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Monday, April 30, 2007

Wickman to the DL

Bob Wickman has been placed on the Disabled List by the Atlanta Braves. Mike Gonzalez figures to get most of the saves and is worth a pickup in all leagues. He should be one of the Top 10 or 15 closers while he has the role. In deeper leagues Rafael Soriano, an equally good candidate, should also be picked up as he may get some saves and might even get them all. No official announcement has been made yet as to the new closer, but there is a chance that whoever it is will keep the role when Wickman returns from the DL.

Mailbag: Ryan Howard

Here's a mailbag question that I'm sure a lot of Ryan Howard owners are thinking:


Ryan Howard--stay patient with him, or should I be shopping him around?"

Here is my response:

"I don't own Ryan Howard in any of my leagues, but if I did this is how I would proceed. I would talk to the owners in my league and get a feel for how highly they value him. If I could get somebody of equal perceived value, I would do it. But I would not sell him low. All three of his HRs so far have been hit very far. By that logic, he should have hit a few that weren't as far, which he hasn't yet. He will do this eventually. His numbers last year indicate his power is real, and his numbers this year indicate the same thing.

Other Phillies struggling as well, but I expect them to start hitting. Rollins, Victorino, Utley, Howard, and Burrell are all good players. Rowand isn't bad either. Howard should easily get over 110 RBIs and at least 100 Runs. He is walking a lot this year, and while this will come down a little he should score a good amount of Runs just based on his being on base a lot and hitting home runs. As far as HRs go, it isn't out of the question to expect 50 or 55 by year's end. I wouldn't even be shocked if he hit 60. His average will come down from last year as he swings and misses a lot of pitches and his Contact Rate isn't very good. He hits a lot of LDs (although it is a little low this year), so when he does put the ball in play it is often hit well.

In summation, Howard is still a good player who you should hold onto. He's getting a little unlucky with homers, and when the rest of the team starts to hit he will pick up his RBIs and Runs. His BA will be down from last year, but Howard is still a very good player. Don't trade him low.

If in a few weeks he starts to hit and a guy like Alex Rodriguez slows down, see if you can't make the trade. Albert Pujols, Jose Reyes (if you need steals), and David Ortiz are a few other guys I would consider trading him for. I hope this helps!"

Post your thoughts on Ryan Howard!

Friday, April 27, 2007

Rookie Pitchers to Look Out For

With the arrival of Philip Hughes, I thought it fitting to go over a few other minor league pitchers who figured to be called up sometime within the next month or two. I've talked a little about each player and given his 2006 and 2007 minor league numbers. I haven't included every possible player because doesn't provide a comprehensive list of players, just individual pages. If there's someone else you'd like to know about just let me know. We'll keep tabs on these guys throughout the year.

Philip Hughes | NYY | SP - Seemingly had a sub par outing against the Blue Jays in his first start on Thursday, but Hughes put up terrific peripheral numbers. 10.38 K/9, 2.08 BB/9, and a 46.7% Groundball rate does not equate to 4 runs. Hughes certainly could have pitched worse, and if he stays in the majors past his start against the Rangers on Tuesday figures to be a good play in most leagues. His minor league numbers from 2006 are below:
2006 AA Trenton - 116 IP | 10.71 K/9 | 2.48 BB/9 | 52.4% GB
2006 A+ Tampa - 30.3 IP | 8.90 K/9 | 0.59 BB/9 | 51.4% GB

Adam Miller | CLE | SP - Doesn't get nearly as much hype as Philip Hughes, Homer Bailey, Tim Lincecum, or Yovani Gallardo, but Adam Miller is just as good as any of them, and is significantly better than Bailey. But up fantastic numbers in AA last year, just a touch worse than Philip Hughes. There's no guarantee he will be called up this year, but the Indians brought up Jeremy Sowers after 97 IP at AAA Buffalo last year, and Adam Miller is much better than Jeremy Sowers. Would become the Cleveland's 2nd best fantasy pitcher after C.C. Sabathia if he is called up. His minor leagues numbers from 2006 are below:
2006 AA Akron - 154 IP | 9.18 K/9 | 2.51 BB/9 | 55% GB
2007 AAA Buffalo - 24.3 IP | 8.51 K/9 | 2.96 BB/9 | 54.7% GB

Yovani Gallardo | MIL | SP - While he is not as heralded as Hughes or Bailey, Gallardo is generally considered the third best pitching prospect in baseball. While I don't quite agree with this consensus, Gallardo is certainly a good one. His GB Percentage is what will determine where he falls. It is down for this year, but if he can get it back above 50% he should be just a tick worse than Hughes and about even with Miller. Milwaukee's rotation seems set for now, but if Vargas starts to struggle or one of the starters get injured Gallardo could get his shot. Gallardo would become Milwaukee's third best fantasy starter behind Sheets and Bush. His minor league numbers are below:
2006 A+ Brevard County - 78 IP | 11.88 K/9 | 2.65 BB/9 | 57.3% GB
2006 AA Huntsville - 77.3 IP | 9.89 K/9 | 3.26 BB/9 | 42% GB
2007 AAA Nashville - 22.3 IP | 13.3 K/9 | 2.82 BB/9 | 39.6% GB

Tim Lincecum | SF | SP - Drafted in June of last year, Lincecum didn't get much work in. The work he did get in though was fantastic, and his numbers this year are also great. The Giants rotation seems pretty set at the moment, although Russ Ortiz or Noah Lowry could find himself out of a starting gig if the Giants decide Lincecum is ready. When he is called up, I wouldn't hesitate to recommend him over every other Giants pitcher. He will need to cut down on his walks though. If he can do that he would shoot to the top of this list. His brief minor league numbers are below:
2006 A+ San Jose - 27.7 IP | 15.61 K/9 | 3.90 BB/9 | 52.1% GB
2007 AAA Fresno - 24 IP | 12.00 K/9 | 4.13 BB/9 | 56% GB

Homer Bailey | CIN | SP - Bailey is a guy who I feel is overrated. He is considered by some a better prospect than Philip Hughes, but his numbers just don't support this theory. He walked more batters at AA than any of our other pitchers did, and his GB rate isn't stellar. He is still a decent pitcher, but he will need to improve his control in order to be successful in the Bigs this year. His minor league numbers are below:
2006 A+ Sarasota - 70.7 IP | 10.06 K/9 | 2.80 BB/9 | 44.2% GB
2006 AA Chattanooga - 67.7 IP | 10.24 K/9 | 3.72 BB/9 | 49.7% GB
2007 AAA Louisville - 21.3 IP | 5.48 K/9 | 3.80 BB/9 | 39.1% GB

Jason Windsor | OAK | SP - Perhaps you've never heard of Windsor, but he is a fine young pitcher. He's the only player on this list to pitch in AAA last year and put up numbers comparable to all of their AA numbers. His GB Percentage is not premium and is what keeps him closer to Bailey than Hughes. Has not pitched well this year, but if that changes you might see him up with the big club by the end of the year. His minor league numbers are below:
2006 AA Midland - 33.3 IP | 9.45 K/9 | 2.70 BB/9 | 48.2% GB
2006 AAA Sacramento - 118 IP | 9.38 K/9 | 2.44 BB/9 | 46.1% GB
2007 AAA Sacramento - 26.7 IP | 5.74 K/9 | 4.05 BB/9 | 37.8% GB

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Waiver Wire: National League

Here's the National League addition of the Waiver Wire for this week.

National League

Brett Myers | PHI | RP - If his disgusted owner dropped him, pick him up. He won't stick as a middleman for long; he'll rejoin the rotation or take the closer's job. Charlie Manuel - who could be fired soon - said Myers will be put into some save situations in the coming weeks.
Recommendation: Should be owned in all leagues.

Tim Lincecum | SF | SP - I try to keep prospects not yet called up off of the Waiver Wire, but Lincecum continues to dominate the minor leagues. He should be pitching in AT&T Park (it feels strange not calling it Pac Bell) by the end of May. Watch for this guy.
Recommendation: Should be considered in 10 and stashed in 12 and 14 team leagues. Should be stashed in all NL-only leagues.

Ryan Theriot | CHI | 2B - Theriot is a good player that the Cubs seem to like a lot. He has been batting in the first and second spot recently, so he shouldn't have any trouble scoring a bunch of Runs. His BB% is low, but it was good in the minors and majors last year. 86% Contact and 23% Line Drive Rates are very good. Has got some speed and could swipe 30 bases. Doesn't have power.
Recommendation: Should be considered in 10 and owned in 12, and 14-team leagues. Should be owned in all NL-only leagues.

Felix Pie | CHI | OF - Will probably be sent down soon and called back up when the Cubs traded Jacque Jones, Cliff Floyd, or Matt Murton. The 3 of the sharing time in RF doesn't work. Even if Pie were to stick, he still doesn't come highly recommended from me. He's got good speed (30 SBs?) and decent power (10-15 HRs tops), but can't hit for much average and doesn't take a lot of walks. Could score some runs hitting at the top of the lineup. Decent player but overhyped.
Recommendation: Should be considered in 12 and owned in 14-team leagues. Should be considered in 10 and owned in 12 and 14-team NL-only leagues.

