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Hey, Fantasy Baseball King here.  In “Fire and Ice,” I’ll analyze the past 2 weeks’ performances, and using my best combination of statistical analysis, baseball knowledge, charm, and pure crystal ball wizadry provide you with a plan of action for the coming week.

Fire – But will they stay hot?

Jonny Gomes –  Jonny’s set the baseball world aflame over the past week, raising his batting average from .227 on April 10 all the way to .268 on April 16. During that time span, he also smacked 4 homers, drove in 8 RBI’s, and helped Reds’ fans cope with the thus-far poor performance of Jay Bruce.

Analysis: Jonny Gomes has only had more than 500 at-bats in his career once (2010). In that season, he hit a useful but not studly .266/.328/.431 with 18 HR, 86 RBI, 77 R, and 5 SB. That was good for a 104 OPS+, which is actually less than his career mark of 110. Perhaps he is better suited as a part-time platoon player and occasional pinch hitter, getting 300-400 at-bats per season. Statistically, his best year was 2009, in which he hit .267/.338/.541 with an astounding 20 homers in only 314 at-bats. Notice an outlier there? His slugging percentage was 80 points higher than his career average. Now in 2011, his dash line is .268/.456/.683 (notice that nice outlier again). Of course, it’s early, so not much can be said about ratios. The important thing to do is see why they are what they are. In this case, Jonny Gomes is walking at an incredible 26.3% in 2011. His career mark is 9.6%. What do YOU think the chances are of him keeping this up? If he were 25 years old and coming into his own, I may buy a sudden increase in maturity. But he’s not; he’s 30, and simply put – he is what he is. Look for Gomes to finish  somewhere around what he does every year, and what ZiPs predicted he would – .256/.335/.464.

Fantasy Baseball King’s Bold Prediction: .263, 22 HR, 70 RBI, 60 R, 8 SB

Jeff Francoeur – Ahh, good ole’ Frenchy. Once dubbed “The Natural,” great things used to be expected of Mr. Francoeur. But after 5 seasons in Atlanta, 1.5 in Queens, and a post-season run in Texas, The Natural was finally banished to baseball’s not-so-green pasture, Kansas City. There, he was expected to graze on the tasty grass until he eventually grew old, fell over, and ended up being served for dinner. But as he has done many a time before, Jeff Francoeur doesn’t like being told what he cannot do. Instead, he put together a 6 game hit streak from April 9 – April 15, raising his season batting average to .327 in the process and, once again, forcing baseball’s analysts to take a look and wonder.

Analysis: Oh Jeff, you’re so coy! You’ve done this before, haven’t you? No? Don’t try to deny it…in April, 2010, you maintained a beautiful .886 OPS and smashed 4 homers, and back in 2007 you got that April OPS all the way up to .908 while hitting 5 round-trippers. But in the end, you always end up being nothing more than Fool’s Gold. Why, some may ask, won’t 2011 be any different? Well, his BB rate, for starters, is an abysmal (even by his terrible standards) 3.4%, and his BABIP is .340 (41 points above his career rate of .299). This all but proves that Jeff Francoeur, despite having a broad smile and a rifle of an arm, is encountering a wonderful streak of good fortune. But lady luck won’t have his back all season, and there’s no reason at all to believe his numbers are anywhere near sustainable. They simply aren’t.

Fantasy Baseball King’s Bold Prediction: .273, 15 HR, 75 RBI, 70 R, 7 SB (while still refusing to take a walk)

Alexi Ogando –  “Who?” the common fantasy baseball fan may have asked when first putting together his or her preseason draft lists. A converted reliever, Ogando threw all of 111.2 innings in the minors, but started only 3 games. His minor league numbers were incredible; he posted a 1.37 ERA while K’ing 12.6 batters per 9 innings pitched. Perhaps even more amazing, he did this while walking a measly 1.9 batters per 9 innings pitched. And yet, as relief pitchers often are, he was left off any and all top prospect lists. Still, his talent was obvious, and when the decision was made that Neftali Feliz would remain the Texas Rangers’ closer in 2011, a decision was reached that, if a SP could be transformed into a closer, then surely a RP could become a starter. Preseason predictions are difficult to analyze, as most analysts were betting on Feliz joining the rotation, and Ogando being a member of the Rangers’ bullpen. But the ratio predictions were still good, with ZiPs projecting a 9.15 K/9, 3.05 ERA, and 62.0 IP in relief work. As a starter, Ogando has astounded even his most ardent backers, posting back-to-back stunning performances against the Mariners and Tigers. Through his first 2 starts, he allowed only 4 hits in 13 IP and has yet to give up a run (neither earned nor unearned). Surprisingly, his K-rate has been low at 5.5, but cold weather could be to blame.

