Monday, June 9, 2008

Hot or Not

Welcome back to another edition of Hot or Not. We've got Hotness, we've got Notness, and we've got an emotional good-bye to...Billy Butler. Let's get to it.

Hot Bats

Milton Bradley

Stats over the last 7 days: 5 HR, 4 SB, .478 BA

If the Texas Rangers were a woman, they'd be the one that always dates Guys With Problems, convinced that they can save them. Amazingly, it's paying off - Bradley and Josh Hamilton have been great (we'll pretend Sidney Ponson never happened). How much longer until they swing a three-way trade for Delmon and Dmitri Young?! Or how about acquiring a certain relief pitcher?

Jorge Cantu

Stats over the last 7 days: 3 HR, 7 RBI, .407 BA

Did you know that Cantu was named the Devil Rays' team MVP in 2005? Check his bio - it's true. What do you think that award looks like? Probably a lot like one of those plaques they give to the coach of a 6-and-under soccer team at the end of the season.

Joe Mauer

Stats over the last 7 days: 2 HR, 6 RBI, .450 BA

Mauer may be third in the AL in batting average, but he leads the league in sideburns donated to small children.

Also Hot:

Manny Ramirez - 3 HR, 9 RBI, .381 BA

JD Drew - 3 HR, 7 RBI, .500 BA

Joe Crede - 5 HR, 12 RBI, .611 BA

Hot Arms

David Price

Stats over the last 7 days: 0 W, 0 K, 0.00 ERA

He's already owned in 30% of Sportsline leagues. Carlos Silva is available in 81% of leagues. I guess that sums up the difference between Tampa Bay and Seattle's seasons - even the Rays' prospects are hotter than the Mariners' everyday players.

Kerry Wood, Matt Capps, George Sherrill

Stats over the last 7 days: 4 S, 0.00 ERA each

Meanwhile, Eric Gagne lasted 1 2/3, giving up four runs and six hits while playing as himself yesterday in MLB 2K8.

JP Howell

Stats over the last 7 days: 2 W, 1 ER, 4 2/3 IP

This is the second time THIS SEASON that Howell's won two games in a week. Eric Bedard's only won four games all season. I guess that sums up the difference... 

Not Hot 

Billy Butler

Stats over the last 7 days: Who cares

I don't like to get emotional about guys on my team, but here we go...

We drafted Billy Butler in like the 14th or 15th round this season and thought we had ourselves a sleeper. Played on an up-and-coming team with some decent protection in the lineup. Hit for good average and decent power. Had a slight weight problem, but seemed relatively nimble - we were optimistically drawing Tony Gwynn comparisons at the time.

The first week of the season Butler hit .400 and drove in 3 runs. I remember thinking that Billy Butler might win a batting title one year. Then I thought that maybe that year was THIS YEAR. Why not? There was no law that said Billy Butler couldn't win the batting title this year. This was 2008. Things were wide open. This was The Year of Billy Butler!

Things, of course, did not turn out as I hoped. Butler apparently forgot that there was no rule against hitting a ball out of the park. Or that one was allowed to generate runs during plate appearances. At the end of May, Butler was unceremoniously shipped back to the minors. I haven't really gotten over it.

Phil, my colleague here at FSE, argued in a post last week that Billy Butler was worth stashing on your bench in deep leagues. I beg to differ. Billy Butler is a DH who hits for decent average, no power, and breaks owners' hearts. Do not keep him on your team unless you are prepared to deal with significant emotional torment throughout the season.

Wow, that was not easy. But I feel better. Good to get that out there.

I'm off to watch the Royals v. Tigers game from 4/3/08. Have it on the Tivo. See you next week...

Sunday, June 8, 2008

Top Pickups Around The Diamond & On the Mound - 6/8/08

Another week, another time for me to spend 2 hours checking the minor league stats of Rod Barajas.

Around The Diamond...

C- Rod Barajas

Barajas had a few good seasons with Texas and since then has been relegated to back up duty and has not been a fantasy worthy name. In 92 at bats this season, Barajas is doing his best to make himself relevant again. He has 5HR to go along with 17RBI and 12R, for the Toronto Blue Jays, and has found himself as the everyday starter with regular Greg Zaun on the DL. He is having a far superior season to Zaun and might have found himself a way to remain in the line up at C or even DH when Zaun returns.

