Sunday, May 4, 2008

Fred Slacks' Fantasy Stats: Aimless Ramblings of the Week

After taking last weekend semi-off were back this week and feeling better than ever, aka I didn't get completely wasted last night. This week has no doubt been a sort of fantasy hell for Yovani Gallardo and Troy Tulowitzki owners. Both went on the DL, with Gallardo an ACL injury and looking like he's done for the year, and Tulowitzki with a torn tendon in his left quad. Tulowitzki looks to be done for the next 2 to 3 months. Gallardo is definately droppable in leagues sans keepers, while depending on the league Tulowitzki could be a help down the stretch run in August and September, which would make him DL stash worthy.

A few questions were asked last week about Ryan Braun and the Atlanta Braves bullpen situation. Ryan Braun will be a stud, it was just a matter of time. He's going to be streaky but when he hits a peak.... look out. This week saw evidence of that as he hit .360 with two bombs and 9 RBI. He still appears to be striking out a bit too much but he has been making solid contact as well. When all is said and done this year, he should round out as worthy of his late first round or early second round selection.

John Smoltz should come off the DL as a member of the Braves bullpen and most likely the closer. He's 40 and his shoulder is balky. The thought process is that limiting his innings will help ease some of the pain. Of course Smoltz was dominating this year as a starter and should relish the relief role once again that he held 2001-2004, where he was one of the top 5 closers in the league. There is no timetable for his return and Rafael Soriano's tendinitis doesn't appear to be getting any better, he apparently experienced soreness throwing a bullpen session on Thursday. With Atlanta's top two bullpen options in Soriano and Peter Moylan hurting, Smoltz could would give the relievers a boost. What this means for the rotation is that reliever and former straight-brimmed Brewer Jeff Bennett will stay in the rotation. I'm sure Chuck James will be brought up sooner or later to round out that rotation. Time to ramble'on.

- Chase Utley has continued his ridiculously hot start. The man now leads all of the majors with 13 homers. The next closest are Pat Burrell and Lance Berkman with 9. I would say that Utley is a sell high candidate, but he has shown in the past that he has MVP type stuff. Now that add in the fact that he doing this while Ryan Howard has been as cold as he has and its even more amazing. Just think once Howard starts to heat up, Utley could see even more fastballs to hit. As far as RBI opportunities come, once Victorino and Rollins become completely healthy he should continue getting the chance to knock in runs. Chase is typically a hotter early season starter but at this point pen in 30-35 homers and around 110 RBI's.

- Well its time to own up to a certain player who I've consistantly dogged but seems to keep on ticking. Carlos Quentin appears to have become more than just a flash-in-the perverbial pan. Although I'm not sure if that's even appropriate because he was a former first rounder with big expectations. I still think he's an ideal sell high candidate, but it seems more and more likely that he hits around 25 homers with 90 RBI and becomes a solid number 3 OF. His stock may go up even more if he gets moved up in the order.

- As great as Mike Napoli has been, his owners have to be frustrated. He's hit 7 homers thus far this year, but the problem is he's only had 62 AB's. His understudy, Jeff Mathis, has also looked solid posting 3 homers in 50 AB's. Napoli seems like an ideal DH candidate for his days off, but unfortunately the Angels have such a good offense that a rotation of Torii Hunter, Juan Rivera, Gary Matthews Jr. and Garrett Anderson make more sense. I rarely condone carrying two catchers unless in special cases such as dual eligibility comes into play like in Ryan Doumit or Jerrod Saltalamaccia. But if you have an open slot and are in a very deep league, getting Jeff Mathis and rotating him with Napoli could boost your home run numbers.

- I feel like Brandon Webb has a realistic shot at 25 wins this year. The way that offense has been playing, coupled with the fact that Webb is virtually unhittable makes Webb an early Cy Young favorite. For those of you lucky/smart enough to grab Webb, enjoy the ride. It must be comforting to know he is going to get you 1.5 wins, 12 K's, an ERA of 2.0, and WHIP of 1.0 a week.

