If you play in a H2H (Head-to-head) nine-category fantasy basketball league (FG, FT, PTS, 3PTM, REB, AST, STL, BLK, TO), you might like Ben Wallace.
Under what circumstances would you ever want a guy who can't score more than 5 points a game or make more than half of his free throws? Well, if your team already stinks at FT and PTS, you'd want Ben Wallace
If you filter the NBA player rankings for seven categories, omitting FT and PTS, Ben Wallace is ranked 4th in the entire NBA.
I want to find a way to stop my armpits from sweating while I'm at work. Armpit sweat is an affliction--a quiet affliction--that doesn't garner the same attention as pimples or hair loss, but it is arguably more devastating. Pimples and hair loss don't stain your favorite button-down.
I heard a rumor that there is this prescription strength anti-perspirant that you put on once a month. You coat your armpits with this stuff that is the consistency of cake batter, you let it dry and then your sweating issues are solved for thirty days.
For anyone who has had to tolerate the chill of a corporate air conditioning unit on their damp armpits for eight hours a day, armpit cake batter sounds like a delicious solution.
Pierre Thomas only had more than 16 carries one time in 2008. Even though I drive his nickname (PT Cruiser), I'm not sure I'm willing to use a top 30 pick on him. Readables: PT is ranked 20th overall here and 28th here. Oh, and here is an ESPN article asking if PT is an RB1.
Ronnie Brown scored 40% of his touchdowns in one game last year. He had sixteen or fewer carries in 13 of 16 games last year. He had 3 100-yard games last year.
Felix Jones has never had more than 10 touches in an NFL game.
Chris Johnson (9) rushed for more touchdowns than Matt Forte (8) in 2008.
Based on no evidence, I fear that DeAngelo Williams (18 TD) might be the Braylon Edwards of 2009 (Braylon went from 16 TD in 2007 to 3 TD in 2008). It will cost you a 12th overall pick to find out.
Slaton caught 50 passes last year.
Kevin Smith had over 20 carries in 6 of his last 8 games in 2008. He scored in four of them.
Ray Rice carried the ball more than 11 times twice last year. He scored zero TDs for the year.
DeSean Jackson went for 62-912-2TD last year. That's better than I thought, especially when you consider he'll probably pop off a return TD or two and maybe a rushing TD.
I like my WRs to be consistent. Lance Moore caught at least 5 passes in 10 of 16 games last year. Housh did it 9 times. TOwens did it 9 times. DeSean did it 8 times. DMason did it 9 times. DBess did it 5 of his last 6 games. BMarshall did it in 12 of 15 games. Royal did it in 11 of 15 games.
Kevin Walter only caught at least 5 passes in four of his 2008 games. AGonz did it 4 times. VJax did it 6 times.
I'm on the fence about Antonio Bryant. He is either a dominant WR (9 catches, 200 yards, 2 TDs in Week 14 last year) or an overrated 2009 bust.
I like my quarterbacks to be consistent. Aaron Rodgers threw or rushed for at least two touchdowns in 11 of 16 games in 2008. Drew Brees also did it 11 times. Peyton Manning did it 9 times. Matt Ryan did it 5 times. Romo did it 8 times (in only 12 games). Schaub did it 7 times (in only 11 games). Philip Rivers did it 12 times, but I refuse to draft him because I don't like him personally. (I've never met him, naturally.) So because of this silly stat I will probably draft Rodgers (ADP = 36) or Romo (ADP = 58) or Schaub (ADP = 72).
Last year I was burned by my lust for rookie RB McFadden. So I've instituted a new rule: no rookies before the 80th pick, and no rookie WRs unless they went to University of Florida. That rules out Moreno (53), Wells (71), Donald Brown (77), Crabtree (Texas Tech). McCoy (81) conveniently is an option. As is Harvin (97) and Green (118). I'm going to throw in Mendenhall (99), who missed so much time last year he is rookie-ish.
If you think I forgot about rookie RB Coffee (199), I didn't. He was ruled out because of what I call the Coco Crisp Theorem: if you've got a fun name, you'll always be overvalued. Milton Bradley is another baseball version of this rule. Is it safe to say Chad Ocho Cinco is the biggest football offender?
A few months ago, my wife said she would only let me pick up Florida 2B Emilio Bonifacio for the fantasy baseball team we were co-managing if I let her buy a dog.
Since the All Star break Bonifacio has hit .244 with two stolen bases and has been caught stealing twice. The dog, on the other hand, has been quite a hit. The dog, which we named Golden Mucho, has changed my life. More on that later.
Soon after nabbing Bonifacio, our fantasy team began to tank. I was distraught. To relieve my stress, I joined a local cycling team. Some members of the team, sensing my immense reservoir of talent, convinced me to race. During my third race, I was caught up in a crash and hyperextended two fingers and broke my clavicle. Surgery was required on my clavicle. While some folks do the Giro d'Italia a few weeks after clavicle surgery, I was placed on the fantasy 60-day disabled list. My doctor banned me from typing. I feared my season might be over. And so fans everywhere began to wonder, could The Sinkhole pull out victory with a team managed only by a wife who cared more about using fantasy sports as leverage to buy pets?
The short answer is no. My fantasy season this year mirrored that of the real-life Mets. The Sinkhole fantasy baseball team is currently in 11th place in a league with twelve teams. Not that my wife didn't try. She recognized that the league favored starting pitching and traded BJ Upton for Johan Santana, but both players have been mediocre since the trade. She tried to sell Matt Wieters to the highest bidder, but no one was interested, even though this is a keeper league. Anyway. We suck.
But now, football season is here. And my wife has agreed to co-manage again. I am insisting that we draft Devone Bess. She is insisting that Golden Mucho needs a friend. G. Mucho is, she says, lonely. The other day, when I came home from work, I found him on the couch, pawing through a month-old issue of US Weekly. The TV was on, and was tuned to Top Chef marathon. He was the most bored-looking dog I'd ever seen.
When I was out with my broken clavicle, Golden Mucho nursed me back to health. He dutifully carried bags of ice to me. He helped me pull my shirt over my head. When I was finally well enough to leave the apartment, he made sure that nobody bumped my tender shoulder. I owe Golden Mucho a friend. You owe it to yourself to read up on Bess:
"Earlier this season, Torre said he didn't have to talk to Casey Blake about batting 8th because he was a veteran who knew how to hit there. Torre thinks the same of Matt Kemp, who batted eighth four times recently. "Matt Kemp doesn't care where he hits," Torre said, adding that if he sensed it would be a problem he would talk with the player first. With Kemp, it wasn't a problem at all."
