Archive for April, 2011

Saturday: 04.30.2011

Trolling the Wire: Week 4 The Weekend

It’s been an interesting week.  A few of the picks were knocked around while others excelled and perhaps excelled enough to keep the weekly totals strong.  We’ll see after the week.  Some things got bumped around this week including Scott Baker getting pushed to start against Kansas City instead of Tampa Bay which was beneficial since he got to avoid the white-hot Ben ZobristJason Hammel didn’t start yesterday and is instead starting today.  I guess he will count for a Saturday pick.

I’ll give another Saturday pick, but it is academic at this point since games have already started.  I meant to post them yesterday, but I passed out early last night after a week of not getting much sleep.  The last thing I saw for the night was Carlos Santana’s walkoff home run against my Tigers… what an awful way to fall asleep.

Chris Tillman (BAL @ CHW) – The White Sox just aren’t playing up to their ability.  Tillman has had two good and two bad starts so far.  He can feast on lesser teams so I’ll give him a shot against Chicago.

SUNDAY:

Jon Garland (LA v. SD) – Some like him, some don’t, but he performs.  He has been especially reliable in the National League despite an unimpressive strikeout rate almost every year (just once above 4.8 since 2004).  The Padres offense is downright abysmal making him an easy start.  In fact, several lesser starters would be a start against this offense.  It’s just sooo bad.

Bud Norris (HOU v. MIL) – What does this guy need to do to get his ownership rates up?  All he has done is strikeout six or more in each of his five starts and allow just three runs in his last three starts totaling 18 innings.  He has really cut down his walks from 4.5 BB/9 last year down below to 3.0 at 2.9.  He isn’t just picking on trash, either.  His last start came against the St. Louis Cardinals when he allowed 0 ER in six innings.

Look for the week’s results and the week 5 picks on Sunday.

Thursday: 04.28.2011

Minor Leaguers in Fantasy Baseball, Part 2

Yesterday I took a look at the impact of the 2010 rookie class and posited that could have a negative effect on how the fantasy community as a whole values prospects going forward.  Of course they are already overvalued as a whole so it may not move the needle a bit.

The fact remains that many owners are so eager to roster the next star that they often hamper their chances at winning just for the opportunity to be the guy who has Buster Posey on a cheap contract.  Posey was excellent last year and is off to another pretty strong start again in 2011, but he is the exception, not the rule.

In the next two parts of this series, I will look back at the top 20 prospects from 2006 to see how things have panned out for them.  What is the success rate of top prospects?  What is it that even defines success?  After looking back, I will have more thoughts on what this class from five years ago can teach us about the 2011 class and we should view minor leaguers now and going forward.

LOOKING BACK

So while the elite prospects acquitted themselves quite well, there were several players off the radar contributing legit numbers.  With just a year elapsed, it is impossible to truly judge the 2010 class completely, but the early returns are strong.  Let’s go back five years and see how things have gone for the top 20* prospects from 2006.

(*top 20 is a bit of an arbitrary cutoff, but seems like the right cutoff of the prospects who are coveted most by fantasy owners  who don’t have them and held tightest by owner who do)

1. Delmon Young (TB) – He was rated by BA four times: three times at #3 and #1 in 2006.  He was as can’t miss as can’t miss gets ripping through the minors in three years debuting at 20 years old and becoming a permanent big leaguer at 21.  Alas, he has kind of missed in terms of expectations-to-output ratio.  I have remained firmly entrenched on the Delmon Bandwagon as he is just 25 now, but last year was his first big time fantasy season since his rookie year when he hit .288 with 13 home runs, 93 RBIs and 10 stolen bases.  I would lean toward giving him an incomplete as I would like to see how his follow up season goes, but I think many would label him a bust.  Rating (1-5 scale, 5 being the best): 2 – Tough one to grade as we are still looking at a .291 career hitter who has played 150+ games in three of his four seasons, but the expectations were so astronomical that being just average is a disappointment both in fantasy baseball and on the field.