Josh Hamilton | CIN | OF - Another good week for Hamilton, who is finding ABs despite not having a starting gig. If he cools off he may not get these ABs, but the Reds have plenty of injury concerns to think Hamilton could find 400 ABs if he keeps producing. Low contact rate but has a high LD rate and an incredible BB rate. Hit Tracker's data seems to be incomplete at the moment, but Hamilton hasn't hit any of his HRs a mile. Keep expectations modest.
Recommendation: Should be owned in 10, 12, and 14-team leagues until he proves otherwise. Should be owned in all NL-only leagues.

Kelly Johnson | ATL | 2B - Still owned in just 39% of ESPN leagues, Johnson has been playing well. Discussed last week as well, Johnson should be owned in far more leagues than he is.
Recommendation: Should be considered in 8 and owned in 10, 12, and 14-team leagues. Should be owned in all NL-only leagues.

Carlos Quentin | ARZ | OF - Another guy discussed last week, Quentin is still owned in just 6% of ESPN leagues.
Recommendation: Should be owned in deep 10, 12, and 14-team leagues. Should be owned in all NL-only leagues.

Edwin Encarnacion | CIN | 3B - Yet another guy discussed last week, Encarnacion is owned in 9% of ESPN mixed leagues. Bench him until he starts to hit.
Recommendation: Should be owned in all but the shallowest of leagues.

Tom Gorzelanny | PIT | SP - Good K/BB and good GB rate, but just less than 6 K/9 makes him a lesser option in shallower leagues. Being aided by a low BABIP and HR/9, but if he keeps up these peripherals he should still be a solid pitcher.
Recommendation: Should be considered in 10 and owned in 12 and 14-team leagues. Should be owned in all but the shallowest of NL-only leagues.

Claudio Vargas | MIL | SP - Wow. Nearly 13 K/9 and less than 2 BB/9. Not a great FB rate, but with those peripherals Vargas has been pitching amazingly. Won't keep it up, but it can't hurt to ride it out until he does. He should settle in as a decent pitcher. 7 K/9 and 2.5 BB/9 seems about right. That's what his recommendation is based on.
Recommendation: Should be considered in 10 and owned in 12 and 14-team leagues. Should be owned in all but the shallowest of NL-only leagues.

Edgar Gonzalez | ARZ | SP - Seems to have great control based on his numbers in the minors and majors last year and the majors this year. K/9 may be slightly inflated, but a 6.5 K/9 and 2 BB/9 along with a 45% GB rate is useful.
Recommendation: Should be considered in 10 and owned in 12 and 14-team leagues. Should be highly considered in 8 and owned in 10, 12, and 14-team NL-only leagues.

Kip Wells | STL | SP - Getting lucky so far, but 7 K/9 and 3 BB/9 with a 50% GB rate is decent. The Cards offense doesn't hurt either.
Recommendation: Should be considered in 10 and owned in 12 and 14-team leagues. Should be highly considered in 8 and owned in 10, 12, and 14-team NL-only leagues.

Orlando Hernandez | NYM | SP - Lower than normal K/9 and higher than normal BB/9. Unless he gets that back up he's no more than a bottom-of-the-barrel fantasy option.
Recommendation: Should be watched in 10 and 12 and owned in 14-team leagues. Should be watched in 8, considered in 10, and owned in 12 and 14-team NL-only leagues.

Philip Hughes Has Been Added to Yahoo!

Philip Hughes has been added to Yahoo's database! I was actually expecting him to make Thursday's start before he showed up. Pick him up now if you've been waiting on him! He may only make one start, but I doubt the Yankees would start his arbitration clock early just to have him make one start. He may go back down for a couple of weeks, but expect Hughes to make at least 20 starts for the Yankees this year if healthy.

Iwamura to the DL? UPDATE: 6:00 PM

Wow. Didn't see this one coming. Apparently Akinori Iwamura is being sent to the DL. Just last night he went 2-3 with an RBI and 3 Rs, and just this morning I touted him as a solid pickup. I also picked him up last night in one of my leagues after another owner dropped him a couple of days ago. Strange. Manager Joe Maddon says he needs a couple of weeks off due to a strained oblique.

If you have a DL spot open (I don't with Felix and Dotel occupying them), stash him there. If you have a DL spot open and his owner drops him, pick him up and stash him. If you own him and don't have a DL spot open but have a strong bench, leave him there. If you are in desperate need of a replacement, you have no choice but to drop him there.

There is no guarantee he will continue to perform this way for the rest of the year (we're only judging him based on a three week sample size now), so it might not be a devastating move dropping him. But if he ends up putting up a line like .300/20/80/90/25 you might regret dropping him. Tough decision; it comes down to the depth of your league and the depth of your team.

UPDATE: It is now being said that Iwamura will miss 4-6 weeks. Feel free to drop him now if it was a shaky call for you this afternoon. I did in my 10-team league and expect him to sit there for a while.

Waiver Wire: American League

Again everyone, sorry this is late. In two weeks this sort of thing won't happen anymore. Here we go!

American League

Philip Hughes | NYY | SP - To steal a page out of Dick Vitale's book, this Diaper Dandy is a must pickup in nearly all leagues. I've mentioned him many times, and his opportunity has come. Still hasn't been added to Yahoo's database, but when he is make sure you're right there to take him
Recommendation: Should be watched in 8-team leagues and owned in 10, 12, and 14-team leagues. Should be owned in all AL-Only leagues.

Akinori Otsuka | TEX | CL - Mentioned last week as a guy who could easily step back into the closer's role with an Eric Gagne injury. A week later and he has already done so. Should be owned all year in deep leagues because Gagne is prone to go down at any time.
Recommendation: Should be owned in all leagues.

Akinori Iwamura | TB | 3B - Mentioned last week here, Iwamura is still only owned in 58% of ESPN leagues. Has begun to strike out a bit more, but an 83% Contact and 28% LD Rate is quite good.
Recommendation: Should be owned in 10, 12, and 14 team leagues until he proves otherwise. Should be owned in all AL-only leagues.

Jamie Shields | TB | SP - A guy I had pretty high on my preseason Starting Pitcher rankings, Shields is pitching better than I expected. I'm not sure if he can keep it up, but even if he pitches the way he did last year he's a guy who should be owned in most leagues. Might have already been picked up after a 10 K performance the other night.
Recommendation: Should be considered in 10 and owned in 12 and 14-team leagues. Should be owned in all AL-only leagues.

Alex Gordon | KC | 3B - I meant to talk about him last week but forgot. Played a game at SS last week that makes him eligible there in some leagues. Off to a slow start but has the talent to heat up at any time. He won't hit for a great BA but should put up some power numbers. His 4% BB rate is something to be concerned with. If you own him, keep him benched for a while.
Recommendation: Should be considered in 10 and owned in 12 and 14-team leagues. Should be considered in 8 and owned in 10, 12, and 14-team AL-only leagues.

Chad Gaudin | OAK | SP - Numbers look much different than in previous years, Gaudin may see a sharp regression in the near future. Until he does though, he is worth owning to see if he has made some adjustments. His peripherals for this year are very good, but could easily fall off a cliff at anytime. High risk pickup
Recommendation: Should be considered in 10 and owned in 12 and 14-team leagues until he proves otherwise. Should be considered in 8 and owned in 10, 12, and 14-team AL-only leagues.

Joe Blanton | OAK | SP - Might just be a product of a small sample size, but Blanton is now striking out over 7 batters per 9 IP. His BB/9 is 2.25. His GB Percentage is higher than in previous years and will probably come down, but if his K/BB stays where it is Blanton should be somewhat useful.
Recommendation: Should be considered in 12 and owned in 14-team leagues. Should be considered in 10 and owned in 12 and 14-team AL-only leagues.

Mike Lowell | BOS | 3B - Being aided by an extremely low K rate that will rise. Hitting a low number of LDs. Should even out to his usual self. 18-20 HRs is still likely. There are better options at 3B.
Recommendation: Should be owned in deep 12 and 14-team leagues. Should be strongly considered in 10 and owned in 12 and 14-team AL-only leagues.

John Buck | KC | C - Won't play full-time. Manager Buddy Bell doesn't care a ton about the offense of his catcher. "Their primary job is the way they handle pitchers," Bell said. "Both of them are doing a good job there. That’s my first consideration. Some guys really like throwing to Jason, and some guys really like throwing to John."
Recommendation: Should be owned in 2-catcher 12 and 14-team leagues. Should not be owned in 1-catcher mixed leagues. Should be owned in all 2-catcher AL-only leagues. Should be considered in very deep 1-catcher 14 team leagues.

