***CONTRERAS CONTINUES HIS DOMINANCE; KING FELIX, NOT SO ROYAL… WELL, ON SECOND THOUGHT…***
Contreras (with his 13th straight decision) has pitched at the level that was expected of him when the Yankees brought him up in 2003. I think he is the real deal, folks. As a fantasy player, you’ll need some folks to offset his low strikeout rate, but in all other categories, I think you can expect a consistent 2006… there will be some back to earth outings this year, but — as long as he stays healthy — I would stick with him every week.
And, when we refer to Felix Hernandez as “Royal,” I can only comment that he is pitching LIKE a Royal, as in Kansas City. Strikeouts are there. His head isn’t. This is a case of being brought up too fast, where it looks like the Mariner brass were believers of all of the fantasy hype.
This guy should be getting work in the minors, where he would tear it up… and he would build confidence.
I mean, think about it. At 20 years old, I couldn’t even get up the guts to stand up in front of class to talk. This kid has to get up in front of 30,000+ to pitch. Mariners’ brass: don’t ruin this kid’s head! Bring him down for a month!
***SPEAKING OF ROYALS***
KC gets their first road win of the season! YAY! I had to put this in, so that I could say that I talked positively about the Royals at least once this season.
***THE BATTLE OF THE “L.A.” TEAMS IS THE BATTLE OF THE SUHCK***
My brother and I have a healthy… well maybe not so healthy… rivalry between the “L.A.” Teams. When Fox took over and took apart the Dodger team, and then the Angels won the 2002 World Series, he jumped on that bandwagon and hasn’t looked back. It didn’t help that he moved to Corona, closer to the Big A (why would anyone want to live in a place that is named after a Mexican beer — he has now moved to Vegas, fortunately, bringing him closer to the Dodgers’ 51’s — but I digress).
The Angels break out of a 5 game skid… but my brother would tell you: this was the longest skid since that year that the Angels played so “poorly” that they became World Champs.
The Dodgers are stinking up the place, but I like this new kid Andre Either (not for fantasy, mind you). I caught him in a post game interview, and I was immediately reminded of why — as a kid — I wanted to play left field for the Dodgers (after Dusty retired a Dodger, which didn’t happen… I didn’t get to play left field when he left, either). Great attitude from this kid. Very little ego. I hope he does well.
Furcal and Kent are just staying in bed a little while longer. Give ’em a few days… the Dodgers
will must improve.
***GLAVINE: WE HARDLY KNEW YE!***
Who is this guy? TEN Strikeouts? I don’t care that he went against the lowly Pirates.
He beat Pittsburgh last year at Shea with a nice 7 IP, 1 ER game. He struck out 2. He walked and allowed 10 batters…
After making Gregg and I look bad last week for recommending him in SF, where he gave up six earned in six and a third, he just had to come out to force us to continue to scratch our heads until we bleed.
***SO, YOU’RE A BASEBALL PROGNOSTICATOR, EH?***
Tell me that you predicted that on the morning of May 5, 2006, Bronson Arroyo would be 2 HRs behind Mark Teixiera (as of the morning of May 4th, Arroyo was only 1 behind) and that Ty Wigginton and Kevin Mench would each have 9 HRs. I might give you Mench… but nothing else.
Teixiera is fine. Buy low, if you can.
***MY FIRST TRADE OF THE YOUNG SEASON***
I traded Bobby Abreu and Joe Borowski to another team in my money league for Roy Halladay and Lew Ford. Ford is a throwaway with a lot of upside.
I am leading the league in SBs by at least 15. I have Reyes, Felipe Lopez, Brian Roberts (Brandon Phillips replacing him on injured reserve). I have Joe Nathan, Chad Cordero, Armando Benitez, and I just picked up Akinori Otsuka, so saves will not be an issue, I don’t think.
I’m going to take a hit in OBP because Abreu was carrying me (we use OBP instead of R). I have been near the top in ALL offensive categories this season. I am dead last in pitching. I know… a major gamble, and Halladay is not a strikeout pitcher.
Desperation? Bad move? You make the call!
