By Dalton Del Don
Before the season started, I noted just how different Billy Butler’s approach at the plate was before and after the All-Star break last year. 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. Here were his GB/FB rates over the final five months of last season: 2.09, 2.44, 1.48, 0.78, 0.97. The approach appears to have continued into 2012 so far, at least on the surface, as he currently has a 16:4 K:BB ratio with five homers over 27 games. However, digging deeper, his GB% (48.3) is actually nearly a career high, and Butler is hitting fewer flyballs than ever (31.5 FB%), it’s just that they have gone over the fence at the best rate of his career (17.9 HR/FB%), so he’s been a bit lucky in the power department. So while his 30-homer pace appears unsustainable, a .300-22-100 type campaign is well within reach and would be plenty valuable in fantasy terms. One positive is that all five of his home runs have come against right-handers this season, as he’s typically done most of his damage against southpaws throughout his career.
This bike crash is pretty brutal.
Intense plane crash caught on film.
Crazy footage of a kid getting hit by a bus.
Anibal Sanchez’s shoulder scared me off him in March, but it’s certainly been to the detriment of my fantasy teams so far, as he looks like one of the best pitchers in all of baseball. After striking out 202 batters over 196.1 innings last season, he leads the National League with a 10.26 K/9 rate in 2012. That’s been accompanied by a career-low 2.43 BB/9 ratio and a career-high 48.1 GB%. When you add that all up with someone who’s also tough to homer against (career 7.8 HR/FB%), it’s a combination that could potentially lead to a Cy Young award. Health remains something of a concern with Sanchez, but his fantasy owners may be holding what’s equivalent to a winning lottery ticket.
These grandmas watching the Kim Kardashian sex tape are pretty damn funny.
I’m beginning to think “the human element” needs to be stopped.
This encounter of a woman interrupting a news taping constantly spitting is truly bizarre.
I dropped Pedro Alvarez in my home league a couple weeks back, even questioning whether he was the worst hitter in all of baseball on the radio at the time. He’s since hit four homers with 10 RBI over his last 11 games and has recently become the team’s new cleanup hitter. The strikeouts remain ugly, but he also has seven of his eight walks on the year during that span. There’s little question Alvarez will hurt your batting average, and this is obviously a small sample, but the former No. 2 overall pick possesses plenty of power potential. He’s also crushing left-handers (.364/.364/.818), which is a surprise. In a thin landscape at third base with Evan Longoria, Pablo Sandoval and Ryan Zimmerman shelved, Alvarez suddenly holds plenty of value.
This footage is disturbing, but not nearly as bad as a much more close version that was only recently removed from YouTube. Wow.
Funny bit of Cousin Sal working at a temp agency.
Long read: A remarkable story about one of the most sought after fugitives in U.S. history, whom after finally being caught, may walk free anyway.
Speaking of nice surprises at third base, look no further than Edwin Encarnacion, who’s currently on pace to finish the season with 50 homers, 134 RBI, 95 runs and 22 steals. It’s safe to say the streaky E5 is going to slow down, but he’s also locked into regular playing time, and the DH role appears to suit him well. While he’s never been given a real opportunity, it’s worth noting Encarnacion has averaged one HR per 19.5 at-bats since joining Toronto. Adrian Gonzalez has averaged one HR per 19.8 ABs throughout his career. Moreover, batting in the middle of a Blue Jays’ lineup that has scored the third-most runs in the American League this season, Encarnacion should continue to rack up counting stats. Still just 29 years old, it wouldn’t be a complete shock if Encarnacion finished with more fantasy value than teammate Jose Bautista.
Police Blotter: Jilted dentist pulls out all of ex-boyfriend’s teeth…This guy was ignored in a DEA holding cell for five days and was forced to drink his own urine in order to survive…Disturbingly tan mom arrested after 5-year-old daughter gets sunburn. Seriously, her defense team better be good!
