Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Fantasy Owner's Most Frustrating Times: The 2010 MLB Player Draft

To get it out of the way, I am as surprised as you are that the website still works. Let's move on.

Now two weeks after the MLB 2014 First Year Player draft, deep fantasy leaguers can only salivate and place keeper league free agency bids as teams continue to ink players to lucrative contracts. Often times, we (fantasy baseball managers) won't even see these players for another 2-6 years, and even then, most of them will not pan out. But every year, the story is the same. Phrases such as "loaded", "deep", or "top-to-bottom" are thrown around in an attempt to keep the average baseball fan from thinking about the fact that the draft bust rate is north of 70%.

Back in 2010, things were no different. Not only was the 2010 draft class deep, but the top of the class was loaded with talent. The top three picks were high school studs then followed by college level, MLB-ready arms. Even today, names such as Noah Syndergaard, Taijuan Walker, and Delino DeShields Jr are near the top of prospects lists as names knocking on the door. The 2010 draft was STACKED....or so we thought.

Even coming into the 2013 season, you looked at the 2010 draft and saw nothing but future all-stars, MVPs, and top of the rotation arms. Chris Sale (13th overall) signed a large extension with the White Sox after finishing 12th in the 2012 Cy Young award race. Manny Machado got called up to the bigs and was immediately worthy of his all-star selection. And finally, Matt Harvey won NL Pitcher of the Month in April and never looked back. Again, this was supposed to be it. This is the new generation of young player.

But somewhere along the lines, the wheels fell off. Prospects flamed out, arms broke down, and power never showed. Now halfway through the '14 season, the 2010 Draft looks like a bunch of replacement players and question marks, rather than the dynasty that it should have produced. So who is to blame for this fall from grace?

5. The Injured: Jameson Taillon, Matt Harvey, and Taijuan Walker

  • Three premiere arms taken within the first 50 picks of the draft, all showed immense potential, and all
    have blown out their elbows/shoulders/knees & toes. Not much fault here, just some extreme bad luck. One could also look at that horrible GQ article that Matt Harvey did as some sort of karma though.
4. The "Drafted higher than I should have been" Class: Drew Pomeranz, Gary Brown, and Jesse Biddle
  • Sure, one day Drew Pomeranz may be a serviceable starting pitcher, but was never going to be a front line starter. Colorado saw it, then Cleveland saw it, and I am sure soon, Oakland will see it. Definitely not good enough to go 5th overall. Biddle is iffy and still hasn't shown front-line potential and Gary Brown is very close to earning a "bust" label after a .231 avg in AAA Fresno.   
3. The Immature: Josh Sale & Manny Machado
  • Machado's immaturity was on full display last week as he smirked at an injured catcher and threw his bat at poor Alberto Callaspo. Who does that? While he has a lot of growing up to do anyways (he is still super young), there are suddenly concerns about his actual hitting ability and whether or not he will fully develop. Josh Sale was too immature to even make it to the big leagues. A handful of steroids and a weird trip to a strip club have pushed him to the back of the line in the Tampa Bay organization.
2. The Over-then-Under-Achievers: Mike Olt & Nick Castellanos
  • It's not that either of these players are awful players, but they aren't who we thought they were. early in their minor league careers, both players were hot commodities. Olt mashed minor league pitching. He was once thought of as the future in Texas. Olt raised expectations up to a high level, waited a bit, and then went blind. Even lasik hasn't help him as he now is a bench bat for the Cubs. Let that sink in. With Castellanos, his prospect hype has so far outweighed his production. Yes, he is a decent player, but not the type of player his pedigree first made him out to be. 
1. Bryce Harper
  • Bryce was it. He was labeled as the next big thing. A savior for the entire league. A young kid who was going to be the greatest player to ever play the game. And to that point, he is a failure. Harper has come into the bigs at a very young age and played extremely well. While injuries have hampered his time at the major league level, he still managed to put up 22 HRs with a .270 average as a 20 year old. Yes, a 20 year old. But still, he hasn't become the greatest player of all time. Since he was drafted, Trout has emerged onto the scene and Miguel Cabrera has won a triple crown. Bryce Harper is very good, and very young, but not what the draft hyped him up to be.
So who cares? Probably no one. But who loses? We all probably do. This was the draft. This was a time when a new era was being ushered upon the league. An era of massive arms, smoking hot bats, and all supposedly steroid free. But sadly, now we all wait. Wait for a draft class that won't let us down....which unfortunately......will never happen.

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Fantasy Frustrations: The Rickie Weeks Story

Roughly 7 minutes into day three of the Winter Meetings in Florida, the Brewers have announced that
Scooter Gennett will be the primary second basemen heading into the 2014 season, which puts their former second baseman, Rickie Weeks, firmly on the bench. From a managerial standpoint, it sounds like a solid decision. Gennett projects as an average infielder with not much pop, an average slash line, and average defense. Don't let his stats fool you last year as his .324 mark was heavily inflated by his .380 BABIP and his .155 ISO was his highest mark since A ball. Gennett won't be much, do much, or look attractive, but that's what this Brewers team needs. Just to get through 2014.

