Monday, August 27, 2007

Playoffs? You talkin' about playoffs? Playoffs?

Jason Bay and the Pirates still have a shot at the playoffs the way the NL Central is shaping up. What about teams in a league that actually matter?

Three weeks are left and only one thing has been decided: Joel is an idiot. That and three of the four playoff spots are locked up.

Yet somehow, out of nowhere, the idiot did the impossible and beat the team with the best record in the league by a massive margin.

As a result, the standings and remaining schedule look as such:

Kansas City
Smurfs 14-7: Zou, 300, Inoc.
Zou 13-8: Smurfs, Inoc., 300
Inoculators 13-8: 300, Zou, Smurfs
300 - no one cares

Gay Louis
PM’s 11-10: KC, Alba, Tones
Tones 11-10: Alba, KC, PM
KC - no one cares
Alba - no one cares

As you can see, there is a lot to be determined before the playoffs start. Therefore, I am obligated to break down scenarios. SWEET!

It should be noted that the division winners and the top two teams make the playoffs.

It should also be noted that it is statistically impossible for the Smurfs, Zou and Inoculators not to make the playoffs.

Additionally, the winner of the Gay Louis division receives the two seed.


The only way the Smurfs cannot make the playoffs is if I alter their record or if ESPN randomly adds 300 points to a previous opponent.

The only thing still up for grabs is the division and, subsequently, the number one seed. The Smurfs have the following records against their division:

3-0 vs. Zou
2-1 vs. Inoc.
3-0 vs. 300

The tie breaking scenarios look good for the Smurfs, so all he needs to do is stay ahead. It should be noted that no one has played a divisional matchup since the trade deadline. So the teams the Smurfs will be playing are not the same ones he has been playing all season.

If the Smurfs win two matchups, they win the division and the number one seed. If they lose two, then the division and the number one seed will be wide open.

The Smurfs are in.

The Smurfs win the division if: They win two or more matchups…other scenarios are possible as well.

The Smurfs win the One Seed if: See division.

The Smurfs are the three seed if: Inoculators or Zou win three, the opposite team lose at least two and Smurfs lose two.

The Smurfs are the four seed if: Smurfs lose three and Inoculators and Zou win at least two matchups each.


The Zou have a chance to win the division, but all hopes can be dashed if they do not win this week’s matchup with the Smurfs. If Zou wins, the Zou must win out and have the Smurfs lose one more time or Zou must win one of two and have the Smurfs lose both matchups. If Zou wins the division, he will also be the one seed.

Here is the Zou’s record vs. the contenders.

2-1 vs. Inoculators
2-1 vs. Tones
2-1 vs. PM
0-3 vs. Smurfs

The Zou is in.

The Zou wins the division if: Well, beat the Smurfs first and we’ll start talking.

The Zou wins the One Seed if: Win division.


First let’s look at the Inoculators record vs. the contenders:

2-1 vs. Tones
3-0 vs. PM
1-2 vs. Smurfs
1-2 vs. Zou

The Inoculators are in the playoffs because of tiebreakers over PM and Tones.

The Inoculators can win the division but they need a TON of help. Currently owning zero tie breakers doesn’t help. Here is one scenario that would have to happen if the Inoculators want to win the division:

Inoculators over 300 and Zou over Smurfs
Inoculators over Zou and Smurfs over 300
Inoculators over Smurfs

In other words, losing really isn’t an option.

What the Inoculators may want to focus on is the three seed. The three seed means not having to play either Zou or Smurfs in the first round and draw either the Tones or PM whom the Inoculators are 5-1 against this season.

The three seed may be the only way the Inoculators can clinch a league title.

Inoculators are in.

Inoculators win division if: Inoculators win three and Smurfs lose two. Other possibilities as well.

Inoculators three seed if: Inoculators beat Zou and 300, Zou loses to Smurfs. Other possibilities as well.

Inoculators four seed if: Inoculators lose two or more. Other possibilities as well.

Phantom Menaces and Tones

HERE is the battle to watch. What you need to know is the following:

PM vs. Division
1-2 vs. Tones
2-1 vs. Alba
2-1 vs. KC

Tones vs. Division
2-1 vs. PM
2-1 vs. KC
3-0 vs. Alba

Here are the scenarios:

First, of course, if one team wins two and the other loses two prior to the last week, then the last week doesn’t matter.

If the Tones and PM enter the final week of the season tied, the winner, obviously, wins the division and goes to the playoffs. The other sits at home.

If the Tones enter the final week one game back of PM and wins the final week, the Tones win the division based off their superior record over Alba.

Who would have thought that Joel could actually matter at the end of the season? The odds…

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Ankiel and Braun

NEWSFLASH: Ben Nielsen hates the Cardinals.

Yes, I know, this is news to everyone, but it is true.

Actually, I don’t hate the Cardinals… I think I loath the Cardinals. No, no, no, I despise the Cardinals. Here are a list of words I associate with the Cardinals:

Spleen: ill-tempered, spitefulness (basically not the organ)

Basically, I hate the Cardinals so much I actually got a thesaurus and a dictionary out just to help find words that best describe my feelings towards St. Louis. I still have not found the correct word(s).

I say all of this just to set up this one point: Watching Rick Ankiel has been amazing. (And what is sad is that the two professed Cardinals fans in this league probably have ZERO idea how big of a deal this is. Well, maybe Tony does, but we certainly know Joel doesn’t. By the way, I just heard about this Francisco Liriano kid the other day while listening to a podcast. Apparently he was really good last season… who knew?)

I remember watching the meltdown on Ankiel in the 2000 playoffs. I remember laughing uncontrollably about how bad he had suddenly become and how totally out of nowhere this situation had come from. I mean the kid almost won the freaking Rookie of the Year Award (finished second to Rafael Furcal) and had a 3.50 ERA with 194 strikeouts in 175 innings. Oh yeah, and he was only 20-years-old! (Well, 21 after July 19...but still!) Then all of a sudden, he looks like he just forgot how to pitch. Take a look at his last three outings in the 2000 season and then look at his three playoff appearances:

2000 Regular Season
6.2 IP, 2 ER, 7 H, 0 BB, 11 K, Win
7 IP, 2 ER, 4 H, 2 BB, 8 K, Win
6 IP, 0 ER, 5 H, 2 BB, 8 K, Win

2000 Playoffs
NLDS: GS, 0-0, 2.3 IP, 4 H, 4 ER, 6 BB, 3 K, 13.50 ERA
NLCS: 2 G, GS, 1.1 IP, 1 H, 3 ER, 5 BB, 2 K, 20.25 ERA

Keep in mind that his last start of the season was September 27 and his first start in the playoffs was October 3. Five days off was all he needed to lose everything. It was shocking.

It takes some time before one begins to realize that Ankiel is a real person (even if he was a Cardinal). And, I think, just as everyone was coming to that realization, they noticed Ankiel was not getting his stuff back. His mind was gone. This cheesy YouTube clip was the best visual evidence I could find of his collapse:

Keep in mind that same guy you saw throwing the ball to the screen is the same guy who had a 194 strikeouts in 175 innings at the age of 20. The same guy who, with a 9.98 K/IP ratio, is number one in the history of baseball of a 20-year-old. Better than Bert Blyleven, Bob Feller, C.C. Sabathia and Dwight Gooden. Take a look at this:

Most Strikeouts at the Age of 20:

Name - Ks, IP
Dwight Gooden - 268, 276.2
Bob Feller - 246, 296.2
Bert Blyleven - 224, 278.1
Christy Mathewson - 221, 336
Rick Ankiel - 194, 175

So all of this stuff happens, he has to go back through the minor league system, learn a new position, learn how to hit, deal with the fact he was dangerously close to being too old to be in baseball (being 28 and in the minors is typically not a good thing. See: Angel Berroa). Basically, he had to re-do the minor leagues process (and it is HARD to do it once, let alone twice).

And then, Thursday, his first day back in the big leagues, this happens:

And then Saturday, this happens:

Roy Hobbs anyone?

(Quick Cardinal Bashing: The Home Run Call By the Cardinals Announcers. What an absolutely terrible job of calling the August 9 home run by the Gay Louis Cardinals announcing crew. I mean, honestly, silence would have been better than what clunked out of their mouths. A message to the color commentator guy: Shut up. Denny Mathews or Ryan Lefebvre would have nailed that. Bob Davis , whom I despise, would have nailed that call. Put it this way, the call is supposed to enhance the moment, to bring the situation to life. The call given by the GayL crew dampened the moment. Watching this video on mute gives me more chills than watching it with the call - and that is sad.)


Ryan Braun has been a fascination of sorts for me this week on Here is some fun stuff I found about how amazing his first 69 games in the bigs has been.

