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Jose Bautista hit his 39th and 40th home runs last night.  As frequent commenter, VinWins, pointed out yesterday, in the Blue Kays last 162 games, Bautista has 50 homers.  Okay, I was way off with this guy, but Jose Bautista didn’t see this year coming.  His own mother doesn’t recognize him.  Every morning he wakes up wondering if the last five months were a dream.  This is the craziest home run year since Scooter McGillicuddy blasted 6 homers in 1901 while battling scurvy.  Bautista hadn’t hit 30 homers in the past two years combined in twice as many games.  His HR/FB% is nearly double his career mark.  His fly balls are through the roof, literally.  His Isolated Power is near Babe Ruth’s career mark.  The HR department thinks Bautista lied on his resume.  A mouth enters on the left side of the screen and says, “Im,” a mouth enters on the right side and says, “Probable.”  Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

Brandon Morrow – 6 IP, 2 ER, 6 baserunners, 12 Ks.  Hello, beautiful.  I hate AL East pitchers, but I might just own Morrow on all of my teams next year.  Right after, I draft Daniel Hudson.

Ivan Nova – 5 1/3 IP, 2 ER, 7 baserunners, 3 Ks.  In the minors, he had a 2.86 ERA in 145 IP and around a 7 K/9 rate.  He’s not guaranteed another start, but I wouldn’t be surprised to see him face the A’s next week.  It’s not a terrible spot starter for the Yankees or for your fantasy team.  And he would’ve made a great pitcher-catcher combination with Mike Scioscia.

Jeremy Bonderman – 6 IP, 2 ER, 8 baserunners, 3 Ks.  Decent enough start, but he’s coming off 3 atrocious games and has a 5.27 ERA on the year.  You want an ulcer?  Ask your girlfriend which friend of yours she would sleep with if you weren’t dating her.  Don’t pickup Bonderman.

Brett Myers – 7 1/3 IP, 2 ER, 10 baserunners, 9 Ks.  Gets the win in his first start against his old team.  When asked how it felt to beat the Phillies, he said, “I’ll always love the Phillies but sometimes you have to beat the ones you love.”

Joe Blanton – 7 IP, 1 ER, 6 baserunners, 9 Ks.  Actually outpitched Myers and has 3 decent starts in his last four and goes to Petco next.

James Shields – 6 IP, 2 ER, 9 baserunners, 10 Ks.  Now has back-to-back quality starts, but has a 4.76 ERA on the year and gets the Sawx next.  I’d look elsewhere if you can.

Michael Bourn – 3-for-4, 2 SBs.  That’s now a robust .252 with 1 HR and 27 RBIs to go with the 42 SBs.  Someone is running for presidency of the SAGNOF Foundation when Juan Pierre’s term expires.

Blake DeWitt – 3-for-5 with his 4th homer.  His power and speed are very limited, but he’s hitting over .350 in the last week.

Casey Coleman – 6 1/3 IP, 1 ER, 5 baserunners, 3 Ks.  He had an under 5 K/9 in the minor leagues this year.  That’s longhand for blech.

Stephen Strasburg – Headed to the DL with a strained flexor tendon but the Nats’ GM Rizzo wouldn’t rule out Strasburg from pitching again this year.  If I may read between the lines, Ratso is saying, “Please continue to buy tickets with the hope Strasburg will pitch again even though he’s not.  Thank you for your patronage.”

Jordan Zimmerman – J. Z’s coming back again.  He’s got 99 problems but a pitch ain’t one.  This Thursday he returns after putting up a 1.59 ERA in the minors with nearly a K/IP.  Last year, 92 Ks in 91 1/3 IP.  I’d absolutely grab him in all leagues.

Edinson Volquez – 2/3 IP, 5 ER, 8 baserunners.  This is only his 2nd bad start out of 7 this year but his lack of control (more than 6 BB/9 IP) makes him a very risky mixed-league start.  I wouldn’t play Volquez unless it was MLB-sponsored Scrabble.

Alberto Callaspo – 2-for-4 and batting over .400 in the last week.  Also, batting near-.350 in August.  Not going to give you much power or speed, but he’s hitting for average and batting third.

Andres Torres – 1-for-3 with his 13th homer.  Still not clear how Cody Ross is working into the picture, but I’m guessing Torres’ playing time should be relatively safe.  Guillen and Burrell might have some splainin’ to do.

Rich Harden – Came off the DL to throw 6 2/3 hitless innings.  It seems like he always has a great start coming off the DL.  Unfortunately, those have been his only good 5 starts all season.

