Posted on: August 16, 2010 3:32 pm
 

Player Spot Light- Drew Stubbs

Heading into the season, Red's center fielder, Drew Stubbs was a popular a late round pick, in many  fantasy baseball leagues. He was projected to be a late round stolen base threat, one with a power upside, some thing that is rare amongst the cheap thiefs. Which is ultimately what made Stubbs such an attractive option.

So far this season, managers opinions have been mixed. The power and speed have been present, but the soul draining batting average and low OBP have been major causes for concern. But should they be?

Well of course, that was pretty much a retorical question. An inability to get on base at a high, or even average amount, limits his stolen base opportunities, minimizing or reducing his SB threat.

While looking at Stubbs' numbers thus far this season, I kept drawing mental comparisons to one player in particular. A quick look at their stats shows just how similar these two players are.

Drew Stubbs-
Current- 58 R, 15 HR, 54 RBI, 18 SB .235 AVG, .301 OBP, .411 SLG
On pace- 79 R, 20 HR, 74 RBI, 24 SB, .235 AVG, .301 OBP, .405 SLG
Current .298 BABIP, 31.8% K rate, 8.1% BB rate,
38 % owned


Player B-
Current- 62 R, 10 HR, 42 RBI, 33 SB .238 AVG, .326 OBP, .408 SLG
On pace-85 R, 13 HR, 58 RBI, 45 SB, .238 AVG, .325 OBP, .403 SLG
Current- .308 BABIP, 29.1% K rate, 11.3% BB rate
93 % Owned

+4 R, -5 HR, - 12 RBI, +15 SB + .003 AVG, +.025 OBP, -.003 SLG= 55% ownership difference?

It's nearly ludacris that Stubbs is owned in 55% less leagues then the player in question.
Clearly player B is the bigger SB threat, and has/will score more runs, but why the excessive love, and just who is that player?

Player B is none other then Tampa Bay Rays center fielder, B.J. Upton.
Yeah that's correct, Drew Stubbs and B.J. Upton are strikingly similar players. Both have similar high strike out rates, soul draining batting average, but both offer a nice mix of power and speed. But why the ownership discrepancy?

Could be their age? Of course not. Stubbs is a couple months younger then Upton.

To me this a clear display of paying for potential, and the "what have you done for me lately" syndrome.

The power that Upton displayed in the post season two season's ago, must be what's driving up Upton's "value". The fact that he plays for a team that has expose to a wider range of fans could be the reason, but honestly I'm still perplexed.

Given that both players display nearly identical skill sets, one would think that their ownership should be nearly identical.

What are your thoughts? Which player would you rather have, the remainder of this season and next?
Posted on: August 14, 2010 1:01 am
 

Triumphant Return

Wow! It's been damn near a year since the last time I updated this blog. I've been pretty busy with all the great things in life, hanging out with the lovely girlfriend, hitting the gym getting ripped, playing fantasy baseball etc, and the not so great things...work.

But enough about the back story, let's get to the blog.

With the end of season drawing near, and the vast majority of trade deadlines having past I'd like to concentrate this article on keeper leagues.

As you know the work in a keeper league is never ending. If your league trade deadline hasn't passed, now is the time make a move. You must decide whether your team is a contender or a seller. In doing so you must fully commit to that direction. There is nothing more frustrating then receiving that league wide email from the manager in 8th place. It usually goes something like,

"Well guys I pretty much have no chance at winning this league this year, and I"m looking to part ways with every on my roster, including the hot hitting- (insert name). Just looking for solid keepers to carry over for next season."

When I see this, I'm automatically looking to make a deal. I know that a keeper style player on my team is worth two players (or more) from his roster.

In my case this season, the aforementioned "seller" owned Jose Valverde. His only closer, with no chance to gain any points in saves, Valverde is merely a wasted roster spot. Knowing this, and knowing that adding Valverde to my lineup could potentially see me gain 2-3 points in the standings, I sent an offer.

Johnny Damon and Jose Valverde in exchange for Ian Kinsler. A player that would potentially be a keeper on my team, a player that by default would be a keeper for him. His response?

"I feel I could get more in return for a closer like Valverde." Really? I pointed out that Valverde had been struggling mightily. Which he is, and still the offer was poo-pooed.

