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, 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.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Yoenis Cespedes: The Showcase

I have paused the showcase video of Yoenis Cespesdes at 5:17 right now because I realized how amazing it is. I am also not sure how I have lived this long in my life without ever seeing a video of this magnitude. Anyways, since it has been a rather slow and boring MLB off-season so far, I have been searching near and far for anything relevant to baseball. Then I found what might be the greatest showcase video ever created. A showcase video so amazing that only a running diary can truly capture what is going through my mind as I write it. Here we go.

0:49 - I honestly had to stop the video to tweet about the sweet inspiring music that is going on right now. While I haven't actually seen his picture or any type of baseball being played, listening to some dude speak Spanish while being accompanied by inspirational music really has me wanting to go dunk a basketball, punch a random individual, or go spend $13 at Taco Bell.

2:09 - UPDATE! The inspirational music, Spanish speaking gentleman, and Star Wars credit words have finally stopped. I have enough adrenaline pumping to punt an elephant.

3:34 - Shortly after the credits stopped rolling, we get a glimpse into the baseball player that is Yoenis Cespedes. Using a rather slow song (no clue what song it is) and extreme slow motion, the viewers get strange little video clips of Yoenis hitting home runs. While I am excited to see him swing the bat and hit the ball as far as he can, the music has me feeling sad and confused. Did Yoenis just get dumped by his girlfriend? This mark in the video is also of a clip where he hits a long home run, stands to watch how far the ball goes for 8 seconds (not lying), all while someone in the stands plays some sort of trumpet.

4:53 - This mark shows a clip of Yoenis hitting home run #32 of the year which also ties the Cuban single season home run record. While that is nice, this is America. With all of this hype and a 20 minute Youtube showcase video, I thought he would be tying the Cuban home run record at 86, not 32. Disappointed.

5:36 - Shows the record breaking grand slam that Yoenis hits. How did I know it was record breaking? Because a rather loud "glass shattering" sound effect plays and scares me into choking on my cookie cake. This is followed by the Spanish speaking announcers going on for 30 seconds and I have no clue what they are saying.

6:13 - AIRPLANE SOUND EFFECT!!!! "I've done all I can in Cuba, now I must move on." Apparently this is the transition from baseball player to work out guru. Suddenly, I have no clue what is going on.

6:41 - Now we all get to see Yoenis work out without a shirt on. Classy move. It's a well known fact that baseball players work out better without a shirt on. Also, if I'm not mistaken, that is Chris Brown blaring out of my computer speakers. Final note, whoever is filming this video on the track is either running along with him, riding a bicycle, or is purposely shaking the camera as hard as he/she can. I may get sick.

8:23 - Still rocking the Chris Brown music, we all get to see Yeonis do some leg press. Not only is he leg pressing a lot of weight, he is leg pressing two of his friends who are most certainly "too excited" that they are helping him out. Seriously, look at their faces, that is pure arousal. It also just came up on the screen that he is currently benching 1300 lbs. Not sure if that is true or not, but I'm pretty sure that isn't that much.

10:29 - We get to see Yoenis shagging fly balls in right field. Apparently they don't teach catching the ball with two hands in Cuba.

10:47 - I was going to talk more about his poor fielding skills when the video transitioned into an extremely erotic workout between Yoenis and his workout partner. While this part of the video made me uncomfortable, it got worse when they used slow motion to show off his "CORE POWER!"

11:24 - They are still working out in slow motion. . .

11:27 - Now we see how Yoenis handles the center field position as he shags fly balls once again. More importantly, this clip shows how focused he is on catching fly balls. It doesn't even phase Yoenis when a random four wheeler drives behind him. That is an important skill that will transfer into the MLB. He also catches a ball behind his back. Well done Yoenis. I could do that when I was 9.

12:53 - I didn't update for the last minute and a half because I was enamored by how amazing his "CORE STRENGTH" was. At this point the viewer gets another look at some fielding practice that Yoenis is taking with the kids from the Cuban movie El Sandlote.

15:39 - DOING WHATEVER IT TAKES TO BE THE BEST!!!!!!!! AIRPLANE SOUND EFFECTS!!!!!! I am totally thrown by the fact that his little airplane graphic lands in ?, USA. What does this even mean? Does he not know the cities that certain teams play in? Would he really play for the Astros if they signed him?

16:22 - Now a map of the United States with each of the MLB teams logos on their respective cities. The ? logo is right in the middle but is right about the Twins logo. Is that subliminal messaging by Yoenis? Does he want to play for the twins? Has he ever seen snow?

