Baseball by Paul 6/12/10 Show Notes

Here are the show notes from the Saturday, June 12th episode:

Trolling the Wire Pickup

Jason Hammel, SP, Colorado Rockies – He has been EXCELLENT in his last four starts and in five of six since returning from the disabled list. Now might be the last chance to get him as he owned the Toronto Blue Jays tonight going eight shutout innings allowing just three hits and walking three others while striking out six. Taking out his May 21st start at Kansas City, Hammel is 4-0 with a 1.57 ERA and 1.08 WHIP in his 34 innings with 7.6 K/9 and a 3.6 K/BB ratio. Even leaving the start in only takes his ERA to 2.41 and actually lowers his WHIP a tick to 1.07 while the K/BB ratio also moves up slightly to 3.9.

He was solid in 2009, though mostly an NL only play with a 4.33 ERA and 1.39 WHIP in 176.2 innings. He had a huge home/road split going 3-3 with a 5.73 ERA and 1.62 WHIP in 81.2 innings at Coors Field while putting together a 7-5 record with a 3.13 ERA and 1.19 WHIP on the road.

The oddest thing about the severe split was that his strikeout-to-walk rate was significantly better at home. This year, he has reversed the split statistically with the better record, ERA and WHIP at home, but the better strikeout-to-walk ratio on the road. That said, he is pitching well enough that I would start him anywhere right now. Last year, avoiding Coors was the right play, but there isn’t enough data to buy into a home/road split with Hammel right now. He’s proven he can pitch on the road and this year he appears to have corrected the home woes making him a full-time option in deeper mixed league formats as well as all NL-Only leagues.

The Minor Leaguer Strategy

Some of the strategies I will discuss on this show include one I learned from Mike Siano of MLB Network’s Fantasy 411 show. He brought it up last year and what he does is picks up a hot minor leaguer on Thursday when fewer teams are playing and just holds the guy through the weekend in hopes of him getting called up. If he’s not called up by the new week’s deadline, he cuts ties and tries it again next week. This landed him Tommy Hanson in one of his league’s last year and Mike Stanton this year. Employing the strategy would’ve also gotten you Carlos Santana and Buster Posey, too.

In both cases, the young catchers received what essentially boils down to votes of non-confidence. Their front offices said they were still working on important aspects of their game and would not be called up all that soon. And in both cases, they were called up shortly thereafter. Posey came on a Saturday in late May and Santana was called up just yesterday on a Friday. Now in any only league with a reserve or keeper list, neither of these guys would be found on the wire, but they were available in a lot of mixed leagues because the roster spot was too precious to hold open for them.

The next players I would recommend trying this strategy with are Pittsburgh’s Pedro Alvarez and Philly’s Dominic Brown. Pittsburgh knows the future is now and their lineup is already chocked full of youngsters especially after they recently called up Jose Tabata and Brad Lincoln. Alvarez can’t be far off. He’s has a .291/.378/.551 triple slash line with 12 home runs and 51 RBIs. Andy LaRoche just doesn’t appear to be as good as his minor league numbers suggested. He’s hitting .240 with three home runs and 12 RBIs in 167 ABs so there is no reason for him to block Alvarez much longer.

Brown is a bigger gamble because he is only in AA right now, but so was Stanton. Brown is hitting .311/.381/.568 with 10 home runs, 36 RBIs and 9 stolen bases in 190 at-bats so far. When you add that to his 37 games at AA last year, he’s hitting .297/.376/.472 with 13 bombs, 56 RBIs and 17 stolen bases in 337 at-bats. At the very least, he seems ready for a promotion to AAA. But with the Phillies struggling to get any consistency at the dish and Raul Ibanez a major part of those problems, it wouldn’t be farfetched to see the Phils promote Brown to the majors. After all, there is very little chance that Jayson Werth will be resigned next year and Brown is the heir apparent. Perhaps they could play together for three and a half months before the baton is passed entirely.

Jason Castro is another name that leapt to mind. Houston is awful. Their catching situation is awful and it’s about time they infuse some young talent into their team.

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