Does it count if I care? Put aside all that baseball BS (power at the bottom of the order, putting a good hitter who can get hits even with the pitcher batting behind him, blah blah blah) and consider that Torre is giving the best hitter on the Dodgers one fewer at bat per game...on purpose.
My wife is off on a business trip and so I am alone for a night for the first time in months, maybe years. My goal was to read a textbook about software requirements for work, but I watched Fever Pitch on network television and ate a dinner of leftovers (rice, beans, and two chicken fingers) and a bowl of cereal (Special K with chocolate bits in it) instead.
The movie made me feel...sad. And not just because I'm a Yankees fan. And not just because I was home alone eating a hodgepodge dinner and watching network television. The content of the movie made me feel sad, especially the parts that were attempting to make me feel uplifted. Like Johnny Damon's grand slam, for example.
Let me explain: I miss being able to root against Johnny Damon and his caveman look. Back when he was with the Sox, I rooted against him as a player while simultaneously respecting his caveman look. I miss that complicated love/hate relationship. His caveman look was, well, pretty freaking awesome.
Nine years ago, I liked a certain young starting pitcher so much that I incorporated his last name into the name of my fantasy baseball team. That pitcher? Barry Zito. I kept the name for four years, and during those four years Zito had won-loss records of 7-4, 17-8, 23-5, and 14-12. After that the name got a little stale, and so I switched it up to something else. About that same time, Zito began to struggle. Well, maybe not struggle, but he certainly wasn't that same dominating pitcher that he used to be. His WHIP rose from a low of 1.13 in 2002 all the way to a high watermark of 1.60 in 2008.
Guys who go 23-5 usually get taken seriously, but Zito hasn't been taken seriously for years. Maybe now that he has racked up three four straight quality starts, it is time to start taking him seriously. Maybe now that he has found a soulmate in catcher Pablo Sandoval, we should start taking him seriously.
I'm going to go to bed now (I have to wake up in four hours to pick up some pitchers to stream), but later I'll try to post some actual analysis about Zito in an attempt to see if he can be a sub 1.30 WHIP pitcher this year.
Oh, and the name of my fantasy team? Zito Burrito. Kinda fun, kinda dumb. Good night.
A quick glance at FanGraphs shows that Zito's 2009 LOB% (75.8%) isn't much over his career average (73.2%). His 2009 BABIP is actually higher (.284) than has career average (.273). His 2009 K/9 (6.11) is actually slightly below his career average (6.70), but his 2009 BB/9 (3.06) ties his best ever (he also had a BB/9 of 3.06 in his 22-5 2002 season, as this graph shows). One change that jumps out is that 27% of his pitches thrown were curveballs in 2002, but now he's only throwing his curve 13% of the time. For some reason, after the 2005 season he abruptly stopped throwing his curveball as much. The only difference I can glean from these charts is that he seems to be throwing a tick faster this year. So what does it all mean? Well he's walking fewer batters and giving up fewer home runs. If he can keep that up, he should be able to continue to be a sub 1.30 WHIP pitcher. I have not idea how true it is, but I like to believe that as long as Sandoval is behind the plate, Zito will continue his resurgence.
Just to summarize in a less blocky paragraph: after Zito pitches, check the boxscore for walks and HRs. If he's continues to give up fewer than 1 HR every other start and 2 walks per start, you should believe in all things Zito. If his HR or BB creep over those thresholds, be wary. Is that too subtle? Then just check back on these graphs (using the BB/9 and HR/9 tabs).
I do not like it when someone streams on me. It doesn't make me feel good. In order to stop the streamer from streaming on me, I am aggressively fighting to neuter the streamer through a little trick I call anti-streaming. Here's how:
First, some context:
In my Yahoo! league, the owner who is playing me this week dropped the three worst players on his roster on Sunday night (our weekly games start on Monday) and picked up the three best free agent starting pitchers who were scheduled to pitch on Monday. (In my Yahoo! league, you can't pick a player up and play him the same day; you can only play him starting the following day.) All three pitched well, and I suddenly found myself down in Quality Starts and Ks.
Now, the strategy (sort of):
To counteract the streamer, I dropped the three worst players on my roster on Monday morning (I woke up earlier than the streaming owner) and picked up the two best free agent starting pitchers who were scheduled to pitch on Tuesday, as well as a starting pitcher who was scheduled to pitch on Wednesday. The following morning (Tuesday morning), I again woke up before the streaming owner and dropped all three pitchers and picked up two pitchers that were scheduled to pitch on Wednesday, as well as one starting pitcher who was scheduled to pitch on Thursday.
You see, picking up one pitcher who is scheduled to start in two days allowed me to hold him for one night and drop him, thus relegating him to the waiver wire for three days and preventing the streamer from being able to start him against me. (In Yahoo! leagues, if you pick someone up and drop him right away he goes straight to being a free agent. If, however, you hold him overnight, the default settings put that player on waivers for three days.) The idea is to thin out the free agent pool a bit, as forcing the streamer to start increasingly marginal players will help you win ERA and WHIP when one of his SPs inevitably implodes (much like Bronson Arroyo and Mike Hampton did in the first inning of their starts today).
As for the other two pitchers I picked up that pitched the following day, sometimes I started them and sometimes I didn't. The idea was to protect my ratios, while simultaneously hanging with the streamer in the K and QS categories. For example, today I started Ubaldo Jimenez. The reason I could do this safely was because I had such a huge lead in the ratios. So you have to play it by feel.
My league settings require me to wake up earlier than my opponenent to pick up the best three starting pitchers off the wire each day for a week.
Streaming is insanely stupid and I am insanely tired because I've been waking up early to get players off the wire for the last four mornings.
Just know that you don't HAVE to start the semi-crappy pitchers you pick up when trying to counteract a streamer. Only start a streaming SP when your ratios are safe and you need the Ks and QS (or Wins).
And if the SPs on the wire are particularly bad for a given day, move on to the next day and snag those SPs. You are trying to keep up with the streamer when it comes to quantity, but you want to try to do whatever you can to also maintain some quality to your pitching.
