Archive for March, 2012

Some Predictions For The 2012 Season

Thursday, March 29th, 2012

By Dalton Del Don

Hanley Ramirez Is A Top-Three Fantasy Player

Not that Ramirez is getting discounted that much, but he’s coming cheaper at draft tables than at any point in his career coming off a down 2011 season. It’s admittedly worrisome he’s become such a groundball hitter over the past two years after never being so beforehand, but he’s healthy, still just 28 years old and should be extra motivated. Motivational factors can be anecdotal and may be reaching, but blindly betting on such a talent to bounce back is good enough for me, and while he will be learning a new position, playing third base is far less taxing than shortstop.

The dimensions of the new stadium in Miami suggest it will play as a pitchers’ park, but there have also been reports the ball carries well when the roof is closed, so there’s really no telling at this point. Ramirez appears to be in terrific shape this spring, and fantasy players can’t complain the team’s new manager Ozzie Guillen loves to give the green light on the base paths. A career .306 hitter who averaged 25 homers, 112 runs, 78 RBI and 39 steals over the previous five seasons before last year, Ramirez is just now entering his prime and will pay big dividends to fantasy owners lucky enough to grab him in the second round of drafts.

Jose Bautista Disappoints

Don’t get me wrong, I’m a believer in Bautista and think he’s one of the best hitters in baseball, but for fantasy purposes, don’t be surprised if he’s not a top-20 commodity this year. He carries real batting average risk, as he’s a career .254 hitter. While it’s safe to say Bautista has become different at the plate the last two years, before hitting .302 last season, he had never finished with a BA better than .260 ever in his career. Batting in the .260 range could be a real problem for someone with a current ADP of five, especially since he won’t contribute many steals.

Bautista is an extreme flyball hitter, finishing with the 10th highest FB percentage in baseball last season, and of the nine ahead of him, only two had a worse LD percentage than Bautista’s 16.0, which is a recipe for huge fluctuations in BA every year. Entering 2011, the question was just how much would Bautista regress, but he actually added 69 points to his OBP while maintaining his SLG, so he deserves a ton of credit, but he hit just 12 homers after the All-Star break and could very well leave plenty of fantasy owners wanting more in 2012. I would take Ramirez ahead of him.

Luke Hochevar Breaks Out

Owner of a career 5.29 ERA and a 5.95 K/9 rate, Hochevar will likely go undrafted in most mixed leagues that aren’t particularly deep, but I’ll argue he’ll end up rostered in all formats by season’s end. Over his final 10 starts last season, Hochevar posted a 62:18 K:BB ratio over 67.0 innings, as the light may have finally turned on for the former No. 1 overall pick. Hochevar has a 21:2 K:BB ratio over 19.0 innings in spring training, which could portend big things.

Moreover, according to The Bill James Handbook, Kauffman Stadium has suppressed home runs by LHB more than any park other than Petco over the past three seasons, which should help the right-hander. With his pedigree combined with newfound strikeout ability to go along with above average control and groundball rate, Hochevar has the potential to break out in a big way in 2012 should his career LOB percentage (63.7) normalize.

Zack Greinke and David Price Are More Valuable Than Justin Verlander

Verlander was easily the best pitcher in baseball last season, but be careful paying for last year’s stats. There likely isn’t a pitcher right now with a true talent level of a 2.40 ERA, so calling for regression is a bit obvious, but it’s safer to expect Verlander’s numbers from his 2009 and 2010 seasons, which were also quite good, this year. He’s definitely proven to be a horse so far, but it must be noted he threw a whopping 4,301 pitches last year when factoring in the postseason, which easily led MLB. It’s an inexact science, and I’m a believer in “stress” pitches being more harmful than volume, but just know that 3,800 pitches in a season is typically when warning signs start. On a side note, Chris Carpenter, whom you don’t need me to tell you to worry about health wise, finished with the second most pitches with 4,155, while C.J. Wilson, who had just increased his innings by 130.1 the year prior, finished third with 4,118. Make of that what you will.

I previously made my case for Greinke here, and as for Price, while he lost seven wins and saw his ERA rise from 2.72 to 3.49 last year compared to the previous season, he was a better pitcher in 2011. His K rate improved from 8.11 to 8.75, but more importantly, his BB rate went from 3.41 to 2.53. Price’s groundball rate also increased, as did his velocity on his fastball and slider, with the latter doing so drastically, going from an average of 86.5 mph to 89.2. With a home field that has played as the second-best pitchers’ park behind only Petco over the last three years and what projects as a terrific defense behind him – conversely, Verlander looks like he’ll have to deal with one of the worst defenses in recent memory – Price will have the better fantasy season in 2012.