The end result? The manager made no improvements to his team, and will begin the season with marginal keeper options, and will finish no higher then 13th . I on the other hand will finish no better then 4th, granted it is a 16 team league, and injuries and ineffectiveness have plagued my season (let's not get started on that).

That was a pretty round about way to get to my point. In a keeper league, one mustn't over value your players. When you're presented the option to improve your team, and you have no statistical chance of winning, set yourself up for future success.
There is no shame in rebuilding. Over time every team will have to rebuild, hell major league teams are constantly rebuilding. Right Kansas, Pittsburgh?

It's always a good idea to take on the highly touted prospect, and draft picks for good, not great players. Players like Raul Ibanez will always have value late in the season, maybe not on your roster, but someone else would be willing to trade for him, if he's going to make the difference between 1st and 3rd.

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Of course there is always a the option to give up the superior keeper in order to address other team needs.

In my 14 team, 5 keeper league I parted ways with the fantastic Matt Holliday, Denard Span and Kelly Johnson. In return I received C.C. Sabathia, Matt Capps and Adrian Beltre.

The break down, I gave up the best player in the deal, but I addressed two major team needs. Starting pitching and saves. In the process I traded from my team's biggest strength, that being outfield depth.

Two days after the trade was completed, fellow outfielder, Nyger Morgan was placed on the DL. Cruel irony! In a knee jerk reaction, I traded Brett Anderson, and Brad Lidge to a team playing for next season, and in dire need of saves in exchange for the previously mentioned Raul Ibanez.

See I told you, managers would be willing to pay for guys like him.

But it gets better from there. With my team comfortably situationed in 6th in saves (9pts), I fielded offers for closers. With 7 (seven) of them on my roster I figured I could I part ways with 3-4 of them. In two seperate trades I dealt Carlos Marmol and Michael Wurtz for Phil Hughes and Matt Garza! Talk about a starting pitching upgrade. In the other deal, I sent Jose Valverde and Aaron Heilman packing in return for Paul Konerko.

That's right I turned two closers and two "interim" closers into two young #2 hurlers and a power hitting 1b. Now granted my RP is lacking major depth, with Matt Capps,  Drew Storen, and Joel Hanrahan as my shut down, I'm not too worried, after all my SP now features, Sabathia, David Price,  Shaun Marcum, Phil Hughes, Jonathan Sanchez, Javier Vazquez and Gio Gonzalez! That's pretty deep if you ask me.

The end result of those deal? I have more coming in then going out. I added some elite starting pitching, added one keeper, and only parted ways with one truly elite player.
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In my next blog, believe I'll post another one soon, I'll highlight a few players I'm keeping an eye on down the stretch, with the intent of making them 2011 draft day targets.

Posted on: June 11, 2009 8:30 pm
 

Waiver Wizard

Last week I struck gold with one great pick- Scott Podsednik- whom in the last week hit .307, 6 R, 1 HR, 2 RBI, 3 SB. So I'm going back there this week. Leading things off the aforementioned...

Scott Podsednik-15% Ownership- Next Matchups- Milwaukee, Chicago (NL), Cincinnati- Well as I mentioned earlier Pods was a very good addition this week, especially for me personally. I'm well on my way to winning to two Head to Head Matchups on the strength of his two stolen bases against the Indians. This week, I'm looking for more of the same from a guy who is still available in far to many leagues.

Last 10 games- .289 AVG, 6 R, 1 HR, 2 RBI, 5 SB

Nolan Reimold- 43% Ownership- Next Matchups- Seattle, Atlanta, NEw York (NL)- It's a shame that this young power prospect hasn't gotten as much fantasy love and hype as other bigger name prospects have (I'm looking at you God aka Matt Weiters and Tommy Hanson) yet he's still shown very good power. Unfotunately he's still a little raw at the plate with just 6 walks (16 K) Though it's still a small sample size to accurately judge his batters eye. So far he's demonstrated that he can hit for power and average. Those in keeper leagues may want to add him before it's too late. I know I just did.

