May 2008

Pitch or Ditch for Sunday

CORY’S PICKS                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  PITCH: Colon, Byrd (if you like to gamble, KC is awful), Rasner, Smith, Burnett, Hudson, Lincecum, Haren, Kuroda, Santana.
 
DITCH: Everyone else, for varying reasons.
 

Unread for 5/30

Hey Guys,

I have both John Maine and Matt Cain on my staff.  I’m not overly thrilled with either but wanted your opinion on who is more valuable moving forward in 08.  I’ll probably end up trading one as I’m heavy at SP.

Thanks!

Ryan in St. Louis

Hey Ryan,

Are you so heavy at starting pitcher that you can’t keep both these guys? You say you aren’t “overly thrilled,” but it’s not as if either pitcher has been terrible.

Maine struck out 180 batters in 191 innings last season while maintaining a 3.91 ERA and 1.27 WHIP. He’s showing similar strikeout ability this season (48 Ks in 58 innings) and has already posted seven quality starts. His ground ball-to-fly ball ratio has improved (26-to-43 in his first five starts, 38-to-35 in his last five starts). He has allowed only two home runs in his last six starts, and despite giving up seven earned runs in his latest two outings, at Atlanta and Colorado, both hitter’s parks, his 3.41 ERA is still very healthy.

Despite some ugly averages (4.43 ERA and 1.40 WHIP), Cain is one of the better buy-low pitcher candidates. His K/9 rate, 7.9, is an improvement on last years’ 7.3 rate, but perhaps the most promising stats are his pre- and post-All Star splits from the past two seasons:

2006
Pre-All Star    5.12 ERA, 1.39 WHIP, 7.9 K/9 rate
Post-All Star    3.26 ERA, 1.18 WHIP, 9.0 K/9 rate

2007
Pre-All Star    3.53 ERA, 1.33 WHIP, 6.8 K/9 rate
Post-All Star    3.79 ERA, 1.17 WHIP, 8.1 K/9 rate

Both these starters are worth keeping, but taking a look at Maine’s pre- and post-All Star splits from last season, his first full run in the bigs, (2.71 ERA and 1.14 WHIP before the break, 5.53 ERA and 1.45 WHIP after) might make you lean toward keeping Cain and shopping Maine. That isn’t such a bad idea anyway, since Maine has better overall stats right now and could probably fetch you more value in return.

Kyle Stack, MLB.com  

Fav 5 Bucket List

Schwartz
 

1. Learn to play guitar

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2. Learn to surf

3. Drive cross country

4. Finish my tattoo checklist

5. Make good on unfulfilled crushes from summer camp, high school and college

 
Siano

#1 Catch with Don Mattingly

#2 Dinner in Italy

siano_italy.png

#3 Golf in Scotland followed by a trip to the distillery

#4 Hole in One

#5 Walk Augusta on Sunday

 

Stern
 

1) Actually find a woman I can tolerate and have little Stern’s

2) Make It to National Television

3) Spend a long vacation in Hawaii/swim with dolphins

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4) Mile High Club

5) See the Isles and Mets win a championship

Unreads for 5/28

I have been offered David Wright FOR Big Erv and Fonzie Soriano in a 13 team mixed vanilla keeper (7 players) league.  I have SP and OF depth and currently have Scott Rolen at 3B.  Thanks fellas, Boise Bill

Hey Bill,

You’re definitely giving up a lot here, but I’d still do the deal.  Soriano’s been on a tear of late, hitting .340 with nine homers and 23 RBI in the month of May.  30-35 homers is a reasonable expectation, but Soriano’s been very inconsistent in the average department, and since he hits in the leadoff spot, his RBI opportunities are limited.  Soriano’s injury history is also a legitimate concern, and his stolen bases are almost nonexistent.   

Wright’s clearly the best player in this deal, and though he’s off to a bit of a slow start (yes, .281-9-36 is a slow start for him), he’ll provide elite across the board production.  He might fall short of Soriano in homers, but his AVG, RBI, and SB numbers will make up for it.  Wright is a gigantic upgrade over Rolen at 3B.  

Big Erv has been perhaps the biggest (no pun intended!) pitching surprise of 2008.  After a rough stretch where he gave up 13 runs over 17 2/3 innings, Santana rebounded nicely in his last outing, pitching a complete game three-hitter.  With his road woes behind him, the 25-year old should be in line for a great year.  That said, you’ve likely seen the best part of his season.  He’s pitched over 150 innings in a single year just once in his big league career, and it’s quite possible that he’ll wear down as the season goes along.

Considering your depth at the OF and SP positions, I have no problem selling high on Big Erv and letting someone else ride the roller coaster that is Alfonso Soriano.  This is a perfectly fair trade.  I just like your side of it a little more.

