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Archive for June, 2008

Starting today, and continuing on Saturdays, I am going to pick to young(er) players and give a brief in-depth (oxymoron, but just hold on for a second) scouting report. It isn’t that I know every single player, but I am going to look at some minor league numbers (probably not minor league sabermetric stats, but I might throw some of their major league saber stats in there), and see what you should expect from their history. This hopefully will switch some things up so it isn’t just the same things posted every day (that and I want the weekends to be a bit different than the daily routine). So without further ado, here’s my introductory “Scouting the Unknown”

Brian Buscher- Grab yourself a Busch and relax, here is one can-of hype Bert Blyleven and Dick Bremer (the Twins TV announcers: hall of fame pitcher (Bert) and his side-kick) can’t seem to talk enough about. The Twins acquired Brian in 2006 via the Rule-5 draft from the San Francisco Giants (they sure seem to like the Giants farm system *cough Liriano, Nathan, Boof *cough), and he is a 27 year old left handed hitting third-baseman.

Since Brian has been recalled this year, the twins have been 13-2, and he has been getting some timely base-hits. Key word here is base hits. He has only two doubles and a homerun, which happens to be a trend that he had in the minors too (career minor league SLG% of .404). However, since joining the AAA affiliate he has improved his slugging by over 100 point over his career totals (.514 this year). Though at age 27 he is primed and ready to go as he has had a chance to mature into his body. In 337 AAA at-bats he has 15 homers. Nothing super impressive, but it hasn’t translated through to the majors yet (3 homers in 133 at-bats). His ‘high’ slugging and OBP right now are inflated due to his high batting average. As the scouting report gets out on him his numbers will fall even more.

Brian has a .280 career minor league average with a .349 OBP in 1995 at-bats in the minors. Nothing spectacular, but serviceable .As of June 24 (the last up to date sabermetric tables out, so there are 5 games missing where he went 5/17)) he has a BABIP or .375, LD% of .293, but a contact rate of .941. With only four strike outs in 50 at-bats he is whiffing at half the rate he was in the minors. I would expect him to have his average fall because of his BABIP, but his contact rates says it could stay near the .285-.290 range. Though with a fly-ball percent of .412, and a groundball percent of .29, he could see a lot more of his contacted balls fall into leather.

With what the Twins have to offer at Third-base, aka nothing (Mike Lamb), he should get the majority of the at-bats until he slumps hardcore. I don’t think he is a legit fantasy option, unless he keeps his hot-streak going because there are better options to place in your 3B slot (like Keppinger, Kouzmanoff, Jose Bautistia (who has had a better last month than Brian). However, in the last month he was rated at 248th best player in Yahoo games. Whatever value you take for that he has been hot of late, but don’t expect similar numbers throughout the rest of the year, unless of course you are looking for a singles hitting third-baseman.

Jonathan Sanchez- Here is what Rotoworld just said about him after his start today; “He’s given up exactly seven earned runs in three different starts, but has also surrendered three or less earned runs in his other 14 starts.” That was of course after he went seven, k’ing six, and walking only one. He has been up since April, and now people are jumping on his bandwagon, and I am waiting for the axle to shatter (I am bitter as you will soon find out why). It isn’t that he has no talent, or that his track record says different. It is for the same reason why there is such a thing call a pitch count. If you believe in that young pitchers should only increase their total amount of innings pitched from year to year until they are fully developed by 15-25 innings then you should be wary of Jonathan Sanchez pitching the rest of the year.

In 2006, at age 23 he pitched in 95 innings between AA, AAA, and the MLB. In 2007, he pitched in only 75.6 innings. In the low minors he was a starting pitcher. However, as he progressed through the Giants system they switched him over to a reliever. In 2005, the year before his move to the bullpen, he pitched 125.3 innings. This season he has worked in 95 innings and might be nearing a period were he gets dead arm, or that the Giants might be thinking about letting him take longer rests between starts like Lincecum did last year. That or the Giants shut him down for the season. If you look at Lincecum’s last month of work for 2007, you will notice an extreme difference then when he first started. So bare in mind, that Sanchez could be posting some awful numbers soon (mid July at the earliest, but for surely by August).