Analysis: Alexi Ogando is obviously a very, very talented pitcher. According to the stat-analyst gurus over at FanGraphs, “the 14.4 MPH separation between Ogando’s fastball and slide was the third largest gap in baseball [in 2010].” That brings to mind watching Stephen Strasburg mix in a 101 MPH fastball with a 95 MPH slider and 87 MPH changeup, or R.A. Dickey throwing knuckleballs anywhere from 55 MPH – 80 MPH. But the fact remains so blatantly obvious- this is a relief pitcher who has 3…yes, THREE career professional starts. I foresee the Rangers being very careful with Ogando (although I was surprised they allowed him to go 7 innings in his 2nd start), possibly pulling him after 5 innings in some games “just because,” or even occasionally skipping a start to keep his arm fresh. Whatever they choose to do, they’ll need to do something, as this is a fairly unprecedented decision. Although relievers have been transformed into starters in the past, they have always been eased into the role, not thrust head-first into the fire. Finally, despite it only being 2 starts, there are already signs of danger. His opponents’ BABIP is a miniscule .118, meaning that, although Ogando is indeed pitching well, he’s also enjoying a little bit of good luck. Expect some bumps in the road, but overall a decent season with a fair number of K’s seems to be looming.

Fantasy Baseball King’s Bold Prediction: 10 W, 3.45 ERA, 1.31 WHIP, 140 IP, 125 K (Note:  Since this was written, Ogando pitched against the Yankees Sunday night. He went 6.1 innings, giving up 6 hits, 5 ER (including 3 HR), while striking out only 1 batter. The disastrous evening raises Ogando’s 2011 season ERA from 0.00 to 2.33. The Fantasy Baseball King’s Bold Prediction remains the same.)

Aaron Harang –  Blah. Could a more boring name have come up on this list? Well, like it or not, Harang is deserving. Perhaps, though, I’m being unfair. After all, Harang has an above average 102 career ERA+, has won 10+ games 4 times in his career, and was quite durable from 2004 through 2008. But Harang epitomizes the phrase “mid-rotation starter,” and in these days at age 33, that may be pushing the envelope. And yet, there’s simply no denying Harang’s great start to the 2011 season. He’s been simply dominant in a way that he only merely approached in his heyday of 2006-2007. Will it continue?

Analysis:  The much cited ZiPs projected Harang to have a pretty decent season, but nothing particularly fantasy-starter worthy. 8 wins combined with a 4.23 ERA and 7.05 K/9 (original ZiPs pre-season projection) can only get a fantasy owner so far. But with Harang already almost halfway to his projected win-total, I’m seeing 2011 as a mini (and probably last renaissance) for the 33-year-old veteran. Benefiting largely from a .250 opposing BABIP (compared to his career rate of .308), and probably benefiting from getting 2 of his 3 starts against the basically punchless Giants and Astros, Harang is due for a return to Planet Earth. Still, if his health stays strong throughout the season, I foresee him sneaking by those ZiPs projections by just a tad. And after all, pitching in Petco (2 of 3 starts thus far have been at home) for half his starts certainly can’t hurt.

Fantasy Baseball King’s Bold Prediction: 12 W, 3.85 ERA, 1.37 WHIP, 175 IP, 153 K

Josh Beckett –  He is no secret to the fantasy baseball community. Having amassed 114 victories since his inaugural season in 2001, he’s been to 2 All-Star Games, finished 2nd in the 2007 Cy Young race, and led the league in wins the very same year. In short, he’s had a great career and several fantasy owners owe trophies due to his exploits. But injuries have often been a problem, and since Beckett became a full-time starter in 2002, he’s hit the magical 200-inning mark only 3 times. 2010 was no different, as Beckett started only 21 games, posting an awful 5.78 ERA along the way. Still, his SO/9 (8.2) and BB/9 (3.2) were extremely close to his career averages, so the fact that his opponents BABIP soared to .338 (career, .294) probably had something to do with the negative results…mixed in, of course, with the injuries. So fantasy owners have every right to keep expectations at bay when Beckett gets off to a fast start. The question will always loom– “When will a blister keep him out for a month?” Nevertheless, it’s impossible to ignore what he’s done thus far. He’s dominating hitters like vintage-Beckett, K’ing them at an incredible 10.35 per 9 IP while keeping the walks under control. His 2nd start of the season was particularly enchanting, as Beckett stepped into the limelight and mowed down 10 Yankee batters over 8 innings pitched, allowing only 2 hits and 0 runs in the process.