***BACK TO MY BROTHER…***
He expressed interest in the preseason about wanting to “come back” to the Dodgers. I told him that he can’t wear any paraphenelia or claim to be a fan, until the Dodgers win a World Series. He can’t even cheer for them during the playoffs or series.
In fact, he can’t watch any of the games!
Question: why do I feel like it is 1936, and I am a Boston native?
***PAPELBON’S RESPONSE AFTER GETTING AL ROOKIE OF THE MONTH: TAKE THIS!***
Papelbon blows his first save opportunity after it is announced that he was awarded the AL Rookie for the month of April. Don’t worry, Papelbon fans. The kid is fine. He can’t win ’em all.
It will be interesting to watch if this, somehow, screws up Papelbon’s concentration. His resiliance is put to the test, but I suspect Papelbon will go right through, without problems, and continue his dominance.
The other question: are hitters just figuring him out now? Papelbon had two saves against the Blue Jays in the month of April. This was the third time he was facing them. Something to think about.
***GETTING MAD AT MADDOG***
Gregg and I were interviewed for a local paper this week about our podcast. One of the questions directed to me was: “What’s your problem with Greg Maddux?” responding to my comments in the last podcast that I felt that Maddux just couldn’t keep it up. He just isn’t the kind of pitcher he has been in the month of April… not anymore, anyway.
I predicted that he would have a 3.8 or so ERA the rest of the way and a 1.3 WHIP.
Today’s result? His first loss of the season. He gave up 5 ERs in 5 innings, with a 2.00 WHIP. The good news: he didn’t walk anybody.
Maddog owners: take note. I told you to sell high last weekend.
***CHAD TRACY: ON FIRE BOY***
Tracy had a lot to do with Maddux’s bad outing, hitting a three run shot. He hit a grand slam the day before. He is looking every bit the part of a fantasy stud, especially with his multi-position eligibility.
***WHAT IS WRONG WITH LIDGE?***
When we did the “worst pitchers of the week” segment in our last podcast, I purposefully did not include Lidge because I felt his bad performance was an aberration, not worthy of note ahead of the Francisco Cordero meltdown and loss of the closer job.
Last night, he allowed another earned run, but he got the save. While I still would not part with him in fantasy or real life (were I GM or manager), something seems very wrong.
***REDS IN COLORADO SHOULD EQUAL MASSACRE, RIGHT?***
No. It meant 4 hits, yesterday… one for extra bases. I think this means very bad things for Josh Fogg today (or shall I say “I hope” — I have four of them on my money league fantasy roster).
***GAME OF THE DAY: CARDS AT HOUSTON***
Chris Carpenter faces the struggling Andy Pettitte, in a rematch of the 2005 NLCS. Most provocative pitching match-up of the day. Pettitte is 1-4, but I predict he is due (it helps that Pujols has a hurt back, even if he did hit one out last night… hopefully, he won’t play to help my prediction).
Prediction: Pettitte wins. Houston wins: 5-3.
***IF KENDALL CAN’T HIT ‘EM OUT, AT LEAST HE CAN HIT THE PITCHER***
Lackey had some choice words for Jason Kendall when Kendall wouldn’t get out of the way of a pitch inside. The ball didn’t hit Kendall, but I suspect Kendall said something to Kendall like: "Get out of the f*****g way, you [another word for a cat]!"
Kendall charges the mound, and both Kendall and Lackey get kicked out.
Interesting irony: Kendall did the same thing with current teammate Joe Kennedy, when Kennedy was with Colorado and Kendall was with Pittsburgh. Said Kennedy: "I threw a 1-2 fastball over the plate, and he leaned over and got hit by it. I told him, `Next time get out of the way,’ and he came at me." (hat tip ESPN).
***BONDS IS TWO AWAY FROM THE BABE***
My prediction: May 10th, he will hit #715. The air is getting warmer, and so is Barry’s bat. Expect more of the same. Warm air means farther hit balls and less pain to his knee.
***WILKERSON: STILL A SLEEPER***
Gregg and I have touted Texas Ranger Brad Wilkerson as a sleeper this year. I am putting more emphasis on that now. He hit one out yesterday, and I think he will hit a lot out in the coming months, as we get into the hotter Spring and hot summer.
I am sure that many fantasy baseball owners have given up on Wilkerson. Take advantage, before he heats up.