His minor league line was impressive with 252.1 innings, 9 homers allowed, 333 strikeouts and 98 walks (for a K/BB of 3.4), and ERA of 3.42 and a WHIP of 1.19. In 2005 his k-rate dropped upon reaching the majors, which is typically expected of rookies. But now after his third season up in the majors, and his first that he has started here, he has been impressive. His control problems haven been any worse than teammates Matt Cain, and has just four more than Tim Lincecum after this game (Cain, Lincecum, and Sanchez have 307 strikeouts, and they are the only 3 team mates in the top 15 in total k’s with the Reds Volquez and Harang as the only other teams in the top 15, that’s pretty impressive).

I had him for the first one he had when he faced the Brew Crew, and at that time I was reading that he would be sent back down, but he has proved me wrong. I gave up on him right then and there and he has come back to bite my ass. As a jealous owner, I wish I would have kept him and I have been waiting all year for him to just bomb, though he hasn’t helped out in WHIP, but his ERA keeps dropping with each good start. And really you own him for the K’s, not the wins that he Giants somehow find, or the crippling walk inflated WHIP. You have been warned, pawn him off ASAP!

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Feather, cotton, memory foam, and even rocks on those camping trips have served as pillows, yet it takes a truly talented person to hurt themselves doing everyday tasks (like John Smoltz ironing his t-shirt while it was still on, to Marty Cordova sunburning himself to the 15-day DL, to a sneeze- God bless you Sammy Sosa). After today we have a new champion to receive the Klutz King title: Brandon Inge. He reportedly told the Free Press that “I have a 3-year-old son who sleeps in the bed with my wife and me,” Inge said. “I was trying to push the pillow down behind his head (two nights ago), and when I did … I repopped (the strained muscle). “You take swings in baseball, and it’s not as bad as pushing a pillow down.” Well I never knew it was so hard to readjust a pillow, maybe if it was a jock strap, which he has more practice moving around, he wouldn’t have hurt himself. And when did swinging a 32 ounce bat become harder than pushing a maliable , soft, couchy pillow? Man up (I guess he did by disclosing such a ridiculous injury excuse), and claim your new title while you push aside Sammy, Marty, and John as you are the new King in town.

Carlos Delgado- Massive day saw him hitting a grand slam, a 3-run homer, and a 2-run RBI. For a player that is in the twilight of his career todays numbers give him some respectable season totals with 13 home runs, and 43 RBIs. He is still a poor option to be playing everyday for most fantasy teams, but if you had him in today, props to you.

Curtis Granderson- He continued his hot hitting moving his streak up to 14 games. Back-to-back 4/5 games and his last three games he is 10/14. During this 14 game hitting streak he has moved his average .054 points. Now batting .294 on the season, and finally attempting to steal (though caught two nights ago, but got a steal last night), and the best part is that he had 2 triples tonight doubling his total this year. He isn’t just hot, he is sizzling tobasco hot.

Seth McClung- A bad outing against surging Twinkies. Not surprising as many NL starters are getting rocked against AL lineups when the AL is home. That and it was Minnesota’s second time seeing him in the last two weeks. After posting four straight quality starts in a row, he was due for a poor outing. Look for a better start early next week against the Diamondbacks when he pitched 6 innings of one run ball back in early June.

Jair Jurrjens- 8 innings of 3 hit ball, striking out 3. It was probably his best outing of the season. The Blue Jays on the other hand are an awful hitting team, so this might just be a blimp of his possibilities in the future. of great month. He is young with a lot of potential and will have a typical rookie roller coaster season.

Chase Utley- Still in a pretty big slump despite his recent 4/5 game on Tuesday. I was reading a wonderful report on him that was really impressive on my news link.

Prince Fielder- Another oh fer night against the Twinkies has brought his hitless streak to a season high of four games. In that span he is 0/17 dropping his average from .292 to .274. Granted this streak has coincided with a road trip as his home average is .313 compared to .250 on the road, just an observation.

Chris Davis (TEX)- He strikes out like Howard, and like Jay Bruce is doing and did in the minors. He has some pop, but only with marginal power (aka mid 20’s in a full season). Pickup at your own risk.

