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Wednesday, June 06, 2007

10 Biggest Pitching Fantasy Suprises

Similar to the surprising hitters post, this is meant to highlight pitchers that may be slipping under the radar this year. Again, this is not to highlight people like

Randy Wolf (W, K's) – It’s been years since Wolf was a productive pitcher, but so far this year he’s been excelling especially in Wins & K’s. Yes, we all know wins are a fluky category which can change dramatically by the end of the season, but his ERA/WHIP are respectable (4.06/1.32) and he’s average over 1K/IP.

Zambrano (W) – Yea, everybody knows he’s been getting lit up a lot this year, and his ERA/WHIP are not what you drafted for a starting pitcher. But he does have 7 wins which leaves him with plenty of time to get close to the 16 he had last year.

Valverde (SV) – If asked to name who is 2nd in saves (behind Cordero of course), how many people would name Valverde? He is with 21 and he’s also striking out more than 1 batter/IP. Yes, he’s has some meltdowns but 20/23 is pretty damn good so far.

Borowski (SV) – This is a prime example where his average stats don’t tell the whole picture. Normally when you see a closer with an ERA over 6 (Jose Mesa, Valverde last year, Julio, etc..) it’s time to bail out. But it isn’t the case here. Borowski has only blown 2 saves (technically the AROD Grand Slam wasn’t a save chance when the 9th started). 10 of his 18 ER have come in 2 games—1 BS and the AROD game. Besides that Borowski has been solid and right there among the AL leaders in saves.

Burnett (K's) – His ERA/WHIP are decent, but Burnett has been striking out batters at an amazing pace. He’s already had 4 double-digit K games and in addition 2 8-K and 1 9-K games.

Matt Morris (W/ERA) - Another pitcher that is putting together a fine season completely under the radar. Although he’s not striking people out, Morris has 7 wins, a very solid 2.56 ERA to go with a decent WHIP. Pretty sure he’s not going to keep this up all season, but you know what they say: strike while the iron is hot.

Ian Snell (ERA/K's) – He’s actually ranked ahead of Santana, Verlander, Escobar, Smoltz, Bonderman, Brandon Webb, and others because of his K’s 78 and his great ERA/WHIP 2.63/1.14. Probably won’t end up with more than 12-13 wins because he plays for the Pirates, but all the other peripherals are great.

Rich Hill (ERA/WHIP) – Hill had a great start to the season, then a so-so patch, but has turned it on as late to be a top-8 SP. His good ERA 2.81 and phenomenal WHIP 1.01 to go with 78 K’s show that he’s the real deal. Should hopefully get some more wins as the season progresses.

J.J. Putz (SV, ERA, WHIP) – Putz has been even more dominating than last year with his 1.19 ERA and .66 WHIP. He’s right up there for the AL lead in saves with 19 and we haven’t heard or seen anything regarding that elbow problem he had back in the spring.

Isringhausen (ERA/WHIP) – Isringhausen hasn’t piled up the saves as the Cardinals haven’t been a good ballclub, but he’s been just as dominant as some of the other closers. He’s only given up runs in 4 appearances (out of 25 total) and only 2 runs or more once leaving him with an ERA/WHIP 1.80/.84. He’s blown a total of 1 save so far and has performed very well so far.

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10 biggest Offensive Fantasy Suprises

The purpose of this article is not to point out individual players who are performing much better than their preseason projections. Rather it is to highlight stats/accomplishments which are flying under the radar, but are quite remarkable. Thus, Mike Lowell or Kevin Youkilis wouldn't qualify for this list even though they are having great seasons which far outweight pre-season expectations.

Magglio Ordonez - Everyone knows that Magglio is having an amazing season. But the most suprising stat is the number of runs he has scored, 50. He is on pace to score 140 which would be unparalleled for a cleanup hitter. Of the top 10 in MLB in runs, every player bats 1 or 2 except for Sheffield (discussed below) and AROD. (ed note: Yes, Youkilis has been batting in the #5 spot as of late, but the large majority of his runs 34/43 were scored from #2 position).

