Tag Archives: Derek Lowe

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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Observations (4/5)

By nichols33

Brett Myers was throwing batting practice tonight. John Miller wouldn’t stop talking about how Myers doesn’t throw his fastball enough, but in this case, he is right. Myers throws change-up after change-up mixing in some sliders and hardly throws  the fastball. And when he did tonight….it ended up in the 5th row. Myers battled back to give the Phils some innings but he looked more like the 2008 1st half Brett Myers rather than the 2nd half Myers. A disappointing first start to say the least. The Phils staff could be in big trouble if Myers continues to struggle. Hamels has already had some elbow issues, Blanton an average starting pitcher at best, Moyer is like 50 years old coming off a season of a near 5 ERA and Chan Ho Park (yes, remember him) is the 5th guy. Yikes.

Chipper Jones can hit. That statement shouldn’t surprise anybody, but it needs to be said. When watching a healthy Chipper you wonder how a pitcher can get him out.

The Braves are going to have trouble scoring runs this year. Their line-up is just not that good. When Chipper goes down, they only have one premium bat in that line-up with McCann. All others are average to below average.

So much for Charlie Manuel wanting to break up his lefty sluggers. He hit Utley 3, Howard 4 and Ibanez 5. Did he notice the Braves closer Mike Gonzalez is a lefty?

D Lowe was on tonight. I don’t understand how he is still so effective, I mean these guys know what he’s going to do. He’s going to keep the ball down in the zone and when he gets you in a pitchers count he is going to throw the slider down and away to righties. Yet it’s just ground ball after ground ball. He was on tonight.

McCann’s home run was a bomb. 2 -0 count and Myers hung a change up that McCann hit into the upper deck in right field.

Mike Gonzalez was hit hard. The Phils had some very good swings on him. He did make Ryan Howard look silly. 200 strikeouts anybody? Howard is off to a good pace at reaching that milestone.

A lot of activity on the waiver wire in all leagues today. Seems like every fantasy owner on the planet was looking at their teams today and making changes.

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5×5 Draft Recap – Part 4

By notebookguy

If you have read the “About Us” page on this blog you know that we are 5 guys that have been doing fantasy baseball together for over 10 years and this weekend was a BIG weekend. Saturday was a 12 team H2H points league draft that all 5 of us participated in and Sunday was a 15 team 5×5 Rotisserie league that all 5 of us participated in.

Since the H2H points league is a keeper league that allows draft pick trading it would be tough to explain why we did things where since each team had vastly different situations on draft day. But….the 5×5 draft was a start from scratch 5×5 league with 20 rosters spots where everybody starts. Over the next few days each of us will give a recap of our draft and hopefully provide some insight on what we were thinking and how it all panned out.

Team: Named after Hamsterdam in “The Wire”

Draft Position (Typical Serpentine Draft): 15th

My strategy going into the draft was to load up on bats early, preferably 5 category bats, and wait to fill out my pitching staff until the later rounds. Having the last pick in the draft, having a double pick, meant I couldn’t really set my sites on a particular player not knowing who would fall to me. In my mock drafts I mostly drafted 2 of Soriano, Beltran, and Prince, so that was the group I was prepared to take from, two 5 cat guys, and a slugging 1B, all 3 of which I obviously liked a lot. Position was not a huge concern but I did want to grab a decent SS before they all fell off the board.

Well my first 2 picks I never expected to fall to me. At the 15th and 16th picks I drafted Ian Kinsler(ADP 9) and Lance Berkman(ADP 15), 2 guys that rarely fell to me in my mock drafts. In fact, I never saw Kinsler at 15 in my mocks, and Berkman occasionally got to 15 but not very often. I was ecstatic about these picks a 5 category 2B, the best 2B in fantasy baseball in my opinion, and a slugging 1B that is a rock for 30 HR’s and 100 RBI’s, not to mention contributing very well in the other 3 cats most of the time.

I continued to get 5 category producers in the 3rd and 4th rounds with Brandon Phillips and Alex Rios. Phillips(ADP 30) being around 15 picks after he’s usually picked was a nice surprise, although I already had a 2B, I had to scoop this underrated potential 30-30 man, because everyone starts in this league and the numbers were too good to ignore. Rios fell into my plan as well, a 5 cat OF with upside. Needless to say I loved my first 4 picks, all fell into what I was looking for and were good values at the places I got them.