Brian Buscher- Finally putting it all together after struggling last year. With this last call-up he is 18/44 with 10/1/15 with a .375 batting average. He is a very timely hitter for the twins, and his call-up has coincided with the Twins winning streak (now up to 10 games). Tomorrow I will give a player break down on him. This waiver wire fodder is better than the air conditioner above.

CC Sabathia- Pitched 8 innings of shutout ball, while striking out 11 Reds while allowing only four hits. I think his funk in officially over. His last 10 outings have produced 8 quality starts, and all of them he has pitched at least 7 innings.

Edinson Volquez- I don’t know how I missed it yesterday, but he had his worst game of the season by far. Has Dusty Baker been riding our young starlet? If he has another poor start in his next outing it could make the dog days of summer even longer in Cincinnati, and for all you Volquez owners out there.

Clayton Kershaw- This year Lincecum? Um, more like over-hyped, and not totally prepared for the big leagues. Still young enough to adjust (DUH!), but probably not this year.

Nick Swisher- A grand slam, a double and two runs, a pretty nice night for a struggling Swisher. On pace for typical year (minus his career year in 2006). Just have to keep expectations lower than his 2006 numbers.

Kei Igawa- The Yanks are going to try and use him as their long reliever after the sent Ross Ohlendorf who got rocked today. Kei is definitely not the key to fit into this broken bullpen.

Carlos Pena- Can anyone say Brady Anderson (career stats here). Striking out at a 34% rate this year and a 30% rate for his career. He whiffs just as much as Ryan Howard, but Howard’s free air conditioning has proven to hit home runs. With a career average at .250 don’t expect more than 15 more homers all year.

Evan Longoria- I tell you to trade him and he goes out and hits his a three-run bomb for his 15th homer of the season. With a 4/5 day he has raised his average up from .248 to .272 during his five game hit streak. With a line of 41/15/46 he just might be this years Pence-Braun tweener (aka not as good as Braun, but better than Pence)

Jacob McGee- Keeping along the Tampa Bay Rays news, he will undergo Tommy Johns Surgery. This should just be a small set back as he is often given the title of the best minor league pitcher on his way to the majors. Now, we just have to wait a bit longer to see him in the majors, and maybe this will make some fantasy owners forget about him and he could fall through the holes in the near future.

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Shawn Chacon was put on waivers Thursday by the Houston Astros, a day after he got into a physical altercation with general manager Ed Wade.” (AP)

What a way to go out, if you are putting up his impressive numbers and feel entitled, go for it. While you are at it jump in the lions den carrying some deer meat, just don’t trip and break your collar bone. That would be like any employee going up to your CEO and in midst of your conversation you decide to ‘chest bump’ him/her, and then continue to badger and eventually have a ‘disagreement’. The Labor Union will of course get involved because the Astros are reportedly going to release him straight up if he clears waivers (which he probably will, I mean seriously who wants that, that or that), and if that happens there is about $2 million in salary that is going to have to be paid for by the Astros.

While Shawn was reverting back to puberty, here is what the rest of the league did:

Rich Harden- 95 pitches of pure brilliance in sheer domination of an impressive Philly’s lineup. 11 strike outs a walk, and 2 hits in eight innings of work sure brings tears to Richie’s faithful. 5-0 this year with 67 innings pitched almost equals all the work he has gotten the last two years combined (72.6). Barring another injury, we might have the comeback player of the year. I doubt it because him not getting hurt would be like Amy Winehouse not smoking crack, or Jose Canseco writing another steroids book. There’s no time like the present to sell for the future.

Matt Garza- Yet another brilliant and dominating performance today. To say that pitched excellent is not giving him enough props. He took a no-hitter into the seven and then gave up his only hit of the game, a solo shot by Ham-Ram. He gutted, filleted, and grilled up these fish for a impressive win, while striking out 10. (Being a Twins fan, I wonder if Delmon Young will last longer than Garza, but Garza is showing why he is so highly touted. Being two years Delmon’s senior, we wont know who got the better end in this trade, but with the way the Twins trade their players, and how well they know pitching I will assume that Minnesota got winning side.) Thats besides the point, Garza is a promising young pitcher, and I would grab him and ride him for the rest of the year.

