It’s a good thing I started Jeff Suppan in my fantasy pay league tonight. Suppan managed to earn negative points for me. Rarely do you see this happen. Maybe four or five times a year. Most of the time, some nut will go out and blow a save by giving up a 2-run bomb, and you’ll get a -2.50 or something. Well, Suppan went ahead and clobbered all those guys. Dude posted a -8.50. To put this in perspective, a perfect game with 8 K’s is worth 41 points. Suppan gave up 8 runs, 8 hits, and 3 walks, while striking out 1 guy in 2 innings. Dude threw 49 pitches. All this against the Pirates. Are you kidding me?
What’s going on with Barry Bonds lately? I hear he can’t hit and he’s going to retire, but I honestly don’t know because I haven’t been following it. Well, someone posted a little article in that same fantasy league tonight.
Randy is one upset dude. He is also in 8th place in a 10-team league. Of course, the "League News" coming out of this league is kind of ridiculous.
And so the world continues to turn.
"Pitching has kept Rangers in the Mix." Is this a joke? Mix for what? Are the Mariners and Rangers competing for a separate playoff spot than the rest of the league? Since the beginning of the season, when their pitching – rotation and otherwise – was a 12-car pileup, the Rangers have made the following additions: Rick Bauer was added to the rotation. R.A. Dickey was sent down to AAA for more work. It wasn’t too long ago that I was ragging on the Rangers for their pitching. Find it here, but here’s the recap: 4/5 of your rotation would be hard pressed for a starting spot on most of the other teams in MLB. The Padilla Flotilla will have his good outings every once in a while, but for the most part that ship is constantly taking on water. The aforementioned article even starts out with:
The Rangers were three pitches away from taking a four-game winning streak into their day off on Monday in Seattle.
Unfortunately, there are no "mulligans" in baseball. Vicente Padilla
did give up three home runs in three pitches on Saturday afternoon…
Exactly. The Flotilla was looking good until he ran aground, like he always will. Do I want the Rangers to do well? Sure. I like the Rangers, and I want to see them succeed. But they’re just like a 14-year-old kid – you’ve got to let them make their own mistakes, otherwise they’ll never learn. So I’m not gonna sit here and try to lecture Jon Daniels on how to run a baseball team. But for the seventh time, I’m gonna ask why the Alfonso Soriano deal went down. It benefited nobody. I don’t want to talk about it, but I’ll just say again – if you need pitching, you trade for pitching. Not struggling outfielders.
One more quick note: last year, everyone was talking about the decrease in run production. This year, no one’s saying a word, but I thought the bats were going crazy so far this year and that pitching is failing everywhere. So, I took a closer look and, in fact, it isn’t my imagination. On April 17, 2005, the run total in MLB was 1653, or 55.1 runs per team. As of April 17th, 2006 – and excluding the rest of the tonight’s games – the run total was at 1960, or 65.33 runs per team. That’s a full 10 runs per team, which ends up being a little less than one run per game for each team, which adds up to a little less than two extra runs per game. Why? Who knows. Probably doesn’t mean a thing, but it’s pretty interesting huh? Especially since everyone was telling me that runs had decreased last year because of steroid testing, a theory I never subscribed to. I don’t think that we can blame the Rangers and Jeff Suppan for this entire increase, either.
Craziest thing ever? I love alpacas. The commercial is about fourteen times worse. We’ve got a couple standing there, telling us about how much they love Alpacas, how much fun it is, and how much better Alpacas are than cattle or horses. First, know this – Alpacas are some of the ugliest animals in the world. They’re a dead-ringer for the Llama, which is the most hideous organism on the planet. You can see two Llamas on your left, but you’ll need to click on the picture if you really want to do it justice. In fact, the I Love Alpacas commercial just got added to the short list of best commercials of all time:
- The push lawn mower that can cut down a forest of Redwoods. You have to see this commercial to believe it. According to the ad, this thing can cut down anything. They show this mower cutting down a giant forest of small trees. With a push lawn mower, not a ride-on. And, you get a free 90-day trial before you have to buy it, and you can return it for free, no matter what the reason. Say you clear your whole backyard, but there’s just one 30ft tree that’s too stubborn for the Tree Mower. Return it, no cost.
- The Motorized awning that will protect you from any weather, regardless of how severe.
"Son, we’re eating outside tonight."
"But Dad, there’s a Hurricane out there!"
"I don’t care, we’ve got a motorized awning, turn it on!"
