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Armed with the knowledge that Our Greyness is not infallible (Grey’s ‘Pertise), I was determined to prove that the computer could, well, out-predict him.  After all, the man makes split-second calls on “please put these in order,” “who is best for the rest of the year?”, “in a twelve-team, keeper, with SLG and OBP in place of AVG and HR, place in order …,” and, simply, “of these pitchers who should I start/sit tomorrow?” Surely, given all of the data available and the crunching ability of The Whopper, the machine could out-perform him on, say, at least the “who should start/sit tomorrow issue.” Without a doubt. It would just take time and patience. That I had.

Step one: Go to The Master himself.  “Grey, what factors do you consider in deciding who to start/sit?”
Answer: “Last few starts, match up history, ballpark… Opposing pitcher doesn’t matter usually.”

Sounds good. Now I know he has a pretty good memory for all of that stuff, but he can’t possibly be as good as having every bit of detail categorized and calculated. I embarked on, what would turn out to be, roughly 40 hours of data gathering and model building.

The goal was to predict where a pitcher’s performance from his next start would place him in a 12X12 RCL league. This would give us a relative number to use in deciding who to start/sit.

Key factors were:
1. The last two starts (home or away, depending on the upcoming  start).
2. Overall Home, or Overall Away, for the 2009 season.
3. Heads up (regardless of home or away) for 2009.
4. Historical match ups: specifically home, or away, for 08/07.
5. Ballpark: per team (not park) from 2009 data. I.e. If a pitcher’s last two starts were against light-hitting teams SF and SD, the computer would adjust the K/9, ERA, and WHIP from those games to account for the next start, say, a heavy-hitting Texas. It would project a comparatively less expected pitcher-performance.

The test set of data for model-building was from all RCL pitchers for the week of July 16-20, immediately following the All-Star break.

Finally, the model was adjusted to “weight” factors according to their value in predicting the results. In this, the computer got to “cheat.” It actually knew the outcomes and was solving to meet those. Grey went in blind.

When the model completed its work, it had projected K/9, ERA, and WHIP, 12X12 rankings for each, as well as an overall projected RCL rank for the projected performance.

All that was left was to prove that Grey’s split-second calls couldn’t come close to matching the 40 hours of work and number-crunching ability of the computer. Trust me, the computer and I are darn good at number crunching.

This was going to be the equivalent of: “With a dramatic victory in Game 6, Deep Blue won its six-game rematch with (chess) Champion Garry Kasparov.”

“Grey hits the Disgraceful List when the Fumethrower falls to Deep Fred.”

I culled twenty (repeats were not counted) start/sit questions that were put to Grey for the test week. Here are the results: (If one side came out ahead, it got the count.)

Grey: 7*
The Model: 4
Matching: 9

(*This includes 3 for newer pitchers where the model did not have enough info to project; advantage Grey)

The model is good. When/if Grey isn’t available, I will use it.

Now, some of you may be making similar calculations, but I would wager none as much as the computer crunched. Still, Grey was clearly superior. Obviously, there are other factors that Grey weighs subjectively when he makes a call. It might be possible to compile an even more sophisticated model, but there would be no guarantee, the work would be overwhelming considering the benefit, and, who needs it—we can just post the question, and count on the answer. I know he won’t nail every one, but I am also confident that there is no living human being on the face of the planet that can match him.

I would love to see a competition amongst leading pundits, all given the same set of questions, and then measured against results.

Folks, all of this energy and calculating was for just the simple, “who to start/sit.” It doesn’t even begin to tackle the larger issues that Grey deals with.

“Grey Topples Deep Fred”

From Around The Web

  1. Sos says:
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    Lince/Harden/R. Martin or Sandoval/Dunn/Gollardo. Any opinions?

  2. Grey

    Grey says:
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    @Sos: It’s fair, if you need depth I’d take the Gallardo side, if not then Lincecum’s.

  3. Ant says:
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    Alexi Ram, Hart, and Ian Stewart for Halliday?

  4. Grey

    Grey says:
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    @Ant: It’s a bit much, unless two of those guys aren’t starting on your team.

  5. Eric says:
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    Grey, would you start Kazmir at home tonight? The Yankees seem to strike out a lot against him, and until this year he’s been better at home. Plus, I wonder if all this trade talk might motivate him. Still … the Yankees and Sabathia? What do you think?

