Friday, May 16, 2008

Alfonso Soriano Geovany Soto HRs

The Chicago Cubs Pittsburgh Pirates game has just started. And Alfonso Soriano already has 2 home runs in 2 at bats. Rookie stud Geovany Soto also has a home run early in this game.

The difference between these two is that Soto has been mashing since the beginning of the year. This is guy who went at the end of drafts at the Catcher position but has outproduced everyone else by far. Russell Martin? Joe Mauer? Neither can compare. Especially in terms of power. Soto is putting up Mike Piazza in his prime numbers which is something especially when you're talking about a fantasy position which is as weak as Catcher generally is. One of the most encouraging signs is his .415+ obp. He is a patient, selective hitter that will take walks if he does not have a pitch to drive. This is doubly impressive considering his status as a rookie.

Alfonso Soriano has always been known as a free swinger who does not walk much. But when the power is there, no one cares about the walks. Returning from injury at the beginning of May, Soriano started off meagerly but has since regained his mojo and more importantly his power as a leadoff man. 2 Home Runs in the Friday Day game already in 2 at bats. He now has had 2 hits in his last 5 games and the game before that he had 4 hits. Also, the last five games Soriano has 5 home runs. The steals aren't there and with Chicago's powerful lineup, he probably won't be asked to steal much. Like his on base percentage though, if he is hitting 30-40 home runs no one will be complaining.

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Gavin Floyd White Sox no hitter fails

Looks like Ozzie Guillen's tirade paid off.

(AP Photo/M. Spencer Green)

Gavin Floyd
looked to match Mark Buehrle's no hitter of last year, but it did not happen. First of all he had given up 1 run with 0 hits, after walking Mauer and then an error bringing him home. A few starts ago against Detroit, Floyd flirted with a no hitter but ended with 1 hit also.

Maybe the most disappointing thing was that Ozzie Guillen pulled Gavin Floyd after he gave up the double to Mauer. It would have been nice to see the chap's first Complete Game of his career. Still, Floyd has impressed this year. He has not pitched spectacularly and his lack of strikeouts will cause for him to be passed over. But I stream started him in a few leagues tonight and was obviously pleased with the results. He can go deep in games and stifle hitters with his myriad of pitches, as he doesn't focus on any one pitch. His problem tonight and in other games are his control. He is always walking 2-4 batters and it would be nice if he could get that down.

Jermaine Dye had been in a slump recently but bopped another HR. Remember, this guy started off as the bust of the year last year hitting below .220. But after the all star break only Carlos Pena and Alex Rodriguez were hitting more home runs than Jermaine Dye. People forget that this guy hit 42 home runs with 120 RBI and a .315 average two years ago. Those are mvp numbers. Certainly he will not be replicating those numbers but he is a solid OF.

Friday, May 2, 2008

Yovani Gallardo tears ACL, on DL

More bad news in the world of fantasy as one of my favorite young stud SP's Yovani Gallardo is back on the DL and may require surgery (meaning out for a long time). This is too bad as Yovani was hurt earlier in the year and then came back and looked great. He wasn't striking batters out like he did the year before but a 1.80 ERA is worth mentioning.

This may mean another cursed year for the Brewers as they have not been in the playoffs since 1982, I believe. It looked like they were turning the corner with their young talent but having to rely on Ben Sheets to stay healthy now that Gallardo is out might be asking a little too much. Dave Bush and Jeff Suppan are not performing like they should so they will also need the younger pitchers at the end of the rotation to step up like Carlos Villanueva and Manny Parra. They have both had really nice outings at times, and really poor at other times. Manny probably has more high end potential but he also hasn't pitched more than 5.1 innings in any game this year.

Well at least Ryan Braun is back to mashing pitchers.

Thursday, May 1, 2008

Smoltz back as an RP closer ?

Anyone who had Brett Myers last year knows the horror of a top SP turned closer. In fantasy I am one of the belief that you should not pay for saves, so having a 200 inning 200 K starter turned into a closer is sad, even if they are solid closers. In Smoltz's case he has been one of the true elite closers when he pitched as a closer in the early 2000's. Also what hurts most is the fact that you had to draft these guys somewhat early last year for Myers and this year for Smoltz. You expected them to be key cogs in your rotation.

None of this is set in stone, and even though John Smoltz said he would be happy as a Closer, it is evident that ultimately he wants to be a starter again. Bobby Cox likes him as a starter too. For the time being Smoltz is on the DL so you will want to stay updated here with this situation.

Also you have to consider what this means for the struggling Manny Acosta and for those people still holding onto Rafael Soriano. If Smoltz closes then these guys lose all of their value of course.

As far as the rotation, this gives a young stud like Jair Jurrjens an opportunity to step up. He has done so up to this point but they need him now more than ever.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Tejada heating up

31, 33, does it matter how old Miguel Tejada is? After another 4 hit night he is batting .370 in this early part of the season, but more importantly he is looking like a key cog in the middle of that Astros lineup that is primed for runs with Berkman hitting behind him. Tejada fell in most of the drafts I was in and in turn I either ended up with him or another person favorite Carlos Guillen. Both look like solid RBI and AVG contributors from the SS position. I'd prefer them over bigger names like Jeter and Tulowitski.

