Category Archives: Observations

NL Roundup (4/28)

By nichols33

NL East:

Atlanta: Jo-Jo Reyes is struggling and Tommy Hanson has 29 Ks in 20.6 innings in AAA. If Hanson is available in your league, go get him. He could be a two start pitcher in week 5 if the Braves call him up.

Florida: Hanley Ramirez dodged a HUGE bullet on Monday night. He was hit in right hand by a John Maine pitch. At first I thought for sure it was broken but he was back on te bench, all smiles, a few innings later. X-Rays were negative and Ramirez will be back to mashing soon enough.

Matt Lindstrom has be horrendous and the WBC curse may be the cause. Lindstrom was injured during the WBC and has not been the same since. Leo Nunez would be the Marlins closer should Lindstrom lose the job. Neither warrant consideration in leagues of 12 teams and under.

New York: David Wright is struggling. He is striking out at an alarming rate. But there are signs he is about to bust out of his slump. He is starting to go the other way a bit more, hitting deep line drives to center. He just missing some pitches as well, fouling them off instead of putting them in play. Expect week 5 to be the start of this notorious slow starter’s MVP runner up season (Pujols might win the next 5 MVPs).

Philadelphia: Brad Lidge has a bum knee and Ryan Madsen got the save on Monday night. Watch this situation closely. The Phillies win a ton of games and will provide ample save opportunities for any closer.

Washington: Joe Beimel is going to be the closer when he comes off the DL next week. Joel Hanrahan has been the worst closer in baseball in this young season. The Nationals won’t get too many save opportunities for Beimel, but he’s worth a look in large leagues.

Don’t look now, but Adam Dunn has hit HRs in back-to-back games. This could be the start of a hot streak for Mr. Dunn where he hits 4 to 5 HRs in a week.

NL Central:

Cincinnati: Going into the season, the Reds looked to have one of the better starting rotations in the league. But so far they’ve been pretty erratic. Up until tonight’s start, Harang was the only one putting up consistent solid starts. Edison Volquez, Jonny Cueto, Bronson Arroyo and Micah Owings has all had flashes of brilliance but also some flashes of Oliver Perez.

Chicago: Derrek Lee is done. He had a great career but he is done. He’s hit 8 HRs since last May. He has no power and is hitting .209 this year. If you own him, see if his name can get you anything for him. I don’t think you can name a starting 1B I would not trade him straight up for.

Houston: Jose Valverde is going on the DL and manager Cecil Cooper has said he’ll play the match-up game when choosing who will close games out while Valverde is out. LaTroy Hawkins may get some saves in the interim.

Milwaukee: Mike Cameron is on fire. Cameron is hitting .328 with 5 HRs and probably most telling 12 BBs to 13 Ks. Don’t expect this to last but see if you can ride him until he goes back to hitting .250 and striking out 3 times for every walk.

Pittsburgh: Did you know Freddy Sanchez was hitting .359?!?! Neither did I, that hasn’t to be the quietest .359 month I’ve ever seen. Sanchez is capable of winning a batting title so if you need average and runs and have plenty of power already in your lineup, Sanchez may be a nice fit.

St. Louis: Quick, who leads the NL in wins? Some of you might have guessed Chad Billingsly and you’d be correct, but how many of you said Joel Pineiro? Both Pineiro and Billingsly have started the season 4 and 0. Expect Billingsly to continue his dominance of the NL while Joel Pineiro should come back down to earth.

NL West:

Arizona: Ouch….Stephen Drew just hit the DL and news came out that Brandon Webb will not be ready for another 6 weeks. Drew is an early candidate for bust of the year. If you got him this year you got him early, let’s hope he gets healthy and continues to develop into one of the top offensive shortstops in baseball. As for Webb, MRIs have revealed no structural damage, just fluid in the shoulder. If you are a gambling fantasy player see if a frustrated owner will give you Webb for $0.25 on the dollar. 3 and 1/2 months of Webb could propel you to a championship.

Colorado: Ian Stewart has played 5 games at 2B. In some leagues that makes him 2B eligible and if Stewart can stay in the lineup day after day he could be a top 10 2B in mixed leagues.