I realize not every owner can just drop three players. As it happens I had a number of injuries (Josh Hamilton, Brandon Morrow, Hong-Chih Kuo) that gave me some sudden roster flexibility.
Thankfully, there is only one owner in my twelve-team league that is streaming. Otherwise I'd be tired all the time. Okay, I gotta sleep. I have my alarm set for two hours from now. Good night.
Tonight might be the night we discover if Pablo Sandoval is going to become Zito's personal catcher. Bengie Molina says he's cool with it, and plus, Molina caught twelve innings yesterday, so it makes sense that he'd get a rest.
My thoughts? I'd say Sandoval has a 39% chance of catching tonight. Here is what others think:
Rotoworld's Pouliot: "Pablo Sandoval catches and Barry Zito pitches well; it's a trend that dates back to the second half of last season. Still, the Giants don't want to take Bengie Molina out of the lineup and they've never tried Molina at first base. I'd be surprised if Sandoval is behind the plate for Zito's start Monday."
As many of you know, Sandoval is already catcher eligible in Yahoo leagues, so this information is aimed at leagues that need five or more catcher appearances this year to become eligible (which is the case in Sandbox leagues and probably some others). Sandoval has one catcher appearance so far this year.
UPDATE 4/27, mid-game (11:24pm): Yes! Sandoval catches Zito. And, perhaps more importantly, Zito is pitching well (4 innings, zero runs) so far, which makes it more likely for this trend to continue.
UPDATE 4/28, late-game (12:32am): A solid Zito start. He pitched six scoreless innings with 92 pitches, but he was left in the game for the seventh and gave up a walk, a homer, and a single. He was pulled for Merkin Valdez, who promptly allowed the inherited runner to score, plus a few more. So no win for Zito. But still, all in all Zito's start was MCE (more conclusive evidence) that he is better when Sandoval is his catcher.
I think we have our answer to the question posed in the title. For now.
The Morning After:
"I asked Manager Bruce Bochy how he weighs the benefit of having Pablo Sandoval working with Barry Zito against the negative of taking Molina, the club’s cleanup hitter, out of the lineup. Bochy insisted this is not a “personal catcher” scenario and he would have rested Molina anyway because he caught all 12 innings Sunday. Bochy did say there was a benefit to giving Sandoval his starts with the same pitcher, because it helps with familiarity."
"Once again, though Bochy didn't fully commit to naming Sandoval as Zito's personal catcher, the manager did say, "It makes it easier for the pitcher or the catcher if Bengie gets the same off-day each week." Bochy added that besides Zito, Sandoval would be most likely to catch Matt Cain or Jonathan Sanchez, while Molina has been charged with the responsibility of working with ace Tim Lincecum and fellow veteran Randy Johnson."
Here are the highest draft picks to have been dropped so far in my Yahoo! 12-team mixed H2H league (22-player rosters): Justin Upton (Round 11), Chris Iannetta (11), Derrek Lee (11), Milledge (12), Carlos Guillen (13), Kawakami (14), Jose Lopez (14), and Delmon Young (15).
Of this list, the players that I am most confident will rebound are Jose Lopez and Chris Iannetta.
After a rough start, Motte has quietly settled down. After giving up 4 runs in his first appearance, he's pitched 6 innings, given up only 1 run, and has 1 walk and 6 Ks. He's probably not an option when not getting saves, but he's worth watching.
I've read more talk about how Chris Ray will take over the closer role from Sherrill, and maybe sooner than most folks think. I believe it because it makes sense. Sherrill is most valuable (to Baltimore) when not in the closer role. Don't believe me? Check out how bad he is against right-handed hitters (1.73 WHIP, 26 BB, 28 K in 2008) and how good he is against left-handed hitters (1.06 WHIP, 7 BB, 30 K, in 2008).
Other closer types that are worth watching include Santiago Casilla, Garrett Mock (Nats), Nunez, CPerez, Motte, Arredondo, Zumaya, Balfour, Izzy (TB), Aardsma, RMadson (PHI). Oh, and with Joakim Soria missing a minimum of 3 games, look into Juan Cruz.
Brandon Wood hasn't played single inning in three games so far. He supposedly will play a little this weekend. I don't get it. If you aren't going to play him, why call him up?
Other middle infield news: Aviles is playing horribly. I predict he will be dropped soon by most managers. Also: Ass Cab (Asdrubal Cabrera) has been solid of late.
When it comes to a steals-only type player to pick up, consider Iwamura (5 steals) to be potentially more valuable than Gardner (4 steals) or Elvis Andrus. Iwamura hits for decent average (.280-ish), scores a lot (91 times last year), and is on pace for 50 steals right now. Speaking of on-pace stats...
Fun With Stats:
The season is already 10% complete, as teams have played 15-to-17 games. The cool thing about this is we can add a zero to any counting stat and get that players' 2009 pace. For example:
"Soriano threw a scoreless ninth inning with two strikeouts to earn his second save in Wednesday's win over Washington. Mike Gonzalez pitched in the eighth inning to get the win.
"Soriano got the nod over Gonzalez when the Braves wanted to bring a left-handed pitcher in to face left-handed Adam Dunn in the eighth inning. This could be a sign the closer role may be split between the two players, and Soriano may have more upside if both are healthy since Gonzalez may be used earlier in games against left-handed batters."
My guess is that either this is a bit of a false alarm and Soriano only snipes a quiet one-to-two saves a month for the rest of the season OR Mike Gonzalez and Soriano split of the save opportunities equitably going forward. Either way, this news makes Soriano valuable in mixed leagues, especially in leagues that have saves and holds; Soriano has had either a save or a hold in four of his seven appearances in 2009.
What? You want me to speak in an informal, off-the-record type way? Here ya go: ride the Intermittent Raffy Sores closer horse until he gets injured. And he will get injured. Dude's ligaments have the tensile strength of tissue paper.
Stat-y Type Stuff:
Check out Rafael Soriano's career stats (in 263 innings): K/9 = 9.27 BB/9 = 2.74 K/BB = 3.39 AVG against = .204 Career fastball speed: 93.5 MPH (he's been throwing 92.1 so far this year)
4/24 UPDATE: Well, R. Soriano got the hold tonight (while giving up one run in the eighth) and M. Gonzo got the save. It will be interesting to see how this plays out over the next few weeks.
Fantasy Hurler thinks RSoriano will save more games than Gonzo in 2009 (by the count of 20-ish saves to 10-15-ish).
