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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By: Mark Stopa
On: 2/9/2011 9:39:00 PM
Interesting point about getting a speed guy at 2B. The problem with that, as I see it, is if the late-round speedy 2B doesn't pan out, then it's hard to fill that spot. If you have a late-round speedy OF who doesn't pan out, there are probably comparable ones on waivers.

Why do you think the park effects of Tropicana won't be the same this year?
By: Jason Thornbury
On: 2/9/2011 9:57:00 PM
Good call on Louie. Loved the one where he meets the woman who gets turned on by old men talking about their old age. In the middle of sex as he's rambling about what an old geezer he is, he says, "I'm older than every major league baseball player ... except for maybe Jamie Moyer ... I think he's still playing ..."
By: Dalton Del Don
On: 2/9/2011 10:06:00 PM
Mark - That's a good point about OFs being far more easily replaceable, but that's also kind of my point - wait on the position (Figgins will def. cost a higher pick than Abreu). But that's being specific. I can understand what you're saying generally (target a surer MI early).

As for the Trop, I wish I had some scientific data to back me up, and it's sneakily played as a pitcher's park each of the past four seasons, but for myriad reasons, some unquantifiable, the safe bet is that it regresses (the previous three years before last it was in the 15-25 range, and the year before that it played as a hitter's park). Bottom line, it's not conducive for hitting, but last year was an extreme (the only parks I'd feel comfortable projecting playing to an extreme, one way or the other, in 2011, are Petco and Coors (and maybe Yankee Stadium)).
By: Dalton Del Don
On: 2/9/2011 10:11:00 PM
Jason - Loved that scene! And glad you concur. I'll add some more about the show: Billed as a comedy, I thought it worked just as well as a drama. The episode “Bully” was unlike anything I’ve ever watched and had me both uncomfortable and on the edge of my seat the entire time. And what about that scene at the dentist? And during the episode “God,” the priest giving his speech at the church was absolutely mesmerizing. “Lucky Louie” was terrible, but it’s obvious Louis C.K. is one of, if not the best comedian alive, so it’s clear HBO blew it, which is why I give FX a ton of credit – they gave him complete control: he writes, stars, directs and edits every episode, and they don’t even see it until handed the finished product. Hard to argue with the results. Two other scenes I particularly liked: with Ricky Gervais as a doctor and when he confronted his stoner neighbor.
By: Kevin Payne
On: 2/10/2011 2:42:00 AM
Good stuff Dalton.
You and I have talked Gallardo some and couldn't agree more. Last year his K/9 rate actually dropped ever so slightly (9.89 to 9.73) but as you pointed out his walks dropped. If he does better with runners on base (career-low 69.8% strand) last year, watch out.
The other problem with David Price is that he won't sniff 19 wins with that offense; he'll be around 15 at best.
I can't buy into Figgins since he's only a one-category producer and that's all. In most standard leagues, he has minimal value in my book. You lost me with the Abreu comparison.
I worry that Jones has such little time to prep for his fight. I think giving him another month would have been ideal.
By: gooklaw
On: 2/10/2011 6:21:00 AM
Wow....I really like C Santana a lot too, but better than VMart? That's out there some, but I understand where you're coming from...I guess that means you would have drafted Santana instead of Beltre if he hadn't been snatched the pick before you?
By: Mark Stopa
On: 2/10/2011 9:26:00 AM
I remember in last year's Barometer saying CSantana could be the first catcher in this year's drafts. Then he got hurt and his perceived value is lower. But I'd argue his 2011 ceiling is higher than any other catcher.
By: Dalton Del Don
On: 2/10/2011 1:03:00 PM
Payne - Well, Figgins can easily really be a three-cat player, right? He's just one year removed from scoring 114 runs and batting .298. But that's not really my point. It's that all these speed guys (Gardner, Bourn, R. Davis, Pierre, etc) hurt you in HR and RBI - and I'd much prefer to take the hit there in a middle infield spot. Outfielders like Abreu, T. Hunter, M. Ordonez, etc. can then be had much later, and if you used their stats at 2B, they'd go way higher in drafts.
By: Dalton Del Don
On: 2/10/2011 1:05:00 PM
gooklaw - Not sure I would have taken Santana over Beltre in hindsight, but I was def. considering him there leading up to my picks (especially picking at the wheel, you have to be aggressive). In a two-C league, it would have been strongly considered. But I still prob. prefer Beltre in a vacuum. C. Santana can typically be had much later than VMart, and I prefer the former straight up for 2011 not even considering price.
By: Dalton Del Don
On: 2/10/2011 1:06:00 PM
Stopa - I wouldn't argue against it.
By: Chris Liss
On: 2/10/2011 1:30:00 PM
I watched Catfish yesterday on your recommendation and agree it was good. But I would have put "The Kids Are Alright" in my top five. And I didn't love the last season of Lost. Breaking Bad was better, though Season 2 was a lot better than Season 3.
By: Kevin Payne
On: 2/10/2011 1:51:00 PM
Re: Figgins. I could buy that argument if he goes back and plays half his home games in LA instead of Safeco. And gets back into that lineup and out of Seattle's.
By: smckeown
On: 2/10/2011 4:30:00 PM
Love your top four picks for movies, but Catfish didn't crack my top 30. It was a quality flick, but was too predictable (imo) and nothing groundbreaking.
By: Dalton Del Don
On: 2/10/2011 8:09:00 PM
Liss - I haven't seen "The Kids are Alright" yet, among others I still need to catch up on. "King's Speech" looks like a shoe in for Best Picture, but I'm not really interested. I fully expect to like Breaking Bad more than Lost. I kind of thought the last season worked tho, although the final 30 minutes was terrible.
By: Dalton Del Don
On: 2/10/2011 8:11:00 PM
Payne - To be clear, I'm indifferent regarding Figgins this year. Don't really have much of an opinion on him, other than I like targeting guys coming off down years. I was trying to make a greater point regarding how you allocate the steal/no power resources.
By: Dalton Del Don
On: 2/10/2011 8:13:00 PM
Shannon - I can appreciate that, although I would argue Catfish was a little "different." I didn't like it because of the twist, but the final reveal and afterward I thought was fairly intriguing.
By: kennruby
On: 2/11/2011 11:15:00 AM
Looks like I need to see CATFISH - it's been on my Netflix queue for awhile. I just saw BURIED, which was surprisingly good. I'm not sure of my top 5 of 2010, but it would probably include SOCIAL NETWORK (#1), EASY A, and TRUE GRIT.
By: mvbb17
On: 2/11/2011 3:01:00 PM
Dalton - I agree with your argument for targeting MI for speed. I go a step further and rarely invest for top MI's and put the money into CI's and OF's. I feel that an every day MI for $4-7 has a better chance at a profit than a $4-7 OF. Last year in my 12 team AL Only League, Scutaro ($9), A.Gonzalez ($4) and Wigginton ($1) were key to winning it. If you can get speed, even better. This year I like Aviles, Brignac, S.Rodrgiuez, Hardy, Casilla, and Nishioka to name a few. Everyone else can gamble on Andrus, Beckham, Kinsler ...
By: Dave Regan
On: 2/11/2011 7:12:00 PM
LA's "awful" OF defense would be leaps and bounds better with TGJR in CF, Kemp in right, and Ethier in left, but then you're left with .260/.310/.300 from Gwynn in the eighth hole.

