Posted on: May 30, 2009 6:48 pm

Bull Pen Briefs

As I outlined last week, I tried to deal from my bullpen strength to strengthen my pitching staff. Unfortunately I was unsuccessful in my attempts. I've opened up trade talks with other managers in order to acquire some starting pitching help.

Before we jump right into it here's a few stats to consider.

Over the past 14 days-

Pitcher A- 1 W, 4 SV, 6 K, 6.00 ERA, 1.17 WHIP
Pitcher B- 1 W,  2 SV, 8 K, 6.00 ERA, 2.00 WHIP

Can you tell what the difference is? Pitcher A was better over this small sample and has been through out the season. But this little comparison of Jonathan Papelbon (Pitcher A) and Joel Hanrahan ( Pitcher B) just shows how frustrating it can be to chase the saves. Over all the difference is a complete wash if you started  Jorge De La Rosa on your Papelbon team, and opted for Joe Blanton on your Hanrahan team. All things being equal, nothing is just, right nor fair when it comes to the bull pen.

George Sherrill over the last 14 days has been lights out 4 SV, 8 K, 0.00 ERA, 0.17 WHIP most impressive are the 0 BB, and 1 HA totals over that span. He's all but silenced the criticis and Danys Baez supports...for now.

Matt Capps owners may be looking for a hand cuff, and here's your guy... Jesse Chavez (what you were expecting John Grabow?) I know that's he's not the experts pick, and likely doesn't have the inside track but he's pitched better then Grabow and the other options thus far recording a 17 K, 7 BB, 3.00 ERA, 1.28 WHIP. This is for those in dire need of saves and in deeper leagues.

Matt Lindstrom the "Swedish Sensation" hasn't been impressing anyone of late, except those that are only concerned with saves. The 3 SV over the past 14 are good but the 0.666 K/BB ratio is not inspiring ( 4 K - 6 BB) the 6.00 ERA and 1.83 WHIP leave alot to be desired. I'd keep an eye out for Dan Meyer, he of the sparkling 4/1 KK/BB ratio and 2.45 ERA, 0.91 WHIP the closer's role could soon be his.

Now to usual content

Top Ten Saves Leaders-

1- Heath Bell- 14 SV, 24 K, 0.46 ERA, 0.86 WHIP
2- Francisco Cordero-  13 SV, 21K, 1.71 ERA, 1.14 WHIP
3- Brian Fuentes- - 13 SV, 19 K, 4.08 ERA, 1.42 WHIP
4- Jonathan Papelbon-  13 SV, 25 K, 2.45 ERA, 1.46 WHIP
5- Francisco Rodriguez- 13 SV, 24 K, 0.76 ERA, 1.01 WHIP
6- Ryan Franklin-  12 SV, 15 K, 1.42 ERA, 0.84 WHIP
7- Trevor Hoffman- 12 SV, 11 K, 0.00 ERA, 0.43 WHIP
8- Chad Qualls-  12 SV, 23 K, 3.43 ERA, 1.24 WHIP
9- Jonathan Broxton-  11 SV, 37 K, 1.50 ERA, 0.75 WHIP
10- Frank Francisco-  11 SV, 18 K, 0.00 ERA, 0.85 WHIP
One other tied for ninth.

Surprise Save of the Week-

1- Kevin Cameron- 0-0, 1 SV, 12 K, 1.72 ERA,  0.83 WHIP- I wouldn't be looking to Cameron for any save chances as this outting was of the three inning variety. Though it only further establishes the strength of the Oakland Athletics bullpen.

Guys to Watch-

1- Edward Mujica- 2-1, 1 SV, 28 K, 2.59 ERA, 1.07 WHIP- A great guy to have incase of injury to current saves leader Heath Bell and if you need a handful of strikeouts without jeopardizing your era and whip. For those in holds leagues you may want to find a way to roster him.

Posted on: May 26, 2009 2:10 am

Oddities Amongst Twin

It appears that there are some odd happenings when it comes to twins. People react differently, whether it be with shock or adoration, there is always just a little hint of hesistance. No where is that more evident then in Minnesota within the cozy Twins family.

