It's a red-letter day, Astros Fans. From this point forward, Chris Johnson should be owned in all fantasy league formats. Last week, Johnson posted numbers that helped him reach the 13th-most valuable player in Fantasyland, and his real life value was not far behind. Third Base is too shallow for you to continue bad-mouthing Johnson due to his last year struggles. He's now the 78th-ranked player in all of baseball for the season, which makes him valuable indeed.
Similarly, Astros fans can also rejoice as it seems they have found their shortstop. Lowrie will not hit over .400 for long, but he was the 15th-most valuable major leaguer last week, and the 5th-most valuable over the past 14 days. Lowrie has dual-position eligibility and should be starting every day in your league.
Last week, Jordan Schafer punched himself back into semi-useful territory with four stolen bases, but probably harmed his managers with a terrible batting average and OPS. Jose Altuve continued to be productive as well. It's time to bench J.D. Martinez until he learns to adjust to the pitchers who have so obviously adjusted to him.
In Pitching, Brett Myers predictably continues to be useful, though his K/9 is disappointing for a closer. A save is a save though, and Myers had three of them last week. Wandy Rodriguez continues to be a fantasy ace, and Bud Norris finally gave his owners something to be happy about. But like Martinez, it is time to bench J.A. Happ after two stinker weeks.
Looking ahead, the Astros have the Miami Marlins at home and are away for the Pittsburgh Pirates. These are all winnable games, something I would not have said at the beginning of April. The Marlins lineup is extremely dangerous but has struggled all season--something I hope they don't correct against Astros pitching. Wandy Rodriguez should be started on Monday, but I would caution against other Astros pitchers in that series until they start displaying consistency.
Norris is a must-start in Pittsburgh, as he could build on last week's success and add his typical strikeout numbers.
Baltimore Orioles first baseman Chris Davis made a surprise relief effort yesterday, pitching two[...]
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Baseball Card Show Purchase #7 – Hanley Ramirez X 43 I had no intention of doing this, but looking back now, I am really happy that I did. One of the dealers has his bargain bins sorted by team. This … Continue reading →
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Small Ball Carries the Marlins to .500
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One of the most basic axioms of sabermetrics is that batting average isn’t the definitive offensive statistic, and that it had been misused as such for decades. It is highly unsuitable for that sort of catch-all role, as it does not account for[...]
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AAA Colorado Springs: W 6-5 (15-16, t-1st)
Down one heading into the bottom of the ninth, the Sky Sox rallied to win behind a game-tying RBI single from Andrew Brown and a game-winning sac fly off the bat of Brandon Wood. Brown and Hernan Iribarren each had two hits, while Matt McBride's three knocks raised his batting average to .387. Edgar Gonzalez started for The Springs and allowed three runs on four hits in five innings. The Sky Sox received good bullpen work from Stephen Dodson and Mike Ekstrom, as the duo combined to pitch three scoreless innings (although they weren't the most efficient, as they threw a total of 56 pitches).
AA Tulsa: L 4-3 (20-10, 1st)
Tulsa starter Nick Schmidt pitched very well through five innings before falling apart in the sixth, as he allowed three straight singles (with a caught stealing sandwiched in the middle) and a three-run homer to Mario Lisson, allowing NW Arkansas to reclaim the lead for good. Schmidt's final line was decent, as he worked 5.2 innings and allowed four runs on seven hits while striking out four without issuing a walk. Josh Outman pitched a scoreless rehab inning, and did not allow a hit despite issuing a walk. Josh Sullivan struck out two in a perfect inning of work, as well. You want more silver lining? Josh Rutledge continues to heat up, as his three-hit day raised his average to .287. What's more, Nolan Arenado went 2-for-2 with a walk and a double, a good sign that he's breaking out of his funk.
High-A Modesto: W 8-4 (15-16, 3rd, 5 GB)
Timothy Smalling, Jared Clark, and Dallas Tarleton each had two hits to lead the Nuts, while everyone else in the starting lineup had a hit save for Rafael Ortega, who despite going 0-for-5 with a K, is still hitting .306. Juan Gonzalez worked six good innings, allowing just a run on four hits while striking out two and walking two, and maintaining an 8-to-2 GB/FB ratio. Adam Jorgenson cleaned up the mess that Chad Rose left (three runs on six hits in 1.2 innings), earning his fifth save of the season.
Low-A Asheville: W 8-5 (18-12, t-2nd, 3 GB)
Tyler Massey had three hits including a couple of homers, and Harold Riggins homered as well, as the Tourists got past Lexington despite a fairly rough outing from Daniel Winkler. Winkler allowed four runs in five innings, but also gave up eight hits and four walks. He struck out five. Delta Cleary had three hits, raising his average to .337. Maybe it's time to move him up and see if he's going to amount to anything as a prospect.