For my pitching staff I grabbed an ace, John Lackey, in the 5th round, filled out my top 3 of my pitching staff with Matt Cain(9th rd.), and Derek Lowe(11thrd.). Not a dominant top 3 but a good top 3 with some upside in Cain. Grabbing BJ Ryan(10thrd.) and Heath Bell(13thrd.) was better closers than I expected, but it may have cost the back end of my rotation because I ended up with Manny Parra(15th rd.) and Wandy Rodriguez(17thrd.) both of which I would’ve liked as a 5th starter but needing one of them as my 4thstarter was not in the plan, a problem I will fix with a deal for a starting pitcher.

The offense rounded out nicely getting some thunder in the middle rounds, Carlos Pena(5th rd.) and Jermaine Dye(8th rd.), will be nice power compliments to my top 4 picks. I also picked up one of the SS’s I was eyeing, Rafael Furcal(7th rd.), which was key giving me more SB’s, just have to keep an eye on his health. Jason Werth was a steal in the 12th round, another 5 category player to add to the mix.

My late round bats were guys I snagged late in most of my mock drafts Edwin Encarnacion(14thrd.) a 20+ HR 3B with upside, Shin-Soo Choo(16th rd.) a big upside OF, and Mike Jacobs(18th rd.) couldn’t believe this 30 HR 1B was still sitting there in the 18th round.

I am very happy with how my draft went. I would’ve liked to have drafted a better 4th starter and 3B, but no draft is going to go perfectly. I feel I have good balance in power and speed, good closers, and a good top 3 to my rotation, and I think I’m right there with anyone from day 1.

Projected Finish*: 3 out of 15 (89 total points)

(R: 14, HR: 12, RBI: 12, SB: 6, BA: 8, W: 2, Sv: 6, K: 6, ERA: 14, WHIP: 9)

* Based on Sportsline.com projections

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NL Impact Players

By dtb23

Ryan Howard – If you’ve seen Howard lately you’ve noticed that he has slimmed down quite a bit in the offseason. Hopefully the hard work he put in during the offseason will help him avoid another slow start. If you are concerned that Howard lost some of his power when he dropped the lbs; don’t be, he already has 5 HRs in 31 at bats.

Carlos Delgado – It is nearly impossible to get this guy out right now; he is getting on base 75% of the time. The veteran first baseman will be 37 this year but don’t discriminate! Delgado could be a top 10 fantasy first baseman in 2009.

Skip Schumaker – The move to second base improved Skip’s fantasy value. He should be taken as a late round flier but he could end up being your starting 2B, if you don’t draft an elite player at that position.

Dan Uggla – Uggla has terrific power but he struggles to put the ball in play. He leads the league with 15 strikeouts in only 35 at bats. That is an alarmingly high rate even at this point.

Jose Reyes – There has been some talk that Reyes may bat in the three spot for the Mets this year. I personally don’t think that is the right move to make, not because Reyes doesn’t have the tools to be a number three hitter but because I think the Mets offense will be better served with Reyes leading off and Luis Castilla batting in the eight hole. Regardless Reyes is the second best fantasy shortstop and the difference being Hanley and Jose is slight.

Andy Laroche – The Pirates have plenty of young talent at this position but Pedro Alvarez and Neil Walker better try their luck in the outfield. Adam’s younger brother could have a breakout year in 2009.

Ryan Zimmerman – Zimmerman is still a good option at this position. The 24 year old never got back to his rookie year number but he is still young. Take him in the later rounds and you could get top 6 production out of him.

Jayson Werth – The lanky RF ended up in Charlie’s dog house when he showed up for spring training “not ready to play.” He has been battling some shoulder problems but if he stays healthy for an entire season he could be a 30 – 30 guy.

Ryan Braun – He may be the best OF in the NL. He is listed as day to day due to soreness in his side. Check back for updates, but it doesn’t appear to be too serious right now.

Manny Ramirez – Manny is expected to miss at least a week due to a tweaked hamstring. He is a freak of nature and I would definitely take him with a late first round/early second round pick. When motivated he will put up incredible numbers.