Los Angeles: Andre Either is an on-base machine. He has a .429 OBP and is on pace to drive in 154 runs. Obviously he’ll cool down, but this 27 year old is taking the step!!

San Deigo: I’ve read a number of reports where people are alarmed at Chris Young’s radar gun readings. Last night he was consistently in the mid 80s topping out around 87 mph. News flash, that’s Chris Young. Yes he’s 6’10” but he’s never thrown hard. Young is a spot specialist and has 3 real good games this year and 2 blow ups including last nights 5 BB, 7 ER loss in Colorado. His two bad games have been in Philly and Denver. Young may be this year’s Wandy Rodriguez where you start him at home and avoid him on the road.

San Francisco: Pablo Sandoval has been behind the plate in Barry Zito’s last two starts. His bat is going to play much better at C when compared to 1B or 3B if he can get catcher eligibility.

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Can C.C. Sabathia be overworked?

si-cover-cc-sabathia2By nichols33

Owners of C.C. Sabathia are going through another tough April this year as Sabathia is struggling a little bit early in the season. His struggles are not as bad as last year; last year after 5 starts he was 1 and 3 with a 10.13 ERA…this year 1 and 2 with a 4.73 ERA. Will Sabathia turn it around like he did last year and become one of the best pitchers in baseball post-April or are his early season struggles a sign that his past is catching up to him?

In 2007 Sabathia threw 3,581 pitches, good for the 6th most in baseball that year. Last year, including his one playoff start, Sabathia threw 3,814 pitches (106 pitches per start). That was 132 more than any other pitcher in baseball (Lincecum threw 3,682). That included 5 games where he threw over 120 pitches including a 130 pitch complete game on August 18th versus the Astros where the Brewers won 9 to 3.

Now the Yankees just signed Sabathia to a huge contract including a salary of $15 million this season and you would expect them to be cautious with their new investment, right? Through 5 starts Sabathia has thrown 537 pitches or 107.4 pitches per start. He’s on pace to throw more pitches this season than last!?! Well, at least the Yankees may give him a break in October when they are watching the playoffs on TV.

Some may say “hey, C.C. Sabathia is a big man and his body can handle the work,” after all he is listed at 6-7, 290 lbs. The guy is a workhorse, no doubt, but you have to wonder if this work is going to catch up to his prized left arm.

If I owned C.C. Sabathia, I would wait for him to throw his next gem and try and see what I could get for him. His previous pitch counts and fact that the new Yankee Stadium is playing like a little league field all lead me to believe C.C. is in for a disappointing season.

What’s your take?

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Will David Wright K 234 times?

david-wrightBy nichols33

Yes, I know, I know, we are a little over a week into the season. BUT, David Wright is on pace to strike out 234 times!?! Owners of DW in points league are seriously worried right now.

Wright is striking out at more than double the pace he walks. With the exception of Wright’s first year in the league (2004: 4o Ks; 14 BB) DW has had very solid K/BB ratios. Check out his ratios over the last few years:

2008: 118 Ks / 94 BBs

2007: 115 Ks / 94 BBs

2006: 113 Ks / 66 BBs

2005: 113 Ks / 72 BBs

Lets be real, David Wright is not going to strike out 234 times. He probably won’t even approach 150 Ks, but this is a very alarming start to the season. Wright has put tremendous pressure  on himself after two straight Mets collapses and the New York media never lets him forget his .243 average with runners in scoring position last season. Wright may be pressing. Brand new stadium, back-to-back collapses, rivals winning the World Series, etc.

Wright will turn it around and will put up top 5 fantasy player numbers, but right now, it is frustrating to be a Wright owner. Just sit back an remember Wright had his worst month of the season last year in April.

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Observations (4/13)

By nichols33

Citi Field, the new home of the New York Mets, plays big…..real big. Both David Wright and Carlos Beltran smoked balls to dead center but they were just a can of corn for center fielder Jody Gerut. Down the lines are short but power alley to power alley, that place is big. Comparable to Petco park in San Diego.