A poor outing in Atlanta by Johan Santana in which he gave up six runs over 1.1 innings brings down an otherwise terrific start to the season. His current 9.87 K/9 rate is his best since 2004, resulting in a 2.61 ERA and 1.19 WHIP despite the disaster against the Braves. His return from surgery appears to be a huge success, although his velocity is a career-low (he’s averaging 88.4 mph with his fastball. His career average is 91.4 mph). Santana has been getting a little lucky, with a .282 BABIP and 2.7 HR/FB%, but note his career levels are .275 and 8.9%, respectively, so some crash back to earth isn’t necessarily in store, although more gopher balls can safely be expected. Santana will almost certainly be on an innings limit this season, but he’s been an absolute steal for fantasy owners who gambled on him so far, and there are no signs suggesting it’s been a total fluke. He’s back.
Freddie Freeman entered April 17 hitting .162 with a .189 slugging percentage. He’s since raised his OPS 470 points, as he’s up to six homers and 26 RBI on the year. His 31:5 K:BB ratio is ugly, but Freeman also leads major league baseball with a 37.2 LD%. After a fairly drastic split last year, he’s actually hit lefties better than right-handers so far in 2012, which could be big news moving forward. In such a shallow position in the National League, Freeman has emerged as the clear No. 2 fantasy first baseman in the Senior Circuit.
These headlines really tell the story: Meth Lab Explodes In Man’s Pants…Hang-Glider Pilot May Have Swallowed Evidence…One Direction Stars May Have Gotten Chlamydia From A Koala…Zoo Caretaker Licks Monkey’s Butt To Help It Defecate.
Quick hits: This year Brandon Morrow already has induced five times as many double plays (GIDP) than he did all of last season…Not a Yankees fan and have him on zero of my fantasy teams, but it was sad to see Mariano Rivera go down like that…Conversely, it was pretty cool to see Chris Davis pitching in a high leverage situation, striking out the first batter he faced on three pitches while reaching 90 mph…The Giants went 43 consecutive innings without having a lead this past week…Josh Johnson has allowed an MLB-high .439 BABIP, while Shaun Marcum leads baseball with a 14.4 SwStr%…Put a fork in Ubaldo Jimenez, he’s done…Over his last three relief appearances, Alfredo Aceves has recorded 11 strikeouts…Owning Jayson Werth just about everywhere, it wasn’t fun watching Sunday Night Baseball, when he mangled his wrist in front of everyone. Good times…It’s possible (and I emphasize may here) I may have been wrong about Luke Hochevar this year. Good God…It’s Bryan LaHair’s world, the rest of us are just paying rent.
After hearing good buzz, I saw “The Cabin In The Woods” last week, and even while entering knowing it’s not what you expect it to be, it still wasn’t anything near what I expected it to be. Unfortunately, I can’t say I loved it, although I will say it had the best scene involving a unicorn in the history of cinema.
This whole Sarah Phillips saga is easily one of the craziest I’ve ever come across. Unbelievable.
I certainly wouldn’t call the Mayweather/Cotto fight a classic, but it was refreshing to see Money May be the aggressor for once, really changing styles to put on a show, which resulted in him being hurt more than ever, although it was again a dominating performance. It would be shame if we don’t get to witness such greatness ever again.
Speaking of greatness, Jack White’s new solo album is ridiculously good. I highly recommend it…Also, I saw The Black Keys, who were opened by The Arctic Monkeys, last week, which was a fantastic show. But my ears were still ringing the next morning – does that mean I’m getting old?
Quick hits, part deux: It’s too early to take Park Factors seriously this time of year, but Coors Field’s current rating of 1.797 on runs scored would end as the highest ever since ESPN started tracking it. And it almost always becomes a much bigger hitters’ park in the hotter summer months…Edinson Volquez is off to a strong start with his new team, but realize he’s somehow managed to pitch in Petco Park in six of his seven starts so far this year…After getting hit by a pitch that was clearly on purpose by Cole Hamels, Bryce Harper not only got to third base from first on a single to left field, but he also stole home afterward during a Hamels pickoff attempt to first base. I especially liked how the Yahoo box score said he stole “4th base”…This has been, without question, the craziest year ever for closers.