The Miami Marlins have won six straight by sweeping two series in a row as a part of a west coast swing. The team now heads down to Houston to try and supress a surprisingly hot Houston Astros team after having taken six against the San Francisco Giants and San Diego Padres. There is a lot of good and bad to be discussed, so let us use some links to talk Marlins baseball
- As mentioned earlier today, Heath Bell has been demoted temporarily from the closer position. What is interesting to me is that, just a few days before that, Guillen gave Bell the dreaded "vote of confidence," only to have him put up two terrible outings and be demoted. I understand the sentiment entirely, as those ninth innings are among the most important situations in the game, and you do not want a guy working through mechanical issues in those innings.
- By the way, here's what SB Nation's Rob Neyer thought about the Heath Bell situation.- The good news is the rest of the team is performing pretty well. Ricky Nolasco put up a decent outing yesterday and picked up his 68th career win, tying him for the franchise lead with Dontrelle Willis. Though we do not condone the pitcher wins stat here at Fish Stripes, we do recognize Nolasco for any Marlins milestone achievement nevertheless. Congratulations Ricky.
- Emilio Bonifacio is also approaching a milestone, as he has stolen 13 bases without being caught once, two shy of the team mark set by Chuck Carr in 1994. Bonifacio has really improved his game on the basepaths, and if he continues to improve in small increments at the plate, he has a decent chance at being an average or so player in the big leagues.
- If you want to watch something interesting from yesterday's 6-3 victory, watch Giancarlo Stanton's PA versus Andrew Cashner that eventually led to a run-scoring walk. The best part about this situation is that he gets down 1-2 in the count and has to face down 101-plus mph fastballs the entire PA, yet he patiently takes the walk and drives in the run. Awesome.
Around the League
- New York Yankees closer Mariano Rivera is out for the year with a torn ACL. This is not as major a blow to the Yankees as it initially sounds, as closers do not contribute as much to wins and losses as they appear, and the Yankees have one of the best relievers in the game in David Robertson as well.
At Fish Stripes
- The Marlins wanted to make adjustments this past week after an awful month of April, but where should they look?
- I'm imploring everyone to caption and vote once more for the latest edition of Wild Pitch! The picture is pretty awesome.
The 2012 Major League Baseball First Year Player Draft is less than a month away. The Atlanta Braves have been stingy the past few years, paying very little above the slot recommendations for bonuses. The result of that rigidity to MLB slot recommendations means the Braves spent the third-lowest total on draft bonuses last year, and over the past three years have totaled the second-lowest spent on draft bonuses.
The Braves spent just under $4 million on all their draft bonuses last year, with over a quarter of that, $1.134 million, going to first round pick Sean Gilmartin. The only players the Braves seemed to go over-slot on were their two high school signings, 11th-rounder Seth Moranda and 31st-rounder Jackson Laumann, as well as 14th-round pick Navery Moore, signing him away from his senior season at Vanderbilt. Indeed the Braves signed several players among their first ten picks to bonuses well below slot recommendation.
None of this is to say that the Braves draft was a bad one. In fact, last year's draft looks to be one of the more promising and balanced drafts in recent years. Much of that was due to their willingness to go over slot on the players mentioned above.
Baseball America has the MLB slot recommendations for this year's first round posted, with the Braves first round pick (21st overall) recommended for a bonus of $1,825,000. This expected payout would be the third-highest bonus the Braves have ever given an amateur player:
Of course, with their first pick being the 21st pick of the draft, this will be the third highest the Braves have drafted in the last 20 years -- the two higher picks being Minor (7th overall) and Heyward (14th overall).
If the Braves have a similar budget for this year's draft to the one they had for last year's draft, then they have very little room to go over slot for any player, and little to no room to sign later round picks away from college commitments. This route of giving large bonuses to late round draftees has been an important one for Atlanta, but has been largely missing for several years before returning last year for some promising late round signings.
The best Braves drafts have been the ones where they have been able to spend more in the early rounds, and also supplement their haul of prospects with a few large late-round bonuses. For this to happen in the 2012 draft, the Braves will need to increase their budget and continue their rediscovered willingness to spend big in the later rounds. There is hope that this strategy will be the one chosen.
If the Braves are analyzing their last few drafts as I have been, then they should see that last year's crop of talent far exceeds that of every Braves draft dating back to 2006 and 2005 (the last years they were able to use the draft-and-follow). Much of that is due to the club's willingness to spend a little more last year than they were willing to spend in the intervening years.
Certainly the elimination of the draft-and-follow system hurt the Braves ability to evaluate and sign later round picks, but even with draft-and-follow they had to shell out some large bonuses to those later round picks, and giving big late round bonuses is something the Braves abandoned from 2007 to 2010. I was glad they brought it back last year, and hopefully it is here to stay. But that tactic will once again butt heads with the Braves tight budget in 2012, made tighter by a higher than normal first round selection and associated bonus.
Baseball Card Show Purchase #6 – Tony Perez 2002 Topps Manager Card I doubt that many people outside of Cincinnati and Miami recall that Tony Perez was once the manager of the Florida Marlins. Tony Perez, the Hall of Famer?? … Continue reading →
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