As I mentioned in a previous post, RP/SP dual eligible pitchers can help your fantasy baseball team. Here are a few relief pitchers that have SP eligibility that you might want to keep an eye on:
Brandon Morrow - The best SP eligible relief pitcher of the 2009 season. Look for him to put up Joakim Soria type closer numbers this year.
Hong-Chih Kuo - Dodgers coach Joe Torre has been avoiding using Kuo on back-to-back days to protect Kuo's elbow (which has had four (4!) operations), but as a result Kuo has looked out of sorts. Kuo himself has admitted that he is currently lacking in confidence. Don't push the panic button on Kuo just yet, but if he still is struggling by the time May rolls around, you can begin to get worried.
Carlos Villanueva - Villanueva was so bad as a closer that he has, most likely, been banished to 7th inning duties even with Trevor Hoffman still out for at least one more week. Rotoworld claims Villanueva is still worth using, but I'm not so sure.
Garrett Mock (pictured) - With Joel Hanrahnrahan stuggling as the Nats closer, the possibility exists that the RP/SP eligible Mock gets a shot at the closer role. Mock has two saves in five relief appearances in the Minors so far this year. He also had a Chien-Ming Wang-like 31.50 ERA after his first three minor league appearances this year. So it is not like Mock was tearing up Triple-A. Still, given that Mock has had decent control and a solid K/9 ratio throughout his minor league career, I'm cautiously optimistic that he would be useable if he ever were to get the closer role. Not that it is all that likely he'll get a shot to close: I'd say he has a about a 15% chance of ever closing in 2009, as I'd speculate that Joe Beimel gets first crack if Hanrahanrahan continues to falter. UPDATE 4/21: Beimel was just placed on the 15 day DL. So maybe Mock will get a shot. Then again, Joel H. was able to lock down a save last night, so maybe Mock won't get a shot. Mock did, however, retire the only batter he faced to get the last out of the eighth inning--picking up a hold in the process--in his 2009 debut. It appears he'll be Joel Hanny's setup guy for the near-term.
Dan Meyer - Unlike most of the other RP/SP eligible pitchers, Meyer has started out the year strong: 5.1 innings, 2 ER, 4 K, 2 BB, and 3 Holds. This is a very small sample size, but if you are looking for holds from an RP/SP eligible pitcher, you might try riding Meyer's strong start. Just know that he will probably regress to numbers closer to his career averages of a 1.68 WHIP and a 7.19 ERA.
Others: Jeff Bennett, Justin Masterson, Dennis Sarfate, and Sean Marshall each have 1 Hold in 2009.
Every year, a few very good baseball players start the MLB season in a bit of a funk. When this happens, you have three choices: 1. Run away from them, screaming 2. Do what you can to get the funked-up player on your team as cheaply as possible 3. Do nothing.
This year I am mostly going to do nothing. Why? Because nearly every player who has started the 2009 season in a funk is already on my team. You don't believe me? Check this out: my entire team is batting .194 over the last week. Thank you Pablo Sandoval (.216 for the season), Chris Davis (.176), Garrett Atkins (.222), Alexei Ramirez (.143), and BJ Upton (.176). Wow.
So, according to the Yahoo! ranking system, Alex Rodriguez is ranked #962 even though he hasn't played a single game yet this year. For those of you who are in position trade for some funked-up players, here are six players who have played so poorly this season that they are ranked below A-Rod in the Y! ranks. Yes, that's right: the players on this list have been so cold at the plate so far this season that you would have been better off if you'd been starting the injured A-Rod over them:
6. David Ortiz (#1085): You might be able to get Ortiz really, really cheaply. He's batting .158 (6-for-38) so far this season, and people are starting to whisper that his career is done. Kaput. Razzball compares Ortiz's career trajectory to Mo Vaughn. Scouts, apparently, are concerned. What do I think? I don't really know, but I'm staying away for now. (That could change, as I always like a bargain.)
5. Justin Upton (#1109): JUpton started the season by batting .130 (3-for-23). His swing, apparently, needs fixing. People are suddenly saying that 21-year old still isn't ready. Funny to think that if he'd just had three more hits, people wouldn't be having this conversation at all. The only reason I hesitate to endorse him is that his manager isn't playing him regularly. This could either turn into a 2008 Matt Kemp situation, where JUpton plays himself into more playing time, or it could result in a Lastings Milledge situation, where JUpton is demoted. I'll sum up my feelings this way: I'm in love with the guy, but he is currently sitting on the waiver wire in my 12-team money league.
4. Chris Iannetta (#1109): Iannetta started the season by batting .048 (1-for-21). Hey, look on the bright side: his defensive skills have improved since last year. (Full disclosure: I was one of those people who fell for JR Towles in the past.) I am not honestly not worried about Iannetta.
3. Jimmy Rollins (#1110 in Y! game): Rollins has started the year 5-40 and doesn't have a single stolen base. Jimmy claims it is all about timing, and quite frankly, I believe him. I am actively pursuing him in trades. Sure, he's cold now, but he'll heat up soon enough.
2. Alexei Ramirez (#1100): Alexei has started the year batting .143 (5-for-35). Am I worried? Yes, but only because he's on my team, and when players are on my team I worry about them constantly. But someone with more perspective would point out that Alexei made some great adjustments last year, and that he's a great bet to do it again this year.
1. Geovany Soto (#1117): Soto is currently batting .118 (2-for-17), but I blame a "sore" shoulder. If the shoulder injury isn't serious, he'll be fine. If his shoulder injury is serious, he might 2008-Victor-Martinez your team. I say the odds are 80/20 that he'll be fine.
Prince Fielder (#673), Carlos Lee (#762), Stephen Drew (#661), Chris Davis (#628), Jay Bruce (#679), and JJ Hardy (#674).
Fantasy Hurler thinks that Alexei, CDavis, and Ortiz might be droppable at some point this year.
Fantasy Baseball 365 suggests that Justin Upton might be better off if he were in the minors for another year...or two.
Yahoo suggests you should buy Chris Davis and Chris Iannetta and hold Alexei Ramirez.