Travis Buck | OAK | OF - Extreme stats. High BB rate. High K rate. High LD Rate. None will stay where they are and it is difficult to tell where they will end up. Risky pick. You could end up dropping him in a few weeks in a lot of leagues.
Recommendation: Should be considered in 12 team leagues and owned in 14-team leagues. Should be considered in 10 and owned in 12 and 14-team AL only leagues. If you want to take a risk make these recommendations more aggresive.

Miguel Batista | SEA | SP - Owned in just .2% of ESPN leagues, this number should be higher. Batista is solid but unspectacular. If he can keep his K/9 over 6 and his BB/9 under 3 and get GB Percentage up to its career mark of 51% he could be worth owning for pitching depth. Has been getting unlucky this year, but his peripherals have some possibility of getting worse.
Recommendation: Should be owned in 14-team leagues. Should be considered in 10 and owned in 12 and 14-team AL-only leagues.

Tim Wakefield | MIN | SP - Same peripherals as always, Wakefield is just getting lucky. Value the same as you did on Opening Day.
Recommendation: Not worth owning except in deep leagues.

Chien-Ming Wang | NYY | SP - Coming off the DL might be available in your league. Value him as you did on Opening Day... very low. Don't bother picking him up
Recommendation: Not worth owning except in deep leagues.

Ramon Ortiz | MIN | SP - Quite possibly owned in your league, Ortiz is a guy I wouldn't pick up myself. Has a very low K rate, making an incredibly low ERA and WHIP essential for him to have any value. His K rate should rise, but his BB rate should as well. Not a guy I see as able to sustain this pace.
Recommendation: Should be considered in 14-team leagues. Should be considered in 12 and 14-team AL-only leagues.

Monday, April 23, 2007

Taylor Tankersley Watch

For those of you into speculation on closers, Taylor Tankersley got one step closer to taking the job in Florida tonight. Henry Owens gave up two runs and had to be removed from the game with 2 outs in the ninth and a runner on second. Taylor Tankersley is the logical choice to be next in line as he was the favorite in January before his injury, pitched well in the majors last year, and has pitched well thus far in 2007.

Owens's peripherals are not especially good this year, but I wouldn't bench him yet. Saves are saves and a couple of runs here or there from a closer isn't the end of the world. In deep leagues, Tankersley is probably already owned, but if he's not you should jump on him. If Owens continues like this Tankersley could have the job within two weeks.

Keep a close eye on this situation. If Tankersley is to take the job I don't see him giving it up before the end of the year and for years to come. Matt Lindstrom and Kevin Gregg are darkhorse candidates for the job, but I truly think Tankersley will get the next shot.

Philip Hughes Called Up!

For those of your looking for Starting Pitching help (like myself, losing Brett Myers to the Bullpen, Felix Hernandez to an injury, and Scott Olsen to terrible play), Philip Hughes will be called up by the Yankees to start Thursday's game against the Toronto Blue Jays.

One of my favorite pitching prospects, Hughes should be a top pitcher for years to come. Whether or not he will reach expectations this year is yet to be seen, but he has the minor league resume to allow us to think he may be ready. His command was apparently shaky this spring, but if he can strike out 7.5 per 9 IP, walk 3 per 9 IP, and get a 50% GB Rate he could end up as the AL Rookie of the Year. I've touted Hughes several times already this year, so to read more about him check out those pieces.

Hughes has not yet been added to Yahoo! leagues (quite possibly the thing I hate most about them), and if last year was any indication it could be as late as Saturday before he is available to pick up. Constantly monitor the Yahoo! free agent pool, and snag Hughes when he becomes available.

Two other top SP prospects who could have an immediate impact upon being called up are Tim Lincecum (SF) and Adam Miller (CLE). Watch for these guys as well.

Mailbag: A-Rod or Pujols?

I have been asked by a few readers recently who the better fantasy player for this year is: Albert Pujols or Alex Rodriguez.

My response:
"Albert Pujols is the better option, by a laughably huge margin. This margin is even greater when comparing them as just baseball players without the whole fantasy aspect. I was quite disturbed when I was watching, I believe it was PTI, a couple of weeks ago, and this exact question was posed. I didn't even really see how it was a legitimate question.

Power Hitting. It could be predicted using Hit Tracker's Just Enough/Plenty/No Doubt method that Alex Rodriguez was due to hit more HRs this year, perhaps even eclipsing 50, but it could also be predicted that Albert Pujols would hit more than the 49 he hit last year, with 55 or perhaps even 60 a reachable goal.
Winner: Pujols

Contact Hitting. Albert Pujols consistently has a 90% Contact Rate, while A-Rod's has dropped from 78% in 2004 to 75% in 2006. A-Rod's Line Drive Percentage was around 15.5% for 2004 and 2005 and reached 18% in 2006. Pujols's average over that span was 18%. Directly related to contact percentage, I feel like Pujols's K rate should be noted. He strikes out in less than 10% of At-Bats. That is amazing considering his power. Both take their fare share of walks (although Pujols takes more) which, using Shandler's system, indicates they are both selective. Pujols's Contact Rate puts him on top.
Winner: Pujols

Patience. We discussed this in the Contact Hitting section. Both take walks; Pujols takes more.
Winner: Pujols

Running. This is an easy one to see. Pujols stole 16 in 2005, but came back down to earth in 2006 with 7. A-Rod stole 28, 21, and 15 in 2004, 2005, and 2006 respectively. He's the clear winner.
Winner: A-Rod

Lineup. Both hit in very good lineups. A-Rod has the likes of Derek Jeter, Bobby Abreu, and Jason Giambi helping him out, while Mr. Pujols has Scott Rolen, Chris Duncan, Jim Edmonds, and David Eckstein. You gotta give the edge to A-Rod, although Pujols should have no trouble finding RBIs and Runs being as good as he is.
Winner: A-Rod

Just tallying up the scores make this seem like an even match up (Pujols: 3, A-Rod: 2), but it is not. Pujols should have a much higher Batting Average than A-Rod and probably 10 more HRs. Because of this (and his fantastic on-base ability which is only helped by all of his intentional walks) he will score a ton of runs and have a high number of RBIs. It could be argued that A-Rod will get more, but once these numbers go over 110-115, it really doesn't matter much. The difference between A-Rod and Pujols in Runs and RBIs should be less than 10. A-Rod will grab 5 or 10 more steals, but this is no compensation. Pujols is clearly the better fantasy player, and in the world of baseball where RBIs and Runs actually mean very little, Albert Pujols clearly the better player."

Let your feelings be known about this issue!

Saturday, April 21, 2007

State of The Saberoticians

As you have probably realized, I haven't had a lot of time to post recently. This will all change in two weeks when summer begins! Until then, please stay with me as I post whenever I have free time. You also have probably realized that I haven't released a set of hitter projections. I won't be doing them for this year. Instead of giving you a lower quality of projections, I will simply work all summer and all winter to continue to improve an already amazing system.

If you read the previous post, you'll see that I will soon be coming up with an improved Batting Average system. I also have been working on the Run and RBI formulas based on lineup position and surrounding batters. For HRs, I think the Just Enough/Plenty/No Doubt system used by Hit Tracker is pretty good. Of course I will spend time in the summer looking for improvements, but this system seems pretty solid. I haven't discussed my SB system on here yet, but I feel as though it is strong as well. Perhaps I'll go into this summer, but if not I definately will in the off-season.

As far as this season goes, I have nearly all of the components to tell if a player is a good Fantasy contributor or not, I just haven't perfected it to the point where I can put an exact numeric value on players.

That being said, I think my pitching system is very strong. Some of my favorite pitchers haven't lived up to expectations yet this year (a good number have), and I'll discuss some of them later on. There are reasons for all of their performances, good or bad.

In closing, my Fantasy Baseball Projection system isn't complete yet, but it is very close. And when it is complete, it will be amazing. I am drooling over the thought of the 2008 Fantasy Baseball Draft Guide. Anyway, I guess that's it.

Contact Hitting: Revisited

A while back I posted my Batting Average projections for players. In the comments section, somebody noticed that Neifi Perez was down for a batting average of around .290. Neifi Perez, however, is a terrible hitter and will get nowhere near this number. I said I would look into what was going on. I have recently begun to do so.

When Ron Shandler projects batting averages, he considers two factors very important: contact percentage and walk rate. Contact percentage deals with the concept that the more balls a player puts in play, the more balls will fall for hits. Walk rate is a way of measuring selectivity. From what I've heard, Shandler thinks that the more walks a player takes, the better the pitches are that he ultimately decides to swing at and the better percentage of their balls in play will actually fall for hits.

My old formula did not take selectivity into account, but the new one will. I even believe that I've come up with a better way to determine selectivity than Shandler. Using data from, I have put together a list for the past few years of the types of pitches each batter sees: swinging strikes, called strikes, fouls, balls, and a few more. I've only recently compiled this list and have not yet tried to analyze it, but I believe that by looking deeper into an at-bat (instead of simply looking at the outcome of it), we will be better able to determine selectivity of a hitter.