2. Justin Upton (ARI) – Another tough one to analyze as he is just 23 headed into his fourth full big league season.  That said, the results have been underwhelming with just the one truly star turn in 2009 sandwiched by two slightly above average seasons.  Through it all, he has failed to play 140 games in any single season.  Keep in mind that a major component of the grading here is how an owner of his back in 2006 feels now about turning away so many Godfather offers that may have brought him short-term glory and may have possibly unearthed a gem 2nd or 3rd tier prospect who would still be contributing today.  Rating: 2.5 – Earns a slightly higher mark than Delmon for delivering his big year while likely still a part of the original owner’s team, but otherwise his name is much bigger than the production.  His fantasy cost-to-talent ratio isn’t a favorable one for his owners let alone the regret he has saddled original owners with while looking back on offers.

3. Brandon Wood (LAA) – He is legitimately one of the worst major league baseball players ever.  He has put up more than a full season’s worth of 22 OPS+ (175 G, 501 PA).  That is unreal.  To have the alleged talent to earn that many at-bats combined with the constant failure takes a special kind of awful.  Rating: 0 – He likely changed how his original owners view prospects from now on.  You can bet that if they get have someone like Jesus Montero and get an equivalent offer to what they received for Wood back in 2006, they are taking it without blinking.

4. Jeremy Hermida (FLO) – Injuries just obliterated his career though it’s not like we shouldn’t have seen it coming as they started back in his minor league days.  Believed to be a dynamic five tool power-speed combo, Hermida never really ran at the big league level likely because there was no sense risking injury in the rare time he was actually on the field.  The power materialized in spurts, but all in all he was a colossal bust.  Rating: 1 – Teased with a strong 2007 campaign (125 OPS+, 18 HR), but played just 123 games that year and has posted an 85 OPS+ in 350 games since.

5. Stephen Drew (ARI) – Breezed through the minors in short order with some eye-popping numbers that just haven’t translated into fantasy stardom.  Drew is likely regarded as a hit from a real world standpoint as a slightly above average shortstop with only one truly bad year (2007), but he was supposed to be Hanley Ramirez/Troy Tulowitzki-good for fantasy owners and it just hasn’t happened.  Rating: 2 – Credit for showing up every day (three 150+ GP seasons out of four; fourth still had 135), but not enough fantasy goodness.

6. Francisco Liriano (MIN) – Burst onto the scene in ’06 with a truly brilliant season before succumbing to an arm injury that cost him all of 2007 and has rendered him inconsistent since.  He has the best single season of anyone on the list so far, but because his stock plummeted so quickly after ascent he too is something of a failure.  Rating: 2.5 – As an amateur free agent, he has far exceeded expectations on the field even if he never throws another pitcher again, but in the fantasy realm even the debut can’t keep him earning a weak grade.

7. Chad Billingsley (LAD) – The first one on the list to actually pay legitimate year-over-year dividends for his fantasy owner commensurate with expectations.  Original owners of his can proudly look back at the offers they declined in favor of hanging onto Billingsley as he has developed into a very reliable fantasy starter.  Rating: 5 – Even if you only held him for his first three years (league rules vary on minor leaguers), he rewarded you handsomely with 438 innings of 3.33 ERA, 35 wins and 401 strikeouts.  Given the inexact science of prospecting and incredible volatility of pitching, nobody would turn down that kind of production from a minor league pick.  And if you would, then you have wildly unrealistic expectations from those minor league draft slots.

8. Justin Verlander (DET) – A star who paid off for his owners regardless of your league’s rules when it comes to minor leaguers.  He won the Rookie of the Year out of the gate and followed it up very nicely with an even better year in 2007.  His 2008 year was a disappointment, but the composite of his first three years still yields 589 innings of 4.05 ERA with 46 wins and 470 strikeouts.  Rating: 5 – He had an extra-long shelf life for you to trade him for a big haul with two brilliant seasons to start off his career.

9. Lastings Milledge (NYM) – It’s a surprise he has lasted as long as he has given how poorly he has performed in a significant 1500 at-bat sample at the big league level.  He has been well below average with a career OPS+ of 91 and the only stint he was above average came in his 59 game sample of 2007 with the Mets.  At 26, he will likely get at least one more shot if not two or three, but he has been an unequivocal bust.  Rating: 1 – A two-time top 11 prospect on the BA plus the New York hype machine likely had his original owners fending off sweetheart offers on the reg.

