Week 2 Review: Floyd And The Damage Done

April 19, 2010

I woke up Sunday morning, trailing 4-7 in my H2H league, with a few categories still up for grabs. Poor starts earlier in the week by Big Z and Gavin Floyd set me back, but I still felt good about my prospects of still pulling out a win against The Men On A Mission. I trailed by a Win and a Quality Start and a little bit of WHIP, with Hamels going against The Fish, Wainwright up against The Mets and Floyd facing the The Indians. Three starts, three wins, three quality starts in the bag, right? Well thinking like that is why I don’t bet anymore. Well ok, maybe one more bet…

The Phils bats went quiet in support of Hamels. Got the QS there, but no W. Encouraging nonetheless, as Hamels made his best start of the young season. Floyd on the other hand threw up an epic stinker, against a decidedly bad Indians team. Floyd allowed seven runs before being chased in the 2nd without even getting an out. Forget about WHIP. Not quite what I planned when I drafted him in the 9th round. As Stephen Colbert would say, “Floyd, you and Z are on notice!”

That left me with Wainwright, the same guy that I watched crush my dreams in ’06 with that mighty curve that sent The Mets packing and The Cards off to win a World Series. Yeah it’s an ugly route to go but playing with your heart will get you last place. Anyway, by the second inning I was cursing my TV as Wainwright was coughing up a crooked number and it seemed my team would go down without a fight. Alas, Wainwright held the line, kept The woeful Mets bats at three runs and managed to go the entire game for the victory! A bit of redemption for Ryan Ludwick, with the game-winning home run that almost erased the memory of his prior day’s idiocy. Nice way to end the week. A little disappointing the way I started off the week on fire, but we got the W and that’s what counts.

Notable players for week 2:

The Captain, Derek Jeter continues to defy naysayers with his stellar play atop the vaunted Yankee lineup. 11/22 with 5 runs scored, 3 dingers and 7 RBI. He’s currently the 16th ranked player in Yahoo, tops amongst SS.

Casey McGehee has been huge for me in the absence of Aaron Hill. Since picking him up last Sunday, he’s hit 10/22 with a 5 runs, 2 jacks and 6 RBI while posting a .519 OBP. Not bad for a replacement utility guy. With Hill possibly returning at the end of the week, there’s no way I can ditch this guy. Looks like Baby Jete’s going to get kicked to the curb, unless I can make a move…

Over in The Big Ballers League, “Whaddya know” Robbie Cano has been smacking laser beams all over The Stadium. The two jacks he laced on Jackie Robinson night were a nice touch to honor his namesake. I can easily see Cano breaking career highs in HR and RBI this season, vaulting him into elite 2B status alongside Utley.

Cameron Maybin looked awful in the first series against The Mets this season. 3 K’s against Johan will do that to you. Well he’s had a much better run of things this week and he looks like The Marlin’s centerfielder is on track. On base at a .412 clip, Maybin had a homer, 6 runs scored, 3 RBI and 2 steals for the week. With a move up to the lead-off slot, he should get more opportunities to use his modest speed a little more. Look for 20 – 25 steals by years end.

Kevin Correia, ace of the often-ridiculed Hodge-Pad‘s staff, came through big for both of my teams this week. In 11 1/3, he posted 2 wins, 11 K, a 1.59 ERA and a tidy 1.15 WHIP. With my H2H team getting healthy, I want every reason to send Correia packing, but he’s pitching too well to even consider that. Go out there and throw kid. Don’t worry, you’ve got a job.

So a wild and woolly week ended and another begins. As of this writing, The Uptown Hamfighters sit at 13-9-2, good for 2.5 games out of first place. In the Big Ballers League, The Harlem Hangovers are currently tied for first with 107.5 points. So far so good.

