Under The Weather

May 19, 2010

I seem to have been struck with the same stomach ailment that plagued Carlos Quentin over the weekend but like Quentinsity, I’m breaking out! With that in mind, I’ll turn to a few of the latest ballers to nursing injuries and how it might open up playing time and create some interesting fantasy options.

Ass-suck Cabrera fractured a wing the other day. Chief Wahoo calls up Jason Donald to fill in at short. Donald went 2-3 with a BB and a run scored last night in his MLB debut, while hitting in the nine-hole. Yeah that sounds dirty but with uninspired duo of Trevor Crowe and Mark Grudzielanek setting the table in Cleveland, it’s safe to imagine Donald leading off in the not too distant future. Donald is a cheap speed play if you’re in need of swipes and shouldn’t kill your ratios, as he has exhibited decent plate discipline in the minors.

Josh Beckett was sent to the DL with pain in his lower back. Fantasy owners trying to trade him (like my man JP) collectively bury their heads in their hands. I’m not sure what’s more painful, Red-State-Jeter’s bum back or having to watch him pitch. Tim Wakefield will take Beckett’s place in the Sawx rotation. I wouldn’t roster Wakefield with your team. Instead go grab some schmo who pitches in the NL West, like John Ely, Jason Hammel, Jon Garland or Jeff Francis for a safe play. You could also go with…

Atlanta Braves pitcher. Kris Medlen, who looked solid in his start against the Mets last night. Going in place of Jar Jar “I told you he’d end up on the DL” Jurrjens, Medlen cruised through five before giving up solo jacks to Ike and Frenchy and ultimately getting chased in the 7th.  He finished with a no-decision but a tidy 6K, 2BB, 4H and 2ER in 6 1/3IP. There’s a lot to like about the young righty who started the season in the bullpen and now holds a 26/5 K/BB rate in 29 1/3 IP through 2010. With a mix of plus fastballs and a very effective change, he’s sustained that 5-1 K/BB rate through his minor league career so those numbers are not a fluke. I’m looking forward to seeing him go deeper into games and raking up Quality Starts for the Uptown Ham Fighters, as he stretches out and gets more acclimated to starting.

Of course the biggest injury to hamper the hopes of Dodger fans and fantasy owners alike, is the fractured pinky that Andre Ethier suffered in batting practice a few days ago. The hottest hitter in baseball couldn’t swing through the pain, so he was placed on the DL yesterday for some R & R. In his place the Trolley Dodgers call up intriguing power-speed combo, Xavier Paul. Paul was raking for the AAA Isotopes over the last few weeks, before getting the call. He didn’t reach base in three plate appearances while hitting out of the two-hole last night for Los Angeles.

One of the surprise stars of my Ham Fighter squad is Yankee right fielder Nick Swisher. Swish has been a steady producer in 2010, hitting well from both sides of the plate on his way towards approaching the numbers he posted in his career year in 2005. Nagged by a strained left bicep for the past few weeks, the arm flared up last week during the Yanks-Tigers doubleheader split. Making it painful to swing from the left side, he’s been sitting the past two nights, after coming out of the game on Sunday against the Twins. Consider him day-to-day, but be ready to grab a bat if he hits the DL. That bat should not be Randy Winn or Marcus Thames, unless you’re playing in a deep AL-Only league or you hate yourself. Thames might give you a little pop against lefties or Jon Paplebon, but neither are really rosterable.

Back off of the DL is Cardinal infielder, Felipe Lopez. The versatile, if unspectacular utility man hit a two-run bomb in his second game leading off for St. Louis last night. Brendan Ryan will ride the pine as Lopez should see consistent playing time. The holder of a career .269/.338/.401 line has shown flashes of goodness through out his 10 seasons in the bigs but has had nagging injuries that have hampered him. If he could get hot, Lopez could be a good source of runs at with occasional speed and power, that won’t murder your ratios. Leading off for the Cards has its benefits and you could do worse as far as middle infielders go.

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Vic, They’re Stealing!

April 21, 2010

Remember back in the day when you’d be walking down 34th Street and all of a sudden like 20 kids would rush out of Macy’s with armloads of stolen goose downs and knit sweaters and jeans and what not? That’s how shit went down back when I was growing up in The City. If shit wasn’t nailed down, somebody would steal it. You’d be driving up the Harlem River Drive and all of a sudden it would be pitch black, not a lit street lamp in sight, because crack heads have stripped the wires and sell the copper for scrap. Back in the 80’s and 90’s base runners stole a lot more too. Guys like Ricky and Vince would rack up bags like a posse of hoods hitting the Coach store. As the 90’s wore on, guys started juicing up and jacking off like never before, leading managers to give their burners the stop sign, since they figured someone would probably go yard behind them.

Flash forward to today, the post-P.E.D. era (lets play pretend here) and you’ll find that runners are stealing again. In fact The Texas Rangers ran like crazy last night, racking up a team record 9 stolen bases, against the Bean-town battery of ageless knuckler Tim Wakefield and spaghetti armed Victor Martinez. Elvis Andrus and Nelson Cruz lead the way with 3 steals a piece in the wild affair that The Sawx would ultimately go on to win 7-6, on a walk off hit by newly called up OF Darnell McDonald.

For fantasy purposes, it’s helpful to know that base runners have been swiping bags from Boston batteries like Thirstin Howl III swipes Polo gear, and not just the soft-tossing Wakefield. In fact Boston catchers have throw out only 1 would-be base stealer in 32 chances. Something to remember when you see that your guys are playing Boston.

Also of note: Boomstick left the game in the 9th with a cramped hammy. He woke up today feeling better and says he will play tonight.

For a look at the easiest (and toughest) teams to run on, check out the Fangraphs advanced team fielding chart. rSB means runs saved while defending against the Stolen Base. You’ll notice that Boston tops the list of teams that are easiest to steal against so far this season.

Enjoy Mr. Howl’s ode to thievery, “John, They’re Stealing”:

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