10. Matt Cain (SF) – The crazy thing about the list so far as the amount of failed hitters and the fact that the biggest hits have far and away been starting pitchers.  It just goes to show that with prospecting there is really no safe route.  You just have to do your homework and put yourself in the best position to hit and then pray that you get a little lucky.  Rating: 4 – Dinging him a bit for the W-L records early on even though they aren’t indicative of his skill.  And the ERAs weren’t that great for mixed leagues early on.  That said, minor league rosters are usually found in single leagues (at least that’s been my experience) and he was a no-doubt gem in NL-only leagues even with the low win counts.

To be continued…

Wednesday: 04.27.2011

Minor Leaguers in Fantasy Baseball, Part 1

The upcoming rookie class in the Kansas City Royals farm system has a chance to be historic given its abundance of blue-chip star power.  In a way, it is already historic after placing nine prospects in Baseball America’s preseason Top 100 list.  Coverage of the minor leagues is growing exponentially year over year and knowledge of the next crop or even next, next crop can give you an edge in fantasy baseball in many different ways. That is important in an era where edges are evaporating left and right.

The easiest way is of course loading your supplemental minor league roster with future stars and waiting for them to emerge.  That sounds easy enough, but it doesn’t always pan out so smoothly unless you can predict the future.  Another not-so-easy issue when it comes to prospects is the handling of them in trades.  How much is potential really worth?  If a team that is building for the future offers you some useful pieces for the 2011 run in exchange for your top 10 guys, do you pull the trigger?

One of the ills of the fantasy community I speak of a lot here is the desire to have the shiny new toy to the detriment of their team whether overspending in an auction or overdrafting in a snake draft.  That affliction is only likely to maintain or even get worse after the 2010 season.

FIRST YEAR PHENOMS

Last year introduced a veritable throng of rookies to the fantasy landscape who made a major impact on races everywhere.  Seven different rookies popped more than 15 home runs (Mike Stanton 22, Tyler Colvin 20, Gaby Sanchez 19, Ike Davis 19, Jason Heyward 18, Buster Posey 18, and Pedro Alvarez 16) , 14 in all reached double digits while eight swiped 10+ bags half of whom topped 15 (Austin Jackson 27, Jose Tabata 19, Ian Desmond 17, Roger Bernadina 16).  There were 11 batters who hit .280 or better in 200+ plate appearances.  Of those, eight had more than 300 plate appearances (Jackson, Starlin Castro, Neil Walker, Posey, Tabata, Chris Johnson, Danny Valencia, Jon Jay and Florida’s Logan Morrison was close at 287).

On the pitching side, we had a 40-save closer (Neftali Feliz), a 13-game winner (Jaime Garcia) nearly 100 strikeouts and a sub-2.00 ERA from a non-closing reliever (Jonny Venters) and six guys with 12+ starts and ERAs at or below 3.50 (Daniel Hudson 2.45, Garcia 2.70, Stephen Strasburg 2.91, Madison Bumgarner 3.00, Jhoulys Chacin 3.28 and Travis Wood 3.51 [cheated a smidge there]).

EMERGING TALENT

And that is just a sampling of the first year players making their mark on the game last year.  There were several other strong performances in one category or another that were instrumental to their fantasy team’s success.

If last year is being dubbed “Year of the Pitcher”, then the subtitle has to be “…and the Rookie” as the overall impact of freshmen was historically awesome.  In other words, it shouldn’t be an expectation year-to-year.  Especially because identifying who will make the rookie impact is no easy feat. 

Just looking at the 25 names I mentioned as superlatives from last year, nine were in the top 20 of Baseball America’s preseason top 100 (including six of the top nine), but the highest rated of the remaining 16 was 62nd (Davis) and 11 didn’t make the list.

To be continued…

This is part one of a series on minor leaguers and their place in fantasy baseball.  This is just an appetizer looking back at last year’s crop, but could that amazing success cloud our judgment of rookies going forward?  Tomorrow I will take a look back at an older draft class to see how it has panned out.  What can we learn from it and how will it help us today as we contemplate offers from leaguemates for the Mike Trouts, Julio Teherans and Jesus Monteros of the world?