    (I’m not going to ask the computer the same question)

  6. Ant says:
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    There not starting and its a 5 keeper league. Would Alexei and Stewart be enough?

  7. Grey

    Grey says:
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    @Eric: Not starting him.

    @Ant: Alexei and Hart should be enough.

  8. bobbo says:
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    @Grey: I’m sitting in 3rd place in my roto league and despite what I thought was a stellar top end rotation (Lincecum, Sabathia, Peavy, Billingsley, *cough* Liriano and Slowey *cough*) I’m in 9th place in ERA and 5th in WHIP. I don’t exactly like Sabathia and Billingsley’s matchups today (and recent history) but this is a classic “you never sit your stars” situation right? I can’t really expect to gain standings spots unless I start these guys, but it seems like all they do is pull down my ERA and WHIP! Talk me off of the ledge!

    (In other news, am I the only one who can’t stand that the guys ahead of me have teams filled with schmohawks like Randy Wolf, Joel Piniero, and Edwin Jackson? Those teams shouldn’t be destroying my staff in ERA by almost a full run! Ugh…)

  9. Grey

    Grey says:
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    @bobbo: Have to start those two. Yeah, I’m sitting in first in leagues where I have Wolf, Cook and Gaudin, Correia, etc…

  10. G says:
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    Which pitchers would you be cautious of or not start at all in the next few days?
    Buehrle @ Min
    Pineiro vs LAD
    Stauffer @ Cin
    Cook @ Cin
    Volstad vs ChC
    thanks

  11. bobbo says:
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    @Grey: Crazy year… unfortunately if I didn’t come into the year with those pitchers (or at least parlayed my keepers into them: Bedard+Shields for Lincecum, and Greinke for Peavy early) I’d probably have been the one picking up Wolf, Gaudin, etc off the waivers and rolling with them. *sob sob* feel sorry for me *wah wah*

  12. Grey

    Grey says:
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    @G: I’d start Buerhle and Pineiro.

    @bobbo: Yeah, not that crazy. Happens all the time, that’s why I say don’t pay for top pitchers.

  13. ThePoonTycoon says:
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    @bobbo: that’s why i don’t draft SPs super early. personally i like to take a bunch of mid-tier guys (say draft all my starting SPs between rounds 6/7 and 15). guys like edwin jackson and randy wells have been in my starting rotation most of the year and giving me the same numbers as guys draft early. there are always just more arms to “find” and pitching is just more unreliable year-to-year than hitting.

  14. bobbo says:
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    @Grey and Poon: I typically don’t draft them either, but our league forces people to keep 5 offense and 5 pitching so I came in with Sabathia, Shields, Billingsley, Liriano, and Nathan. Then I drafted Bedard and Greinke late and traded Bedard/Shields for Lincecum in the first week and Greinke straight up for Peavy after 3-4 starts. I thought I was set for the year considering we have a 1400ip cap (and my end of rotation for spot starts was Liriano, Slowey, CYoung, Danks), so I let other people scour the wire for the pitching gamboools and focused more on offense. My mistake (well that and middle relievers of death such as Balfour, Shields, and Putz)!

  15. Grey

    Grey says:
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    @bobbo: Ah… I see what you’re saying.

  16. GTS says:
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    It amazes me how easy it is to pickup pitching this year in my league. I think my strategy for next year in my auction keeper league would be to overspend on a couple high end hitters and maybe 1 or 2 pitchers and then hit the waiver wire early/often. I had a good draft this year and ended up not wanting to pick up anyone off the waivers early.

  17. GTS says:
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    start Baker against the white sox today?

  18. Grey

    Grey says:
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    @GTS: Nah, I wouldn’t today.

  19. airlifting says:
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    my gallardo/a-gonz for his mi. cabrera/broxton. would offering votto be a bit more reasonable, or try to throw in encarnacion (+.900 ops since his return)?

  20. Grey

    Grey says:
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    @airlifting: Sounds fair, might need to throw in Encarnacion.

  21. Mr Baseball says:
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    you can’t make this stuff up

    Joel Sherman of the New York Post reports that the Rays called the Mets about Scott Kazmir. Mets want to offer Victor Zambrano in return

  22. Mr Baseball says:
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    looks like the soxs have put a nice package together for The Halladay Inn

    The Red Sox offered Clay Buchholz, Michael Bowden and top outfield prospect Ryan Westmoreland and Pedro’s Midget in exchange for Roy Halladay.