- Scott Kazmir was activated today and drew a tough first assignment against the Boston Red Sox. He gave up 4 runs in 4 innings of work, but he did strike out 5 which is promising. I'm very high on Kazmir, as I am on generally every high strikeout pitcher. Get him if you can, especially if he stumbles in his next couple starts, you may see a manager get squirmish and try to get rid of him.

- You know what really bugs me. When people say the weather man is always wrong. Maybe this bugs me because I graduated with a degree in meteorology but seriously think about it. Meteorologist are paid to predict the future. The future. How ridiculous is that when you really think about it. Its not like a weather system that moves in, just stays the same and trots around the globe in a pattern as predictable as the sun rising in the morning and setting the evening. There are like dozens and dozens of factors that play into weather situations. Also when they do predictions they usually do a general prediction for over a 100 to 200 square mile area. In an area that big variation is going to happen, and Meteorologists don't get paid enough to do pinpoint local forecasts to the mile. You know when the weather guy says there is 70% chance of rain, and it doesn't rain, well I bet if you paid attention to the radar you would have seen that it rained in the area, just not over you. Gamblers should know this. Just cause the odds are in your favor doesn't mean that it always happens. I guess what I'm trying to say is, respect meteorologists. They are wrong as many times as you are at your job, only because more people see notice it, is why it becomes a stigma. Without them, you would be guessing the weather simply by flipping a coin or relying on farmers tales such as, cows are laying on the ground, or the squirrels are running circles around the trees, or clydesdales are playing football with a zebra reffing to tell you if its going to rain or not.

- Matt Kemp is the latest Dodger to have success this week. He has been a monster, hitting .444 this week and stealing 6 bases. With every game, it looks like either Andruw Jones or Juan Pierre is going to get squeezed out of that outfield. Andre Ethier and Kemp need to continue to see time with how well they have been playing. As unthinkable as it was 3 weeks ago to drop Jones, now it looks like its totally acceptable if not competely necessary. He is currently hitting .163 and hasn't even looked anywhere near creeping out of his slump. Jones is 31 and has been in the league for 12 years already. He's a player that should be hitting his stride in terms of his career and he looks more like a 40 year old. It seems like all those years playing 155 games a year in CF are finally catching up to him.

- Nate McLouth is doing this year, what everyone expect him to do last year. He's probably far exceded expecations actually. He should even benefit from scoring more runs once Adam LaRoche starts hitting and Jack Wilson gets back into the lineup. I actually say ride out McLouth, he should be a great #3 OF this year, scoring runs, hitting for average, hitting a good amount of HR's and stealing a few bases. Expect end of the year numbers of 18 HR's, 85 RBI, 100 R's, .305 Avg, and 17 SB.

- Toronto has such a scary 5 man rotation. At this point all 5 starters are not only money for the Blue Jays but need to be on your fantasy teams. Jesse Litsch and Shawn Marcum are the the 4 and 5 starters and have been great this year. Dustin McGowen has been as advertised and based on draft value, A.J. Burnett is probably the most overrated. But even Burnett gets you solid innings and racks up strikeouts. If for some reason Marcum or Litsch are available grab them, in any format.

- It looks like Kansas City finally got sick of playing Ross Gload. The Royals have been playing Billy Butler at 1st while moving Miguel Olivo to DH when John Buck catches. The ideal situation in fantasy speak would be if Mark Teahen moved from LF to 1B, Butler stayed at DH, and Joey Gathright moved to LF. Seems like the most sense to me. I think I saw Brad Evans of Yahoo! mention a move similar to this but I've thought this since opening day.

- It looks like Max Scherzer will move into the starting rotation and pitch tomorrow (Monday). Congrats on those of you who scooped him up. Expect plenty of wins with that D-Backs lineup and lots of strike outs. This guy is just electric.

- On a related note, talk about irony. In one of my leagues I was sitting with the number 2 waiver position when Johnny Cueto was brought up, the person with the number 1 waiver didn't put in for him and I was basically gifted Cueto. He was harassed for this up and down in the league. Now Scherzer comes up and he uses his number 1 waiver priority on him and looks like a genious for passing on Cueto. That certainly looks like it worked out just fine for him, for me not so much.