VERDICT

Barajas might actually be a decent addition as the Blue Jays are starved for offense and he will get at bats so long he produces. if you are hard up for catching help go out and grab Barajas, who still might be able to reproduce the effectiveness he showed in seasons past.

1B- Chad Tracy

Tracy came on a few seasons ago and had a huge first year. Since then he hasn't done a whole lot and has become a utility player as Conor Jackson and Mark Reynolds now man the corner infield spots for Arizona. Thus far in only 20 at bats, he is hitting an even .300 with 2HR and 3RBI, prompting many to add him in their league in the hopes he can reclaim the magic he showed in season past.

VERDICT

I am not buying the hot start. He won't be starting once Connor Jackson comes back and the talk of him moving to the outfield will fizzle when Eric Byrnes comes back healthy as well. He is going to have to hit to earn his way back into the everyday line up and that will be difficult for him when he is constantly shifting to different positions as a super utility man.

2B Alexi Casilla

Casilla has had a few cups of coffee in the majors over the last two seasons and is now getting the everyday starting job at 2B while hitting second in the line up to help Carlos Gomez provide a spark and speed at the top. Casilla can steal a bag and knows how to draw a walk, making him serviceable at least in most leagues, especially if your current 2B is injured or struggling. He needs the everyday at bats to keep the average up and the stolen bases should come at a greater frequency oce he gets settled in. Believe it or not the one thing that could slow his speed down is having Carlos Gomez on base ahead of him, as the Twins would be more reluctant to have him run if it's a double steal, and the risk to be thrown out at third grows.

VERDICT

I like Casilla. I checked out the numbers and think he can do some things out there. Don't expect the power he has flashed early on, but he can slap the ball around and plays well hitting in front of Joe Mauer, and Justin Morneau. While the RBIs will slow down, he will still get a decent amount because of the aforementioned Gomez, and his speed in front of him.

3B Ian Stewart

Listed at 3B and playing 2B, this is another example of an immensely talented young player on Colorado's roster. The Rox have been trying to find a place for him on the big league roster, but he has been blocked by incumbent Garret Atkins. The banged up middle infield finally gave Stewart enough of a shot to get in there and Colorado seems bent on giving him every opportunity to succeed and show what he can do there.

VERDICT

Based on his minor league stats Stewart is a threat to hit the long ball, and also be able steal a base. He has some very good numbers in the minors, but the change of position in addition to the adjustment of going from hitting minor league pitching to major league pitching might be abit more than Steart can handle this early in his young career. Don't expect great things from him yet, but next season he might be a great young sleeper pick, who is both 3B
and 2B eligible.

SS Jhonny Peralta

Can hit the long ball and finish with a decent amount of RBI but does nothing to distinguish himself as a SS. In 2005 many thought his 21HR, 78 RBI campaign was a precursor of things to come with the next great SS. Instead all that season did was serve as was a reason for Peralta owners to get frustrated and bewildered by hsi lack of ability to grow as a hitter, to the point where he actually regressed.

The 11HR look good this season, but he only has 20RBI total to go along with a .241AVG. He is currently in a hot streak where he has collected hits and scored runs by the bunches and has given fantasy owners yet another reason to believe.

VERDICT

Don't buy the hot streak. Peralta will frustrate you more often than not and you are better off find a guy who can go out there and put up some consistent numbers for you throughout the season, even if it means sacrificing the power numbers he puts up.

OF Carlos Gonzalez

A young player on Oakland... HE MUST BE GOOD! This far Gonzalez has 19AB in the bigs has not done anything overly impressive to warrant him being added like he has been. The A's are getting ready for OF Ryan Sweeney to get healthy at which point either Gonzalez or Travis Buck will be bound for AAA. At this point I think Gonzalez will be the one headed back down because Buck has more experience and given the early indications Gonzo could use a bit more seasoning.

VERDICT

Maybe down the road, but not yet. Perhaps in September or August as a late season call up depending on where Oakland is in the standings at that point in time.

