Archive for April 30, 2009

Lastings Milledge Update

A few weeks ago we were all caught a bit off guard when the Washington Nationals opted to send Lastings Milledge to Triple-A.  There was a lot of curiousity as to how he would react to the move.  Would it motivate him?  Would he fold?

It’s been a little bit of a mixed bag, really.  Let’s take a look:

Positives:

  • He extended his hitting streak to six games tonight, with four multi-hit games among the streak
  • He’s picked up 4 SB
  • He’s scored 7 runs in just 11 games Read more

Around the Majors: April 29

Billy Butler finally showed signs of life.  Jhonny Peralta continues to struggle.  Edinson Volquez returned to his 2008 form.  Let’s take a look at these stories and all the rest from yesterday’s games.

Los Angeles (AL) vs. Baltimore

  • Torii Hunter just continues to rake, doesn’t he?  He went 2-4 with 1 HR, 1 RBI and 1 R, putting him at .329 with 8 HR and 16 RBI.  He has at least 1 RBI in 11 of his past 14 games now, a great stretch of games.  Without Vladimir Guerrero the team needed someone to step up and Hunter has surely been up for the task.
  • Koji Uehara pitched reasonably well, giving up 3 runs on 7 hits and 0 walks, striking out 5, over 6.1 innings.  He allowed two solo home runs in the seventh inning, certainly making his line look a little worse then he pitched, before getting hit with a line drive that forced him out of the game.  He has walked just 6 batters over 30 innings, showing his tremendous control.  Unfortunately he pitches in the toughest division in baseball, putting him at a disadvantage in a lot of his starts.  He also has an ERA of 4.50, so he hasn’t been all impressive.  He has value in deeper formats, but more on a week-to-week basis as opposed slotting him into your line-up and not touching him.

Seattle vs. Chicago (AL)

  • Adrian Beltre went 4-4 with 1 RBI and 1 SB, finally getting his average back above .200 (at .207).  While he has yet to hit a HR, he has picked up four stolen bases, helping make up for it a little bit.  He’s showing signs of life, so just continue to slot him in your line-up after enduring the tough times.  A reward should be coming.
  • Gavin Floyd had baserunners galore, giving up 10 hits and 2 walks over 6 innings.  Considering his WHIP was 1.71 heading into the start, so it certainly is a significant problem.  Walks have been the major problem, with 16 walks in 29.1 innings.  If he doesn’t get that problem straightened out, he’s going to become unusable. Read more

Prospect Report: Hitters Edition

It’s time to once again take a look at how some of the top hitting prospects in the game are performing thus far this season.  If there are any players you want added, just let me know.

Lars Anderson – Boston Red Sox – First Baseman
2009 Statistics (Double-A): .303 (20-66), 2 HR, 14 RBI, 11 R, 0 SB (through 4/28)

He had a huge game earlier this week, driving in five, which certainly helped to skew his totals slightly.  Still, the last time we checked in on him he was yet to collect an extra base hit (5 games).  In the past 11, he’s had five doubles and two home runs, so things are definitely moving in the right direction.

Alcides Escobar – Milwaukee Brewers – Shortstop
2009 Statistics (Triple-A): .265 (22-83), 1 HR, 6 RBI, 13 R, 11 SB (through 4/28)

Speed is the name of the game, with seven stolen bases in his last ten games, but it is his inability to get on base via the walk that is extremely disturbing.  He’s walked just six times this season, a walk rate of 6.7%.  That’s far from prototypical for a leadoff hitter.  He’s also struggled mightily against righties, hitting just .222.  With Rickie Weeks playing well, it’s hard to imagine him pushing for playing time, at least for now.  Definitely monitor his progress, but he seems to be a ways away at this point.

Mat Gamel – Milwaukee Brewers – Third Baseman
2009 Statistics (Triple-A): .394 (28-71), 7 HR, 26 RBI, 18 R, 0 SB (through 4/28)

This start brings back memories of last season’s first half romp through Double-A, before injuries significantly slowed him down.  Over his past 10 games, he’s hit five of his home runs with 15 RBI.  I know his detractors point to his .447 BABIP, which is a fair point.  There’s no way he maintains that in the major leagues, but he’s shown at every level the ability to hit for a shockingly high number.  I’m not about to suggest he can keep it up, but the guy has proven that he can flat out hit and is worth eyeing in all formats.  All that stands in his way is Bill Hall, for what that’s worth. Read more

Travis Hafner to the DL

According to Anthony Castrovince of mlb.com (click here for the article), the Cleveland Indians have placed Travis Hafner on the disabled list due to “soreness and fatigue” in his surgically prepared shoulder.  The expectation is that his stay won’t last much longer then the required two weeks, but he will be meeting with Dr. James Andrews, a name that sends shivers down everyone’s spine.