You see Twins family has all makings of being a top notch family. They support each other (Kevin Slowey and Nick Blackburn rank amongst the top 20 in run support- Slowey #1 =8.62, Blackburn #6= 7.35), they also know how to pick each other up when the time calls for it (6th in the leagues in runs 243), at the same time they know how to stand up for each and flex a little muscle should anyone challenge them (5th in the league in home runs 53).

But within any family there is bound to be a little sibling rivalry, and that is most definately the case amongst the Twins.

We all know that parents aren't supposed to play favourites but fantasy managers don't care. They've clearly stated that amongst the Twins hitters Joe Mauer and Justin Moreau reign supreme. They have nearly 100% owership, and their stats are very impressive as well.

Mauer- 99%- 24 R, 10 HR, 27 RBI, .437 AVG, .525 OBP, .875 SLG, 1.400 OPS
Morneau- 100%- 36 R, 13 HR, 40 RBI, .343 AVG, .425 OBP, .656 SLG, 1.081 OPS

After that the family and the owners are split, especially amongst the different users here on, and

Ok enough with the whole family dealy, it was good while it lasted so here are the owner ship numbers and the players stats (Correct to May 25th- CBS % in Bold ESPN % Italics)

Jason Kubel- 66% 47% - 22 R, 5 HR, 23 RBI, .335 AVG .373 OBP, .535 SLG,.908 OPS
Joe Crede- 18% 8.1% -  17 R, 8 HR, 21 RBI, .240 AVG, .304 OBP..488 SLG, .792OPS
Michael Cuddyer- 77% 33%- 28 R, 7 HR, 30 RBI, 4 SB, .286 AVG, .375 OBP, .506 SLG, .881 OPS
Delmon Young- 37% 63.6%-  10 R, 1 HR, 14 RBI, 2 SB, .264 AVG, .308 OBP, .310 SLG, .618 OPS
Carlos Gomez-  23% 55.8%- 15 R, 0 HR, 2 RBI, 4 SB, .223 AVG, .294 OBP, .317 SLG. .611 OPS
Nick Punto-  3%  1%-  16 R, 0 HR, 11 RBI, 4 SB, .185 AVG, .296 OBP, .203 SLG .499 OPS

First off I would like to point out that Michael Cuddyer and Jason Kubel should be owned in all AL only leagues, 12 and greater mixed leagues and depending on team needs 10 team leagues. If for some reason you are carrying any dead weight on your roster namely one Delmon who's owned in an astoundung 63.6% of ESPN leagues, drop him immediately and pick up on of his producing team mates.

Though he's still young, and learning the games,  Young may never develop into that world class talent many expected from him.

Another point of interest Joe Crede is owned in 18% of CBS leagues while he's only owned in 8.1% of ESPN leagues the question is why can't you find room for a 30 HR, 80 RBI bat in your lineup? If you can swallow the batting average hit then you're set. Despite the nagging injuries Crede has shown in the past that he can hit bombs he jut has to stay healthy.

Carlos Gomez and Nick Punto at this point in the game offer little in terms of fantasy value outside of 12 team AL only rosters. Though I for one still believe in Gomez, the upside is worth the weight. As Punto, you know what you're getting so you have to live with in. After all he could be worse right?

It's odd that an offense so powerful sees three of their main cogs getting less respect then they deserve. But that's fine by me, that just means the waiver wire has some yummy taters and pitchers waiting to be toasted/ All while they're part of my roster.

Posted on: May 22, 2009 10:20 pm

Bullpen Briefs

If you've read any of these past entries you'll notice that the names among the league leaders are typically the same from week to week. This should come as no shock. Saves generally come in bunches, and the value of closers fluctuates greatly from week to week, and from owner to owner.

This article is going to have more of a fantasy spin, but still have the standard set up.

Let's say that you're in a strong position in saves like I am in my primary CBS league. I currently sit first in the saves category with 40 saves (.5pts / save) thanks to Heath Bell, Frank Francisco, Francisco Cordero, and Brian Wilson. Notice how not one of those guys is considered a stud or a top draft pick? So what would you do in my situation?

Trade, and trade big. Since this is an auction keeper league, these closers have a little extra value. Consider that Cordero is my most expensive option at $12! It's not likely that he'll be kept by me over the others who combined will cost me $32. A hit I'm more then willing to take, so he's the obvious choice. Since starting pitching is my weakness I'll be looking to acquire one in the deal.