Last 10 games- .310 AVG, 3 R, 2 HR, 6 RBI

Lyle Overbay- 42% Ownership- Next Matchups - Texas, Florida, Philadelphia- The double power is back, and so are the RBI. Well let's hope that they are. It's been a while since Overbay was fantasy relevant outside of AL Only leagues. With this recent tear he's seen his batting average rise 26 points from .274 to .301.  He's currently on pace to have this best season since 2006. Though I expect him to fall a little short in the RBI and HR departments everything else should be right in line with his 2005 results. Not great but you could do worse. He has a three game set in the band box known as Citizen Bank Park, so a HR or two could be on the horizon.

Last 10 games- .393 AVG, 2 HR, 10 RBI

CJ Wilson- 21% Ownership- Next Matchups- Toronto, Los Angelas (NL), Houston- With all his up coming games being played in Arlington, there should be plenty of save chances for this fill while. Of course Frank Fransisco owners (such as myself) are upset that he's likely to land on the DL again, astute managers have quickly grabbed Wilson and been repaid nicely with 1 W, 3 SV, 5 K, 2.45 ERA, 0.85 WHIP, in his last seven apperances. Before it's too late I'm going to put my FAAB bids in for the current Texas Rangers stopper, and so should you.

Ryan Madson- 51 % Ownership- New York (NL), Boston, Toronto- With Brad Lidge on the DL due to a knee injury Ryan Madson is the new closer. Though there was some thought that this move should have been made a few weeks ago, who am I to argue with the Phillies? This season Madson has been phenominal. 9.52 K/9, 2.76 BB/9, 3.44 K/ BB ratio, while posting great 2.15 ERA, and 1.02 WHIP ratios. Did I mention the 2 W and 3 SV? Well if that's not clear enough indication you should add him, then I don't know what is.

Remember folks, the free agent wire is your friend. If you've got a guy like Garrett Atkins *cough, cough* wasting on your bench, then make the smart move, cut some extra weight and add the red hot Lyle Overbay. It's amazing the difference a .393 avg will make.

Till next time, keep those eyes peeled.
Posted on: June 7, 2009 1:10 am
 

Trade Targets

Here we go around the horn, identifying players to target in trades. Generally these are players playing below expectations and have proven track records to say that they will start producing at or near their original draft value. In some causes there may be pure speculation involved regarding younger players. Those targets and ideas are aimed more at managers in keeper leagues.

Catcher-

Geovony Soto-
This is almost a no brainer, generally a top five catcher entering the season, Soto has found himself out produced by lesser valued catchers (Jason Varitek for example). It may have something to do an injury, that's likely the root problem, or it could potentially be that he was a flash in the pan. After all his minor league numbers (discounting his final season) were nothing to be impressed by. I'm not a big believer but the skill set is there, and his value has never been lower. If you're in the market for a catcher propose a trade, especially those in keepers leagues (value is a bit higher).

10 R, 1 HR, 12 RBI, 0 SB, .209 AVG

First Base-

Adam LaRoche-
Well it's nearing that time of year when the Elder LaRoche starts to hit the ball. His average may not reflect at this moment, but let's just consider that over the past two seasons LaRoche has hit 57 R, 27 HR, 79 RBI, .308 after the all star break in 116 games. Compared to 80 R, 24 HR, 94 RBI, .245 in 172 games. A difference of 56 games and a noticable difference in counting stats, thanks in large part to the departures of Xavier Nady and Jason Bay, coupled with an injury last season. Now is the time to target LaRoche his value is low, and his owner will likely be pleasantly surprised to see some interest for a player on his bench.

32 R, 7 HR, 24 RBI, 0 SB, .244 AVG

Second Base-

Ian Stewart-
There was plenty of hype entering this season about this guy. Two month in and he finds himself owned in only 52% of leagues ( his original ownership was far lower then I expected -49%) The only draw back to a player with 2b, 3b, OF, CI,MI eligibility and 30hr power is the soul draining batting average. Those in deeper keeper leagues may want to make a speculative power buy. He's in the right home environment and is only blocked by Clint Barmes and Garrett Atkins for full time playing time. Make the offer, gut out the batting average and be thankful for the next 20hr.

20 R, 9 HR, 27 RBI, 2 SB, .214 AVG

Short Stop-

Elvis Andrus- Another young prospect who is only owned in 50% of leagues. Andrus unlike Stewart is a speed demon. He doesn't have much power to speak of but the youth, and speed to swipe 40+ bags a season. A full time role in a potent offense will lead to plenty of runs. There will be growing pains and plenty of streaks but those in keeper leagues should be keeping an eye on this youngster.