Since 1901, only 22 men have produced a season in which they hit 20 or more home runs, had 55 RBI or more, batted .345 or higher and have stolen 10 or more bases. These men include:

Babe Ruth - 5 times, HOF
Larry Walker - 4 times, Played in Coors Field, Future HOF???
Rogers Hornsby - 2 times, HOF
Ken Williams - 2 times, Career .319 BA, 137 OPS+
Lou Gehrig - 2 times, HOF
Chuck Klein - 2 times, HOF
Mickey Mantle - 2 times, HOF
Jack Fournier - Career .313 BA, 142 OPS+
Babe Herman - .324 career BA, 140 OPS+
Freddie Lindstrom - HOF
Carl Reynolds - Career .302 BA
Lefty O’Doul - All-Star, .349 career BA, 143 OPS+
Tommy Holmes - All-Star, .302 career BA, 122 OPS+
Willie Mays - HOF
Tommy Davis - All-Star, injuries killed his career
George Brett - HOF
Cecil Cooper - All-Star, finished in top 5 of MVP voting three times
Jeff Bagwell - Future HOF
Alex Rodriguez - Future HOF
Nomar Garciaparra - Career .315 BA despite injuries
Derek Jeter - Future HOF
Darin Erstad - All-Star
Ryan Braun - Contingent on him finishing the season with a .345 batting average.

By my count, that is nine Hall of Famers, three future Hall of Famers, six guys who would be in the Hall of Fame if Major League Baseball had the same standards as the National Football League and two guys who we will never know about due to injury.

Now if you take those same standards, but then put in the requirement that one must have those numbers and be at or under the age of 25, this is what one would get:

Name (age)
Mantle - 2 times (24 and 25)
Ruth (25)
Hornsby (25)
Gehrig (24)
Lindstrom (24)
Davis (23)
Rodriguez (20!)
Garciaparra (25)
Jeter (25)
Braun (23) - If he finishes with a .345 BA

Here is another fun one - .340 BA, 20+ HR season at the age of 23:

Name - BA, HR
Al Simmons - .387, 24
Albert Pools - .359, 43
Ted Williams - .356, 36
Joe Medwick - .353, 23
Tommy Davis - .346, 27
Ryan Braun - .345, 21 (If he hits .340... Stats as of 8/10)
Willie Mays - .345, 41
Don Mattingly - .343, 23
Jeff Heath - .343, 21
Hal Trotsky - .343, 42
Hanley Ramirez - .342, 20

Another thing to consider is that the Brewers have two players on their roster who could be the 16th and 17th players EVER to hit 40+ home runs in a season at the age of 23:

Name - Current HR, Rank
Prince Fielder - 36, T18 (Stats as of 8/11)
Ryan Braun - 22, T108 (Stats as of 8/11)

Braun is a bit of a reach for 40 homers, but it is possible.

ANYWAY, let’s say Braun does hit 40 home runs and drives in 100-plus and hits .335. Look at the company he would be in for that kind of a season:


Albert Pools - .359, 43 HR, 124 RBI
Hal Trotsky - .343, 42 HR, 162
Willie Mays - .345, 41 HR, 110

Here is the point: Braun is good.

Tuesday, August 7, 2007


I tried really hard attempting to find a good intro for this blog… but I couldn’t. So, first, I will give you this video:

Now, I will tell you that this blog will be about the Ten Best Free Agent Pickups So Far This Season.


It should be noted that an acquisition does not count if the player was drafted. Magglio Ordonez and David Wright are the two examples of this.

Before we begin, here is a…

Lifer: Picked up by and stayed with the same team
Originally Picked Up By: Self explanatory
Found a Home With: Team the player has been the most successful with so far
Currently With: Self explanatory
Multiple Lovers: Player was successful with more than one team
Flirted With: Spent minimal time with team

Now, we start…

10) Kelvim Escobar
Originally Pickup Up By: Jessica Alba
Multiple Lovers: Jessica Alba, Inoculators and 300
Currently With: Inoculators

Escobar is the head of a series of pitchers who have come out of nowhere to be huge players in our league. Guys like James Shields, Jeremy Guthrie and Oliver Perez are examples of this. Escobar gets the nod over all of them because he has produced more points than any of them. I also believe he is the most likely to continue his current success.

To be honest, this was the toughest decision I had to make regarding the whole list. This spot has fluctuated between several players who will be mention later once the list is done.

9) Justin Upton
Lifer: Inoculators

Many of you are going to be mad about this placement of Justin Upton. You will point to the people who have been left off this list who have produced FAR more than Upton has this year. Many of you will also state that the only reason why Upton is in this particular spot is because I currently own him.

Well, this list was made before Upton cleared waivers. Upton was already on it (except he was one spot higher). I made this list and decision full heartedly believing Upton would be picked up by either Kimball or Erik (for sure I thought Erik would pick him up, he always picks up prospects). But he didn’t and now I am the most excited owner in the league.

I’m telling you, this guy is going to be good.

At the very least, Upton, who was the first pick in the 2005 MLB Draft, is already ahead of Alex Gordon, the second pick in the 2005 MLB Draft.

Games to get to four career hits:

Upton: 4
Gordon: 10

Yeah, that was a low blow… oh well.

8) Placido Polanco
Lifer: Jessica Alba

Alba has made few good decisions the year, but Polanco was a great one. Polanco is currently rated as the third best fantasy second baseman and is rated as the 23rd best position player in fantasy.

Honestly, as this list will show, Alba made some decent pickups of players. But he was never able to get great return value from them because of either poor trades or because he dropped them. But Polanco is a definite bright spot in what has been a dreadful season for Schilb.

7) Tim Lincecum
Lifer: The Zou

Lincecum is now the cornerstone (with Ryan Braun) of the Zou’s future. The combination of Braun and Lincecum will haunt most of us forever.

What may kill Lincecum, however, is that he plays for the only team in the NL West that sucks. Consider the rising talent of Arizona and Colorado and then think of the beast that is the Los Angeles Dodgers Farm System and their wallet, it may be difficult for the Giants and Lincecum to get the wins his talent deserves.

6) Fausto Carmona
Originally Picked Up By: Inoculators
Flirted With: Tones
Found a Home With: 300
Currently With: The Zou

Carmona is here over Lincecum for two reasons: One, he’s in the American League Central, and, two, the Indians have the talent to support Carmona more effectively.

Carmona has the luxury of not being the guy. Lincecum is the guy, especially since the Giants are paying $18 million a year to a guy who has been relegated to the bullpen for a while. Carmon has C.C. Sabathia and an explosive offense to take pressure off of him. Plus, he does not carry the burden of a guy who was picked in the first round of the draft or was top overseas signing.

The only question with Carmona is can he consistently repeat the season he is having over and over again. Right now, I don’t know the answer to that question.

5) JJ Putz
Lifer: Inoculators

Did you know that Putz is currently the number one fantasy closer and ranks 19 amongst ALL fantasy pitchers in our league?

Don’t have much more to add to that other than he has been the most consistent dominating closer of the season so far.

4) Ryan Braun
Lifer: The Zou

Braun is Jesus.

3) Ken Griffey Jr.
Originally Picked Up By: The Zou
Found a Home With: KC

I had to go through the draft four or five time to confirm that Ken Griffey Jr. was not drafted. Who would have thought six years ago that there would be a fantasy draft where Griffey was not drafted?

Additionally, Griffey is going to be first person to hit 600 home runs and everybody will feel disappointed. Not because of the reasons that people are disappointed with Bonds about, but because everyone just assumed Griffey would be the one chasing this record.

At the end of 2000, Griffey had 438 career home runs. He had hit 40 or more home runs 7 of the last 8 seasons. He had continued that pace, he would have been at about 700 home runs going into this season. And he is only 37 years old…

Granted, the idea of Griffey averaging 40-plus bombs a season between the ages of 31-36 seems like a stretch. But when you consider the softball field that is the Great American Ball Park, Griffey’s swing – a natural, upper-cut, home run swing – and he would have had to additional motivation and pressure from the surging Bonds help propel his game, who knows what could have happened.

I still think it would be neat if Griffey went to an American League team, DHed, and tried to sluggout another 200 bombs. Given the nature of the DH position and the way athletes stay in shape, I think Griffey would have a legitimist chance of doing it, given the right setting. I mean, he does have 26 homers in 103 games this season. Griffey will have at least 600 home runs by the end of this year. Bonds had 613 home runs at the end of the season in which he was 37 years old. He then followed it with two 45 home run seasons, a five home run season, a 26 home run season and the 21 home runs he currently has this season.

I don’t know, but I think, if Griffey really wanted to, he could, at least, break Hank Aaron’s record.

2) Prince Fielder
Lifer: Inoculators

If you want to know how deep last seasons pool of National League rookies was last season, note that Prince Fielder’s .271, 28, 81 season was enough to earn him two points in the rookie of the year voting. Two out of 160 for a 28 home run rookie season. Here was the final tally last year:

Hanley Ramirez (14) 105
Ryan Zimmerman (10) 101
Dan Uggla (6) 55
Josh Johnson (2) 11
Matt Cain 4
Andre Either 4
Prince Fielder 2
Takashi Saito 2
Russell Martin 1
Scott Olsen 1
Anibal Sanchez 1
Josh Willingham 1


Fielder leads all undrafted position players in points, is the second rated first baseman (behind Albert Pujols…go figure) and rates 21st overall amongst all players, including pitchers.

I feel that he will be a steal at the 28th round pick next March.

1) C.C. Sabathia
Originally Picked Up By: Inoculators
Found a Home With: The Zou
Currently With: 300

Like we didn’t see this one coming…

Sabathia has had an excellent fantasy season (rating fourth amongst all fantasy players) and is entering a contract season next year.

I assume that, if Sabathia is kept by 300, he will be reaping the benefits of his decision in the playoffs next year.