Josh Johnson and Johan Santana had a good ole fashion duel in Miami on Sunday. One of the best games I’ve had a pleasure to watch recently. Johan struck out 13 Marlins and was only done in by a Daniel Murphy horrendous error. Johnson matched him frame for frame going the distance and nearly pitching a shutout. Peter Gammons predicted Johnson to win the NL Cy Young award this year. Some of Gammons’ recent predictions have been WAY off, but this one may come to fruition.

The Padres pitching staff after Jake Peavy and Chris Young might as well be a page ripped out of the yellow pages. Who are these guys? Frankie De La Cruz, Jae-Kuk Ryu, Kevin Correia, Luke Gregerson, Justin Hampson, Cla Meredith, Edwin Moreno, Edward Mujica, Luis Perdomo, Walter Silva!!??!?!? Bueller? Anyone?

Kevin Gregg will not be the closer for the Cubs on May 1st. It was ridiculous that he even won the job in the first place but you can see the frustration in Lou Pinella’s face as he watching Gregg pitch. Gregg had a 4 run lead last night versus the Brewers and had to strike out Prince Fielder who was the tying run to end the game. Carlos Marmol looked unhittable in the 8th.

Aaron Harang is an ace again. He threw a complete game shutout yesterday versus the Pirates after a very nice start against the Mets on opening day. He looked very good against the Mets in bad weather and followed that up with the gem yesterday. Harang will get a number of starts against poor teams like the Pirates, the Astros and the Brewers and is a low end #1 fantasy pitcher.

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Votto, Delgado, Beltran, Webb – Observations (4/8)

By nichols33

Brandon Webb is going to miss his next start this weekend versus the Dodgers. Big red flag for all Webb owners. No medical tests are scheduled at the moment and the Diamondbacks are playing it day-to-day. Fantasy Baseball Advice: Bench Webb in all leagues until he throws in a game and throws effectively. This is not good news. Hope for the best.

Joey Votto is good. He is real good. The 24 year old led all rookies in homers last season and he got his season going tonight. After a tough opening day versus Johan Santana, Votto had 3 hits tonight including an opposite field bomb off of Mike Pelfrey. Fantasy Baseball Advice: If you have this guy, sit back and enjoy. If you don’t have this guy….get him while the price is still relatively low.

Carlos Beltran and Carlos Delgado both had very good springs for both the Mets in Port St. Lucie as well as Team Puerto Rico in the WBC. Normally I don’t pay too much attention to spring stats for established veterans especially stars like Delgado and Beltran. But both of these guys are locked in and putting very good swings on the ball pretty much every at bat. Fantasy BaseballAdvice: I really like both of these guys this year. Delgado will be somewhere between his 1st half and 2nd half last year while I think Beltran will be slightly better than what he was last year which was the 2ndor 3rd best all around outfielder in the game.

David Wright looks lost at the plate. He is flailing at outside fastballs late in the count and swinging at off speed stuff int he dirt early in the count. To be fair, this is a very small sample and it was against a very sharp Aaron Harang and Edison Volquez. Wright did rip a double down the third base line and give a ball a good ride to the wall in right off the Reds bullpen tonight but an observation from a Mets fan who watches Wright daily….he looks lost at the plate. Fantasy Baseball Advice: Don’t worry, Wright will hit and he’ll hit soon. He is susceptible to long slumps where he looks lost for 10 or so games, but he always comes out of those slumps with a bang.

The Mets bullpen is sick. This is great news for all owners of Mets starters especially Johan Santana who had his bullpen blow 7 games last year in which he left the game with the lead. If Santana won 5 of those 7 games last year, Tim Lincecum might still be searching for his first Cy Young award.

The Braves bullpen is, well  not so good. They gave up 9 runs in the 7th inning today blowing a big lead over the Phillies including 4 bases loaded walks!?! Mike Gonzalez did not look so hot on opening night after Derek Lowe shut down the Phils for 8 innings. The Braves bullpen could cause a lot of hair lose for owners of Braves starting pitchers.

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Early Season thoughts…

by notebookguy

Baseball season is finally here, let’s take a look at some of the early developments.  I know a game or 2 doesn’t mean much but when looking for the next McLouth, Quentin, Cl. Lee, and so on, it’s time to start looking.

