagues (except the one where he mysteriously went for 15 to another believer) in favor of safer options. My less risk approach has not been bad for my teams so far. Most of my teams look like solid contenders so far so it , hasn’t doomed my season or anything like that. However, those risky players usually provide an aura of excitement around my teams that I just don’t feel this season. Sure, Kevin Millwood will probably blow up someone’s ratios eventually. I know that Bonifacio is already in a slump after his hot start. But I consider that a huge part of the fun of fantasy baseball that I did not allow myself this year.

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Patrick Cain, Times Union

My biggest regret is my draft. I wanted to hang back in my 20-team league and make moves later in the draft, getting an arsenal of $15-$20 guys at a discount. Well, as things turned out within the first 10 names nominated I had already drafted 3 guys (Pujols, Miguel Cabrera, and Brian Roberts). All are great to have, and they've got me off to a great start, but it threw off my plan and left me with little to spend on pitching. Now I'm relying on a staff of Volquez, Pettite, Washburn, Zito, Ohlendorf, Masterson, Marshall...So far, so good, but we'll see.

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Tim Dierkes, RotoAuthority

In a few leagues, I didn't draft enough upside guys because I paid too much attention to my dollar value projections.  Derrek Lee and Randy Johnson might have solid projections, but a few of those types of veterans fall short every year and you need young breakout players to balance them out.  Maybe Adam Jones or Johnny Cueto only projected at $7, but both had opportunity and obvious breakout potential.  The championship team usually has a few of those 15th round players who have monster seasons.

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Mike Podhorzer, FantasyPros911

My biggest regret would have to be drafting a whole bunch of young, potential breakout pitchers and going cheap on my staff. I figured if I drafted enough of them, a couple would pan out and I could simply replace those who blew up. Unfortunately, four of my five bench players (all pitchers) have been dropped as guys like David Purcey, Brett Anderson and Trevor Cahill remind us once again that it's just not worth gambling on a rookie (or in Purcey's case, second year) pitcher. I'll throw Manny Parra into the group as well, though I actually drafted him on my starting roster and he remains on my team. It is always tempting to go cheap on pitching assuming you'll be the one to pick up the Edinson Volquez' of the world- the young pitcher who suddenly figures it out and has a breakout year that could have been found on free agency. However, this obviously is the exception to the rule and does not happen as often as it might seem.


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RotoAuthority League Standings

A month is in the books for the RotoAuthority 5x5 Mixed League.  The standings:

  1. Men With Wood - 92
  2. Cult of Personality - 85
  3. Depressed Fan - 78
  4. Philly Cheez - 75
  5. Santa's Magic Janitor - 68.5
  6. Miss Conception - 67
  7. Waveland Avenue - 64.5
  8. Ghostride the WHIP - 62
  9. A Century of Misery - 51.5
  10. Dizzy Llamas - 50
  11. Volvo Wagon Dynasty - 46.5
  12. RotoAuthority - 40

Yes, that's me in dead last.  I am last in runs and RBI, second to last in HR and AVG, and not faring well in ERA and WHIP.  Top offenders: Soto, Snyder, Derrek Lee, Rollins, Randy Johnson, Parra, Kawakami, and Purcey.  Yikes.

Why is Men With Wood in the lead?  They've got Bengie Molina, Kinsler, Cantu, Swisher, Jeter, Dye, Bay, Lohse, Broxton, Cordero, and Lincecum.


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April Pitching Leaders

A look at the pitching leaders for April in the five roto categories...