*p.s. I wrote about Harden and Garza before MLB wrote theirs

Chicago Cubs- Lost their mid week series against the Orioles… at home nonetheless. Not that I care much because I hate bandwagon jumpers and hoppers more than anyone else does, but it is refreshing to see such ignorant fans cheer on their ‘cubbies’ but only know who one or two players are. Or worst yet, they only know what field the Cubs play their home games *you know who you are, and yes I do hold some grudges against people I know that are like this *cough cough!

Wandy Rodriguez- Continuing his impressive home/road splits, he k’d nine Rangers in eight innings, allowing only 5 hits and a rbi single by Ian Kinsler in the top of the eighth. That pushed his home record to 2-2, with 35k’s in 38 innings, 1.89 ERA, and a .94 WHIP. His away line is gross with a respectable ERA of 3.58, but a WHIP of 1.50. The biggest notable difference on his peripherals is his batting average allowed .204 (before tonights game)/.276 (home/away). By now we should all know to bench him on his away games and start him at home. For home is where his heart obviously is.

Ian Snell- Went on the DL retroactive to the 23rd of June. I promised you that this would happen, but now that we know it is the elbow we can only hope that he recovers well and pitches like he did last year in the second half (the reason many of us drafted him). I get really worried with pitchers have any type of elbow injury, so going forth I would advise using caution when thinking about Ian Snell from now on this year.

Chase Headley- After starting his big league career with a seven game hit streak, he is only 2 for his last 16 (stats up to date in the top of the ninth in todays game 6/26/2008). He has been dropped quite a bit in many Yahoo fantasy leagues. Rookie slumps are expected, just like taxes and death, ride it out if you like, but if your WW fodder is fertile swap your crop.

Joba Chamberlain- In his first really dominating start he struck out seven, walked only one, and allowed no runs on six hits in 6 2/3. Granted this was done against the recently struggling Pirates (4-6 in their last 10), and he was allowed to pitch 114 pitches. He consistently has been given more and more pitches, but there needs to be a cut off point (though I don’t think pitch counts should have a definite cut of point, but with a young arm it needs to be watched more closely than older veterans). He started the 7th off with a ground out and a strike out, but then back to back hits by Jack Wilson and Doug Mientkiewicz (that is worse that typing Saltalamacchia name). The most impressive thing to note is that this is his first time walking only one batter and being in line for the win (he did it one other time but only pitched 4 1/3 innings).

Evan Longoria- In his last ten games he has been HOT HOT HOT. With 7/4/11 and a .308 average to boot. Just a hot streak, but should be cooling off soon. Try and pawn him off as he has put together some good numbers of late.

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With only five games today, I had some time to think about my poor decisions I have already made (Tim Lincecum and Chipper Jones traded for Delmon Young, Kevin Kouzmanoff, and Carlos Marmol [done before the season started) & (Edinson Volquez and Kouzmanoff for Fielder (still iffy as Volquez might not make it all year). The worst part is that we are still not to the half way point (81 games). My tip for today is trust your gut on draft day and at least right your intial team until June. If I did I would be in the top 2 or 3, instead of the middle of the pack (in a 20 team league. Sitting at 7th right now). Damn impatiences!!!

Ryan Doumit– Rotoworld reports that he was symptom free and would be available to pinch hit on Tuesday if needed. Like I said here, concussions are very unpredictable and can have lasting affects even after everything feels ‘good to go’. Precede with caution, and don’t tell me I didn’t warn you.

Ian Snell– Will go on the DL, I promise you that. With the way he has pitched and the way that quality players have had a MRI and then been placed on the DL, Ian is sure to follow.

Carlos Marmol- After sitting down with his pitching coach he pinpointed his recent control problems which he said were mechanics flaws involving flying open too soon and not staying on top enough with his delivery. It isn’t necessarily a hard fix, but definitely one that might cause a few more ‘poor’ outings. Don’t worry though as Marmol is one of the best MR’s in the game.