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Streams Of Thought – Week 3 Two Start Pitchers

April 19, 2010

Here are three names that might be of interest to owners in deep leagues. This is not at all an endorsement of general rosterability, but more like a “hey check out these guys, they might be rosterable in a shallower league soon,” kind of jump off. Of the three, Fister is still available in The Big Ballers League and I own the next two. So I got that going for me. Which is nice. Tread these waters at your own risk!

Doug Fister could be soon known for something other than his awesomely pornotastic surname. Will you have the cojones to ride Fister to victories at home against the hapless Orioles and on the South Side against the ChiSox? I know it’s tough to send him up against John Danks but the Pale Hose have been having trouble at the plate and the O’s are going with Brad Bergeson, who was rocked in his first start. Mister Fister is coming off of 8 shutout innings against the A’s in his last start. With the best D in baseball grabbing everything behind him, Fister looks like a solid streaming option for deep leagues this week.

I’m feeling Pelfrey this week but you already know that if you’ve been following along. Hopefully I was just over-reacting in my outrage over his Save in Saturday’s 20 inning marathon in St. Louis. He’s facing Z-Man and The Cubbies on Monday, followed by a visit from Tommy Hanson and The Braves. Could go either way. I do however have tickets to Saturday’s game and The Mets are 24-6 in the last 30 regular season games I’ve seen live.

Once upon a time, Brett Myers was a pretty good pitcher. Derailed by problems on and off the field, Myers caught a major case of suckitis before being shipped over to the woeful Astros in the off season. A power pitcher with a career 7.49/3.13 K/BB rate, the homer has always been his undoing. At home for both of his starts, Myers faces two decent match-ups in The Marlins with Chris Volstad and Paul Maholm and The Pirates. Don’t expect two Wins out of Myers, however. That would imply that the Astros can actually muster up a couple of runs.

After an inauspicious beginning to my streaming ways, I think I’m off the streams for a bit. You know how that goes. I’ve got a good feeling. Like Jimmy The Greek. I might surprise myself (hey self… BOO!) and actually have one of these guys left on my roster by weeks end.

For a comprehensive rundown on all of the probable two-start pitching match ups for the week, check out The Roto Professor.

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Something To Get Excited About In Queens?

April 15, 2010

Last Friday night I watched closely as Mike Pelfrey hung tough through 6 innings and held The Nats to 2 runs on 4 hits, 4 BB and 4 K in the winning effort. Pelfrey had success in his first full season in ’08 but regressed mightily in ’09 as he lost confidence in his off-speed pitches and threw the highest percentage (77.4%) of fastballs of any starter in the league. Obviously you’re not going to get through too many Major League lineups like that.

It’s never been a matter of ability for the hard throwing former 1st round pick of the ’05 draft. This spring, Pelfrey tooled with his approach and developed a new pitch in a splitter that arrives in the 85 MPH range. Replacing his ineffective change-up with the heavy dropping split that tails away from lefties and refining his slider, Pelfrey has looked like an entirely different pitcher so far this season. Today’s start was particularly impressive: 7 innings of shut out ball, striking out 6 and allowing only 5 hits and no walks. He was confident and efficient as he worked his way through a Rockies lineup that was without CarGo, Hawpe or Helton, with little hassle.

With a lilliputian career .69 HR rate and 50% ground ball rate, the big righty impressed me enough today to make me drop Scott Downs in The Big Ballers league and grab up the Big P. Maybe it’s blind homer optimism, but I think Pelfrey has the ability to be a surprisingly productive fantasy start this season. I’d take a wait and see approach in smaller leagues, but don’t wait too long. Another good start and Pelfrey’s going to be a hot name in fantasy circles.

For more on Flushing’s favorite palm-licker, check out this article by Dan Budreika at Rotographs.