Weeks on the other hand is a tough story in general. Rickie is owed $11 million next year and currently has a seat on the bench with his name on it. So obviously, the Brewers have started to reach out to needy teams who might want to take a flier on an injury riddled, aging second basemen that "could" bounce back. But will he? A lot of it depends on health. Most of his value lies in his bat (he led the league 4 years in a row in errors at second), but injuries the past two seasons has zapped that. A lingering wrist injury to start the year last year saw his home run total last year dip to 10, while the three seasons before had him hitting 21, 20, and 29 bombs. Wrist injuries are extremely tricky to deal with as they often kill power, but aren't severe enough to end your season. The Yankees did the smart thing last year with Tex as they recognized that and shut him down after a few weeks before this value dropped.

In 2013, Weeks' triple slash line was atrocious at .209/.306/.357, but like I mentioned, I am leaning towards a lingering injury playing a major part in this. His BB% and K% remained the same (so he was seeing pitches like normal), but with the wrist issue his ISO dropped to .149. A LOSS OF POWER! A major one actually as this was the lowest since 2006, and if you look a little deeper, his numbers can explain this a little further. His line drive rate was a tad higher this year at 18%, but if you aren't hitting for as much power, those line drives will typically turn into softer outs. This is demonstrated in a very low BABIP at .268, which is about 20 points lower than his career average. Lower BABIP leads to a lower average, which leads to less time on base and a lower OBP. So there you go, Rickie's linger wrist issues and a shortened season due to the hamstring tear can plausibly explain his awful slash line. what? Who wants to take on an old, expensive, glass second basemen? Well, maybe more teams than you think. Since his option for 2015 is a team option, that more than likely won't be picked up, this would essentially be a rental situation. Trading for Rickie Weeks who carries a 1 yr / $11 million deal is an attractive thought, and I think I have identified a few suitors.

New York Yankees

This would be my top choice of trade destination for Weeks. The Yankees could take on all $11 million, or almost all of it, in the deal and give up a mediocre prospect. He immediately slots in at second base and gives the lineup a little more thump. The Yanks just signed Kelly Johnson who could spell him at second for a game or two each week to preserve his health. I wouldn't be surprised to see Cashman give Milwaukee a call just to kick the tires.

Kansas City Royals

I'm not going to lie, a little piece of me died inside upon Chris Getz getting DFA'd. I love Chris Getz, but he is terrible, which is why the Royals are currently looking for a second basemen. While the Royals do not have a lot of money to spend, they do have a couple of decent lower level prospects, or back end MLB ready arms, that they could give up to have Milwaukee eat some of the cost. If they could get the Brewers to take on about half of the contract, taking a flier on Weeks at 1 yr / $6 million would be a steal. Then, if things didn't work out, and they normally don't in KC, flip him at the deadline.

Colorado Rockies

DARK HORSE! Second base was a revolving door in Colorado last year, and while they have some internal options, the Rockies seem to prefer proven products over young talent (Aka signing Latroy Hawkins while they have Rex Brothers). Colorado recently freed up a little money with the Fowler trade and could
swoop in to take on Weeks' deal full on. Rickie's power in Colorado? Nice.

In the end, I don't think there is anyway that the Brewers keep Weeks this year. There is no way they can pay a bench player $11 million, and since this is a rebuilding year anyways, they will hand the job to Gennett to see if he can do anything with it. Depending on what park he plays in and how his hamstring is healing, Weeks could be an attractive fantasy baseball option in fantasy drafts next year, so keep an eye on this potential sleeper.

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Does Trumbo Make the Diamondbacks better? Maybe.

The winter meetings started yesterday, and like usual, many rumors and trade theories blew up on Twitter. One such rumor that has been churning for months, and came to fruition yesterday, was that the Arizona Diamondbacks have their eyes set firmly on Mark Trumbo. The Angels are looking for starting pitching depth, something the Dbacks have an abundance of, and AZ is looking for corner OF power, something Trumbo has. A match made in heaven right?

Well, maybe. Trumbo is slightly older for a prospect and has quite a few wrinkles when it comes to his all around game. He strikes out, a lot. His K% was up to 27.1% last year, the highest of any of his professional seasons, and has ticked upwards each year in MLB. His outfield defense isn't great with a -4.7 UZR. For reference, Parra's OF defense for AZ last year was 31. Just a little bit better. And to throw one last thing at Trumbo, he isn't the best base runner (picture someone running with bed pans on their feet).

But the major thing people who don't like Trumbo fail to understand is that his power is a solid 8. A true 8. When he connects, the ball explodes off of his bat. Even if you take every player out of the majors and minors right now, there are few players with that type of raw power. He hit 34 home runs last year, and that was playing in multiple parks that suppressed home runs. Let him play half of his games at Chase field and see what happens. Two other huge pluses for Trumbo are his health and cost. Trumbo has played in at least 144 games in each of the first three seasons with the Halos and showed no signs on health issues in the minors. Combine that with the fact that he is just now becoming arbitration eligible and is under contract through 2017, you start to see the picture.