Monday: 04.25.2011

Trolling the Wire: Week 4 Monday-Friday

As we inch near putting our first month of the season into the books, some of the shinier waiver wire gems will start to get picked up permanently, but in the league sizes where this strategy works best, there will always be someone out there worth playing.

In the week 3 results post, I recommended rostering Brandon McCarthy full-time (which is of course dependent on who you would have to cut).  Some other previous spot starter recommendations that are likely worth holding onto in most formats include Brandon Beachy and Scott Baker.  That said, they still have crazy low ownership percentages at the major outlets and as such, they will still be included in these columns when appplicable.

While all three may be in owned your league, there are plenty of leagues where all three are available.  That is why I try to include a pair of arms on a given day whenever possible.  I won’t force it by picking a complete shlub I don’t believe in, but on most 15 game days there are a pair of worthwhile pickups.

Let’s see what week 4 is offering us.

TUESDAY:

McCarthy (OAK @ LA) – Little mystery here as I said I was going to keep recommending him until he isn’t so widely available.  He wasn’t great in his first start at Toronto where he allowed four in eight innings striking out just two, but his three starts since have gotten better and better with rising game scores of 57, 68 and 75.

Tyler Chatwood (LA v. OAK) – Picking on the 24th-ranked offense in baseball in terms of runs scored and team OPS more so than I am endorsing Chatwood.  There are more skilled options out there (Gavin Floyd & Marco Estrada), but they are facing two of baseball’s best offenses in the Yankees and Reds, respectively.

WEDNESDAY:

Derek Holland (TEX v. TOR) – A bad inning in each of his last two starts has inflated Holland’s ERA and made him look worse than he has pitched.  Last time out against Kansas City was his own fault, but before that it was his idiot manager leaving him out there way too long.  Ron Washington really is the dumbest manager in baseball.  Make no mistake that they made the World Series in spite of him, not because of him.  He should have never sent Holland out in the 8th in New York on that Saturday start.  Completely idiotic.  Sorry, kind of got off on a tangent there… I’m sure everyone realizes Washington is a terrible tactical manager.  Holland is well on his way to putting together a very strong season.  Again, it really depends what the construction of your team is and how you built your staff at the draft, but there are likely a lot of scenarios where Holland is worth keeping permanently.

Bartolo Colon (NYY v. CHW) – This isn’t just a case of picking on the White Sox, who are struggling mightily at the dish, but Colon is actually throwing the ball really well so far.  His skills support the 3.50 ERA and 1.17 WHIP, so take a shot on Big Fat Bartolo Colon (nicknamed by ESPN’s Matthew Berry) at home.

THURSDAY:

Baker (MIN v. TB) – His lack of ownership is actually pretty astounding to me.  If you don’t want to buy in on Beachy because he is a rookie or McCarthy because he has been so injury-hampered in his career, I get it, but what is everyone waiting for with Baker?

FRIDAY:

Daisuke Matsuzaka (BOS v. SEA) – Even if you don’t believe in what he has done the last two outings, it is hard not to think he can keep it up for at least one more start when he gets a chance to face the Mariners.

Jason Hammel (COL v. PIT) – Hammel is improving start-to-start and now draws the Pirates, who have underwhelmed offensively to say the least.  Hammel’s strikeout rate hasn’t been great at 5.3 K/9 on the season, but with nine in his last two starts (spanning 12.7 innings), he is starting to miss more bats. Pittsburgh’s 177 strikeouts, 3rd-highest in baseball, should only accelerate Hammel’s improvement.

Weekend picks will be out later this week.

Sunday: 04.24.2011

Trolling the Wire: Week 3 Results

Just drove back from visiting the family for Easter (5+ hour drive) so I’m a bit wiped out.  Thankfully, I don’t have any plays for Mondays games so I’m holding over the Tuesday-Friday recommendations until Monday.  I need sleep.  I did have time to put together the Week 3 results, though.  Let me start by saying that Fausto Carmona will never, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever be picked as a spot starter again.  I don’t care if he’s facing the kids of the blind elementary school in your neighborhood, I’d rather recommend Javier Vazquez throwing on 1 day rest in Yankee Stadium against a team of MLB All-Stars.  I crush that guy for the garbage that he is and when I finally buy in just a shred, he goes back to being his Hefty Cinch Sack self.  Unbelievable.