Analysis: Beckett is 31 years old, which is smack in the middle of the “end of prime, beginning of decline” period for players, particularly pitchers with injury histories. While it’s difficult to find much fault at all in his 2011 performance, it is necessary to point out that opposing batters are only managing a .217 BABIP against him. When taken in context with his career rate of .294, it’s obvious that Beckett is benefiting from some extra charm. Moreover, his K-rate is at an all-time high and, considering his velocity is NOT, and his control is NOT (3.15/9 walk rate compared to career average of 2.78), something seems amiss. Beckett is due for a regression but, much like Ogando and Harang, should have a good year. Pitching for the Red Sox only helps, of course, and if he can stay healthy, he could even remain dominant…just not Cy Young-quality dominant.

Fantasy Baseball King’s Bold Prediction: 14 W, 3.67 ERA, 1.21 WHIP, 165 IP, 156 K

Ice – But will the ice thaw?

Carlos Santana – This was not how Carlos Santana’s season was supposed to start. Entering 2011 as a Top 5 catcher off the board, most analysts had Santana pegged for a huge season. In a 15-10 football-style game opener, the young catcher went 3-for-5 with a homer and 3 RBI’s, making those analysts look very smart. But the heat emanating from Santana’s flame has cooled, and his bat is as ice cold as they can possibly come. After an 0 for 4 performance against the Angels on April 13, Santana officially dipped below the  dreaded “Mendoza Line,” and is mired in a 1 for 7 slump ever since.

Analysis: Young catchers are probably the hardest players to project. Yes, in my opinion, harder even than young pitchers. Not only do they have to learn how to guard the plate, but they must manage each pitcher’s different emotions, approaches, and temperaments, and on top of all that, do something with the bat at the plate. Perhaps that’s why so many top catching prospects (Ben Davis, Jeff Mathis, Jeff Clement to name just a few off the top of my head) fail. But let’s be fair here; Santana’s career is nowhere near its end. It has barely started! The man has all of 246 career at-bats in the Majors now, and in that sample size he’s managed a .244/.374/.416 dash line with 7 homers and 28 RBI’s. Not too bad, especially for a young catcher. Expectations were extraordinarily high, perhaps too high, entering the season. ZiPs had him at .248/.366/.425 with 16 HR, 70 RBI, and 70 R, which would easily put him in the top tier of offensive catchers. On the plus side, his BABIP is a paltry .211, which simply MUST improve, and he’s actually striking out less than ever (MLB and minors included). Remember, he’s also coming back from a horrible season-ending injury from 2010.  His time will come, but it may not be now. I’d expect a definite improvement going forward, but let’s give him at least one full season before dubbing him the 2nd coming of Victor Martinez.

Fantasy Baseball King’s Bold Prediction: .265, 18 HR, 75 RBI, 71 R, 5 SB

Ben Francisco –  From 2007 through 2011, Ben Francisco has played in 373 Major League games, but never accumulated as much as 500 plate appearances in a single season, so he certainly hasn’t been called upon to be an every day player…until this season. With injuries to the Phillies’ starting lineup, Francisco has been a permanent member of the everyday team, and up until recently, had performed wonderfully. In fact, if you had asked me last week, I may have put him in the “Fire” section of this column. But reality has sunk in and Ben has plummeted back to Earth. Since April 8, he’s gone 4 for his last 23 at-bats, all the while watching his batting average sink from .357 all the way to .275.

Analysis: What did anybody really expect? This is Ben Francisco, and there’s a reason he’s always been a platoon player. Now, that’s not saying he’s a bad player. In fact. Ben’s had an above average batting career, cobbling together a lifetime 105 OPS+. But he’s also a flawed player. He doesn’t walk enough to off-set his inability to hit close to .300, and doesn’t have enough power to justify his strikeout rate (2011, 20.8%; career, 20.4%). With Domonic Brown now on the DL, he’ll get continued playing time, and while he’ll have his moments, I wouldn’t expect much. In deep leagues, you could make a case to stash him on the bench for when he gets hot. But he shouldn’t be owned in the typical 10 or 12 Roto leagues.

Fantasy Baseball Kings Bold Prediction: .265, 15 HR, 64 RBI, 58 R, 12 SB

Daisuke Matsuzaka – (2 Starts) 0 W, 12.86 ERA, 2.71 WHIP, 7.0 IP, 14 H, 4 K    Season Stats: Same

I used to live in Tokyo, so the term “Sekai-no aiisu” (Ace of the World) is one I’ve been aware of for quite some time. For now, let’s redistribute that title to Yu Darvish, and instead analyze just what’s happening to the former media darling and big-name starting pitcher, Mr. Matsuzaka. Battling back from an injury in 2010, Matsuzaka’s start to 2011 has been less than inspiring. In fact, it’s been visibly putrid. While going 5 innings and allowing 6 hits and 3 runs in his first start back could have been deemed “passable” considering his injuries, Matsuzaka’s recent performance against Tampa erased all hope that he was back to being Sekai-no aiisu. Allowing 7 earned runs on 8 hits, the former star didn’t even make it out of the 2nd inning. He is now owned in only 7% of all Yahoo public leagues, and perhaps, rightfully so.