So in short, Trumbo will give you ++Power, good health, cheap long term power cost, a bunch of strike outs, and shotty defense. Do you see any free agents like that? I do. Nelson Cruz is going to cost some team a TRUCK LOAD of money on the open market and is almost the exact same player. Why not throw a bone to the Angels and get the same type of player for a lot less money?


Had a nice Twitter quarrel last night with a few Dbacks writers out in AZ over the inclusion of Skaggs in any deal for Trumbo, and my sentiment is still the same. So what? Yes, I understand that Skaggs is a top prospect. Yes, I understand that Skaggs is only 22 years old. AND YES I UNDERSTAND THAT HE COULD STILL BE REALLY GOOD. I GET IT. Please, please. Hammer it home some more.

But have you stopped to think about the fact that he might not be good? Top prospects flame out all of the
time. Ask Tampa Bay. For every great prospect they brought up, they had many more crash and burn. Ask the White Sox. They don't have any top prospects ever, so they won't know, never mind. Skaggs got a taste of MLB last year and FREAKED OUT. He was lit up and was sent back to AAA to work on his "mechanics" issues. Some say that he is pitching too tall and is a few switches away from correcting his problems. I don't buy it. He just isn't very good.

Skaggs is a lefty finesse pitcher without the finesse. He has a fastball that sits in the upper 80s with a decent change to go with it, but that's it. His curve is shaky at best, and shaky curves in the majors get sent 440 ft. Especially with lefty finesse pitchers, you HAVE to have something else. Curves come and go and can even change mid-game. If you don't have a decent curve to go with a slower fastball and change, things go sideways. Just ask Barry Zito (insert sad face).

Talks have also centered around AZ sending Trevor Cahill to LAA. I am somewhat on the fence here, but still, this is not a terrible idea either. While Cahill has been a serviceable starter for the Dbacks, this is the last cheap year of his extension. Starting in 2015, he will command $12+ million a year, and paying $12 million a year for a 4th starter and an ERA close to 4.00 is an overpay no matter how you look at it. Joe Blanton anyone? How did that work Philly?

So why not include them both? Have Arizona send Cahill and Skaggs to LAA for Trumbo and a mid-level prospect. The Angels would certainly pounce on that while Arizona would get the power and cash savings that they are looking for. The cash saved could then be used to acquire other pieces to help round the team out. Neither team says no, but apparently everyone else besides me on Twitter does.

Trumbo brings Arizona thump, protection for Goldy, and salary relief. Not much else has been working for the past few years and I am growing tired waiting for the "prospects" to arrive. It is time to cash in.

Friday, December 6, 2013

How To: Fixing the Mariners

I will give it to you. Most of the time, the writers here at StartWedman are full of satire, ill advised ideas, and crap. Even though I believed that Justin Upton's time with the Diamondbacks eerily mirrored the movie
Elf, that doesn't mean that you all thought that way too. And since I am one of the few remaining writers here at StartWedman that actually posts things, I can't say that many of my thoughts have been useful either, for awhile. But still, I at least understand how baseball works, how free agency goes, and have at least a decent grasp on what player value is.

The Seattle not. 

Twitter is currently catching fire with the news that Robinson Cano will be signing in Seattle for somewhere around 10 years and $240 million. WHOA! AWESOME! What a great idea! Now that Seattle signed Cano, that means that other free agents will flock there and they will win lots and lots of games! Zduriencik is a genius! CAN I SQUEEZE A FEW MORE EXCLAMATION POINTS IN HERE?!?

Lets be real for a second, or maybe a lot of seconds. The Seattle Mariners are not good. They haven't been good in awhile. This signing doesn't make them good. It makes them better, but still not good. They are a team with many holes left to fill and earmarking a large chunk ($25 million) each year of your payroll to an old, declining second basemen isn't the way to get better. Do you realize that their payroll last year along was $45 million.....TOTAL.

But the thing about the Mariners is that they actually have a decent young core of a team. Yes, they need a few spare parts to make it complete, but the talent is almost there. Zunino needs some seasoning, but was a monster in college, Seager is a beast at third, Brad Miller is speedy and last year handled his own at SS, Smoak is slowly turning a corner, and Kendrys is at least a stable option at DH. Funny thing about all of those players? Their average age is 25.8! That is a decent place to start.

So lets rewind the clock 18 hours. A large Twitter conversation is happening between all of the writers at StartWedman. While Cooly, wrongly, explains that the Mariners should sign Cano, Zach and I quickly put a plan in place for the Mariners to make they a better team in 2014. Fun fact about our place? We don't commit $240 million to an aging second basemen who is already showing slight signs of decline. Ready? Go.