Marcus Thames

Has it gotten this bad for added outfielders? Thames is nothing more than a guy who can deliver cheap power. Low batting average, not a lot of RBI, and will have to do something to impress Jim Leyland if he wants to stay in the line up. He did hit 2HR in a game last week, but other than that there isn't a whole lot going on for him.

VERDICT

I know he is a hitter on Detroit and people have fallen in love with that line up, but please in this case it's nothing to get excited about.

Cody Ross

Speaking of cheap power... Ross had a remarkable May, managing only 14 hits, but 10 of those hits managed to leave the ballpark. For the majority of his career, Ross has only managed fill in duty and the power display he put on in May helped earn him a bit more playing time, which helped his numbers a bit.

VERDICT

It is a nice story, but this seems more Shane Spencer than Sammy Sosa. If he was going to hit 10HR every month it would be one thing, but this power was way to fluky and in no way is demonstrative of what he has done throughout the course of his career. Stay away and don't bother.

On The Mound...

Justin Masterson

With Daisuke Matsuzaka on the shelf for a bit, Masterson gets the call from the minor leagues and of course as a Red Sock with limited experience he is pitching like a seasoned veteran. It is not exactly sure how many more starts Masterson will actually get, as it depends on the ability of Clay Buccholz and Matsuzaka to get healthy and get back into the rotation.

VERDICT

If you have unlimited roster moves he might be a good bet to ride while he is hot. If you are limited or already have a full staff, don't bother, he won't be around in the majors that much longer.

Homer Bailey

Cincinnati's most coveted and hyped pitching prospect makes his debut Thusday, playing at Philadelphia. Let me repeat, young pitcher, coming up to the majors for his first start of the season, AT PHILADELPHIA.

VERDICT

He has enough talent to merit an addition to most fantasy squads in most leagues. However, I would not go near having him start in his big league debut against Philly. Grab him and stash him so you can see what you will potentially get out of him down the road.

Rafael Soriano

With John Smoltz being lost to the DL for the rest of the season, someone has to close in the ATL. Soriano was the closer early in the season, but after one save he wound up in a familiar place, on the DL nursing elbow soreness. After locking down two saves it appeared Soriano had turned the corner; however, he was unable to pitch this weekend due to elbow tendinitis.

VERDICT

Manny Acosta did a fine job of blowing the lead and the game on Wednesday, so don't expect to see him get the ball in any pressure situations any time soon. Soriano has said he just needs a few days to rest and will return for week 11. He will close, so long as he is healthy. Keep an eye on Mike Gonzalez who's return is getting cl0ser.

Dan Wheeler/ Salomon Torres

Wheeler will get save opportunities while Troy Percival remains on the shelf. Torres will get save opportunities while Eric Gagne remains on the shelf, and will probably continue to do so afterward as well.

VERDICT

Torres is probably the better bet to be closing a month or two from now, so if you have to choose between the two, go with him.

Joel Zumaya

The once dominant set up man was beset by injuries in 2007 and so far in the beginning of 2008. He has been rehabbing his arm and in his last appearance he touched 100MPH on the gun, something many thought he might never do again.

VERDICT

Could be a great source of ERA, WHP and Ks for your fantasy team. Todd Jones is pretty well entrenched in the closer's role there, so don't expect him to take any chances away from him.

Bonderman's Season Over: FANTASY IMPACT

According to Baseball Prospectus.com's Will Carrol, Jeremy Bonderman has under gone surgery to correct the clotting problem that has arisen in his shoulder. The surgery ends Bonderman's season as the recovery time is listed as being between 6-12months.

This is a big blow for the Tiger's rotation as it seemed as if Bonderman was just getting it going. It looks like this means more turns in the rotation for upstart Armando Gallaraga and professional disaster Dontrelle Willis. Gallaraga is a decent starting option, but it's obvious the Tigers have lost faith in Willis and are reluctant to start him on a consistent basis.


FANTASY IMPACT

Bonderman really isn't that good, and is generally one of the more overrated pitchers come draft day, He was awful to start the season and while he has pitched better of late, the WHIP remained high and his struggles to locate his pitches remained. This shouldn't be a big blow to most fantasy owners, as Bonderman's number can be easily replaced by guys like Aaron Laffey, Jason Bergmann, or Jeremy Guthrie.