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Carlos Santana Wants Us To Listen How His Rhythm Goes

April 15, 2010

Sorry, I couldn’t help myself. I’m a bit giddy right now after plucking Cleveland Indians stud catching prospect Carlos Santana off of waivers the other day in the Big Ballers League. All guitar player jokes aside, Young Senior Santana might be arriving soon to rock Cleveland in a big way. Listed as Baseball America’s 10th best prospect in the game and the 3rd best catcher behind Jesus Montero and Buster Posey, Santana is a switch-hitting masher, with a good eye and a fairly clear path to the majors in the very near future. Essentially, he’s being looked at as the second coming of V-Mart.

What was that you heard? The sound of 14 other fantasy owners smacking themselves in the head. This is a two catcher league after all and even a lotto ticket is better than a lot of the scrubs being rostered in the C slot. I was shocked to find him on the wire. With all of the virtual ink he’s been receiving lately, I knew he wouldn’t be around long.

Not long after picking him up, I was offered Buster Posey and Anibal “sometimes dirty” Sanchez for the Indians prospect, which I declined. From what I read, in the long term, Posey and Santana might be a toss up. Posey’s more of a contact hitter, while Santana has more pop. The Giants however are winning now, with newly reupped Bengie Molina doing his thing behind the plate. You don’t mess with a good thing behind the plate, especially when your team is built on young pitching. I can’t see Posey playing much this year if it’s fairly tight in the NL West, which I think it will be. Santana on the other hand should prove to see playing time, sooner rather than later if Lou Marson continues his futility at the plate. Even if Marson does hit, he may ultimately be shipped off because of Santana’s impact bat.

I’m really hoping for good things from Santana this season. The Harlem Hangovers could really use some pop and it’d be nice if he could soften the blow of losing Montero a bit. I’d be happy with a similar line as Wieters last season. When the time comes, I’m totally slapping Abraxas on the turntable and dropping a hit of acid to enjoy his debut.

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You Gotta Dance With The Girl That You Brought To The Party

April 15, 2010

At around the two hour mark of the Big Ballers League auction a name popped up who’s very utterance makes my lips curl and my blood boil.

Scott Kazmir for $3″

A flood of memories come back. Mets fan wretch when they think back to July 30, 2004. It’s a Pavlovian reaction to the acute form of PTSD that we suffer from after years of abuse at the hands of a terrible baseball organization. With his team flailing in the summer heat and it’s record dropping below .500, then GM Jim Duquette made the worst deal in Flushing since Tommy Huang bought the RKO Keith in 1986. I won’t go into details because they’re too painful to recollect but I’m pretty confident that with Kazmir, The Mets could have won just one more game in ’06 or ’07 or ’08. The kid who once threw four consecutive no-hitters in high school, has had a pretty successful (if injury interrupted) career so far, turned 26 this season. Victor Zambrano and Bartolome Fortunato are no longer pitching in the majors.

I liked Kazmir as a back end starter going into my drafts this preseason. I knew he would come cheap, since he’s lost a lot of luster over the years due to the wear and tear of snapping off those sliders. His once coveted left arm is always a pitch away from the DL it seems. That was the knock on him back when he was coming up with The Mets. That he was too small, an injury risk because he threw hard and he snapped off wicked sliders. The Rays were more than happy to take that risk, and they went to the World Series not long after. Smart teams do things like that. When TB found themselves flush with young pitchers last season, they shipped Kazmir and his salary over to Anaheim.

In a bid that was half wishful thinking and half price enforcing, I went $4 on Kazmir. Crickets. Sold.

Checking out the Rotowire feed after the auction, I read that he was put on the DL with a strained quad. Had I known that, I probably wouldn’t have taken him, but $4 ain’t much and Scott Kazmir should do better out in the AL West. He also complained about the move, saying he was ready to go last week. On the other hand, he doesn’t have The Rays defense behind him anymore and his flyball rates have ascended the past two seasons.

Kaz makes his season debut tonight against Phil Hughes and The Bombers at The Stadium. I really don’t know what to expect. He has pitched well in his career against The Yanks, but not so much in The Bronx. This will be his first appearance in The New Stadium (Rudy and Bloomie say: bread and circuses motherfuckers, what!?) so maybe Aura and Mystic won’t get to him until he heads to Sin City after the game.