  23. Mr Baseball says:
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    better keep a Popeye on this one

    Jon Heyman of SI.com writes that the Yankees have interest in Ian Snell.

    Snell has impressed many an 0.97 ERA and 47 strikeouts in six starts, spanning 37 1/3 innings since his demotion to Triple-A Indianapolis

  24. @Grey:

    Quentin or Corey Hart, who would you take?

  25. Oh and throw Matsui in there.

  26. Oh another question for the master, picked up CJ Wilson last week after I finally got fed up with Cappsizer, what are his prospects for the rest of the season, hes’s been solid, maybe he keeps the closer role?

  27. Grey

    Grey says:
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    @Elijah: Frank-Frank will be the closer when healthy.

  28. OK, well hes good for the short-term at least.

  29. airlifting says:
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    ok, revised to his holliday/broxton for my a-gonz/gallardo. i’ve got good SP depth (albeit lots of rookies :] ), and desperately need another closer to gain ground…might as well get one of the best.

  30. GTS says:
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    What do we do about Shields? Would you bench him until he pitches well? His trade value is crap right now.

  31. airlifting says:
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    this leaves my team as; pablo, votto, pedroia, edwin, hanley, kemp, jupton, holliday, ludwick, c.pena (mccutchen, burrell). vazquez, hanson, rzepczynski, tillman, j sanchez, b. wilson, r. soriano, j. johnson, rauch (zimmermann)

    looks a bit more thin without gallardo, but i’m at least top 3 in all pitching cats except Ws.

  32. Grey

    Grey says:
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    @GTS: Start him at home in decent matchups until he looks right.

    @airlifting: Looks okay.

  33. Foo says:
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    span/hanram for aramis/j.upton?

  34. Grey

    Grey says:
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    @Foo: Hanley side, but it’s close.

  35. pallet says:
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    Start Nolasco against Atlanta?

  36. Foo says:
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    @Grey: i think i may do it, then.
    thanks, grey.

  37. Steve says:
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    Great job on this, Deep Fred. An awesome display of patience and aptitude!

  38. Steve says:
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    Nothing says good news like an exploding post-it:

    Tired of waiting for his right knee to get better, Beltran has increased his workouts in an effort to return to the Mets sooner, the NY Post reports.

    Recommendation: Beltran said Monday the bone bruise on his knee has not improved but he has begun hitting, throwing and running in a pool to strengthen the leg and try to get back on the field. An MRI exam two weeks ago showed no improvement in the bone bruise, and doctors advised Beltran to continue resting the leg. Beltran felt rest was not helping and since he has not been feeling the sharp pain that he did a month ago, he is going to try and take the next step in his recovery and run outside the pool. Doctors told him the bruise likely is not going to go away until he can shut it down completely, so it would not be surprisingly if Beltran did not return this year or is very limited if he does.
    (Rotowire.com)

  39. Critter Nagurski says:
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    is Rzepczynski worth streaming tonight? I need ERA help baaaad

  40. Critter Nagurski says:
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    his walks scare me we use K:BB

  41. GTS says:
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    Hochevar worth a look yet?

  42. Grey

    Grey says:
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    @GTS: Nope

  43. Simply Fred

    Simply Fred says:
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    @Steve: Thank you. Appreciate praise from a true guru.

  44. Doc says:
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    Oswalt done in the 2nd inning. Possibly his back.

  45. Grey

    Grey says:
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    @Doc: Thanks for the heads up!

  46. anon says:
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    Was just offered BJ Upton, Carlos Pena, and Buhrle for AGonz.. Good deal or am I missing something here? What is wrong with Pena lately?

  47. Grey

    Grey says:
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    @anon: I’d want the Upton side by a lot. Pena’s just slumping, like A-Gonz was for two months.

  48. aconstipatedmonkey says:
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    Buehrle still refusing to allow baserunners, at least through 4.

  49. aconstipatedmonkey says:
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    heh, make that 5, what’s that, 42 out in a row. Disgusting streak.