I still have to work more with these numbers, but off the top of my head I think this makes sense. The more pitches a batter doesn't swing at (called strikes and balls), the pickier he is about the ones he will swing at. I believe that this will prove to be key in gaining a better understanding of hitting selectivity.

I will let you know when I find some conclusive results.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Brett Myers: Revisited

OK. Now that I'm calmer and I've gotten some work out of the way, I'll discuss the Brett Myers situation. I, along with anyone else who follows Sabermetrics and probably most people who follow baseball, realize that this was one of the worst decisions the Phillies could make. The fact is, though, that there is nothing we - as fans or fantasy players - can do to change it. So what do we do?

Hold onto Brett Myers. Do not drop him. If someone in your league does, grab him quickly. Myers has too much talent for Philadelphia to waste in the bullpen. It could be argued that if Philly realized this they wouldn't have put him there in the first place, but that is besides the point.

Then, hope for one of two situations to occur.
1. Best Case - Philly realizes next week that they made a huge mistake and put him back in the rotation. Hopefully this will take place sooner rather than later, but for now we need to wait it out.
2. Not as Good but Better than Setup Man Case - Tom Gordon gets hurt (I know, it's awful to wish harm on another human being) and Myers steps in to close. If this happens, you should look to trade him for a good Starting Pitcher (preferably one whose GM is not Pat Gillick).

So there you have it. Hang onto him for at least a couple of weeks and see what happens. Do not sell low, and do not drop him.

Expect a quite a few posts either tomorrow or Friday in addition to a statement about the current status of the Saberoticians.

Shocked, Awed, and Angry: Brett Myers

I cannot believe what I've just read. In quite possibly the dumbest baseball move since the trade of Scott Kazmir and Jose Diaz for Victor Zambrano, Brett Myers has been sent to the bullpen by the Philadelphia Phillies. Owning him in several of my leagues, you can imagine how upset I am. I can't even think of the fantasy ramifications of this at the moment... I am simply fuming.

As mentioned in Moneyball, Pat Gillick (GM of the Phillies) does not buy into Sabermetrics, and is one of the worse GMs because of it. But even I did not think he was this stupid. Brett Myers is their second best pitcher, and that is only because another young phenom - Cole Hamels - is #1. I will be back in a little bit after I decide how to best proceed with this. Don't drop Myers yet, and I'll let you know what we should do a little later tonight.

While I'm not quite in the mood to laugh yet over this, a quote at Rotoworld forced my hand:
"Short of turning Ryan Howard into a shortstop and benching Jimmy Rollins, we can't think of anything else the Phillies could have done to better sabotage their chances for this year."

Monday, April 16, 2007

Waiver Wire - National League

Here is the National League edition of Waiver Wire for this week. Again, most weeks this will be out on Saturday or Sunday. Enjoy.

National League

Henry Owens | FLA | CL - The Jasor Frasor of the National League. He hasn't pitched exceptionally well - peripheral wise - so far this year, but if his dominance in AA last year was any indication, that could change very quickly. Should be good for some saves.
Recommendation: Should be owned in all leagues.

Edwin Encarnacion | CIN | 3B - A highly overlooked player on draft day, I own Edwin in a couple of leagues. If his owner in your league decides to drop him, pounce on him and wait for the rebound. His Contact Rate is down from last year, but his LD Percentage and BB rates are up. His .241 BABIP won't stick. Got unlucky with HRs last year, so expect a good BA in addition to 20-25 HRs and 10 or so SBs in 2007. He hits in a good lineup, so he should get his fair share of RBIs and Runs too.
Recommendation: Should be owned in all leagues.

Carlos Quentin | ARZ | OF - Perhaps my favorite rookie this year. Quentin had an 86% Contact Rate and 19% Line Drive rate in the minors last year, in addition to 9 HRs and 33 2Bs and 3Bs in 318 ABs. His 11.4% BB rate is also very good. He is hitting 5th tonight ahead of Byrnes, Hudson, and Tracy and behind Conor Jackson and Chris Young. If he ends up batting further down his value may diminish, but Quentin is a good player and there are a lot of players currently on rosters in my leagues that I'd take him over. Even more valuable in keeper leagues.
Recommendation: Should be owned in deep 10, 12, and 14-team leagues. Should be owned in all NL-only leagues.

Chris Young | ARZ | OF - Expected to bat leadoff, the Diamondbacks now have him batting at the bottom of the order. If he can pick up his game he may get the job, but Young still is valuable as a bench player as is. An 82% LD Rate and 15% LD Rate in the minors last year are nothing to drool over, but an 11.2% BB rate is. This could help him reach 20 SBs. He also has some power, hitting 21 HRs and 36 2Bs and 3Bs last year.
Recommendation: Should be considered in deep 10 and owned in 12 and 14-team leagues. Should be owned in all but the shallowest 8-team NL-only leagues.

Kelly Johnson | ATL | 2B - Johnson is getting unlucky, so if his owner drops him, or if he has been on your waiver wire from the start, consider picking him up. We don't have a ton of information to go by, but he has a 90% Contact and 19% Walk rate so far. His 11% LD Rate is something to worry about, but hes got some pop in his bat and could net some cheap HRs. 15-20 SBs is also a possibility. Hitting atop the Braves lineup should net him a ton of Runs, especially if he can keep a good BB rate.
Recommendation: Should be considered in deep 10 and owned in 12 and 14-team leagues. Should be owned in all but the shallowest 8-team NL-only leagues.

Mike Pelfrey | NYM | SP - Pelfrey is a guy with great numbers last year in the minors. He has the benefit of playing with a good offense and bullpen, so if his numbers translate well to the major he could end up being a huge bargain.
Recommendation: Should be watched in 8 and 10 and owned in 12 and 14-team leagues. Should be considered in 8 and owned in 10, 12, and 14-team NL-only leagues.

Brad Penny | LAD | SP - Won't keep up this pace, but always seems to have a K/BB over 2. He is struggling mightily with that this year, and he'd need to K more guys to be productive. His GB Percentage is always good (although highly inflated so far this year), and Penny could be good back end guy for a lot of fantasy teams.
Recommendation: Should be considered in 12 and owned in 14-team leagues. Should be owned 10, 12, and 14-team NL-only leagues.

Matt Belisle | CIN | SP - Could be valuable in deep leagues, especially if he gets his GB Percentage back up to its 2005 and 2006 level. He won't get a ton of Ks, but he seems to have good control and a good offense to work with.
Recommendation: Should be owned in 14-team leagues. Should be considered in 10 and owned 12 and 14-team NL-only leagues.

Taylor Tankersley | FLA | RP - The favorite for saves at the beginning of the calendar year, Tankersley is just off the DL. Owens is the closer for now, but Tankersley has the stuff to take over if he falters.
Recommendation: Should be watched in 8, 10, and 12 and considered in 14-team leagues. Should be owned in 10, 12, and 14-team NL-only leagues.

Jorge Julio | FLA | RP - Owens hasn't posted great peripherals yet this year and has yet to strikeout a batter. It is still possible that Julio closes some games this year if he can get back on track.
Recommendation: Should be watched in 8, 10, and 12 and considered in 14-team leagues. Should be owned in 10, 12, and 14-team NL-only leagues.

Brad Lidge | HOU | RP - Similar situation to Julio. I don't expect Wheeler to falter, but if Lidge regains his dominance, which he certainly could (his peripherals aren't bad), he may take the job back by default.
Recommendation: Should be watched in 8, 10, and 12 and owned in 14-team leagues. Should be owned in 10, 12, and 14-team NL-only leagues.

Micah Owings | ARZ | SP - Owings didn't have great numbers in the minors last year and doesn't have great ones in the majors either. Expect his Ks to go down and his ERA to go up.
Recommendation: Avoid in all leagues.

Josh Hamilton | CIN | OF - Without a starting gig, Hamilton is not worth even a bench spot in mixed leagues. If Freel or Griffey or someone gets hurt, he might be worth something. For now avoid him unless you're in a deep AL-only league.
Recommendation: Avoid in mixed leagues. Should be watched in 12-team and owned in 14-team NL-only leagues.

James Loney | LAD | 1B - One of my favorite minor leaguers. Will have some value if promoted and given ABs.
Recommendation: Watch in all leagues.

Tim Lincecum | SF | SP - Drafted 10th overall in 2006, Lincecum has now been made a starting pitcher. Dominant in 2 minor league starts thus far, could be up with the big club some time this year. If his numbers translate fairly well, Lincecum could be good pitcher for fantasy teams.
Recommendation: Watch in all leagues.

Waiver Wire - American League

OK. While it would be nice to think we'll never need to use the waiver wire throughout the season, that we have drafted a perfect team, that is simply not the case. Every fantasy champion uses the waiver wire at some point during the season, and the guys who win usually are successful in doing so. Each week I will give you a list of players, broken down by league, who you should either consider picking up or avoiding. This does not mean that you should pick up every player mentioned, just that if it suits the needs of your team this player may be a good choice.