25 R, 3 HR, 12 RBI, 9 SB, .278 AVG

Third Base-

Adrian Beltre- 
There are few players in baseball more consistent then Beltre. Of course the numbers aren't gawdy so you may not take notice, but a ho-hum 83 R, 25 HR, 88 RBI, 11 SB, .269 AVG is standard fair for this multi-purpose third bagger. There is never much upside with Beltre but the safety play makes him a nice addition to any team. Also take note, Beltre is heating up so the window to get him cheap is slowly closers. Make an offer, and don't be surprised that it's accepted. Owners will only see the AVG and figure he's expendable. Now is the time to own him.

25 R, 4 HR, 25 RBI, 6 SB, .245 AVG

Outfield-

Dexter Fowler- 
Everyone remembers that five stolen base against the San Diego Padres, that was Fowlers potential on display for everyone to see. This too is a purely speculative play. Given his home ball park, he could accidently hit himself 10 HR on the high end. Though that's obviously not his game. He's got the potential to be a 10 HR, 40 SB threat. Though that's not likely to happen this season. But those in keeper leagues he's guy you may want to target in trade talks as his asking price will be low, if you're lucky he may well be a throw in depending on the trade situation.

26 R, 3 HR, 12 RBI, 11 SB, .256 AVG


Pitcher-

Gavin Floyd- 
After a terrible start to the season, and subsequently being cut by owners everywhere (myself included) Floyd has rebounded strongly in this previous three outtings. surrendering just 5 ER, while striking out 24 batters in 23 innings. We know that Floyd has the skill set to be a strong fantasy option thanks to his good command and dominance, and a 7.89 K/9 ratio and a 2 K/BB ratio will have a home on my fantasy any time. His value is sky rocketing right now (73% ownership- 86% in 4 weeks) so the asking price may be a bit higher then expected. Of course you can always exploit the beginners by simply pointing out his sky high ERA and WHIP.

3-5. 59 K, 30 BB, 5.75 ERA, 1.53 WHIP
Posted on: June 6, 2009 7:54 pm
 

Player Spot Light- NL Only- Jordan Zimmermann

It's truly a shame when a top prospect enters the season to much fan fare and fantasy hype, only to drop out of favour two months later. This is what has happened to Jordan Zimmermann.

There was little doubt during spring training that Zimmermann was big league ready. Armed with four good pitches and fantastic control Zimmermann and the Washington Nationals set out to make a name for themselves in the ultra competitive National League East Division. So far that hasn't exactly panned out.

A 2-3, 5.71 ERA, 1.37 WHIP, 54 K, 14 BB, 52 IP is nothing to scoff at but the ERA and WHIP don't lend themselves kindly to fantasy owners. But that's were a tremendous oversite amongst beginners and veterans alike exsists. Focusing on surface stats instead of skills can lead to a player over looking a talented youngster because of a high ERA or a ton of strike outs (for hitters)

In this case Zimmermann is still displaying great dominancing in striking out more then a batter an inning (9.35 K/9) and still has good control (2.42 BB/9), leaving him with a tremendous commmad ratio of 3.71 K/ 1 BB.

A quick look at his minor league numbers and his XERA and FIP will tell us that he's a completely different pitcher.

2007- 4-2,  62 K, 16 BB, 2.57 ERA, 1.20 WHIP, 11.39 K/9, 2.94 BB/9, 3.88 K/BB

2008- 10-3, 134 K, 47 BB, 2.88 ERA, 1.12 WHIP, 9 K/9, 3.15 BB/9, 2.85 K/BB

2009- 0-0, 4 K,  1 BB, 5.06 ERA, 0.94 WHIP, 6.95 K/9, 1.69 BB/9, 4 K/BB

2009- 2-3, 54 K, 14 BB, 5.71 ERA, 1.37 WHIP, 9.35 K/9, 2.42 BB.9, 3.71 K/BB

You can easily see from his minor league numbers (2007- 2009)  that his kid is a bona-fide front line starter. He has always possessed great command and fantastic control to go along with a very dominant pedigree. So why are his numbers so bad this year?