  50. Corey says:
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    Buehrle update: No baserunners through five!

  51. Corey says:
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    And there’s a walk to……… Alexi Casilla? If i’m going to walk someone, I’m walking Mauer or Morneau. Dang.

  52. aconstipatedmonkey says:
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    uh-oh, just allowed a walk, the streak of perfection is over. Guess he’ll havve to settle for 2 straight no-nos. Although I imagine the Vander Meers have the voodoo dolls out by now.

  53. Corey says:
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    and there goes the no no.

  54. aconstipatedmonkey says:
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    @Grey: We’ll just blame it on the voodoo dolls.

  55. Clodbuster says:
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    I was offered Felix for McCann. No brainer or should we expect a second half correction for Felix?

  56. Grey

    Grey says:
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    @Clodbuster: I’d take Felix if you need pitching. It’s fair either way.

  57. Steve says:
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    @Simply Fred: Ha! Think you mean Stephen from Scouting the Unknown?

    I’m flattered of course but nothing I’m more than a long-time commenter ;-)

  58. ichirosan says:
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    Rest of the year, who do you like the most… Josh Willingham or Juan Rivera?

  59. bobbo says:
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    Grey: Who do you like more, Billingsley or Wainwright? I shipped Pence, C-Bill, and GJones for Manny, Zobrist, and Wainwright. Solid?

  60. Steve says:
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    @Steve: Nothing more than a long-time commenter.

    There, that’s better.

  61. Drew says:
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    Casey Blake/Aubrey Huff/Martin Prado: which two would you take?

  62. Elbert says:
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    looks like pitchers are starting to throw more breaking pitches to G. Jones; interesting theory, why didn’t they do that to Jones earlier?

  63. G-RAM says:
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    @bobbo: I think you did real well there. I still like Bills better than Wainwright, but you made a nice upgrade on the offensive side of the equation.

  64. paulzone says:
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    for hold: coffey, rhodes or seay?

  65. john says:
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    @GTS: @Grey: I think this uneasieness about Shields is a little unwarranted. Yes, his K/9 is down but he’s really only had 2 bad starts (more than 4ER) since the beginning of May. Yes, the 2 starts are recent and one was against KC, but the other was against the surging Yankees.

    While he hasn’t had any really spectacular starts, he has been fairly consistent. In fact, he’s only had 5 bad starts all year. (I’m keeping the more than 4ER as my metric for a ‘bad start’). So, in conclusion, I believe in the Shields.

  66. Tom says:
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    Hey remember that time you got back from church camp and destroyed all of your rebellious, edgy Evercab albums?

    And remember that time 3 weeks later when you stopped dating that girl from camp, and you were really pissed that you threw them out?

    Today is that day. Dude has how many steals since I traded him? Bummer.

  67. bobbo says:
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    Dear CC Sabathia, please stop taking lessons from Liriano and start watching Cliffy Lee. You’re not supposed to align your ERA with your salary per start…. Jackass.

  68. bobbo says:
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    @bobbo: Jesus christ Billingsley, you effin’ blow too! Stop walking batters!

  69. I'm Keith Hernandez says:
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    Who are the best to grab for vulture saves? Jim Johnson, Rauch, Baez? In that order?

  70. Simply Fred

    Simply Fred says:
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    @Steve: Don’t want this to be sucking up to each other. But, your comments are always on point. I would be shocked if you weren’t at top/near in your league(s).

  71. bobbo says:
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    @Grey: You still like C-Bills after his monumental blowup? He is so frustrating with those goddamn walks!

  72. Steve says:
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    @Simply Fred: I’m there or thereabouts in a couple (although Bills is doing his best to change that today) – but that’s mainly because I listen very carefully to what Grey says :-)

  73. Mr Baseball says:
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    The Astros are prepared to call up pitching prospect Bud Chuck Norris.

  74. Steve says:
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    @Grey: Speaking of which, Hammel in Metco or Tilman @ KC – who ya got?

  75. Mr Baseball says:
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    Adam Dunn became the first player to hit the ball out of Miller Park
    He beat out Prince Fielder who was on the new tv show – ‘More to Love’

  76. Corey says:
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    Can Aaron Harang return to his 2006-2007 numbers of an E.R.A. under four? Should I be shopping him around and see what I can get? I’m trying to get a package for Josh Johnson or Max Scherzer on two teams that are looking for prospects.