The Scoop

Sunday, March 25th, 2012

By Dalton Del Don

It wouldn’t be a total shock if Dee Gordon struggled at the plate to the point of being demoted this season, but his ability to steal bases also gives him a ton of upside in fantasy leagues. Over the last three seasons at ages 21-23, he’s totaled 182 steals throughout the minors and majors. For what it’s worth, he also has eight steals over 15 games in spring training. Gordon will hurt you in HR and RBI but so will Elvis Andrus, whose ADP is 92 spots higher. Don’t get me wrong, Andrus is definitely safer, but his speed can’t match Gordon’s. In fact, ZiPS projects Gordon to finish with 55 stolen bases this season – the second-most in all of baseball, and that’s including minor leaguers. I’d take Gordon ahead of Asdrubal Cabrera and Jimmy Rollins and wouldn’t be surprised if he finished with more fantasy value than Andrus and Starlin Castro.

No need to give my opinion on the recent verdict of Dharun Ravi, but either way, this story about what led to the tragedy was illuminating and well worth reading.

This Apache helicopter crash in Afghanistan by a pilot showing off didn’t result in any deaths, but it was rather costly and will almost certainly lead to criminal charges.

Jordan Zimmermann’s 6.92 K/9 last year wasn’t overly impressive, but it was brought down by a poor April when he still wasn’t that far removed from Tommy John surgery. Over the final five months, he posted a much more respectable 7.5 K/9 rate. Zimmermann’s 4:1 K:BB ratio ranked 11th best in all of baseball, and he’s just 25 years old with fewer than 300.0 major league innings under his belt, so there’s room for growth. He threw his fastball and slider harder than ever last season, and he’s now a year further removed from surgery and will finally be without an innings limit. He’s a borderline top-25 fantasy starter on my draft board.

The end of wheel chairs? This invention looks potentially amazing.

A must-read story regarding dog poop.

This year seems like the time to buy Alex Rios. Here’s a really strong piece regarding targeting players based on regression by Jonah Keri, and I couldn’t agree more. According to Yahoo’s season end rankings, Rios was the 27th most valuable fantasy player in 2010, so use last year to your advantage, as his current ADP is 216 (although I’d imagine in your league, he won’t come THAT cheap). Rios just turned 31 years old, is a career .275 hitter and plays in a home park that has been the most favorable in all of baseball for RHB when it comes to home runs over the past three years. I could see a lot of winning fantasy teams having Rios as their fourth or fifth outfielder in 2012.

I saw “The Hunger Games” this weekend and thought it was OK. Hadn’t read any of the books and despite it being the biggest grossing movie of all-time during an opening weekend by a non-sequel, I didn’t have extremely high expectations. It was good enough entertainment.

I Drink Almost All of the Urine That Comes Out of My Body.” Well then.

Asdrubal Cabrera is one of the tougher players to gauge entering 2012. He was nothing short of fantastic last season, ranking as the 29th most valuable hitter according to Baseball Monster, and that’s not taking position scarcity into account. His age is when power often fully develops, but it’s worth noting his previous season-high was six homers (admittedly he had never appeared in more than 131 games) before going yard 25 times last year. He had also stolen more than six bases in a year just once before matching his career-high with 17 bags in 2011. While he hit better before the All-Star break than after, his power remained remarkably consistent, as here were his HR numbers from each month: 5, 5, 3, 4, 4, 4, so it wasn’t some hot streak that skewed his numbers. Still, even during Cabrera’s breakout campaign last year, he finished with just a .332 OBP. From most drafts I’ve been in, he’s not being selected with the expectation of matching last season, as most seem to see some regression coming, so he’s not someone I’m recommending to fully avoid, but some caution should be exercised. A quick side note: this won’t affect Cabrera as much, since he’s a switch-hitter, but according to The Bill James Handbook, Cleveland’s Progressive Field has suppressed home runs for RHB by far the most of any park in baseball over the past three years.

Man bursts into flames after accidentally drinking gasoline, lighting cigarette.

More like JetGreen, amirite?