You will usually see this on Saturday or Sunday, but as I was busy this weekend it is a little late.

American League

Jason Frasor | TOR | CL - If Frasor is still available in your league and you need closer help, pick him up immediately. Ryan's injury may be serious, and at the very least Frasor should pick Toronto's saves for the next two weeks. He's a good pitcher and should keep the job for the remainder of Ryan's DL stay, even if it is longer than a couple weeks.
UPDATE: Ryan is said to be out 4-6 weeks. Make Frasor your first Waiver Wire priority this week.
Recommendation: Should be owned in all leagues

Al Reyes | TB | CL - If he's still out there, grab him. He doesn't seem to have much competition and has solid enough career numbers to avoid an implosion. 20% GB Percentage in 2007 is a bit unsettling, but it is still very early and we are looking at a small sample size.
Recommendation: Should be owned in all leagues

Joakim Soria | KC | CL - If he is still available, Soria is another guy who should have a job closing for at least another couple of weeks. Won't get as many save opps as Frasor or Owens, but if you need saves Soria can get you a few on the cheap.
Recommendation: Should be owned in all leagues

Akinori Iwamura | TB | 3B - Iwamura has played higher than most expected him to. I had no expectations going into the season as I haven't done any research on the Japanese transition to America, but Iwamura is certainly playing well. His BA will drop, but an 82% Contact Percentage is pretty good. He also has a 30% LD Percentage, which will also drop, but he could hit in the .285 range if it settles around 21%. His 24% Walk Percentage is incredible as well. His true value comes from his steals as a Third Basemen. Preseason his goal was 40, which may be a little unrealistic, but 25 SBs out of your 3B or CI is definitely a plus.
Recommendation: Should be owned in 10, 12, and 14 team leagues until he proves otherwise. Should be owned in all AL-only leagues.

David DeJesus | KC | OF - Always a subjective favorite of mine, his objective numbers aren't bad either. 86% Contact Rate is higher than past years, but his 21.4% LD Percentage is good. A 9.3% BB percentage also helps. He also should hit more HRs than last year; he's should be good for at least 15. He's got some speed, so 10 or 15 SBs isn't out of the question, although he's never reached either of those marks before. Royals lineup hurts his value, but he could be worthy of a bench spot depending on your team.
Recommendation: Worth a look in 10-team leagues, and should be owned in 12 and 14 team formats. Should be owned in all but the shallowest AL-only leagues.

Mark Teahen | KC | 3B/OF - Wow, 3 Kansas City players in one week? We may not see this again. If Teahen has been dropped in your league, you may want to consider picking him up. While not as good as a similar valued, young, struggling 3B like Edwin Encarnacion, Teahen is a decent player. He has a great BB Percentage this year and it was above average last year, but a GB Percentage under 10 isn't so good. He should pick it up, but even his 15.9% of last year wasn't very good. His 60% Contact Rate is terrible, but if he gets it to his 2006 level of 78% he could be a serviceable backup. His power is due for a regression, but as a backup 3B you could do worse in deeper leagues
Recommendation: Should be owned in deep 12-team and 14-team leagues. Worth a look in 10-team and should be owned in 12 and 14-team AL-only leagues.

Aaron Hill | TOR | MI - Hill is getting lucky. A .405 BABIP won't stick for anybody, much less Aaron Hill. He's sporting the lowest Contact Percentage and LD Percentage of his career, but if he can them both to career averages he could be a decent reserve MI in deep leagues the rest of the way. Avoid the temptation to take him in shallow leagues, as a .290 average and 5 HRs is what you should expect out of him
Recommendation: Worth a look in deep 12 team leagues, should probably be owned in 14 team leagues. Should be owned in deep 10-team, 12, and 14-team AL-only leagues.

Akinori Otsuka | TEX | RP - Gagne hasn't been healthy in two years and could go down at any time, so stashing Otsuka away in leagues where teams hold onto middle relievers might be a good idea. If he is on your team you might as well play him as he will get you a few extra Ks and have a small impact on ERA and WHIP. Won't help a lot, but won't hurt to play him while you wait out Gagne.
Recommendation: Should be owned in deep 12-team and 14-team leagues. Should be owned in all AL-only leagues.

Dan Johnson | OAK | 1B - Another subjective favorite of mine, Dan Johnson had very good objective numbers in 2005, and is expected back from the DL early next month. Hopefully his vision correction surgery will help him revert to 2005 form. If he does he could be a steal off the Waiver Wire for many teams.
Recommendation: Monitor in 10, 12, and 14 team leagues. Monitor in all AL-only leagues.

Adam Miller | CLE | SP - Still in the minors, Miller is a guy to watch. He had fantastic numbers in the minors last year with high Ks, low BBs, and amazing GB numbers. If he gets the call anytime soon be sure to snatch him.
Recommendation: Monitor in all leagues.

Philip Hughes | NYY | SP - Another guy still in the minors, Hughes boasts similar minor league numbers to Miller. He probably won't be called up right now, even with Mussina, Pavano, and Wang on the DL, but if the Yankees pull a fast one on us jump on him. He - like Miller - should be up later in the year, so continually monitor the Yanks rotation.
Recommendation: Monitor in all leagues.

Friday, April 13, 2007

Mailbag: Atkins/Hall/Jacobs for Thome/Wagner?

Here's another question from our Fantasy Baseball Mailbag from an anonymous reader.

Our reader writes:

"Hey Derek, great blog.

If you have a moment, I wanted to know what you thought about this trade.

12 team, 5x5 head to head league (default settings).

My team:

C: Lo Duca, Barrett
1B: A. Gonazalez, M. Jacobs
2B: I. Kinsler
3B: D. Wright, G. Atkins, B. Hall
SS: B. Hall
OF: C. Crawford, B. Abreu, R. Ibanez
SP: G. Maddux, J. Smoltz, C. Schilling, A. Wainright, D. Bush, K. Escobar, F. Garcia, C.C. Sabathia
RP: T. Saito, J. Soria

Here's the offer:

I give: B. Hall, G. Atkins and M. Jacobs

I Receive: J. Thome, B. Wagner

1) I need closer help desperately, and there is no one, aside from Julio available, and Wagner is among the best.
2) With D. Wright at 3B, G. Atkins is expendable.
3) I just picked up Jacobs, and who knows if he'll keep up his current pace.
4) If Thome remains healthy, he should be a nice HR / RBI boost from the Util. slot.

1) Thome is injury prone.
2) I'll be leaving my non-pitching roster a bit thin - picking up the likes of Khalil Greene (or R. Aurilia) at SS, and relying on A. Gonzalez at 1B.
3) I feel like this trade will force me into needing to trade away some pitching to balance out my roster.

What do you think?


I responded:

I would most likely not pursue this trade. I believe Garrett Atkins will be a first round pick next year and quite possibly the first third baseman taken. I actually believe he could be a better hitter than A-Rod. I like him much more than David Wright, despite being a Mets fan and a huge David Wright fan. If you are going to trade a third Baseman, I would trade Wright. I think he is the inferior player and has more value. Try trading Wright for a guy like David Ortiz or Lance Berkman if you don't trust your 1B, or a guy like Manny Ramirez if you need an OF (Ibanez is only so-so).

I like Mike Jacobs. He is a good bet to approach 30 HRs this year and is a pretty good contact hitter with pretty good discipline. You could do a lot worse than him.

I also would not suggest trading for a closer. I've written a lot about closers over the past month, and if you read this post about my strategy concerning closers, I think you'll see that they are highly overvalued. While Wagner is a better pitcher than Soria or Saito, how many more saves do you expect him to get you? The Dodgers created 61 save opportunites last year while the Mets created 61. Wagner will probably get a few more saves than Saito, but this is not worth the price he would cost you. Working the waiver wire for cheaps saves is a much better alternative. Henry Owens should pick up a few for the Marlins over the next few weeks. Try picking him up.

Last, if you're looking for a high HR/RBI utility man, Frank Thomas is your guy. I wrote about him a few weeks ago. He's a great player who is severely undervalued.

One last bit of advice: trade Freddy Garcia for a better pitcher. Check out my rankings for some good targets.

I hope this helps! Good luck this season!"

Let your thoughts on this trade be known!

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Joakim Soria to Close for Royals

Joakim Soria is expected to take the place of David Riske as Kansas City's temporary closer. Octavio Dotel should be back within a few weeks, but until then Soria could provide some value in most leagues. If you're in need of a closer, try Soria. I like Owens better, but Soria is well worth a roster spot for those of you desperate for some cheap saves.

Julio Out As Marlins Closer... And Some Closer Ramblings

I mentioned it a few days ago a little early, but it is now official. Jorge Julio is no longer the closer for the Florida Marlins. A replacement has not been announced, but one would think Henry Owens will be the one to get the call. He earned the save earlier in the week when Julio had pitched two consecutive nights and couldn't go a third. Taylor Tankerlsey is coming back from the DL and could take the job later on; I don't expect him to get it immediately. Matt Lindstrom, Kevin Gregg, and Lee Gardner are also in the mix. I have picked Owens up in the league I've mentioned on here before. I dropped Akinori Otsuka with Eric Gagne coming back tomorrow and set to take the closer's role immediately.

