OpinionJuly 7, 2010


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fAD Tuesday Week 13: How Do You Solve A Problem Like Santana? - 1 comments

By Daniel Wilson

No. More. Soccer. I promise. I won’t even tell you how the All Whites are the toast of New Zealand, the Socceroos are a joke, or zee Germans are looking like they vill invade Pol go all the way. With Artful in South Africa, you’re stuck with me for around four weeks. Let’s make the most of it. Bullets please!

- In one of the surprises of the season so far, the Diamondbacks removed BOTH manager A.J Hinch and former wunderkind GM Josh Byrnes. Apparently the rumor and scuttlebutt at this stage is that ownership wanted Byrnes to fire Hinch, but he wouldn’t do it. Firing a general manager with 5+ years remaining on his contract is a serious, serious move and makes you wonder if this is going to be another NL FAIL episode (more on that later). One of the early casualties of the post-Byrnes era is Dontrelle Willis, who was designated for assignment Sunday. I hope that wasn’t too much of a blow to your chances in your league.

- Giants fans can remove the pins from their Bengie Molina dolls, as he was shipped to Texas Wednesday for Chris Ray and a minor leaguer. Molina doesn’t have an exciting record at Arlington (.697 career OPS), so it’s not like his already declining numbers will spike upwards sharply. Chris Ray goes from 4th in the queue at Texas to 4th in the queue at San Francisco, so no big change there either.

- The All Star teams were named Sunday, and the big news is the selection of Omar Infante. This is the NL at its old-timey finest. No knock on Infante as a person, but he’s a career back up with no speed or power who has been picked over JOEY VOTTO. It looks like we can pencil in another win for the AL with “thinking” like this behind the 2010 NL FAIL effort.

- And finally, Dexter Fowler and Matt LaPorta were recalled from Triple-A last week and promptly went to town on big league pitching. LaPorta (last week: .360 avg, 3 HRs) was raking in the minors and looks to be over his surgery-fueled early season lethargy. Fowler (last week: .417 avg, 1.368 OPS) used his time in AAA improving his hitting from the left side, and finally looks confident and competent against RHP. One option to free up playing time for him would be to release Jason Giambi, demote Todd Helton to Giambi’s role on the bench, and have Brad Hawpe play 1st base. Helton is still owed a lot of money, so this may not happen, but it’s at least possible. If you’re looking for an offensive boost Fowler and LaPorta are nearly must-adds right now.

*Stats of Monday July 5

Hot:

Sean Rodriguez – Last Month: 31/99 H/AB, 15 R, 4 HR, 13 RBI, 6 SB, .313 BA

March 09, 2010: Sean Rodriguez for the Tampa Bay Rays at bat during a spring training game against the Baltimore Orioles at Ed Smith Stadium in Sarasota, Florida. The Rays won 8 - 3.

Rays manager Joe Maddon said this about SeanRod on April 22nd……..

“This guy’s got a nice track record of success.” “Most of it’s at Triple-A, but if you watch him and you saw him during Spring Training, his ability’s going to translate to the big leagues. I’ll say it again, it’s all about confidence. Once he gains his confidence here, he is going to play a lot like what you saw during Spring Training.”

(Hat tip to bringingheat.com for the quote)

April and May for Rodriguez were not fun. His numbers were terrible and yet Maddon has let him start pretty much full-time from late May until now. This tells us that he is a player that has the full backing of management; they traded for him and are going to play him until he gets the hang of the bigs. A note of caution when rostering Sean on your teams, he strikes out a lot (currently 29% of the time) so his full-season batting average isn’t going to be more then .250. That being said he has tremendous power potential, and playing for the runnin’ Rays will net him a small handful of bags. Only 28% owned in Yahoo, he is an exciting, positionally flexible and trendy add.

Chris B Young – Last Month: 26/99 H/AB, 20 R, 6 HR, 17 RBI, 9 SB, .263 BA

One of the best buy-lows of the preseason, Young had an underwhelming 2009 which resulted in him usually being drafted after pick 300 in ‘10. If you were looking closely enough, CBY gave us a preview of 2010 in 2009 with a six homer September. It looks to me as if Young has improved all facets of his play over the off-season, as he’s cut back his strike outs to just below the magic 25% line, his fielding is back on the positive side of UZR, and his base stealing success rate is a stout 89%. He also seems to be a beneficiary of the Diamondbacks’ regime change, as Kirk Gibson has him leading off. I guess it’s a bit too late to be buying Young, but you could put out a few feeler offers to see if his owner “believes” or not.