Analysis: As a former resident of Tokyo, Japanese language speaker, and having worked for a Japanese corporation, I always take a special interest in the MLB players representing Nihon (Japanese for Japan). But truth be told, Matsuzaka simply has been a bad pitcher since 2009. In Japan, pitchers are overworked, often asked to throw 150+ pitches per game, and undergo full throwing sessions on off days. It’s no wonder then that the aces that do make it here (Hideo Nomo comes to mind) don’t last very long before succumbing to injury or simply failing to be effective. In Matsuzaka’s case, it’s been both. His K-rate has fallen off the map, to the point it’s threatening to go below 5 with another bad start (now sitting at 5.14), and he’s walking over 6 batters per 9 innings. ZiPs had projected a decent, but not great season for Matsuzka, but certainly that he’d at least be able to strike people out (they pegged him at 8.14./9IP) and win some games. There IS a silver lining here. Trust me, it took me a while but I finally found it! Opposing batters are hitting an otherworldly .407 against him with balls in play, something which, I hope, is not sustainable. Still, his career mark is .324, so even if/when it comes down, I’m not sure how much it will change the outcome of his performances if he can’t strike anybody out or stop walking the entire lineup. He had a tremendous amount of talent when he arrived Stateside in 2007. Unfortunately, I’m not seeing much of it left in the tank. Expect a good start here or there, but unless something changes drastically, don’t touch him.

Fantasy Baseball King’s Bold Prediction: 6 W, 4.75 ERA, 1.45 WHIP, 135 IP, 98 K (Note:  This was written before his Monday start, but nothing I said changes.)

Francisco Liriano –  Well, it certainly hasn’t been pretty. And yet it we all thought it WOULD be so, so, so pretty. Liriano got some pretty hefty Cy Young support last season, and rightfully so. As such, analysts throughout the land pretty much unanimously pegged him for another big season. The signs of concern should have been obvious to us earlier, though. His September 2010 ERA was 4.59, which ballooned to 4.82 during 2011 Spring Training. But still, we remained optimistic. This was Francisco Liriano! He was supposed to be the next Johan Santana, but got derailed by injuries after his amazing 2006 season (12-3, 2.16 ERA). Still, he battled like a warrior and came back to become a legit frontline starter in 2010. So what’s going on that’s made it so bad that, in his last start, Liriano decided to change things up entirely by throwing underhanded the entire game? Yes, it was admittedly an experiment via the urging of his manager and pitching coach to get his control back, but still…is there any hope?

Analysis: I’m a believer. I’ll go out and just state it. You don’t even need to read the rest of my analysis. . . . Okay, yeah, you should. Liriano is having problems right now, mainly with control. While he’s never been capable of a great Greg Maddux impression, he got his BB/9 down to a very decent 2.72 last year. But now it’s ballooned to 5.65. While his K-rate is still respectable at 7.53, his stuff hasn’t been electrifying enough to overcome his wildness. Now, we’re still not in Oliver Perez territory, so all is well on that front. And now, the flash of light, the hope for you’ve been waiting for—- Francisco Liriano, much like his predecessor Johan Santana, is a notoriously slow starter. His career ERA’s in April and May are 5.23 and 4.75, respectively. After that, June, July and August are 3.27, 2.92, and 3.54. My advice is to sit him until he gets going. Maybe he just can’t pitch in the cold. I don’t know. But what I DO know is that he is still a bona fide stud, and will prove that come the warmer months of the season. Keep with him; you’ll be happy you did.

Fantasy Baseball King’s Bold Prediction: 15 W, 3.38 ERA, 1.30 WHIP, 195 IP, 191 K

James McDonald –  A big sleeper entering 2011, James McDonald has made 19 spot starts and appeared in many more relief appearance for the Dodgers and Pirates since he was 23 in 2008. Over that period, he put together a career ERA around 4.00, and struck out about 8.5 batters per 9 innings. He appeared ready for a full time gig after taking over in August 2010. From that point through the end of the season (11 starts), he won 4 games, had 3 starts lasting into the 7th inning, and struck out more than 6 batters 3 times (he struck out exactly 6 batters 4 times). He seemed primed to be a good, middle-of-the-rotation starter. Perhaps nothing special, but the kind of guy who could pull a rabbit out of a hat once in a while and be effective enough to help both the Pirates and fantasy owners. The Pirates have been gentle with him, pulling him after only 4.2 innings pitched in his first start (after 4 hits and 2 earned runs) and trying to ease him into the full-time role. But his next two starts proved to be disasters, and he now enters his 4th start sporting a filthy (not in a good way) 7.47 ERA.

