MLB Notes

Over his last six starts, Phil Hughes has a 3.60 ERA and a 1.20 WHIP. He was bombed during one outing, allowing seven runs to the Angels but gave up three runs or fewer in the other five games. Hughes has allowed at least one home run in all of his 11 starts this season, and while he’s been a bit unlucky with his HR/FB rate, as a right-hander who calls Yankee Stadium home, long balls are likely to remain a part of his profile, especially as an extreme flyball pitcher. Still, there’s a lot to be encouraged about the former top prospect, who quietly sports a highly impressive 57:16 K:BB ratio over 61.2 innings. Hughes is throwing his changeup more than twice as often as ever before, helping him become deadly against left-handers (.197/.266/.328). With strong run support, wins should be an asset as well. Hughes has shown increased velocity and improved his control greatly so far in 2012, so don’t let his horrible start that still brings down his overall numbers change the fact he currently looks like someone who should really help your fantasy team moving forward.

In honor of Richard Dawson, who just died and was brilliant, here’s a funny clip of the Family Feud.

In honor of the recent Spelling Bee, I give you this clip of the greatest troll in the event ever.

This is the most harrowing Judge Judy case of all-time. (Ignore the obnoxious laugh randomly placed in the middle). 

I had never owned Ryan Zimmerman in any of my myriad fantasy teams before this year. I’m guessing we all have our personal biases against (and toward) certain players, and for whatever reason, Zimmerman just wasn’t one of my guys. Until this year, which was purely happenstance. I picked late in the first round in the majority of my leagues, often by choice. And Zimmerman was frequently available either late third (in deeper leagues) or early fourth (David Wright never was), so I found myself taking the plunge (trying to be as agnostic as possible). After all, Zimmerman went .292-33-110-106 in 2009 and was one season removed from a .307-25-85-85 campaign. He’s also terrific defensively (not that it matters to fantasy owners). Gene McCaffrey, whom I respect as much as anyone in the fantasy community, called him a strong “longshot MVP bet” before the season. But the guy’s been an absolute bum so far (Zimmerman, not McCaffrey), posting an ugly .233/.314/.333 line over 150 at-bats, with a 1.51 GB/FB ratio. Sure, he’s battling a clearly debilitating shoulder injury, but Zimmerman has missed more than 55 games in two of the previous four seasons (and 20 in another) entering 2012, so I blame myself.

These headlines really tell the story: Wannabe Incredible Hulk Covers Himself In Green Paint. And Then Discovers It Won’t Come Off…Drunken Alberta Man Survives After He’s Run Over By 26 Rail CarsManhattan Student Who Bedded Teacher Scores $400 In Wager With Buddies.

A.J. Burnett has allowed two runs or fewer in seven of his eight starts this season (he’s given up zero in three of them). He was tattooed for 12 earned runs in the other, and while that counts just the same, it came in St. Louis against a Cardinals team that probably has the best offense in the National League (Colorado has scored more runs, but they benefit from playing in Coors Field, which has been ridiculous so far in 2012. The Rockies have scored 192 runs at home this season, 47 more than the second most. They’ve scored 86 on the road, which is the second lowest in MLB). If you remove that one outing, Burnett would have a 1.52 ERA and a 1.04 WHIP. His 42:14 K:BB ratio over 50.0 innings is impressive regardless, which is accompanied by a 57.9 GB% that would rank fifth best in all of baseball if he qualified. Burnett has won each of his last three outings, but wins could be a problem moving forward with a historically bad offense (the Pirates current wRC+66 might be the worst of all-time. I only say “might” because I got tired of looking further back than 30 years. You see, I’m lazy). Still, the move back to the National League has done wonders to Burnett’s value, which is an awful lot higher than I bet most fantasy players realize.

This toddler riding through heavy traffic in China doesn’t seem too worried about it

Baseball quick links: Cool trick pickoff playGreat license plate…I’m actually a big Jeff Samardzija fan, but I can’t get behind him as the 26th most valuable commodity in baseball right now. 

It’s safe to say few (and by few I mean no one) expected Josh Reddick to have 14 home runs and six steals entering June 4. His pace for 99 runs scored and 88 RBI is a borderline miracle when you consider Oakland’s team .209/.288/.331 batting line as well. Reddick posted an .841 OPS in Triple-A as a 24-year-old last season and held his own after joining the Red Sox, but little suggested this breakout, especially since Oakland has killed LHB when it comes to home runs (over the past three years, it has a 73 Index according to The Bill James Handbook, which is the fifth worst in baseball). It’s easy to call Reddick a sell high, but most of your league members likely remain skeptical. While his 18.4 HR/FB% will come down, it’s worth noting Reddick hits a ton of flyballs (his 0.62 GB/FB ratio is third highest in all of baseball), so his power production won’t necessarily come crashing down.