Jeff Mathis – 0-for-3 with 2 Ks.  Batting .197 on the year.  Has played 5 of the last six games.  Napoli leads the Angels in homers.  Napoli leads the major leagues in homers by catchers.  Napoli sat yesterday.

Jim Edmonds – Pulled from the game with a strained oblique that he injured while swinging.  Same thing once happened to a creepy guy at Hedonism.  Stubbs could see more playing time as a result.  That’s a pretty lukewarm endorsement of Stubbs.

Todd Helton – 4-for-4 as he answers the question, “Is Helton retired?”

Carlos Gonzalez – 2-for-3 with his 20th steal.  Good to see him run since he just returned from a knee injury.

Ross Ohlendorf – After giving up a walk and a single, he left with a shoulder injury.  Call him Ailindorf.

Jose Tabata – 3-for-4 with his 13th steal as he bats .381 in his last 7 games.  I’m still on the fence with how much I’m going to like Tabata next year.  Feel free to push me one way or the other.

John Lackey/Kyle Lohse – Both have had painful seasons but had great starts.  Of course, it was against Seattle and Pittsburgh respectively.  Those two teams score less than the Chess Club.

  1. tall chicks says:
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    Nova-Scioscia? You have Jewish writers, right? That’s just too damn clever. Grey Albright is a fraud. I’m starting to question if your mustache is even real.

  2. Steve says:
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    Perhaps The Dorf is made of Nerf after all. Or Derf. Or Norf…

  3. Chris says:
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    Non-keeper, dropping Hellickson for JZim?

  4. VinWins

    VinWins says:
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    Wow. That was the best write-up ever! I’m guessing Bautista will be drafted very early next year, and you won’t be owning him. I probably won’t either. I was offered him early on by someone desperate for saves, but figured he was just about finished.

    I should mention that while I went for a season worth of numbers, he had been in a home run drought from July 26 to Sept. 6, so it actually only took him 149 games to hit 50.

    And that Nova-Scioscia was classic! You must have been waiting for Nova to start!

  5. I concur Grey, a particularly succinct and hilarious recap. Too many early AM yucks to mention. For the stretch run in a non-Keeper, drop either of JairJair Jurrjens or Travis Wood for Zimmmmerman?

  6. RandomItalicizedVoice says:
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    Zimm should be good for Ks and ERA. He might hurt the WHIP and will be lucky to get more than 1 W as the Nats have stated he won’t be going more than 5 for the rest of the year. So I wouldn’t drop anyone of any value for him, unless you don’t need wins. He does have a decent
    schedule lined up, though.

  7. HotCorner says:
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    I wake up this morning to see that Mike Minor’s start has been skipped for this week. You have to love leagues with rosters that must be set for the entire week.

  8. VinWins

    VinWins says:
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    From the ESPN player news: Manager John Russell believes that Tabata will develop home run power over time. “We’re not worried that he’s not going to have some power,” Russell told the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. “He’s got too good of a swing. He’s too quick. He’s got strength. As he develops more, power will show up.”

    If that doesn’t convince you, I don’t know what will.

  9. Wilsonian says:
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    Does anyone else find it funny that it’s Johnson v. Dickey tonight, or is it just me?

  10. Wah says:
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    Hudson, Chacin, and Zimmermann are available in my league… do I drop any of these guys and pickup one or more?

    Garza
    Garcia
    Scherzer
    Cecil

  11. manfromearth says:
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    Wow,,,I remember taking your advice on Bautista when he was around 15 to 20 HRs…you reiterated what I already believed…that Bautista was an excellent candidate to exchange while the fruit was uncharacteristicly ripe. I kept Bay, instead. Football isn’t the only sport where the ball bounces funny.

  12. HotCorner says:
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    @Wilsonian: That’s hilarious!

  13. HotCorner says:
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    @Wah: I’d part with Garcia for any of those.

  14. HotCorner says:
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    @Wah: Except for Chacin…my bad.

  15. GopherDay says:
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    Grey, I would like to push you off a cliff on your “likeness” for Tabata. Mostly because I own him in a keeper, but still…

  16. stynyr says:
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    Who do I want until Slowey comes back (or maybe, in place of Slowey?):

    Duensing or Jordan Zimmerman?

  17. @Wilsonian: less flagrantly, Wood takes on Sanchez for the first time tonight as well.

  18. Timequake says:
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    General strategy question (and sorry if you’ve answered this before): In H2H, would you ever keep an extra hitter on the bench, or would you carry the minimum number of hitters? On the one hand, I could get an extra line of stats during an off-day for one of my regulars; on the other, I’d miss out on an extra start, or several save opportunities, per week. Thanks.