For full disclosure I've offered up Cordero for Adam Wainwright. On the surface based on preceived value this is not a "fair deal". But "fair" is relative to one's player valuation or lack there of. In reality this trade does make sense as it helps out both owners, and no is getting "ripped off" persay.

All things being equal, if it's late in the season, and I have a huge lead in the pitching categories, but I need speed badly, I'm trading Tim Lincecum for Michael Bourn or Wily Tavares, and I'm not thinking twice about it.

Remember folks it's about the numbers, not the names.

Top Ten Saves Leaders-

1- Heath Bell- 11sv, 23k, 0.50era, 0.89whip
2- Jonathan Broxton- 11sv, 32k, 1.29era, 0.62whip
3- Ryan Franklin- 11sv, 15k, 1.53era, 0.79whip
4- Brian Fuentes- 11sv, 19k, 4.30era, 1.50whip
5- Trevor Hoffman- 11sv, 10k, 0.00era, 0.42whip
6- Jonathan Papelbon- 11sv, 21k, 0.95era, 1.32whip
7- Francisco J. Rodriguez- 11sv, 20k, 0.92era, 1.02whip
8- Francisco Cordero- 10 sv, 18k, 2.12era, 1.24whip
9- Chad Qualls- 10sv, 22k, 2.50era, 1.11whip
10- Frank Francisco- 9sv, 13k, 0.00era, 0.75whip

Three others tied for tenth.

Surprise Save of the Week-

1- Phil Coke- 1-2, 1sv, 12k, 4.58era, 1.19whip- Never fear Mariano Rivera owners, he is still healthy. Coke recorded the save on May 18th because Rivera had pitched the previous two nights. Owners should take note though, and remember that Coke remained in the game to record one out in the eight and stayed in to finish it out.  Coke may be a decent source for holds this season, but other wise doesn't bear mentioning.

Guys to Watch-

1- Andrew Bailey- 3-0, 1sv, 31k, 2.02era, 1.02whip- If you or your league mates don't already own the guy, then we have an issue.  With a great 10.64 K/9, and a solid 2.58 K/BB ratio you should be lining up to roster this strike out monster. He's only owned in 42% of leagues so he's likely available. Who else has better numbers and has a shot at being the closer? Not to many. So hop to it!

Posted on: May 22, 2009 9:40 pm

NL Only Player Spot Light- Felipe Lopez

Doesn't every fantasy manager yearn for the day of yor. I'm talking 2005 and 2006. Well the majority of fantasy owners may not. After all what good would that do if they're holding Matt Wieters in a bench spot?

I do know that owners of Felipe Lopez yearn for those days.
Days when you laid claim to an elite power hitting short stop. When the power went away you had a base stealing master. Now what do you have?

Lets take a quick look at his past numbers just to see what we're looking at.

2007- 70r, 9hr, 50rbi, 24sb, 53bb, 109k, .245avg, .307obp, .351slg, .658ops
2008- 64r, 6hr, 46rbi, 8sb, 43bb, 82k, .282avg, .343obp, 386slg, .729ops
2009- 21r, 4hr, 10rbi, 4sb, 14bb, 28k, .323avg, .378obp, .484slg, .862ops

Those 2009 numbers are particularily impressive, especially if take a look at the pace he's on 85r, 16hr, 40rbi, 16sb, .322avg. That's a solid line for your MI but is it likely to happen?

1- Babip- Lopez's Babip is an outer wordly .372. Let's take that into consideration. The league average generally falls around .300, Lopez's career number is .318 which is  above league average, but his current mark is a full 54 points higher. If you're banking on Lopez to maintain his current .323avg, you're going to be highly disappointed. Temper your expectations toward a .275avg.

2- HR/FB%- After a three year falling trend an upward explosion from 4.8% to 11.4% will cause many to raise an eyebrow. His previous career high is 18.3% in his magnificent 2005 season. His career average is 9.3%. So I'd also be looking for a regression back to the mean.

3- Contact Rate- So far this season Lopez has posted a great 82.6% contact rate, but that may well be difficult to maintain. Consider that he has a career 78.4% rate a full 4.2% difference. Which may not seem like much but that could very well be the difference between a .280 hitter and a .300 hitter, as well as a handful of runs and rbi.