Two years ago, Wilkerson was a HR hitting stud. Last year, in Washington, he was pretty bad in that category. Hitting in the Band Box in Arlington, I still say that you can expect near 30 HRs this year.
***SPLISH SPLASH, I WAS TAKING SABATHIA***
I decided to go with Sabathia this week in fantasy, in hopes that he would get two starts. I failed to notice that he was going to go against White Sox ace Mark Buerhle.
So, as you can imagine, I was pleased to watch Buerhle implode.
With the Indian line-up, expect some big things from C.C. as the season progresses. His curve ball looks absolutely stunning, even if he is bigger than my house.
***IT IS POSSIBLE TO KNOW TOO MUCH ABOUT BASEBALL***
An interesting thing happened to me today. I have been so inundated with all things baseball and looking at the smaller intricacies of the game, that I am missing the forest from the trees. It is affecting my own fantasy teams in a bad way.
Just yesterday, I had a fellow fantasy league owner say to me: "With Roberts on the DL…" (I zoned out on the rest).
"What do you mean? BRIAN Roberts on the DL?" My office mate nodded. Oh, ****.
I had no clue, and I did not replace Roberts (out since Saturday) on my money league team until yesterday, effective today. Brandon Phillips was available on the free agent list. While I have not been high on him in our podcast, I decided to try and ride the hot hand until the Phillips meltdown (I am secretly hoping that I am wrong about the meltdown, of course).
On my money league team, I have lost C.C. Sabathia (back now… yay), Derrek Lee, Gary Sheffield, and now Brian Roberts. This has the potential to be a very long season for this defending Champ.
***JOHAN SANTANA IS BACK TO FORM***
Santana looked amazing yesterday, striking out 9 in 7 IP. Fantasy owners: expect this for the rest of the season. Hopefully, for Twins fans, this will help team morale and get slumping Justin Morneau, Rondell White, and Torii Hunter back on track for some good stats the rest of the way.
What has me scratching my head is that Joe Nathan (who I kept in my money league) just isn’t getting save opps. Expect that to change, so if you own him, stick with him (I am).
***ON THE OTHER HAND, SHEETS PITCHES LIKE SOMETHING THAT SOUNDS SIMILAR TO SHEET***
Sheets got bombed. This might be a good buy low opportunity if he happens to be on a fantasy team in your league that is struggling. Fortunately, I don’t have himon my injury plagued team. If I did, I would probably be willing to give up Sheets for cheap out of sheer frustration.
Stick with Sheets.
***WAVING THE WHITE FLAG AT MIKE JACOBS***
Mike Jacobs is one for his last 25 ABs (0-5, today). I am waving the white flag. I will be dumping him in one of my fantasy leagues… he looks destined to head to the minors to get some work and work on his hitting… he clearly is out of his league at this point, and he is dead weight on any fantasy squad.
***HOMERUN BARRAGE CONTINUES***
22 homeruns hit today… that is 90 HRs in the last three days. Anybody want to still argue that the last few years of homerun barrages was solely the result of performance enhancing drugs?
***THE KILLER B’S, A HUDSON, AND A ZITO***
Bronson (Arroyo) had yet another wonderful outing, prompting me to respond: “I believe, Bronson! You are the real deal!” (Jeremy) Bonderman also looked fantastic, but he was facing the Royals, after all. Hard to believe that Bonderman has actually been the worst element in the Tiger staff so far this season (before this outing). Didn’t we all expect him to be their #1? Once he finds a groove (and this game might have done it), can the Tigers be stopped?
Bedard, once again, looked sharp, but the Oriole pen could not keep it together.
The Braves must be pleased with Tim Hudson’s performance today… a very noteworthy outing and just might mean that Hudson has hit his stride… Barry Zito deserves some mention, too… but his consistency has been, well, inconsistent. The A’s needed this outing after Zito was anointed “Ace” with Harden on the DL. Against division rival the Angels, this could not have come at a better time.
***A NEW CURSE?***
Why is it that seemingly every time the Dodgers give up on somebody, he comes out and is one of the best in the game at his position? Duanar Sanchez pitched his 17th scoreless inning on the season tonight, helping the Mets to yet another win. Always lovely to be reminded of losing Konerko, also, by seeing him smack another homer.