  19. NoEmoJoe says:
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    Dewitt or Lowell until 8/31?

  20. Mr2Bits says:
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    Bautista was by far the best free agent grab I could have made this year. If not for Panda sucking major ass I would have never looked his way. I’d like to thank him for me grabbing first in my league this year. Sorry Grey, I just couldn’t pull the trade or drop back in July as I think everyone thought it was a fluke as well and wouldn’t last.

    Not sure of what next year will bring but burning a 24th round keeper pick on him I believe is a must even if his production is halved next year.

    I’d also like to thank Grey as thanks to Razzball/Grey/Smokey, my team went from last to first.

    @Wah:
    Hudson is a semi-safe bet but those four are pretty good although I don’t trust Cecil. I would hold off until you see how Zimm recovers coming back and Chacin is hot then extremely cold from start to start

  21. Wilsonian says:
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    @zombie: nothing like a good Wood getting a dirty, or perhaps even filthy, Sanchez…

  22. Slam says:
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    Should I drop JdlRosa or Chacin for Zimmerman ? Or niether?

  23. Curse of the Goat says:
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    @Grey: Would you start J.Z. on Thursday or wait and see how he does against the flubs?

  24. elwood blues says:
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    Should I trade Burrell for Heisey? I am looking towards next year in an NL 4×4.
    What kind of value do you see from Heisey in 2011?
    or do I hold onto Burrell and hope he keeps hitting HR’s next year?

  25. Commish Cauda says:
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    “When asked how it felt to beat the Phillies, he said, “I’ll always love the Phillies but sometimes you have to beat the ones you love.””

    Grey, you will be hearing from my lawyer. After reading that line, it made me laugh so hard that fell out of my chair and tore my medial meniscus in my right knee.

  26. Curse of the Goat says:
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    Grey, love the J.Z. reference “He’s got 99 problems, but a pitch ain’t one.”

    I literally had snot bubbles from that one.

  27. mooseknuckles says:
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    The nova-scioscia comment was funny, but brett myers beating the ones he loves comment had me rolling. Great write up, ha.

  28. Mr2Bits says:
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    @Timequake:

    One, two backups at most, rest pitchers

  29. Jangles says:
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    Please rank these fellows going forward:

    Headley
    Beckham
    Raburn

    Thanks Grey keep up the excellent work!

  30. Grey

    Grey says:
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    @tall chicks: Don’t ever question the stache.

    @Steve: Perhaps.

    @Chris: Yup

    @VinWins: Thanks!

    @zombie: Eh

    @HotCorner: Yeah, no fun.

    @VinWins: Yeah, read that too. And ignored it.

    @Wilsonian: Ha

    @Wah: Drop Cecil for Hudson.

    @manfromearth: Indeed not.

    @GopherDay: Ha

    @stynyr: Zimm

    @Timequake: Matters on how many teams and who the players are, but mostly extra pitchers.

    @NoEmoJoe: DeWitt

    @Mr2Bits: Nice

    @Slam: Chacin

    @Curse of the Goat: I’d start him on most teams.

    @elwood blues: I’d make that trade but less because of Heisey and more because of Burrell.

    @Commish Cauda: Hehe

    @Curse of the Goat: Hehe

    @mooseknuckles: Ha

    @Jangles: Raburn, Beckham… Thanks!

  31. “I’ll always love the Phillies but sometimes you have to beat the ones you love.” Jay Mariotti’s Motto as well.

    Write up of the season. Nice work Fellas.

  32. thegeniusking says:
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    I guess we can safely add Slowey to the Carpensheeter, Erich Bedarden lexicon.

  33. Wah says:
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    @Grey
    Thanks. Do you still ike Eric Young over Raburn? OBP isn’t a category. I have Jeter, Hanley, Rios, and Crisp picking up some steal. I think Young will give me better AVG and SB’s… Raburn will give me more RBI and HR.

    Here’s my offense:
    C-Posey
    1B-Votto
    2B-
    3B-Beltre
    SS-Hanley
    MI-Jeter
    OF-Rios
    OF-Crisp
    OF-Carlos Lee
    UT-Adrian Gonzalez

  34. struggler says:
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    OBP/QS league. I’m juggling EY, Figgy, Stewart at mi, ci and pine warmer. Would you drop any of the 3 for Norris or Jo-Zimm? Keep in mind a QS is 6ip and I’ve read Zimm will only pitch 5 per start. I’m leaning towards swapping EY for Norris if he pitches well tonight.

  35. royce! says:
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    Jose Bautista’s owners: “You know what they say about denial? It’s just a god damn river in Egypt!”