Chien-Ming Wang was just dropped in my 12-team mixed league. Andy Pettitte was already on the wire. My co-manager was pushing for us to pick up Pettitte. I've been resisting, wanting to pick up Wang instead. Here is my argument:
Conclusion: The over / under on Pettitte's 2009 WHIP should be about 1.43. Wang's over / under for his 2009 WHIP should be about 1.31. You think it is a bit misleading to only show WHIP, ERA, and innings pitched? Fine. How about this: Wang is 29 and hasn't been linked to steroids and Pettitte is going to turn 38 soon and has been linked to steroids. You think this is ageist, and that I should get over my ageism by watching this link? Ok. You have me there.
Of course the day I post this, Wang gives up 8 runs in 1.1 innings in what will probably end up being a 22-4 loss to the Indians (there are two outs in the ninth), raising his ERA to 34.50. Now I'm beginning to wonder if he is hiding an injury.
Yes, that is Joba wearing the checkered sweater in the background in the picture above.
I'm lacking a little bit of context here (is this a daily league? Do you have DL slots? Roto or H2H?), but I'll give a stab at answering Anonymous' question anyway: I wouldn't trade Alexei for JJ & Rich.
Why? Well, blame Rich Harden. My own personal over/under on how many starts he makes this year is 11, and I'd take the under. But remember, I'm the same guy who drafted Harden for both his 2006 (9 starts) and 2007 (4 starts) seasons, but not his 2008 (26 starts) season. I'm also the guy who wrote stuff about Alexei and then drafted him in his own draft. So you can certainly take my advice, but remember that I'm pretty biased here.
As for stats, I wouldn't read much into their stats so far this year: Alexei: 0-3 (1 game) Hardy: 0-5 (1 game) Harden: Yet to pitch in regular season, but did give up three HR in each of his last two spring training starts.
I admit that I'd be tempted because of the Hardy/Harden thing. I'd be especially tempted if your team already has both Uptons on it. Then again, if you have both Manny and Alexei Ramirez I'd be less tempted. On a more serious note, Hardy will get some nice stats at the end of the year, but he seems to get most of them in the same week, so I'd personally avoid him if you are in a H2H league.
I'm all over the place. Bottom line? Stick with Sexy Alexei. Harden is a great player when healthy (top ten SP? top five? He's captain of the all-value-per-appearance team), but you'd be taking a big gamble by trading for him. Arguably (and according to ADP, which is meaningless now that the season has started, but still), Alexei is the best player in the deal, and you rarely want to be on the side of the deal that is giving up the best player.
So I was listening to Matthew Berry and Nate Ravitz's ESPN: Fantasy Focus Baseball Podcast the other day, and I heard Matthew tell Nate that he (Matthew) is signed up to receive google alerts when his name is mentioned on the web. So, I thought I'd conduct an experiment:
Talented Mr. Roto Matthew Berry Has Google Alerts. Talented Mr. Roto Matthew Berry Has Google Alerts. Talented Mr. Roto Matthew Berry Has Google Alerts. Talented Mr. Roto Matthew Berry Has Google Alerts. Talented Mr. Roto Matthew Berry Has Google Alerts. Talented Mr. Roto Matthew Berry Has Google Alerts. Talented Mr. Roto Matthew Berry Has Google Alerts. Talented Mr. Roto Matthew Berry Has Google Alerts. Talented Mr. Roto Matthew Berry Has Google Alerts. Talented Mr. Roto Matthew Berry Has Google Alerts. Talented Mr. Roto Matthew Berry Has Google Alerts.
Hi, TMR. This is kind of funny, right Matthew? That I got your attention in this way? Maybe you're right, maybe it isn't funny.
Anyway, now that I have your attention, I though I'd tell you a quick story: I'm currently co-managing a fantasy baseball team with my wife. She is fairly knowledgeable about baseball, but she'd always scoffed at fantasy sports, so I was amazed that she agreed to team up with me. It wasn't until last night, when she said she'd refuse to let me pick up Emilio Bonifacio until I agreed that we'd buy a dog, that I understood why she had agreed so readily manage with me.
I initially said no to the dog (we live in a small apartment), but a few hours later (right after Bonifacio stole his third base) I broke down. I had to have Bonifacio. So I made a deal with my wife that we could have a dog as long as Bonifacio was on our roster.
My wife left our apartment and returned thirty minutes later with a full-grown golden retriever mix.
“Should we name him Bonifacio?” I asked.
“Nah. Golden Mucho is his name,” my wife said.
The plan was for Golden Mucho to sleep on the linoleum in the kitchen, but after we’d gone bed, he opened our bedroom door and joined us in our bed.
“Did he just open our bedroom door?” I asked.
“Maybe it was open a crack already.”
“Shouldn’t we kick him out?”
“Let him stay.”
I was too tired to argue.
In the middle of the night, I woke up and went to use the bathroom. When I opened the door to the bathroom, I found Golden Mucho squatting over the toilet bowl and using it for its intended purpose. When he was done, Golden Mucho used his nose to flush the toilet, and then he bounded out of the bathroom, past my legs, and into our bed.
This morning, as I ate breakfast and started to get ready for work, the stereo began to play at an acceptably loud level. I don't know what it is with this dog, but he's really good with knobs and levers. How cool is that? There is no way I'm dropping Bonifacio now. He can bat .217 for all I care. We're keeping Golden Mucho.
If you drafted BJ Upton in a league with DL slots, you are probably wondering when will the Rays finally put BJ Upton on the DL? Well, any day now. Any second, even.
Speaking of Disabled Lists, how do those work at the start of the season? This link will tell you.
So Matt Wieters is in the minors. But what does this mean? When will he be called up? First, let me just state for the record that these rules confuse the heck out of me. Second, because I don't understand them, I'll defer to this site with regards to "Super-Two" verbiage. Third, well, there is no third.
Chone Figgins is 3rd this spring with 8 SB. He also has 3 CS, 1 HR, is batting .407 and has a 7 Ks and 7 BBs. A pretty good spring.
Matt Kemp has 3 SB and 4 CS. Does this concern me? No it does not. I'd be more scared if I were an Alfonso Soriano owner (0 SB, 3 CS).
Chris Davis is the Spring Training leader with 23 Ks. He also has 9 BBs, is batting .310, and has 5 HR. I still think Chris Davis is worth his Average Draft Position (ADP). Also note that Jay Bruce has 20 Ks and only 4 BBs.
Elijah Dukes is not exactly tearing it up this spring: .250 AVG, 1 HR, 3 SB, 16 K, 7 BB. But I am not worried. I really do think he'll win the job and get 500 plus at bats this year and go, minimum, 20 HR / 20 SB.