Sheffield - Just like Magglio, everyone should know now about Sheffields early season struggles which have now been corrected. But just how much has he turned it around? He leads MLB with 53 Runs and is on pace for 20 SB which would be his most since 1990.

Eric Byrnes - Byrnes is currently outperforming several prominent OF including Beltran, Crawford, and Soriano. He is on pace for solid 5 category season including 25 HR, 31 SB, and 90 RBI and his numbers, at this point, are virtually identical to BJ Upton, who many people should be aware of.

Dan Uggla - Uggla has quietly put up good numbers in Runs, HR, and RBI despite a slow start to the season. Currently on pace for 137 Runs, 34 HR and 100 RBI. While that pace will surely cool, he is the 3rd best 2B and probably falling under most people's radar screens.

Carlos Pena - Pena has been slugging like crazy since getting regular playing time and has gone 12-32 in only 45 games which would work out to 43-115 over a full season. Granted he won't come near to that since he has missed 13 of the teams first 58 games, but with everyday playing time he appears on his way to 30-100.

Gary Matthews JR- Everyone thought that one career year coupled with the taint of HGH and leaving a hitter friendly ballpark would hurt Matthews. So far, it hasn't and he is even outperforming last year's career highs. The 8 HR so far aren't out of line with previous years, but the 38 RBI (106 pace) and 9 SB (25 pace) are. Who would have thought that Matthews has more SB than Beltran, Abreu, Soriano and more RBI than Manny, Ibanez, Matsui, Beltran.

Xavier Nady - Nady is have a solid, but unspectacular season so far. But if you look at his HR/RBI numbers you see 25/98 pace; very suprising for a guy who bats 5th/6th for one of the worst offenses in baseball.

Bengie Molina - Everyone who follows MLB closely is aware of the starts of Russell Martin, Posada, and Victor Martinez. But how many know that Bengie Molina is 4th in RBI with 33 (on pace for 92)? He has been virtually identical to Pudge except that he trails by 7 runs, but has 20 pts in AVG.

Ichiro - The surpsising part of Ichiro's season so far isn't the 25 game hitting streak or the 7 SB he had in one week. It is the fact that he has 29 RBI so far, on pace for 81. He is at or above the likes of Vernon Wells, Sizemore, Matsui, Bonds, Burrell, and Abreu so far this season.

Just one final note I'd like to point out. While it's true that some hitters are off to amazing starts, it is also true that many will not keep up their projected pace over the rest of the season (and we understand that). So keep in mind, that no, Ichiro isn't going to end up with more RBI than Vernon Wells or Carlos Pena with more HR/RBI than Andruw Jones (barring some of injury of course). However, it is interesting to go back and look at what has happened so far this year and what may have been happening "under the radar"

Monday, June 04, 2007

More Joe Morgan Idiocy

From the Red Sox-Yankees game 6/3/2007 from our resident expert, Joe Morgan:

"Guys who walk enough lot, do not end up with 3000 hits..."

(ed note: We fixed the order of the quote and so this post has been slightly edited from its original form...also, yes, Joe did say "walk enough lot" )

So we hear at Real Baseball Blog present a list of all MLB players who walk a lot and DID end up with 3000 hits

# of BB's - BB Rank

# of BB's - BB Rank

Ricky Henderson

2190 - 2nd

Hank Aaron

1402 - 23rd

Carl Yastrzemski

1845 - 6th

Tris Speaker

1381 - 27th

Stan Musial

1599 - 11th

Rafael Palmeiro

1353 - 29th

Pete Rose

1566 - 13th

Eddie Murray

1333 - 31th

Eddie Collins

1499 - 17th

Al Kaline

1277 - 39th

Willie Mays

1464 - 18th

Ty Cobb

1249 - 44th

Wade Boggs

1412 - 22nd

Dave Winfield

1216 - 47th

So there you have it folks. 2 out of the top 6 career leaders in BB's got 3000 hits. Completely contrary to what Joseph Leonard Morgan proclaimed. Also, he mentioned Babe Ruth and Ted Williams as two examples of this. Just like to point out that Babe Ruth ended his career 127 hits shy of 3000 (2873); a total he would have presumably reached had he begun being a full-time hitter earlier than his 6th year in MLB. Also, Ted Williams ended up with 2654 hits (346 short), which again he would have presumably reached had he not missed 3 complete years (1943-1945) and major parts of 1952 and 1953. So even those aren't valid examples. Also just like to point out that Bonds should reach 3000 hits next year (assuming he doesn't retire) and that would Joe as the only one of the top 5 in BB's that is nowhere near 3000 hits. Can someone please explain to Joe that just because something is true for him, it doesn't mean that it is true for everyone else...So once again, Joe, you my good sir, are completely and totally wrong.