  77. Steve says:
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    Nooooooo! Why are they bringing Qualls in?

  78. Simply Fred

    Simply Fred says:
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    @Steve: Trying to showcase his skills? (BTW: I have Bills as well.)

  79. Steve says:
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    @Simply Fred: Then Qualls needs to start pitching as though there are people watching.

    My only consolation from owning Bills today is that I have Wainwright on the same team.

  80. Simply Fred

    Simply Fred says:
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    @Steve: Did you keep Da Big Fra-Gu through his injuries?

  81. Steve says:
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    @Simply Fred: Yeah I did, fortunately, although I think I did drop him and then grab him again on one team.

    He’s doing a fair Beltran impersonation for me right now.

  82. Simply Fred

    Simply Fred says:
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    @Steve: I can see that. I am doing research on “HOT” players and how they have faired before and after pick-up. Saw your question Grey about how long to hold and his reply: “One week.” Good fortune, sir!

  83. Steve says:
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    @Simply Fred: Yup. I’ve been waiting for him to go a week without doing anything but it hasn’t happened yet.

  84. Simply Fred

    Simply Fred says:
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    @Steve: Sweeeeet!

  85. Mr Baseball says:
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    Kill Billingsley – QUENTIN TARANTINO FILM -

  86. Mr Baseball says:
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    Kill Billingsley – QUENTIN TARANTINO FILM

  87. Mr Baseball says:
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    QUENTIN TARANTINO FILM – Kill Billingsley

  88. Holy crap, Mini Donkey just hit it into the restaurant. Absolute Moonshot.

  89. Steve says:
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    @Elijah: Yeah – he did in the end.

    He might even come out of it a winner…

  90. 455 feet they are saying, Phils still win tho by 1.

  91. Steve says:
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    @Steve: Or not.

  92. Good night for both Donkeys.

  93. Mr Baseball says:
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    Billingsley – I got the Rich Hill’s blues

  94. @Mr Baseball:

    According to Hittracker, Mini Donkey’s HR was the longest hit in the majors this year.

  95. Corey says:
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    Good thing I had wainwright going to cancel out that thing billingsley called pitching.

  96. Grey

    Grey says:
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    @Corey: He’s just under a 4 ERA pitcher. Shop him if you can get Johnson.

    @Mr Baseball: Ha!

    @Elijah: Nice

  97. Adam says:
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    Any thoughts on Scott Feldman? The last time you mentioned him in a post you were pretty down on him, but that was in mid-June, but he’s done well since then. In a league very thin on pitching, which of these schmucks would you gamble on: Feldman, Hochevar, the RZE, Parra, Tommy Hunter, Correia, or just use the roster spot for a Mr. B/save speculation spot?

  98. Adam says:
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    @Adam: As I type this, Downs is in the process of losing to Seattle…Frasor may be a necessary pick-up here

  99. Prince says:
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    I think it may be time to drop Downs.

  100. Grey

    Grey says:
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    @Adam: Grab Frasor or Correia.

  101. Steve says:
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    @Adam: @Grey: I grabbed Frasor ina couple of leagues.

    I’ll just have to do without that Hammel spot start!

  102. Robert says:
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    Liriano vs CWS?

  103. RIP Harry says:
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    Fuentes got rocked for the 2nd day in row, he’s still safe though right?

  104. Robert says:
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    Thanks.

  105. Rnunnerley says:
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    @Grey: Im really drunk but i think you habe the instincts of an awesome fan baseball guru ROCK ON!

  106. Prince says:
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    Grey, what do you think of Peralta? Very strong month, but I’m wondering if he keeps it up. Possible alternative to Cantu/Stewart @3B. Thanks!

  107. Grey

    Grey says:
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    @Prince: Go with the hot guy, Peralta.

  108. big o says:
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    @ Fred :
    don’t know how you had time for all that computer biz , with that cutie hanging onto your neck .

    enjoyable read .
    would have never thought that anyone in this crowd would be familiar with deep blue .

    tomorrow , i will catch up to the comments written by the regulars .
    but , i support your conclusion that grey’s advice would way out-perform , consistantly , the advice of others .
    though i suspect that some would peek at his answers , before delivering their own “original” responses , even if that meant they would have to stoop to the tactics used to rattle korchnoi in baguio city .

Comments are closed.