OpinionMay 15, 2007


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Swing and a Miss: Round Three

By Jamaal Gilbert

Week seven of play is upon us, and I hope you’re enjoying the fantasy baseball season as much as I am, or at least tolerating the verbal jousting that is sure to be taking place on your respective league message boards. Speaking of public forum posts, I said in last week’s column that I would lead off with some reader responses, and luckily a few people wrote to me:

From Noseeum:

I have to disagree with the Silva recommendation. Sure his ERA has been good so far, but that’s mostly due to luck. He’s got a strand rate of 83% (73/76/66 the last three years), and that’s not going to last for long. His hr/fb is at 6% as well vs. typical league average of about 10% (Silva’s has been 10/12/16% the last three years). He’s not a very good pitcher for fantasy purposes or real purposes for that matter, and that’s going to show very soon. Stay away!!!

I have to disagree with Noseeum’s assertion that Silva cannot be a productive arm in your rotation, and his recent performances versus the Red Sox and White Sox (13 IP/4 ER) along with the rest of his ‘07 body of work seem to prove that point. Even though his 2006 season was awful, it seems he has righted himself and become a viable option yet again.

And from America’s Team 3:

Hey, I like your two articles. Keep ‘em going with additional topics.

I would highly suggest that people do not pick up Mike Cameron. He is an AVG killer and is only getting older. Plus, both Terrmel Sledge and Jose Cruz, Jr. are playing well enough where Cameron might get benched for a number of games which only prevent him from getting into a rhythm to boost his offensive production. I think it’s safer than sorry to trade him now while he has some remote value. It’s never good to sell low….but you gotta cut your losses.

One other thing. Jason Marquis sucks. He will be the 2007 fantasy baseball symbol for selling high.

Thanks for the response, AT3! Like I wrote in the forum, it’s easy to see that Cameron is a lifetime .250 batter, but in the last two years he hit .270 with an avg. of 17 HR and 19 SB (and in 2005 he only had 308 at bats). On top of that, he only had one home run and six stolen bases at the end of May in 2006 (Five HR and five sb in ‘05), leading me to believe he’s a slow starter. There’s plenty of time for Cameron to turn it around, and though he gets a day off every once in awhile, it’s only going to keep him fresh in the long run. And we’ll see about Jason Marquis… it’s a little early to throw him under the bus, eh?

I guess we’ll see how this whole reader response thing goes over, and then see if I ever do it again, but it’s pretty fun.

Also enjoyable has been the surprising play of Oakland right-hander Chad Gaudin, who in 41 innings has struck out 34 batters with a solid 2.35 ERA and 1.137 WHIP. More impressive still is the fact that he has yet to give up more than three runs in a single start this year, a feat that has allowed the Athletics to not only survive, but thrive in shelved starter Rich Harden’s absence.

Gaudin has little major league starting experience, but at Triple-A Syracuse in 2005, he started 24 games and held down a decent 3.38 ERA with 113 strikeouts in 150 1/3 innings. After Oakland acquired him in 2006, he dominated in eight combined 2006 and 2007 starts at Triple-A Sacramento, going 6-0 with a miniscule 0.55 ERA in 48 2/3 innings. Gaudin may find it difficult to stick in the rotation upon Harden’s return, despite his stellar numbers, but his success will not be forgotten and a return to the rotation would be imminent.

A few notes to close out the column this week:

- The Minnesota Twins lineup is officially on a “code red” or “high alert” status. However you label it, losing Joe Mauer and Rondell White while also having last year’s MVP get drilled in the nose with a baseball, isn’t the way to build a roster. And I’m sure everyone’s looking forward to the inevitable Lew Ford sighting in left field this week.

- The Houston Astros optioned preseason breakout candidate Chris Burke to Triple-A Round Rock last Friday to make room for reliever Rick White in the bullpen. On May 10, the day before his demotion, Burke smoked a three-run homer in a 9-5 loss to the Reds. I’m pretty sure a pink slip wasn’t expected the next day.

- For all the bellyaching about Barry Bonds‘ breaking of the all-time home run record, there sure hasn’t been a lot of mention about his superb production at the dish in 2007. He leads the National League with 11 home runs and is batting a healthy .318 with 23 RBI and 24 runs scored.

- Morgan Ensberg is terrible again, and it looks like he’ll lose his job for the second straight year – this time to utilityman Mike Lamb – who is hitting .419 on the year and whose consistent play is desired more than Ensberg’s streaky tendencies.

Thanks for reading, and good luck to everyone this week!

 
Jamaal Gilbert is one of a growing number of fantasy experts who write for the Cafe. You can catch up with Jamaal in the Cafe's forums where he posts under the name of jamastaballa.
 
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