By Dalton Del Don
Matt Wieters hit 12 homers with 30 runs scored, 31 RBI and 20 walks over the final two months last season, and he’s only got better to start 2012, as he entered Wednesday with a .294/.379/.667 line. His six home runs are also tied with Mike Napoli for the most among catchers. It took longer than expected for Wieters to have success at the major league level, but the former No. 5 pick appears to be finally living up to the extensive hype. He’s caught 16 of Baltimore’s 18 games so far this year, but with his bat, there’s little reason he shouldn’t DH during his days off behind the plate moving forward. According to The Bill James Handbook, Oriole Park has been the sixth-best place at boosting home runs over the last three years, especially for left-handers, which benefits the switch-hitter. Wieters, who has inside jokes with complete strangers, and Cuba imports cigars from him, sure looks like the No. 1 fantasy catcher right now.
This graphic footage of a car crashing into people in a grocery store is pretty brutal.
This woman, who just survived a near-death experience, isn’t too worried about it.
I’m not sure what I love more, the song, the lyrics or the video, but either way, this is pure musical genius.
Joey Votto is off to a slow start, hitting just .276 with one home run. The low batting average is especially surprising considering his BABIP is .385. The latter will drop some, but it’s not a total fluke with a career-high 32.5 LD%, a 1.25 GB:FB rate and as always no popouts (he has one of those since 2009). While he’s walking more than ever, the problem has clearly been that he’s striking out in nearly a quarter of his at-bats. Contact rate is typically one of the quickest stats to normalize, so seeing such a jump in K% over the first few weeks of the season is a bit surprising. Still, it’s probably nothing to worry about, especially when you consider his O-Swing% (the percentage of pitches a batter swings at outside the strike zone) is a career-low 19.6% and well below the league average of 30.0%. Chalk it up as a fluke and fully expect an increase in BA moving forward, and while I’m sure he’ll also start slugging more, remember his batted ball profile suggests he’s more of a 30 than 40-homer type hitter.
I’d recommend not jaywalking in Johannesburg.
This guy wearing a sweet robe had enough of speed-enforcement photos and took matters into his own hands to say the least.
Long read: An interesting and extremely revealing read about Dartmouth’s hazing rituals.
Bonus long read: In honor of his new solo album being released, here’s an article about Jack White.
Matt Moore is off to an extremely poor start to the year, as his 5.12 ERA and 1.66 WHIP are backed by an ugly 11:12 K:BB ratio over 19.1 innings. He missed time in spring dealing with an abdominal strain, so a slow start shouldn’t be entirely unexpected, but he’s been a total disaster early on. Moore’s average fastball velocity is down compared to last year, but it’s still a strong 93.6 mph – the third highest among all left-handers in baseball. Maybe Moore was overdrafted (including by me) for someone with fewer than 10.0 major league innings under his belt, but don’t forget just how dominant he was in the minors, as he recorded 210 strikeouts over 155.0 innings with a 1.92 ERA and 0.95 WHIP last season between Double and Triple-A. Moore will have to contend with the tough A.L. East, but he has a terrific defense behind him and a home park that’s benefitted pitchers more than any other than Petco over the past three years. He’s also not working on an innings limit, despite being a rookie. These types of recommendations obviously depend on your specific league, but if you can get him at any sort of discount, try to trade for him.
Police blotter: when siphoning gas from a cop car, it’s probably best not to post a picture on Facebook…These guys got wasted and broke into Sea World, woke up with a penguin in their hotel room…This man was arrested for trying to sell weed to his former PO…Man charged with a felony over not paying for a $1 soda at McDonald’s…Might want to rethink this kind of stealing in today’s iPhone age.
