Sunday, May 11, 2008

Fred Slacks' Fantasy Stats: Aimless Ramblings of the Week

Well after last week it seems that Fred Slacks has an arch nemesis of sorts in a fella named Kevin Khakis. He made a few good points. Like how I haven't mentioned Emil Brown at all. Truth is, I figured most people were on to him in standard 12 team leagues. He's been entrenched in the A's outfield and batting in the 5 spot. His numbers may not be fancy, but his RBI total has him 5th in the majors as of Sunday morning. I don't expect him to end the year that high, but 100 RBI's isn't too far out of the realm of possibility. The longer he keeps hitting well the more mashers Frank Thomas and Jack Cust will see better pitches to hit, increasing their value as well.

Kevin also mentioned he was down on Ted Lilly a bit. Unfortunately he's pitched brilliantly lately. In his last four games now hes 3-1 with an ERA of 2.42, WHIP of 1.00 and 25 K's in 26 innings. And his three wins have come against St. Louis, New York, and Arizona. I'd say he's pretty dialed in by now and he should look to continue to have success in his next start against San Diego's anemic offense. At this time, there is no reason he shouldn't be on rosters now. Be weary of his May 19th tentative opponent however. Houston has batted .296 against LH pitching this year. Lilly is still should be startable though, especially if has another good outing on Wednesday.

I guess one thing I've overlooked is that I've mainly tailored(I just realized that's kind of a pun) this little column to Yahoo! standard 12 team leagues with daily lineup changes. Maybe that's a little short sighted on my part, but taking into account most people I know and the kind of leagues they are in, it makes sense to pander to them more. This goes for prospects as well. ESPN seems to release all player names while Yahoo! only makes a player available once they are placed on the 40 man roster. Anyway again if the format doesn't suit you sorry. But I'm always up for debating players and stats and projections. Let me get my ramble-pants on.

- Nate McLouth has continued to tear the cover off the ball. In an effort to capitalize on his power the Pirates have moved him to the 2 spot when Ryan Doumit catches, and in the 3 spot when Ronny Paulino catches. This should give him an obvious uptick in RBI's as new lead off hitter and career .300 hitter Freddy Sanchez starts to heat up. The Pirates have won 5 in a row and seems to have been sparked by Freddy's 9-21 performance over that time.

- Sticking with the Pirates, keep your eyes on Adam LaRoche. He's a notoriously terrible April hitter, but begins to heat up some in May. When he really starts to hit is in July and August where he is a .300 hitter in those months. I'm sure in many leagues he's sitting on the wire but he is someone to keep in mind and get for the the post AS break run. He is very streaky, especially when the home runs start to flow, so watch him and maybe pick him up if he looks to be getting warm. Also target him as an after all-star break must. With the way Mclouth, Jason Bay, Xavier Nady, and Sanchez have been playing well in front of him, he should see ample RBI opportunities.

- Kevin Khaki's mentioned Clayton Kershaw. Three weeks ago he was discussed along with Max Scherzer as two players worthy of waiver priority uses in Yahoo! leagues. Kevin is right, if he is available in your ESPN leagues get him now. Most likely someone has stashed him already but he may be around in a few leagues. He is currently in AA and pitching outstanding. He has posted an ERA of 1.08, over a strikeout per inning and K/W ratio of 3.36. With Esteban Loiaza going on the DL and Hong-Chih Kuo being used in the bullpen as a long reliever/5th starter, Kershaw could look to be a replacement until Jason Schmidt is ready to go. It seems the Dodgers would promote Kershaw over any of their AAA starting pitchers as all of them have posted very pedestrian numbers.

- Lance Berkman is a beast. He's hitting .783 this week. .783!!!!! He is 18-23 with 3 homers and 2 SB's. He really is doing it all right now, and anyone who possesses Berkman is likely praising him at this point. Berkman is a stud and while his ridiculous hitting pace will slow, his overall stats should continue to boast some of the best power numbers in baseball.

- Andrew Miller has pitched like the prospect he was touted as this past week. However, temper your future expectations if you currently have him on your team. He did his damage against two of the worst teams in the NL right now in Washington and San Diego. Those were the only two games in fact where he pitched 6 or more innings. I don't trust him yet and neither should you. Pass on him for now, but pay attention to his next few starts, if he can string together some nice outings and build confidence this 2006 1st round pick could be a nice pitcher down the stretch. Those in keeper leagues should have already latched on to this guy, he should be one of the better pitchers in the league in a few years.