Admittedly I’ve always been a Francisco Liriano fan, so feel free to take this with a giant grain of salt. After all, he’s finished with an ERA above 5.0 in two of the past three years and ranked as the 860th most valuable player according to Yahoo last season, when he was one of fantasy baseball’s biggest busts. Smart people will tell you to ignore all spring stats, but I just can’t help but get excited about Liriano’s 23:3 K:BB ratio over 18.0 innings. That’s accompanied by a 2.00 ERA and 0.72 WHIP. He claims a shoulder injury suffered last spring contributed to his woes in 2011 and that he’s back to 100 percent now. Who knows if there’s anything to that, but I do know this – no starting pitcher can approach Liriano’s upside compared to when he’s typically going in drafts. He’s just one year removed from posting an American League best 2.95 xFIP and pitches in baseball’s toughest park to homer in. It ultimately comes down to Liriano’s fastball and location, because his slider is absolutely nasty.

Here’s a tragic circus accident caught on film.

Corey Maggette is on my fantasy team, but I must admit he got a bit careless with this pass.

This is awesome. “Borat’s” national anthem is accidentally played for Kazakh athlete.

Dan Uggla hit just .233 during his first year in Atlanta last season, but he still managed a career-high 36 homers despite entering July 27 batting .199. Over his six-year career, he’s averaged 32 home runs, 98 runs scored and 91 RBI. With power down throughout baseball, it’s pretty valuable getting someone who could approach 40 homers, especially when they play a thin position such as second base. Uggla is a career .258 hitter, which isn’t a total killer, so he becomes highly enticing at any point past the third round of fantasy drafts.

This crash caught on tape is pretty extreme.

Tacocopter aims to deliver tacos using unmanned drone helicopters.

I’m having a tough time deciding whom to draft first between Matt Wieters and Joe Mauer. Wieters obviously has more power potential, as while it’s taken the former top prospect longer than expected to hit major league pitching, the light may have finally turned on down the stretch last season, as he hit 12 of his 22 home runs over the final six weeks of the year. Wieters also comes with less health concerns and is younger, although surprisingly by only three years. Mauer, meanwhile, has hit just 12 homers over the past two seasons, with one total at home since Target Field opened. Still, he’s 28 years old with a career .323 batting average and would easily be the favorite to lead all catchers in runs scored if healthy. He might even get more time at first base when not catching this year, which his fantasy owners would welcome. After Carlos Santana and Mike Napoli, Mauer is the next catcher on my board, but I can certainly see the argument against it.

I’m not a huge “punk” fan (although I do like Social Distortion), but I’ve been pretty obsessed with this song over the past couple of weeks.

“Donkey Punching” on Jeopardy.

Michael Cuddyer hit .284 with 20 homers and 11 stolen bases last season while playing in fewer than 140 games. He’ll need to learn a new set of pitchers, but he’s moving away from a home park in Target Field that has a HR Park Index of 83 for RHB since its inception to one in Coors Field with a 121 rating over the past three years, which is a significant difference. As if the change in parks wasn’t enough, Cuddyer is eligible at second base in Yahoo leagues, which means he really needs to be bumped up cheat sheets in those formats. In fact, in NL-only leagues, I’d only rank Dan Uggla ahead of Cuddyer among second basemen.

Cars sliding and crashing. At times pretty captivating, actually.

Funny bit on Kimmel: Cousin Sal Customer Returns.

During his fourth boxing match, Kimbo Slice was down on all the cards facing an opponent who was a last minute injury replacement also extremely undersized until this “knockout” happened with 3.3 seconds left. You be the judge.

Aroldis Chapman’s velocity has reportedly been a bit down this spring (although he apparently was clocked at 98 mph during his last outing), but with a 12:2 K:BB ratio over 12.0 innings, that might be considered a good thing, as he’s still regularly in the mid-90s and appears to be trading some velo for better control. Chapman has a career 6.54 BB/9 in the big leagues…with a 3.27 ERA. Actually, his 1.25 WHIP is even more impressive considering that walk rate. These combinations are unheard of and reveal just how difficult he is to hit. Since he’s thrown so many pitches outside the strike zone, there’s little doubting his career .263 BABIP will eventually rise, but I’d argue his true talent level will settle around the .280 range with his stuff. Homer Bailey is out of options, and Bronson Arroyo has a big contract, but the Reds are truly insane sending Chapman back to the pen. If they follow through with this plan, they will finish 2012 halfway through his six-year, $30 million deal getting around 125 innings total from him. Injuries happen, so I’d still consider taking a flier on Chapman in mixed leagues after 50 or so starters are off the board, but his presence in Cincinnati’s pen is the only reason I’d keep Sean Marshall outside the top-10 closers after Ryan Madson was lost for the year.

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New York Times column

Friday, March 23rd, 2012

Talking spring training stats. Check it out.