Analysis: McDonald was always known as a strikeout pitcher. Sporting a fastball in the mid-90’s, he boasts 4 minor league seasons in which he K’d over 9 batters per 9 innings. He hasn’t been doing that this year though. With starts so far in St. Louis, Pittsburgh, and Cincinnati, it’s definitely possible that the cold weather is making him either hesitant or unable to throw his best stuff. His career ERA in April (8 games) is 7.80, but in May (5 games), 2.08, and June (3 games), 1.59, so there’s reason here for hope. Of course, it then blows up to 5.40 in July, so I’m not sure that time-based consistency has yet been established in McDonald’s game. Although he’s 26 years old, he’s only thrown 156.1 innings at the big league level, so he’s basically a 2nd year player. I wouldn’t expect amazing things out of him this year, but if you can start him in the right conditions (warm weather, struggling lineups or teams with free-swingers), you may be happily surprised by some nice outings and strikeout performances. Sit him for now until he gets things under control, but don’t jump ship just yet. If he continues to stink through March, put his breakout off another year.

Fantasy Baseball King’s Bold Prediction: 9 W, 4.35 ERA, 1.45 WHIP, 135 IP, 98 K

  1. CarlWeathers says:
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    Sweet article dude.

  2. Yep, I said it! says:
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    In 16-team H2H league, would you drop Bedard, Nova, and/or Vazquez, for McCarthy, Francis, Morton, or Gee? QS is an added scoring category. Thanks!

  3. joey joe joe jr shabadoo says:
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    I second CarlWeathers: this was a very a good read.

  4. royce! says:
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    Thanks for the great article. I agree that both Francouer and Harang will regress somewhat, but I also think that one has reason to believe that their regressions may not be as severe as you predict.

    Regarding Harang, his HR/FB rate is significantly lower than his career rate (it’s actually zero right now). But getting half his starts at Petco should cause his HR/FB rate to be lower than his career norm. Second, ZIPS conducts a process in which it weighs recent production heavily. It is well documented that Harang’s dramatic drop in production was connected to Dusty’s effing up and pitching him in extra inning relief soon after a start. So it might be useful to look at his pre-Dusty f-up numbers when determining his baseline.

    Regarding Francouer, he posted a .337 BABIP in both 2005 and 2007, so it isn’t unheard of for him to post similar numbers over an entire season.

  5. Timmox says:
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    Nice article. I’m not a Japanese expert but I’m thinking it’s sekai no eiisu, not aiisu, since that sounds more like “Ice of the World.” Sorry to be a nitpick, doubley sorry if I’m wrong. Also, why were you in Tokyo? That’s kind of awesome.

  6. @Timmox: Timmox: You are absolutely correct on the spelling. I’m actually embarrassed, as I’m fluent in Japanese but simply never write it in romanji (English alphabet). I was studying in Tokyo, and recently worked for 2 years at a Japanese corporation. Great country, very polite people, and terribly tragic what is happening there now. Thanks for the post!

  7. HldOnMgnolia says:
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    What’s the feeling on this deal:

    Victorino + Haren for Choo + Greinke

    ?

  8. Scott says:
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    Wow; what an article!

    It seems from your introduction it will be another 2 weeks for the next one?

    Francouer; as a long (very long) suffering METs fan, I had such great hopes for one of the nicest guys in baseball. But his hot and cold streaks drove everyone crazy and eventually has him ending up in area code 816. Great ribs out there so he can enjoy that for the time he is there. History indicates he better eat soon though.

    Hope to see many more of your articles if they are half as good and informative (and entertainingly written) as this one!

  9. @HldOnMgnolia: Well, Choo and Greinke to me are easy upgrades (assuming Greinke comes back form his injury) over Victorino and Haren…the question is if the other owner would agree and, if he does, can you live with Greinke on the DL for little longer.

  10. charlie batch says:
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    Loved the article

  11. John Butte says:
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    Cool story bro.

  12. WDE05 says:
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    Posted this on the previous article just before this one was added…

    Hey guys…I’m running into a brick wall while trying to set my lineup for tonight. Couple of questions:

    1. Who would you start at OF between Swisher (Drabek) and Pagan (Wandy). Both guys have sucked thus far against righties so I doubt either will do much.

    2. Who would you start at utility between Asdrubal (Chen) and Ike Davis (Wandy)? Asdrubal has been hotter than Ike, but Wandy has been pretty bad of late.

    3. Would you start both Brett Anderson (BoSox) and Beachy (Dodgers)?

    Thanks guys.

  13. HldOnMgnolia says:
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    I done did it.

    Greinke makes 4 DL’d players now.