Animal Antics: Demanding monkey has bad itchHamster get shots and pretends to be deadMonkey riding a goat that’s walking a tight rope…Cow hit by train, remains walking and fine despite missing face

It seems odd to talk about two Pirates pitchers in the same article, but James McDonald deserves plenty of credit for his season as well, as he’s yet to allow more than three runs in a game (remarkably, he’s given up one run or fewer in seven of his past nine outings). One could point out how he’s getting lucky with a low HR/FB% (although PNC Park suppresses homers) and LOB%, but no pitcher has a 2.14 ERA with underlying peripherals that wouldn’t be considered fortunate. With a 71:20 K:BB ratio over 71.1 innings, McDonald deserves a ton of praise, as his sudden introduction of a slider (he had never used it until last year, and he’s throwing it four times as often this season) has made a major impact. I definitely didn’t see this type of leap coming, but this is another huge knock on Ned Colletti, who traded McDonald for 18.2 innings of Octavio Dotel. I struggle with who’s the worse GM, the protégé (Colletti) or the mentor (Brian Sabean). Both are among worst in baseball, but I’m going with Sabean as of now, mainly because Zack Wheeler looks like a future ace.

Guys hide a fake treasure chest on Venice Beach, fool a bunch of onlookers the next day.

Tipper leaves just their “two cents,” both literally and figuratively.

Can you answer this question from an eighth-grade reading exam?

I’ve never owned Mark Reynolds, but he was available in my NFBC money league, and despite not needing a CI, I bid $72, which won by $70. I guess that reflects poorly on me, but Reynolds is known as a poor starter (career .218/.314/.433 line in April, for what it’s worth), and while the BA risk is obvious, he’s averaged 38 homers and 91 RBI over the past three years. This power shouldn’t be ignored in today’s game. Oriole Park at Camden Yards (what a ridiculous name) is one of the most conducive for homers in the majors, and Reynolds’ current HR/FB rate (7.1%) is well below his career average (20.5%), so he’s someone to target right now.

Police Blotter: Man ticketed for dropping money on the ground…Cage fighter rips out still beating heart of training partner after fearing he was possessed by the devil…Police arrest woman in “cleaning fairy” burglary.

Long read: Is one hacker behind many of the “revenge porn” photos that were posted on a popular site? Tell me you aren’t compelled after reading the first two sentences of this story.

Quick Hits: Billy Hamilton has 61 steals so far this year. His solid .462 slugging percentage makes it even crazier. He’s making last year’s 103 stolen bases look like kid’s play. We may never see a bigger discrepancy between a real life prospect and a fantasy prospect than him…Paul Goldschmidt has 14 career homers. Four have come against Tim Lincecum…So I was texted a picture of my cousin with Pablo Sandoval the other day. He came into where she worked and said he was super nice, handing out autographs and willing to take a picture with anyone. He was later accused of sexual assault the very same night. Don’t. Know. What. To. Think.

Zombie Apocalypse!!!: First there was this face-eating attack, in which I implore you all never to look at the photos of the aftermath…Followed by this…and then this…and this…and finally this…These all resulted in an official response from the CDC, as well as this prank.

Quick hits, part deux: Jason Kipnis is on pace to finish with this line: .280-28-113-104-40. Yes, he’ll regress, but he’s a stud who looks like a total steal in fantasy drafts this year (he’s 18-for-19 in SB attempts)…The Giants have hit six home runs at home this season. Six! They have zero over their past 12 games. That’s not ideal…Matt Cain recently improved his career record to 75-75, putting him at .500 for the first time since 2007. His career ERA is 3.31, and he has 14 complete games with five shutouts. His career BAA is .226. Roy Halladay’s is .252…If you’re in a deep league, I’d consider adding Vladimir Guerrero…According to ESPN’s “Cy Young Predictor,” the current league-leaders are Fernando Rodney and R.A. Dickey.

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By: jtr5708
On: 6/4/2012 9:16:00 AM
Eighth-grade reading exams have changed a whole lot since I was in school...
By: billgoofnow
On: 6/4/2012 10:03:00 AM
Weird as it may seem to talk bucco pitchers - it should all look very familiar to you. The pirates are attempting to build a team in the mold of the champion San Francisco Giants. Great pitching - survivable hitting. Last year the pirate pitching was over achieving based upon peripherals (defense etc). This year it's been legit thanks to the acquisition of guys who can actually miss bats.