Zach Steinhorn, MLB.com

Hey Guys,

Have Peavy on my roster and need to drop a pitcher from my staff to make room. Who would you drop? B.Burres, E. Jackson, or C. Vargas

Thanks,                                                                                                     
James

Hey James,

Edwin Jackson stays. His WHIP has risen to 1.39 and he has walked 30 batters in 59 2/3 innings, but he also has a 3.47 ERA with 43 strikeouts. He has allowed four earned runs in 25 1/3 innings over four starts. He has given up just four home runs this season and, more importantly, he has started to realize some of the potential that once made him a highly-lauded prospect with the Dodgers.

Brian Burres was abysmal in his last start (3 2/3 IP, 10 H, 8 ER), but he had five quality starts earlier this season. He has made four starts in which he has either given up one earned run or not allowed a run at all. He had a three-game streak from May 6-17 in which he had a 34-to-22 ground ball-to-fly ball rate, which explained his 3.16 ERA heading into his last start. He has looked impressive and he seems to be firmly entrenched in the Orioles rotation.

The same cannot be said for Vargas. He hasn’t issued many hits or runs in three starts for the Mets (3.93 ERA, 1.03 WHIP) but he also has just a 10/7 K/BB ratio. Furthermore, with Pedro Martinez slated to return to the rotation next week, Vargas may find himself relegated to bullpen duty or sent to Triple-A. I suppose Vargas could take Mike Pelfrey’s rotation spot if the youngster continues to struggle (5.33 ERA, 1.77 WHIP).

I wouldn’t expect much from Burres or Vargas, but I would rather keep the pitcher who has a more stable rotation spot. Burres should be in Baltimore’s rotation the rest of the season. Drop Vargas.

Kyle Stack, MLB.com       

Feud Standings through Week 8

Click on this link to download the updated fantasy feud standings:

FANTASYFEUDBREAKDOWN wk 8 (2).rtf

Unread for 5/27

Hi guys,

I’m in a 12 team 5×5 league, OBP instead of AVG and I think I am ready to finally give up on Nick Swisher.  Swisher has always had great on base skills and good power, but my patience is running thin. He has long been designated to a Monday/Thursday hitter, 5th outfielder, bench player. I hastily added Jay Bruce last night after hearing about his expected call up, dropping only a middler reliever for him. Now I feel like I should go another step and cut Swisher for some of the talent available as FAs, such as Victorino (could use SBs), Jose Guillen, Jack Cust, and Ibanez. I realize that Swisher is a streaky hitter and I usually frown upon giving up too early on good hitters. What do you guys think?

Thanks,
Chris in Maine

Hey Chris,

I know what you mean. I am also a frustrated Swisher owner – in two leagues. The White Sox hitter-friendly home stadium – U.S. Cellular Field – seems like a perfect fit for Swisher, but the problem might be that owners viewed Swish’s 35 home runs in 2006 a bit too optimistically. He sandwiched that 35-home run season between 21- and 22-homer campaigns, so those seasons might be more in line with his power potential. He has drawn 33 walks thus far, but his on-base percentage is still a lowly .335, thanks in no part to his .205 batting average. I usually preach patience with players, but at some point, owners also have to know when to cut their losses. It might be in your best interest to leave Swish on the waiver wire.

If you need steals, then snatch up Victorino. He has swiped seven bags since May 7, including two in the past three days. He is 14-for-35 (.400) in his past eight games, including 10 runs in that timeframe. This is where he becomes so valuable. The Phillies could end up scoring more runs than any other team, and even if they don’t, they will still cross the plate boatloads of times. Victorino, batting second, will be a good bet to score 90-plus runs with Utley, Howard and Pat the Bat hitting behind him. Don’t forget that he did go deep 12 times last season in 456 at-bats, so he does offer some power value.

I think he’s a wiser choice – especially if you need steals – than Guillen, Cust or Ibanez.

Kyle Stack, MLB.com

Jay Bruce to be Called up on Tuesday!!!!

This was released by the Reds at 4:59pm ET that Bruce time is about to happen in Cincy.

jbruce450325rw.jpgThe show has been pelted with questions for the past month plus about when guys would get called up and if they would stay. With Kershaw pitching well yesterday and Bruce coming up to make his MLB debut this week it lends a lot to the question of when and why. Cory has been touting June 12th as a guesstimate and while I agree with the thought process of why that guess was made ($$$$) I think it’s unfair for any hosts or “experts” to try and get in the head of an owner, GM or manager. The Reds are seven games under .500 and that should be the reason you call a kid up you think can lend a spark and maybe is just plain better then the current bodies you have out there. A  corresponding roster move has not been made yet so we should wait and see if Freel or Patterson get let go or is it just some 25th guy type cut. In fantasy he obviously needs to be picked up and it really stinks if you hung in there for a while and then cut him four days ago, but you know what this is so beyond anyone’s control it’s beyond a crap shoot and like I always you need luck in fantasy and lots of it. I currently have an e-mail out to Fred Claire who was GM of the Dodgers in 1988 when they took it home and I’m going to get to the bottom of all this guessing and deadlines and buying out arbitration or free agency years. It was obvious in my opinion why the Rays held out on Longoria when he clearly deserved to be the opening day 3B but the Rays are now ten games over .500 so what do they care? Let’s see what Fred thinks about that decision and the others that keep us guessing. I’ll post it in this Blog when Fred gets back to me.