    Bautista’s case as an outlier is hard to make. I look at his hittracker data and while he leads the AL in “Just Enoughs” he also leads the league in “No Doubts”. Also, A Gonz and Zimmerman have more JEs, which seems to show that such an amount isn’t unheard of for a power hitter. It seems that every passing HR makes the argument that he didn’t have a history of HR power less convincing. But despite the only argument I have being that he hasn’t shown this much power before, I agree that his power is improbable, and while I’m disappointed that I didn’t grab him in any league, I know I’m not drafting him next year.

  36. ruah says:
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    Better speed guy, Blanco or Venable?

    Need a boost in speed and trying to figure out who to dump for one of them. K Johnson(cold and I have Utley and phillips anyway) or Pagan(cold but still stealing some)

  37. Bob says:
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    Wilsonian@: All we need is Putz and Wang in the bullpens to complete the circle of hilarity.

  38. @royce!: Really, it’s not surprising that he leads in JE’s. He leads in homers overall, and any home run hitter will get his share of JE’s. The question is whether an unusually high percentage of his home runs are JE’s. I’m no sure what the “expected” distribution of JE’s and ND’s is, so I can’t really comment on whether Bautista is getting particularly lucky or not.

  39. Mike says:
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    That explains why Bautista can often be seen in the clubhouse spinning a top, then nervously wiping sweat off his forehead.

    As a Napoli owner I’m on one hand thrilled to get this level of production from the C spot, but on the other hand fuck you Scioscia.

  40. chris says:
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    who do you think are the guys that will make a splash come September callups that us dynasty guys should look at?

  41. Grey

    Grey says:
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    @Mike: Ha

    @chris: Post coming today about September call ups.

  42. royce! says:
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    @Mark Geoffriau: Yeah, I don’t know about the matter of whether an unusually high amount are JEs, but I meant for the A Gonz and Zimmerman numbers to be anecdotal evidence that Bautista’s numbers didn’t seem off.

    One thing that’s interesting is that all of Bautista’s HR are to LF or LC. (See http://www.hittrackeronline.com/detail.php?id=2010_716&type=hitter ). The only other player with lot of HR and such a distribution is Uggla. It seems to me that if these players are just seeking to pull the ball, pitchers should be able to take advantage of this. Hamilton (http://www.hittrackeronline.com/detail.php?id=2010_422&type=hitter ) and Pujols (http://www.hittrackeronline.com/detail.php?id=2010_16&type=hitter ) have much more even distributions, which I think shows that a pitcher should have a much harder time preventing them from hitting homers (same with Votto, Miggy, and even Dunn). I don’t have any data to back this up, but it seems that a hitter who consistently pulls the ball will not be able to consistently hit HR, because it should be easier for the league’s pitching to adapt to him. Here’s one cherry-picked example to prove my point- 2009 Aaron Hill (http://www.hittrackeronline.com/detail.php?id=2009_1441&type=hitter ).

    And sort of relevant to this discussion, Josh Hamilton is a beast. His average HR distance is like 420′ (the average is around 396). This 485′ shot might be skewing the results, tho: http://mlb.mlb.com/video/play.jsp?content_id=9435897

  43. Grey

    Grey says:
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    @royce!: Damn, I love that site. I’m writing the call ups post, so can’t read those now though. Will later.

  44. royce! says:
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    @Grey: You and Rudy have much more thorough baseball knowledge than I, so I figure that if anyone could come up with a hitter who consistently hit HR to the pull side it would be y’all. I’m gonna do a little sleuthing and then get back to work.

  45. Grey

    Grey says:
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    @royce!: CQ pulls a lot. I wonder if pitchers see that Bautista pulls everything then they’ll only pitch him away.

  46. Grey

    Grey says:
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    @royce!: Also, hitters where you see a shift used would be pull happy.

  47. Jeff says:
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    Which SP for the rest of the year (I need to pick one up and we only get a FA pickup every 3 weeks); Duensing, Garland, Guthrie, Hammel, LeBlanc, Chacin.

  48. danimal35 says:
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    SPs are Filthy Sanchez, George of the Rose, Nolasco (holding for now), Wandwagon, Travis Wood, & Bud Norris

    also have 5 closers including Takahashi and Lyon

    Homer Bailey, Harden, and JZ are free agents

    thinking drop Wood for JZ immediately…but then what to do with the rest? I have no depth (or front end starter for that matter) and am stuck streaming…drop Norris for Harden or Bailey? or pick up all three and drop Takahashi or Lyon? help please

  49. danimal35 says:
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    @Grey: Carlos Pena

  50. Art Vandelay says:
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    I am not proud to admit that I still have Manny on my DL, but it’s time to reactivate. Would you drop Dexter the killer, Stanton, or Theriot for Manny, or just drop Manny?

