Player Focus: 7/30/08

I didn’t deliver on my promise to post something last night, but I was again just too beat. Things have been a whirlwind of late, but I wanted to at least get something going tonight.

Cabrera Showing Why He’s One of the Best
Chances are you know someone (or perhaps you yourself are the one) that traded Miguel Cabrera for around 75 cents on the dollar back in the early summer. After all, his numbers were downright pedestrian when compared against the backdrop of his career lines. His torrid July marks the billionth case of the baseball season being a marathon and not a sprint, thus requiring a great deal of patience. First of all, it’s not like he was ever in the midst of a BAD season. He wasn’t putting up the otherworldly numbers that many predicted him for, but he was a still a producer. His night is now over after being pinch-ran for, but he went 3-for-5 with four runs driven in and his eighth July home run.

Lately it seems that if someone is on base, then Cabrera is going to drive him in. He has 31 runs batted in during his past 24 games! He would need to stay pretty hot with the home runs to reach 30 for the season, but there is no reason to believe he can’t do it. He needs 12 in two months, but this month’s eight is twice as many as he has had in any other month. I think there are times where we as fantasy owners get a little nuts with our expectations of superstars. Anything other than improvement on the season before for first or second round picks is unacceptable and it really shouldn’t be that way. If the low-end of Cabrera is a .300-30-100 season, that’s still pretty darn good. With his hot July, he has set himself up to top both the 30 and 100 marks handily.

Shoppach Enjoys Career Night, Year
With a brilliant 5-for-6 effort against the Tigers tonight, Shoppach continued his solid, if unspectacular, career year going. I am not much for drafting/paying for catchers in my leagues unless I see someone great going at a bargain. Instead, I opt for the $1 route and usually look to find either diamonds in the rough that could emerge or guys I know won’t play too much but can do something when they do get an opportunity. Shoppach was a big target of mine in all leagues because I liked his potential to smack 10 home runs while spelling Victor Martinez for an off-day or catching when Martinez plays first base. It turns out I struck it rich (relatively speaking) with the Martinez injury that has led to almost 200 at-bats for Shoppach already with more on the way.

A day before the trade deadline, Shoppach has topped the 10-home run mark I had hoped for so at this point everything else is bonus. He has a terrible batting eye that hasn’t really improved, but he delivers exactly what you want out of a $1 catcher: power, without killing any other categories. Playing time will be a factor when (if?) Martinez returns, but he should end the season in the upper teens for home runs.

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The trade deadline is tomorrow and there has already been a ton of action to this point. I can’t remember the last season with this many season-changing crossovers to spend FAAB on. First it was the pair of aces in C.C. Sabathia and Rich Harden and then the consolation prize of Joe Blanton to the Phillies. Then it was Xavier Nady to the Yankees followed by Casey Blake to the Dodgers. Now Mark Teixeira heads over to Angels while Casey Kotchman comes over for the Braves. The three-way deal being discussed right now would move Manny Ramirez to Florida and Jason Bay to Boston. For some reason, I get the feeling that the Ramirez-Bay 3-way will go down tomorrow. Here’s a look at the pitching and hitting numbers that have been available via FAAB this season so far. These numbers are the totals prior to the trade:

Wow, that is some talent!! Blanton severely skews the pitching data and it is still a solid stat-line. Included Bay and Ramirez wasn’t done to make the hitting numbers look better, they standalone just fine. I just feel like that deal will get done by the end of tomorrow so I went ahead and threw the tremendous lines of those two into the mix. Without them, there was still 1406 at-bats of .297 average along 56 home runs and 247 runs batted in on the move so far this season.

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