  • STEP 1: Trading for Brandon Phillips + Minor League Player
    • If Seattle wants a second basemen, there is a much cheaper option out there. Yes, Phillips is also declining and showing his age, but at 4 yr / $50 million, he represents a much lower cost. Plus, in my eyes, you throw in Ackley in an attempt to have Cincy offset some of the cost. Sad to see Ackley go, but he isn't turning into what Seattle envisioned when they drafted him in 2009.
  • Step 2: Sign Matt Garza
    • King Felix needs a little bit of help out there and Garza was never really an ace like the Cubs wanted him to be. Garza slides into the #2 SP slot and gives the Mariners a VERY solid rotation with Felix, Garza, Iwakuma, Walker, and Ramierz. Hultzen is waiting in the wings after rehab and Paxton could be ready soon. Throw a 5 yr / $75 million deal at him and it would get things moving. Yes, that is a longer deal for an injury prone pitcher, but Garza has been solid when healthy.
  • Step 3: Sign Corey Hart
    • Coming off a lost season in Milwaukee due to a knee injury, Hart should come cheap, maybe around 1 yr / $7 million. If he does well throughout the season, they can extend him or flip him at the deadline. Low risk, decent chance at a high reward for someone who can spend time at 1B, RF, and DH.
  • Step 4: Sign Jesse Crain
    • The rotation looks amazing after the Garza signing, but one of their weaknesses has been the back end of the rotation. Furbush, Medina, and Perez all pitched well during the middle innings and Capps' peripheral numbers were decent enough that I can see his stuff succeeding, but they lack a shut down closer. Enter Jesse Crain. While he has never been given the opportunity to close, the stuff is there. Last year had him with a 11.3 K/9 and a 0.74 ERA. A late season injury cost him, but on the upside, that makes him cheaper in free agency. A 1 yr / $4 million base with incentives on games finished would do it.
Doing all of that research, I actually did feel some shame in the fact that I knew, and now know even more, so much about the Seattle Mariners. Do these moves above put them over the top and make them a playoff team? Probably not. But those moves are all low cost, high reward, and do not compromise the future payroll of the team. If the season would start to head downhill, Crain and Hart can both be moved to contenders at the deadline to help boost a lacking farm system.

Our 2014 Seattle Mariners Lineup
C: Zunino
1B: Smoak
2B: Phillips
SS: Miller
3B: Seager
LF: ?
CF: Saunders
RF: Hart/Franklin
DH: Morales

The real 2014 Seattle Mariners Lineup
C: Cano
1B: Cano
2B: Cano
SS: Cano
3B: Cano
LF: Cano
CF: Cano
RF: Cano
DH: Morales

Friday, October 11, 2013

League Championship Series: Riding the Wave

Quickly, lets take a look at a few things that I NAILED ON THE HEAD:

  • "Really? Freddy Garcia? He is alive? Based on that fact alone, Dodgers will take the series in 4 games." 
Well that was pretty awesome. I also stated that no one would really care about the Braves/Dodgers series, and guess what? That was true too.

  • "Price has pitched well, but will be facing a team that has seen him several times already. "
And what happened? The Red Sox shelled Price for 7 runs before chasing him off the mound. While I had the Red Sox sweeping the series, no one would have guessed that Jose Lobaton would ruined my prediction by a single game.
  • "The Detroit staff is virtually untouchable and I would never, ever, bet against Verlander in the playoffs. "
I might have been off by a game, but Verlander WAS near untouchable last night. Yes he had a down year by his standards, but the guy is incredible. 
  • "Joe Kelly (who has been pitching WELLLLLL above his xFIP this year) will be starting game 3."
While I had the Pirates winning the series, I did have it going to 5 games and I did have Kelly losing his start. Still, I will take the loss as the Pirates offense looked more like the Astros with Wainie on the mound.

So after getting roughly 98% of my predictions right so far, why not keep the ball rolling? 

NLCS: Dodgers vs. Cardinals

While on paper these two teams look to be pretty evenly matched, I actually don't think these games will be that close. Unfortunately for Cardinals fans, Joe Kelly is going game 1, which in Lehman's terms, means that Dodgers already have a 1-0 series lead. Making matters worse for the Cardinals is the fact that their stud rookie Wacha-flaka-flame, is matched up with Kershaw for game 2. So essentially, while the series hasn't started yet, the Cardinals already face a 2-0 deficit. Since both of those first two games actually come at home for St. Louis, and they then have to travel to LA for 3 and 4, things aren't looking all. 

I am going to say the Dodgers take this series in 6. LA doesn't really have an effective 3 starter, Greinke will implode game 4, but Kershaw will once again take control with a win in game 5. Dodgers finish the series in  game 6.

ALCS: Red Sox vs. Tigers

This series is a lot harder to comprehend. The Red Sox offense is firing on all cylinders, but the Detroit staff has been unhittable.

WARNING: The following game break downs may use statistics that don't have any affect on the games themselves  but may somehow be just a little bit relevant. Kind of. 

Game 1: Detroit (Sanchez) @ Boston (Lester) 

How to choose? Even if it is Lester, who has been terrible this year, he is at home and seems to pitch better in Boston. But still, you have Annibal on the other side of things and has pitched well as of late. WAIT! Important stat alert! Since the All-Star break, the Red Sox are 5-1 on Sunday games that are played at home. That one loss came on a Dempster start, and he should be re-named Dumpster, because he is garbage, so we will scratch that from the record. Essentially, on Sunday home games since the All Star break that terrible pitchers don't start the game, Boston is undefeated! Game 1 goes to Boston.