Sheffield was cut, as Aaron Gleeman discusses here. Sure, Sheff was batting .178, but note that he did have 13 walks and 10 Ks when he was cut.
Ryan Howard leads ST with 9 HRs. Nelson Cruz has 6, as does soon-to-be-2B-eligible Mark Teahen. Alex Gordon has five.
Two hot players: Todd Helton (.515 AVG, 4 HR, in 33 at bats) and Milton Bradley (.524 AVG, 4 HR in 42 at bats).
You need speed to get triples, and Fred Lewis has three of them this spring. He also is batting .373 and has 3 SB (but 2 CS).
Your current Spring Training hits leader? Pablo Sandoval with 29. The rotund Sandoval also manged to steal a base.
Daniel Murphy of the Mets has been a sexy pickup of late, especially after it was announced that he'd hit second in the Mets lineup. He is tied for second this spring with 28 hits. He also has 1 HR, 2 SB, and a .364 AVG.
Ubaldo Jimenez has 14 Ks and 13 BBs. Not very encouraging for a guy who has control issues. Then again, the sample size is so small it isn't really all that meaningful. Take Matt Capps, a guy who hardly every walks anyone during the regular season, and somehow he has 9 walks and only 12 Ks this spring. Then again, Jimenez has also hit three batters this spring, which is arguably more wild than just issuing walks.
My main man Motte leads ST with 4 saves but more importantly he appears to have at least a portion of the closer role. Hey, LaRussa said it, not me.
No one has given up more runs than Zach Greinke this spring (25 runs in 23.1 innings). Don't fret. Cliff Lee is giving up a lot of runs (23 runs in 16.2 innings) but he is supposedly working on something to do with his fastball. Scott Baker has given up an eye-opening 9 home runs in 23.2 innings. I really don't think that any of these stats are all that meaningful.
BJ Ryan has been terrible this spring: six appearances, five innings, six runs, six walks, five strikeouts. But these stats don't matter because it is only spring training, right? Well, maybe not in Ryan's case. His velocity is down around 84 MPH and isn't improving and his manager is starting to freak out and float the idea that Ryan gives up the closer role to the media. Here is what his manager said: "I think (Ryan is) the type of guy, if he feels like he can't help us, he'll just say maybe use someone else," Gaston said Thursday. "He might not say it, but he understands."
He might not say it but he understands? Classic. Anyway, here are a few potential BJ Ryan replacements to keep an eye on until Ryan uses non-verbal communication methods to show that he is ready to graciously step aside:
Jeremy Accardo (pictured) - You might remember him as the guy who saved 30 games for Toronto in 2007. Let me throw some of his 2007 numbers at you: 67 innings, 7.62 K/9, 3.21 BB/9, 2.38 K/BB, 1.11 WHIP. Accardo spent most of 2008 dealing with arm troubles and hanging out with Dr. James Andrews. Bill James projects a 1.23 WHIP for 2009. In other news, Toronto manager Cito Gaston tried Accardo out as a starter this spring, but that plan was abandoned when Accardo got lit up for seven runs in two innings. In 9.1 innings this spring, he's given up nine runs, but of course seven of them came in that one outing early in the spring. He has two walks, four strikeouts, and one save this spring. 3/31 UPDATE: Accardo was just sent to the minors.
Jesse Carlson - Carlson's 2008 stats were very similar to Accardo's 2007 stats: 60 innings, 8.25 K/9, 3.15 BB/9, 2.62 K/BB, and a 1.03 WHIP. He also had two saves. Bill James projects Carlson's 2009 WHIP to rise (to 1.27), once Carlson's BABIP normalizes (it was .235 last year, and James projects .312 this year).
Scott Downs - Last year, in 70.2 innings, Downs had 7.26 K/9, 3.44 BB/9, 2.11 K/BB, 1.15 WHIP, 5 saves. Bill James projects a 1.30 WHIP.
These three guys might be clones: all have a decent K/9 (over 7), a slightly elevated BB/9 (over 3.0), and a mediocre K/BB. Of these three guys, my gut says Accardo is the best pitcher, but that could just be me remembering his glory days of 2007. He's coming off injury, and the performance of post-injury RPs is difficult to predict. The latest news seems to suggest that Downs would take over as closer in the event that BJ isn't up to snuff.
I'm participating in two leagues this year: an 8-team keeper H2H points-based Sandbox league, and a 12-team keeper H2H roto-based Y! league. Despite the vastly different formats, I expected to draft some of the same players in both drafts. And I did double-draft a few players, just not the guys I expected. Here are the five players that I drafted in both leagues:
Matt Wieters - I got Wieters at a reasonable price in the Sandbox league, especially considering all the hype (and it is a two-catcher league), but by the time the Y! draft came along, my Wieters man-crush was at its peak and I reached a bit. Now, a week later, I can laugh about it (sort of), but I must say I'm really hoping he starts the season with the big league team. It's pretty annoying to have that red "NA" next to his name, as it means I can't slide him into my DL slot. Oh, so why did I draft him? Part of it was getting carried away, sure, but I mostly drafted him because he's the first universally-loved prospect I've ever come across. He also walked more than he struck out last year, and so he'll probably be viable in any points league that penalizes strikeouts (like my Sandbox league). Combine all that with the keeper league format, and you can see why I starting getting excited. In the back of my head I'm thinking, wow, if this Wieters guy ends up being a cross between Mike Piazza and Joe Mauer, how can I go wrong? These expectations are probably completely unreasonable. I know this. But it's fun to own someone like Wieters. It's fun to be able to root for his success. Oh, and propaganda pieces like this certainly help keep the optimism machine buzzing. 3/29 UPDATE: It's official: Wieters sent to minors.
John Smoltz - When all the good SPs are off the board, I find I have a hard time pulling the trigger on the crappy endgame SPs. My brain knows that Mark Buehrle will win 15 games, but my heart won't let me draft him. As a result of this stubbornness, I frequently end up drafting players who have been amazing in the past, but are pretty far down the ranks because of injury or circumstance. For example: I always end up drafting the Carlos Marmol-types over the Kevin Gregg-types. Gregg might play well this year, sure, but the finger I use to draft will only allow me to draft the players who have certifiable talent (sorry Gregg). That's why I stick with H2H, as it doesn't penalize you as much for taking pitchers who are going to miss half the year. So, enter John Smoltz...you know, the SP who hasn't had a WHIP over 1.19 since 1996. He won't be back until June, and so I'll have to slide him into my DL slot for a few months. While it isn't a great idea to stockpile injured players in leagues with small benches, I was able to convince myself that in a head-to-head league, winning in September is more important than winning in April. I'll take the 16th-round gamble that Smoltz will regain his dominant form in Boston.