Without him polluting the numbers, the results were still underwhelming as the collective ERA would have been just below 4.00 with a WHIP topping 1.30 and a strikeout rate failing to reach even 6.0 K/9.  With his six runs and 11 baserunners in five innings shellacking, things were much worse as you might have guessed.

A mixed bag for sure as it took until Thursday to even notch a win.  As I doubt anyone actually picks up every single one of these guys, I hope you were lucky enough to get at least a couple of the six worthwhile gems within the bunch.  I know the results won’t always be like Week 2’s 3.08 ERA and 1.22 WHIP, but I’m definitely hoping for more good than bad as I’m not just throwing darts here.  Even with the down strikeout rate, at least the group still managed a 2.0 strikeout-to-walk ratio.

Gem of the Week:

Oakland’s Brandon McCarthy is the GotW as he should be picked up permanently in all formats assuming he hasn’t been already.  His first start was the worst of his four and it was hardly awful as he went eight allowing four, but striking out just two.  Since then he has allowed just three runs in 22 innings striking out 18 and walking just a pair.  He’s got the talent, defense, home ballpark and health to finally pay dividends on the early career promise  that earned him the 49th ranking in Baseball America’s Top 100 list back in 2005.

Friday: 04.22.2011

Trading Tips

As we approach May 1st, trading will start to become a bigger part of league activity.  A month isn’t necessarily enough time to assess your team’s strengths and flaws, but injuries and more than anything else, impatience often fuel trade talks.  With that in mind, I wanted to offer up some tips to hopefully improve your trading experience whether you start firing up talks in a week or in mid-June.

  • Don’t tell the league to make you offers for your guys – If you are serious about improving your team via the trade, then sending a mass email with guys you’re willing to part with followed by a call to action for other owners to engage you for those players isn’t the way to go.  It is the rare occasion when those emails announce a team’s best players being available and as such they barely register on the radar let alone making such an impact that other owners will be compelled to do the legwork to acquire those guys.

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    • There is one exception – If you are engaged in talks to trade either your blue chip prospect (as you are contending and playing for now) or moving your stud(s) to build for the following year, it behooves you and the rest of the league to announce your intentions in a leaguewide email so that you give everyone a fair shot at the guy(s) in question and also get yourself the best deal possible.  Now, you don’t have to do this, but there’s zero downside for you.  You can let the initial trade partner know at the outset, “hey, I’m going to give everyone a crack here, but I like the deal we’re discussing” and he/she should be totally cool with that.  Meanwhile you let the league know, “hey, there is a leader in the clubhouse for the services of player x, if you’re interested please let me know, otherwise I’ll be moving forward.  I just wanted to give everyone an equal shot at this high quality asset.”  Again, there is just no downside for you to do this.

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  • Don’t downplay the guys you’re getting in an attempt to advance the negotiation – The minute you start sending me emails telling me how bad my players that you want are or will be in the future is the minute I know you’re a) lying to get the deal you want or b) stupid because you’re purposely taking on bad assets.  I highly doubt it’s ever b, so can the negativity and just play it straight up.

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  • Do try to make sure the deal is even for both sides – The definition of “even” is ambiguous without question, but the goal is to make sure that both owners come out of a deal feeling they made their team better.  Win-win trades are absolutely the way to go.  If you purposely try to rip someone off in a trade, you’re burning a bridge and possibly losing a trade partner for rest of his/her time in that league if not several.  Remember the old adage, a satisfied customer might tell 2-3 other friends, but a dissatisfied customer will definitely tell 10 or more.  If you become known as the ripoff artist in the league, you will have a hard time consistently winning unless you draft perfectly and then ace the waiver wire all season long.  Now, obviously some deals will work out much more in one team’s favor by the time you analyze it at season’s end, but that doesn’t mean it was a ripjob when it was consummated.  What I’m focusing on here is trading hurt assets, taking advantage of breaking news that everyone might not be privy to and things of that ilk.  I understand it is everyone owner’s responsibility to do their diligence before making a deal and they’d have no one to blame but themselves if they got hosed, but that doesn’t mean it won’t still hit your credibility.  If you make people afraid to trade with you, you may benefit in the short-term with that first ripoff trade, but you’ll do way more harm to your chances in the long-term.