The Scoop

Tuesday, March 13th, 2012

By Dalton Del Don

Mark Teixeira has hit .252 over the past two seasons, and since he doesn’t run, it’s easy to consider him overrated as a three-category player who will likely cost a second round pick (ADP: 27.25). I disagree and consider him a top-15 fantasy player. During his three years in New York, he’s averaged 37 homers, 114 RBI and 102 runs scored. The latter shouldn’t be overlooked, as that’s strong contribution in an underrated category, especially from a first baseman. It’s possible opponents’ shifts will continue to drive down his batting average, but I’d personally feel comfortable putting his over/under at his career line of .281 for 2012. For what it’s worth, his xBABIP was 57 points lower than his actual hit rate last season. Just because he was unlucky on balls in play the last two years doesn’t mean he’s “due” to receive good fortune this season, but it’s worth noting extreme flyball hitters’ batting averages fluctuate far more than groundball hitters, and Teixeira’s career line-drive percentage is a strong 20.9. And don’t forget, Yankee Stadium has an MLB-high 147 home run index for LHB since it opened, so as a switch-hitter who crushes lefties, a 45-homer type season can’t be ruled out.

When it comes to bull riding, this guy thinks eight seconds is kid’s play.

I’m sure most of you have seen this by now, but if not, this is easily my favorite restaurant review ever.

This own goal is among the craziest I’ve ever seen.

I’m not sure what to make of Brandon Morrow. His 10.19 K/9 rate led the American League last season, but that came with a 4.72 ERA (he finished with a 4.49 ERA the year before despite a 10.95 K/9). You don’t need to look up his FIP to come to the conclusion it’s been far lower than his ERA each of those past two campaigns. It’s also worth noting improved command led to a 1.29 WHIP last season, which was far better than his career mark (1.38). While these underlying peripherals and remarkable strikeout ability may portend huge things to come, at some point, there has to be a concern he’s Ricky Nolasco 2.0. In 2010, Morrow held hitters to a .222/.325/.293 line with the bases empty compared to .280/.351/.395 with runners on. Last year it was .217/.292./.307 compared to .267/.346/.393, so there’s real concern he becomes a much worse pitcher out of the stretch. In fact, Morrow induced just one GIDP all of last season! Read that again. Of course, that’s just a two year sample, and his career LOB% is actually 70.8, which is league average. After posting baseball’s second-highest SwStr% (11.5) last season, it’s clear Morrow has a ton of upside, but it sure would be nice if he figured out how to stop allowing so many runs while simultaneously missing so many bats.

This monkey “attack” is pretty awesome.

In 911 call, this mother calmly reported, “I think I left my child at Chuck E. Cheese last night.”

This footage of a bus driver smashing into a biker is pretty horrifying.

Billy Butler probably has an over/under of around 20 homers this season, and he’s likely only DH-eligible in most leagues. He’s also averaged just 76 runs scored over the past three seasons, despite missing a total of 10 games over that span, partially because of poor teammates but also because he’s one of the slower runners in baseball. While it may hurt his chances of winning a batting title like I expect him to one of these years (he or Howie Kendrick will one day, I swear), it’s interesting just how different his approach at the plate was before and after the All-Star break last season. Entering the ASB, Butler had a 43:49 K:BB ratio with a .415 slugging percentage. Afterward, he posted a 52:17 K:BB ratio with a .511 SLG. Yes, SSS caveats apply, but that’s a pretty drastic change at a fundamental level. Here were his GB/FB rates over the final five months of last season: 2.09, 2.44, 1.48, 0.78, 0.97. Again, if he continues this new approach, a lower BA may follow, but after hitting 13 homers over his final 70 games last season, a run at 30 bombs in 2012 may not be out of the question.

It’s not often you see pranks pulled on cops, but here’s one.

Speaking of pranks, this one involves people buying meat that’s fresher than usual.

We interrupt this report on performing breast self-exams to watch Peyton Manning get off an airplane.

Derek Holland has the tough task of pitching his home games in Texas, but he posted a 3.06 ERA with a 1.21 WHIP and an 80:26 K:BB ratio over 88.1 innings after the All-Star break last season and has the upside to finish as a top-15 fantasy starter this year. He saw his average fastball velocity rise from 92.1 mph in 2010 to 94.2 mph in 2011, which is a significant leap. In fact, only David Price had a faster average among all left-handers in baseball. Holland is highly talented and could easily breakout and provide a huge profit based on where he’s going in most drafts.