Felix Hernandez- Hit a grand slam, but in the bottom of the fifth he got a Carlos Beltran spike caught against his left lower leg coving home plate on his own wild pitch. The official injury is a sprained left ankle. Quite sad if you ask me, he was pitching well of late, and was holding the Mets to two hits and run while pitching effeciently too (51 pitches in 4 1/3). More depressing is “Hernandez’s early departure also ended a streak of 41 consecutive starts of pitching at least five innings” (MLB.com) He will probably miss a start or two, but I think he will avoid the DL.

Ben Sheets- Dominated the Braves en route to a complete game win striking out seven walking zero, and allowing only four hits and one run. yet another impressive start for this ace. He has always had amazing, jaw-dropping stuff, but he always finds a way to get hurt. Right now Ben ‘paper’ Sheets hasn’t torn or sprained something, but I think you don’t want to keep holding this ticking injury bomb.

Jeff Francoeur- This smooth swing 24 year old has a BABIP of .278, which isn’t too bad, but the league average is around .300, and his GB, FB, and LD percentages (41%/38%/20.1% respectfully) are fairly decent with only the Fly ball on the poor side. We would prefer that the FB is up in the mid forties, but the line-drive and ground balls are respectable. He might not be the .300 hitter we saw last year, but the power isn’t there (HR/ab is right were teammate’s Kelly Johnson’s is (36 ab per homer). Last year he play a bit better after the ASB, and he hard surgery for his eyes, so maybe he will do better with this mantra “See Ball. Hit Ball.”

Jeff Keppinger– If your SS sucks, pick him up. He is legit, and is better than the scrap of heap most short stops provide. Need I say more?

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You’d think that a single home run would be enough for most players, but not today. Mark Teixeira hit three, with at least one from each side of the plate (now with 13 on the season). The big Tex is just heating as Robinson Cano can attest the second half is where the money is made. Fielder hit two to move his total up to 16, and June total up to 8, and Kevin Youkilis hit two too (lame I know) moving his season total up to 13 as well. Not only was he the fourth player in Braves history to hit a homer from each side of the plate in the same game with a total of three home runs, but Jeff Clement the Mariners rookie catcher hit his first major league home run in the top of the ninth driving in two. Then in the Sunday night game Eric Patterson decides to join Jeff the Clementine and hit his first too. Pretty exciting day if you ask me, and here are other feats from around the league:

Jeff Baker- Has been raking. In the last ten he has a line of 12/4/8 and .416 Ave. His June line is at 13/5/11 with .425/.455/.925 (Ave, OBP, SLG) Clint Barmes better start hitting (5/16 in rehab, but 3 of those hits came on one day) or he may be out of a starting role. However, Baker and Barmes should co-exist in the line up as the Rockies travel to the AL parks next week and one shallsee at bats as the DH.

Elijah Dukes- Since going five for six on Friday, he has been hitless in eight at bats. Prior to today June has been amazing for this arrested development(al) player as his .325/.409/.506 line shows that he is driving the ball around the park. The best part, he has stolen five bases too.

Brandon Morrow- Didn’t travel with the team to Atlanta due to back spasms; wouldn’t blame him the way today went (that and the Atlanta airport blows like an aids stricken whore). He is supposed to make it to New York for the Mets series. Be careful with back spasms as they typically don’t go away without extended rest.

Chase Headley- Started his young career with six straight games with a hit, and hit two homers before his oh-fer day today. Maybe like Braun last year when he was sent down until June because of his defense, and then came up and raked. But don’t expect such high production. Once his scouting report gets around he will tone it down a bit. However, better to try a rookie than an underachieving veteran as their ceiling is WAY higher.