All in all, Lopez is a solid end game MI option, but his under lying skills and stats are telling me that his current is a little bit beyond is means. Though previous power and speed production, are swaying the opinions of others.
Posted on: May 22, 2009 1:36 am

AL Only Player Spot Light- Michael Cuddyer

You'll have to fogive me on the later then expected player updates, but I've been busy. My girlfriend, the greatest in the world bought me UFC Undisputed 2009.

Needless to say that I've been throwing down hard core in an attempt to acquire the UFC Lightweight title. It's anything but easy, if you're a fan of the UFC, or a fan of fighting for the matter, you should definately buy or rent this game. It's just beyond sweet.

While we're on the topic of video games, I thought I'd mention another personal favourite. MLB Front Office Manager. This game was highly anticipated amongst the hardcore fantasy gamers. Those that were expecting MLB 2k9 were disappointed. I on the other hand was not. Which brings me to my team. Oh yeah it's loaded. Did the fantasy draft and the whole she-bang. But I quickly realized, in this game you need pitching. It's not there if you wait, if you do wait, boy you're in a world of hurt. So needless to say my Pittsburgh Pirates, are playing like the real Pirates. Not good.

Now that that's out of the way, we or shall I say I can focus on the task at hand. This week's Player Spot Light, belongs to former fantasy darling, and my vote for 2009 AL Comeback Player of the Year none other then the Minnesota Twins, Michael Cuddyer.

Cuddyer isn't a sexy play by any means, but he's been a great contributing force to a few of my fantasy rosters, all the while getting no love. The guys at ESPN are owning him in just 7.7% of leagues! Astounding. CBS' ownership is alot higher up to 38% of leagues, but still to low for me. After all he has posted these stats before.

2007- 87r, 16hr, 81rbi, 5sb, 64bb, .276avg, .356obp, .433slg, .789ops
2008- 30r, 3hr, 36rbi, 5sb, 25bb, .249avg, .329obp, .369slg, .698ops
2009- 22r, 5hr, 22rbi, 4sb, 22bb, .258avg, .352obp, .435slg, .787ops

You'll notice that his 2008 performance already pales in comparison to his performance thus far. But remember folks Cuddyer battled injury all season long with finger and foot injuries relegating him to the DL three times.

If he continues at his rate, we're looking at a 90r, 20hr, 90rbi, 16sb guy. All that for free off the waiver wire! I don't think that the stolen base totals will end up that high, but it's possible, after all Matt Holliday had 28 last season, why can't Cuddyer swipe 16?

There are a few things you should know about Cuddyer though-

1- Improved walk rate- A jump from 9.1% to 13% will see anyone benefit. If that player just so happens to swipe a few bags all the better to set a new career high in the department. Coincidence? I think not.

2- High Ground Ball Rate- Yeah that's the down side. It's also likely contributing to his low batting average. An increase from 45.9% to 54.6% could potentially limit his power production over the long haul, and severly impact his batting average. Hopefully a return to career norms in the GB category will help move his batting average up toward his .268 mark.

3- Run Support- Yes that's a pitching stat, but I'm using the title. Joe Mauer, Justin Morneau. Two very dangerous hitters. They along with Jason Kubel should provide plenty of RBI opportunities for Cuddyer. But who will bring Mikey around to score? That job will fall primarily to the oft injured Joe Crede. Though it's impossible to tell for certain who will end up batting where, but it seems like a safe bet that Cuddyer will end up with 90rbi, and 70r.

Personally I'm a big fan of Cuddyer, his 2006 super man impression was definately the abberation but if this what you can expect from him (career averages say yes) then sign me up, for those skeptical of Cuddyer I have one question. Is your #5 outfielder better? I didn't think so.

Posted on: May 15, 2009 8:14 pm

Bullpen Briefs

Since last weeks entry not much has changed in the fantasy world, well actually there have been a few "minor" happenings.

Joakim Soria  of the Kansas City Royals has wound up on the DL thanks to recurring arm injuries that have bothered him for a couple of weeks now. That makes/made Juan Cruz the prospective saves guy in the interim. Cruz has good strike out numbers - 11 K's, 6.51 K/9- but has had control issues far this season surrendering 10 walks and an awful 5.92 BB/9 ratio. If you need the saves Cruz is a guy to pick up but one must also pay attention the indicators when selecting pitchers.