1- Expected ERA and FIP- For those that read you'll know that I turn to these stats are indicators of a pitchers true talents, and it's no different here. The XERA and FIP give two vastly different numbers. Zimmermann's FIP is a very solid 3.79 more line of what many were expecting this season his XERA isn't quiet as attainable sitting at 1.74. Thanks in large part to his command and dominance.

2- The Long Ball- Having already given up seven home runs he's hurt himself a bit. He's currently on pace to surrender 21 big flies which will only keep his ERA and WHIP at the bottom of the barrel. An improvement is definately in order as he continues to get familiar with the league. Others will argue it will rise as the leagues get familiar to Jordan.

3- Washington Nationals- The Nationals as a team are just horrendous. They lead the league in errors with 52, resulting runs and hits. They also rank dead last in team ERA, WHIP,Saves, BB/9, H/9 and OBA. None of which are beneficial to a young hurler. It's disheartening when you hand over the ball after a solid 6 inning outting knowing that the pen won't be able to keep the game close.

If you're an owner of a keeper team and you've already mailed this season in, then Jordan Zimmermann would definately be a guy to target. After all the Nationals rotation can't be all bad for that long can it? The potential arrival of college phenom Steven Strasberg and the maturation of Zimmermann and Ross Detwiler gives Nationals fans reason for hope in the near future.
Posted on: June 6, 2009 6:50 pm
 

Bullpen Briefs

Since last weeks entry one thing has become extremely evident to me in regards to my own fantasy teams. I either dominate with my pitching staff or lose because of it. All this of course can be related to closers. If I draft two or three of them, it's nearly impossible for me to be below third in pitching categories. If I for go closers I'm usually tops in strike outs, and wins, be near or at the bottom in WHIP, ERA and SV of course. So what's a happy balance? Do you draft closers or do you wait for the waiver wire?

Naturally this is all a matter of opinion but from now on, I'm drafting at least two sure fire guys in the middle rounds, and going from there. Never again will I go into a draft with the intention of speculating for saves. Which means no Chris Ray/Chris Perez/Jason Motte/ anyone not a closer drafted to my team.

On that note let's get to the business.

Randy Choate of the Tampa Bay Rays now has three saves on the season, making him a popular pick up in AL only leagues and in standard mixed leagues alike for those speculating for saves. Given how unsorted and ineffective the Rays bullpen has been this season I've completely passed on this situation. I still fell the Grant Balfour, and Dan Wheeler are better suited for the job but he could potentially be this years George Sherrill.

Andrew Bailey may very well be the best pitcher in the world. Ok that's a great exaggeration but can you really argue against a guy that has 4 W,3 SV, 2.12 ERA, 0.94 WHIP, 40 K in 34 IP AND is eligible at SP and RP in some leagues. In my ESPN head to head league when I saw that he was available he was a must add after all if I can pick up a couple saves form a starter there can't really be any harm can there?

Francisco Cordero has just many saves as Jonathan Papelbon does over the past three seasons. Each with 92 SV, though Cordero generally is thought of as the lesser talent, and thus is available four rounds later or for the equivilant of $10 at the draft table.  The smart, thrifty owner puts their money in the Cordero basket.

Top Ten Saves Leaders-

1- Heath Bell- 15 SV, 26 K, 1.27 ERA, 0.94 WHIP
2- Brian Fuentes-  15 SV, 22 K, 4.95 ERA, 1.50 WHIP
3- Francisco Rodriguez-  15 SV, 28 K, 0.70 ERA, 0.97 WHIP
4- Francisco Cordero-  14 SV, 22 K, 1.57 ERA, 1.17 WHIP
5- Trevor Hoffman-  14 SV, 15 K, 0.00 ERA, 0.44 WHIP
6- Jonathan Papelbon- 14 SV, 28 K, 2.25 ERA, 1.46 WHIP
7- Brian Wilson-  14 SV, 28 K, 3.71 ERA, 1.35 WHIP
8- Jonathan Broxton- 13 SV, 45 K, 1.29 ERA, 0.68 WHIP
9- Ryan Franklin- 13 SV, 16 K, 1.29 ERA, 0.81 WHIP
10- Brad Lidge- 13 SV, 27 K, 7.20 ERA, 1.84 WHIP


Surprise Save of the Week-

Chris Sampson- 2-0, 3 SV, 15 K, 1.91 ERA, 1.24 WHIP- Well let's face it, I'm not really surprised by this anymore. Sampson now has three saves on the year, filling in when LaTroy Hawkins was injured. If you were/are looking for a middle with a chance to pick up a save then Sampson deserves some consideration. But in all reality he doesn't figure to factor into any saves when Jose Valverde returns to action.