Brandon Morrow - Morrow walks too many guys (4.73 BB/9). This bothers me. He has been experiencing some arm "tightness" this spring. This worries me. But then I look at his incredible K/9 rate (10.44), and his WHIP (1.14), and I feel much better. Oh, and I'm fine with Seattle turning him into a closer. I love unhittable closers that have SP/RP eligibility.
Roy Halladay - Maybe I was swayed by my own post in which I noted that Halladay will bring a 1083% return on investment if he manages to duplicate his 2008 stats. I know some of you out there think that Halladay will regress to his 2007 form (139 K, 1.24 WHIP), a form that was excellent but not quite as good as his 2008 form (206 K, 1.05 WHIP), but you can count me among the folks that think Halladay will come close to duplicating his stats from 2008. Either way, he's worth a fourth-round pick in mixed league 12-team drafts.
Elijah Dukes - Dukes has been falling in drafts, I think, because he isn't guaranteed a starting gig and he plays for a team that has an incredibly crowded outfield. So, I unilaterally decided that Dukes would win the starting gig in spring training. I'll probably be proven right (please!), but in truth this decision has yet to be confirmed. Anyway, assuming that Dukes does get the starting gig, it is tempting to double his stats from the 286 at bats he has last season and get a gaudy 26 HR, 26 SB season. For what it's worth, Lastings Milledge thinks Dukes will go 30-30 this year. Imagine? And it is not like Dukes is some hacker--the dude can take a walk. Not bad for a 19th-round pick in the 12-team mixed league draft. Very McLouth-ish. (McLouthsian?)
I've already outlined an SP-heavy strategy here, and an RP-heavy strategy here. In our money league, however, The Sinkhole used neither of these strategies. Instead, we generated a cheatsheet of players that we wanted to target in each round and used it as a guide during the draft. Sometimes our targets were unreasonable—like there was no way Carlos Lee was going to fall to round five—but that just meant we didn't draft that player. And sometimes we completely ignored our cheatsheet and let our emotions get the better of us, which is the only possible explanation for why we drafted Wieters three rounds ahead of the round we were targeting him in.
So here is the cheatsheet for our Yahoo 12 team mixed keeper league H2H roto (not points) draft that uses standard 5*5 categories (except Quality Starts instead of Wins), daily lineup changes, five bench spots, 7 pitchers (SP, SP, SP, RP, RP, P, P), one catcher, and four outfielders; we had the 8th pick. Perhaps it will help you make your draft cheatsheet. (Note: our cheatsheet underestimated the speed with which SPs would be drafted in rounds 9 through 15, so you might want to adjust accordingly.) Our actual picks are highlighted in bold (although we didn't always get the players in bold in the rounds we were targeting to get them in, and sometimes we picked players not found on our cheatsheet):
Look. I do find it strange that male fans/sportswriters seem way more excited about the female dunk then female fans/sportswriters, or even the female players themselves. Male fans/sportswriters need to chillax.
Also: why is it that anytime a video of a female dunking is posted on YouTube, some haters feel the need to post a comment 1. expressing that the dunk is closer to a layup, 2. discussing how they themselves can dunk with ease, 3. pontificating on the sexuality of the dunker, and 4. stating that they could easily beat the female dunker in a game of one-on-one basketball? Give me a break. Don't bring that garbage here.
So, with that in mind, this post isn't intended to glorify the female dunk, or even suggest that women's basketball would be better with more dunking. It certainly isn't intended to rank or judge female dunks. It is no more than a catelogue of female dunks that can be found on YouTube. (I know, I know. I'm sure other in-game dunks have happened, but as I said in my NBA dunking post, one could argue that if a dunk isn't posted on YouTube, it never happened.) One-stop shopping for female YouTube dunks, if you will. Enjoy.
In-Game WNBA Dunks
(Note: in most cases you can click on a given name to see video of the qualifying dunk.)
1984 - 05: Georgeann Wells - First woman to dunk in a game. Link includes nice follow-up story and recently-found video of dunk. 1994: Charlotte Smith - First dunk in a decade. Dunk was televised, but I can't find clip of it online. 2000 - 01: Michelle Snow - Against Illinois. Also dunked against South Carolina and Vanderbilt. 2003: Sancho Lyttle - Against Gonzaga. 2005 - 08: Candace Parker had, as far as I can tell, seven in-game collegiate dunks. Here are five of them: Candace Parker - First and second dunk in NCAA tourney Candace Parker - Against West Virginia Candace Parker - Against UCONN (@ 2:19) Candace Parker - Against Kentucky The rest of Parker's collegiate dunks can be found spliced into this video. 2007: Sylvia Fowles - Against Louisiana-Lafayette. No video of that one, but there is video of her dunking at the 2009 Euro All-Star Game and again in a 2008 game overseas.
Also note: Parker, in the 2004 FIBA Junior World Championship Qualifying Tournament Games, had three dunks in five games to lead the USA team to the Gold Medal.
So, only eight different women have in-game dunked: Wells, Smith, Snow, Leslie, Lyttle, Parker, Fowles, and Griner. That's pretty select company. Think I missed someone? Then get the video footage of it up on YouTube. You can also let me know by leaving a note in the comment section.
Controversy: ESPN The Mag writes about Candace Parker's alphabet cups.
Growing up, my favorite basketball player was Eric Murdock. I used to go to a lot of Providence College basketball games, and Murdock and Carlton Screen were the stars of the team back then. Murdock wasn't a dunker, and although I have a hazy memory of seeing him dunk in a game once, the only video clips of him scoring that I could find were of his signature layup off the glass (see picture).
As I was watching the NCAA Tourney today, I was reminded of Murdock and his non-dunking ways, and I began to wonder how many current NBA players can't dunk. Well, judging from this article, about 20 current NBA players can't dunk. Good to know, but not specific enough for me; I needed to know exactly which twenty-ish current players are unable to dunk. I used the process of elimination and YouTube to get my answer.
What follows is a list of all the guys who do not have an in-game dunk posted on YouTube. Not the most scientific way of separating the dunkers from the non-dunkers, but one could argue that if a dunk isn't on YouTube, it never happened.