16:38 - Here comes a slow scrolling stat sheet on various aspects of his career. Mind you, we have had complete silence in this video for the last two minutes or so. Not sure if this is done on purpose or not. Either way, it is making me want to see him leg press more and more weight! It also just scrolled through 3 paragraphs of text. No human can read that fast.

18:02 - A "Thank you" message is being posted on the screen. Strange because there are still over 2 minutes remaining in the video. Also, still in complete radio silence.

18:22 - Some words just flashed on the screen for a mili-second as a strange woman softball player is shown. I like the applause sound effects. We now find out that it is his mom. Strange children are cheering.

18:48 - Did he really just thank Ahman Green? Is this where Green went after his days with the Texans? Also, right after the "Thank you" went away, why was there a cow mooing sound effect?

18:55 - Yoenis also has a nice thank you tribute to his family and friends at this point. It shows three of his "friends" dancing to some sweet music while being shirtless and bad at dancing. This goes on for more than 30 seconds.

19:27 - No more thank yous, but just in case any of the MLB teams were wondering, yes, Yoenis can cook a pig.

19:58 - I almost thought that the pig part was an accident and wasn't meant to be apart of the showcase video, however, then Yoenis tells everyone The End with a red letter H and a pink letter N. Extremely confused.

If this video took me over an hour to watch and critique, how long did MLB execs take to watch the video. I am still currently sitting in silence because I am not sure what to do next. I do know though, that I need to work on my abs, pig cooking, and behind the back fly ball catching. After I have mastered all of the above, I will be ready to sign with the Twins.

FINAL NOTE: I am in shock right now and cannot proof read. This is raw, uncut, work out watching emotion right here. If you care that much, you shouldn't be reading it anyways.

Monday, October 17, 2011


Never thought this would be happening in mid-August.

Cards in five.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

2011 Start Wedman MVP Voting

Time to show our support for the democratic system around here again and decide who ultimately deserves the MVP. Since our opinions are just as dumb as those of the typical BBWAA member, I like to think that last year's winners, Jose Bautista and Joey Votto, were more honored to receive our first inaugural MVP award. And once again, shenanigans are about to be had.

The process remains the same as last year with the writers of this great site contributing their votes and Fangraphs offering a WAR buffer vote to counteract any Steve Bartman-esque nominations. The only difference is that there were only four voters instead of five this year. First place votes will be in parentheses next to the player.

We pride ourselves in being gentlemen through and through here at Start Wedman, so we will allow the oldest (and worst) of the two leagues to go first. And the 2011 Start Wedman NL MVP award goes to...

1 Matt Kemp (4) 47
2 Ryan Braun (1) 43
3 Justin Upton 27
4 Roy Halladay 25
5 Albert Pujols 19
6 Joey Votto 17
7 Jose Reyes 15
8 Clayton Kershaw 12
9 Lance Berkman 12
10 Troy Tulowitzki 8
11 Bruce Chen 8
12 Cameron Maybin 6
13 Dan Uggla 5
14 Cliff Lee 5
15 Prince Fielder 5
16 Starlin Castro 5
17 Emilio Bonifacio 3
18 Logan Morrison 3
19 Brandon Phillips 2
20 Michael Morse 2
21 Nyjer Morgan 2
22 Shane Victorino 1
23 Rick Ankiel 1
24 Michael Bourn 1
25 Andrew McCutchen 1

After leading the Dodgers to a season one game above break-even, Matt Kemp has taken the award with his off the charts season. I was the only one who slotted Braun above Kemp, mainly because I believe that his season mattered more since he was on a playoff team not cleaning up against the scrubs of the NL West. Plus, I don't see Kemp as the type of person who would be able to endure this sort of joking around. And that's what I ultimately want in an MVP candidate - a bro with a sense of humor.

Although the biggest item to note is that Bruce Chen received 8 points despite never donning an NL uniform this year. But I allowed the vote to stand, unlike Fangraphs. Democracy rules!

Let's see how Chen fairs in the AL MVP vote. Could he take home the award?