A lot of fantasy owners will be benching Kazmir tonight. I probably should be too but I’m going to play him. Shit. In an alternate universe, he’s still a Met and this is a real Subway Series, like in October, not June. My head got me 2 starts from Padilla last week, so I’ll go with my heart. What the hell do I know?

You gotta dance with the girl that you brought to the party. Man up Kaz!

*****UPDATED 10:16pm*****

I guess I should have left this girl in the cab. Kazmir done in by the long ball, chased after giving up 6 runs in 4 innings. A small consolation is that I have Robbie Cano on The Hangovers. He jacked off twice tonight. Yankees lead 6 – 2, bottom of the 8th.

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Bloops and Bleeders

April 13, 2010

Random notes from around the MLB for April 13, 2010.

Chris Snyder might not be such a bad substitution for the recently shelved Miguel Montero after all. While showing decent pop with a career .167 ISO, the ‘Zona catcher’s shown surprising (to me at least) patience with a 12% career BB rate.

I was pretty heart broken when Montero went down with a busted knee this weekend, since I spent $12 on him in the Big Ballers League and was hoping for big things. With Webb on ice and Kazmir’s start delayed, I didn’t have a DL spot, so I was in a bind. I didn’t want to chance another owner grabbing Snyder in this deep, 2C league that counts OBP, so I dropped Montero for Snyder on Sunday afternoon. Not realizing that the waiver claim goes into effect immediately, Snyder was not in my lineup for his 1HR, 5RBI day. Sonavabench! It’ll take bold moves to win this league and dropping Montero for Snyder was one. Hopefully Snyder will suitably replace Montero’s pop. Picking up Cleveland catching prospect Carlos Santana in expectation of May call up was another bold move that I made today, but I’ll get into that later…

The other catcher on The Harlem Hangovers is The Cracka You Love To Hate, A. J. Pierzynski. AJP was involved in a strange call tonight that may have led to the break up of Toronto lefty, Ricky Romero‘s no hitter bid against the ChiSox. AJP was awarded first on a hit by pitch that did not seem to actually hit him. Upon replay it looked as if Romero’s breaking ball, that dove into the dirt, bounced up and missed the left handed AJP before going to the backstop. Pierzynski’s got crazy acting chops, because he immediately reacted as if he had been hit in his left foot, limping to first doing his best Daniel Day Lewis. He was not immediately awarded the base (I’ll give him an Oscar though) until an umpire pow wow cleared things up and despite the protests of Jay’s manager, Cito Gaston, AJP was finally given first. Pitching from the stretch, Slick Rick (not quite The Ruler yet) subsequently threw up a meatball to Alex Rios, who jacked it over the left field wall. No no-no for RR but he looked dy-no-mite tonight. Romero’s arsenal of off-speed pitches had Sox bats flailing to the tune of 12 K before his night was over. Kevin Gregg came on to finish it up in a 1-2-3 9th, with 2 K of his own – as if the Sox weren’t embarrassed enough tonight. Gregg is 3 for 3 in Save Ops in the young season since taking over for Side Show Bob.

I’ve been down this road before with Gregg, but SAGNOF bitches! Gregg looks for real this time. I know I’ve said that before. He’s like that ex hook up with for a one night stand and then instantly regret calling. I dumped Jason Hammel, who has a tough match-up in Atlanta this week for Gregg. I figure if Madson loses the closer job in Philly when Lidge comes back, I’ll need Saves. If he doesn’t, I’ll have an extra closer to use as a trade chip. If Gregg sucks it up as he is prone to do, I’ll dump him.

I guess Nate Robertson just looked good last week because he faced The Mets.

Clayton Kershaw went deep today. 5 1/3 for the W today against ‘Zona. Kershaw needs to pitch more efficiently or he won’t be touching double digit wins for the second season in a row.