Derek Lowe – The veteran RHP is moving back east, away from the “pitcher friendly” NL West. Luckily, for the Braves this guy knows how to pitch and I expect him to have another solid year. He is one of the most consistent pitchers in baseball and would be a terrific #3.

Barry Zito – Stay away, this guy can’t get the job done. He struggles with his control and when he does throw it in the strike zone he gets hit hard.

Josh Johnson – I am a huge fan of Josh Johnson. I know he is coming off of some serious injuries but his arm looks better than ever. Josh Johnson and Ricky Nolasco are pitchers I would love to have on my staff.

Yovani Gallardo – The Brewer’s ace could be ready to be a fantasy ace. Again, his health is a concern.

Cole Hamels – Yikes, elbow soreness!?! That is not cool. Hopefully, it is just some inflammation but this situation needs to be monitored closely.

Chris Carpenter – The Cardinals love what they are seeing from Carpenter so far. I hope he can take the ball every fifth day, but I’m not willing to take that risk. If he stays healthy he could be a huge impact player.

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Overrated and Underrated Part Deux.

by notebookguy

Here’s a look at some more guys that are going too early in drafts and guys that are hanging around too long in the draft.
As always Average Draft Position(ADP) courtesy of mockdraftcentral.com and all round estimates are based on a 5×5, 15 team league.

Overrated

Carl Crawford, OF, Rays, ADP 29.3
His 3 year averages of .300 BA, 12 HR, 71 RBI, 84 R, and 44 SB are nice numbers but he has been consistently declining since 2006 with his OPS going from .830 in 2006 to .719 in 2008. A one hundred plus point drop in OPS is alarming, even more so when the player was quoted last year as saying he felt like “the oldest 27 year old ever”. Not exactly an encouraging quote from a guy you are gonna’ be relying on for SB’s. He goes nearly a round before Brian Roberts, Matt Kemp, and Alex Rios and 2 rounds ahead of Jacoby Ellsbury and Shane Victorino I’d rather wait and take any one of these players. Use that 2nd or 3rd round pick on a big bat or a big time ace then grab a player that will be as good or better than Crawford a round or two later.

All Closers

I can not stress this enough.  They are one category players.  Papelbon, Lidge, K-Rod, and Nathan all are usually off the board in the draft in the 5th or 6th round, that is a wasted pick.  You can not pass on a player that helps you in 4 or 5 categories for a guy that is a one category specialist.  If you have a choice between Papelbon and Dan Haren, take Dan Haren.  Brad Lidge and Magglio Ordonez, take Magglio Ordonez.  There is a popular misconception out there that closers help you in WHIP and ERA as well, it’s a myth.  Most leagues require 900 IP as a minimum.  A closer pitches 60 innings, that is 7% of the MINIMUM IP, most teams exceed that number so it’s even less a percentage than that.  This will have a very minimal affect on a teams WHIP and ERA.  Another mark against closers is that a third of the closers that start the year as their teams closers don’t end the year as their teams closers.  That’s an awful lot of volatility for one category.  Now I’m not saying punt the category, you never want to punt a category, I’m saying be patient, you’ll be able to get saves late in the draft and off the waiver wire once closers start imploding.

Derrek Lee, 1B, Cubs, ADP 73.63

.301 BA, 17 HR, 67 RBI, 71 R, 7 SB is his 3 year average.  Now I really shouldn’t need to say more, but just in case you don’t understand why that’s not worth a 5th or 6th round pick, I’ll expound.  Those numbers look eerily similar to players like James Loney(ADP 96.45), Conor Jackson(205.72), and Carlos Guillen(226.31) who all go MUCH later than D. Lee.  That 2005 MVP caliber season is a distant memory, do not trick yourself into thinking he may rebound into that type of player again, not going to happen.  He is 33 years old this season, an age when a player starts exiting his prime, it could get worse from here.  Let someone else pay for the name.