1 Jose Bautista (2) 40
2 Jacoby Ellsbury (1) 39
3 Miguel Cabrera 34
4 Justin Verlander (1) 28
5 Curtis Granderson 25
6 Dustin Pedroia 18
7 Ian Kinsler 16
8 Bruce Chen 11
9 Josh Hamilton (1) 10
10 Michael Young 10
11 CC Sabathia 7
12 Melky Cabrera 7
13 Ben Zobrist 5
14 Adam Jones 5
15 Adrian Gonzalez 5
16 Brandon Allen 4
17 Paul Konerko 4
18 Adam Dunn 3
19 Alex Gordon 2
20 Coco Crisp 1
22 James Shields 1

Well, fiddlesticks. Sorry, Bruce Chen; so close though with your 8th place finish. Instead, Jose Bautista takes home his second straight Start Wedman AL MVP award by another single point, over Jacoby Ellsbury this time.

And once again, the AL voting has been lampooned by our quality writers. First, Josh Hamilton received one single first place vote, which amounted to his only vote; I hope something similar happens in the real MVP voting sometime. Despite all the hype, Start Wedman clearly does not support Justin Verlander's bid to Eckersley the awards this year. Brandon Allen is flattered. Alex Gordon's vote is actually not a joke vote; he was tenth in WAR this year in the American League. And finally, Adam Dunn probably did have the greatest impact of any one player on his team's season, so he receives his deserving points.

Congratulations once again to Jose Bautista as well as newcomer to the MVP posse, Matt Kemp. I would love to get you two awards and send them your way, but this blog kind of fails to create revenues for itself.

Better luck next year, Bruce Chen!

Monday, October 3, 2011

Pointless Analysis, Part 2 of likely 4

Now that the season has fully wrapped up, the time has come to apply some more Pointless Analysis. Luckily, this time, I will refrain from jinxing any remaining teams, sorry Braves and Red Sox.

Today's session is a nice and easy appetizer for the more intense waste of time I will bother with in the next two posts. Two quick comparisons of my previous, early season predictions to the finalized standings, in order of final win/loss record find their way to the menu today. The two main reasons for this are to one, figure out well my process predicting the final standings, and two, add to the pointlessness of this entire endeavor since baseball's unbalanced schedule makes a one through thirty ranking of the teams' records fairly pointless.

When I ultimately compared the final standings to my original predictions, here are the five biggest winners and losers based on the number of rankings spots they jumped or fell, respectively:

1. Arizona Diamondbacks +21
2. Milwaukee Brewers +17
3. Detroit Tigers +14
4. Cleveland Indians +12
5. Toronto Blue Jays +9

1. Minnesota Twins -19
T2. Colorado Rockies -17
T2. Chicago White Sox -17
T4. San Diego Padres -14
T4. Baltimore Orioles -14

In addition, the "worst player" process correctly predicted the final standings of three teams (Astros, Angels, and Rays). When looking at the losers are winners, for the most part, the most surprising teams (Diamondbacks, Indians, Blue Jays) and biggest disappointments (Twins, Rockies, White Sox) overall based on anyone's initial predictions all make an appearance. So the "worst player" ranking system was unable to identify those unexpected results. The system also proves that no matter his best efforts, Mark Kotsay was unable to hold back the Brewers this year.

For the second course, I decided to take the ultimate WAR rankings of my "worst players" and compare those to the final rankings as well, just to check and see if the players I chose held some sort of magic theory that could predict the final win/loss standings. Much to my surprise, that also failed.

Here are the biggest winners and losers using that method of comparison:

1. Tampa Bay Rays (Dan Johnson, funny enough) +23
2. St. Louis Cardinals (Miguel Batista) +21
3. Philadelphia Phillies (Pete Orr) +20
4. Arizona Diamondbacks (Melvin Mora) +18
5. Detroit Tigers (Carlos Guillen) +17

1. Houston Astros (Carlos Lee) -29
2. Baltimore Orioles (Derrek Lee) -23
3. Minnesota Twins (Jim Thome) -20
4. New York Mets (Chris Capuano) -17
T5. Colorado Rockies (Jason Giambi) -15
T5. Oakland Athletics (David DeJesus) -15

One team came out spot on with no difference at all, the Atlanta Braves with Brooks Conrad. Again, there is a slight, but unsurprising trend. The good teams with terrible years from their "worst players" jumped into the winners category while bad teams with (relatively) great years from their "worst players" fell into the losers category. I am also constantly amazed at how Carlos Lee and the Astros keep screwing everything up since Lee posted a 3.2 WAR, which actually was the highest on the dead last Astros team. I think that if it wasn't for him and his terrible team, things would be far more stabilized.

Hopefully these two quick bits of analysis wet your pallet for the rest of the Pointless Analysis that will follow in the next week or so. Stay tuned.