  51. melvin says:
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    Always entertaining Grey!!!
    Great stache too….ever think of extending it to a handlebar?
    Long term….who will be more valuable Lars Anderson or Chris Davis (Tex)
    Thanks

  52. Grey

    Grey says:
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    @Jeff: Duensing

    @danimal35: Drop Wood and Norris for Bailey and JZ.

    @danimal35: Yeah, bunch of power hitters are pull crazy.

    @Art Vandelay: Theriot…

    @melvin: I’ve considered extending it. Davis…

  53. Mike says:
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    For the rest of the season, Bud Norris, Zimmermann, or Duensing?

  54. HotCorner says:
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    @Grey: Whatever happened with that announcement yesterday?

  55. royce! says:
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    @Grey:

    Uggla was the closest to someone who seems to always pull HR that I found through guessing and browsing.

    CQ has at least 8 non-pull HR this year.

    As far as players defenses shift against, I checked A Gonz and Ortiz.

    Remarkably, A Gonz may have more to left this year (http://www.hittrackeronline.com/detail.php?id=2010_13&type=hitter ), so putting the shift on must only be effective because he only hits fly balls to left (or, it’s not effective at all, and managers are stupid).

    Ortiz has pulled a majority of his HR this year (http://www.hittrackeronline.com/detail.php?id=2010_451&type=hitter ), but even as early as last year he was distributing HR more evenly (http://www.hittrackeronline.com/detail.php?id=2010_451&type=hitter ). (FYI, I don’t know that these links will work properly- I cut an pasted the urls for 2009 and 2010 data and the urls seem to be identical).

    Who else do defenses routinely shift against?

    Some more anecdotal proof that you shouldn’t pitch Bautista inside: http://mlb.mlb.com/video/play.jsp?content_id=11294279 . The C (Buck?) sets up outside, and (not sure who the P is) misses inside. I watched a few more, and they all seemed to be inside pitches, but I got sick of having to watch the intro ads. Here’s another one, though: http://mlb.mlb.com/video/play.jsp?content_id=10894581 .

    NOW I’m getting to work.

  56. Jangles says:
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    sorry to bug you but it is crunch time! can you rank these please:

    Headley
    Beckham
    Span
    Eric Young Jr.
    Raburn

  57. HotCorner says:
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    @Grey: Thanks…I thought that may have been it, but wasn’t sure. BTW, what is the NBA?

  58. fitz says:
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    Royce are you trying to tell me Buck plays for the Yankees?

  59. black love says:
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    Is starting Richards vs Arizona tonight a bad idea?

  60. Grey

    Grey says:
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    @royce!: yeah, the links worked. Interesting stuff, thanks for sharing! Fielder brings out the shift too. Yeah, the problem with saying pitchers will just not pitch Bautista inside is if they miss their location then it doesn’t matter.

    @Jangles: Those guys do different things. Young for steals, Raburn for power.

    @black love: If you don’t start him at home, you shouldn’t own him.

    *******THERE’S A NEW POST FOR FOLLOWUPS.*****

  61. royce! says:
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    @Grey: @danimal35: Even Pena hits some opposite field HR. In 2010, around 1/4 of his HR were to LF or LC (the number’s even greater if one considers his HR that went to dead center, which seems to be around another 5 or 6).

    All of Bautista’s 2010 HRs are to R or RC. Since 2005, Bautista has hit 2 HR to L. And those two were just barely to RC (somewhere over 80 degrees).

    This is not meant to detract from Bautista’s skill, or meant to insinuate that Bautista (and therefore Bautista’s FBB owners) are getting by on luck. It just seems that if you’re not a threat to hit with power to the opposite field, eventually everyone will pitch you away, and you’ll have to get by on pitching mistakes or situations in which the pitcher must throw you a strike. Once this occurs, your HRs will decrease unless you suddenly are able to hit to the opposite field. The league could have already adapted to Bautista’s knack for pulling the ball, I have no idea how I could figure that out though.

  62. Grey

    Grey says:
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    @Grey: That’s interesting how few homers he’s ever hit to the opposite field. Find it weird that major league pitchers/scouts haven’t already caught on to this though, which makes me think he pulls everything and he’s hitting mistakes now.

    *******THERE’S A NEW POST FOR FOLLOWUPS.*****

  63. Jcom says:
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    Tabata, looks like Pierre with a little more power. For next year it depends on how your early draft went…I could see him going in 6th round…as for keeper again depends on your build.

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