OpinionJune 1, 2010


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fAD Tuesday Week 8: Fourteen Ks And A Broken Leg

By Daniel Wilson

Doc Halladay’s off season move to the National League was well documented as potentially providing an example of the cavernous difference between the NL and AL. On Saturday he decided to kick it up a notch, pitching the 20th perfect game in MLB history. Unlike Braden or Buehrle’s previous perfectos, this wasn’t a case of everything magically going right for a mediocre pitcher, it was a dominant ace making an example of an average line up. Halladay’s 1.99 ERA and 0.99 WHIP are in no way luck assisted by BABIP or LOB%, and we could be looking at a defining start in a Gibson-esque season. Congrats to Doc and all the managers out there sensible enough to have him as their staff cornerstone.

AussieDodger here, pinch-hitting for a busy Artful. How’s it going? Me too. Now for some bullets……….

- Max Scherzer returned from a brief minor league pit stop with a bang, striking out 14 Athletics in only 5.2 innings. Scherzer, who fixed a mechanical problem that had taken 5 MPH off his fastball, has a fairly alarm-free projected schedule coming up……@KC/@CWS/WAS/@NYM/@ATL. None of those teams is the the MLB top ten for runs scored, so you should feel comfortable starting him for the next 5 starts at least. What a spectacular way to close a buy-low window.

- Kendry Morales will possibly miss the rest of the 2010 season after celebrating his way onto the DL with a broken leg. Morales was having a decent first half, leading the Angels in home runs, they’ll most likely have to replace him via trade. Mike Napoli is supposedly going to replace Morales in the early going, with Brandon Wood also an option.

- Ballyhooed prospect Buster Posey was promoted by the Giants on Saturday, and immediately produced – 6 hits, 2 doubles and 4 RBIs from his first two games. Giants general manager Brian Sabean has been quoted as saying Buster is to play 5 games a week, whether a slump will cause the veteran-y goodness™ of Aubrey Huff and Benji Molina to eat into Buster’s playing time is yet to be seen. I wouldn’t bet against it.

- Miguel Cabrera celebrated the birth of his second daughter by having the mythical three home run game on Friday. Not satisfied with that, he tagged the A’s with a 4/5, double. HR, 4 RBI game on Sunday. Cabrera is reportedly happy, focused, and has cut back on over-frequent imbibing. If you haven’t been able to invest in him either through draft or trade this season, I think you’re out of luck.

- And finally, the juggernaut Phillies line up was surprisingly kept to just 4 total runs last week – by pitching luminaries such as Takahashi, Pelfrey and Dickey (lol). The Diamondbacks are working on a seven game losing streak – six of those losses to division rivals, Baltimore decided to enhance their 2010 tanking effort by placing all their relievers on the DL, and according to Mets manager Jerry Manuel, Oliver Perez is to become the majors’ first extra-innings-only pitcher.

*All stats as of Monday May 31

Hot:

Angel PaganMay: 35/105 H/AB, 19 R, 3 HR, 13 RBI, 7 SB, .333 BA

With forecasts of Carlos Beltran’s return ranging anywhere from next month to the next time Starland Vocal Band has a No. 1 hit, Pagan has been allowed to play full-time and has excelled. His .302 batting average is completely for real as his BABIP is (for a speedy player) a completely sustainable .336. The Mets are doing fantasy players a favor by batting him 6th, providing plenty of RBI opportunities behind Bay and Wright. By batting him in that spot and not 8th, the Mets are also allowing him to run – 9 attempts in May. He’s only 23% owned in Yahoo, and is turning out to be what Dexter Fowler was supposed to be this year, a 10 HR/30 SB hitter with a decent batting average. Add him if you can.

Mike NapoliMay: 28/87 H/AB, 15 R, 8 HR, 17 RBI, 2 SB, .322 BA

If you’re a long-time Napoli owner like I am, the Morales injury is something you’ve dreamed about for years, a situation where the Angels are forced to play him full-time with no obvious back up. Unfortunately, as a fellow member of the Napoli Fanciers Association™ you should also know that this is the best time to be selling him. At the moment he is toting the very worst BB/K of his career, 11/47. Nobody can carry such a split playing full-time and not be found out. There is no doubt (at least in my mind) that the Angels will be trading for either a 1B or DH, so using the current buzz from the injury and his unsustainable May performance, dangle him on your hook and see what you get.

Trevor CahillMay: 36.2 IP, 4 W, 17 K, 1.96 ERA, 1.09 WHIP

Trevordacthill, as he’s known to some A’s fans, looks to be a similar pitcher to Rick Porcello, in that he’s a low K ground-baller who relies on his defense a little more then you’d like. Cahill’s last three starts have been against mediocre offenses (SFO/BAL/DET), where he has pitched at least 6 innings and allowed one earned run each time. Just like Napoli, this is absolute prime selling time. Trevor is carrying a .223 BABIP, and a 5.04 FIP, meaning that he both stinks AND is lucky. Coming up next on the schedule are MIN/LAA/@CHC/CIN, I would want to be selling Cahill even before Minnesota get their hooks into him, as I’m guessing with all their LHBs it won’t be pretty.