- Don't get me wrong, I love the slacks but as soon as the temps hit the 50 degree range, you'll find me in some cargo shorts and most likely sandals. I'm all about comfort and nothing to me is more uncomfortable than fitting my giant flat feet in socks and shoes. So I never understand why get crap for this from my friends. I don't get it. So its like 50 out and I'm wearing sandals and shorts. I mean, I would understand if it was below freezing or there was snow on the ground but when its 50? Why do you even care? It's not like if I get cold I am in some way inconveniencing you, I would think I would care more about that. I remember a few times in college some buddies would even bet if I was wearing sandals or not when I would meet up with them. Personally, I think they are just jealous that I have a high tolerance to mild temperatures and flippers for feet. Don't feel insecure because I'm in shorts sandals and you wish you were.

- Maybe I was a little over zealous last week on Jesse Litsch. But I love the fact that hasn't walked a batter, has gone 7 innings or more and has given up only 15 hits in his last three starts. His K/W ratio of 3.57 is down right nasty. On the downside he has allowed 7 homers this year in 8 starts, but when you aren't walking guys and limiting those homers to solo shots you are pitching very effectively. Right now his peripherals all point toward a pitcher who can give you a big boost in keeping your WHIP and ERA low. I still feel like some team could really use his sort of stats as a 5th, 6th or 7th pitcher. Apparently, I'm not the only one either, as Yahoo!'s Greg Shea said pretty much the exact same thing I did last week in his column on Saturday.

- It seems like the Cardinals are going into a loose closer by committee type approach. As I mentioned a few weeks ago getting Ryan Franklin probably is a good idea. He should see the bulk of the save attempts that the Cardinals will have over the next few weeks. At some point I feel like Jason Isringhausen will definitely get back in to the roll he has done well in over the last few years but when exactly I'm not really sure. If I had to make a bet I would say sometime around the AS break, unless St. Louis's end game issues start to fall apart quickly and Izzy gets his job back by default.

- The Brewers also seemed to be shaking up there closer situation. Eric Gagne seems to have lost his job when he came in toa tied game on Saturday and ended up giving up 2 runs and getting the loss. Milwaukee has a little more of a muddled situation than St. Louis. It looks like Solomon Torres will head the committee, but really it could be a true committee as Brian Shouse, Mitch Stetter, Guillermo Mota and/or Seth McClung could as possibly see some end game work based on the situation. And I wouldn't be surprised to even see Gagne in a couple weeks back in the closer role. For now I feel Torres is the best bet to see saves. Mota has been too valuable as the setup man and seems to really settled in there. Shouse is a situational lefty and came in and worked a third of an inning to get the save on Sunday.

- Kevin Youkilis has been on fire this week but I really don't think he is someone you wanna go after in terms of a trade. He now has 8 homers which is half of his previously career high of 16 in one season. He will continue to be a good source of AVG, and OBP but his power numbers are really something of a mirage. With this latest ridiculous hot streak he should net around 18-20 homers and 90 or so runs and RBI and a handful of SB's. He is a prime sell high candidate in my opinion.

- 3 pitchers I feel should be good streamable solutions (next three projected starts): Darrell Rasner(@TB, BAL, SEA), Bronson Arroyo(FLA, CLE, @SD), Greg Smith(@CLE, TB, TOR)

- 3 pitchers I would shy away from acquiring or streaming even though they've had some recent success: Aaron Laffey(OAK, @CHW, TEX), Daniel Cabrera(BOS, @NYY, NYY), Gavin Floyd(@SF, CLE, @CLE)

- 5 hitters I really like this week that are probably available on your wire: Ryan Ludwick, Melvin Mora, Pedro Feliz, Placido Polanco, Wladimir Balentin

- 5 hitters that played well this week and are likely on the waiver wire that I don't like: Mark Kotsay, Jose Castillo, Kevin Millar, Casey Blake, Aubrey Huff

FANTASY QUICK TIP: Set your lineups a couple days in advance in daily leagues. Seems pretty basic, but amazingly some people still don't do it. This way if you can't get a computer one day for one reason or another, you are still set with your pitchers and whatnot.

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..................................... .292. He's 47-161 through Sunday's games. Well here he comes, as customary he has started out hot this May hitting .405.


Anonymous said...

Good call on Rasner & G. Smith. I was elated to hear that Chad Gaudin went to the bullpen because it implied that Smith was hanging on to his rotation spot awhile.