- Pitchers I really like in the short term that are probably available on your waiver wire(next three projected starts): Ted Lilly (AZ, SD, @Hou), Luke Hochevar (Bal, Det, @Bos), Justin Duchscherer (Bal, @Cle, @Atl)

- Pitchers I don't like who have been solid lately and are probably available on your wire: Boof Bonser (Bos, Tor, Tex), Jeremy Guthrie (@Oak, Bos, @NYY), Andy Sonnastine (@Tor, LAA, @StL)

- Hitters I really like this week that are probably available on your wire: Milton Bradley, Fred Lewis, Jason Bartlett, Kevin Kouzmanoff, Felipe Lopez

- Hitters that played well this week and are likely on the waiver wire that I don't like: Jose Bautista, Jack Cust, Ray Durham, Eric Hinske, Yuniesky Betancourt

FANTASY QUICK TIP: One thing you can do during the day if you have a little extra time is check out batter vs. pitcher stats of hitters. By looking at career numbers of hitters you are thinking about starting against the pitchers they are going up against can go along way into squeezing out a few more stats at the end of the week. This is more effective in larger leagues were a few players on your roster may not start every game. Looking at the matchups can give you better insight as to whether that player will get a day off or not, especially helpful for those who can't check the rosters about an hour before game time to see the box scores of probable starters.

ICHIRO UPDATE: In the debut column I stated my claim that Ichiro Suzuki would hit under .300 for the first time in his career this season. Take a look back to see why. Let's take a look at how he's doing so far. Drum roll please..................................... .279. He's 38-136 through Sunday's games. Again so far so good but he is a career .373 hitter in May. So I'm sure he'll be up around .300 in no time, but I am a former weatherman so I'm probably wrong right?


Jonk said...

Considering my team is playing Fred Slacks' team this coming week, I'm very glad to see these insights.

Anonymous said...

Some thoughts ...

"Sell high" on UTLEY?! He's hands down the best 2B in the game ... there isn't a whole lot of talent at 2B so those of you with UTLEY should hang onto him. I can't believe I just read that. If you want to give some good advice, how about tell your readers to buy low on R. HOWARD?

There's no way the Dodgers squeeze A. JONES out of the OF. It would have to be Pierre. Jones makes way too much to lose his job in center. Try to trade Jones to a huge Braves or Dodgers fan for something ... ANYTHING.

I'm in 8 leagues of varying depth & I think J. LITSCH is available in almost every one of them. MARCUM is available in a few of them. They're not must-haves yet.

I'm surprised there was no mention of EMIL BROWN in your KC Royals section.

TED LILLY? WTF. And why even mention Boof Bonser, & Sonnanstine? If someone's in a league where those guys are STILL available, then neither one of them will do the team owner much good.

FRED LEWIS is good & M. BRADLEY is OK, but all those other guys you mentioned aren't that great. Unless you have multiple injuries in one week & are desperate.

Anonymous said...

Hey Fantasy Baseball Junkies,

Here's a solid fantasy tip ... go out & grab CLAYTON KERSHAW (SP - LAD) RIGHT NOW. He's one of the best young pitching prospects in the game & they're going to put him in the rotation VERY SOON. He should be on most waiver wires.

Anonymous said...

i thought i heared it was supposed to rain today

Anonymous said...

thanks for the comments, but

I said Utley would normally be a sell high candidate, but I inferred keeping him because of the team around him and he has the potential to keep doing this. Also I told readers to buy low on Ryan Howard 2 weeks ago.

You must be in some weak leagues if guys like Marcum and Litsch are available. Try stepping up the quality of your leagues.

Emil Brown doesn't play for the Royals, he's with the A's.

Ted Lilly has shown two strong outings, and is a strikeout pitcher with the best offense in the NL helping him out, with a history of being a solid pitcher. Therefore he's a good short term fix, with long term possiblities.

I'm going to assume you aren't in deep leagues, in standard 12-14 team leagues theses are premium guys. Sorry I can't specialize for your league.

Clayton Kershaw was mentioned in my column two weeks ago, and unfortunately in most leagues he isn't available yet, and waiver proirity will be needed on him. Yahoo! fantasy leagues haven't released his name yet.