AJ Burnett, SP, Yankees, ADP 99.33

This is a man who loves to get paid, not play baseball.  Burnett’s two best seasons have just so happened to be the years he could hit the free agent market 2005 and 2008.  In Burnett’s six other full seasons since 2001 he has averaged just under 21 starts a season.  So outside of the 2 years he was looking at a big pay day he’s missed a third of his starts in those 6 seasons.  The Yankees were foolish to give him a 5 year 83 million dollar deal and you’d be foolish to take him as your ace or 2nd starter in the 7th round.  He is going to sit back, get out there when he feels like it, collect his checks, and be Carl Pavano: The Sequel.  He goes ahead of solid starting pitchers that will get you 30 starts with real good numbers like Jon Lester, C. Zambrano, M. Cain, Dice K, D. Lowe, and Javier Vazquez; inury/bounce back candidates Justin Verlander, Yovani Gallardo, Adam Wainwright, Br. Myers, A. Harang, and C. Young(Pads); and youngsters that may take another step up Edinson Volquez, R. Nolaso, and Greinke.  I recommend all these starters over AJ Burnett.

Howie Kendrick, 2B, Angels, ADP 124.41

Now a 9th round pick may not sound like much but this part of the draft is crucial, you can’t afford to give away a pick like this.  Anyone can pick pick productive players early in a draft, it’s getting impact players in the 9th-17th rounds that make a draft.  Howie Kendrick is the furthest thing from an impact player.  A 3 year average of .306 BA, 4 HR, 35 RBI, 41 R, and 7 SB, averaging 315 AB’s per season.  Do you really want to take a 2B that plays half of a season with unimpressive numbers in the 9th round?  Wait 100+ plus picks and take Polanco(ADP 229.96), Weeks(ADP 233.36), M. Ellis(ADP 256.36), O. Hudson(ADP 275.91), or Akinori Iwamura(ADP 284.31).  These players will give you more than Kendrick and are more likely to stay healthy, though Ellis and Weeks have had their health troubles, you can afford that risk in the 15th or 16th round, not the 9th.

Underrated

Cameron Maybin, OF, Marlins, ADP 264.2

This speedy prospect is set to be the Marlins CF and leadoff hitter on opening day this year, with the clear #1 pick in this years drafts Hanley Ramirez moving to 3rd in the lineup.  While I agree the move in the lineup is clearly due to Hanley’s RBI potential in the 3 spot, it also shows the Marlins confidence that Maybin can handle the leadoff duties at the major league level.  He will struggle, as most rookies do, with batting average as well as overall consistency, but Maybin can be a great SB and R source and can be had in the 18th round.  30+ SB’s that late is a steal on it’s own, combine that with Maybins overall offensive upside and you will have yourself a gem for one of your last picks.

Rick Ankiel, OF, Cardinals, ADP 221.12

Ankiel does come with injury risks, but the 15th round is a great time to be taking those types of risks.  Ankiel is the starting pitcher turned OF that slugged 25 HR’s in just 413 AB’s last year.  He is smack in the middle of the prime of his career and if he can reach the 500 AB plateau he will hit 30+ HR’s.  Finding a 30 HR bat at this point of the draft is grand theft, snag Ankiel around the 14th or 15th round and possibly get top 25 OF production.

Conor Jackson, 1b/OF, Diamondbacks, ADP 205.72

The Diamondbacks number 3 hitter this year will be Conor Jackson.  A line of .300 BA, 15-20 HR’s, 100 R’s, 100 RBI’s, and 10 SB’s is very atainable hitting in the middle of that lineup in a hitter friendly park.  Jackson will be 26 this season, just entering his prime, is ready to take his game to another level, don’t miss the boat.  He can be had for a 13th or 14th round pick and will far outproduce that spot.

Ted Lilly, SP, Cubs, ADP 199.79

This lefthander is as steady a SP as you’re going to find, how does he go in the 14th round on a regular basis?  He has averaged 16 W, 173 K, 4.07 ERA, and a 1.29 WHIP, that is solid 4 category production.  Injuries are not a concern either as he has averaged 33 starts a season for the last 3 years.  He is 33 years old so don’t expect him to exceed these numbers, but you can expect more of the same steady production for the next few years.  Grab him in the 12th or 13th round as your 4th starter and get borderline 2nd starter stats.

Aaron Harang, SP, Reds, ADP 158.91

Bounce back special on the big right hander this year.  From 2005-2007 Harang was one of the top pichers in the game averaging  14 W, 199 K, 3.78 ERA, and a 1.23 WHIP, great 4 category production.  I give him a mulligan for last year due to injury, he’s 30 years old in his prime, he will bounce back fine.  Grab him in the 9th or 10th round and get borderline ace production.

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