These Guys Were “Buck O’Neiled”

John Maine
Originally Picked Up By: Inoculators
Found a Home With: The Zou
Flirted With: 300
Currently With: Inoculators

Oliver Perez
Lifer: The Zou

James Shields
Lifer: The Zou

Kevin Youkilis
Lifer: 300

Not “Buck O’Neiled” but Better than Honorable Mention

Mike Lowell
Lifer: 300

Jeremy Guthrie
Originally Picked Up By: Tones
Found a Home With: Inoculators

Honorable Mentions (no particular order)

Aaron Rowand – 300
Shane Victorino - Inoculators
Brad Hawpe – Inoculators and Jessica Alba
Jose Valverde - Smurfs
Al Reyes – Tones
Hunter Pence – Zou
Yovani Gallardo – Zou
Kelly Johnson – Inoculators
Mark Buehrle – Jessica Alba
JJ Hardy – Phantom Menaces
Rich Hill – KC
Brandon Phillips - Inoculators

For fun, here is the list of the Five Plus One worst Free Agent Pickups of the Season:

5) A.J Pierzynski by Jessica Alba
4) Homer Bailey by The Zou
3) Anthony Reyes by Jessica Alba
2) Jason Kendall by Jessica Alba
1) Kip Wells by Jessica Alba

Bonus: John Buck by Jessica Alba

Friday, August 3, 2007

From 4 to 1

Is Ryan Braun the next Albert Pujols?

My brain has many thoughts. Here are some examples:

I have this creepy feeling like the Cardinals are going to win their division again.
I have to pee.

(Hold on, I’ll be back…)

The Royals must sign pitching before hitting this season, even if it means they don’t get a “masher.”
I have a feeling a BIG trade involving either Teahen or DeJesus will happen this offseason.
If my understanding of the fantasy playoff system is correct, the Phantom Menaces will not make the playoffs.
It’s almost football season…
Electricity, at times, can be gay.

See, I have thoughts. Now that we have proven that I have them, here are my thoughts on the four teams I think will make the playoffs and the team I feel will eventually win it all. I will start at “4” and work my way down…or up…or whatever way it is.

4) Tones

I do not think the Tones are all that good. What the Tones do have going for them is an insane infield lineup and the best pitcher in the game. The problem is, at least for this year, is that hitting cannot lead your team to victory in this league. You need pitching. Outside of Johan Santana, the Tones do not have anyone consistent enough to get them far in the playoffs.

What will get the Tones into the playoffs is that the Phantom Menaces will get in too big of a hole in the month of August. Injuries have killed that team. KC is 1-4 the last five weeks (and is losing 117.5 to -23.5 this week) and Jessica Alba is, well, Jessica Alba.

I think the Tones will be strong enough to take that division, but I do not think he will fair well in the playoffs.

One thing is for sure, however: If the Tones decided to keep any combination of Pujols, Reyes, Wright and Santana and has a solid draft, he will be very tough to beat next season.

3) Smurfs

It’s not that I don’t like this team, because I do. How could you not like a team with AROD, Alex Rios, Gary Sheffield, Eric Bedard and Aaron Harang?

The problem is that he made no moves to get better over the deadline. My understanding is that he is operating under the “If it’s not broken, don’t fix it” rule. And right now, to his credit, nothing is broken. He has the best record in the league at 11-6, has an offense that has produced more runs, home runs and triples than any other team in the league and he has a pitching staff that includes the highest point producing pitcher (Bedard).

But here are some things he may not have considered:

Eric Bedard is 13-19 with a 4.20 ERA in the second half of the season for his career. He also has a significantly higher BB/9 ratio in the second half. He is also 2-8 with at 5.30 ERA in his career for the month of August.

Aaron Harang fairs better than Bedard in the second half with a career 26-23 record. But Harang sees a sharp increase in walks in the second half of the season and a significant increase in his ERA. Since the Reds will not be playing for anything, one has to wonder if Harang will get the run support he needs to continue winning games at his current rate.

Carlos Lee, the slugging left fielder, generally struggles in the month of August. His .287/.335./.465 clip is by far his worst month of the season for his career. Lee also strikes out far more in August than he does in any other month. September is not much better for Lee as he is a .288 hitter and slugs .473 – this is down from his .500+ slugging months of May through July.

Surprisingly, even Alex Rodriguez has his weaknesses. His September numbers are by far and away his worst numbers of the year. He is a career .278 hitter in September (compared to .300+ in every month but July where he hits .296) with less power and more strikeouts.

The point is that it is a huge risk staying pat as other teams around you get better. Consider that the Boston Red Sox, despite having the best record in the majors, made a trade at the deadline to improve their team. Same with the Braves, Mets, Padres, Dodgers and Phillies. I think not doing anyting to his roster will end up hurting the Smurfs in the end.

2) Inoculators

The Inoculators have several great and important pieces to help in a run for the league title.

First is Jake Peavy. Peavy is a healthy, strikeout pitcher, in the best pitchers park in baseball, who is at his best in the second half of the season and is in a playoff race. One cannot ask for more than that for their stud pitcher.

Peavy is backed, as he is in real life, by Chris Young who has this thing about not allowing hits or runs. He also strikes out his fair share of batters. The two concerns with Young would be his health and his tendency to give up more runs in the second half than he does in the first. Young is currently on the DL with a minor Oblique strain. It is said he could have pitched on his regularly scheduled start, but they opted to put him on the DL to protect him for the stretch run. Young’s second half ERA, which is 4.09 is partially inflated because of his time in Texas, but it is something to keep an eye on. Young’s second half record is 11-5 for his career.

The Inoculators also has pitchers who are generally hot and are in some kind of playoff chase. Carlos Zambrano (7-1, 1.53 ERA in his last 8 starts), Kelvim Escobar (5-2, 2.75 ERA in last 10 starts) and John Maine (6-1, 2.73 ERA in last 8 starts) are all pitching extremely well as they head into the final two months of tight races for their respective divisions.

Everyday Jeremy Guthrie continues to pitch well is an added bonus. Same with Javier Vazquez, who could still get traded to a contending team via a waiver deal.

The Inoculators have the number one ranked closer in fantasy in J.J. Putz who is also playing on a contending team. Brett Meyers’ ability to close games and fill a start position on the fantasy roster allows the Inoculators to start three closers everyday. The addition of Kerry Wood, who may end up closing games for the Cubs, could boost that number to four closers active all at once.

Needless to say, the Inoculators have a good enough pitching staff to win it for them. The offense is a different subject.

Prince Fielder has hit only two homers since the All-Star break. Hanley Ramirez has separated his shoulder and is a concern for the rest of the season, even though he is still playing. Billy Butler is the DH for the Inoculators, which is asking a lot of a guy who has shown average power thus far.

There are bright spots. Manny Ramirez and Bobby Abreu are warming up from their first half disasters. Brian Roberts, with the injury to Chase Utley, is the top second baseman in fantasy and Eric Byrnes should be slugging his way through the second half to increase his stock on the free agent market for the offseason.

Alex Gordon and Jarrod Saltalamacchia are two guys who could provide surprise points to this squad.

But if the Inoculators want to win the league, their pitching is what is going to have to do it for them.

1) Zou

The Zou is not number one because of their deadline deal with 300 or because they have a superior roster. To be honest, the 300 trade may have hurt the Zou for this season and they do not have a better roster than the Smurfs or the Inoculators.

What the Zou does have is luck.

This is not to say the Zou is a bad squad and is not meant to be an insult. To be honest, if someone wants to win a fantasy title, luck is needed to get it done. The Zou appears to have the most luck so far.

Consider the free agent pick ups of C.C. Sabathia, John Maine, James Shields, Yovani Gallardo, Oliver Perez, Hunter Pence and Ryan Braun and you’ll get the point.

Granted there is skill involved in picking those guys up (except for maybe C.C. Sabathia, the guy who dropped him is an idiot), but at the same time no one expected Ryan Braun to hit home runs at the same pace Lindsay Lohan is picking up DUI’s.

The strength of the Zou’s roster is its pitching. Veterans Tim Hudson (5-0, 2.31 ERA in last 7 starts), John Smoltz (5-3, 2.54 ERA in last 11 starts) and Ben Sheets (currently on the DL) – all of whom are in playoff chases ­– anchor a slew of young, talented arms. Here is a (long) list of them:

Dan Haren 7-1, 3.46 ERA in last 10 starts
Tim Lincecum – 4-0, 1.34 ERA in last 6 starts
Oliver Perez – 10-7, 3.00 ERA this season
James Shields – 8-7, 128 K this season
Yovani Gallardo – 3-0, 2.68 ERA, 37 IP, 32 K in 6 starts this season
Fausto Carmona – 5-1, 1.74 ERA, 34 K in his last 6 starts
Cole Hamels – 4-3, 3.43 ERA, 52 K in last 10 starts
Daisuke Matsuzaka – 5-5, 2.65 ERA, 74 K in last 11 starts
Phil Hughes – 6.1, 6 Ks in his last start before getting hurt

An issue with young pitching is expirence and the chance for a burn out. Here are the career highs in innings pitchers for all of them: high (year) [this season IP]

Dan Haren – 223 (2006) [155]
Tim Lincecum – 98.1 (2007)
Oliver Perez – 196 (2004 – last two years: 103, 112.1) [120]
James Shields – 151 (2007)
Yovani Gallardo – 46.1 (2007)
Fausto Carmona – 137.2 (2007)
Cole Hamels – 146.2 (2007)
Daisuke Matsuzaka – 144 IP (2007, does not include time in Japan)
Phil Hughes – 10.2 (2007)

Ignoring Dice-K, 6 of the 8 pitchers on this list have already reached career highs, many of whom have blasted their career highs, in innings pitched this season. At what point do these guys wear down?