Thanks for your input, but if your going call me out for not giving good advice, maybe you should read more carefully and take a look a past columns where I mention a few things you said here.

Anonymous said...

I guess I should have clarified more, the Pitchers and Hitters section is more for those who stream pitchers and hot hitters... I was just giving my two cents in who I would stream and who I wouldn't.

I realize my comment came off kind of harsh, if it did sorry about that. I realize I probably wasn't completely clear on some things, and if one person didn't see what I was saying I'm sure others didn't either.

Anonymous said...

I wasn't aware that the streaming approach dictates your fantasy baseball advice. I was just going with what I consider to be the conventional approach. Namely: "Keep the awesome guys you drafted in your roster the same & tinker a little with the peripheral guys." Most of the team owners I know who pick up some hot hitter or pitcher (that's still available) eventually get burned when that flash in the pan comes down to earth. And then they wish they hadn't changed their roster around in the first place.

That's weird that you're in a league where Clayton Kershaw isn't available. A plethora of prospects ranging from the obscure to soon-to-be-promoted are available in ESPN leagues. I had Scherzer on some of my deeper benches a few weeks before anyone else knew about him.

Please don't assume that everyone that checks out this site goes back & sifts through the archives.

So Ted Lilly had a good week. Great. Still not interested in him. He's still sitting on the waiver wire in some of my smaller leagues. Obviously he's taken in mid to deeper leagues. Maybe a couple more solid starts might persuade me. I'd almost rather go with a guy like Aaron Cook in deeper leagues right now.

I misspoke/mistyped before ... Litsch is available in my 10 & some of my 12 team leagues. Not my deeper leagues. He hasn't been that impressive yet. I don't know what you're getting so excited about with him.

And for the record, I'm in 8 leagues ... 3 prize-eligible non-keeper & 5 keeper. Some are 10, 12, 16, & one's a 20 team league. One deals with a payroll & real life salaries, one is a dynasty league where you keep 25 guys from your favorite team, & one is 100% keeper. They're all pretty intense & I'm doing well in most of them.

I read up on the draft recap in one of your leagues & it sounded like some of the guys had no clue what they were doing. So don't tell me I need to change leagues, bro.

So you think I should join some better leagues? Well here's some advice for you ... maybe you should consider trying some competitive ESPN leagues at midseason. It might be a good learning experience.

Winks said...

Minus calling Bear "bro", I'm starting to like this Kevin guy.

Anonymous said...


I didn't realize that a 4 sentance blurp towards of my column led to me letting streaming dictate my column. I do that as one aspect.

From what it sounds like, all the leagues you are in are ESPN ones, ESPN makes minor leaguers available and Yahoo! only does once that are on the 40 man or brought up. So unfortunately not everyone can snag the up-and-comers.

I'm higher on Ted Lilly because he's a strikeout pitcher, pitched well last year and has won 15 games the last 2 years. He has much better upside than Aaron Cook.

I never assumed people did look back at old stuff, but I was stating that I mentioned a few things you said in weeks past.

Thats cool that you are in 8 leagues of varying rules and whatnot. Keeper leagues are fun too. I like actual salary leagues, but I haven't been in one in a couple years. Its good to hear that you are doing well, you sound like you know what you are doing, except for Emil Brown being a Royal, but I'm guessing that was just a brain fart.

Well all I'm saying is that if a guys like Shawn Marcum and Ted Lilly are available in most leagues or that Jesse Litsch isn't even being picked up and dropped than to me it didn't sound like a competetive league. You have stated they are, so I'll believe you.

Something tells me that there really is no difference between ESPN's competetive leagues, and Yahoo!'s competetive leagues. Maybe I will check out a midseason league at ESPN to see if anythings changed. I was in a few ESPN leagues two years ago and they really weren't any different. The beauty of fantasy sports is that every season is a learning experience I've been learning for 7 years.

Bro, if your goal was to hijack my unpaid blog post, congrats. To be honest though, I like the spirited debate so I really don't mind.

Anonymous said...

See you next Sunday!

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