Adam Jones, the speedy CF for the O’s, was on base 5 times against CC and the Yanks on opening day, with 3 hits and 2 walks.

Fantasy Baseball Advice:  Jones had alot of hype behind him coming into the year, I was one that was buying it but not completely sold, this is a good start.  If you grabbed him in your draft, see if an overzealous owner is will to buy high, if not, take a wait and see approach, a sleeper for 15-20 HR’s and 20+ SB’s.

Jay Bruce put a nice swing on a Johan Santana pitch to hit it out of the park.  A very encouraging sign for the young left handed slugger considering Santana is the best pitcher in the game and is also left-handed.  Bruce also was hitting 5th after Brandon Phillips, a great spot, better than the 2 hole as it was initially thought to be his spot in the Reds lineup.

Fantasy Baseball Advice:  Love Bruce this year.  Hanging in and homering against Johan is great for the lefthanded hitter as well.  If you snagged Bruce in you draft, nice job, I’d just ride the wave, drafted as a number 3 OF that could produce number 1 OF numbers.

The Braves and fantasy baseball owners alike got a raw deal in the person of Jeff Francoeur last year.  This much hyped youngster came into last season tabbed the next young Brave to explode onto the scene.  He fizzled big time with a Jason Varitek-esque year.  He’s off to a nice start this year though, homering on opening day, driving in 2 more runs already in todays game.

Fantasy Baseball Advice:  Great post hype buy.  Still a very young player at just 25 years old, he could still fulfill some of the promise he showed 2 years ago.  If you grabbed him in the very late rounds of your draft, you may have steal on your hands, at the very least enjoy the nice first 3 games.

Kevin Millwood, you may remember him as a Brave the last time he had much relevance, but he put together a very nice 7 inning, 1 earned run, 5 hits against,  5 K performance for the Rangers on opening day.  He was a borderline ace in his Braves days, he hasn’t been much since signing with the Rangers.

Fantasy Baseball Advice:  If you are dealing with some injuries to your staff, he may be a guy to look at.  He is also useful in leagues with benches that you pick a starting lineup, could be useful to mix in when he has 2 starts.  I am in no way declaring Kevin Millwood is as good as he was back with the Braves, but he could be a useful pitcher with good win potential with that offense backing him up, and can still rack up K’s at times.  His peripherals, WHIP and ERA, will probably be high, but he can contribute to your team.

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Observations (4/6)

By nichols33

Aaron Harang threw the ball pretty good today. He had good location pretty much staying on the outside corner all day against all of the left handed bats the Mets put up against him. Good to see he has his control early. He threw a lot of pitches but he looked good.

Johan Santana is off to a good start. His change up was on today and he didn’t give up a hit until Jay Bruce’s double of the wall that nearly left the yard. The Mets bullpen came in and did just as expected shutting down the Reds for 3.3 innings. If Santana doesn’t win the Cy Young award in the NL this year, I’d be really surprised.

Chris Ianetta’s homerun off of Brandon Webb would have left any park including Yellowstone. Webb could not spot his fastball and was pitching behind in the count nearly every batter. Aaron Cook was far worse if possible. Hopefully for Webb, his control will come back in his next start and he’ll keep the ball down. His ball stayed up an awful lot today.

Tony Clark started for the Diamondbacks at 1B today and hit 2 HRs. Chad Tracy played 3B and Mark Reynolds was on the bench. I’d expect these three guys to split the ABs for these 2 positions. Bob Melvin also started Eric Byrnes over Justin Upton. Interesting stuff, but I’d expect Justin Upton to get more at bats than Byrnes. Conor Jackson and Chris Young will likely start nearly every day at the other two OF spots.

Chad Qualls looked real good today. He was throwing strikes and throwing hard. He is a very solid closer in all leagues and could be top 10 by the end of the year.

CC Sabathia really struggled today. The Orioles got a lot of good wood on the ball and really waited for Sabathia to throw strikes today. If that wasn’t tough enough it seems like every little dribbler in the infield found a hole or bounced off the ends of the infielders glove. The Yankee’s infield defense was not doing CC any favors today.

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