But most of these pitchers will hold up. Why? Because Erik has the luck flowing for him this season. Ryan Braun anyone? Not to say it doesn’t take skill to know Braun is going to be good and to pick him up (it should be noted I picked him up for a week or two) but for Braun to hit 18 home runs and bat .343 is rather ridiculous. Want to know how ridiculous that is? Look at this:

In year of debut, at least 15 HR, 50 RBI, BA .325 or higher:

Albert Pujols - .329, 37, 130 (161 games, 2001) Future Hall of Famer
Ted Williams - .327, 31, 145 (149 games, 1939) HOF
Dale Alexander - .343, 25, 137 (155 games, 1929) 2 batting titles in five MLB seasons, but career ended by leg injuries
Johnny Frederick - .328, 24, 75 (148 games, 1929) Career shortened by injuries after 6 seasons
Johnny Mize - .329, 19, 93 (126 games, 1936) HOF
Ryan Braun - .343, 18, 50 (61 games, 2007) Erik’s hero
Earl Averill - .332, 18, 96 (151 games, 1929) HOF
George Watkins - .373, 17, 87 (119 games, 1930) Was 30-years-old in year of debut


The luck is on Erik’s side, that is why he gets the nod at number one.

One other thing:

Albert Pujols (first 61 games): .352, 18, 58
Ryan Braun (first 61 games): .343, 18, 50

Just saying...

Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Live Trade Deadline Blog

Check back later (Wednesday) for blog on the Top 3 teams in the league and more...




300 trades Dice-K, Cole Hamels and Fausto Carmona to the Zou for CC Sabathia, Justin Verlander and a 10th round pick.

Interesting trade.

For this season, and comparing rosters, the Zou probably wins this trade on that level. Maybe.
There is a lot of risk on the Zou's part here. Hamels has been dominant, but is young. Same with Dice-K. With Carmona there has to be a fear of hitting the wall later on in the season.

300 may be too far out of it for Sabathia and Verlander to get them back into it. But the move does keep them competitive.

Ultimately, I think 300 wins this trade and this is why:

Dice-K, Hamels and Carmonoa are unproven in stretch runs. The Phillies are in a division with Atlanta and the Mets. Playing each other down the stretch will be difficult for Hamels.

Carmona is battling with the Twins and Tigers. Each with great offenses who can mash Carmona if he tires.

Dice-K gets the AL East. A Yankee team that hit 8 home runs today. A slugging Toronto team. The D-Rays and O's can hit. And Dice-K, while striking a lot of batters out, does have a rather mediorce WHIP. Additionally (i've said that word a lot tonight), Dice-K seems to struggle in cold weather games (with the exception of the game versus KC, of course).

Sabathia and Verlander are two proven guys who would probably be more consistent and dependable.

He does get great keeper options with Hamels and Carmona. But Zou already had that with a HOST of other players. I don't know if this deal was worth it.

300, I think, walks away with all of the cards. First, he remains competitive and will at least play a spoiler roll.

Additionally, if he keeps Verlander, Sabathia and Martin, he will only lose his 11th, 27th and 28th round picks. And he gains a 10th rounder to replace the 11th round pick.

This, assuming 300 has a good draft, would almost automatically make him the team to beat next season.

SF 3, LAD 1 - Top 7

Bonds reaches on an error by Furcal. Wow.

Bonds could still get another AB in the 9th. I hope he doesn't so my prediction is correct.


A little taste of football...


SF 3, LAD 1

Bonds walks again. I'm looking more and more like a genious for my prediction.

The same cannot be said for trading him.


Rumors are now spreading that the Zou is shoping Crawford and/or Sizemore...


Viva El Birdos on the Cardinals trade:

The Cardinals picked up Joel Piniero for a ptbnl [player to be named later]. this guy's career era away from capacious safeco field is above 5.00. even in his good years (2002-03) his era was largely a ballpark illusion --- more than 1.50 lower at home than on the road in both seasons. i don't know why the cardinals even bother with players like this . . .

so now they're buyers again?

seems to me this is the type of decision-making that got the cardinals into trouble in the first place. before the 2006 playoffs began, the cardinals were prepared to make some major off-season changes, but they changed their minds after a hot and somewhat lucky october. the front office deluded itself that 16 postseason games were a more accurate gauge of the team's ability than four months of poor play; the plans to retool were shelved, and the cardinals decided instead to reassemble the october team. another four months of poor play have ensued. . . . . and now the team is shelving plans to retool because of three games??? i guess the thinking is that if they can just shrug off one or two 5-0 deficits every week from now through the end of the year, the division is there for the taking.



In Dayton We Trust on the Royals trade:

Jayson Stark just reported on Baseball Tonight that the Atlanta Braves have agreed to the Kyle Davies for Octavio Dotel trade. This happened seconds after Buster Olney, same network, reported that the Mark Teixeira deal was finalized. Apparently one of the Braves' minor league pitchers heading to Texas had to pass the physical -- if he didn't, Davies would have taken his place in the trade. As is, Davies is coming to Kansas City, Dotel's going to Atlanta and Braves GM John Schuerholz is still working the phones trying to get Bronson Arroyo from Cincinnati.

I think we have a new favorite to win the NL East. Talk about going for broke though... giving up the four best prospects in your organization -- that includes Jarrod Saltalamacchia (No. 1) and Kyle Davies (top 5, anyway) -- with more left to be traded (for Arroyo) qualifies.

I think we'll be seeing Davies, currently in Triple A, in a Kansas City Royals uniform within the week.


Another thing I have learned about live blogging:

Restroom breaks are rare...

Ill be back.


Buzão do inferno!

Posted Mar 10, 2007

A drag racing school bus, that pops wheelies and shoots fireworks all the way down the strip. Hell Yeah!


There are rumors that the Smurfs are going after Dice-K. Some of the players being discussed involved Alex Rios and one of the Smurfs' closers. I'll keep you posted.

All zero of you...


If the draft for next season were to happen today and the suggested point changes were made, this is what I think the draft would look like:

1) Alba - Yodier Molina

2) 300 - Johan Santana

3) KC - David Wright (he will then drop him)

4) Zou - Justin Upton

5) Inoc. - Albert Pujols

6) PM - Ryan Howard

7) Tones - Ichiro

8) Smurfs - AROD


Here are five things I have learned about live blogging over the last four hours:

1) Pick a comfortable chair. I'm killing myself right now for my poor decision.

2) Living blogging is a lot more fun when people respond. I feel like I have been talking to myself for four hours.

3) It is very tough to blog and eat at the same time.

4) Zero trades have gone down today. It should be noted that this is a live blog about the trading deadline.

5) I really want to do this live blogging thing again... A live playoff blog perhaps???


SF 1, LAD 1 - BOT 3

Bonds is walked. My prediction is coming closer to being true...



4) PM - Losing Utley has hurt, but replacing him with Kent is VERY NICE *in Borat accent*.

I like his pitching, but I do not like his depth. Example? Matt Morris.

I am interested to see who Kimball decides to keep. I am also interested if he is planning on me drafting his team again.


NYM 2, MIL 2 - Top 9

No 300 for Glavine.

I will now predict that Bonds does not homer tonight.


Brad Penny is on the mound for the mound for the Dodgers tonight. He is currently 13-1 with a 2.48 ERA.

Last season, Penny started 10-2 before finishing 16-9. Though in the 15 starts following his 10-2 start, Penny only had 5 bad starts. Run support became an issue. Penny had 9 starts where he allowed 4 runs or less.

In his 13-1 start this season, Penny has had only 3 starts where he has allowed 4 or more runs. Penny's ERA in his 13 wins is 1.32.

In his one loss, he gave up 8 runs.

Penny is tied for 10th amongst starting pitchers with 380 points.



The Royals have 4 no-hitters in their history. They have been no-hit once. It was by Nolan Ryan.

So here's a question: If the only time one has been no-hit was by Nolan Ryan, does it really count?

Additionally, since 1957 the Cardinals have 5 no-hitters and have been no-hit 6 times.

This proves the Cardinals got lucky when they won the World Series last year...



Tones trade Carlos Guillen and Dice-K to 300 for Joe Blanton, Barry Bonds and Jose Reyes.

The Tones did not get enough value for Dice-K. Barry Bonds is done for the season after he breaks Aaron's record and Joe Blanton is too average on a team that will not be in the chase for the playoffs. Jose Reyes is a great player, but, if the goal is to win the league this year, he wont be enough.

Additionally, it looks like Jimmy Rollins is the best SS in the league. But for 300 to only receive Dice-K for Reyes is not acceptable. But, from 300's point of view, I understand his plan.

But even though I understand that plan, I don't think it makes much sense for this season or next.


