Location, location, location. Location determines balls and strikes, the weather, housing value, and it can even turn Carlos Gonzalez (.262/.316/.427 on the road) into Ken Griffey Jr. (.329/.384/.609 at home). Personally, I dig California. You’re never far from a beach, a mountain range, or a desert. Pretty much every culture on earth is represented somewhere. The heat in the scorching portions of the state comes without humidity. You can even run into D-List celebs like Riki Rachtman at your local Trader Joe’s! Sure, it’s expensive, but you get what you pay for. Or, what your parents pay for, basement-dwelling fantasy baseballers (<–Momma Albright’s term).
Also found in California is Week 8’s Creeper, Will Venable. He’s available in nearly every league, with ownership rates of 1 and 2 percent on ESPN and Yahoo. The Padres are scheduled for 7 games this week, with 5 of those coming against RHP. Also of importance is that all 7 of SD’s games are away from Petco. Why is this important? If the effects of Petco Park weren’t obvious enough, let’s take a look at Venable’s career home/road splits, starting with 634 home AB and ending with 651 road AB:
.221/.298/.371 AVG/OBP/SLG, 18 HR, 75 R, 64 RBI, 27 SB
.280/.344/.447 AVG/OBP/SLG, 20 HR, 102 R, 85 RBI, 40 SB
Methinks Will should really get into contact with CarGo’s agent. Getting Shane Victorino’s production for a week for a bag of beans is a pretty sweet deal. Etc, so on and so forth. Venable is currently enjoying the highest contact rates of his career since his rookie season, and nothing in his plate discipline or batted ball profiles suggests any negative regression is on the horizon. He is a platoon player at this point in his career, with a .769 OPS versus righties and a .551 OPS against lefties, which means you won’t get the full benefit of a 7 game week. However, he’ll still get an opportunity to pinch hit or pinch run in the two games he likely will not start, and a guy with his speed is liable to swipe a base in such a situation. Did I mention that he won’t be in Petco?
As for the pitchers he’ll be facing this week, Adam Wainwright and R.A. Dickey both allow more free passes and homeruns to LHB than RHB, and offset those deficiencies with increased K rates (Wainwright especially), leaving them with mild L/R splits. Dillon Gee has an apparent inability to get lefties out, walking nearly as many LHB as he strikes out and coughing up 1.38 HR/9 in 104.2 career IP against them, and Lance Lynn sees his walk and HR rates double in 38.1 IP versus opposite-handed batters. Jeremy “I Wish I Were Hugh” Hefner’s only pitched 8 innings in The Show, and his upper minors stats show marginal strikeout and walk rates. As my girlfriend says, we’re dealing with small sample sizes here, but Venable’s best opportunity to do some damage will come against Gee, Hefner, and Lynn.
With Cameron Maybin, Chase Headley, and Yonder Alonso also receiving boosts from hitting outside Whale’s Vagina, Will Venable is a fine add for owners looking for an OF injury replacement or those seeking to play an upside bat this week. Those in daily leagues get a bonus opportunity to play him through Wednesday of next week, as the Padres play a three game set in Wrigley to kick off week 9.