I'm very disappointed with Otsuka, who earned me (and anyone else who picked him up) just one save over the past two weeks. This wasn't his fault, obviously, but I was hoping for more. I'm hoping now that the team of Henry Owens and Salomon Torres (in addition to Octavio Dotel when he returns) can increase my standing in the Saves category... at least until another good reliever takes over a closer job.

That's the beauty of my strategy. Even though Otsuka didn't work out, he was a low risk player who cost me nothing. Owens and Torres are exactly the same. Eventually things will even out and I will be able to get 6 or 7 points for Saves (in my 10-team league), as opposed to the 2 I have now. I don't expect to finish the year with Owens or Torres on my team, but I'll take what I can get from them now and then take what I can get from other guys later. Add it all up and I - and hopefully you - will have amassed a good number of saves come September.

Monday, April 9, 2007

False Alert: Henry Owens

False Alert. Owens is not the closer. Julio just got the night off. Sorry about that. If Julio continues to struggle though expect Owens to take over.

Henry Owens Picks Up the Save Tonight

Missed out on Wheeler? Here's another chance at a decent closer. Henry Owens picked up the save in a close game tonight for the Marlins. He was filthy in the minors last year, and could be great this year. He hasn't struck a batter out yet this year, but he struck out a ton last year. Pick him up and see how he does over the next week or so. Taylor Tankersley will be coming back, so he could take the job at some point. Matt Lindstrom and Kevin Gregg are also in the mix, as is Jorge Julio.

Astros Promote Dan Wheeler to Closer

Get to your waiver wire quickly folks. Dan Wheeler has just surpassed Brad Lidge as Astros closer. He may already be gone, but Wheeler is a great pitcher who should rack up some saves for Houston. His fantasy score is 9.22. Lidge is still a pretty good pitcher and could resume the role later in the year, but you should feel confident riding Wheeler for now.

Saturday, April 7, 2007

Buying and Selling Fantasy Pitchers

The first couple of weeks of the season are very similar to the last couple of weeks leading up to the season. Most fantasy baseball players have their teams set and are unwilling to trade players until they've seen something out of them. Two weeks of play will only sway the judgements of the most amateur of players. But since there's little else to talk about, at least for another week or two, we'll go over some players who may be good candidates to Sell High on or Buy Low on.

If you can stick to this principle - Buy Low and Sell High - and never do the opposite unless it is absolutely necessary, you should be in good shape througout the year. Even if I love a player, if he is getting lucky I will have no objections to trading him for a better player who is getting unlucky. Don't be afraid to make these kinds of trades. Let's take a look at a few pitchers who fit one of these bills.

Buy Low
Johan Santana, Chris Carpenter, Brandon Webb - Three of the top pitchers in the game ran into some rocks coming out of the gates. Don't fear; these guys will bounce back. If for whatever reason their owners are panicking, take advantage of it. Check my Starting Pitcher Rankings; player projections rarely change over the first couple of weeks.

Ben Sheets - Great first start, ugly second start. As long as he stays healthy Sheets should be one of the best in the game.

Scott Kazmir - Struck out 5 in 5 IP, but also walked 4. This explains his 9.00 ERA, but expect his BBs to go down as the year progresses.

Felix Hernandez - Why is a guy with 12 Ks and a 0.00 ERA in 8 IP listed under buy low? Because as I've said numerous times over the past few months, Felix is a serious threat to Johan Santana for the AL Cy Young. If you can still get him for his draft day value, do it now.

Mike Mussina - Good pitcher, bad first start. He's getting older, but he still should be a Top 15 pitcher this year. Too many walks his first time out, but that should improve. If it doesn't, hope he gets lucky and look to sell.

Sell High
Justin Verlander - Will take a big step back from last year. A 0.00 ERA in his first start may lead some to believe he will improve. Don't fall for it. Trade him if he's on your team.

John Lackey - Not as bad as Verlander, but not worth his draft day value. Also got a 0.00 ERA so far in addition to a Win, trade Lackey for a real Top 10 Starting Pitcher before you lose the opportunity to.

Dontrelle Willis - Cool nickname, overrated player because of it. He may be exciting to watch, but he's not as good as the hype suggests. With a Win and a 1.50 ERA so far, capitalize on his perceived value.

Jason Schmidt - Another guy whose hype doesn't match his performance. Even his surface numbers didn't look great the past couple of years. Dump him.

Tom Glavine - As a Mets fan I love Glavine, but he's not a good Fantasy pitcher. Sell him while you can.

Don't Buy Low
Carlos Zambrano - I went over him yesterday. He had a rough first outing. 5 BBs in 5 IP is not a good sign for a guy who needs improved command to succeed this year. It's still early though. I just wouldn't touch this guy. If you own him, wait until he has a couple of solid outings and trade him. You may not even need to wait if your league owners realize that one bad start is nothing to worry about (unless you're savvy and realize that Carlos Zambrano isn't that great to begin with).

Chris Young -Another guy I've expressed my disdain for. Perhaps a 4.76 ERA and a 1.59 WHIP isn't super terrible, but Young is a guy you should definately stay away from unless he's your 4th or 5th SP in a deep league.

Don't Sell High
Jake Peavy - Another guy I've touted as a fantastic fantasy pitcher. He pitched well in his first start. Don't expect this change as long as he's healthy.

Felix Hernandez - I realize he was also listed under Buy Low, but King Felix is for real. Make sure he is on all of your teams if at all possible.

Cole Hamels - Another young guy who shouldn't be underestimated. While his ERA will not remain at 0.00 the entire season, expect Hamels to be a Top 12 pitcher.

Friday, April 6, 2007

Overrated Player Alert: Carlos Zambrano

In the latest addition of the Mailbag I advised our anonymous reader to reject his proposed to trade of Carlos Zambrano/Johnny Damon for Brandon Webb/Delmon Young. I then advised him to seek out another trade to rid himself of Carlos Zambrano while his value is high. Reader Keith asked me to explain my distrust of Zambrano. I believe I've briefly mentioned why I dislike Zambrano before, but I'll explain it again now.

Carlos Zambrano has a good K/9 (mid-to-high 8s). That's always a great start for a pitcher, especially for fantasy purposes. But then we look at Zambrano's BB/9. It was 4.84 in 2006. That is incredibly high and makes the type of success many fantasy leaguers expect of Zambrano extremely difficult to come by. Of course that was his highest mark since 2002, but even in 2004 and 2005 his BB/9 was 3.48 and 3.47, respectively. Zambrano does get a lot of groundballs, which is also a good thing. His career GB Percentage is 51.2%, exceptional for a power pitcher.

A player's K rate and GB rate are difficult to drastically improve, but a player's BB rate is not as difficult. Zambrano has the two easiest going in his favor, and an BB rate under 3 would make Zambrano the pitcher most people think he is. But he is not there. If he is going to make this leap, it is most likely to be in the next 3 years (his age 26, 27, and 28 seasons). 27 is usually the magic number, but it can vary.

Now that I've explained his makeup, I'll explain my dislike for him - this year anyway - as a fantasy pitcher. The crop of pitchers this year is incredible, and I was able to pinpoint some great values. With this being the case, using a 4th or 5th round pick on Zambrano seems foolish, especially when there are pitchers that already have the peripherals I think Zambrano is capable of attaining. Why hope for something to happen when there are players who are already doing it?

While he has a lower GB rate, Jake Peavy has a higher K rate and much lower BB rate. Felix Hernandez has a similar K rate, better GB rate, and a better BB rate. Felix is still just 20 and is entering his third season (another magic number for pitchers). Brett Myers has a similar K rate, better BB rate, and only a slightly worse GB Percentage.

I think you see my point. Why would you want to bank on a possibility when the reality is already there... and at a discounted price!

I strongly suggest anyone who owns Carlos Zambrano to trade him. He certainly could improve his BB rate this year and join the ranks of the elite pitchers, but the player's he'd be joining are already there. Trade him for one of these guys and get a little extra out of it.

Thursday, April 5, 2007

Mailbag: Damon/Zambrano for Delmon/Webb?

Another addition of the Mailbag is here. Keep sending your questions in and you might see it appear here.

An anonymous reader wrote:

"I would be interested in Delmon Young's numbers against those of J. Damon. This could possibly set up a trade of my C. Zambrano and Damon for B. Webb and Young.

I responded:

"I would probably not do this trade in your position. Of course it depends on your specific team and league, but strictly talent wise this trade is a bad one for you.

While Webb is an upgrade over Carlos Zambano, most people don't recognize this. Their perceived value is very close. Damon, however, is a better player than Delmon Young. Much of Delmon's value comes from his hype and his potential, while Damon is already at the point most people hope Delmon will reach this year.