SF 0, LAD 0 - BOT 1

Barry Bonds strikes out in first at-bat.



5) Springfield KC - I don't know what to think about you. So I won't say anything about.

GO FOR 50!!!!


KC 3, MIN 5 F

Four-run second turns out to be a "bad inning" for the Royals.

Effing NL Central...


STL 6, PIT 4 F

Tony LaRusa is a drunkard.


NYM 2, MIL 1 - TOP 8

Glavine left the game after 6 innings. He is in line for the win.


CHW 3, NYY 16 F

AROD did not hommer. The rest of the Yankees did though...


Speaking of Pujols, he is really good. But not as good as AROD. I think.

Look at these stats from their first 5 full seasons:

Pujols: 790 games, .332, 201 HR, 621 RBI, 1.040 OPS
AROD: 790 games, .309, 189 HR, 595 RBI, .935 OPS

AROD was 24 at game 790 while Pujols was 25. Hmmm...

One problem though. I don't think Pujols is REALLY 27. He's probably 36.




STL 6, PIT 4 - BOT 9

Pujols is gay.


BOS 3, BAL 5 - TOP 8

David Ortiz has hit his second home run of the game. Glad I traded him. Neat. Bastard.

Bedard was done after six innings. Here is his line:
6 IP, 2 H, 2 ER, 5 BB, 6 K

Beckett is still on the mound for BOS.


CHW 3, NYY 16 - TOP 8

The Yankees have hit 8 home runs by seven different players. None of those players have the nickname of "AROD."


Speaking of Royals trades, I have these opinions:

1) I cannot say they should have taken another deal. Indications are that Dotel for Hu, or Dotel for Abreu, or Dotel for the kid from Seatle were not actual proposed deals. Of course, if any of these deals were possible, I think we should have taken them. But my impression is that they were not available.

2) Something else is coming. Maybe not over the waiver wires, but something BIG is going to happen in terms of a trade. Just watch.

3) Listening to Moore, I get the impression like they already know what the problem is with Davies. If this is so, and Davis shows improvement by having an ERA of 4.50 or lower to finish the season, then I think the Royals got a steal.

If not...well, who really cares? That is, assuming the other deals (Hu, Abreu, Seatle Kid) were not available.


Eric Karabell on the Cardinals trade:

Joel Pineiro to the Cardinals: Not much to see here, folks, move along. The Red Sox didn't want Pineiro, and seeing as how Cardinals pitching coach Dave Duncan thinks he can fix pretty much everyone (see Jeff Weaver), getting Pineiro isn't the worst move, especially since the Cards have depth issues in the rotation and the bullpen. Jason Isringhausen was not dealt, and Ryan Franklin is having a terrific season setting him up. I'd think Pineiro could end up starting, and replacing Mike Maroth, who has been worse than anyone expected since coming over from Detroit.


Eric Karabell on the Royals trade:

Octavio Dotel to Braves for Kyle Davies: Like Gagne, Dotel just lost his value. I suppose it's possible Bob Wickman pitches poorly enough to lose the closer role, or gets hurt at some point, but let's not call Dotel the next incarnation of Dennis Eckersley, either. Dotel was at his best as a setup man with the Astros, years ago. He was an average closer since then, and even this year in Kansas City, he wasn't special. The Braves now have dual right-handed flamethrowers setting up the passive Wickman, in Dotel and Rafael Soriano. I would think Dotel is the seventh-inning guy for now.

The Royals will turn to a better reliever, frankly, to close out games. Joakim Soria picked up 10 saves early in the season, lost his job to Dotel, then really got going. Soria has been touched for earned runs in two of his last three outings, but before that, he didn't allow a run in 17 straight outings. His season WHIP is 1.04. Dotel's is 1.51. Don't try to sell me on Zack Greinke. Soria is a fine closer already. By the way, you don't want Kyle Davies. If he had an ERA of 5.76 with the Braves, imagine what it will look like as a Royal. Yikes.

• Joel Pineiro to the Cardinals: Not much to see here, folks, move along. The Red Sox didn't want Pineiro, and seeing as how Cardinals pitching coach Dave Duncan thinks he can fix pretty much everyone (see Jeff Weaver), getting Pineiro isn't the worst move, especially since the Cards have depth issues in the rotation and the bullpen. Jason Isringhausen was not dealt, and Ryan Franklin is having a terrific season setting him up. I'd think Pineiro could end up starting, and replacing Mike Maroth, who has been worse than anyone expected since coming over from Detroit.


CHW 3, NYY 14 - BOT 7

White Sox suck.

AROD 0-4. He sucks. He's not a TRUE Yankee. They should get rid of him. Send him to the Royals.



6) Tones - The lineup is amazing, but ask 300 what an amazing lineup got him...

You do have Johan, but Felix did not (and is not) going to turn out this season they way we thought he would at the beginning of the season. I would have traded King Felix over Dice-K, but you didn't.

You also lost Russell Martin who will play out to be a much better keeper option than Martinez. You also lost Liriano.

I will state, however, that if you keep Santana, Pujols and either Reyes or Wright, you will have a great start to next season.


As of 8:23 in the post morning, these are the current fantasy scores:

Inoc. 92.5, Tones 22.5
Zou 68, PM -3
Smurfs 56.5, KC -30
300 54.5, Alba 34

Do not take this personally "KC" but I sorta hope you go crazy for minus 100+. I think it would be cool and funny.

Additionally, it would give something for Alba to shoot for (the lowest total points in a week title). I currently hold that record with an astounding 49 points in week 4.

Actually, I really want to keep that record now...GO KC! THE RUN FOR 50 BEGINS!!!


NYM 0, MIL 1 - Bot 5

Apparently, Jeff Suppan is pissed. I say this because he has given up only 1 hit in 5 innings.



Inoculators trade David Ortiz and Cole Hamels to 300 for Kelvim Escobar, John Maine, Javier Vazquez

I'm going to regret this trade aren't I....

AT ANY RATE this should help me get through August and September pitching wise and the addition of Cole Hamels to 300 will give him a great keeper prospect.

The great thing about this trade is that now I have no DH...wait.


Bedard v Beckett

BOS 2, BAL 5 - BOT 6

Beckett is still in there...

He does have six Ks though...

Bedard has five Ks...




Did you know that AROD could hit his 500 home run, Tom Glavine could win his 300 game and Barry Bonds could hit home run 755 today?

I think the order of impressiveness goes as such:

1) AROD's 500
2) Glavine's 300
3) Bonds 755

Why do I feel this way? Because I heard Bonds is gay, Glavine got lucky and I REALLY like AROD's wife's wardrobe.


STL 3, PIT 2 - Top 7

Ryan Ludwick doubles home Scott Rolen to give the Cards a 3-2.

I think I may go piss my pants.


Bob Davis is in the radio booth while Denny Mathews recovers from the HOF induction ceramonies.

Davis, who I dislike tremendously, had this great pearl of wisdom during the Royals DREADFUL bottom of the second:

"This has been and really bad inning for the Royals."

Well said...idiot.


KC 1, MIN 4

So, I go off and bash LaRue and what does he do? Hit a solo home run.

With this in mind...



NYY 11, CHW 3 - Bot 5

Jose Contraras gives up 7 runs in 2.2 innings.

The Yankees have 5 home runs in the game. None of them from AROD (more on AROD later).

Someone on the radio made a great point today that maybe the reason why the White Sox are sucking this year may be in part to the Royals trading Chicago Sisco and MacDougal. I like this thought and therefore is the reason why the White Sox suck.

Go Dayton Moore! (more on him later too)



7) 300 - Dude, this is what you get for doing steroids. Bastard.

One thing I will not is the guys he has to choose from for keeper prospects. Additionally, he will have the second pick in the draft if he chooses to not keep a first round player.

His best keeper prospect, to me, is Fausto Carmona because he will cost nothing, not that Hamels will, and I feel he has a better shot at repeating the season he is having more than Hamels. But I am REALLY good at being wrong.

So with that in mind: 300, you suck.


As a Royals fan, explain to me why Jason LaRue ever plays for the Royals?

Buck: 69 G, .241, 16 HR, 35 RBI and 113 OPS+

LaRue: 43 G, .158, 3 HR, 10 RBI and 39 OPS+

39 OPS+!!!!!!!!!!!!! SERIOUSLY!!!!!!!!!!!!!! How the hell do you play a guy with a 39 OPS+ nearly HALF the time?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!

But hear is what REALLY makes no sense. The Royals are 18-19 when LaRue starts... Baseball is weird.


Trade #2

Inoculators send Barry Bonds and Brandon Phillips to for Chad Billingsly and Brian Roberts.

This trade will benefit the Inoculators if Roberts is kept for next season. His stolen bases and run production will be more valuable than Brandon Phillips not only for the rest of this season, but for next season as well.

Bonds, after he breaks the home run record, will suck for the rest of the season.

Which is why Bonds will probably go off for 30 steroid induced home runs...


KC 0, MIN 1 - Bot 2

Torri Hunter hits a bomb aproximately 956,871 feet. De La Rosa has given up 19 home runs on the season. He then followed by walking a guy. Nice pick up for Springfield KC.


BOS 2, BAL 4 - Top 5

How do you make a bases loaded, two men out situation anti-clamatic? Send Julio Lugo up to bat.