List A: These players are on the non-dunking list until a YouTube clip of an in-game dunk surfaces
6'5" Roko Ukic - Easily, but in warmups & in writing only.
6'3" Steve Blake - Almost. In-game dunk @ 2:26.
6'3" Steve Nash - This is the closest he's come.
6'3" Beno Udrih - Lots of layups in this mix.
6'3" Jamaal Tinsley - No dunk in top 5 plays.
6'3" Jason Hart - Layup-ish.
6'3" Damon Jones - Gets dunked on here.
6'3" Sergio Rodriguez - Reverse layup.
6'2" Luke Ridnour
6'2" Rafer Alston - Rumored to have in-game dunked.
6'2" Anthony Roberson
6'2" Kevin Ollie
6'2" Mike James - Blocked dunk attempts don't count.
6'2" Marcus Banks
6'2" Chris Quinn - Elevates on jumper. 6'1" Mo Williams - Blocks shot near rim. Added 9/21/10 by Anon: Mo Williams dunking on Pierce.
6'1" Travis Diener
6'1" Eddie House
6'1" Jacque Vaughn - Mix sans dunks.
6'0" DJ Augustin - Layup.
6'0" Sean Singletary - Almost.
6'0" Jameer Nelson - Layup.
6'0" Tyronn Lue
6'0" Seb Telfair - This low-quality video, but no dunks in this mix.
6'0" Kyle Lowry - This low-quality video, but no dunks in this mix.
5'11" Speedy Claxton - All-alone fastbreak layups here.
5'11" Chucky Atkins
5'10" JJ Barea - Practices floaters in this clip.
5'10" Brevin Knight - Floater.
5'10" Mike Wilks - A good view of someone else's dunk.
List B: These players are confirmed dunkers and have been crossed off the non-dunking list (click on name to play video of qualifying dunk)
*Photo proof only (no video found)
**Dunk-O-Meter proof only (no video found)
List C: It is possible these players are non-dunkers, but they are no longer in the NBA
5'5" Earl Boykins (playing in Italy)
6'0" Dan Dickau (waived)
5'10" Damon Stoudamire (retired)
My guess is that about ten of the guys on List A have actually dunked in a game, but for whatever reason that video isn't posted on YouTube. If true, this would still leave about twenty guys left on the non-dunker list, which is consistent with the SI article I referenced earlier in this post.
Am I missing anyone? Do you have video proof that could move a player from List A to List B? Great. Post it in the comment section and I'll update the list. The idea is for this list to get more accurate over time.
The Sinkhole recently participated in a Yahoo 12 team mixed keeper league H2H roto (not points) draft that uses standard 5*5 categories (except Quality Starts instead of Wins), daily lineup changes, five bench spots, one catcher, and four outfielders; we had the 8th pick. Our draft was...interesting. For example: according to the Yahoo Preseason Ranks, we don't have a single top-four player at any position, except outfield. Yikes. We, inexplicably, drafted two catchers in the first thirteen rounds, even though we usually take one catcher with our last pick in a one-catcher league. (And Ramon Hernandez, a decent catcher option, is now laughing at us from the waiver wire.) But the two catchers we got (Sandoval and Wieters) could be a smart pair to own in this Yahoo daily H2H keeper format, so maybe it works out. We also went for a lot of other sexy-yet-unproven players (Chris Davis, Morrow, Scherzer). And no real closers. But we did get some Sinkhole-friendly players, like Zach Grienke, Chris Davis, Pablo Sandoval (pictured above), Alexei Ramirez, Roy Halladay, Hong-Chih Kuo, and Jason Motte.
But this post is about what a waiver wire might look like, not about studying our draft on a granular level. So, I thought it might be instructive to go through the waiver wire of our league and look at the Yahoo preseason ranks of all the guys who didn't get drafted. I also included, in bold, our picks. This should give you an idea of what your waiver wire might look like in a typical 12-team mixed (keeper) yahoo league.
Oh, and after looking at the list below, tell me: which player would be the first guy you'd snag off the wire? We'll be able to put Smoltz in our DL slot soon, so we'll need to make a move.
C 9. Sandoval 10. Wieters 14. Ramon Hernandez 15. Navarro 17. Clement
1B 10. Chris Davis 13. Garrett Atkins 23. Sandoval 24. Adam LaRoche 30. Casey Kotchman 30. Mike Jacobs 30. Helton
SS 5. Alexei 15. Orlando Cabrera 20. Reneria 21. Cristian Guzman 22. Elvis Andrus 23. Jason Bartlett 24. Yuniesky Betancourt 25. Barmes 30. Asdrubal
3B 8. Chris Davis 11. Garrett Atkins 17. Sandoval 22. Lowell 24. Kouzmanoff 29. Wigginton 30. Casey Blake 30. Andy LaRoche
OF 3. Hamilton 4. BJ Upton 15. Matt Kemp 22. Alexei 24. Pence 50. Dukes 53 Fred Lewis 62. Francoeur 64 Luke Scott 65 Jose Guillen 65 Gary Sheffield 65 Jeremy Hermida 68 Travis Snider 68 Chris Dickerson 70 Jack Cust 72. Jason Kubel 73. Kendry Morales 74. Ty Wigginton 75. David DeJesus 77. Ben Francisco 80. Michael Bourn 80. Brian Giles 80. Juan Pierre 80. Colby Rasmus 80. Eric Byrnes 80. Fukudome 80. Schumaker
RP 14. Scherzer 18. Marmol 24. Morrow 27. Corpas 29. Motte 29. Kevin Gregg 35. Chris Perez 36. Kuo 37. Ray 40. Scot Shields 40. Rodney 40. Nunez 40. Batista 40. Aardsma
SP 6. Halladay 23. Greinke 42. Scherzer 52. Morrow 54. Wandy Rod 55. John Maine 56. Mike Pelfrey 62. Oliver Perez 66. Jonathan Sanchez 67. Maholm 71. Kuo 72. Sean Marshall 73. Smoltz 74. Andy Pettitte 78. Ian Snell 79. Guthrie 80. Sonnanstine 80. Galarraga 80. Arroyo 80. Neftali Feliz 80. Aaron Cook 80. Trevor Cahill 80. Brad Penny 80. Phil Hughes 80. David Purcey 80. Carlos Carrasco