The question regarding Carlos Beltran entering the year was whether he could stay relatively healthy, not if he was going to be productive at the plate, so not much has changed there. However, the five steals have been a real surprise, as it’s already the most he’s had in a season since 2009, and it could also suggest his knees are feeling better than they have in a while. Busch Stadium is actually a pretty underrated pitchers’ park, but hitting between Matt Holliday and David Freese (or Lance Berkman) is a good spot to be in (a side note here: lineup “protection” is absolutely a myth and obviously doesn’t exist. However, the quality of hitters around a player certainly matters for fantasy owners, since it affects runs and RBI. Maybe this is obvious, but it seems to get misunderstood at times). If Beltran continues to run and stays healthy, he has the upside to finish as a top-10 if not top-five fantasy outfielder, but durability remains a serious concern.
You can make your own conclusion as to what Seal is doing here, but he clearly enjoyed the performance.
It apparently was standing room only during the Giants/Mets game in New York on Monday.
Girl swallowed by pavement in China.
Michael Bourn has raised his batting average more than 200 points over the past two weeks and is up to seven steals on the year. He remains a drain on HR and RBI but has a career-best BB%, leading to a .402 OBP. While typically players who rack up steals and don’t hit for power are much more valuable in fantasy baseball than reality, because he’s such a good base runner and a fantastic fielder in center field, Bourn is actually tied for fourth in WAR in the early going in 2012. The Braves’ trade for him last year for much less than what it cost the division rival Phillies to acquire Hunter Pence really was quite shrewd. And sticking with speed guys, Tony Campana, who racked up 24 steals (with only two CS) in just 143 at-bats last year and already has four bags over 13 ABs this season, needs to be added in pretty much all formats. His bat is weak, and he could easily flame out, but he’s looking at semi-regular playing time, and the SB upside is immense.
One of the best football plays I’ve ever seen, regardless of level.
One of the best basketball shots I’ve ever seen, regardless of level.
One of the best batting stances I’ve ever seen, regardless of level.
One of the best fake passes I’ve ever seen, regardless of intent.
It’s no secret Stephen Strasburg is my favorite (non-Giant) player in baseball, so it’s actually been frustrating owning him in just one league (LABR) this year. I fully believe the Nationals will be strict with the 160.0 innings limit, which is why he ended up on so few of my teams, because that right there is like missing six weeks with an injury, but still, he could be a $30-plus type pitcher anyway. Since returning from Tommy John surgery last season, he has a 1.29 ERA with a 0.82 WHIP and a 49:8 K:BB ratio over 49.0 innings. He hasn’t allowed a single homer over that span. While his velocity has been down since before the injury, Strasburg still leads major league baseball with an average fastball of 95.4 mph this season. His career K:BB ratio is 5.64. I see only health preventing him from being a first round pick in fantasy leagues next year.
These headlines really tell the story: Sex-addicted apes on brink of extinction…Donor wants organ back from ex-boss…Woman kills man by squeezing his testicles over parking dispute…Boner rejects sexual harassment allegations.
My take on the NFL Draft: predictions before are completely worthless, which can only be matched by grades afterward. But the event itself remains totally engrossing, as teams’ actions reveal a ton of information about what they think their weaknesses are. And I’m glad to hear they have finally wised up and will attempt to make the selections a surprise at the podium this year.
Seriously, how crazy is Mel Gibson?!!
Quick hits: Ervin Santana has allowed 10 homers this season. Matt Cain allowed fewer all of last year…Does Jamie Moyer really have a 2.28 ERA over four starts as a 49-year-old who calls Coors Field home?…I’m beginning to think Justin Smoak’s problems last year had less to do with injury and family tragedy and more to do with him being unable to handle major league pitching…Jonathan Sanchez threw 115 pitches in 4.2 innings Tuesday…In my home league, I entered Tuesday with by far the league’s best K rate (8.6/9) and had a “1” in wins, ERA and WHIP. In fact, my ERA was 6.05 and my WHIP was 1.55! Just a reminder it’s so very early still. Well, at least that’s what I keep telling myself…No, I’m not in the least bit worried about Albert Pujols…For his career, Josh Hamilton has hit .257/.323/.442 in the day compared to .330/.383/.586 at night. This year during day games, he’s hitting .500/.481/.1.083 (always love when OBP is lower than BA).