Bedard still up on Beckett. Though it should be noted that Bedard has FOUR walks to three strikeouts.


STL 2, Pit 2




With two months left in the season, this is how I feel the league will end up (in Power Rankings for...every 15 minutes):

8) Jessica Alba - Sorry Joel, but your team sucks. I feel that your lack of knowledge of who Liriano is and that you drafted or picked up the entire Cardinals roster killed you. My suggestion for the offseason: find out who Liriano is and other players not on the Cardinals.

With that said, I did enjoy losing to you the fifth week of the season...


A really fun story.



Bedard v Beckett

Bedard gives up a two-run bomb to David Ortiz, who 300 recently picked up, to put Boston on the board.

BOS 2, BAL 4 - Bot 4


STL 2, PIT 1 - Bot 4th

The Cardinals had Pujols (via walk) on second and Encarnarcion (via single) on first with no one out before Scott Rolen grounded into a double play. Lucky for the Cardinals, Molina decided to use his one hit per week and knocked in Pujols.

The point is that Rolen is worse that Alex Gordon. You see, Gordon would have struck out, leaving two outs left for someone else who cant hit to drive in the run.


Bedard vs Beckett

Beckett gives up three in the top of the 3rd, but does have 4 strikeouts on the night.

BOS 0, BAL 4


First, look at this.

With this in mind, the current 2nd inning score in Chitown in 4-3 Yankees. Are the Yanks cursed this year? I hope so. With the pick ups Boston made today, the Yanks are going to have to deal with their streak of nine straight division titles ending. YAY! Although, I wish Tampa would go crazy and pass them or something...that would be fun.


STL 1, PIT 1

The REAL Cardinals picked up Joel Pinero (spelling) today for someone who will probably win 300 games (or at least I hope so).

How screwed are the Cardinals as a team? Really? What is really sad is that they are only six games out of first in the Central, which pisses me off. I think the Royals are a better team than the Cardinals this year yet the Cardinals are a hot streak away for winning the division again. How gay is that?


Atkins has a three-run double to give Colorado a 4-0. PLEASE SOMEONE TRADE FOR THIS GUY!!!!!


Chuck James gives up a first inning bomb to Lance Berkman. Minus 3 for the Smurfs... YES!!!!!! Plus 6 for the Zou...BOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!!!!!


Top 5 Keeper Prospects:

5) Guthrie
4) Prince Fielder
3) Ryan Braun
2) Tim Lincicum
1) Y. Gillardo...or something like that. The kid from the Brewers



Bedard vs Beckett (correction)

Bedard has the one-run lead after the Brian Roberts home run.

Beckett is going to be very interesting next year because he is certainly worth having the the first half of the season, but do you want to waste a keeper spot on him for only one good half of baseball??? I guess that is for Alba to decide....


Carmona gets through two vs TEX without a run...


Not to jinx myself, but Aaron Cook strikes out two in the first inning of his game versus Florida. The down side is that both H. Ramirez and M. Cabrera are on my team. Minus Two for Ramirez. However. Bobby Abreu did hit a three-run homer for me in the first vs the CHW.


Trade #1

Tones send Russell Martin and Francisco Liriano to 300 for Victor Martinez and Jon Lester

I think the Tones got screwed over in this trade. Liriano was a great keeper prospect and Russell Martin is the best pure catcher in the league. I do not think Martinez will be a cater next season and with the Tones having Pujols, it would make little sense to keep both. Additionally, I do not think this improves the Tones chances of winning the division because, aside for Santana, he has next to nothing.

300 got great trade bait or keeper potential in Liriano and Martin, to me, is a better keeper prospect than Martinez is. Although, I do not see Andrew keeping Martin so everyone should keep him in mind for next season's draft.


Bedard v Beckett

Beckett is staked to an early 1-0 lead after a Brian Roberts solo-HR. Roberts was recently traded to the Inocluators with Chad Billingsly for Barry Bonds and Brandon Phillips.


The East Coast games are getting ready to start so lets take a quick look at some starters to watch and a quick thought:

Aaron Cook, Col, Inoc. Note: Nielsen is going to regret this.
Chuck James, Atl, Smurfs Note: If only Teixeira was there...
Erik Bedard, Bal, Smurfs Note: Where exactly did he come from???
Brandon Webb, Ari, Smurfs Note: What happened to him this season?
Jorge De La Rosa, KC, KC Note: Um...uh oh.
Noah Lowry, SF, KC Note: At LAD. Good luck.
Dan Haren, Oak, Zou Note: Really good and I don't know why.
Justin Verlander, Det, Zou Note: Really good and I know why.
Adam Wainwright, StL, Zou Note: Will eliminate anything Verlander gains.
Brad Penny, LAD, PM Note: Most underrated pitcher in our league.
Tom Glavine, NYM, PM Note: Going for 300 tonight.
Jason Marquis, CHC, 300 Note: Going for first place.
Fausto Carmona, Cle, 300 Note: Nice keeper prospect for 300.
John Lackey, LAAAAAAA, Alba Note: Surprising Cy Young candidate.
Josh Beckett, BOS, Alba Note: Will fall off in the second half.


Carlos Beltran (CF, Mets, Smurfs) to 15-Day DL with a hamstring injury.


The live trade deadline blog is NOW! Everything you want to cover will be covered here: past trades, current trade rumors, current fantasy matchups, keepers, the Royals and Cardinals games, random baseball stuff and anything else you want to talk about.

Be apart of the live blog by sending comments via the comment section in the blog, IM, facebook or the thread on the league page. You can also email me at



Before we begin, everyone must read the blog post above.


The live trade deadline blog will begin at 6 pm. Everything you want to cover will be covered here: past trades, current trade rumors, current fantasy matchups, keepers, the Royals and Cardinals games, random baseball stuff and anything else you want to talk about.

Be apart of the live blog by sending comments via the comment section in the blog, IM, facebook or the thread on the league page. You can also email me at

I'll be back at 6 p.m. See you then!


Thursday, July 19, 2007

Two Blogs in One: 5 Really Bad Trades and 9 Reasons to Hate the Smurfs

Chris Young was apart of one of the worst deals so far this season.

In 1987 the Kansas City Royals needed a catcher. A year removed from their first World Series Championship and after appearing in two World Series in seven years, the Royals felt that they were a player away from getting back to the series. And why not? They still had the tandem of George Brett and Frank White on the right side of the infield. Willie Wilson still patrolled center field and two young, slugging corner outfielders, Danny Tartablull and Bo Jackson.

All they needed was a young catcher. So, they turned to the World Series Champion New York Mets for their answers, trading a minor league prospect for a 26-year-old World Series Champion catcher named Ed Hearn.

However, Hearn would only play 13 games for the Royals in two seasons. Freak health problems led to three kidney transplants. Hearn was soon thereafter diagnosed with skin cancer. The Royals never got their young catcher.

The man they traded to get Hearn? A young pitcher by the name of David Cone. The same man who would win a Cy Young, World Series and throw a perfect game.

Trading, sometimes, can lead to disaster.

So far this year there have been 21 trades – but only five can be the Five Dumbest Trades of 2007.

5) Alba trades David Wright to Tones for Bronson Arroyo

Why: This trade may came back to haunt Alba at the end of the season. Looking at his roster, you will note that there are not very many "keeper-like" players on his roster. Wright is a good, young third baseman playing for a team that spends money. Additionally, he has Jose Reyes and Carlos Beltran hitting in front of him, providing several RBI opportunities.

Arroyo, by the way, was later dropped by Alba.

4) Smurfs trade Roy Halladay and Joe Nathan for Carlos Lee

Why: Carlos Lee is a nice pick-up. No doubt. But really, is he worth BOTH Roy Halladay AND Joe Nathan? Really? Additionally, Lee plays on a team where no one gets on base. Driving in runs and scoring at the pace he is at is going to be difficult. Especially late in the season when they are out of the race and younger, less experienced players are getting their hacks.

3) Alba trades Matt Holliday and Kevin Youkillis to 300 for Torii Hunter and Edgar Renteria

Why: Halliday and Youkillis are each having great seasons. Both are young and play for teams with great home parks and killer lineups.

Alba managed to trade both of them for older players on teams with weaker lineups. Well done.

2) Alba trades Chris Young to 300 for Melvin Mora

Why: If I have to give an explanation for this than your name is probably Joel.


Somehow, May 7, 2007, 300 managed to trade their entire team to for Albert Pujols and Ian Snell. Of seven players traded to 300 in the three trades made that REALLY early morning, only Snell and Blanton are still on the roster.

As for the Inoculators? Cole Hamels, David Ortiz, Roy Oswalt and Carlos Zambrano are still leading the miraculous charge from 0-5 and last place to 8-7 and second place.

300 now resides in last place.

Go figure.

(Note: All insults made towards Jason are a joke and are not serious feelings. Jason is more than welcome to write a response and make fun of me if he wishes.)

(Another note: What I wrote in the above note was a lie.)

I'm not going to lie about this, the one team I REALLY don't want to win this league is the "Krunk" Smurfs. Seriously, I can't stand that team.

Next to no skill has been used to build his 10-5, first place roster.