    Is it time to dump Peavy so I can DL Zimmerman and get a fill-in yet?

  14. DogHat says:
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    12 team 10×10 daily roto, 2 catcher league
    Catcher 1 is M Montero
    Catcher 2 choose between A Avila, J LuCroy, R Hernandez, K Suzuki

    Thanks

  15. Nomar Mr. Nice Guy says:
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    Great read. I love the extended explanations of hot/cold players. Thanks for providing the details! (Especially on Liriano, I own him everywhere *gulp*)

  16. brian recca says:
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    I grabbed Santana in the 2nd round of my keeper league this year. I’m really regretting that decision right now. I know he is talented and he will obviously start hitting better but I should have went with someone like Iannetta who lasted until the last round.

    I would have had Iannetta starting until the guy I’m really big on comes up. That guy is Devin Mesoraco. Anyone in a keeper league needs to keep him on the radar, he is going to be incredible.

  17. Black Beard says:
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    I decided to put some research in my research so I can research my research and I found this out.

    Gomes lifetime OPS in the following counts:

    1-0: .909
    2-0: 1.267
    3-0: 1.835
    2-1: .896
    3-1: 1.239
    3-2: .906

    So if the miracle can continue…who I am I kidding…this won’t continue. Anyway, food for thought.

  18. LMack says:
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    Nice article, FBK.

    Anyone starting Brett Anderson vs Boston?

  19. WDE05 says:
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    @LMack:

    I asked grey about starting Anderson just up the page and he advised me to do so.

  20. papasmurf says:
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    April is always funny. Guys start off on hot streaks look great; guys who start off slumping look terrible. Owners not fortunate enough to start off with the some hot hitters can only watch and wait for stats to regress.

    You are right about DiceK. I checked his batted ball percentages… the LD rate is only 20%.

  21. @royce!: Thanks Royce for the detailed and thought-out response. While I agree that Harang could very well outdo the projections I laid out for him (as you referenced, pitching in Petco is huge), I still feel that his numbers are due for regression. But my projection still has him tucking away some very nice K-rates and decent win total.

    As for Francoeur..well, to each his own I suppose. I’m definitely biased as a Mets’ fan, but this just seems like a guy who doesn’t get it. He even once said, and I apologize because I don’t know where the quote is, “Walks don’t show up on the scoreboard,” when asked why he wouldn’t be more patient at the plate. Just my gut (and stat-based reasoning) says he’ll pull his usual disappearing act. Hopefully not though, because as Scott mentioned, he IS a hell of a nice guy!

  22. @Scott: Scott, love the humorous response; thanks! Those of us who have maintained our Met loyalties since 2006 need to stick together! Yes, as I did mention, I think Francouer is a good guy and, I’ll even add, he’s great defensively and has his clutch moments. But it’s frustrating to watch such an obviously talented “natural” (Sorry Sports Illustrated) continue to flail.

  23. @Black Beard: Black Beard: LOVE it! Nice job on the numbers and yes, you are right…it won’t continue. But enjoy it while it lasts and, as I stated, it doesn’t mean Gomes is a “bad” player.

  24. @HldOnMgnolia: HldOnMgnolia, I think you made the right decision…I have full faith that, when Greinke returns, he’ll be utterly dominant inthe NL. Good job, and Good luck!

  25. knighttown says:
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    So is Gomes a classic sell high? If I can move him and a part for choo I should right?

  26. @DogHat: Of those catchers, I’d choose Avila and Hernandez, and fairly easily too. Lucroy is just now off the DL, so while he’s talented, gotta be wary, and reports are that the over-use of Suzuki over the last 3 season has made him sluggish. Good luck!

  27. Beau says:
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    Can I get some feedback on a few trades that I just did?

    I traded CC Sabbathia before his last start for Joey Votto
    Today, I traded Torii Hunter for Dan Uggla

    My lineup looks like this now:
    K. Suzuki | Howard | Uggla | Jeter | Prado | McCutchen | Pence | Victorino | Utility Votto | Utility David Ortiz | Bench Rolen | Bench Kelly Johnson

    Pitching: Hallady, Cahill, Pavano, Dempster, Kuroda, Brett Myers, Greinke

    Thanks everybody.

  28. Black Beard says:
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    @The Fantasy Baseball King: Yeah it might be reasonable if he was actually swinging the bat more those numbers are just so outrageous it seems completely unsustainable. Oh well.

  29. @WDE05: 1. Park factors favor Swisher here, but Wandy has just been awful thus far so it’s a tough choice. Still, Swisher seems to be heating up and has raised his OPS over the past 3 games. Start Swisher

    2. In this case, since Ike is facing a pitching doing as terribly as Wandy, I’d start him. Chen has actually pitched very well as of late.