***GUESS SCOTTY ATE HIS WHEATIES THIS MORNING***
Podsednik matches his entire April SB output (4) on the first day of May. Guess the groin injury is no longer an issue.
***REMEMBER WHEN KENJI WAS ON PACE FOR 162?***
All you Johjima owners were so excited after the first two days of the season, weren’t you? Do you remember when Kenji was on pace for 162 HRs this year?
Well, as you sadly know, that streak ended in a hurry… but, don’t lose hope! He hit one out today for the first time in nearly a month.
***DAMON IS FOR THE (BOO)BIRDS***
Kudos to the Boston fans who boo’ed Damon. Nobody can change my mind… sure, he contributed greatly to the 2004 winning squad. However, today is the one year anniversary when Damon said: “There’s no way I can play for the Yankees, but I know they’re going to come after me hard. It’s definitely not the most important thing to go out there for the top dollar, which the Yankees are going to offer me. It’s not what I need.”
The boos were well-deserved.
***FINAL TIG TIDBITS***
Dan Johnson has a 5 game hitting streak.
Dontrelle Willis matched his career worst earned run total in a single game with 8 allowed. Fortunately, only 6,017 Florida faithful were witnesses.
***BASEBALL GEEZERS OF THE DAY***
Kenny Rogers, the ballplayer and not the country singer. 4 Ks, 2 hits, 1 walk. Sure, it was the lowly Twins, but Kenny is helping to confirm the Tigers’ title as surprise team (to me) of the year. Rogers certainly will have his bad outings, but it is this kind of outing that clearly shows that he is far from done.
Mike Mussina strikes out 7 in 6 innings, and looks absolutely solid. Thanks to Mike for making Gregg and I look good for recommending him as a must two-start starter for Week 4. He almost got himself kicked out of the game, though, for arguing balls and strikes, so we must also thank Joe Torre for taking the heat off Moose.
Schilling does deserve honorable mention, notwithstanding a come back down to earth performance against Tampa Bay this morning… he put himself in position to do what only two other Red Sox pitchers have done in the history of the franchise… start the season 5-0 (hat tip Baseball Tonight). The other two pitchers? A guy named Pedro. And, a guy who became a big time HR hitter who is commonly known as “The Babe.”
Another honorable mention to Jamie Moyer who wins his first game of the season. I wouldn’t expect Mr. Moyer to be making a habit of getting wins with Seattle, though, this year.
***DAN JOHNSON CLIMBING THE CHARTS, WITH A BULLET***
Another HR for him today. After a 1/32 start, he is coming out of his slump very nicely. Remember that the guy hit something like .350 in near 60 ABs in spring. Dan Johnson, as far as I am concerned, is still a very viable fantasy option. Especially now.
***MY MAN LOVE FOR BILL HALL***
When Koskie was picked up by the Brew Crew, I felt that I would end up looking really bad with all of the praise I had given to Bill Hall, based on his PlayerTrack rankings last year and my propping him up as a fantasy superstar for 2006.
Again. Bill Hall hits one over the fences today, and he helps to convince Ned Yost that he must find a place for Bill in the lineup.
33 HRS were hit today, alone. David Ortiz sets the Red Sox record for HRs in the month of April with 10. Nick Swisher hits his, yes, 10th HR, one short of the A’s record. Eric Chavez hits his ninth (I suppose Swisher and Chavez DO have to give some credit to the lousy KC pitching staff).
The long ball era is alove and well. What do the steroid accusers who claim that the long ball era is due to them have to say now?
A viewer voicemail yesterday, on this week’s podcast, asked about whether the success of the small ball era in the WBC will translate into the MLB thereby imploding the fantasy baseball concept, which depends largely on the long ball.
35 HRs were hit just yesterday, alone.
Moral: did we even have to answer the voicemail?
***FRANCOUER, TRUE TO FORM: WHAT YOU SEE IS WHAT YOU GET***
You can almost predict Francouer’s monthly power output. It is like clockwork, ever since he came up in mid season last year. He is going to get you 4 HRs and 14-15 RBIs every month.
