G’day readers, it’s been a busy week so let’s sum up in bullet form……
- Lima Time is over. Officially. Everyone’s favorite walking cartoon character and record-breaking terrible pitcher died today in Pasadena, California aged 37. This extinguishes the faint hope he may have once again appeared in the big leagues to give us the odd chuckle, and be slaughtered by another generation of hitters. See you around, old friend.
- Mid-season trade rumor-ing got under-way early as Roy Oswalt asked to be traded Friday. Early front-runners to acquire him look to be the Dodgers, Twins and Rangers. Oswalt owners will be hoping this happens sooner rather then later as the Astros have scored the least runs in the majors, and trail the 29th worst Pirates by 17 runs.
- The Mets added a paragraph to their “how to FAIL manual” as John Maine threw 5 wobbly pitches in his start against Washington before being removed and placed on the DL. Both team and pitcher had shots at each other through the media, and so continues the most entertaining comedy/soap opera of 2010.
- Edwin Encarnacion had an allegedly impossible 3 home run game against Arizona (in a losing cause), then followed it up with one each in the next two games. At 12% (on Yahoo) he is criminally under-owned, and somehow owned 10% less then Mike Wuertz.
- Zombie Eric Chavez went on the DL for possibly the last time with neck, shoulder and back pain. A’s fans rejoiced as they imagined manager Bob Geren throwing Jack Cust’s outfield glove in the trash on hearing the news. The latest word is that Chavez “is going home for some traction therapy, and will be right back”. Suuuureee.
- And finally, Tampa Bay continues to run away with the AL East, the Padres are STILL first in the NL West (but are cooling off), and now toting a zombie-free line up, the A’s swept the Giants to get themselves back into the AL West race.
*All stats as of Sunday May 23
Elvis Andrus – Last Month: 35/109 H/AB, 24 R, 0 HR, 7RBI, 12 SB, .321 BA
Andrus is busy establishing himself as an excellent three-category threat from a shallow position. His plate discipline has been tremendous, manager Ron Washington isn’t afraid to let him run at all times, and he has dug his claws into the lead-off spot and doesn’t look like letting go. A word of warning though, his .380 BABIP is unsustainable, so in redraft leagues you may want to dangle him on your trade hook and see what is biting.
David Freese – Last Month: 34/104 H/AB, 16 R, 3 HR, 23 RBI, 1 SB, .327 BA
Hitting behind Pujols and Holliday (and sometimes Colby Rasmus), Freese is quietly becoming an RBI machine. He has the 7th most RBIs over the last month, tied with names like Teixeira, Wright, Votto and Morneau. Freese is a player you should be looking to add as an CI option, his minors record suggests he can hit for reasonable power in the bigs. He comes with the same warning label as Andrus however, his overly high (.383) BABIP means you need to expect some regression in batting average. He could end up being one of the cheapest 20 HR, 100 RBI pick ups of the year.
Gio Gonzalez – Last Month: 39.2 IP, 4 W, 30 K, 2.72 ERA, 1.01 WHIP
Gio entered 2010 with an “all stuff, no composure” reputation. So far this season he has taken large steps towards being a respected and own-able starting pitcher. He has improved his BB/9 (5.11 in ‘09, 3.95 in ‘10), HR/FB (13.9% to 5%) and is getting a fair go in the luck measurements (. 260 BABIP, 72% LOB). His FIP is a solid 3.47, so this mini-breakout is completely for real. Next on the schedule are @DET/@BOS/LAA, I’d say he’d be start-able against both Detroit and the Angels. He’s only 20% owned in Yahoo, invest and enjoy.
Mat Latos – Last Month: 37.2 IP, 3 W, 33 K, 2.87 ERA, 0.93 WHIP
Those are some pretty numbers, but I’ve got some bad news for you, Latos owner. Over the last 4 starts Latos has faced some of the lowest scoring offenses in the majors – Houston/San Francisco/San Francisco/Seattle. In redraft leagues this is the absolute prime time to be selling him, he won’t look better then he does right now. And if you needed more motivation to get him shipped off to another sucker owner, he has a visit to Philadelphia on the horizon, and after that the homerific Blue Jays. Do what needs to be done.
Pablo Sandoval – Last Month: 28/107 H/AB, 11 R, 0 HR, 7 RBI, 0 SB, .262 BA
Where oh where has the power gone? Let me tell you. Or more accurately let Giants hitting coach Hensley Meulens tell you………
“He’s got a lot going on,” said Meulens, adding that Sandoval hasn’t become accustomed to his various forms of prescription eye wear, either. “At some point the mind gets tired. It shows up on the field at times. You need to be 100 percent focused on hitting the ball.”
Hat tip to mercurynews.com for the quote. Getting used to new prescription eye wear can be a pain, but once Pablo finds something that works I’m betting he’ll be back to business as usual. Use this information and buy up large on him, I’ll wait here.
Rickie Weeks – Last Month: 21/ 118 H/AB, 10 R, 2 HR, 10 RBI, 2 SB, .178 BA
What a mess. Once a 20-20 aspirant, he’s now a hitter who clobbers LHP but is owned by RHP. He isn’t running (5 steal attempts), isn’t hitting for power (.137 isolated power), and is striking out far far too much. Weeks has never played more then 129 games in a season, so he could be playing through an injury. He’s very cut-able right now, unless you feel you can use his name value to acquire some other under-performing (but legit) player.
Rick Porcello – Last Month: 34.2 IP, 3 W, 15 K, 5.19 ERA, 1.67 WHIP
Porcello is a pitcher who walks a fine line, relying on his defense to do the job for him as he gets hitters to bash pitch after pitch into the ground. With a sub-par K rate in the 4.5 region, he really needs to be on the right side of Lady Luck to be worth rostering. Currently his BABIP is .356, and his LOB% is 65%, so he should see a regression back his way. Oakland and Kansas City are next for him, so he looks to be a decent temporary pick up.
Derrek Lee – Last Month: 23/113 H/AB, 13 R, 2 HR, 11 RBI, 0 SB, .204 BA
You kind of feel sorry for the Cubs this year. While they have had a hand in their own pitching woes (Zambrano to the bullpen, signing John Grabow, etc), both of their middle of the order hitters are playing hurt and are stinking up the place. Lee is one of those aforementioned hitters, and while his plate discipline has been similar to his usual standards, his power has gone AWOL. This can be put down to back and thumb problems experienced in March and April that don’t seem to have gone away. If you can get him for the right price he’s well worth a “bench and watch”.
And with that I’ll leave you with a quote from Coco Crisp………
“Now I’m a career .301 hitter and I can always say I’m a .300 hitter – as long as nobody asks where, I’ll be fine.”
Daniel Wilson is "living the dream" of residing in Australia and wishing he still lived in New Zealand. You can catch up with Daniel in the Cafe's forums where he posts under the name of AussieDodger.
Want to write for the Cafe? Check out the Cafe's Pencil & Paper section!