As mentioned last week the Seattle Mariners closer Brandon Morrow returned from the DL. By the looks of it he may have been better off remaining there. Posting a dreadful 0-2, 1 sv, 3 bb, 1 k 32.40era, 6.00 whip, one could draw the conclusion that he may not be fully healthy yet.

Frank Francisco of the Texas Rangers in the mean time hasn't pitched since May 6th due to shoulder pain. CJ Wilson appears to be the next best option in the Rangers bullpen, but with that comes ugly ratios. This is a situation best left alone.

Top Ten Saves Leader-

1- Fransisco Cordero- 10sv, 16k, 2.40era, 1.40whip
2- Fransisco Rodriguez- 10sv, 18k, 1.02era, 1.13whip
3- Frank Francisco- 9sv, 13k, 0.00era, 0.75whip
4- Ryan Franklin- 9sv, 13k, 0.00era, 0.64whip
5- Brian Fuentes- 9sv, 16k, 4.97era, 1.66whip
6- Jonathan Papelbon- 9sv, 19k, 1.13era, 1.44whip
7- Heath Bell- 8sv, 19k, 0.00era, 0.63whip
8- Jonathan Broxton- 8sv, 30k, 1.59era, 0.53whip
9- Trevor Hoffman- 8sv, 9k, 0.00era, 0.33whip
10- Bobby Jenks- 8sv, 12k, 1.15era, 1.00

Two others tied for 7th with eight saves a piece.

Surprise Saves of the Week-

1- Kip Wells- 0-0, 2sv, 9k, 9bb, 4.40era, 1.40whip- On the bright side he does have 2 saves in his last four games along with four strike outs. On the flip side he's allowed three runs in that span giving him a 6.42 era over the past week. The Washington Nationals bullpen is truly a mess, and it's difficult to pick the front runner as Wells, Joel Hanrahan, Logan Kensing, and Joe Beimel have all had save chances. I'm avoiding this mess.

Guys to Watch-

1- Jensen Lewis- 2-3, 1sv, 18k, 6bb, 4.26era, 1.32whip- He's only made two appereances in the last week but he's made an impression. Pitching 4.1 innings surrendering only one hit, walking none and racking up five strike outs. With a very solid 8.52 K/9 ratio and a good but not spectacular 2.84 BB/9 ratio, Lewis could be a cheap strike out option in AL Only leagues with the potential to pick up a few saves. Remember folks last year he did record 13 saves.

2- Mark DiFelice- 3-0, 17k, 3bb, 1.02era, 0.79whip- I'm not sure why I'm telling you about this guy. After all the numbers speak for themselves. Sure he hasn't recorded a save yet, and let's face it that's why we all want relievers. But he does have a stellar era and whip, as well as an impressive 8.89 K/9 ratio and a great 1.56 BB/9 ratio. He's also one of the main reasons I'm leading my 16 team league and currently sit with 10, 11, 11, 14, 14 in the pitching stats.

Posted on: May 10, 2009 5:09 pm

NL Only Player Spot Light- Colby Rasmus

"KELLOGGS, the greatest name in cereal presents:
Faster than a speeding bullet!
More powerful than a locomotive!
Able to leap tall buildings in a single bound!
LOOK! Up In The Sky!
It's a bird!  It's a plane!  It's SUPERMAN!
Yes, it's Superman, strange visitor from another planet who came to earth
with powers and abilities far beyond those of mortal men!
Superman! Who can change the course of might rivers,   bend steel in his bare hands;
And who, disguised as Colby Rasmus,

Those were the expectations surrounding  young outfielder Colby Rasmus when he broke camp this spring with the St. Louis Cardinals.
Unfortunately for many of his supporters, Rasmus has not received consistent playing time, and his numbers reflect that. But all that could change thanks to a new full time at the expense of injured Rick Ankiel.

There are many "experts" that are convinced Rasmus has all the tools to be a stud in this leagues, there are others, myself included, that think he will be merely a good player. Not a stud, but solid. Now is his chance to prove some of us right.

Though he's not off to a very good start.