    3. Definitely Brett Anderson. Beachy’s beginner’s magic has been dulled.

    Hope that helps, and good luck!

  30. @knighttown: Well it depends on what that “part” is, but if it’s insignificant, than yes absolutely! Choo is still a very, very good player.

  31. Tony tone says:
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    Drop Snider, Ike D, Delmon, or Narv for Sands? Which is best, or none of the above?

  32. HldOnMgnolia says:
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    @The Fantasy Baseball King: Thanks!

    Here’s my roster, with the trade:

    9×8 Y! H2H 12-Teamer

    C Wieters
    1B Dunn
    2B Beckham
    3B R Zimmerman (DL)
    SS Hanley
    OF Choo, Heyward, Quentin
    UTL Bruce, Rios

    BN Lind, Tabata, Sizemore, Lowrie

    SP Weaver, Greinke (DL), Chacin, Masterson, J Zimmerman, Harang, Drabek, Beachy, Cueto (DL), Peavy (DL)
    RP Hanrahan

    News on Peavy is that MRI was good and he’s gonna miss one start. I’ve been without a 3B and if I drop a SP (DL’d or not) I could grab a fill-in. The alternative is to drop Lowrie. Eventually, a bat has to go to make room for Cueto/Peavy anyway. I’d have a hard time dropping anyone but Lowrie because they’ve all got the potential to be studs. If I drop a SP it’ll probably be Drabek, Peavy or Beachy.

    Thanks, again!

  33. the kid says:
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    McClellan, Beachy, or Tomlin?

    Thanks.

  34. Chubby says:
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    What’s the skinny on Gordon, Seth Smith and Derek Holland? Are they for real or not?

    Razzball > Life

  35. @Tony tone: I’d suggest either Snider or Narv, but it really depends on your roster’s needs. (hitting vs pitching). Remember though, to temper expectations, as Sands is but a rookie and he could just as easily stink (ie, Brandon Belt) or light it up (there was a man name Miggy)… Good luck!

  36. @HldOnMgnolia: Personally, I’d get rid of Beachy rather than Lowrie. Jed Lowrie is for real. You have a LOT of starting pitchers (remember, there usually is an innings limit), and Beachy is talented but will probably have an up-and-down rookie season.

    Hope that helps; good luck!

    Signed,

    The Fantasy Baseball King

  37. brettj72 says:
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    “If he continues to stink through March, put his breakout off another year.”

    Do you mean May?

  38. @the kid: McClellan, IMO, is for real. Beachy is a talented but not blue-chip rookie, and Tomlin’s opposing BABIP is an unsustainable .164.

    Hope that helps; good luck!

    Signed,

    The Fantasy Baseball King

  39. G-RAM says:
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    Who would you guys rather stash on the DL? Dominic Brown or Andres Torres?

  40. Kevin says:
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    What’s your feeling on the hot start by Ryan Roberts on ARZ? I’m in an extremely deep 16-Team mixed league. He has another HR today in CIN.

  41. Kevin says:
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    Make that two HR for Ryan Roberts today in CIN

  42. @brian recca: Mesoraco is a great keeper, but remember- ALL these young catching prospects look/looked that way at one point. It’s not as if people were down on Iannetta or Clement- they were HUGE prospects. Being a young catcher is incredibly difficult. While you wait for Santana to come around, why not look into Ramon Hernandez, AJ Pier., Ryan Doumit, or Josh Thole?

  43. Tony tone says:
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    Should I trade Starlin for Pence? I might be able to get him to take Elvis, would that be smarter or dumber? It’s a keeper, so if Starlin is a goddamn star I want him.

  44. @Tony tone: Starlin has 141 career games at this point, and over his 162-game prorated average is pretty much Howie Kendrick-esque. Starlin should be a good player, but his prospect status got insanely inflated last season during his late push and call-up success.

    Andrus probably has a higher ceiling, but I’d say even though he’s younger, the type of player Starlin is makes him a safer bet.

    As for Pence…I can’t really comment without knowing your entire roster. Post it if you have time.

    Thanks, and good luck!

    Signed,

    The Fantasy Baseball King

  45. Tony tone says:
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    Hitting wise I’ve got Mauer, Prince, B Phillips, D Wright, Castro/Elvis, then Cruz, Choo, Del, and Torii at OF. My bench is Snider, Ike D, and A Hill. My pitching is Tommy Hanson, Danny Haren, Carp, Kuroda, Bum, Narv, and Zimmerman, and my RP is Rauch, Bell, Aardsma, and Motte. I need more power for sure, and a good RP would help. This is a keeper, which is why I kind of want to get Sands to help my HR totals, and I think Hunter Pence is very good value for either of my SS. also, Gardner is on wavers, should I drop Snider for him?