I like to think of myself as something of a foodie, and during my recent trip to Phoenix for LABR, I ate at both Pizzeria Bianco and Matt’s Big Breakfast, but I also must admit I tried Taco Bell’s new Doritos taco the day it came out. The former were both 100% legit, but I’ll also concede the latter wasn’t the worst either, although I hate myself for saying that.

During the aforementioned LABR trip, I read Chuck Klosterman’s “The Visible Man,” and although the ending was disappointing, I still can’t recommend it enough. Maybe I’m the perfect target audience as someone who graduated with a degree in psychology and enjoys Klosterman’s take on pop culture, but I’m also not a big fan of science fiction, which is also a bit at play here. To me, this was the true definition of a page-turner.

Chris Young has a career .240 batting average, but for someone who’s averaged 24 homers and 25 steals over the past two seasons, his ADP (33) among outfielders seems low. While it’s tough to distinguish ex post facto excuses versus real causation that we didn’t know about at the time, Young apparently played through a pretty serious ligament injury to his thumb over the second half of last year, which is certainly backed up by his post ASB numbers (.193/.329/.311). While playing hurt and losing seven homers from the season prior, Young actually had more extra-base hits in 2012 compared to 2011 and both his K% and BB% improved, and only Coors Field is a better hitters’ park in the National League than Chase Field (especially for right-handed batters). You won’t find someone who could approach 30/30 cheaper at draft tables.

I have no idea if this absurd exchange on Facebook is real, but I choose to believe it is.

Goat seen eating pizza at Midtown restaurant.

This fighter actually knocked himself out.

I’m all for targeting boring veterans in fantasy baseball, and I doubt Michael Young will be aggressively drafted this year, but caution still needs to be advised. Obviously, his .338 BA should be expected to drop around 35 points, and while he’ll continue to benefit from his home park and Texas’ lineup, realize the 35-year-old hit just 11 home runs last year, including only three after the All-Star break, as he hits so few balls in the air (26.5 FB%). The discrepancy between his 11 HRs and 106 RBI is the key here, as not only did Young benefit from coming to the plate with an abnormal amount of baserunners on last season, he went from hitting .297 with the bases empty to .383 with runners on. Almost all hitters perform better with runners on, but as Bill James states in his recent Handbook, “it’s like a perfect storm, a freakish combination of events.” James goes further and posts a study that reveals almost always there’s a huge regression in performance after such a rare season occurs. Young isn’t likely to be a total bust this year, but he could easily add five homers to his tally and lose 30 RBI from last season’s total.

Man seriously injured by gas explosion.

This chainsaw wielding maniac deserved his fate.

This footage is tough to watch, and among my friends the conclusion seems to be equal on both sides, but the one thing not in dispute is that it’s crazy.

Scott Baker was quietly one of the better pitchers in baseball last season before getting shut down, posting a 3.14 ERA with a 1.17 WHIP and a 123:32 K:BB ratio over 134.2 innings. He’s typically been a big help in WHIP as an extreme flyball pitcher, finishing with a mark below 1.20 in three of his past four years, and with that profile, it’s safe to expect closer numbers to last year than the season prior with the way Target Field has played, assuming he’s healthy. Since its inception, only Kauffman Stadium (remember this prospective Eric Hosmar and Alex Gordon owners) has a lower HR Index for LHB than Target Field (68). Baker was clearly hurting at the end of last season, and if rest healed the problem, which he claims, he could be a steal in fantasy leagues. Baker had a 3.8 K:BB ratio, which was better than CC Sabathia, and his flyball tendencies are a perfect fit for his home park.

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My Dominant LABR Team

Thursday, March 8th, 2012

By Dalton Del Don

I traveled to Phoenix last weekend to participate in LABR, a prominent industry league that has been around for 19 years. I was in the NL-only league, which is extremely deep with 13 participants and 10 pitching slots to fill. Here are the full results, and here’s my roster:

C – Ryan Hannigan $7
C – Jason Castro $5
1B – Freddie Freeman $22
3B – David Freese $19
2B – Chase Utley $22
SS – Zack Cozart $11
CI – Chipper Jones $7
MI – Freddy Sanchez $5
OF – Jayson Werth $25
OF – Cameron Maybin $22
OF – Jason Kubel $17
OF – David DeJesus $8
OF – Jordan Schafer $5
UTIL – Juan Francisco $5

P – Stephen Strasburg $22
P – Matt Garza $19
P – Jaime Garcia $11
P – Chad Billingsley $9
P – Johan Santana $5
P – Aroldis Chapman $5
P – Trevor Bauer $3
P – Kerry Wood $3
P – Randy Wells $1
P – Chien-Ming Wang $1

