I’m beginning to think with Billy Beane that the emperor’s wearing no clothes. Moneyball is still a great book, Joe Morgan is still a moron and Chad Bradford is still an underhander. Those things are true. But the A’s were 4th in the Majors last year in steals — what happened to steals cost outs? Not to mention, Beane’s team hasn’t been competitive in three seasons. Was Moneyball just a symptom of the era? Was it simply fortuitous that Beane’s coronation came during the era of the three run homer? Was Moneyball a by-product of steroids? Would Moneyball be written today? Hard to imagine Michael Lewis sitting down with a GM of a sub-.500 club and polishing his pedestal, right? And none of this has to do with fantasy baseball or Ben Sheets. (I wrote the preceding the other day, then right before I posted this I saw Sky Andrecheck wrote an SI piece in the similar ballpark. Literally.)
If Sheets can stay healthy, he’s liable to return more than his ADP. That “if” is ginormous. That “if” sits next to you on a plane and you can’t put down the armrest. You show up at a party of 500 Tongans and that “if” is the second biggest thing in the room after the buffet table. You hook up with that “if” at a bar and people will think you’re beer goggling. Okay, I think I made my point. The other issue with Sheets is his falling K-rate. Back in 2005, if Sheets was healthy, he was a Cy Young-type performer. Regularly posting 200+ Ks and next to no walks. (Sounds a bit like Nolasco now.) But lately Sheets hasn’t come near these numbers when healthy. In 2007, he started 24 games and had a K-rate of 6.75. That would’ve put him on par with Jason Hammel last year. He also gained a walk per nine on his walk rate. In 2008, Sheets had a 7.17 K/9. Better, but that would’ve had him on par with Zito. The days of the 9+ K/9 and sub-3 ERA are over. He’s only a number 3 fantasy starter if he can start 30 games. It’s okay, but not worth the ulcer when considering his health. Anyway, here’s some more deals and signings since the last time we checked in and what they mean for fantasy baseball:
Octavio Dotel – Signed on to be the Pirates closer. Bummer. Was hoping to see Joel Hanrahanananan and Brendan Donnelly battle it out. Would’ve been like a match between Steve Lombardi and Salvatore Bellomo. I will own Dotel on multiple teams. He’s a K machine (regularly 10+ K/9) and he has no competition even if he falters. With The Dread Pirate, Robot Jones and Dotel, I’m going to be watching a lot of Pirate games this year. Pray for me.
Xavier Nady – Signed with the Cubs. What a long strange trip it’s been for Nady. Goes from Tommy John surgery to being a fourth outfielder that can’t catch a break to putting up a career year to having his second Tommy John surgery and returning to fourth outfielder duty. Nady will need Soriano to hop onto the DL to have any real value.
Miguel Tejada – Signs with the Orioles. In the top 20 shortstops for 2010 fantasy baseball, I gave Tejada projections of 70/15/85/.295/4. In Houston, he hit second and fifth, helping balance his Runs and RBIs. Now he’ll probably bat primarily fifth. So if you want to argue Tejada’s Runs will decrease slightly and his RBIs will go up a tick, go for it. But remember you’re arguing about an average at best, 35 year old shortstop.
Jon Garland – Signs with the Padres, or as I like to call them, The Team With Five Number Five Starters. Garland can be a solid HodgePadre during the season. But it’s hard to draft a HodgePadre, especially one with no Ks. First long road trip and you wanna drop him. I would slot him in as my 5th starter in NL-Only leagues.
Rick Ankiel – Signs with the peasant Royals. For s’s and g’s, I went to look at Baseball-Reference’s most comparable players to Ankiel. Came back with Pedro Feliz. Sounds about right. Both are good for 20 homers and a .250 average. Feliz at least has position eligibility going for him in fantasy baseball. Ankiel’s a good story (minus that HGH story), but he’s not worth much outside of AL-Only leagues.
Randy Winn – Signed with the Yanks. This signing for fantasy baseball has all the makings of a headache for yours truly. No one wants to own Winn, but now that he’s on the Yanks he’ll be at the top of waiver wires all year, so I’m going to field six months of “Hey, Grey, Winn’s available, should I pick him up?” On the bright side for schadenfreude purposes, this is a bigger headache for Brett Gardner. As Nelson would say, “Ha-HA!”
Jim Thome – Signs with the Twins. It’s his 3rd AL Central team. Dayton Moore must be pissed he spent all his milk money on Podsednik and Ankiel. Twin fans have been waiting for another Harmon Killebrew for 30 years. In Thome, they found one, albeit closer to Killebrew today vs. during his career. Thome could hit 30 homers with a full season of DH ABs, but the Twins have Mauer, Kubel and Cuddyer that could also take some ABs away. I’d conservatively project Thome for 60/22/75/.240.