Across all of my deeper leagues, invariably Chipper Jones is on one of the top teams. In the shallow leagues, Chipper is buoying teams above fifth place all by myself. Heard the Braves announcers talk about Chipper’s chances at .400. A question that would make more sense is, “What’s Chipper’s chance to get 400 at-bats?” I think he gets there, at-bats that is, not average. He’s a .309 career hitter, but his average has been steadily climbing as he gets older (which is a normal occurrence, batters just get better at knowing what they can and cannot hit). So he could hit .350. But unless you’re struggling with a lot of low average guys, average is, well, average. Chipper’s home runs have been declining. He hit 29 home runs last year, but 12 in April/May, so his early season outburst this season isn’t necessarily a sign of great things. Of course, everyone’s main concern is his games played. I think you have a better chance of guessing what Joey from The Real World: Hollywood is going to say next than how many games Chipper is going to play. (Sober Joey, “I’m an alcoholic! And I love the albino stripper.” Drunk Joey, “I love everyone, but really love the albino stripper!” Drunker Joey, “I will rip off the albino stripper’s head and toss it into the eight foot aquarium!” Sober Joey, “I wasn’t like this when I came into this house!” Actually, now that I write it out, that’s much more predictable than Chipper Jones’s injury history. But I digress.) So going forward with Chipper, what did we learn from this exercise? The home runs are not going to get into the forties. He will miss some games. He won’t bat .400, but should get to 400 at-bats. Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday:
Claudio Vargas – Should be owned in all NL-Only leagues. (And all leagues that require you have a Vargas on your team. But then, Claudio Vargas was probably already on a team.)
Carlos Beltran – The Mets pitching staff and I often sat in the dugout sipping espresso, then afterwards would talk baseball. During batting practice, I discussed open and closed stances with Howard Johnson. We laughed about “high hard ones” and Carlos Beltran punched me in the nose.
Scott Feldman – Looked tremendous today, giving up only one earned run. He was about to be featured in the opening, until I realized he was facing the Mariners. Right now, he’s not that great looking forward. (I mean, he is capable of looking forward, just his stats may not be that good in the future.)
Jeff Clement – He’s one game away from qualifying at catcher in five game leagues. (That means he just caught his fourth game, Einstein.)
Gary Sheffield – He’s moving back to DH. The same DH spot that he said was the reason why he was hitting poorly. I think he’s hurting and just playing around with excuses. He shouldn’t be on any teams at this point.
Nick Johnson – He has a sore wrist. In other news, taco diarrhea burns.
Jim Edmonds – He will force Felix Pie back to Triple-A. Matt Murton better clean off his couch.
Manny Parra – Thank God for the Dodgers’s offense.
Guillermo Mota – Let’s try Torres.
Blake DeWitt – Has the highest average amongst rookies and he just hit his third home run.
Jeff Kent – You know how you can tell when a baseball player is suddenly old, when they look like Luis Gonzalez, but not as agile.
Brett Myers – I mentioned before that Brett Myers and I went to poetry night at The Turtleneck on Philly’s South Side. It was April. Brett had just thrown an eight K performance at the Bank. He said he could have struckout nine. I said it was a good outing, though not a great outing and that’s the way it was for future middle relievers. We laughed over this and Brett Myers punched me in the nose.
Ryan Howard – Barring injury, still looking at 40 home runs as he now sits on 8 after a home run yesterday.
Blaine Boyer – Got the Atlanta save. Just another member of the committee.
Ian Stewart – So far I’ve picked him up and dropped him three times in the last two weeks. (Yes, I am that annoying owner.) My thought process is, I pick him up and hold him for a couple of days. When I need another hitter for a short schedule day, I drop him. If I have him when he is called up, I’m golden. If I don’t have him, then chances are he’s on waivers and at least someone has to use their claim for him. Win-win, in my book. (BTW, that book is titled, “Annoying the Crap Out of Your Opponents When They Don’t Restrict the Amount of Adds and Drops, 7th Edition”)
Scott Downs – Just got his fifth save.
C.C. Sabathia – I think this is closer to the Sabathia you’re going to get this year. I also don’t have him on any teams. Just when you think I’m going right, I go left! Or maybe left-right!
John Lackey – Looked solid in his return with 7 IP, 1.29 ERA, 1.00 WHIP and 4 Ks. Pretty far off in the pick the line game.
James Shields – Very solid game in the loss.
Robinson Cano – 4-for-4. His buy low time quickly evaporates as he’s batting .350 with two home runs in May.
Mike Mussina – I mentioned before that I was in St. Petersburg. It wasn’t the first time I had been to Florida. I was there many years ago with Mike Mussina. Mussina had just finished second in the Cy Young voting and we were competing in a Scrabble tournament. He had just pulled the tiles t-h-k-k-o-y-a and I said there was no way he could make a seven letter word from that. He said this is the first time I’ve had two Ks all year. We laughed over this and Mike Mussina punched me in the face.