-Siano

POD for Monday May 26th and Tuesday May 27th

sorry about missing today’s starts again, I will get this figured out.

 

Click here for Monday’s Probables and here for Tuesday’s

 

Show returns Tuesday at 2pm ET.

 

Siano says…

Monday Pitch Marcum, Webb, Jair, Rasner (I picked him up in 411 for this start), Vazquez, Billingsley, Dempster, Kazmir, Bartolo and King Felix.

 

I don’t like the rest especially Garland vs red hot Tigers but how intriguing is Sir Sydney? Great numbers but I just can’t say yes.
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For Tuesday Pitch Laffey (hottest pitcher in AL ERA wise last 30 days), Kuroda, Blackburn, Cueto (vs. Pirates so lessens the risk), Big Erv, Hudson, Burnett and Smith in a nice macth-up, Lincecum and Haren in a head to head as well and Randy Wlf home vs Nats.

Cory may chime in as well, but either way good luck and have a happy and safe holiday.

 

Mike

 

Unread for 5/23

10 team AL-only 5×5 2-man keeper
I have been offered Kazmir for Ellsbury. I have a speed surplus and am weak in pitching, however, I think I would get more as Ellsbury can be kept for $10.

Thoughts?
Gerald from Waterloo

Hey Gerald,

Boy, that’s a good trade for both teams. Kazmir is 3-1 with a 1.57 ERA, 1.13 WHIP and 22 strikeouts in 23 innings, so he has been as ace-like as the Rays could have hoped for since coming off the disabled list after nursing an elbow strain. Obviously, the concern with him, as always, is whether he can stay healthy. Still, he’s just 24 years old and he’s coming off of a 239-strikeout season.

Ellsbury, who I wasn’t very optimistic about at the beginning of the season, is making himself a potential keeper candidate. You have to ask yourself if, with only two keepers, you would value a top-of-the-order, powerless hitter who will contribute in steals, runs and batting average. Sort of like Ichiro, I suppose, but with a lower batting average. Now, that might be a tad optimistic, but that’s who he could have the potential to emulate. Ellsbury already has 19 steals in 20 attempts and is batting .291 with 39 runs scored in 44 games. He has already drawn 23 walks in 164 plate appearances to boost his on-base percentage to .396.
 
He is a good value at $10 and I recommend choosing hitters over pitchers as your keeper choices. Who are your other offensive options? You might want to look at power hitters who can contribute homers and RBIs, but Ellsbury doesn’t seem to be a bad choice. However, if you deem neither Kazmir nor Ellsbury as keeper-worthy, I would switch Jacoby for Kazmir to boost your pitching. That is, if you are already secure enough with runs scored and steals.

Kyle Stack, MLB.com

Pick up Clayton Kershaw!

Breaking news! Ken Gurnick of Dodgers.com is all over this situation as it appears Clayton Kershaw may get the call to start for the Dodgers on Saturday.
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I’ve maintained all along that Kershaw was most likely to be brought up some time on or around June 12 — along with guys like Bruce and Rasmus — so the club could save a year of arbitration service time. In addition to that, Kershaw only turned 20 years old during spring training, so why rush him?

Well, the reason to rush him is that both Brad Penny and Derek Lowe are banged up — not to mention that they are sporting matching 5.34 ERA’s after 10 starts — and the Dodgers haven’t had a reliable fifth starter all year, so they need rotation help. And when you’ve put up the kind of numbers Kershaw has, it’s pretty apparent the big lefty (6’3″, 220) is deserving of a shot.

What kind of numbers you say? Check out his page on MiLB.com and behold… a combined 163 strikeouts in 122.0 innings at two levels last year, followed by a 2.28 ERA and 47 strikeouts in 43.1 innings at Double-A so far this season. The preseason top 50 prospects list on MiLB.com had Kershaw ranked at #4 overall, tops among pitchers.

Kershaw is available now in ESPN.com leagues, but not yet on waivers in Yahoo leagues. I’m not sure about Sportsline, I don’t play in any of those, sorry. Needless to say, if he’s available, try to get him… he could very well be this year’s Cole Hamels or Tim Lincecum, the pitching prospect who could come in and put up big numbers from day one. This year’s Jered Weaver or Yovanni Gallardo wouldn’t be so bad either!

Now you know, go get him…

CS

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