This is made evident in the following nine reasons why everyone should hate the Smurfs:

9) As in the number 9. Nine would be the TOTAL amount of roster moves made by the Smurfs this year. Clearly this is a sign that the Smurfs feel invincible. Which means he is cocky. Which means he is a bad Christian. Which means everyone should hate him.

8) Remember the draft? Remember how we did it in an AIM chat room? Remember how SOMEONE kept leaving and entering the chat room throughout the entire draft? Remember how SOMEONE took 50 years to enter his draft pick? I do.

7) Aaron Harang. Explain to me please how a man on a team that has lost 55 games, plays like they want the season to end tomorrow and has done all of this despite being in a division with Houston, St. Louis and Pittsburgh. Consider that and note that Harang's numbers are nothing short of, well, good? Not great. Not amazing. Not spectacular. Just decent. Yet somehow he is 10-2 (TWO LOSSES ON A 55 LOSS TEAM! WHAT KIND OF LUCK IS THAT?!) with WAY too many fantasy points. I cannot tell you how much this bugs me. What bugs me more is that he won't trade him even though the Reds are on the verge of tankig (if they aren't already).

6) He is a Mizzou fan.

5) All trade proposals, up to last week, made to the Smurfs always, somehow, mysteriously disappear. Not only does the Smurfs NOT reject your trade, he taunts you by making sit there for a week wondering if he ever get the message. What a pompous jerk.

4) The Smurfs NEVER comments on blogs or message boards. Ever.

Now, I know the individual who runs the Phantom Menaces has not commented publicly on a post, but he is restricted by SBU from commenting on anything I write. It is in his contract. So I understand his plight.

Jason is a different story. He is ignoring all of us because he thinks he is better than all of us. Well you are wrong Jason, you are only better than MOST of us. Kimball is better than you.

3) I am convinced he is the reason why the Royals have been terrible the last few years.

I am sure Jason has been acting as an agent for the Cardinals, injuring Sweeney every time he sees him and putting a curse on Royals ownership from doing anything smart.

Well, the chosen one is here Jason. His name is Dayton Moore. He can see through all of your wickedness.

2) The Smurfs are perpetuating the East Coast Bias. Six of his nine starting batters are on East Coast teams. Four of his seven backup position players are on East Coast teams. Five of the 14 pitchers on his roster are on East Coast teams.

Maybe we should rename the Smurfs to ESPN.

Jerk. It is people like you who make it tough on the blue collar workers of the midwest. I can't stand you.

1) HIS NAME IS THE "KRUNK SMURFS"! Seriously, how ridiculously ... umm ... ridiculous is that? COME ON! HE USED THE WORD "KRUNK"! AND HE IS WHITE!

Now, using the word "Krunk" may have been funny if Jason was SO white that this would be funny because it would be the exact opposite of him. The problem is that, as stated previously, Jason is a MIZZOU fan which makes him white trash. This is not the context is which humor can be derived.

And "Smurfs"? Really? I have a question – are you sure you're straight? I mean, you're a Mizzou fan, you named your team after a little blue cartoon man, you drafted Alex Rodriguez ... there is no way you could be straight.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

The Zou is on fire

Oops. Wrong pic. My bad.

The Zou has outscored everybody in The League by more than 400 points,but yet they still have a losing record. How is that possible? Well, The Zou is so dependent on pitching that when none of their starters have two starts in a week or favorable match-ups, the team is a little week. Anyway, on to how they would do as a real team.

Line-up (including DH)
1. Grady Sizemore – CF - .279 AVG, 15 HR, 46 RBI, 25 SB
2. Michael Young – SS - .280, 4, 51, 6
3. Alfonso Soriano – DH - .308, 16, 36, 13
4. Lance Berkman – 1B - .261, 15, 60, 5
5. Ryan Braun – 3B - .349, 13, 36, 8
6. Hunter Pence – RF - .334, 11, 43, 8
7. Carl Crawford – LF - .281, 6, 52, 26
8. Jorge Posada – C - .330, 10, 50, 2
9. Robinson Cano – 2B - .271, 6, 41, 2

Pitching Staff
1. Dan Haren – 10-3, 2.33 ERA, 104 K, 35 BB, 1.03 WHIP
2. C.C. Sabathia – 12-4, 3.78, 125, 20, 1.20
3. Justin Verlander – 11-3, 3.26, 103, 40, 1.16
4. John Maine – 10-5, 2.91, 96, 43, 1.17
5. Tim Hudson – 9-5, 3.35, 79, 30, 1.19


Middle Relief – James Shields – 7-5, 3.98, 118, 20, 1.05
MR – Jered Weaver – 6-5, 3.36, 65, 32, 1.42
MR – Tim Lincecum – 4-2, 4.63, 79, 32, 1.25
Set-up – Jeremy Accardo – 2-3, 2.63, 39, 17, 1.22, 13 Saves
SU – Oliver Perez – 8-6, 3.13, 91, 40, 1.18
Closer – Mariano Rivera – 2-3, 3.41, 36, 5, 1.08, 13


For The Zou, it’s all about pitching and speed. There is probably not
another team out there that could match the starting five of Haren,
Sabathia, Verlander, Maine and Hudson. With that starting five, The Zou
will be in every game and has a legitimate chance to get 7 innings and 2
runs out of their starter every night.

The best thing to match with great starting pitching is great defense.
Unfortunately, The Zou does not have the great defense. On the infield,
only Berkman wields an above glove. Posada is a solid defensive
catcher, but his arm is no longer what it once was and he has problems
throwing out potential base stealers. At third, Braun is rapidly improving
with the glove, but his glove was so bad in spring training that his bat
was put in the minors for the great Tony Graffanino (nothing against
the guy, but his bat doesn’t compare to Braun’s and he’s a natural
second basemen). Michael Young mans short for The Zou, and while he has
improved every year since moving from second, he is still not an above
average shortstop. At second base is Cano. Cano is just an average
defensive second basemen. Overall, the infield is not very good. The
outfield however is another story. Crawford, Sizemore and Pence are all
above average outfielders and with their collective speed, I’m not sure a
ball would ever drop in the outfield. Add to that the arms of Sizemore and
Pence, and you probably have the best defensive outfield in the league so

The Zou’s line-up features speed, speed and more speed. Sizemore
leads off for The Zou and he is 25 for 28 this year in stealing bases.
Sizemore also has above average power and is the perfect lead-off man for
this type of team (minus his excessive strikeouts). Behind Sizemore is
Michael Young who won’t wow you at the plate but he can hit the ball
to the right side and move runners. In the heart of the line-up are
Soriano, Berkman and Braun. Soriano would return to his 40-40 type numbers
hitting in the three spot in front of Berkman. Berkman isn’t the best
number four bat in the game but he has solid power will have to do for
The Zou. In the five spot is Ryan Braun. Braun still hasn’t hit the
half way mark of a full season (he was called up about a month into the
season) and he has already hit 14 round-trippers and is hitting close
to .350. Following Braun is his twin, Hunter Pence, with a little more
speed and a little less power. After Pence is Crawford, who can create
runs on his own at the bottom of the line-up. Posada and Cano round out the
line-up with bats that will probably average in the .290’s with 15 homers.
Every player in The Zou’s line-up is a real threat to steal a base
sans Posada.

In the bullpen, The Zou feature a very solid middle relief crew of
Shields, Weaver and Lincecum. Shields, a strikeout artist with a great
change-up, has been one of the top pitchers in the AL this year and if he
played for a good team he would have 10 wins already. Weaver has solid
stuff but has yet to really put it together this year (he still sports
good numbers). Behind Shields and Weaver is the kid with the electric
stuff. Lincecum is starting to find his groove in the majors, as
evidenced by his last three starts, and would make a great middle reliever with
his 97 mph fastball, devastating curve and ever-improving change.
Behind the middle relievers, it gets a bit more sketchy. In the set-up
roles are Jeremy Accardo and Oliver Perez. Accardo has been solid this year
but has yet to put a whole year like this together. Perez has the
stuff and is starting to show the consistency to where he could be a great
late-innings lefty; however, he’s never done it before. At the back
of th
e bullpen is Mariano Rivera. Rivera had his yearly early season
struggles but has been lights out of late. Over the last month he has an ERA
of 1.13 and a WHIP of 1.00.With the game on the line, I’m not sure
there’s anybody else I’d rather give the ball to.

Overall, The Zou has great pitching and will put a ton of pressure on
the defense with their speed on the basepaths. This is the type of team
that would murder to coach against. With their pitching, it would be
tempting to try to play small-ball. But if you play small-ball, you are
playing their game and it will be tough to win. The lone downfall of The
Zou is their infield defense. Braun, Young and Cano are all improving
but together they make a rough unit. A trade for a gold-glove caliber
shortstop would put The Zou in a very strong position near, or at, the
top of The League,



1. Zou
2. Alba
3. 300
4. Tones

Starting Pitching

1. Zou
2. Tones
3. 300
4. Alba


1. 300
2a. Alba
2b. Tones
4. Zou


1. Zou
2. Alba
3. 300
4. Tones


1. Zou
2. 300
3. Tones
4. Alba

Did I just pull a Ben (preseason rankings anyone?) and overrate my
team? Let me know what you think.

Monday, July 16, 2007

The Tones are slightly off key...