Game 2: Detroit (Scherzer) vs. Boston (Buchholz)

I had to dig pretty deep to figure out who was going to win this game. Try to follow me here. This is a match up of stud pitchers. So first, I took a look at Scherzer to find reasons not to pick the Tigers. Scherzer actually pitches much better on the road to the tune of a 2.28 ERA in 110 innings this season. No go there. Scherzer also pitches much better to a right handed hitting lineup, which Boston is heavy on. Detroit is looking good. 

Buchholz, which is incredibly annoying to spell, was tough to diagnose. He has been stellar all year long. There isn't much to go on by the way of his season splits as he has been very good at home and on the road, great against left and against right, and doesn't care if he pitches during the day or at night. But there was one thing that I saw, a key to game 2! When looking into his line-up trends, his worst stats of the year came against the 6th hitter in the lineup. Who is the 6th hitter for Detroit? JHONNY PERALTA! The steroid man himself. Even though it is a SSS, since coming back from his suspension, Johnny has hit .417. Seeing how he will probably be the 6th batter for game 2, and Scherzer is on the mound, Detroit takes game 2.

Games 3 & 4: A Good Pitcher vs. a Not So Good Pitcher

Game 3 will see John Lackey (pitching WAYYY better than he actually is) against Verlander. Hmmm, it took me about 7 seconds to decide who I will take in this game. Verlander at home. But then game 4 will match up Jake Peavy for the Red Sox against Fister for the Tigers. Fister has been AWFUL so far this post-season and I don't expect it to stop here. Red Sox will romp game 4. SERIES ALL TIED UP 2-2. 

So there goes the first four games with a normal playoff pitching rotation. Or in other words, ESPN doesn't have a predicted starter for games 5-7, so why should I speculate? But if I had to guess, this series is going to be incredibly close and most likely come down to game 7, which means only one thing....the team with the better bullpen will win the series. When it comes down to it, bullpens are the backbones of the team. Even if the starter is doing poorly, a bullpen can come in, shut things down, and keep a team in it. 

Detroit's bullpen is terrible. Red Sox in 7.

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Divisional Series Picks: Not My Fault

Lets get right to it, the Reds loss doesn't count against me. How was I supposed to know that Dusty was
going to pull a classic Dusty and start Cueto? Was I supposed to predict the bone spurs that magically showed up in Latos' elbow? At the very least, that was a draw. Here are my picks for the divisional series round and I will attempt to make all of these picks with little to no actual baseball statistics or true facts.

NLDS: Braves vs. Dodgers

This is an extremely exciting matchup just for the drama! Freddie Freeman and the Fun Police against the
public urination, Puig laden Dodgers. I CANNOT WAIT! Baseball wise, this actually isn't a very fun match-up. When trying to think of things to write up about this divisional series, I realized, who cares? No one really likes either team.

Without going into to much depth, the Braves announced earlier in the week that Freddy Garcia will start game 4 if necessary. Really? Freddy Garcia? He is alive?

Based on that fact alone, Dodgers will take the series in 4 games.

NLDS: Pirates vs. Cardinals

Wasn't that just a fun crowd last night at PNC? It was pretty cool to see the Pirates knock off the Reds and secure their first playoff series in a long time. Liriano looked like the Liriano of the late 2000's, Russell Martin dialed back the clock for a couple of bombs, and Clint Barmes looked like....well....Clint Barmes. Not good.

The Cardinals on the other hand are about to get hit by the Law of Averages train. They have hit extremely well over the course of the season with RISP, but that will stop here. Allen Craig is out for the series, Carlos Beltran is just WAITING to kill a rally or two, and the Cards just announced that Joe Kelly (who has been pitching WELLLLLL above his xFIP this year) will be starting game 3. None of those things are good things.

I read yesterday that if you root against the Pirates and you are not from St. Louis, you have no soul.

Pittsburgh in 5.

ALDS: Red Sox vs. Rays

I am writing this right now even though the game is only in the 4th inning. Seriously though, any team that
gives up a home run to Delmon Young doesn't deserve to move on. The game should have been called right then.

I really don't see this series getting past game three. Boston is loaded with pitching and the Rays are looking to come down from a recent hot streak. Price has pitched well, but will be facing a team that has seen him several times already. Tampa's bullpen is taxed as is and their hitting has been atrocious.

The Red Sox will sweep.

ALDS: Tigers vs. A's

This is the most even match up in my mind, except for the fact that no one in America actually knows who is on the Oakland Athletics. Don't they have a stadium that has dugouts full of toilet water? I honestly don't think that anyone could name all 9 offensive starters along with the 5 rotational starters. Here, I will try right now:
  • Coco Crisp
  • Josh Donaldson
  • Chris Young
  • Jed Lowrie
  • Yoenis Cespedes
  • Beard Face Reddick
  • No clue who is in LF
  • Blanking on a second basemen
Pitching wise, they have Colon, Straily, Parker, and I have no clue. Well done Billy Beane, you have fooled us all. 