Damon - 87% Contact Rate
Delmon - 81% Contact Rate

Damon - 19% LD Rate
Delmon - 18.5% LD Rate

Damon - 10% BB Rate
Delmon - 4.1% BB Rate

Now consider that Delmon's numbers were in the minors. Both are speedy, but Damon has proven major league speed; Delmon does not. The same goes for Power. Damon has a decent amount of pop in his bat, while Delmon's is all speculative; he has potential to be a good power hitter. Damon also hits in the better lineup.

Definately do not do this trade. I would, however, trade Zambrano while his value is high (Jake Peavy would be a good target).

I hope this helps."

Comment away if you agree or disagree with me! Also, keep sending you're questions in!

Wednesday, April 4, 2007

Fantasy Football Sabermetrics

I've had a decent response so far to the idea of Fantasy Football Sabermetrics and I have begun to look into it a little bit. Anyone else who would be interested in this please let me know as soon as you can. Please either comment on the original post or email me. Thanks!

Another Interesting Home Run Study

Today the HardBall Times posted their own study on HRs which I find to have a lot of merit. It talks about the distances of HRs and who got lucky and unlucky. They dig deeper into HRs than I had previously even thought about. This is something I will surely look into calculating myself as the year progresses. Good job guys.

2006 True Home Runs

Here is a list of every player in 2006 that hit a Home Run in the Major Leagues, alongside the number of True HRs that player hit. A True Home Run is a HR that, taking atmosphere and wind conditions into account, would have went farther than an average MLB ballpark fence. The raw HR data comes from Hit Tracker, and I calculated the True HR stat. The fourth column gives the percentage of HRs that were True HRs. Enjoy!