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Saturday, June 02, 2007

Worst Baseball Article Ever..

So, some guy wrote a post here giving 10 reasons why the Yankees will win the World Series. It's true that the Yankees do have a potent lineup once Abreu and Matsui start hitting. It's also true that they used 12 different SP's so far this season and going into Friday were tied for last in the AL East. So here goes...

<1> Rounding up, this means the Yankees must make up 3.5 games a month for the next four months. That’s only a game a week. Doesn’t seem that all that difficult when you put it in that perspective.

No team has ever come back from over 14 games back this late in the season, much less one that has used 12 different starting pitchers this season.

<2>What this leaves is a lot of players who are due (Johnny Damon, Bobby Abreu, Hideki Matsui, and Robinson Cano) to reach their usual productive seasons. I hate to be the team that plays the Yankees when three or four of these guys start to click.

Damon is injured, so I doubt he's going to return to form until he rests; Abreu was just never that good to begin with. And Posada is playing way over his head, so even if Matsui starts heating up, that should be negated by Posada's decreased production, unless you believe that 36 year old catchers can win batting titles.

<3>Just by saying that, Jeter proves once again to be an inspiration for his teammates and will continue to be just that as he leads his team into the playoffs.

This doesn't even merit a response because its so laughable..yes, downright HAHA laughable. But seriously, I'd love to see the explanation how Jeter's "inspiration" is going to fix an overworked bullpen in September or the fact that Abreu is Slugging under .300.

<4> Whether it be the distractions with steroids or his all-around poor play, Jason Giambi is not helping the Yankees.

Does he help the Yankees more than Kevin Thompson or Melky Cabrera does offensively??? Because those are his current replacements...

<5> In this past stretch, the team has gone 3-12, now opening the door up for both the Cubs and the Pirates.

Let me see if I get this straight....letting your lead on a team that is 25th in MLB in Runs Scored, 29th in OBP, and 27th in SLG %, get down to 7 1/2 games is "opening up the door"??? Yes, we all know winning and losing streaks happen over a season, but when teams are still 7.5 games out of first place, they still have some ground to make up.

<6>But this isn’t any man. This is Roger Clemens. Three years off a Cy Young Award, the Rocket is back and the man is ring hungry.

If Clemens is "ring hungry", then why did he choose a last place team that is 14.5 games out of first place and 7.5 games out of the WC to pitch for. The Astros and Red Sox are both closer to making the playoffs than the Yankees currently.

<7> AROD

Yea, AROD is a great player. No one is denying that..but explain how having him on your team is a reason that said team can win the WS. The Giants have Bonds; are they WS favorites?

<8> Boss

I still don't understand this one...Steinbrenner (who was supposedly going to back off of personnel decisions to give Cashman more leeway) is now so controlling that he will demand midseason trades which will send the Yankees to the WS. And Helton?? I thought you guys had enough overpaid, declining production 1B with multiple years left on their contracts...

<9> "His secondary leadership will prove invaluable to the team in the long run as they will find themselves in the middle of an exciting race this summer."

Again, I'd like to hear how Posada's "secondary leadership" will bring Abreu's SLG % over .300 or how he is going to improve a starting pitching staff which is 26th in Quality Starts. Or the fact that the Yankees have 10 Blown Saves, for an impressive 29% Save Percentage---which is actually less than half of the next worst team, the Cubs.

<10> "the team still wore pinstripes, shaved the bottom of their lip, and acted like champions. As players start to turn it around, we will find that the Yankees will be there."

Just like the past 6 years when they won..oh wait, they haven't won any WS titles in the past 6 years.

What a moron...

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