The Tigers may have just been no hit by the Marlins, but you have to remember, they were resting their starters. Hopefully Miggy is better, V Mart is BACK, and maybe Prince will actually hit. The Detroit staff is virtually untouchable and I would never, ever, bet against Verlander in the playoffs. 

The A's will take one game, but Tigers win in 4.

Friday, September 27, 2013

The 2013 Postseason: What Will Happen

Do you see this? This is my prediction face.

The thing about predictions though, is that for me, they are pretty pointless. I rarely find myself being wrong about something, and if for some odd reason I am wrong, we can be fairly confident that it was not my fault. So here we are. At the end of this weekend 162 games will have decided or come close to deciding everyone's place in the MLB playoffs. Let's get started with the Wild Card round! GET EXCITED.

Reds vs. Pirates

From what I am hearing, the Pirates are saving Liriano so he can start the Wild Card game if necessary. This sounds like a fantastic idea if you are Clint Hurdle! Cincy's lineup is full of lefty mashers who seem to feast on right handed pitching (.242/.393/.711 vs LHP and .253/.393/.725 vs RHP). On the surface, this all makes sense. Throw a left handed pitcher who has pitched out of his mind this year against a team full of leftys who seem to flop when facing leftys. This can't go wrong right? The Reds won't know what hit them!

Well have already tried this.....4 times actually.

Specifically against the Reds this year, Pittsburgh has
gone 0-4 in the games that Liriano has started. Couple that with Frankie having major pitching issues this month (1-2 w/ 5.12 ERA) and you have a recipe for disaster if you are a Pirates fan.

The Reds will move on to face the Braves when they beat the Pirates 7-2 on Tuesday.

Rays vs. Indians

Lets get one thing straight, the Rangers do not deserve to be in the playoffs. Anytime that you win a majority
of your games facing the Astros, you should be penalized. I don't remember the exact number, but I am pretty sure that they won 20+ games against Houston this year. People are whining about how the unbalanced schedule favors the Indians at the end of the year, which it does, should take a long look at the nasty things the Rangers have done to the Astros this year. It is kind of like the Indians getting to beat up on the White Sox 13 straight tim.....never mind. Are the White Sox really as bad as the Astros?

With all of that said, does anyone really care about this game? A) This is the AL we are talking about, no one cares about the AL and B) They are fighting over who gets to lose to the Red Sox in 5. Both teams have gotten hot at the right time, winning 7 in a row as of today. Both teams get to end their season beating up on terrible teams (Blue Jays and Twins). And both teams we somewhat overlooked heading into September.

The way the pitching schedule is lining up, David Price should have no problem going for the Rays on Wednesday, but the Indians have a little more of a pitching conundrum. While they would like to save
Ubaldo and throw him for the Wild Card game, they may need that win on Sunday to clinch. If Ubaldo can't go, that leaves them with Danny Salazar (Rookie) Scott Kazmir (Terrible), or Zach McCallister (Unproven). Even if Ubaldo IS available to pitch on Wednesday, I'm not sure it is the best thing anyways. Lets face it, Ubaldo is pretty awful.

Does it really matter? Not really. Price has been on fire since returning to the DL and this isn't going to be anything different. Rays will cruise past the Indians, 4-1.

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Ryan Braun: Why Not?

Back in 2011 during the NLDS between the Brewers and Diamondbacks, I was a broken man. Ryan Braun was single handily destroying my team. Posting a triple slash line of .500/.571/.889, Braun led the Brewers to defeat the Dbacks in 5 games. People taunted me. I cried a little bit. Maybe a lot a bit.

Even before his torrid 2011 MVP baseball season, Braun had developed into a special type of player. After posting multiple 30 HR / 100 RBI / 15 SB seasons, the Brewers thought it would be best to lock their star player up as they signed him to a 5 year - $105 million contract extension. Mind you, that was already on top of his current 8 year - $45 million contract, so in essence, Milwaukee had one of the best young players in baseball in a Brewers uniform until 2020. Pretty sweet deal huh?

Well it was, and still might be, but we all know what has transpired over the past few weeks. Braun has been ingesting PEDs for a long time without getting caught until now. After admitting to his wrong doings (kind of) and accepting his punishment, MLB suspended Braun for 65 games without pay. This equaled out to right around $3.4 million that he will lose over the course of this season.

O.M.G. MLB. 


While Braun's career earnings sit at a measly $20,562,500, pocket change for me, that $3.4 million looks like a pretty big deal. However, due to the fact that baseball contracts are guaranteed, he still is set to take in another $117 million over the next few years.

Well played Bug Selig, you are certainly teaching him a lesson.

Now take a look at that $3.4 million. That represents a mere 2.4% of his total contractual earnings. To normal people, that is the same as a parking ticket. So while the season is lost in Milwaukee, people really hate him, and his reputation is tarnished forever, Ryan Braun is still sitting pretty. He is still the 2011 NL MVP, he is still rich, and he still gets to play baseball every day.

The real question is: Why not take PEDs? Apparently, unless your nickname is AROD, there is no disincentive not to. I take PEDs for a few years, put up amazing numbers, get paid, and get slapped on the wrist. Sounds like a perfect world to me. Take a look at these players and let me know who you would rather be.