We’ve invented invincible, motorized roofs. Now we can all have our very own Minute Maid Park in our backyards.
- Any commercial that has guys getting knocked over or clothes lined. Terry Tate, office linebacker. The FSN Northwest Mariners commercial, where guys imitate running into Kenjo Johjima and flipping over.
That’s about all for tonight. Sorry I couldn’t talk about some of the baseball games – it just wasn’t that kind of night. In other words, the Yankees lost to the Jays and the Tigers are losing to the A’s. I’ll be back tomorrow night.
For those of you who read my Mock Draft, you’ll see that I drafted David Wright as my starting 3rd baseman. Wright has only been in the Majors for a year and half, but I’m already very excited about him. He just turned 23, and he’s already putting up exceptional numbers. Last year he played 160 games – amazing for a guy in his first full season, (in 2004 he appeared in 69 games.) Let me point out the important stuff. In 575 AB’s – the same number as White Sox 1B Paul Konerko – Wright had 99 R, 102 RBI, and .388 OBP, with a .306 BA. Konerko’s numbers? 98 R, 100 RBI, and a .375 OBP. Wright’s average is also 23 points higher than Konerko’s. The difference? Wright has 27 HR, Konerko has 40. Yet they’ve driven in the same amount of runs. And I can’t stress this enough – David Wright is only 23! Right now we’re looking at a guy who is putting up stats better than Hank Blalock – who’s 25, surrounded by a more potent lineup, and in a hitters park, as opposed to Shea, which tends to favor pitchers. Wright is on his way to being a superstar, no doubt. I always worry about young players and guys that have only played one good year. Could it be a fluke? Could they break down next year? I’m still a little weary of Wright for these reasons, but less so than the typical young player because his stats were so solid. A .306 average is one of the reason’s I’m not as worried. You can’t just go out and do that without skill. On top of that, Wright was playing in New York on a team with a ton of new guys. Not only is he a good player, but it looks like he’s a solid guy too. Such traits aren’t always easy to find in a young kid, and I think Wright will have a great future with the Mets or wherever else he plays. But, it’s possible his last year will be his only exceptionally good year – like Rick Ankiel, with complications. In that case, I’ve got Aramis Ramirez to back him up if he does anything weird.
Aramis Ramirez is an underrated player, flat out. Every year people seem to start to notice him again, but then he’s forgotten by draft day the next year. The guy turns 28 in June, which is always a good age. He had 27 HR in 2003, 36 in 2004, and 31 in 2005. Last year, he played 123 games before straining his quad and sitting out the rest of the year. His stats are otherwise comparable to Wright’s. I still can’t understand why no one seems to have any knowledge of his existence. I drafted Ramirez with the 105th overall pick in my draft – other players who went in that round included Jermaine Dye, Pat Burrell, Matt Holliday, Ryan Howard… it just seems crazy. Evidence shows that age 27 is the ‘average’ breakout age. Therefore, Ramirez being 27 and already a proven great performer, I simply don’t understand why he’s not getting more run – in Fantasy circles or elsewhere. Maybe it’s just because he’s on the Cubs, and no one likes to be around the ornery people. Maybe one day I’ll talk about why I always say the Cubs are ornery, wimps, crying, etc. Not today.
Yankees – Red Sox
The Yankees played the Red Sox in Spring Training last night.
And of course, what would a
Yankees-Sox game be if it wasn’t… more
than baseball. This time, Mike Myers – formerly with the Red Sox, now
with us – drilled J.T. Snow – formerly with the Giants, now with the
Sox. After that, David Riske hits Jeter with a splitter. Splitters tend
to sail away from pitchers at times, because they’re that kind of
pitch. That being said, there’s a good chance Jeter wasn’t the victim
of a retaliation strike. However, with the first pitch of the next
inning, Tanyon Sturtze drilled Mike Lowell. This looks bad, because it
looks like Sturtze gunned down Lowell for no good reason. First off,
Jeter was probably an accident. And even if he wasn’t, then it was just
in response to us nailing Lowell. We nail them, they nail us. Continue
playing the game. You don’t escalate it, because that’s how wars get
started. So, if Sturtze hit J.T. on purpose, he was wrong to do so, not
just because Jeter was probably an accident, but because we got them
first. However, Sturtze was not gonna lie down. After the game he said,
I don’t care if they get upset. They can get upset at
whatever they want. I was trying to go fastball in and I got it in too
deep. I don’t care who gets upset. I’m still trying to work on my
command. I’ve been struggling this whole spring.