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  • Do put thought into your offers – When sending an offer, focus more on the guy you’re trading with than yourself.  You know how no one wants to hear about your fantasy team when you’re telling them about it at a party?  The same thing applies when you start off a proposal discussing the guys you want your trade partner to give up.  Begin by letting them know what they can get out of dealing with you.  “It looks like you need some stolen bases, which I can definitely supply.  I think you might be interested in Ichiro Suzuki.  Meanwhile, I was thinking a trade of Ichiro for _____ would work well for both of us.  You’re 12 steals away from four points and then another handful away from another group of points” or something to that affect.  In that scenario, you’ve made just a cursory mention of who you want while focusing the attention on how much they can benefit from talking trade with you.

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  • Do respond to ALL offers – There’s nothing like sending out an offer and getting crickets.  Just respond, it doesn’t take long.  I’ll go so far as to say that even if the offer is utter garbage in your eyes, simply reply saying, “no thanks, that doesn’t improve my team and the offer would need A TON of work to get talks going.”  That’s direct without being entirely rude and it gets home the point that he’s nowhere near a trade with track he is on.

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  • Don’t veto trades – OK, maybe I shouldn’t make a 100% blanket statement as there are some outlandish situations where it may be called for, but by & large vetoes are utter bullcrap.  Don’t impress your player values on the rest of the league.  What if at the end of April last year, someone was buying into Jose Bautista’s swing change from September of 2009 and seeing it lead to four more homers to start the season and decided to move Prince Fielder for him?  You may not like it and you may not have accepted the deal if you were the Fielder owner, but there isn’t something overly objectionable about that deal even before hindsight because we don’t know the reasoning behind the Fielder owner making the move.  Maybe he’s a better scout than you are and wants to roll the dice.  Who are you to say he can’t?  Maybe he thinks Fielder just isn’t going to put it together as the season goes forward (and 83 RBIs & .261 AVG would suggest that he kinda didn’t).  The point is, he paid his money and unless you can prove collusion (and good luck doing that), it’s a deal that has to pass.  That’s an extreme example, but few things about this game piss me off more than trade vetoing, especially in a cash league where adults have paid to manage their team however they damn desire.  Just because you might not make a move doesn’t mean it’s unequivocally wrong.  Unless you’ve got a collusion charge that will stick, stop vetoing trades.  It’s pathetic.  You don’t know the future any more than any other owner so stop pretending you do.

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  • Don’t tell the league to make you offers on your guys – Yes, I’m repeating this one, but it’s important.  “Hey guys, I need power and I have Mediocre Guy A, Shlub B and Washout C available for trade.  Send me offers!  Thanks.”  Yeah, no.  And it’s not much better if it’s Star A, Stolen Base King B and Ace Arm C, either.  It’s just that it’s usually less than inspiring guys being made available AND the other owner now wants me to do the work for him.
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Thursday: 04.21.2011

Trolling the Wire: Week 3 The Weekend

The picks recommended are doing pretty well so far this week off the top of my head, especially tonight as Brandon McCarthy and Chris Capuano did some great work.  Here are the weekend picks:

SATURDAY:

Brandon Morrow (TOR  v. TB) – This isn’t one of the official picks because it will be the rare league that he is available on the wire, but just in case he is, I strongly recommend picking him up regardless of format.  Well, except NL-Only, I guess.

Dillon Gee (NYM v. ARI) – He looked pretty good against Atlanta in his season debut and he draws the D’Backs at home this weekend.  I don’t think he will overwhelm, but another good start is definitely a strong possibility.  His peripherals were pretty good in 161 innings at AAA-Buffalo last year, but gopheritis (1.3 HR/9) kept his ERA near 5.00.  He registered more than a strikeout per inning with fewer than 2.5 walks per game.  Very intriguing profile.