  46. elwood blues says:
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    @The Fantasy Baseball King:

    Well, I have McDonald on the wrong side of the Fire and Ice in my NL Only 4×4 12 team league.

    Something tells me Chris Johnson may make the list soon.
    How long do I give him before I bail?
    He hit a bomb this weekend, then comes out with a couple oh-fers to drop below 200 again. At least he’s my corner guy and not my starting 3B.

  47. Roger Lodge says:
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    Nice article… I feel as though HanRam should top the “cold” players list.

    More importantly, however, ignoring position eligibility, who would you rather have in a standard scoring keeper league? Mike Stanton or Pedro Alvarez?

    The way I see it: Alvarez performed slightly better than Stanton when you compare their minor league numbers… similar power numbers/better BA/less Ks/more BBs. However, Stanton is 21 years old and Alvarez is 24 years old (at least!).

    I guess the key factor is whether or not you believe that Stanton will develop more patience at the plate or remain a free-swinging power hitter. Also, health should factor in although I can’t say that I know too much about either of their injury histories.

    Thanks!

  48. bpro says:
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    How about an Ice call on Reynolds? MarKKKK reynolds is killing me right now, I am tempted to drop but cannot push the button.. what are your guys thoughts on this.. is anyone else running him out there?

  49. Dominic says:
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    speaking of hot players, who do you think will have the better season, Jorge Posada or Nick Hundley?

  50. @Yep, I said it!: YES. I’d rank those available pitchers in the following order: McCarthy, Gee, Francis, Morton. I believe that McCarthy is finally delivering on the vast promise he once showed as a prospect. Although I love what Francis is doing, KC gives him no wins, thus the ranking of Gee above him. BTW, interesting tidbit–Dillon Gee now has 6 career starts between 2010 and 2011. His numbers are 3 wins, 38.2 IP, 30 H, 17 BB, 21 K, 2.09 ERA, 1.22 WHIP…not too shabby for a youngster!

    As for who to drop–make it Bedard. Once upon a time, he was a guy to go to for great starts until he got hurt. Now, he just stinks, and it’s still only a matter of time until he gets hurt once again.

    Hope that helps, and good luck!

    Signed,

    The Fantasy Baseball King

  51. @LMack: At this point, I’m very close to considering Brett Anderson a must-start in any situation.

    Signed,

    The Fantasy Baseball King

  52. @Beau: Well your lineup is obviously killer. In fact, I can’t imagine there’s a better one in your league, unless it’s an 8-team league or something. Hunter was just an extra piece for you really, and your pitching outside CC is decent. I’m a little nervous about your SP long-term…don’t get me wrong. It’s good enough to compete, but to solidify a real chance at the championship, consider packaging Pavano (capitalize on a hot start) and perhaps Dempster for an Ace. Once Greinke comes back, you’ll be set.

    By the way..no relievers??

    Hope that helps, and good luck!

    Signed,

    The Fantasy Baseball King

  53. Sir says:
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    Right now Hanley is just cold, right? I shouldn’t be worried about his leg injury when I offer Kemp + Britton for Hanley, right? I’m pretty sure that he wouldn’t accept my offer, but I might not do it if Hanley’s leg injury is a real concern.

  54. Black Beard says:
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    @Sir: I’d accept that in a heartbeat…on the Hanley side that is.

  55. WDE05 says:
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    FYI…Beachy was very impressive tonight. 6IP, 2 hits, 2bbs, 7ks. His pitch count was 42 through 2 innings, after that he settled in and pitched really well. He was ahead of hitters all night 0-2, but struggled early to close guys out. Threw 108 pitches and he’s currently in line for the win if the braves can close it out in the 9th leading 2-1.

  56. WDE05 says:
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    Thoughts on starters for tomorrow…

    Narv-dog @Philly (Lee)
    Harang @Cubs (Russell)
    Buchholz @A’s (Gio)

    I’m leaning towards starting Harang and Buch and sitting Narv. I swore I was going to sit Buchholz until the started pitching better, but I watched the game tonight and the A’s offense was pretty pathetic against John Lackey (they scored several runs in the to of the 9th off the pen). Surely Buchholz can at least turn in a quality start…

  57. Chris J says:
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    Tremendous read and really looking forward to future installments.

  58. @Chubby: I think Alex Gordon is FINALLY breaking out, and recently did a piece on him over at another site. I see him finishing with an .850-.890 OPS and hitting close to 30 homers. Seth Smith….it all depends on playing time with him. And Derrek Holland— love his ratios right now — is definitely looking good. Why do people give up on young pitchers after 1 bad rookie season? Happens all the time, and frankly, shouldn’t. They need time to grow.

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