Temporarily the team has recalled Rich Rundles, a relief pitcher, to take Hafner’s spot on the roster.  Long-term potential replacements include David Dellucci (currently on the DL) and Matt LaPorta (.368, 5 HR, 14 RBI, 20 R at Triple-A), according to the article, though time will tell.

In tonight’s line-up the team is using Kelly Shoppach as the DH.  That’s certainly great news for owners in 2-catcher formats, as he could see nearly everyday ABs while Hafner is on the shelf.

We all knew Hafner was a gamble heading into the season, so this bump in the road really should not be a surprise.  Shift him to your bench for the time being until a little bit more is known.  He’s been playing well in the early going, hitting .270 with 4 HR, 8 RBI and 10 R, so I wouldn’t simply cut bait, especially in deeper formats.  If you are in a shallow league, then he’s easily replaceable.

What does everyone think?  Who should they use to replace Hafner on the roster?

To read the previous article, click here.

Around the Majors: April 28

Due to last night’s Fantasy Baseball Roundtable Radio Show (which you can listen to on Blog Talk Radio), today’s Around the Majors is going to be “Quick Hit” style.  The regular format will return tomorrow.

  • How much longer do you think the Red Sox will stick with Brad Penny?  With so many options at their disposal, carrying a pitcher who now has a 8.66 ERA, 1.98 WHIP and just 6 Ks over 17.2 innings probably doesn’t make much sense.  Yes, he’s 2-0, but that’s because he’s pitching for the Red Sox.  He’s failed to go more then 3 innings in two of his starts, but the offense has bailed him out. 
  • Nice outing for Phil Hughes in his return to the majors, tossing 6 shutout innings while giving up 2 hits and 2 walks, to go along with 6 Ks.  That’s just what the doctor ordered for a Yankees team in desperate need of some stability.  If he can continue to pitch close to this, there’s a chance he sticks in the rotation even once Chien-Ming Wang returns from the DL (with Joba Chamberlain shifting back to the bullpen).  He’s certainly worth a flyer in all formats.
  • Edwin Jackson continues to look like a steal for the Tigers.  He lowered his ERA to 2.25 by tossing 6 shutout innings, giving up 4 hits and 1 walk, striking out 4.  Matt Joyce, who the Rays got in return, is sitting in the minor leagues.
  • Chone Figgins is hitting just .246, but he’s scored 12 runs and stolen 9 bases (he had 2 R and 2 SB yesterday).  Owners don’t have much to complain about, since that’s the reason you would have drafted him. Read more

Looking at the Fifteen Worst BABIP

Today, let’s take a look at the hitters with the fifteen worst Batting Average on Balls in Play (BABIP) through Monday’s games and the prospects on if they are potentially good buy low candidates or if they are not worth gambling on:

  • Edwin Encarnacion – Cincinnati Reds – .163
  • Lance Berkman – Houston Astros – .167
  • Troy Tulowitzki – Colorado Rockies – .176
  • Carlos Quentin – Chicago White Sox – .184
  • Jason Varitek – Boston Red Sox – .184
  • Brandon Phillips – Cincinnati Reds – .189
  • J.J. Hardy – Milwaukee Brewers – .191
  • Jason Kendall – Milwaukee Brewers – .200
  • Kelly Johnson – Atlanta Braves – .204
  • Ken Griffey Jr. – Seattle Mariners – .205
  • Emmanuel Burriss – San Francisco Giants – .208
  • Jimmy Rollins – Philadelphia Phillies – .210
  • Alexei Ramirez – Chicago White Sox – .212
  • Conor Jackson – Arizona Diamondbacks – .212
  • Brian Giles – San Diego Padres – .212

There’s a group of these players where their owners are not likely going to be willing to sell low on.  Lance Berkman, Carlos Quentin, Brandon Phillips, Jimmy Rollins and Alexei Ramirez are probably not even worth targeting.  They were all early round draft picks and it would be hard to imagine their owners simply giving up on them for pennies on the dollar this early in the season. Read more