Carlos Carrasco (CLE @ MIN) – His Opening Day thrashing is what has his ERA still pushing near 5.00 (7 ER in 6.7 IP), but since then he has three straight quality starts totaling 19.3 innings of 3.26 ERA work with 15 strikeouts.  He’s a guy I liked a lot before the season started and nothing has dissuaded me through four starts.

SUNDAY:

Randy Wolf (MIL v. HOU) – I understand that the standard league at most of the big outlets is pretty shallow, but what does a guy have to do to get some love?  OK, I get it if you weren’t diving in headfirst after a 10-strikeout performance against the Pirates, but he followed it up with six shutout innings and five more strikeouts against Philadelphia.  He’s gone 6+ in three of his four starts and registered five Ks in his three starts apart from the huge 10-strikeout game.  I’m definitely betting on him to stay hot against Houston.

Sam LeCure (CIN @ STL) – I think his start to the season has gone relatively unnoticed as he’s available in a ton of leagues.  He started with back-to-back good starts against Houston and in San Diego so competition has fueled him a bit and Arizona definitely roughed him up at home with four bombs (5 ER in 5.3 IP), but I like the 4.3 K/BB rate powered by nearly a strikeout per inning (17 in 17.1 IP).  The Cardinals will be a tough test, but he’s in St. Louis as opposed to his homer-friendly home ballpark so I like the gamble.

Look for the week’s results and the week 4 picks on Sunday.

Wednesday: 04.20.2011

The New Icons

Today you may have noticed the sweet new icons on the right hand sidebar leading you to the various other outlets of Baseball by Paul.  Those are the handiwork of the brilliant Samantha Tran, a friend of mine who is an aspiring photographer doing great work on her blog over at Flickr.  Though her forte is photography, I thought she might be able to help me with these icons I’d been dreaming up in my mind’s eye but lacked the ability or know-how to do on my own.  I pitched it to her and I was right.

She absolutely crushed it and I’m 100% thrilled with the work.  You can see them in their tiny icon form on the right, but I wanted to share the full-scale images, too, just to show how great the work was by Samantha.  If you have any graphic or photography work you need done whether just a fantasy baseball team logo or something for your website, I highly recommend giving Sam a shot to do it for you.  She’s willing to tackle a wide range of projects so just let me know and I’ll put you in contact with her.

Here are the full size images of the amazing icons:

TWITTER

FACEBOOK

YOUTUBE

RSS

TUMBLR

Wednesday: 04.20.2011

Donation Jersey Contest Update #2

I want to sincerely thank everyone who donated to the Starting Pitcher Guide.  The response to the guide exceeded even my wildest dreams.  I’m going to be drawing for the contest winners early next week after I get back from visiting my parents for Easter.  If you still want to get in, feel free (in the upper right corner).  I outlined the details of the contest here.  Basically, anyone who donated to the guide is entered and you can win either a Justin Verlander or Tim Lincecum jersey.  I’ll make a YouTube video of me drawing the winners and then email them to secure shipping addresses.

I am also going to put together questionnaire/survey type deal regarding the guide in order to get input for next year’s version.  I plan to make it even better so if you like 2011’s, then just wait for 2012.  No, I mean it, wait… we just started this season, try to enjoy it!

Tuesday: 04.19.2011

The Ultimate Backfire

Talk about getting burned.  In an AL-Only league I play, I kept a $23 Joe Mauer.  I originally planned to get Drew Butera for a buck and just lock up all of the Minnesota catchers at-bats.  Yeah, Butera is pretty much worthless, but I was going to invest the money elsewhere.  Then the bidding for Victor Martinez slowed abruptly after $20 and I was still in it locking him up for what I believed to be a bargain $24.  Ya… now I have $47 of catchers on the DL.  Imagine the worst replacements possible and multiply it by 5000 for the kind of drek I’m going to have in my lineup.  Matt Treanor was my pickup for Mauer.  I shutter to think of the possibilities out there for Martinez.

*sigh*

More later…

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