Player A Career:
10 Years - 1311 Games - 35 Home Runs
Total Earnings: $19.6 Million

Player B Career:
16 years - 1874 Games - 583 Home Runs
Total Earnings: $74.7 Million

Which one is David Eckstein and which one is Mark McGwire? Lets look at a more up to date example.

Player A Career:
19 Years - 2302 Games - 555 Home Runs
Total Earnings: $206.8 Million

Player B Career:
11 Years - 1215 Games - 86 Home Runs
Total Earnings: $28.1 Million

Can you guess which player is Manny Ramirez? Maybe it was David DeJesus who was on PEDs.

Sure, pick any numbers or any player that you would like, numbers can be skewed in either any direction. The point is, is actually pays more to be on steroids and put up better numbers. There as still many examples of it going on today (See Melky Cabrera) and nothing has changed. Until baseball sets a policy where they are able to void the contracts of players caught using PEDs, we will continue to have saga after saga.

If only they made a steroid to make me create excel spreadsheets.

Friday, May 31, 2013

My Battle Against Keith Law

So here I was just trying to mind my own business and get through Friday. It has been a long week even with the holiday on Monday. Three hours to go, the Diamondbacks game is about to come on the radio, this should be easy.

Soriano comes up in the first and immediately sours the mood with a wind aided home run. After I wipe away the tears, I see this tweet from Steve Gilbert:

Of course, I agree with this tweet. In my opinion, some players just get hot against certain teams. I can't explain it. Stats don't really support it. But it happens. Maybe the Diamondbacks put Alfonso's hand in some water while he took a nap at Chase and he had to play the entire game with pee-pants on. I don't know. I DO know that if some team forced me to play an entire baseball game in pee-pants, I would make sure it was my best game every time out.

The third inning didn't go much better. Quick single by DeJesus, strike out for Castro, and a double by Rizzo makes runners on second and third with one out. Soriano is walking up to the dish. Why not intentionally walk him here? You need a double play to get out of this jam, Miley's GB % is sitting right at 50% for the year, and you have a hitter who already hit a bomb and historically crushes Diamondbacks pitching.

So if you watched the game you know that there was an IBB for Soriano and Hairston soon after blasted a grand slam.

Then comes this from Keith Law:

A couple of things are already in effect for this perfect twitter battle storm. 1) The Cubs, who I have spent most of the day bashing on social media, are crushing the Diamondbacks at the time 7-0, 2) I downed not one, not two, but three energy drinks this morning, and 3) I was always in disagreement with Law on his IBB stance and this time he took a shot at my team.

So I shoot a quick tweet that summarizes the Gilbert tweet from above to Law thinking that I may have myself a good argument.

Plus, Law has over 530,000 followers, so why would he care what one from NWI says on a Friday afternoon right?

This then pops up on the TweetDeck:

Was it just me? Or did Keith Law, senior writer for ESPN, essentially just call me an idiot to the world? Does Keith Law know that I once coached a little league team for a summer and we went 16-0?

I don't think he does.

So being the competitive person that I am, I take the easy way out:

HAHA! Got you good Keith Law!

So here I am, sitting at the desk with a big smile on my face because I just outsmarted an ESPN writer with a super witty comeback. However, apparently Keith Law had a lot of time on his hands today. So he thought it would be an awesome idea to rip into me while I really couldn't do much about it.

Well Keith Law. No, no I can't really explain that since I didn't expect/prepare for an answer from you. Maybe if you had given me enough time, I would have.

However, I do try to explain my reasoning:

To which he responds:

Oh great.

Keith Law not only responded to that, but he retweeted it to the world and was able to make fun of me all in one tweet. My reputation has taken a hit now. So somewhat trying to calm the battle and save some of my dignity I respond with:

After my last tweet to Keith Law, I haven't had a response back. Meaning....

I won.

I finally defeated him. 37 minutes of battle, but it was worth it.

I'm not sure where I wanted to go with this other than to show people the true side of Keith Law. But I don't care. I got the last word in. In 99% of arguments, that's who wins.


Apparently, things have not ended as I would have hoped. After I received this congratulatory message from a friend:

I quickly received this as a reply:

It seems as if my relationship with Keith Law may be damaged forever.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

A Christmas Comparison: Justin Upton as Buddy the Elf

With Christmas now only 6 days away, my wife and I decided that we should probably start watching a few holiday movies to make sure we were “Christmas-y” enough. That, and the fact that we literally have purchased eight different Christmas movies in the past few weeks and haven’t sat down to watch one yet.

 Is it our fault that Step Up: Revolution is exceedingly better than the Charlie Brown Christmas Special?

94 minutes later, the movie ended and I was thoroughly confused as to the mental make-up of Walter Hobbs. Was he the angriest man I had ever seen portrayed in a movie? Who takes books back from a nunnery when they haven’t had ample time to pay their bill? Even Bane had a soft spot for sad helpless children.