I will concede that Ted Lilly has gotten better, but Bronson Arroyo? I have a feeling that FLA & CLE are going to eat him up. Something tells me that Gavin Floyd is a very special SP.

If Ryan Ludwick & Placido Polanco are still available on your waiver wire then you might want to consider moving up to a quality league.

I agree with you about Kotsay & Co. They're all playing like a bunch of losers right now.

Any thoughts on BAL SP Garrett Olson? I just added him & dropped Villanueva in my payroll league. Didn't affect my payroll at all & it looks like he'll put up better numbers.

That Reynolds kid on the Rockies didn't look to sharp in his debut yesterday. Man do they look desperate right now ... they just picked up Jorge de la Rosa from the Royals & immediately put him in their rotation. Needless to say that didn't work well. Ubalodo Jiminez hasn't been sharp, Jeff Francis has struggled, Franklin Morales hasn't done a damn thing, and Manuel Corpas lost his closer job to Brian Fuentes after the former did his best Fuentes Version 2007. In spite of the bullpens woes the team still released a decent Jose Capellan because the stubborn cat refused to be demoted to AAA Colorado Springs.

Speaking of Reynolds, boy Mark Reynolds has really gone downhill ... not a surprise considering how streaky he tends to be. Chad Tracy should be back in a couple weeks, so trade or dump Mark in shallow leagues.

Hank Blalock should be back in two weeks. I can't wait!

Anonymous said...

And yes, Emil Brown is with the A's. I believe he used to be with the Royals, which is where I got my wires crossed.

This would be a good time to buy low on Jered Weaver, especially in keeper leagues. Same with Johnny Cueto & Jonathan Sanchez.

If you desperately need help at 3B & OF or just want to pad your bench, how about adding Scott Rolen or Milton Bradley? Both have looked pretty good lately.

Too bad Nomar is coming back because that means Blake DeWitt will probably be demoted to a utility role. The guy is batting .323 in 96 AB.

My favorite team is the Milwaukee Brewers. The Oakland A's are a distant (but notable) second. Their stadium reminded me a lot of County Stadium. Not quite as run down but one of those tired, run of the mill, cost efficient bowl stadiums that was cranked out in the 60's/70's. I just love the Bill Beane small market approach. He always seems to keep the A's in the playoff hunt.

Anonymous said...


Yeah Beane is ridiculous, he always seems to find these hidden nuggets. Dana Eveland?? Seriously he looks like he could be a decent backend of the rotation guy, where as when he was with Milwaukee looked like nothing more than a stop gap solution. Greg Smith now looks like he will be a good one for awhile. Its amazing.

Great call on Olson, I forgot to mention him. I owned him in one of my leagues for abit but became a casualty once a player came off the DL. I might be regretting that decision. I need to get Extra Innings so I can watch these guys pitch, I know he was a beast in the minors and it seems to be carrying over.

You know, I had blake DeWitt in my batters I like and I edited him out. Right now he does look like a ROY candidate, but LA will go with Nomar for sure. Kinda sad really.

Lastly, really nothing has gone right for the Rockies. They look bad, all the guys that looked so promising at the end of last year have struggle, and I mean struggled. Corpas, Jimenez and Morales have all disappointed. Last year is really looking like a flash in the pan.

Good Stuff.

Winks said...

A peace offering between the Slacks and the Khakis?

Anonymous said...

Mark Kotsay 3-5 3 RBI's today yeah i do not think he is a very good pick up at all. Fred sorry to say but i think these guys might be reading this stuff because the guys you always say not to pick up seem to put up some good numbers for the week.

Unknown said...

Fred, whats John Patterson been up to?

Anonymous said...

Haha ok gdk, if you read it that part is players that have played well that I don't like as long term solutions, or in other words they have just had a hot streak but aren't worth your time. If you wanna go and pick up Mark Kotsay be my guest. Then again he may be an improvement on your team.

But feel free to explain why Kotsay is a good pick up. Maybe it's that he was a double digit SB threat in 2001. Or that his has never reached 90 RBI or 90 Runs, or maybe the fact that he hits 8th in the Braves lineup. Or that he strikes out more than he walks. Or that hes likely to top out at around 10 homers, if that.

So what I'm trying to say is his hot streak says fluke, fluke, fluke. Thanks for playing.

Anonymous said...

What's this arch rival & truce talk all about? It's called tough love, son! Act like you know!

See you next week.

Unknown said...

Fred, do you know Josh Jorts at all?

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