Nice scheduling move by the MLB big wigs today. Seeing Godzilla come back to The Bronx to get his ring, at the home opener was pretty cool. The love the fans and his former teammates showed was really touching and Matsui could hardly contain his emotions when his name was called on the PA. The Yanks mobbed him and he was given a what was apparently a fake ring, before Girardi later copped and gave him the real one. Andy Pettite made a class move in Matsui’s first AB. With the fans screaming in adoration for last year’s World Series MVP, Pettite stepped off the mound to let the slugger acknowledge the praise. Matsui stepped out of the box, tipped his cap to the fans and went on to K against Pettite, who was in vintage form, going 6 scoreless. It’s easy to understand how the butterflies could have gotten to Matsui today. He ultimately went 0 – 5, ending the game by popping up a Mariano cutter. Yanks go to 12-1 in their last 13 home openers.

John Maine got predictably shelled tonight in Denver. He’s looked awful so far for my beloved Mets. Thank God for fantasy baseball because it’s going to be a long year for us Flushing faithful. This organization is in a complete state of Minayal. By the way Dave Trembley heard my cries of outrage last night and promptly yanked the venerable Miguel Tejeda from the clean up spot in Baltimore for the G-O-D. In the first of what will hopefully be many years of appearances in the 4 hole, Wieters went 0 – 4 with a BB and an RBI in the loss to the Rays.

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Week 1 Fantasy Recap – Buerhle Full Of Win!

April 12, 2010

Uptown Ham Fighters – 12 Team Mixed Keeper 6×6 Head to Head League

FULL OF WIN!

Ham Fighters defeat the hated Jamaica Beef Pattie in a championship rematch from last season. Final score for the week: 7 – 5

Josh Willingham really needs a III after his name. It makes him sound like a 19th century railroad tycoon. If he keeps hitting like he has this week, he’s going to be a very wealthy man come this off-season. The Nationals leftfielder posted an 8/19 line 2 runs scored, a homer, seven RBI and even a stolen base. Add that together with 5 walks and only 2 K’s and you’ve got serious production from a late pick. I got him in the 20th round. Not bad for a guy who I could see exceeding a line of 75R/25 HR/90 RBI/5SB/.265/.370 with regular playing time. Lets just hope he stays healthy, because guys like him win leagues.

Mark Buerhle’s week perfectly illustrates why I love him as a back end guy for my rotation. There’s a lot to be said for guys that will go deep into games on a consistent basis. I just used the words back-end and deep in consecutive sentences. Shows you where my mind’s at.

In his first win against the Cleveland Steamers, he went seven scoreless, allowing only three hits and a lone walk, while striking out three. This afternoon’s start against The Twins may have been more impressive for the way he worked through trouble and eeked out a win. While he allowed four earned runs before the third inning was over, Buerhle buckled down and quieted the Minnesota bats the rest of the way, allowing his team to stay in the game. After pitching his final inning, The Pale Ho’s laced together three straight, two-out hits to pull ahead and eventually go on to win the game.

Bottom line is Buerhle is an efficient, control pitcher, who doesn’t get blown out. He doesn’t miss bats, but he generates groundballs. Sometimes the hits will fall in, but since he doesn’t walk people, he can minimize damage. I know stat-heads ignore the W, but in an age where almost everyone’s on a pitch count, Buerhle’s value is a rare find for an end-game fantasy starter, particularly in H2H leagues. Buerhle finished the week with a line of: 2W/4K/2.40ERA/0.93 WHIP/1QS in 15 innings of work. Buerhle consistently stabilizes ERA and WHIP and keeps you in those categories, when some of your other pitchers throw up stinkers.

Jon Rausch was off and running in his first week of work as the new Twins closer. Saving all of his first four opportunities, Rausch allowed only one run and struck out four. The Twins will give Rausch plenty of save chances, so if he can continue his success, he can be this year’s Ryan Franklin for The 2010 Ham Fighters.

