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MLB Notes


I’d happily draft Adrian Beltre this year. Many are skeptical about him coming off a contract year, which keeps his price tag down despite just producing a season in which Baseball Monster pegged him as the 14th most valuable hitter in fantasy baseball. In fact, I was able to grab him essentially in the sixth round of the 13-team FSTA draft. Beltre is never going to match his 2004 season, but I’m of the mind Seattle hurt his production far more than him magically wanting to perform whenever his contract is up (what happened in 2009?). His terrific defense makes him a better real life player than in fantasy, but it’s possible Beltre runs more in 2011 (he has an 84% success rate over the past four years, and Texas had far more stolen base attempts than Boston last season). Fenway Park benefits hitters, and there’s no doubt it was a big reason why Beltre led baseball in doubles last year, but it’s also an environment that has suppressed home runs each of the past seven seasons. Texas is an even better hitter’s park and by a significant margin when it comes to homers. Third base gets thin real quick after the big four are off the board, and I’d personally feel more comfortable taking Beltre over Jose Bautista. I understand the trepidation of paying for last year’s stats (that came during a contract year), but at his current cost, it doesn’t appear you’ll have to.

This is a bit on the long side (to say the least), but I found it well worth the time investment.

This ranks up there among the best clips I’ve seen. That “granny” is 75 years old by the way.

At age 25, Delmon Young is certainly still in a growth phase, but I’d let someone else draft him in 2011. It was nice to see him cut down the strikeouts last year, but can you really bank on another .355 BA with RISP? Maybe he settles into a Carlos Lee type career, racking up RBI by virtue of taking few walks and constantly putting the ball in play despite mediocre power, but his home park played as by far the toughest place to homer in last season (yes, it’s just one year of data). Some projected 20 SB potential for Young, but he’s been caught more times (nine) than he’s been successful (seven) over the past two years. RBI is a fickle stat, and Young actually posted his lowest line drive percentage of his career last season and still hits more groundballs than fly balls. I’d stay away.

Forget the new rage of the P90X, this workout is much more effective.

This clip is pretty funny, but I’m sorry, I’m skeptical by nature – I personally think it’s fake/staged.

Jordan Zimmermann has a career ERA of 4.71, but that’s countered by a 3:1 K:BB ratio and an 8.75 K/9 mark. He accrued the impressive latter two while pitching as a rookie and then later returning from Tommy John surgery. His innings may be limited in 2011, but he should enter 100 percent healthy now more than a year removed from the TJ procedure. His fastball, slider and curve all project as potential plus pitches. His current ADP is a ridiculous 281, so I can’t think of a better late round flier.

My top-10 TV shows from 2010: 1. Louie 2. Mad Men 3. Lost 4. Dexter 5. It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia 6. Party Down 7. Tosh.O 8. Friday Night Lights 9. Modern Family 10. Damages (I need to catch up on Breaking Bad, Boardwalk Empire and Archer)

Awesome stuff by Henry Abbott regarding Kobe Bryant and clutchness.

Another pitcher I find generally undervalued is Ted Lilly. His WHIP over the past two seasons is 1.07, a category that’s wholly underrated and for the most part, more reliable than ERA on a year-to-year basis. His fastball velocity continued to slip last season, but that could improve a tick now further removed from shoulder surgery, and it’s not like it affected his performance last season anyway, as he posted a 77:15 K:BB ratio over 76.2 innings after getting traded to the Dodgers. His return to L.A. is terrific news for his fantasy value, as that stadium should suppress his tendencies to give up the long ball, although admittedly, L.A.’s poor outfield defense isn’t ideal for a fly ball pitcher. Still, he’s in baseball’s weakest division for hitting and should be viewed as a top-30 fantasy starter.

