By Dalton Del Don
Over his last six starts, Phil Hughes has a 3.60 ERA and a 1.20 WHIP. He was bombed during one outing, allowing seven runs to the Angels but gave up three runs or fewer in the other five games. Hughes has allowed at least one home run in all of his 11 starts this season, and while he’s been a bit unlucky with his HR/FB rate, as a right-hander who calls Yankee Stadium home, long balls are likely to remain a part of his profile, especially as an extreme flyball pitcher. Still, there’s a lot to be encouraged about the former top prospect, who quietly sports a highly impressive 57:16 K:BB ratio over 61.2 innings. Hughes is throwing his changeup more than twice as often as ever before, helping him become deadly against left-handers (.197/.266/.328). With strong run support, wins should be an asset as well. Hughes has shown increased velocity and improved his control greatly so far in 2012, so don’t let his horrible start that still brings down his overall numbers change the fact he currently looks like someone who should really help your fantasy team moving forward.
In honor of Richard Dawson, who just died and was brilliant, here’s a funny clip of the Family Feud.
In honor of the recent Spelling Bee, I give you this clip of the greatest troll in the event ever.
This is the most harrowing Judge Judy case of all-time. (Ignore the obnoxious laugh randomly placed in the middle).
I had never owned Ryan Zimmerman in any of my myriad fantasy teams before this year. I’m guessing we all have our personal biases against (and toward) certain players, and for whatever reason, Zimmerman just wasn’t one of my guys. Until this year, which was purely happenstance. I picked late in the first round in the majority of my leagues, often by choice. And Zimmerman was frequently available either late third (in deeper leagues) or early fourth (David Wright never was), so I found myself taking the plunge (trying to be as agnostic as possible). After all, Zimmerman went .292-33-110-106 in 2009 and was one season removed from a .307-25-85-85 campaign. He’s also terrific defensively (not that it matters to fantasy owners). Gene McCaffrey, whom I respect as much as anyone in the fantasy community, called him a strong “longshot MVP bet” before the season. But the guy’s been an absolute bum so far (Zimmerman, not McCaffrey), posting an ugly .233/.314/.333 line over 150 at-bats, with a 1.51 GB/FB ratio. Sure, he’s battling a clearly debilitating shoulder injury, but Zimmerman has missed more than 55 games in two of the previous four seasons (and 20 in another) entering 2012, so I blame myself.
These headlines really tell the story: Wannabe Incredible Hulk Covers Himself In Green Paint. And Then Discovers It Won’t Come Off…Drunken Alberta Man Survives After He’s Run Over By 26 Rail Cars…Manhattan Student Who Bedded Teacher Scores $400 In Wager With Buddies.
A.J. Burnett has allowed two runs or fewer in seven of his eight starts this season (he’s given up zero in three of them). He was tattooed for 12 earned runs in the other, and while that counts just the same, it came in St. Louis against a Cardinals team that probably has the best offense in the National League (Colorado has scored more runs, but they benefit from playing in Coors Field, which has been ridiculous so far in 2012. The Rockies have scored 192 runs at home this season, 47 more than the second most. They’ve scored 86 on the road, which is the second lowest in MLB). If you remove that one outing, Burnett would have a 1.52 ERA and a 1.04 WHIP. His 42:14 K:BB ratio over 50.0 innings is impressive regardless, which is accompanied by a 57.9 GB% that would rank fifth best in all of baseball if he qualified. Burnett has won each of his last three outings, but wins could be a problem moving forward with a historically bad offense (the Pirates current wRC+66 might be the worst of all-time. I only say “might” because I got tired of looking further back than 30 years. You see, I’m lazy). Still, the move back to the National League has done wonders to Burnett’s value, which is an awful lot higher than I bet most fantasy players realize.
This toddler riding through heavy traffic in China doesn’t seem too worried about it.
It’s safe to say few (and by few I mean no one) expected Josh Reddick to have 14 home runs and six steals entering June 4. His pace for 99 runs scored and 88 RBI is a borderline miracle when you consider Oakland’s team .209/.288/.331 batting line as well. Reddick posted an .841 OPS in Triple-A as a 24-year-old last season and held his own after joining the Red Sox, but little suggested this breakout, especially since Oakland has killed LHB when it comes to home runs (over the past three years, it has a 73 Index according to The Bill James Handbook, which is the fifth worst in baseball). It’s easy to call Reddick a sell high, but most of your league members likely remain skeptical. While his 18.4 HR/FB% will come down, it’s worth noting Reddick hits a ton of flyballs (his 0.62 GB/FB ratio is third highest in all of baseball), so his power production won’t necessarily come crashing down.