Player HR True HR True HR/HR
Albert Pujols 49 46 94%
Ryan Howard 58 46 79%
David Ortiz 54 43 80%
Jermaine Dye 44 39 89%
Frank Thomas 39 37 95%
Andruw Jones 41 37 90%
Travis Hafner 42 36 86%
Alfonso Soriano 46 36 78%
Adam Dunn 40 35 88%
Jim Thome 42 34 81%
Alex Rodriguez 35 33 94%
Aramis Ramirez 38 33 87%
Carlos Beltran 41 32 78%
Matt Holliday 34 31 91%
Lance Berkman 45 31 69%
Troy Glaus 38 31 82%
Vernon Wells 32 30 94%
Adam LaRoche 32 30 94%
Manny Ramirez 35 30 86%
Jason Bay 35 29 83%
Jason Giambi 37 29 78%
Mark Teixeira 33 29 88%
Jeff Francoeur 29 28 97%
Paul Konerko 35 28 80%
Carlos Delgado 38 28 74%
Bill Hall 35 28 80%
Richie Sexson 34 27 79%
Chase Utley 32 27 84%
Torii Hunter 31 26 84%
Garrett Atkins 29 26 90%
Justin Morneau 34 25 74%
Vladimir Guerrero 33 25 76%
Nick Swisher 35 25 71%
Prince Fielder 28 24 86%
Joe Crede 30 24 80%
Marcus Thames 26 23 88%
Carlos Lee 37 23 62%
Ken Griffey Jr. 27 23 85%
Barry Bonds 26 22 85%
Pat Burrell 29 22 76%
Craig Monroe 28 22 79%
Raul Ibanez 33 22 67%
Nick Johnson 23 21 91%
Chipper Jones 26 21 81%
Ray Durham 26 21 81%
Daniel Uggla 27 21 78%
Magglio Ordonez 24 21 88%
Eric Byrnes 26 21 81%
Brandon Inge 27 20 74%
Austin Kearns 24 20 83%
Mike Cuddyer 24 20 83%
Adrian Gonzalez 24 20 83%
Lyle Overbay 22 20 91%
Pedro Feliz 22 20 91%
Miguel Cabrera 26 20 77%
Grady Sizemore 28 19 68%
Juan Rivera 23 19 83%
Chris Duncan 22 19 86%
Jacque Jones 27 19 70%
Mike Piazza 22 19 86%
Brad Hawpe 22 18 82%
Mike Cameron 22 18 82%
Jorge Posada 23 18 78%
Moises Alou 22 18 82%
Phil Nevin 22 18 82%
Brian McCann 24 18 75%
Jimmy Rollins 25 18 72%
Shea Hillenbrand 21 18 86%
David Wright 26 18 69%
Adrian Beltre 25 18 72%
Jonny Gomes 20 17 85%
Eric Chavez 22 17 77%
Juan Encarnacion 19 17 89%
Johnny Damon 24 17 71%
Jim Edmonds 19 17 89%
Josh Willingham 26 16 62%
Nomar Garciaparra 20 16 80%
Scott Rolen 22 16 73%
Aubrey Huff 21 16 76%
Juan Uribe 21 16 76%
Chad Tracy 20 16 80%
Mark Teahen 18 16 89%
Mike Jacobs 20 16 80%
Miguel Olivo 16 16 100%
Chris Shelton 16 15 94%
Curtis Granderson 19 15 79%
Gary Matthews Jr. 19 15 79%
Morgan Ensberg 23 15 65%
Miguel Tejada 24 15 63%
Jose Bautista 16 15 94%
J.D. Drew 20 15 75%
Rich Aurilia 23 15 65%
Ramon Hernandez 23 14 61%
Carl Crawford 18 14 78%
Brad Wilkerson 15 14 93%
Jose Reyes 19 14 74%
Ryan Zimmerman 20 14 70%
Ty Wigginton 24 14 58%
Rafael Furcal 15 14 93%
Geoff Jenkins 17 14 82%
Bengie Molina 19 14 74%
Ben Broussard 21 14 67%
Jose Valentin 18 13 72%
Robinson Cano 15 13 87%
Michael Barrett 16 13 81%
Mark DeRosa 13 13 100%
Eric Hinske 13 13 100%
Jorge Cantu 14 13 93%
Bobby Abreu 15 13 87%
Carlos Guillen 19 13 68%
Milton Bradley 14 13 93%
Craig Wilson 17 13 76%
Orlando Hudson 15 13 87%
Dave Ross 21 13 62%
Edwin Encarnacion 15 13 87%
Shawn Green 15 13 87%
Xavier Nady 17 13 76%
Hank Blalock 16 13 81%
Rocco Baldelli 16 12 75%
Wilson Betemit 18 12 67%
Casey Blake 19 12 63%
Todd Helton 15 12 80%
Damon Hollins 15 12 80%
Conor Jackson 15 12 80%
Ian Kinsler 14 12 86%
Nicholas Markakis 16 12 75%
Kenji Johjima 18 12 67%
Joshua Barfield 13 12 92%
Russell Branyan 18 12 67%
Alexis Rios 17 12 71%
Ivan Rodriguez 13 12 92%
Craig Biggio 21 12 57%
A.J. Pierzynski 16 12 75%
Hanley Ramirez 17 12 71%
Melvin Mora 16 12 75%
Bernie Williams 12 11 92%
Emil Brown 15 11 73%
Brandon Phillips 17 11 65%
Derek Jeter 14 11 79%
Garret Anderson 17 11 65%
Ronnie Belliard 13 11 85%
Edgar Renteria 14 11 79%
Victor Martinez 16 11 69%
Kevin Youkilis 13 11 85%
Matt Stairs 13 11 85%
Marcus Giles 11 11 100%
Tadahito Iguchi 18 11 61%
Kevin Millar 15 11 73%
Matt Murton 13 11 85%
Greg Norton 17 11 65%
Preston Wilson 17 11 65%
Reed Johnson 12 11 92%
Michael Napoli 16 10 63%
Eliezer Alfonzo 12 10 83%
Rod Barajas 11 10 91%
Aaron Rowand 12 10 83%
Joe Borchard 10 10 100%
Luis Gonzalez 15 10 67%
Scott Spiezio 13 10 77%
Kevin Mench 13 10 77%
Jeff Kent 14 10 71%
Marlon Anderson 12 10 83%
Mike Lamb 12 10 83%
Brian Giles 14 10 71%
John Buck 11 10 91%
Gregg Zaun 12 10 83%
Corey Patterson 16 10 63%
Khalil Greene 15 10 67%
Felipe Lopez 11 9 82%
Angel Berroa 9 9 100%
Mike Lowell 20 9 45%
Jay Gibbons 13 9 69%
Jason Varitek 12 9 75%
Carl Everett 11 9 82%
Reggie Sanders 11 9 82%
Cliff Floyd 11 9 82%
Cody Ross 13 9 69%
Wes Helms 10 9 90%
Jose Castillo 14 9 64%
Alex Gonzalez 9 9 100%
Andre Ethier 11 9 82%
Michael Young 14 9 64%
Russell Martin 10 8 80%
Wily Mo Pena 11 8 73%
Jeff Conine 10 8 80%
Jason LaRue 8 8 100%
Mark Ellis 11 8 73%
Robb Quinlan 9 8 89%
David DeJesus 8 8 100%
Josh Bard 9 8 89%
Todd Walker 9 8 89%
Jeromy Burnitz 16 8 50%
Randy Winn 11 8 73%
Matthew Kemp 7 7 100%
Carlos Quentin 9 7 78%
Jason Lane 15 7 47%
Olmedo Saenz 11 7 64%
Mark Bellhorn 8 7 88%
Rondell White 7 7 100%
Ryan Church 10 7 70%
Corey Koskie 12 7 58%
Bobby Crosby 9 7 78%
Nate McLouth 7 7 100%
Tim Salmon 9 7 78%
Luke Scott 10 7 70%
Javier Valentin 8 7 88%
Corey Hart 9 7 78%
Derrek Lee 8 7 88%
Travis Lee 11 7 64%
Damion Easley 9 7 78%
Joe Mauer 13 7 54%
Jose Lopez 10 7 70%
Julio Lugo 12 7 58%
Jack Wilson 8 7 88%
Jay Payton 10 7 70%
Orlando Cabrera 9 7 78%
Yuniesky Betancourt 8 7 88%
Scott Hatteberg 13 7 54%
David Bell 10 7 70%
Jhonny Peralta 13 7 54%
Gerald Laird 7 6 86%
Hideki Matsui 8 6 75%
Dmitri Young 7 6 86%
Bobby Kielty 8 6 75%
Ronny Cedeno 6 6 100%
Aaron Guiel 7 6 86%
David Dellucci 13 6 46%
Daryle Ward 7 6 86%
Mike Lieberthal 9 6 67%
Jose Guillen 9 6 67%
Brian Roberts 10 6 60%
Sean Casey 8 6 75%
Javy Lopez 8 6 75%
Ryan Shealy 7 6 86%
Yorvit Torrealba 7 6 86%
Johnny Estrada 11 6 55%
Eli Marrero 6 6 100%
Chris Coste 7 6 86%
Hector Luna 6 6 100%
Ryan Langerhans 7 6 86%
Eduardo Perez 9 5 56%
Clint Barmes 7 5 71%
Dan Johnson 9 5 56%
Mark Kotsay 7 5 71%
Toby Hall 8 5 63%
Dioner Navarro 6 5 83%
Jeff DaVanon 5 5 100%
Jose Cruz 5 5 100%
Henry Blanco 6 5 83%
Andy Phillips 7 5 71%
Jason Kubel 8 5 63%
Tony Clark 6 5 83%
Dallas McPherson 7 5 71%
Chris Snyder 6 5 83%
Mike Sweeney 8 5 63%
Jose Vidro 7 5 71%
Jeremy Hermida 5 5 100%
Gary Sheffield 6 5 83%
Steve Finley 6 5 83%
Todd Hollandsworth 7 5 71%
Ryan Doumit 6 5 83%
Tony Graffanino 7 5 71%
Aaron Boone 7 5 71%
Mike Rivera 6 5 83%
Rickie Weeks 8 5 63%
Eric Munson 5 5 100%
Coco Crisp 8 5 63%
Jamey Carroll 5 5 100%
Matt Diaz 7 5 71%
Jeff Baker 5 5 100%
Brian Anderson 8 4 50%
Trot Nixon 8 4 50%
Ramon Castro 4 4 100%
Yadier Molina 6 4 67%
John Mabry 5 4 80%
Aaron Hill 6 4 67%
Mark Grudzielanek 7 4 57%
Scott Thorman 5 4 80%
Lew Ford 4 4 100%
Endy Chavez 4 4 100%
Stephen Drew 5 4 80%
Shane Victorino 6 4 67%
Chris Burke 9 4 44%
Ichiro Suzuki 9 4 44%
Nelson Cruz 6 4 67%
Omar Vizquel 4 4 100%
Freddie Bynum 4 4 100%
Gabe Gross 9 4 44%
Ryan Freel 8 4 50%
Damian Miller 6 4 67%
Angel Pagan 5 4 80%
Alex Escobar 4 4 100%
Alex Cintron 5 4 80%
Vinny Castilla 5 4 80%
Doug Mirabelli 6 4 67%
Adam Everett 6 4 67%
Freddy Sanchez 6 4 67%
Jason Michaels 9 4 44%
Jason Smith 5 4 80%
Reginald Abercrombie 5 4 80%
Chone Figgins 9 4 44%
Lastings Milledge 4 4 100%
Joe Randa 4 3 75%
Shin-Soo Choo 3 3 100%
Tony Batista 5 3 60%
Todd Pratt 4 3 75%
Willy Aybar 4 3 75%
Ryan Garko 7 3 43%
Gary Bennett 4 3 75%
Jose Hernandez 3 3 100%
Sal Fasano 5 3 60%
Vance Wilson 5 3 60%
Ryan Spilborghs 4 3 75%
Andy Marte 5 3 60%
Lance Niekro 5 3 60%
Mark Sweeney 5 3 60%
Rob Mackowiak 5 3 60%
Melky Cabrera 7 3 43%
Jeff Cirillo 3 3 100%
Adam Kennedy 4 3 75%
Paul Lo Duca 5 3 60%
Doug Mientkiewicz 4 3 75%
Craig Counsell 4 3 75%
Frank Catalanotto 7 3 43%
Alfredo Amezaga 3 3 100%
Juan Pierre 3 3 100%
Juan Castro 3 3 100%
Jeremy Reed 6 3 50%
J.J. Hardy 5 3 60%
Omar Infante 4 3 75%
Jose Molina 4 3 75%
James Loney 4 3 75%
Ben Johnson 4 3 75%
Jorge Piedra 3 3 100%
Russ Adams 3 3 100%
Ronny Paulino 6 3 50%
Ricky Ledee 2 2 100%
Terrmel Sledge 2 2 100%
Adam Lind 2 2 100%
Adam Melhuse 4 2 50%
Kevin Kouzmanoff 3 2 67%
Dustin Pedroia 2 2 100%
Christopher Young 2 2 100%
Delmon Young 3 2 67%
Damian Jackson 4 2 50%
Bill Mueller 3 2 67%
JD Closser 2 2 100%
Luis Matos 2 2 100%
Chris Snelling 3 2 67%
Rob Bowen 3 2 67%
Eric Young 3 2 67%
Kevin Frandsen 2 2 100%
Brian Jordan 3 2 67%
Jeff Mathis 2 2 100%
Ross Gload 3 2 67%
Cory Sullivan 2 2 100%
Joshua Rabe 3 2 67%
Chris Woodward 3 2 67%
Shane Costa 3 2 67%
Kazuo Matsui 3 2 67%
John McDonald 3 2 67%
Esteban German 3 2 67%
Howard Kendrick 4 2 50%
Kenny Lofton 3 2 67%
Placido Polanco 4 2 50%
Chris Duffy 2 2 100%
Abraham Nunez 2 2 100%
Royce Clayton 2 2 100%
Aaron Miles 2 2 100%
Brady Clark 4 2 50%
Maicer Izturis 5 2 40%
Brian Schneider 4 2 50%
Joe Inglett 2 2 100%
Marlon Byrd 5 2 40%
Matt Treanor 2 2 100%
Choo Freeman 2 2 100%
Shannon Stewart 2 2 100%
Mark Loretta 5 2 40%
John Rodriguez 2 2 100%
Ramon Martinez 2 2 100%
Mike Matheny 3 2 67%
Todd Greene 2 2 100%
Julio Franco 2 2 100%
Kendry Morales 5 2 40%
Kevin Witt 2 1 50%
Rene Rivera 2 1 50%
Marco Scutaro 5 1 20%
So Taguchi 2 1 50%
Jose Vizcaino 2 1 50%
Miguel Ojeda 2 1 50%
Carlos Joaquin Ruiz 3 1 33%
Christopher Iannetta 2 1 50%
Luis A. Gonzalez 2 1 50%
Jeff Keppinger 2 1 50%
Matt LeCroy 2 1 50%
Brad Ausmus 2 1 50%
Nick Green 2 1 50%
Brandon Fahey 2 1 50%
Scott Podsednik 3 1 33%
Ryan Theriot 3 1 33%
Tomas Perez 2 1 50%
Chris Gomez 2 1 50%
Luis Castillo 3 1 33%
David Newhan 4 1 25%
Jason Repko 3 1 33%
Gabe Kapler 2 1 50%
Pablo Ozuna 2 1 50%
Luis Rodriguez 2 1 50%
Geoff Blum 4 1 25%
David Eckstein 2 1 50%
Benjamin Zobrist 2 1 50%
Kelly Shoppach 3 1 33%
Jason Ellison 2 0 0%
Todd Linden 2 0 0%
Robert Fick 2 0 0%
Jason Bartlett 2 0 0%
Fernando Tatis 2 0 0%
Neifi Perez 2 0 0%
Dave Roberts 2 0 0%
Chad Moeller 2 0 0%