His average last year fell off so significantly, that I have accurately predicted (thus far) that Francouer was going to have a lousy batting average. He IS better than a .200 hitter, though. Expect 4 HRs/15 RBI a month with a consistent .250 average the rest of the way.
He is a batting average and OBP killer in fantasy, so if you need help in these categories, you should part with Jeff. There are better options out there.
***IT AIN’T OVER UNTIL THE FINAL BUZZER/OUT***
So, I’m watching the end of the Laker game this afternoon. About 15 seconds to go, and I watch the Lakers go down by 4 AND foul. I turn off the television. Next thing I know, my brother is calling some 15 minutes later shouting: “DID YOU SEE THAT?!?!?!” **** (sidenote: thanks, J, for the call, allowing me to catch the replays). (Sidenote 2: I still hate Kobe. The player, not the beef. Not that I have had the beef. I couldn’t afford it. Kobe can… maybe not after the impending divorce.)
And, lightning strikes twice in reverse this time. I caught a brief glimpse of Trevor Hoffman throwing a strike to a Dodger in the top of the 9th this afternoon, as I see that the Dodgers are winning 5-0. I shut that off, and slam my hand hard on my desk as I see some ten minutes later on the EAPN scoreboard that the Pads caught the Dodgers in the bottom of the ninth…
AND THEN THE DODGERS LOSE. 🙂 It is probably best that I missed that one, or this computer I am typing on could very well be too busted up to allow me to enter this blog entry.
***PETER GAMMONS, ON DRUGS?***
His quote tonight on ESPN, paraphrasing from memory: “I don’t see how Red Sox fans will boo Johnny Damon in the upcoming series at Fenway.”
Hitting the pipe, Peter? The booing will most certainly be deafening.
***MENCH STREAK ENDS***
Sorry, Kev, if I jinxed you last night, but kudos to you on your seven (edited 4/30/06, thanks Mark!) straight. The Rangers still win the game, and some other elements of the game are worthy of note. Broussard, coming off the best game of his career (and probably the season), comes back with another HR and a 2-4, 2 RBI day.
Akinori Otsuka, currently the replacement closer for Texas, gets his first save of the season, gives up a hit and a walk, and strikes out one.
Can this guy hit 84? Amazing streak and an amazing player… nobody in the history of the MLB has hit 14 HRs in April until today. Albert: you are my hero! 🙂
***HOMERUNS AND RUNS, OH MY!***
Adrian Beltre hits his first HR of the season and King Felix gets his first win (although Felix still does not look good). Worthy of note, Beltre has SEVEN SBs on the season. If he can get 20 HRs this year and 20 SBs, he has a rejuvenated fantasy value. Where Beltre looked like Albert Pujols two years ago, he just might be turning himself into a Grady Sizemore type player, which is good news for Beltre and Mariner fans.
Detroit scores 18. The Yanks get 17, and save a pretty lousy outing by the Big Unit. The Friendly Confines become very friendly to the Brewers, who slash the Cubbies with 6 HRs and 16 runs… two homeruns for Prince Fielder says it all. This guy is on fire, and those of you fantasy folks who were asking us in the first week whether you should dump him hopefully listened to us when we said: Heck no.
***DAMON GEARING UP***
The Bosox face the Yanks in Boston this week. Damon hits 2 HRs, and he helps the Yanks to score at least one run in every inning of the 9 inning game — a feat that they have accomplished only one other time.
***GLAVINE STILL SHINING***
As Gregg and I predicted, Glavine’s strikeout rate is falling… only one this afternoon, but what a stellar outing. While the Braves are struggling, there are most certainly not the league floormat that Glavine made them appear to be.
This outing certainly helps us a bit, as we suggested that you fantasy owners keep Glavine up this week, riding the hot hand, and he looked pretty lousy in his first outing last Monday. Hopefully, you will forgive us after this outing.
***GOOD NEWS FOR THE BIRDS***
Tejada played today, and all medical indicators show that he is just fine. He went 2/4 with an RBI today.