I have no picture, but you can imagine he was probably popping a vein
while he said that. Basically, he’s gonna screw up however he wants and
he doesn’t care what anyone thinks. Hold on, Tanyon. You’ve pitched 5
innings so far this spring, and you’ve given up 5 runs. You’ve nailed 3
guys, walked another, and given up 7 hits while striking out 2. In
short, you’ve been getting jerked around the yard. I know it’s spring,
but you’re 35 and there are 3 people you should worry about upsetting:
Joe Torre, Brian Cashman, and George Steinbrenner. Any one of those
guys gets pissed at you, and you’re done. This reminds me of last years
Devil Rays – Red Sox pitching scandal. That was pretty hilarious.
In all seriousness, sometimes pitchers need to put
themselves ahead of drilling guys, if only because their team would benefit more from them going deep into games then earning an early exit.
Last year, Mark Buehrle had a streak
of consecutive starts in which he went at least 6 innings, which is why
I always liked him. He’s consistent. This streak was a big deal – at
least once, Guillen left Buehrle out there without his best stuff just
so he could keep his streak going. However, one game some White Sox
batter got hit. Buehrle was on a roll and it was about the 4th inning
or so, and he went out and drilled the next batter to get tossed. He
knew it was gonna happen and he said as much after the game. He already
had the record at something like 50 consecutive games, but I would’ve
liked to see him keep it up. I know it’s big to stand up for your team,
but I don’t think anyone in the Sox clubhouse would fault Buehrle if he
hadn’t done that. Knowing that, let me say that Buehrle is one of my favorite pitchers, up there with Halladay. Both of them are on my fantasy team this year, which I love.
That’s about all for now. Baseball has been kind of slow these last couple days, so we’ll just grit our teeth and wait for the season opener. It’ll be here soon, don’t worry.
So last night I had my fantasy draft for my pay league on CBS Sportsline. Since this blog is not a fantasy blog, I don’t typically analyze players from that perspective, because I think it’s boring for people who don’t play Fantasy Sports. However, I thought I would share some thoughts on my draft and kinda just see where it takes me. I ended up making a mock draft out of my League’s Draft. I’ve provided it in a word document, (if you really want to read this and don’t have word, feel free to email me and I will do my best to help you out.) It basically looks like any Mock Draft you’ll find on ESPN or CBS, with one difference. I’m not making you pay me for it – it’s free! I’m such a nice guy. As a matter of fact, I rather enjoy writing about baseball, which is why I would never expect someone to pay to read me. I’m not saying I’ll never accept payment from a website or magazine to buy my work. In fact, I’m thinking I can take up freelance sports journalism to help put me through Med School. When you’re in debt $100,000, every little bit helps. Anyway, I digress. Check out the Mock Draft here. You’ll find a league description and everything there as well.
The biggest hint I can give you is to remember, you want to draft
based on how long you think they’ll last. If you want a guy, and you
don’t think he’ll make it back to you for your next pick, pick him up.
Don’t draft someone at #15 just because you think he’s that good, when
there’s a good chance no one else will be looking at him till #30. It
sounds really simple, but we had someone draft Grady Sizemore at #14. I
don’t know why he did that.
Finally, special thanks to whoever is responsible at MLBlogs for throwing me up on the cover story today. I really appreciate it and I’m glad you think I deserve it. I’ll put up another real post soon. Teaser! Expect some stuff on David Wright.