Guys to Watch-

Tony Pena- 5-2, 1 SV, 21 K, 3.12 ERA, 1.38 WHIP- With Chad Qualls battling fore arm stiffness Pena is the obvious choice to be the fall back option. He's already matched his career high in wins with five, but wins are hard to speculate for relievers so it's almost not worth mentioning. What is worth mentioning is near 2.5 K/BB ratio (2.45) and his solid 6.59 K/9 career ratio, which is up this season to 7.27 K/9. With good dominance and control Pena could easily step in as a stop gap closer.

Posted on: June 4, 2009 9:35 pm
 

Waiver Wizard

Welcome to the latest feature blog the Waiver Wizard. Where we take a quick look at some waiver wire guys that you should be rostering.

Of course there has to be some criteria involved, player must be owned in less then 50% of CBS leagues. So without further ado away we go.

Stat's correct as of June 4th day games

Scott Podsednik- 4% Ownership- Next Matchups- Cleveland, Detroit-   If you're in the market for a fifth outfielder and could use a handful or speed and runs then Pods is a guy you should eyeing. Given that the White Sox don't really have any other option in center field Podsednik will get plenty of playing time. His batting average. OBP, and SLG are right in line with his career numbers, so there are clear indications that he can continue on this pace.  In his past 10 games- 8 R, 0 HR, 5 RBI, 1 SB, .311 AVG.

Gary Sheffield- 45 % Ownership- Next Matchups- Washington, Phiadelphia, New York (AL)-  If you haven't already you need to pick up Shef. Drop Francisco Liriano, drop a middle reliever, do what ever just make sure you can get this guy into your lineup. Sure there are always concerns about his health and age, but there should never be a concern regarding his production when he's healthy. After all the New York Mets on the whole are banged up and someone has to get those AB it's not going to be Ryan Church after all. Last 10 games- 10 R, 3 HR, 12 RBI, 1 SB, .343 AVG

Andy LaRoche- 39% Ownership- Next Matchups- Houston, Atlanta- Could it be? The emergence of the good LaRoche! Well it's been a long time coming for this one highly touted prospect. Unfortunately for those that are looking for power LaRoche may not be the best option having a career high 5 HR in the majors. He's only on pace to pop 6 out of the yard. But if you don't mind rostering a high average corner infielder then LaRoche is a great option, even better in keeper league formats. Last 10 games- 4 R, 0 HR, 5 RBI, 1 SB, .361 AVG

Andrew McCutchen- 41% Ownership- Next Matchups- Houston, Atlanta- There's always a flip side to the coin when a player gets traded. There are three possible outcomes, a- the recieve a player in return and he starts, b- they have a bench player or FA pick up take over the role, c- you promote your best prospect and see what happens. That's what happened when the Pittsburgh Pirates jettisoned another star to the Atlanta Braves for James Parr, Charlie Morton and Gorkys Hernandez. The move immediately opened up a role for McCutchen. A highly touted prospect who seems to me to be another Juan Pierre clone albeit with a bit more pop (2 is more then 1 after all) If you're in the market for a dirt stolen base threat, then you may want to take note. Especially those in keeper leagues. 2009 debut- 3 R, 0 HR, 1 RBI, 1 SB, ,500 AVG

Clint Barmes-43% Ownership- Next Matchups- Houston, St.Louis, Milwaukee- For all those Ian Stewart owners quick question. How's that panning out? While Stewart got all the fantasy love, Barmes has quietly gone about his way and stolen a ton of playing time away at 2b. Proving to be a little more proficient at the dish, despite possessing less raw power. In the long run, the safe play is usually the best play. Last 10 games- 5 R, 1 HR, 3 RBI, 2 SB, .342 AVG


Joe Blanton- 53% Ownership-Next Matchups- Los Angelas- Ok I cheated a bit here, but this guy has been good his past couple of starts. It's also worth mentioning his good control this season a 2.65 K/BB ratio. He's won his past three outtings giving up a combined 8 runs. Nothing to write home to mom about but the 20/4 K/BB ratio is. Now I'm not proclaiming Blanton to be much more then he is (that being a 5 K, 1 BB, 6 IP) guy but in the right matchups he's worth a flier. His next start is in LA against Hiroki Kuroda.