Batting a very unheroic .247avg, .333obp, .333slg, he's going to have to pick up the pace.

Do I still believe he'll be good? Of course. He's still young, and his early minor league numbers leave plenty of hope but the next Grady Sizemore he won't be.

2006- 70r, 16hr, 81rbi, 27sb, 55bb, 85k, .282avg, .363obp, .463slg, .826ops. (Combined A & A+)
2007- 93r, 29hr, 72rbi, 18sb, 70bb, 108k, .275avg, .381obp, .551slg, .932ops
2008- 58r, 12hr, 38rbi, 15sb, 53bb, 77k, .269avg, .398obp, .465skg, .864ops (Combined R, A+, AAA)
2009- 16r, 1hr, 6rbi, 1sb, 9bb, 18k, .247avg, .333obp, .333slg, .667ops

It's evident by his low minor numbers that Rasmus definately has the talent but will that translate to major league success?

1- Lefties- So far this season Rasmus has hit an atrocious .105 against lefties.  Compared to a serviceable .290 mark against righties. Given that he's going to be seeing more playing time against lefties in the very near future Rasmus will either have to learn to adjust on the fly or he may fine himself in a platoon situation.

2- Home and Away Effect- It's still early in the season, and his career to make a firm statement but it appears as if Rasmus is more comfortable at home. Hitting .283/ .377/ .348 at home compared to .200/.275/.314

3-RISP- On the bright side it appears that he's not afraid to hit when Cardinals need it. .375/.385/.500 with RISP compared to .146/.271/.220 with the sacks empty.

Now I know that the numbers don't paint the complete picture when it comes to evaluating young talent, but they do go a long way in helping to understand a players struggles or successes for that matter.

Rasmus has a bright future, but I'm not ready to compare him to the Grady Sizemores of the world just yet wait until he surpasses Ryan Ludwick as the best OF on his own team. Then we'll talk.
Posted on: May 10, 2009 4:33 pm

AL Only Player Spot Light- Jose Arredondo

Maybe it's blind loyalty, maybe it's that I don't trust Brian Fuentes. But I'm a huge Jose Arredondo fan. You should be as well. After all, last season was a great rookie campaign. During the off season many fans wondered why the Anaheim Angels bothered signing free agent Brian Fuentes when they already their closer of the future in the bull pen.

The few that doubted Arredondo before the season are patting themselves on the back right now do to his rough start. That will end.

It's no secret that Jose has started the season poorly. Resulting in him being dropped in numerous leagues, deep keepers, AL Only formats etc etc. When that has happened in my league I'm there to pick up the scraps.

After all, good middle relievers are hard to come by in this day and age. Thank you Lima Plan, and Ron Shandler.

So let's refocus here on Jose and break down the numbers.

2008- 10-2, 55k, 22bb, 1.62era, 1.05whip, 8.11K/9, 3.24BB/9, 2.5K/BB
2009- 1-0, 19k, 3bb, 5.27era, 1.32whip, 12.51K/9, 1.97BB/9, 6.33K/BB

So lets just stop for a second here, and look past that enormous era and awful whip, and admire the beauty. A phenominal, and down right dominating K/9. A sparkling BB/9 ratio compliments the dominance oh so nicely. So one is left wondering. Then why the abysmal era and whip?

1-.434 Babip, 55.6% Strand. Yeah that's correct. Luck.
Luck has been the biggest factor against Arredondo this season. Consider that the league average Babip is .300, a mark .134 pts above that is sure to balance off, resulting in a significantly reduced whip, and era. That strand rate is just as puzzling. One would assume that he's simply giving up the big fly when runners are on the paths. Incorrect. To date Arredondo has given up zero home runs. It's all comes back to that Babip.

2-Batted Ball- An increased ground ball rate (51.2%- 60.6%),  a decreased fly ball rate (31.3%-18.2%) are clear and strong indicators that improvements are just around the corner.

3-IFH%-FIP- For those that don't use you should be. With a huge in field hit percent of 30% one could easily blame the defense. After all his FIP (fielding independent era) is a tiny 1.07!

All things being considered, Arredondo is not off to such a bad start as the surface stats indicate. A little more number crunching and one can see that this is the perfect buy low opportunity, on a player that could easily end up in the closer role.
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or