Corey Patterson – Last Month: 31/91 H/AB, 14 R, 1 HR, 7 RBI, 11 SB, .341 BA

Corey Patterson? Yes, that one. Patterson weaseled his way into a starting spot for the Orioles by being the last man standing in LF. Nolan Reimold couldn’t recover from his Achilles surgery fast enough, and Felix Pie has had three months off with a strained shoulder. You will probably only have a week or two tops to sell him, as Pie’s DL activation is imminent, and with Patterson’s BB/K as putrid as it normally is (11/44), it will only be a matter of time before he becomes 4th outfielder (or worse if Reimold starts showing a pulse in AAA). If you can’t unload him, he really has to occupy the same ejector seat that Ty Wigginton was in last week, as you should cash in your gains while you’re ahead with players like him. Good luck.

Cold:

Johan Santana – Last Month: 32.2 IP, 1 W, 16 K, 4.96 ERA, 1.47 WHIP

Santana has been fascinating to keep track of over the last few years, as his peripheral numbers look like he’s sliding from being an elite (possibly hall of fame) pitcher to being potentially a journeyman right in front of our eyes. From 2007 onwards, his average fastball velocities have been 91.8, 91.0, 90.6, 89.4 MPH. Over the same time period his K/9’s have been 9.66, 7.91, 7.88 and 5.92. On top of those two ominous signs is the fact that his current HR/FB% is 5.4, well below his career mark of 9.2, indicating an imminent correction. The 2010 version is not your grandfather’s Johan Santana (and could be playing hurt), and if you can find a buyer willing to pay name value for him I wouldn’t hesitate to pull the trigger on a deal.

Joe Mauer – Last Month: 25/91 H/AB, 15 R, 1 HR, 10 RBI, 0 SB, .275 BA

April: 1 HR, May: 1 HR, June: 1 HR. If you bought Joe Mauer for the sticker price (top 20 pick) this year, you would be forgiven for being dissatisfied with his performance. Unfortunately it seems you were fooled into thinking that his 2009 results were the new norm and not an outlier. There are two things that will help lessen the frustration, 1. Mauer’s HR/FB% is 4.0, less then half of his career 10.6 mark, he hasn’t posted a HR/FB% lower then 6.5%. And 2, he might be playing through an injury……..

Asked on June 18 in Philadelphia about his left heel bone bruise, an injury that cost him seven games earlier this season, Mauer said, “I’m able to go out there and play. It’s still there, yeah, but they told me it’s going to be there for a while. It’s just another thing you’ve got to deal with.”

(Hat tip to twincities.com for the quote)

Catchers get injured a lot, so the lesson here (in my opinion) is to not spend a top 50 pick on them. I suppose you could try to get name value from trading Mauer, and it could be the best option right now as the Twins will be unlikely to rest him much in a close divisional race.

Aaron Heilman – Last Month: 11.2 IP, 3 SV, 5 K, 5.40 ERA, 1.89 WHIP

Another intriguing question amongst the upheaval in Arizona is, who will the closer be? Since the leadership change the Diamondbacks have been in one close game (against LAD), where they inserted Heilman with the score at 1-1 in the eighth, and he promptly gave up two runs. Will Gibson and co. change closers? Yes, in my opinion. Qualls is clearly the superior pitcher, and if the D-Backs are having the rumored fire sale they will want to build up his value by showcasing his wares in tight situations. Where does this leave Heilman owners, all 18% of you? I would wait until the next save situation, and if Qualls gets and converts it, I would ditch Heilman. Thanks for the 3 saves and ugly ratios, sayonara.

That’s all for this week, I hope you’ve enjoyed it.

And with that I’ll leave you with a quote from Victoria Beckham……….

“Our marriage is absolutely not a business arrangement.”

 
Daniel Wilson is a New Zealand born A's fan, living in Australia.You can catch up with Daniel in the Cafe's forums where he posts under the name of AussieDodger.
 
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One Response to “fAD Tuesday Week 13: How Do You Solve A Problem Like Santana?”

  1. To be fair to the NL, Liriano wasn’t picked for the AL squad, and he has the lowest FIP and xFIP in the league to go with his 4.14 K/BB rate.

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