My top-5 movies from 2010: 1. Black Swan 2. The Social Network 3. The Fighter 4. True Grit 5. Catfish

My top-10 albums from 2010: 1. Arcade Fire 2. The National 3. Kanye West 4. Menomena 5. Sufjan Stevens 6. The Black Keys 7. Frightened Rabbit 8. Spoon 9. Stars 10. Kings of Leon

Some view the catcher position as having an obvious top-four, but to me, Carlos Santana clearly belongs in tier one. In fact, I could see ranking him as high as No. 1, frankly, and we all know he certainly won’t cost that price. Of course, he’s riskier than the others, with just a 150 AB sample in the majors and coming off knee surgery, but this is a guy who walked more times (37) than he struck out (29) as a rookie. He even stole nine bases between the majors and Triple-A over just 103 games. Santana’s .868 OPS would have ranked second among catchers had he qualified and was just three points behind Joe Mauer, who has less power upside and Target Field to deal with. For the most part, I believe you find the best value in fantasy baseball these days with old, boring veterans, but this is one youngster I’d pay for. Manny Acta has already stated he plans on giving Santana some starts at first base, and DH Travis Hafner typically needs plenty of rest as well, so Santana should get all the at-bats he can handle. I’d personally take him over Victor Martinez.

This is a few weeks old by now, but still, a must-watch for gamblers.

This would have been the funniest commercial during the Super Bowl, but that’s not exactly a high bar to clear these days.

I believe in David Price’s talent, and he could easily improve as a pitcher this year at just 25 years old, but he’s going to have to in a pretty significant way not to have major regression. Few pitchers’ true talent level is a 2.72 ERA like he posted in 2010, but that number becomes even crazier when you consider his K:BB ratio was so mediocre (2.38:1). Just 6.5% of his fly balls left the yard, and you simply can’t count on Tropicana Field playing as baseball’s best pitcher’s park like it did last season. I don’t believe in the Verducci Effect, but it’s also worth noting he threw 58.2 more innings last season than his previous career-high. Price projects as a true No. 1 starter down the road, but last year’s peripherals strongly suggest a decent sized correction coming beforehand, and pitching in the AL East is such a disadvantage.

I’ll post this one without commentary.

If Brian Wilson appears on a talk show, I’m going to post it.

One starter I prefer to Price is Yovani Gallardo, who posted a significantly better K rate (9.73 compared to 8.11) last season and only a slighter worse BB/9 ratio (3.65 compared to 3.41). With more than 500 innings under his belt in MLB, Gallardo is also a better candidate to take the leap in 2011. In fact, he’s already on his way, as he walked 19 fewer batters last season in the same amount of innings compared to 2009. If he exhibits similar improvement this season, a Cy Young award could be in store. And to think, he’s not even Milwaukee’s best pitcher.

This was made by a “visionary filmmaker.”

Actually, this trailer might be equally as bizarre.

Steals look plentiful entering the year and are often available late, but that also means you’ll have to grab at least two speed guys to compete in the category. Guys like Brett Gardner and Rajai Davis could prove to be bargains, but in a vacuum, it’s better to address that category at the middle infield position. This may seem obvious, but think about it. I’d rather a sinkhole in HRs and RBI from Chone Figgins at second base than an outfield spot that’s far deeper. Put differently, where would a player like Bobby Abreu be ranked as a second baseman? Around top-seven, at minimum, right?

Yeah, this is normal.

The latest UFC event was pretty incredible. Jon “Bones” Jones has been a favorite of mine for a while. It’s not a stretch to call him one of the better fighters in the world right now. And while it was great entertainment to see him get offered a title fight in the ring right afterward (thanks to a Rashad Evans injury), it’s pretty funny to see him as a -200 favorite having to get in the ring again just six weeks from now against the title holder. And while the Anderson Silva fight literally produced zero action over the first 2.5 minutes (and by literally I mean not a single punch/kick was thrown), his knockout was admittedly pretty epic. Made more so by the fact it was taught to him by Steven Seagal! I also appreciated Silva’s interview after the victory, when he talked for more than two full minutes straight while relying on a translator. 

For some reason, I’ve become something of a B.J. Upton apologist over the years, but I still say he’s undervalued. Considered a huge disappointment last season, the guy hit 18 homers and stole 42 bags. His SB percentage has improved each of the past three years, and while it’s discouraging his K rate continues to climb, last season was the first of Upton’s career in which he hit more fly balls than grounders, an excellent sign for the future. Moreover, he had to deal with a home stadium that made Petco look hitter friendly last year, an occurrence unlikely to repeat in 2011. That .237 BA is a killer in a category that’s often overlooked, but he’s more likely to hit a more palpable .260-.270 this season. A 20 homer, 50 steal season isn’t out of the question.

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