Ben ZobristMay: 37/105 H/AB, 15 R, 4 HR, 16 RBI, 4 SB, .352 BA

Everyone’s favorite multi-purpose waiver pick up of 2009 is back! After a disappointing 0 HR, .684 OPS April, Zobrist has gotten himself roastingly hot in May, and has been “promoted” to the lead off spot by the Rays. This isn’t last year’s Zobrist however, from having an elite BB/K in 2009 (91/104), he has regressed to a more “average joe” level in 2010 (21/42). There is definitely upside here, 2009’s Zobrist murdered LHP to the tune of a 1.035 OPS, whereas this year they’ve kept him to a Granderson-esque .606. If you can offer somewhat lower then the pre-season sticker price, Zobrist looks like an intriguing buy right now.

Cold:

Chad QuallsMay: 8.2 IP, 4 SV, 9 K, 6.23 ERA, 2.08 WHIP

Can anyone be this unlucky? Qualls is carrying an unsightly .476 BABIP. That’s about 170 points higher then it should be over a full season. All the required skills are being showcased (9.7 K/9, 3.0 BB/9, 50% GB rate) it just seems his fielders are closing their eyes whenever a Qualls-pitched ball is in play. The positive spin on this if you already own him is that: 1. the Diamondbacks are a team that has probably heard of BABIP, and 2. there is no one currently looking reliable enough to replace him. Gutierrez can’t get anybody out, Heilman is coming off two mediocre years and Carlos Rosa doesn’t have enough experience. However, if you are looking to invest in Qualls, be aware that as an impending free agent on a team that’s falling off the map, he could be traded into a second-banana type role at the deadline.

Nyjer MorganMay: 23/103 H/AB, 13 R, 0 HR, 2 RBI, 5 SB, .223 BA

After Morgan’s BABIP-fueled 2009, many were picking that he would come back to earth with interest in 2010. Well, here we are. LHP still have his number, and now that he isn’t BABIPing .383 against RHP we see what his true skill level is. Adding to the negative vibe about Morgan is the fact that he has been replaced as lead off hitter by Cristian Guzmán, and the high number of times he has been caught stealing this year. From 19 attempts he has only been successful 11 times, which is about the ratio that managers start to shut off a player’s green light. And on top of that (I’m not meaning to pile on here) is the groin injury that Morgan suffered in spring training that may have returned, as evidenced by his awful (compared to usual) fielding numbers (UZR/150 of -12) and lack of base-running success. So to sum up, Nyjer Morgan = not that good + maybe playing hurt = avoid.

David AardsmaMay: 6.2 IP, 3 SV, 7 K, 6.75 ERA, 1.65 WHIP

Aardsma was a hotly discussed pitcher on the cafe during spring training, and Brandon League’s alleged sexiness aside, has actually been not-horrible. At present his BB/9 is at a quite decent level (3.3), and his FIP matches his ERA (low 4.4s). The problem with Aardsma is that he hasn’t had enough chances to either cement his job or completely lose it. In the first 18 days of May he was used just 3 times. League, obviously his chief rival for saves, hasn’t forced the issue with excellence, although he is supposedly another who is getting used to new prescription eye wear in May (why do players do this in the middle of the season?). Aardsma doesn’t look to be a good buy or sell right now, another month or two of data will probably tell us what we need to know.

Dustin PedroiaMay: 23/108 H/AB, 18 R, 2 HR, 7 RBI, 0 SB, .213 BA

Pedroia had a May to forget, but there seems to be a reason for this. On May 15th he hurt his right knee against Detroit and didn’t play the next day. The fact that he hasn’t attempted a stolen base since would point to it still bothering him. As “gritty” and “gamer-y” as Pedroia is, this could very well lead to a DL stint, so be prepared. If he can come right from this injury there is upside to investing in Pedroia, as LHP have kept him to a .184/.317/.245 triple-slash line in 2010, compared to his career line against them of .292/.372/.427. He’s worth a speculatory bid, but not at full price.

That’s all for this week, our Californian buddy should be back in the saddle next week.

And with that I’ll leave you with a quote from Mets manager Jerry Manuel…….

“It’s probably his brothers, sisters, cousins, Leroy, all them guys back there in the south. You know how southern guys are. Jethro, all those guys. Some people take that and it gets them ears and they say maybe I should do it this way, see how it works that way because I didn’t get a hit my way, I don’t have the patience to stay with what I’ve been doing. So stuff enters in and I say, ‘OK, I’ll try it.’ Before you know it you’re lost.”

 
Daniel Wilson is clearly the judge with the best taste in the current Cafe hot chick draft. You can catch up with Daniel in the Cafe's forums where he posts under the name of AussieDodger.
 
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