***PODCAST #17 IS UP***
You can find it on our site at baseballgeeks.com. It took a little extra effort today because I, once again, did post production on my new IMac… and I think I didn’t have enough memory. Today’s show is our longest thus far, ringing in at 1 hour, 11 minutes, and 11 seconds… fun stuff, though, including an interview with Brave fan and Turner Field party planner Paul Codling. I’ll post the podcast here tomorrow, but it is available now on Itunes and at baseballgeeks.
Gregg and I had a brief discussion today about doing a regular (hopefully a few times a week… if not more, eventually, as we get into the swing of the season) column on the day in baseball. We are temporarily calling it the TODAY IN GEEK (or TIG) report. Here is my first attempt. TIG REPORT NUMERO UNO.
***MADDOG IS A BADASS***
I predicted this morning at Baseballgeeks that Greg Maddux was going to go 6 innings and give up 4 runs in a 7-3 loss to the Brew Crew. While I was lucky enough to look like the prognosticator of all prognosticators in our last two podcasts (last week, predicting Barry’s first HR, and the week before touting Ryan Church, who then smacked three HRs in three days following that podcast), this one leaves me with egg — scratch that — MadDog saliva on my face.
Maddux strikes out 6 in 6, and looks every bit the part of the Greg Maddux we knew in the 90’s. This guy has stud written all over his face, but make no mistake. I still do not think this is for real, to the extent that I would want to go after this guy in fantasy.
My conclusion: sell high. You will not be able to get as much for Maddux as you would now. Facing Milwaukee has been a pitcher’s paradise for strikeouts this year thus far. Maddux’s strikeout numbers are not normal. They WILL come back down to earth.
***TEJADA ON A TERROR***
He continues his torrid hitting by setting a Baltimore record for hits in April, continues on a 13 game hit streak, but then hyperextends his knee. It doesn’t look too serious at this point, but isn’t this what the Mets were saying about Bannister and the Blue Jays about Burnett?
Keep an eye out, but Tejada has been a fantasy player’s dream… and more.
Tejada expects to play tomorrow, and the fact that he hit his 6th HR of the year following the hyperextension probably means he is right.
***FANTASY LINE OF THE DAY***
J Weaver (L, 1-3) 2.1 8 8 8 2 4 1 66-41 7.48
Let’s face it, folks. Jeff Weaver has looked downright BAD, and I suspect this will continue for the remainder of the year, being as he no longer will face a pitcher in the lineup, unless he is pitching in interleague play.
Consider Weaver the Anti-Arroyo for this year because of the reverse league switches. Too bad Weaver does not have an opportunity in the AL to hit some HRs.
***NO LOVE FOR BAY-BOH, NO DISRESPECT FOR HAMMERIN’ HANK***
One has to wonder the motivation of Bud Selig in not recognizing Babe Ruth when Bonds passes him with his 715th HR (which I predict will occur by May 10th).
My instinct was to think “Nice job, Selig! We didn’t make a big deal when Bonds passed Maris’ 61 in 2001. We shouldn’t make a big deal here.”
But, after thinking on it for awhile, I changed my tune a bit.
The career HR record is something of a Holy Grail in baseball lore. 714 is one of those rare numbers that we baseball geeks remember… like Dimaggio’s 56… like Hank Aaron’s jersey number 44… like 9, the number of innings in a ballgame.
If a new (read: well-liked player in the media) were to match Lou Gehrig’s 2130, don’t you think there would be a big deal made? I do. And, I would expect it.
The fact of the matter, for me, is that like it or not, Babe Ruth is the measure by which all baseball players AS PLAYERS should be judged. When someone passes his 714 (and Bonds would only be the second guy to do it), we should all honor Ruth (and baseball, for that matter) with some kind of recognition for the player who does it.
It is not disrespectful to Hank Aaron in any sense. Babe Ruth is baseball’s version of Messiah… A man among boys when he played… A man who should appear right next to the word baseball in Webster’s Dictionary.
Barry deserves the recognition, but more than that — we owe it to the Babe.
***MENCH IS A MENCH***
In Yiddish, a Mench is a gentleman, a nice person. Add: a power hitting madman with a seven game HR streak. I suspect that if I put cream cheese on Mench, it would melt faster than when I put it on my hot-out-of-the-toaster-oven sesame bagel this morning, before we record Podcast #17.