J.A. Happ- 50# Ownership- Next Matchups- New York Mets- Only just does Happ make it. Though given his numbers he shouldn't even be on this list. Sporting a 4-0, 30 K, 2.48 ERA, 0.97 WHIP line one begins to wonder what does it take to get peoples attention? Granted he's only made three starts this year, but 18.1 IP, 13 K, 5 BB in those starts should make you take notice. His next start will be a true test against the Mets and Johan Santana. I'd consider sitting him out this time, but he's a great option for spot starts.

Diligence is the key to waiver wire gems, take advantage of market over sights and exploit them. That's how I've managed to wrangle up 15 R, 3 HR, 13 RBI, 1 SB, .354 AVG since May 15th courtesy of the Sheff's fine cooking.
Posted on: June 3, 2009 6:14 pm
 

AL Only Player Spot Light- Nick Blackburn

If given the opportunity to redraft your teams today, there would surely be a different strategy in play. You wouldn't have taken that guy there, you would have taken this guy there etc etc, but I know one thing for certain.

You would draft Nick Blackburn over Francisco Liriano.

That may come as a shock to many, but if I were redrafting tonight, I wouldn't even touch Liriano. He's been that bad. Mean while Blackburn has quietly gone about his job, agruably becoming the Minnesota Twins true "ace".

Take a look at his numbers through June 2nd. 5-2, 33 K, 20 BB, 3.50 ERA, 1.36 WHIP. Definately not earth shattering but far more servicable then those posted my his stable mate Liriano (do you get the hint I'm sick of him yet?) On the bright side you've still got a chance to pick him up before it's too late as he's owned in 51% of CBS leagues. It's not as if you could do much better for a fifth starter. But you could do worse.

In his previous five outtings he's lasted 6 or more innings, holding opponents to a total of 7 earned runs in that stretch while winnings his last 3 starts. Could this more then just a hot streak?

Let's take a look and see whether it's wise to jump aboard the Blackburn train or look else where.

2007- (Combined AA-AAA) 148.2 IP 10-4, 75 K, 19 BB, 2.60 ERA, 1.05 WHIP, 4.55 K/9, 1.15 BB/9, 3.94 K/BB
2007- 11.2 IP, 0-2, 8 K, 2 BB, 8.04 ERA, 1.44 WHIP, 6.42 K/9, 1.60 BB/9, 4 K/BB
2008- 193.1 IP, 11-11, 96 K, 39 BB, 4.05 ERA, 1.36 WHIP, 4.47 K/9, 1.81 BB/9, 2.46 K/BB
2009- 69.1 IP, 5-2, 33 K, 20 BB, 3.50 ERA, 1.36 WHIP, 4.29 K/9, 2.60 BB/9, 1.65 K/BB

As you can see Blackburn is by no means a strike out master, mustering a sub 4.50K/9 in his MLB career. Which means that the odds of a dominate 8 strike out night are pretty low.

So why has he been so good this season?

1- Right Hand Dominance- Yes that's correct, Blackburn is absolutely controlling the righties. They're hitting an unimpressive .213 against him. The lefties on the other hand, are feasting ,hitting a skyhigh .318 off him with 5 HR and 21 R, compared to 1 HR and 11 R. It may have something to do with the lefties sitting on the fast ball ( he is throwing it 59.3% of the time a near 10% increase from last season).

2- Good Defence- You would be surprise how much impact a solid defense can have on a pitchers ERA and WHIP. Blackburn's FIP sits at 4.20 a full 0.70 run higher. That may not seem like much but it's a significan't amount namely the distance between 1st and 6th in the category.

3- Expected ERA- His current ERA is the stuff that want on your team, his XERA is not. It falls right in line with his FIP at 4.25. Given that last year's ERA was 4.05 it doesn't come at much surprise. His K rates and BB rates are down clear indicators that his XERA could easily be matched.

Unfortunately for owners now may be the time to part ways with Blackburn. The wins may be nice, but his value may not be higher then right now.
 
 
 
 
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