R – Dustin Moseley
R – Santiago Casilla
R – Matt Harvey
R – Brad Hand
R – Billy Hamilton
R – Chris Young

Infield: I didn’t want to spend on a top catcher, so I just tried to find some at-bats that hopefully won’t kill my batting average. Mission accomplished, at least in theory…In a league with zero replacement value, it’s hardly ideal to rely on injury-prone veterans like Freddy Sanchez and Chipper Jones, but of course, their prices reflect that. These two will likely burn me, but the optimist points out Sanchez is a career .297 hitter, and Jones posted a .303/.350/.545 line with 10 homers over 165 ABs after the All-Star break last season.

I wish I had bid an extra dollar on Jed Lowrie, who could be a steal at $9. There were many options left at the time he was purchased, but owners had plenty of money to burn thanks to the lack of spending on pitching, so there were some surprisingly high bids on middle infielders, including Neil Walker $20, Ryan Roberts $19, Jose Altuve $17, Daniel Murphy $17 and Marco Scutaro $16. I certainly wasn’t targeting Chase Utley, and his degenerative knee is without question worrisome, but he’s 50-for-52 on stolen base attempts over the past three years, so I took the plunge at $22…Continuing my theme, David Freese is also injury-prone, and while his career .365 BABIP is sure to regress, his career line-drive rate is 22.9%.

Outfield: Petco Park limits his upside, but Cameron Maybin is a 24-year-old who just stole 28 bases over 63 games after the All-Star break last season. A 15-homer, 50-steal campaign isn’t out of the question in 2012…Jayson Werth at $25 was easily my biggest regret, and I still can’t figure out why I went so high. I expect him to bounce back, as even during a down year during his first season in Washington he nearly went 20-20, and players with his profile – high K and high FB rates – typically have greatly fluctuating batting averages yearly. Still, at $25, I got no bargain and paid as if last year didn’t happen. It was a mistake.

Jason Kubel has to learn a whole new set of pitchers switching leagues, and there’s some concern he’ll increase his chances of getting hurt without a DH option, but he’s leaving Target Field, which had a Park Index for LHB hitting home runs of 68 since it’s inception, which was tied for the lowest in major league baseball. Chase Field, meanwhile, favors left-handed power. Moreover, studies have proven hitters perform better when playing the field opposed to DH, so maybe the move to a full-time outfield role will actually help Kubel. He’s got sneaky 30-plus homer upside…Jordan Schafer hasn’t hit at the major league level, but he quietly stole 22 bases last year in just 302 at-bats and will be given the opportunity to act as Houston’s everyday leadoff man in 2012.

Pitching: Starting pitching went unexpectedly cheap. In fact, Clayton Kershaw, whom I have as easily the No. 1 fantasy starter in 2012, went for just $26. I had just bought Stephen Strasburg for $22 and didn’t want to spend $50-plus on two starters, but I still regret not bidding up Kershaw at the time. This buy was the single biggest bargain I’ve seen in my five years in LABR. I’m fully aware Strasburg won’t pitch more than 150-160 innings this year, but he can easily earn what I paid for in that amount. I’m an unabashed fan who thinks it’s not out of the question he’s the best pitcher in baseball this year…I wouldn’t be surprised if Matt Garza was an under-the-radar Cy Young candidate, but he also might get traded to the A.L. midseason, and without question I’d prefer Madison Bumgarner, who went for the same price.

Although his ERA and WHIP didn’t reflect it, Jaime Garcia quietly made substantial improvement with his control last season. He also finished with the 11th best GB% in MLB, and of the 10 ahead of him, Garcia’s K rate was better than all of them. Take away one outing in Coors Field, and his season ERA goes from 3.56 to 3.10…The aspect I’m probably happiest about my auction was getting Johan Santana, Aroldis Chapman and Trevor Bauer for a combined $13.

I entered with a plan not to buy a closer, and whether that strategy is right or wrong, it’s hard to mess up…As a Giants fan, Brian Wilson’s arm scares me, and while Sergio Romo has put up video game like numbers, because of his overreliance on his slider, Bruce Bochy essentially uses him like a specialist. As a result, I was happy to get Santiago Casilla in the reserve round. When Wilson went down last season, it was Casilla who picked up six saves, while Romo had just one all year. Casilla has a 1.85 ERA over the past two seasons, and after 325-plus players were taken in the National League alone, drafting someone who could get 20-plus saves seemed like a steal.

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