San Diego Padres

A Look At Randy Wolf

In each of my leagues, it seems like Randy Wolf has been added and dropped about eight times.  He really gets around.  Let's look at the numbers - is Wolf worthy of a permanent spot?

77.6 IP
13 starts
5.97 IP/start
4 wins
4.8 expected wins
4.06 ERA
1.27 WHIP
7.65 K/9
2.90 BB/9
2.64 K/BB
8.58 H/9
.312 BABIP vs. .300 team BABIP
0.70 HR/9
9.4% HR/flyball
41.3% groundball rate

Wolf posted a strong April, but stumbled in May with more hits and walks allowed.  His last five starts have been quality, so he seems back on track.   Compared to last year, Wolf has traded some Ks for improved control.  More importantly, he's made all 13 starts this year.

Though Wolf does show a pronounced home/road split, I don't think much of it.  The sample sizes are just too small.  I like his command, and nothing in his stats looks flukey.

One consideration is that Wolf may lose that PETCO advantage but he could gain more run support.  As an impending free agent who's pitching fairly well for a lousy team, Wolf is a prime candidate to be traded.  A team like the Cubs would give him a fantasy boost overall.

Wolf is a good mid-rotation strikeout guy for your fantasy staff, but be quick to bench him if his elbow or shoulder starts barking.

Jake Peavy Owes Me $20

I'm not kidding.  I want Jake Peavy to send me twenty bucks.  He made $750,000 this year, so that would constitute about .0027% of his paycheck.

Peavy's undisclosed, idiotic injury is probably what caused the odds to be so heavily stacked in St. Louis's favor before yesterday's game.  The money line for that game ranged from +160 to +180, meaning a $10 bet would win you $16-18.  Pretty good odds for one of the best young pitchers in the National League.  So I threw down $10 for Peavy to win the game.  My guess is that oddsmakers already knew about the injury before setting the line.

I also bet the under on the number of hits Peavy would allow, which was set at 6.  In a typical game this year, Peavy allowed less than six hits in his start, so it seemed like a solid venture.  Of course, Peavy surrendered 246 hits yesterday. 

In case you weren't aware, Peavy fractured two ribs during the Padres group hug or pileup or whatever it was.  Maybe this will start some momentum towards putting an end to annoying hopping group hugs.

At any rate, Jake, you owe me at least $20 for not telling anyone about your injury and trying to pitch through it.  Did you really think it was noble to get through four innings and give up 82 runs?  Oil Can Boyd could've done that.  Now the Padres chances of getting past the Cardinals went from somewhat possible to a snowball's chance in hell.  So much for that Padres-Angels World Series I was envisioning.  Jake, I'll take that in two tens.

San Diego Padres to Upset Cardinals

Yeah, that's right.  The Cardinals are going down in the first round.  I finally have something in common with Buster Olney, who also picked the Padres to defeat St. Louis.  (OK, we have two things in common - my first name is also Buster.)

Buster and me aren't the only ones picking against the winningest team in baseball.  David  Pinto of Baseball Musings won't come right out and say it, but he does hint at a possible upset.  Pinto mentions that the Padres have "five pitchers that can blow batters away."  Which brings me to my first reason for Padre victory:

Deep Bullpen That Misses Bats

In a five game series, this goes a long way.  Having four dominant relievers lessens the load on a team's weaker starters, and the Padres have plenty of those.  The Hoffman-Seanez-Otsuka-Linebrink beast can turn a game into a four inning affair.  I call it Hofbrinksukanez.  If Adam Eaton puts all of his energy into throwing four or five solid innings, that may be enough for a victory.  The Cards have a nice bullpen, although they just lost top strikeout artist Al Reyes

Jake Freakin' Peavy

Peavy was awesome this year.  His 9.58 K/9 was second only to Mark Prior among starters.  Plus, Peavy should have some gas left in the tank after throwing forty innings less than Chris Carpenter.  He's coming off a dominant mean streak for the last two months.  Remember why the Marlins won in 2003?  Josh Beckett.  Peavy can be this year's Beckett.  I think the 24 year-old can carry the team and win two games in the NLDS.