But there was a feeling that I just couldn’t shake. Where have I heard this story of Buddy the Elf before? Why did this feel like déjà vu? Then it clicked. Buddy the Elf has almost a parallel story line to the baseball career of Justin Upton. I HAVE seen this before! I have been watching it for almost five years now. But seriously, follow me closely. Even more closelier than you may think is possible. This is eerie.

Part 1: Buddy the Elf in the Minor Leagues

The movie starts out by showing the story of how Buddy came into the world of elves. As an insanely silent and agile baby, he sneaks out of his crib and into the bag of Santa who is creepily stalking around an orphanage. After the trip back to the North Pole, the baby jumps out, and instead of being a human being and taking the child back, since they even acknowledge that the baby came from a specific orphanage, they keep the baby and put him to work. Santa enjoys child labor. Buddy, grows up too quickly and eventually gets kicked out to go find his father. The elves point out that he is just too big and “special” to be a regular elf, though they also realize that he is terrible at actually making toys.

NOW, rewind back to 2007. The then 19 year old Justin Upton is just too big and too strong to stay in the minors. Scouts say that he has a “special” talent after being taken first overall in the 2005 draft. While many agree that he could use some more seasoning in the minors, he is kicked out to the big leagues to accomplish greater things.

Part 2: Buddy the Elf Gets Called Up to Real Life

Justin Upton’s first taste of the big leagues does not go smoothly. Eventually he plays in 43 games, gets 140 plate appearances, and bats a subpar .221 with only 2 home runs. The lowest point of the season comes when the Diamondbacks clinch a playoff spot and the television cameras show all of the players pouring beer on J-Ups head. He can’t drink because he is only 19. Sad day and even a sadder face on national television. 2008 doesn’t go much better for Justin. Appearing in 108 games that year, he still only bats .250 with 15 home runs. Definitely not the stats of someone who was taken first overall. Eventually, the Dbacks send Upton down to AAA for a few games to try and figure himself out.

Buddy the Elf takes a similar path in New York. After getting lost, being terrified of escalators, and getting hit by several aggressive taxi drivers, we all start to feel bad. Even his Dad doesn’t want to see his son, but who would after Buddy decides to get his own father some lingerie that causes some to question the movies PG rating. Shortly after Buddy somehow finds out where his brother’s school is (how in the hell does he know this?) and ruining a phone call in his Dad’s office (“Hello, this is Buddy the Elf”??? Do they have phones in Santa’s workshop???), Buddy is quickly demoted to the mail room to get his head back in the game.

Part 3: Buddy & Justin turn it Around

We then realize why Walter might not like having Buddy around…..he already has a son. While it is a son who is unusually small and prefers to eat dinner locked up in his bedroom, Walter already has a son that he continues to neglect. Why would he want another one?

And that is what people started to say around Major League Baseball. “We already have one underperforming Upton (BJ), why would we want two?”

Buddy though, like Justin, had other plans. Buddy decides, “I am much bigger, stronger, and more elf talented than my brother, so why not act like it?” Whether it was snow ball fighting, couch jump tree decorating, or spaghetti consuming, Buddy was quickly showing that he was better than his brother in every facet of everyday life.

Meanwhile, in 2009, things clicked for Justin Upton in the desert. Putting up gaudy numbers as a 21 year old, being voted an All Star, and receiving votes in the MVP race, Justin started to put his brother in the rear view mirror.

Part 4: Work Suit Buddy & The Real J-Up

Things are going great. Walter finally got Buddy out of his stupid elf costume and into proper business attire. Meanwhile, Buddy himself is no longer sneaking into the women’s restroom, but instead took a girl out on an actual date! Justin Upton is an MVP candidate and all is right in the world.

Then 2010 rolls along. Whether it was a nagging injury, or a lack of mental focus, Justin Upton tanks another season. Some see it as an issue of maturity, while others see 2009 as a fluke year.

Meanwhile across the nation, Buddy is spiraling out of control. A manager at Kohls files a restraining order against him followed by Buddy showing his discrimination against a vertically challenged children’s story book writer. Walter Hobbs screams at Buddy to get out of his life while Kevin Towers begins to call other GMs to see if they would be interested in traded for a disgruntled 22 year old.

Part 5: What Happens Now?

In the movie Buddy saves the day. Well really his girlfriend does when she gets random people to sing together and the movie ends. Even though there were some rough patches, Buddy the elf eventually has a baby with the girl friend and they take it to see his adopted elf father. All is right in the world and everyone believes in Santa again. Even though he may not be the extraordinary elf that everyone wanted him to be, he still turned out to be the hero of the North Pole.

2011 & 2012 are more of the same for Justin Upton. He quietly puts up decent numbers while facing those who say he is still not good enough. He leads Arizona to the playoffs in 2011, and then the blame is put on his shoulders when they miss in 2012. Maybe Justin Upton wasn’t supposed to be the next Pujols or Josh Hamilton, but he is still doing pretty well in the tier of superstars just below.


As abruptly as the movie Elf ended last night, and with as much effort as the writers put into bringing it all together, this ends my tale of two star crossed elf baseball players. Merry Christmas to all and to all a good night.

As always, I wrote this as fast as humanly possible. If there are mistakes, errors, or simply a lack of mental coherence, just stop reading.