ERA

1. Zack Greinke - 0.50
2. Johan Santana - 1.10
3. Dan Haren - 1.54
4. Wandy Rodriguez - 1.69
5. Jair Jurrjens - 1.72
6. Armando Galarraga - 1.85
7. Tim Wakefield - 1.86
8. Kyle Lohse - 1.97
9. Matt Cain - 2.08
10. Dallas Braden - 2.10

WHIP

1. Dan Haren - 0.74
2. Yovani Gallardo - 0.87
3. Zack Greinke - 0.89
4. Johan Santana - 0.95
5. Tim Wakefield - 0.97
6. Kevin Millwood - 0.97
7. Chris Volstad - 0.99
8. Glen Perkins - 1.00
9. Chad Billingsley - 1.01
10. Kyle Lohse - 1.03
10. Edwin Jackson - 1.03
10. Wandy Rodriguez - 1.03

K

1. Johan Santana - 44
1. Zack Greinke - 44
3. Tim Lincecum - 43
4. Javier Vazquez - 42
5. Dan Haren - 36
5. Felix Hernandez - 36
7. Rich Harden - 35
8. Justin Verlander - 34
8. Chad Billingsley - 34
8. Matt Garza - 34

W

1. Zack Greinke - 5
2. Roy Halladay - 4
2. Joel Pineiro - 4
2. Felix Hernandez - 4
2. Chad Billingsley - 4
21 tied with 3

SV

1. Heath Bell - 8
2. Ryan Franklin - 7
2. Francisco Cordero - 7
2. Jonathan Broxton - 7
5. Frank Francisco - 6
5. Jonathan Papelbon - 6
8 tied with 5

The ten most valuable pitchers, according to ESPN's Player Rater: Greinke, Santana, Broxton, Haren, Billingsley, Felix Hernandez, Gallardo, Halladay, Francisco, and Bell.  Who's for real?  How many hurlers will strike out 250?


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April Offensive Leaders

April 2009 has closed.  Let's take a look at the roto offensive leaders.

AVG

1. Kevin Youkilis - .395
2. Carlos Beltran - .388
3. Victor Martinez - .386
4. Nick Markakis - .381
5. Alberto Callaspo - .379
6. Miguel Cabrera - .377
7. Manny Ramirez - .372
8. Evan Longoria - .369
9. Robinson Cano - .366
10. Aaron Hill - .365

HR

1. Carlos Pena - 9
1. Adrian Gonzalez - 9
3. Torii Hunter - 8
3. Albert Pujols - 8
3. Carlos Quentin - 8
6. Raul Ibanez - 7
6. Alfonso Soriano - 7
6. Brandon Inge - 7
6. Chase Utley - 7
6. Nick Swisher - 7
6. Jorge Cantu - 7
6. Curtis Granderson - 7
6. Ian Kinsler - 7

RBI

1. Albert Pujols - 28
2. Carlos Pena - 24
2. Evan Longoria - 24
4. Mike Lowell - 23
5. Jorge Cantu - 22
5. Nick Markakis - 22
5. Andre Ethier - 22
8. Chase Utley - 20
8. Adrian Gonzalez - 20
8. Aaron Hill - 20
8. Ian Kinsler - 20
8. Adam Lind - 20
8. Joey Votto - 20

R

1. Marco Scutaro - 24
1. Adam Jones - 24
3. Nick Markakis - 23
4. Albert Pujols - 22
5. Alfonso Soriano - 21
5. Nick Swisher - 21
7. Raul Ibanez - 20
7. Kevin Youkilis - 20
9. Manny Ramirez - 19
9. Torii Hunter - 19
9. Vernon Wells - 19
9. Brian Roberts - 19
9. Orlando Hudson - 19
9. Adrian Gonzalez - 19
9. Jason Bay - 19

SB

1. Jacoby Ellsbury - 10
2. Bobby Abreu - 9
2. Carl Crawford - 9
2. Chone Figgins - 9
2. Dexter Fowler - 9
6. Ian Kinsler - 7
7. Michael Bourn - 6
7. Josh Anderson - 6
7. Emilio Bonifacio - 6
7. Nyjer Morgan - 6

The top ten hitters, according to ESPN's Player Rater: Pujols, Kinsler, Ibanez, Adrian Gonzalez, Longoria, Utley, Soriano, Hill, Cantu, and Youkilis.  How many of these guys are on your team?  Which of those April HR leaders can keep the pace and hit 40 bombs?  150 RBIs for Pujols?


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