Chris Carpenter Looks Shaky

Admit it, Cardinals fans - you're worried about Carpenter now.  No doubt he had an incredible season, but the 5.73 September ERA is no small concern.  He's never pitched so many innings in his life.  If Carpenter reverts back to his good but not great 2004 form, the Cards will lack the ace that every playoff team needs.  Much like the White Sox, their rotation is built for the long haul, not a five game series.

Overrated Cardinals Hitters

Pujols is a superstar, and Edmonds is very good.  Edmonds is fighting a strained shoulder at the moment however.  Larry Walker is on life support, relying on cortisone shots.  Some combination of the three will be formidable, but this isn't Manny/Papi by any stretch.  The Cardinal lineup is fully capable of being subdued by Jake Peavy.


That's right, good ole' Lady Luck makes a Padre win plenty possible even if their team were blatantly inferior.  Check out some of the streaks this Mystery Team conjured up:

  • Won 2 of 3 from Angels in April
  • Swept 3 from Yankees in late May/early June
  • Took 2 of 3 from White Sox in July
  • Won 2 of 3 from Oakland in August
  • Won another 2 of 3 from Boston in August
  • Beat the White Sox 2 of 3 again in September

Of course, I'm talking about the Kansas City Royals.  Absolutely anything can happen during a short series.  That's why you should get some money down on the Padres to win the NLDS.  You'll get 3 to 1 odds on that.  As World Series Champs?  30 to 1.  You could turn $20 into $600.  If Peavy's on his game, it could happen. 

Today's pick: (1-2, -$70)
Jake Peavy (+160) over Chris Carpenter (-200)

2006 Fantasy Baseball Sleepers: Catchers

It's never too early to think about 2006, especially when a sly pickup now can have a big impact on your fantasy baseball team come next spring.  With that in mind, The Roto Authority has hand-picked two quality sleepers at the catcher position, both coming from San Diego. 

While a case could be made for Robert Fick as a decent second fantasy catcher, this post concerns Ramon Hernandez and Phil Nevin

The Padres are trying to win now, and their offense needs all the help it can get.  That's why they traded for Joe Randa, and that's why they're trying to prevent Ramon Hernandez from having season-ending wrist surgery.  Late word is that surgery would keep Hernandez out six weeks instead, but either way it would hurt the team's offense. 

Hernandez's agent is very much in favor of the surgery, knowing that a demonstrably healthy Hernandez can cash a free-agent deal similar to Jason Varitek's this winter.   The Padres are unlikely to cough up a four-year, $40 million deal in any case.  Had Hernandez been healthy this season, he most certainly would have been on the trading block right now. 

If Hernandez has the surgery during the season, his numbers won't improve much from the .273-7-38 line he's put up so far.  Even something as simple as the commonality of his name has kept him underrated as a fantasy catcher for years.  This offseason, expect Hernandez to move to a stable, more hitter-friendly environment and post a .280-25-80 line.  If you're out of the race in your league, trade some scraps for him now.  Failing that, try to acquire him before he signs a free-agent contract and enters a more well-known market like New York. 

Fallout from the Ramon Hernandez injury is that Phil Nevin will be used occasionally behind the plate.  Nevin hasn't played there in years, but his defense is the least of a fantasy owner's concerns.  As a catcher, Nevin's stock has gone through the roof, especially for 2006.   A line of .275-30-100 is average for a fantasy baseball first baseman, and first base is where Nevin might play in 2006.  However, he'll likely be with another team (most likely on the West Coast) and he probably won't be catching.  That means he'll fall under the delicious loophole of qualifying at catcher but not playing there in 2006.

You won't have to be quite as active with Nevin, as his numbers this year are causing his stock to drop.  He should come back to his career norms next year with a more stable setting.  Try to pick him up in a trade before your auction or draft, because at that point everyone will have read the roto magazines touting his eligibility.   

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