Look for Hunter Pence to eventually heat up. He's batting in the low 200's but hit an HR tonight so maybe that is the start of his season, since he really has not produced much for power #'s or avg for that matter.

A third blown save for Jose Valverde, but he has just as many wins! He may not be as sharp as the Astros expected when they got him but at least he is at least keeping it close enough when he blows it so that he can still win the game.

For the San Diego Fathers, Adrian Gonzalez blew up with a double, triple and home run. He hit a home run the day before also. Surely he was underrated in your draft as there are far sexier names at 1B to draft, and once one of the teams grabs one of them they tend to ignore the rest of them. Gonzalez has proven he can hit for average and underrated power. Petco Park ruins his home run total but as you can see, two games in a hitters park like Minute Maid Park and he hits two home runs. On another team in a more advantageous park, Adrian would hit 30 HR's easily likely. As it is he is a decent spot start or if you have a limping 1B you may wish to play some Adrian depending on who he is playing.

Jake Peavy has a terrible start for his standards, with only 2 strikeouts in 6 innings to go with 4 runs and 9 hits / walks. It is hard to pitch in Minute Maid Park, and as stated above the Astros lineup is meshing nicely with Tejada, Lee and Berkman being monsters in the middle of the lineup.

Another good example of a good pitcher getting screwed by the ballpark is Brett Myers performance in Colorado. Myers is another one of those guys that fell to all of my teams because no one respects his numbers from a few years ago when he was a consistent starter with a good ERA, WHIP, and 200 K's / 200 innings. But he did start off poorly, and then he shut down Houston and the Cubs to the tune of 15 innings, 4 ER's and 13 K's. Great numbers for two solid offenses.

But then tonight he goes into Colorado and gets lit up for 11 hits, 6 runs, 2 walks and just 3 strikeouts in 7 innings. This begs the question, do you bench starters against Colorado or Houston? It is certainly something you have to consider, but a pitcher of Peavy's quality you always start, because you don't want to miss a gem and they can pull those off anywhere. Myers is a little different because he is not quite as trusty but I'd say he's still close enough to the elite / consistent level that you should start him always besides the matchup. Plus he's used to pitching in a hitter's park, and he has the stuff to miss bats which is the key ingredient in more difficult stadiums. So if you are scared of playing SP's at Colorado, etc, you may want to consider that just for the control type pitchers who don't have the best stuff and tend to rely on contact (these are the types that will get lit up more often than not).

Saturday, April 19, 2008

2005 Derrek Lee 2008 Derrek Lee ?

Derrek Lee just smashed his seventh HR Saturday April 19th. Remember 2005 when he was hitting over .350 most of the year (finished at .335) and stole 15 bases, hit 46 HR's, 107 RBI, 50 Doubles...well it looks like D Lee might be fully healthy and ready for a similar season. But that's the key like so many other injury prone players; can he sustain this health.

In this same game the decline of Tom Gorzelanny continues. In his first full season in 2007 Gorzelanny was 14-10 with 200 Innings, 130 Strikeouts, 3.88 ERA and 1.40 WHIP. Not the stats of an all star but for a rookie, it looked like Gorzelanny could be a workhorse type, pitching deep into games and being good for certain matchups. Now Gorzelanny is walking 4 guys a game even the two games where he went 6 innings and gave up 1 then 3 runs. His other two stats (today, and then 2 starts ago) he got obliterated, giving up 7 runs in less than 3 innings in both.

The decline of Gorzelanny is similar to that of Zach Duke. In 2005 he was 8-2 with 1.81 ERA / 1.20 WHIP and then in his sophomore year was 10-15 with a 4.47 ERA and 1.50 WHIP. He has been decent this year, but after the first year he was looked at as a potential ace down the road for the Pirates. Instead it is Ian Snell that is looking like the ace with a nice K rate and ERA.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Beckett, Manny beat Moose and Yankees

Josh Beckett follows up a decent start with an 8 inning 6 hits 3 runs 5 K win at the New York Yankees. Considering the line was against the Yankees fantasy owners must be extremely pleased. Papelbon though had some trouble, giving up 2 runs and not getting the save.

Manny Ramirez continues his resurgence. I had a feeling he would strike back big this year after a subpar 2007. You cannot always say contract year = better year (Andruw Jones last year), but in the case of Manny it makes sense to me. Batting well over .320 with 5 HR's (2 tonight) and is on pace for a shitload of RBI. Despite his poor year last year you still probably had to draft him high though, but be happy with these stats they will probably continue to come.

Especially if David Ortiz continues to hit .100. Another 0-5 night tonight for big DO. With all the word about his injuries he may have to sit for a while on the DL to get his game back. He is doing owners no good now because he forces owners to play him but the power is not there and he is not even getting singles. Still you have to think at some point he breaks out of it, so if you have a DO owner in your league who is getting tired of his ways, try to pounce if you can get him 70 cents on the dollar or better.

For the Yankees, Jeter has been back getting multiple hits in each game until this game (but he still had one, with 2 RBI). While I always think he is overrated in fantasy baseball with his lack of power and steals (lots of runs in that lineup though) the SS position does not have too many consistent cogs after the guys who are drafted in the top 10. Tulowitski is batting below .150 with no power, but remember Garrett Atkins started off similarly last year but with the help of some monster games in Coors Field the stats got back up to normal. Expect a decline for Tulo from last year but not as unreasonable as they are now.