I just dealt Geo Soto for Andrus in a dynasty league. Mauer and Russell Martin are now my 2 catchers, but I was playing Bartlett at MI, so I like the deal.

Posey is #1 on my 2011 catcher board, though I do like Santana quite a bit.

Thx for the "Catfish" tip and for the YouTube links. Will check those out while waiting for my flight on Monday.

3D - Awesome stuff. Still believe those psychotic Russian baby-swinging videos are real? :-)

By: Dalton Del Don
On: 2/12/2011 3:07:00 PM
Kenn - I keep hearing good things about Easy A.
By: Dalton Del Don
On: 2/12/2011 3:08:00 PM
mvbb17 - Agreed. I like Aviles and Nishioka, especially.
By: Dalton Del Don
On: 2/12/2011 3:10:00 PM
Dave - Gwynn was unreal defensively last year. No way he can (or any player) keep that pace, but I actually think I'd give him a decent amount of playing time if I were running the Dodgers.

Soto for Andrus seems like a steal, especially with those two other catchers on your roster.

And yes I do:!5737061/baby+swinging-yoga-is-real-meet-the-children-who-survived-it
By: Dave Regan
On: 2/12/2011 3:13:00 PM
I would too, but the Dodgers' anemic lineup is likely to lead to a Thames/Gibbons platoon. The OF defense could be even worse this year unless Davey Lopes can somehow motivate Matt Kemp. Fortunately Kemp broke up with Rhianna, so that should help. Maybe Mattingly will realize that the strength of the club is its rotation and that having a solid defense is critical. We'll see.

3D - Do you like the Brewers at 75:1 to win the Series? Solid pitching staff, very good lineup. A bit worried about the pen, but that seems like pretty good value.
By: Dalton Del Don
On: 2/12/2011 4:35:00 PM
Dave - I wrote a couple weeks back how I saw a Brewers 40/1 line in Las Vegas and pounded it b/c I thought that was great value. Most books right now have them around 25-1. So um ya, if you can get them at 75-1, that's pretty insane.
By: I_Mona
On: 2/14/2011 11:22:00 PM
Thanks fo aticle! My favorite film - Black Swan too research papers
By: QNalsfrell
On: 7/10/2011 10:14:00 PM
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