Nelson Cruz waved a mighty boom-stick on opening week. With a 6R/4HR/9RBI/.450/.520 line, my born namesake delivered for both of my teams. You can say I’m a little excited about him. A full season could vault the Texas outfielder into the conversation about the game’s elite OF producers.

100% FAIL!

Streaming two start pitchers is a lot like smoking crack cocaine. They’re cheap and accessible and you get that first hit and everything’s awesome! Your team won a category or two for the week  and you cruised to a win but you then realize what you did was stupid and risky since the second start was against a pretty good hitting team but wasn’t it awesome to see that guy throw two nice games and win those categories? shit Vincente Padilla‘s going against The Bucco’s and ‘Zona and LA should be pretty good this year and you hit ‘submit’ and you turn on the TV in a cold sweat because you’re close in W, ERA and WHIP going into his second start and… BAM! THWAP! POW!

You’re hawking your TV because you made a side bet on the week and you lost, because Padilla blew up your ratios, like the hand that you slammed into the wall that you thought was sheet rock, but was actually brick. Now you’re going to the E.R. and your wife’s filing for divorce. Aren’t you glad you picked up Padilla now? I’m not going to get preachy. You’re an adult. Just don’t say I didn’t warn you!

Harlem Hangovers – 15 Team Mixed 5×5 OBP Roto League

The Hangovers finish the week in 2nd place, 3 points behind The Peterborough Jays. Pretty good and could have been much better with a little luck. In spite of leading the league in WHIP, Harlem pitchers have yet to post a win! So far so good.

DOUBLE HAPPINESS

I doubled up on Nelson Cruz. He’s very good at hitting the baseball hard. See above.

Whaddaya know Robby Cano has come out of the gate swinging! In action against The Sawk and Rays, Cano posted a .370 OBP with 5 runs, 2HR and 6RBI. Hitting fifth in the Yankee lineup, I can see Cano easily cracking his career high of 96RBI.

The Great FraGu, Frankie Gutierrez was almost as hard to get out last week as Cruz, posting a 3/0/2/2/.483 line for The Mariners. A solid all around producer, Gutierrez could be one of the steals of my auction at the $6 I got him for.

Shawn Marcum returned from the land of the lost to claim the opening day start for the woeful Blue Jays. All Marcum did was flirt with a no-hitter against the potent Texas lineup, then follow it up with another solid start, netting a total of 11K’s in 13 innings with a 3.46 ERA and a tidy 0.92 WHIP. Pretty nice for $3. Marcum has shown considerable skills in the past, but I’m not sure if I’m buying. Having to face AL East batters is one of the harder ways to make a living in baseball, so the deck is certainly stacked against the Toronto hurler. Today I offered him and either Austin Jackson or Cameron Maybin to another owner for red-hot Pirate bopper, Garret Jones. The other guy didn’t bite. Hopefully Marcum can continue his early success.

HARVESTERS OF SORROW

Mark Texiera went 3 for 24 this week, getting on base at a scant .274 clip. He still managed 5 runs and 3RBI but I expect a lot more out of the Yankee slugger. Tex started off slowly last season and went on to win MVP, so I ain’t scurred.

Universally hated A.J. Pierzynski went 5 for 22 and didn’t walk once, while scoring only once. He’s a $4 catcher, so I can’t get bummed, but it would be nice if The South Siders got their bats going, so at least AJP can get a few RBI.

Dishonorable mention: Miguel Montero started off the week on fire. He ended the week on the DL with a torn meniscus in his knee that will require surgery. I had high hopes for Miggy in 2010, but it looks like he’ll be on the shelf for most, if not all, of the season. I’ve already dumped him for his understudy, Chris Snyder. Snyder came out of the gate smoking (along with the rest of the D-Back bats with a 13 run 4th inning!) with a HR and 5 RBI. Of course he wasn’t in my lineup yet. Sadness.

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