Jason Giambi- I was watching some SportsCenter after the Spain-Italy game (Yes, I love soccer and will watch it. I also like football, hockey, black coffee, and nice long walks on the beach…), and noticed that he has the nastiest stache in the game. I am surprise that moms let their children watch the Yankees knowing that Jason ‘Pedistache’ Giambi would be playing. Just sick! Oh, and he was 3/3 2 RBI, a double and get this a stolen base. To boot he is hitting like he did in 2006 (OPS .957)

Jared Burton- My noted middle reliever. May was nasty to him, and April was, well not much better. He showed excellent strike out potential last year when he k’d 39 in 43 innings of work. This year he has k’d 41 in 39+ innings of work well showing good control (only 13 walks, and last year he only had 22). Now that June has rolled around and it is finally warm everywhere in the country he has pitched mighty fine allowing a minuscule batting average (.171), ERA (.77), and whip (1.03). He has only allowed 1 run, and has a K/BB or 12/5. If you are looking for a good source of K’s and respectable ERA and WHIP he is your Man.

Seth McClung- Good start over the weekend picking up the ‘W’ against Baltimore. In 6 2/3 innings he allowed 3 hits and 2 runs and k’d 6 in a pretty decent start considering he was all over the place (5 walks). It was only his second start in which he walked over 1 batter (the other time was when he walked 6 and was shelled by the Braves). I am thinking he will stick in the rotation and get about 6-8 more wins, with an ERA around 4 and a WHIP near 1.25. Nothing to write home about but definitely worth it in NL only leagues, and deeper mixed leagues.

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I am working some long shifts and have traveling plans for Tuesday and Wednesday the 24, and 25 were I will be out of town. Thus, I am going to be doing some shorter analysis this week starting tomorrow. After today’s games I will be giving a full report and then starting tomorrow I will give about 5 to 6 players a view.

I have also decided to take the weekends off until I develop a larger base of readers as I need time to recoop from my week of work, and just enjoy a few days of my own. So, Sundays through Fridays will be my typical week.

If you have any comments or want to give some feed back feel free to go all out. I love hearing feedback. The best would be if you want me to focus on one or two players and give in-depth analysis, I can give it. Thanks for spending your time reading my thoughts.

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I went to the Twins D’Backs game on Friday night at the Metrodome. I am an avid Twins fan and was lucky enough to get tickets from a man in my church who is a season ticket holder (1st base side, edge of infield, 30 rows up bottom bowl. It sounds way higher than it really was. I was able to easily see balls and strikes and nothing was “hard to see”). The game was pretty dull except for the 3rd inning when the Twins rattled off 6 runs in about 12 pitches from Randy Johnson (who went the distance for the 8 inning complete game).

You know what really rattles my chain? Fans who talk the whole entire game about their fantasy teams, their softball team/league, and “You know what jersey would be awesome to have? (Fill in any ‘cool’ name here from before the mid 90’s) would be sweet.

I wasn’t the fact that they were talking, or what they were talking about. It was the sheer fact that during the game they talked LOUD, almost like they were at a party next to the sub loud. I didn’t mind hearing about their softball league problems, or which jersey would be ‘cool’ to own, but it was their sheer ignorance about fantasy baseball that ticked me off the most.

I heard that one of them dropped Jacoby Ellsbury for Carlos Gomez (who when running out into the field in the top of the first trip flat on his face). Not a bad drop in the very beginning, but not wise either. However, what pissed me off the most is that on the D’Backs roster the only player(s) they knew were Orlando Hudson, Mark Reynolds, and Randy Johnson. Now I am thinking “WTF, you don’t know about Chris Young (or Krispie (Chris B. Young to not get confused with Chris R. Young of the Padres (attribute the Krispie nickname to Rudy over at Razzball), or Brandon Lyons, or Qualls, or Stephen Drew. Frick, I could list most of their lineup and pitching staff (not to mention Dan Haren, Brandon Webb).

It just made me sick to hear about how bad one of their leagues members was at fantasy baseball, and then hearing them talk about how they didn’t know anyone on the D’Backs. The real thing is they were all cocky and talking up a big game about how good they were at fantasy baseball and how good they were at softball. Grow up, you’re in you late 20’s, early 30’s and you are still behaving like a pre-pubescences high school student.

Nothing bothers me more than two adults acting like they “own the world”, and having such as immature cocky attitude, and then talking so half the section can hear all about it.

*end rant.

I plan on doing more research post then thoughts about life/baseball. Just wanted to get something up for over the weekend.

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