Starlin Castro Says Viva La Rookie Revolucion!

May 8, 2010

Since a hellacious birthday bender that started at Yankee Stadium on Saturday, I’ve been busy dealing with a lot of non-baseball related activities in the past few days, leaving me with precious little time to deliver my baseball gospel lately.

*Shakes fist at Obama, Freemasons, The Federal Reserve and the Dominican guys who start working at the lumber yard across the street from my apartment by hollering like lunatics at 6AM*

Never fear my fair fantasy-minded sphere-itans, so long as I have three fingers, I’ll continue with this site in whatever capacity I can.

Some of the stranger things going on in the baseball-o-sphere…

Newly called up Cubs rookie SS, Starlin Castro premieres with a bang! How’s 2-6 with a HR, Triple and six RBI (an MLB record for a debut game)!? His homer made him the third youngest player to ever hit one out in his debut. Meaningless, but cool regardless. A preseason Fangraphs piece by Bryan Smith drew an interesting comparison between the 20 year old Cuban SS and former Cardinal and Padre SS, Gary Templeton.

Recently released Eric Byrnes resurfaces to play beer league Softball. Gotta admire the guy’s sense of humor and ability to make lemonade out of lemons. Of course that’s not too hard when you’re still being paid $11 million. So he gets to drink for free too?

Speaking of drinking RoJo Johnson, AKA Will Farrell involved in some minor league zaniness in Nashville. Nice how he brings his own six pack. Gotta love the Ryan-esque headlock beatdown at the end of his appearance!

What a shock! Milton Bradley bugged the fuck out and was placed on the “you’re too crazy to play baseball list,” by The M’s. Intriguing potential power/speed outfielder, Michael Saunders got the call to replace “Mr. Sensitive” – which awesomely enough, a good buddy of mine just got tattooed on his chest.

47 year old Jamie Moyer became the oldest pitcher to ever throw a complete game shutout tonight, as The Phils blanked The Bravos 7-0. The 2-hit gem made Moyer the first pitcher to throw shutouts in four different decades.

Ike Davis rocked Flushing tonight with 2 dingers off of Dirty Sanchez (who had not allowed a HR yet this season) and made an insane catch in the 9th inning. Similar to a catch he made a few weeks ago, I’m starting to think that Ike is part feline, by the way he has a habit of landing on his feet.

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The Chase Is On: Chase Headley And The Hangovers Lead The Pack

April 26, 2010

Over in the Big Ballers League, I’m pretty freakin’ happy to see my Harlem Hangovers on top of the standings. With Nelly Boomstick‘s grand theft in Boston leading the way, The Hangovers have been burning up the base paths and scoring a lot of runs on their way to a +5.5 point week. That makes a total of 105, up 6 on the next best team, The Hillsboro 5 Tooler’. Pretty good for a team that hasn’t heard a peep from Mark Texiera or Gordan Beckham. With The Supernatural‘s call-up looming and a possible return of Brandon Webb, it looks like The Hangovers have a lot of winning to look forward to this year.

One big contributor to my success so far has been Chase Headley. He along with Chris Carpenter came over in a preseason deal for Carlos Lee, Tim Hudson and Brandon Lyons, in what’s looking like the kind of robbery I almost feel bad to have carried out. Carrying a gaudy .371/.421/.500 line coming into play on Monday, Headley’s been on an absolute tear, spearheading The Father’s resurgence out in SD, with 15 Runs scored in 76 PA. Little wonder he’s scoring so much when he’s on base over 42% of the time! While he’s been the beneficiary of a very lucky .417 BABIP, his lifetime BABIP sits at .344 due to his propensity for hitting line drives. In fact Chase is what fielders do a lot of when he’s up at bat, as he’s been hitting liners at a 26.2% clip. What can we attribute his recent success to? It seems like he’s taking a different approach to the plate, as he’s cut down his K rate by an amazing 50% in the early going of 2010. Currently his BB/K rates sit at 7.9%/12.9%, in contrast to his career 9.3%/26% rates. This is particularly noteworthy, since he’s swinging at pitches outside of the strike zone 4.3% more frequently than in the previous year. While he’s swinging more at pitches outside the zone, he’s also making more contact, with an increase in his O-Contact (percentage of contact made on pitches outside the K zone) from 52% to 59.5% between 2009 and 2010. What has been most surprising about Headley’s emergence is his speed. Even the most optimistic fan projections listed on his Fangraphs entry, see Headley with 12 swipes. Headley already has 8, including 3 in a game last week, against the SF battery of Dirty Sanchez and Eli Whiteside. I can easily see Headley knocking on 20 before the season is done.

I knew Carpenter was going to be lights out, little did I know that the $2 Chase Headley would develop into this kind of fantasy baseball stud. I’m not going to say, I thought so, but I did in fact take Chase off of waivers when he returned to the bigs in his second call-up, back in ’08. What’s not to like about a guy who posted a .330/.437/.580 line in AA ball back in ’07? With slick fielding Kevin Kouzmanoff manning the hot corner, Headley spent more time in LF rather than at his natural position of 3B. With Kouz shipped off to Oaktown, Headley seems at home back at third, providing solid defense along to go along with his solid stick. While I don’t believe Headley can sustain this otherworldly pace and I believe that some regression is due to catch up with him, if Headley keeps performing anywhere near as good as this, he’ll be a familiar name among upper tier third basemen for years to come.

Other notable Hangover contributors this week:

Robinson Cano: 9/21 7R/1HR/4RBI/1SB/.538OBP I’m getting tired of talking about how awesome a year he’s having. On second thought, I’m not. Robbie lives to hit baseballs. When he’s on, he makes hitting lasers all over the park look downright easy. He’s streaky, so I imagine he’ll slump at some point but right now he’s the best hitter in the Yankee lineup.

Mike Pelfrey continues to roll goose eggs out there, contributing 12 more this week. That’s 24 innings since he’s given up a run in total now, after his rain shortened victory against Atlanta last night. With 2W/9K/0.00 ERA/1.33 WHIP, The Mets sinkerballer is proving to be a fantastic waiver pickup for me.

Franklin Gutierrez has been anchoring the Mariner lineup as well as my own so far in 2010. With a 6/20 4R/2HR/4RBI/.375 week, he finally got into the HR column. Is there nothing The Big FraGu can’t do?

Added: Pittsburgh 3B Andy LaRoche. 6 for 8 since returning to the lineup, LaRoche Minor’s hot stick will provide a little corner depth.

Dropped: It was nice while it lasted, but I think Brett Myers‘ hot streak will end soon. Let him be on someone else’s roster when it does.