Dusty Baker’s Bullpen
Dusty Baker is one peice of work. He’s supposed to be so great with his players, and that may be so, (more on that later,) but he’s one of the worst field managers in the game. First, Baker has decimated his own bullpen. After LaTroy Hawkins blew another 1-run save oppurtunity on April 23rd, Dusty announced that he was going to go with a ‘bullpen by situation’ concept. Apparently this is due to the fact that ‘bullpen by committee’ doesn’t work. Pardon me for asking, but what’s the difference? Well, we’ll ask Dusty. Dusty, what’s a bullpen by situation? "[It’s a] bullpen by who’s pitched two or three days in a row. It could be a number of things. It’s not exactly by committee." Well, how’s that different from a bullpen by committee? "You say ‘bullpen by committee’ and that sounds like everybody, and it’s not everybody." Oh, ok. What does that even mean? From what I gather, the ‘bullpen by situation’ is where Dusty decides, based on who he trusts on that given day and who’s arm is rested, who his closer will be. In the contrary, a ‘bullpen by committee’ is when the manager and pitching coach decide, based on who they trust on that given day and who’s arm is rested, who the closer will be. Forgive me for failing to see the difference. Why is this important? Because Dusty has a history of abusing his players arms – see Kerry Wood and Mark Prior. And here’s the latest example. When asked about reliever Chad Fox on April 24th, who had just made his first save in about 2 years, Baker said, "You still have to protect him, too. This guy is coming off, I don’t what it is, two or three arm operations. He didn’t pitch at all last year. We have to protect him. He probably won’t go more than two days in a row no matter what it is." Well, he put the same Chad Fox, (who actually pitched in 12 games last year,) into a game the next day to protect a 10-3 lead in the 9th inning. Are you kidding me? You have to protect this guy, and with a 7 run lead you put him in instead of one of the 4 relievers in your bullpen who haven’t pitched in days. Anyway, sure enough, Fox walks the first 2 batters, gives up a home run to Adam Dunn, and after 2 more batters pulls a Brad Penny. That is to say, after he made his 29th pitch he walked off the mound looking as if he had just been shot. Thankfully, we didn’t see a trainer come out and tell him to throw another pitch, as we did with Penny. If you saw that happen, you were as confused as I was… Penny’s up there, makes a pitch, and before he even finishes his delivery he springs up and screams, grabs his arm and is writhing around in pain. The trainer comes out and has him throw another pitch. I’m no M.D., but he looked like he was in some pain. I mean, was this guy an engineer for NASA? "Hey, let’s shoot this booster into orbit just one more time, see if it still works." Good idea. Anyway, back to Fox. Baker said it, "didn’t look good." No kidding. He’s on the 15-day DL, along with fellow reliever Joe Borowski. Meanwhile, Nomar is also on the 15-day DL, and reliever Scott Williamson is on the 60-day DL. And so Dusty may be stuck using LaTroy Hawkins as his closer – who he fired down, saying he didn’t know what was wrong with him but he was simply uncapable of closing in 1-run games. While the stats back that up, (Hawkins is 21-44 in 1-run save situations,) you don’t simply tell your player that. A little story from last year: a memorable moment was, when LaTroy was put into a game with a nice lead to protect against the Cardinals in the 9th, he served up a fat pitch right down the middle to Albert Pujols, who knocked it out for his 3rd homer of the night. There were runners on and so the Cubs lost the game. What happens? LaTroy got up and tried to fight the home plate ump, which was ridiculious, of course. He didn’t tell you to pitch to a Triple Crown Contender who had already knocked 2 out that night. Sit down, LaTroy.
Dusty Baker’s Kerry Wood/Mark Prior
So Kerry Wood left the game last night after 3 innings of work with a cranky shoulder. Shock of all shocks. Who could’ve seen that one coming? After Wood left his last start after 5 innings with the same ailment, (this is the same right shoulder bursitis that sidelined him through spring training,) this was bound to happen. He has an MRI on Monday. Now forget all this, and take a step back and think – what has Wood really done since he struck out 20 Astros that May 6th? Struck out about 10.5 batters per 9 IP, but thats it.
Mark Prior, on the other hand, is going after it. He’s got another game today against Cincinatti Red’s killer Roy Oswalt, but before today’s game, Prior has an ERA of 0.95. 19IP, 5BB, 22K’s, and he’s 3-0. So far, he’s giving those fantasy owners, (including myself,) who gambled on him what they hoped for. I picked up Prior with the 31st overall pick, amid cries from the other owners of, "he’s injured, you know!"
J.P. Ricciardi’s Roy Halladay
31 may not be that good a bargain, but I think that Roy Halladay with the 51st pick was… Halladay’s another guy people had forgotten about coming into this year. In 45IP, he owns a 3.40 ERA and a 4-1 record. He’s only got 34 K’s, but has an incredible 6 walks issued. So far, he’s putting up numbers remarkably similar to his 2003 AL Cy Young winning year, when he went 22-7. And in those 7 losses, the team was shutout twice and combined for 13 runs in the other 5 games.
Obviously we’re just getting started here, but hopefully the stories will get better. Drop me an e-mail, (firstname.lastname@example.org) with any suggestions or questions. I’m new at this, so any critcism is constructive. With the exception of comments such as, "Yankees ****, go Sox ahhhhh!" Scoreboard, 26-6.
Leave some comments as well. I’m hoping to add some more multimedia content and some better writing as soon as I get some more time. Until then, keep… following baseball.