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The Proof Is In The Peripherals: May 9-15

I'm sure leagues like this already exist but man, wouldn't it be trippy to play in a league that only counted advanced metrics?  Forget about homers, runs, wins or ERA....this theoretircal League Of Fortune would only be scored on BABIP, SIERA, FIP, etc.  No longer would you complain only how your fantasy team "should" be doing, but rather, you could say things like, "man, my fantasy team should Should be doing better!" and be both correct and sounding like an idiot at the same time.  If only, if only. 

Anyway, speaking of being correct and sounding like an idiot, here is your weekly dose of statistical analysis delivered in my usual buffoonish manner.

Thine Eyes Deceive You: Starling Marte.  The young Pirates star was leading the league in hits entering Tuesday's play but was also near the top of the charts in another, more telling category --- Marte's .398 BABIP is a sign that some regression is on its way.  For all Marte's gifts, he was never a big on-base guy even in the minors so once his grounders stop finding holes and his fly balls stop leaving the yard at a 20.8% rate, Marte is due for some hard times.  The good thing is, though, Marte's prospect pedigree and his good stolen base numbers should make him a very solid piece of trade bait; just don't go overboard and try to move Marte for an established superstar outfielder. 

Of course, from a pity standpoint, I hope Marte keeps it going all year long, since Pirates fans deserve some good luck after the last couple of decades.  One can't escape facts, however, and thus I hate to say that Marte's awesome start to the season seems destined to fizzle out.  You might say that a big season for Marte...(puts on sunglasses) isn't in the stars.  YEAHHHHHH

Move It Along, Nothing To See Here: Mike Moustakas.  In fact, if Bucs fans want to see a worst-case scenario for what the rest of Marte's 2013 campaign could look like, take a gander at the Moose.   The Royals third baseman got off to a great start in 2012, posting a .909 OPS through April, but slowly declined throughout the rest of the season.  He held it together for a respectable .749 OPS over the next two months and then really hit the skids, hitting just .221/.264/.357 over his last 77 games and finishing with a .296 OBP for the season.  The new season hasn't provided a fresh start, as Moustakas has just a .565 OPS in 2013. 

Plate discipline is one of the hardest skills for young hitters to master and don't forget, Moustakas is just 24 years old --- he might need a little more seasoning before you (or the Royals) can count on him as a reliable everyday option.  If you drafted Moustakas hoping he'd figure it out this season, I'd cut bait now and look elsewhere at the hot corner.  I say this despite the fact that Moustakas actually has a career-best (at any level) 9.6% walk rate and his BABIP is only .218 but I question if these are signs of a forthcoming breakout this season or just signs that Moustaskas will eventually be a worthwhile big leaguer down the road.  I mean, as Alex Gordon taught us, Royals prospects have to break our hearts for at least three or four years before finally delivering, right?

Move It Along, Nothing To See Here (Besides Something): Anthony Rizzo.  There was a mass evacuation of the Rizzo bandwagon a couple of weeks ago when the Cubs first baseman was hitting a measly .173/.256/.420 following the Cubs' 4-3 win over the Marlins on April 25.  Rizzo proceeded to post a 1.350 OPS over his next 48 PA, however, so I think we can safely hold off on calling Rizzo a bust and, I dunno, blaming Steve Bartman for it, somehow.  Rizzo should finish the year somewhere in the .850-.900 OPS range, since while his 23.7% home run rate is sure to come down, the fact that he's hitting more fly balls overall (a rather large 42.7%) won't hurt him much in the friendly confines of Wrigley Field.  Throw in the homers, throw in a healthy walk rate that will be helped by a healthy dose of free passes (I mean, have you SEEN the rest of the Cubs lineup?) and Rizzo should be good to go for the rest of the season.  My only hesitation is that I'd sit him against a quality left-handed starter, so hopefully you have a decent first base backup on your fantasy roster. 

Look Closer: David Price.  If you're a Price owner who is beginning to panic over your man's 6.25 ERA, breathe easy.  The Cy Young winner's numbers are inflated by two brutal starts against the Indians and Rockies (17 ER over those 11 2/3 IP), a very high .351 BABIP and a 20.5% HR rate that is over twice as large as his career average.  If you go by the advanced metrics, Price's numbers are much less scary -- the Rays southpaw owns a 4.43 FIP, 3.36 xFIP, and a 3.47 SIERA.  Those still aren't quite "elite ace" numbers but Price will very likely be just fine.  There's no need to move him in a panic trade, like, say, dealing Price for Jason Heyward and Jon Niese like one guy in one of my leagues did two weeks ago.  Man, I sure wish I was the lucky manager who snagged Price in that deal...oh wait, I WAS.  *self high-five*

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