If they could only add a couple more decent sticks - then they could really make
Some noise in the NL central
By: Erik Siegrist
On: 6/4/2012 11:03:00 AM
Daniel M Pinkwater rules.
By: pghguy
On: 6/4/2012 11:03:00 AM
The Pirates will have trouble adding "decent sticks" because they can't draft 'em and won't sign 'em as free agents (because that would cost money). What follows is a list of hitters drafted by the Pirates after the first round since 1993 (with round taken in parenthesis) who have had an MLB career:

1993: Jermaine Allensworth (1A)
1994: ---
1995: ---
1996: Tike Redman (5), Rob Mackowiak (53)
1997: ---
1998: ---
1999: Ryan Doumit (2)
2000: Jose Bautista, (20) Nate McLouth (25)
2001: Jeff Keppinger (4), Chris Duffy (8), Chris Shelton (33), Rajai Davis (39)
2002: Brad Eldred (6), Nyjer Morgan (33)
2003: ---
2004: Brian Bixler (2)
2005: Brent Lillibridge (4) Steve Pearce (8)
2006: Alex Presley (8)
2007: ---
2008: Jordy Mercer (3), Chase d’Arnaud (4), Matt Hague (8)
2009: ---

Does anything further need to be said?

Not listed are hitters taken in the First Round (Charles Peterson. J.J. Davis, Neil Walker, Andrew McCutchen, Pedro Alvarez).
By: pghguy
On: 6/4/2012 11:49:00 AM
Thanks for the Richard Dawson link. Lotsa good stuff on YouTube for those who don't know him well.
By: pghguy
On: 6/4/2012 11:59:00 AM
Just wondering if the Pirates should bundle Hanrahan, Bedard, Burnett and Presley/Tabata and trade one big stick at a corner infield/outfield spot. Alvarez is okay at 3B but he could always move to 1B. I know its kinda fantasy baseball thinking..., but why not? Consecutive losing seasons 21-25 are on the horizon.
By: pghguy
On: 6/4/2012 12:00:00 PM
Oops..., that should read, "and trade for one big stick".
By: billgoofnow
On: 6/4/2012 1:27:00 PM
They will (and should) trade hanrahan for a bat this year

He will command a solid return

The pirates should call up Bryan Morris and give him some late innings to see what he could do in the bigs.
By: Erik Siegrist
On: 6/4/2012 5:11:00 PM
When's the last time an MLB team gave up much of anything in a trade for an established closer?
By: djando1025
On: 6/4/2012 5:35:00 PM
Need some advice. 12 team mixed league. Im being offered holliday for Dunn and wainwright. Thoughts?
By: jtopper
On: 6/4/2012 8:17:00 PM
If you ask James McDonald, chances are he'll credit AJ Burnett for much of his success in 2012. Interesting that u mentioned the two in the same notes. Burnett has mentored McDonald, who wears a shirt underneath his uni that Burnett designed. Of course McDonald's nasty slider helps out a little bit, too.

Dalton, u may not like Zimmerman but I know of one injury prone third baseman u favor and he's even hurt right now -- the 2006 NL batting champion.
By: Dalton Del Don
On: 6/5/2012 12:01:00 AM
jtr5708 - Ya, I failed this one miserably. Then again, that's easy to do when there isn't a right answer.
By: Dalton Del Don
On: 6/5/2012 12:02:00 AM
billgoofnow - So true, especially once in the playoffs. And now adding Appel!
By: Dalton Del Don
On: 6/5/2012 12:10:00 AM
pghguy - I've since come across a few more gems from Dawson. Definitely a lot of good material out there. Pitt is in an interesting spot - should they trade or try to retain for a few years SPs like Bedard and Burnett?
By: Dalton Del Don
On: 6/5/2012 12:14:00 AM
billgoofnow & Siegrist - I originally argued I could see both arguments and that while Hanrahan won't return a big prospect, "closers" still retained *some* value in today's market, I frankly couldn't think of a decent return off the top of my head in recent years.
By: Dalton Del Don
On: 6/5/2012 12:15:00 AM
djando1025 - I prefer Wainwright and Dunn.
By: Dalton Del Don
On: 6/5/2012 12:20:00 AM
jtopper - Interesting about the Burnett/McDonald dynamic...I had to look up whom you were talking about the NL batting champ back in 2006. Didn't realize F. Sanchez played 3B so much more back then. But guilty as charged.

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