Animal Antics: Demanding monkey has bad itch…Hamster gets shot and pretends to be dead…Monkey riding a goat that’s walking a tight rope…Cow hit by train, remains walking and fine despite missing face.
It seems odd to talk about two Pirates pitchers in the same article, but James McDonald deserves plenty of credit for his season as well, as he’s yet to allow more than three runs in a game (remarkably, he’s given up one run or fewer in seven of his past nine outings). One could point out how he’s getting lucky with a low HR/FB% (although PNC Park suppresses homers) and LOB%, but no pitcher has a 2.14 ERA with underlying peripherals that wouldn’t be considered fortunate. With a 71:20 K:BB ratio over 71.1 innings, McDonald deserves a ton of praise, as his sudden introduction of a slider (he had never used it until last year, and he’s throwing it four times as often this season) has made a major impact. I definitely didn’t see this type of leap coming, but this is another huge knock on Ned Colletti, who traded McDonald for 18.2 innings of Octavio Dotel. I struggle with who’s the worse GM, the protégé (Colletti) or the mentor (Brian Sabean). Both are among worst in baseball, but I’m going with Sabean as of now, mainly because Zack Wheeler looks like a future ace.
Guys hide a fake treasure chest on Venice Beach, fool a bunch of onlookers the next day.
Tipper leaves just their “two cents,” both literally and figuratively.
Can you answer this question from an eighth-grade reading exam?
I’ve never owned Mark Reynolds, but he was available in my NFBC money league, and despite not needing a CI, I bid $72, which won by $70. I guess that reflects poorly on me, but Reynolds is known as a poor starter (career .218/.314/.433 line in April, for what it’s worth), and while the BA risk is obvious, he’s averaged 38 homers and 91 RBI over the past three years. This power shouldn’t be ignored in today’s game. Oriole Park at Camden Yards (what a ridiculous name) is one of the most conducive for homers in the majors, and Reynolds’ current HR/FB rate (7.1%) is well below his career average (20.5%), so he’s someone to target right now.
Police Blotter: Man ticketed for dropping money on the ground…Cage fighter rips out still beating heart of training partner after fearing he was possessed by the devil…Police arrest woman in “cleaning fairy” burglary.
Long read: Is one hacker behind many of the “revenge porn” photos that were posted on a popular site? Tell me you aren’t compelled after reading the first two sentences of this story.
Quick Hits: Billy Hamilton has 61 steals so far this year. His solid .462 slugging percentage makes it even crazier. He’s making last year’s 103 stolen bases look like kid’s play. We may never see a bigger discrepancy between a real life prospect and a fantasy prospect than him…Paul Goldschmidt has 14 career homers. Four have come against Tim Lincecum…So I was texted a picture of my cousin with Pablo Sandoval the other day. He came into where she worked and said he was super nice, handing out autographs and willing to take a picture with anyone. He was later accused of sexual assault the very same night. Don’t. Know. What. To. Think.
Zombie Apocalypse!!!: First there was this face-eating attack, in which I implore you all never to look at the photos of the aftermath…Followed by this…and then this…and this…and finally this…These all resulted in an official response from the CDC, as well as this prank.
Quick hits, part deux: Jason Kipnis is on pace to finish with this line: .280-28-113-104-40. Yes, he’ll regress, but he’s a stud who looks like a total steal in fantasy drafts this year (he’s 18-for-19 in SB attempts)…The Giants have hit six home runs at home this season. Six! They have zero over their past 12 games. That’s not ideal…Matt Cain recently improved his career record to 75-75, putting him at .500 for the first time since 2007. His career ERA is 3.31, and he has 14 complete games with five shutouts. His career BAA is .226. Roy Halladay’s is .252…If you’re in a deep league, I’d consider adding Vladimir Guerrero…According to ESPN’s “Cy Young Predictor,” the current league-leaders are Fernando Rodney and R.A. Dickey.