Just glancing at the Springfield Tones’ roster, it seems like they would be better than their .500 record indicates. As for how they would do as a real team …

Line-up (w/o DH)

1. Ichiro Suzuki – RF - .353 AVG, 5 HR, 39 RBI, 23 SB
2. Shane Victorino – CF - .279, 11, 37, 28
3. Albert Pujols – 1B - .308, 17, 53, 1
4. David Wright – 3B - .293, 16, 51, 19
5. Hideki Matsui – LF - .273, 12, 54, 2
6. Russell Martin – C - .313, 11, 61, 16
7. Carlos Guillen – SS - .317, 14, 67, 7
8. Orlando Hudson – 2B - .298, 7, 47, 3
9. (Pitcher)

Pitching Staff

1. Johan Santana – 11-6, 2.60 ERA, 133 K, 31 BB, 1.02 WHIP
2. Daisuke Matsuzaka – 10-6, 3.84, 123, 38, 1.24
3. Felix Hernandez – 6-4, 3.66, 86, 26, 1.40
4. Dontrelle Willis – 7-8, 4.81, 80, 53, 1.58
5. Justin Germano – 6-3, 3.55, 37, 16, 1.13


Middle Relief – Sergio Mitre – 4-4, 2.81, 58, 19, 1.22
MR – Joe Saunders – 3-0, 2.97, 14, 12, 1.42
MR – Chad Durbin – 6-3, 4.12, 49, 35, 1.38
Set-up – Al Reyes – 1-1, 4.09, 38, 13, 1.03, 17 Saves
Set-up – Sean Marshall – 4-3, 3.48, 38, 17, 1.28
Closer – Francisco Cordero – 0-2, 2.70, 51, 13, 1.04, 28


If you want name recognition, you have to look no further than the starting rotation for the Springfield Tones. In Santana, Matsuzaka, Hernandez and Willis, the Tones have four potential aces. However, Santana is the only sure-fire stud at this point (and even he is a little behind his standards). Matsuzaka has had his growing pains, although he seems to be finding his groove of late. Hernandez has not been the dominant pitcher we saw in the first couple weeks of the season (he too is pitching better of late), and Willis garners the fourth spot in the rotation mainly on talent and past performance, as he has totally underachieved up to this point in the season. The rotation is rounded out be the surprising Justin Germano.

The Tones’ line-up is solid with the likes of Ichiro, Pujols and Wright; however, it seems to be missing one big bat, which would enable Wright to bat in his more comfortable 5th slot. If the Tones were in the Kansas City division, the addition of Jim Thome as the DH would remedy this problem to a certain extent. Without the DH, the Tones line-up is scary by the fact that you have to face Ichiro and Pujols to start off the game. Victorino offers solid bat control and good speed which would enable the Tones to play small-ball before Pujols and Wright step to the dish. After Wright comes Matsui, Martin, Guillen and Hudson. While Martin is quickly establishing himself as one of the best-hitting catchers in the game, Matsui, Guillen and Hudson are solid bats that lack the necessary pop or speed to really take this offense to the next level.

Defensively, the Tones are above average. Up the middle, they have Martin at catcher, Guillen at short, Hudson at second and Victorino in center. Martin is a solid catcher and Hudson has very good range at second. Given everyday playing time in centerfield, Victorino should at least develop into a slightly above average fielder. Guillen however is well-below major league average defensively. At the corners, Wright and Pujols offer exceptional defense despite the slight drop-off experienced by Pujols so far this year. At the corner outfield spots, Matsui is slightly above average and Ichiro, moving back to his original position, gets my vote for best defensive right-fielder in the game.

In the bullpen, the Tones are led by Francisco Cordero. Cordero has put together a very solid first half to the season and has electric stuff. Manning the 7th and 8th innings for the Tones will be Al Reyes and Sean Marshall. The middle relief crew is led by Sergio Mitre who could develop into very solid starter in the future.

As a whole, the Tones have the potential with their pitching staff to field one of the best, if not the best, teams in the league. With their pitching staff in mind and missing a big bat, the Tones would be smart to rely on some small-ball to score runs. The middle relief core is nothing to write home about but won’t be horrible either. At the back of the bullpen, the set-up men worry me because they have never had prolonged success at the major league level. Overall, the Tones need to Willis to pick it up and their bullpen to be steady to compete for the top spot.

Note: What if Liriano and Carpenter weren’t hurt? That could be one scary rotation.


1. Alba
2. 300
3. Tones

Starting Pitching
1. Tones
2. 300
3. Alba

1. 300
2a. Alba
2b. Tones

1. Alba
2. 300
3. Tones

1. 300
2. Tones
3. Alba

What does everybody think? Give me some feedback on the main league page. More team profiles will be up soon.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

A Point of Change

Dunn may be more of a factor next season.

For the last few weeks, I have received a few messages regarding points and how they are distributed. Most of the concern revolves around pitching.

Now, before I go into some of the changes I am thinking about for next season, to help you all figure out what the league may look like next year, here are a few new rules I have just now established for this league.

Rule #1: When the losses are beginning to pile up, do not blame the point system for your failures.

Is the points system perfect? No. Is there a way to manipulate it to make quick and legitimate comebacks? Yes.

Keep in mind, I started the season 0-5. Now I'm 7-7 and in the thick of things. How did I get there? I targeted players, made some crazy trades and manipulated a roster that wasn’t getting the job done.

I guarantee you that having four second baseman on your roster is not the fault of the point system. Starting Adam Wainwright is not the fault of the point system. Starting any Yankee pitcher is not the fault of the point system. Starting relief pitchers over closers is not the fault of the point system.

If your team is losing a lot of games, check out your philosophy before blaming the league.

Rule #2: Don’t be a [female dog] and make a trade or two.

Next year, I am going to implement a rule that requires everyone to make at least three (3) trades before the July trading deadline or be subject to point reductions every week for the entire month of August and September. I’m thinking in the neighborhood of 50 points right now. Listen, this is fantasy baseball not the major leagues where you would get fired for trading Albert Pujols. Pujols, in fact, has been traded twice so far this season. That is not real life. It’s fantasy. So freaking make a trade for a left fielder you desperately need. Maybe even a first baseman and a pitcher.

In other words, Smurfs, make a deal. You are beginning to wreak of “Cardinal fanness”.

Rule #3: If you get ripped off in a trade, blame yourself you idiot.

That’s all I am going to say.

ANYWAY, here are a few thoughts on the current points system.

ANYWAY, now with the point changes. There is an understanding on my part that the scoring system is not perfect. There are certain players who are too overvalued and some that are undervalued. So with this in mind, I am mulling a few changes.

Here are the proposed hitting changes I am considering. The number in the parenthesis [( )] is the CURRENT value of that statistic.

Singles = 1 (1)
Doubles = 2 (2)
Triples = 3 (3)
Home Runs = 4 (4)
Note: a point per base sounds reasonable

Runs = 2 (1)
RBI = 2 (1)
Note: players who score or drive in runs should be rewarded. This also increases the value of home runs by two.

Stolen Bases = 3 (1)
Caught Stealing = -1 (- 1)
Note: Speed means nothing in this league. It is about to mean something.

Walks = 2 (2)
Intentional Walks = n/a (2)
Hit By Pitch = 2 (2)
Strikeouts = -1 (-2)
Note: it is easier to strike out than it is to walk. Players like Adam Dunn and Dan Uggla have no value as a result the strikeout-value. Also, additional points should not be added for being walked on purpose. Intentional walks will still be registered as a regular walk, only an extra two points will not be given.

Here are the proposed pitching changes I am considering. The number in the parenthesis [( )] is the CURRENT value of that statistic.

Innings Pitched = 1.5 (1.5)
Note: I have no complaints and I have heard no complaints.

Hits = 1 (1)
Hit By Pitch = -1 (-3)
Note: subtracting three points for hitting a batter seemed too extreme to me.

Walks = -1.5 (-3)
Strikeouts = 3 (3)
Note: it is easier to walk someone than it is to strike someone out. I am confident I could walk anyone in the major leagues. I am also confident a two-year-old could walk anyone in the major leagues. Strikeouts are a different deal. There are major league pitchers (Scott Elarton) who cannot strike out batters. Matt Cain was a guy I was thinking of when I made this change. Cain is too good to not have much value in this league.

Earned Runs = -3 (-2)
Note: giving up a run needs to sting more in this league. Subtracting three seems to be the most reasonable.

Wins = 10 (10)
Losses = -10 (-10)
Saves = 10 (5)
Blown Saves = -5 (-5)
Note: it should hurt to lose. So I’m good for keeping the numbers as there are for wins and losses. Blown saves are a different issue. Doing your job gains a closer 5 points. Not doing your job can cost a closer minus-15 points. That doesn’t seem right to me. But there should be punishment for blowing a save. Thus, the reason for the point changes. But, I’m not really sure if I like this change so much. It needs some tweaking.

Quality Starts = 5 (5)
Shutouts = 15 (15)
Note: There have been 19 shutouts thrown thus far in the majors. So I don’t think it is too much of a reoccurring event to devalue a shutout’s point total. Given win and loss values, I feel that quality starts are still fair.

All of this will be voted on later this year. I will start a thread on the league page for your comments or suggestions. Let me know what you think. If you have additional ideas, write them in the tread as well.