CHICAGO, IL - MAY 19: Shin-Soo Choo #17 of the Cleveland Indians reacts after striking out against the Chicago White Sox at U.S. Cellular Field on May 19, 2011 in Chicago, Illinois. The White Sox defeated the Indians 8-2. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
Today is May 25, the 60th anniversary of Willie Mays' major league debut. (By the way, James Hirsch's biography of Mays is fantastic.) On this day in 1977, Star Wars was released in theaters, making today a much more appropriate day to celebrate the movie than May 4. Here are your fantasy baseball links for today:
Ultimate Base Running Primer | FanGraphs Baseball
I look forward to learning how to use this stat. Um, pay no attention to the comments.
MLB's Best (And Worst) Baserunners | Baseball Nation
Rob Neyer checks in with some commentary on UBR. Here are my initial thoughts on how this stat can be useful for fantasy: You're not going to use it a whole lot when you're trying to find help with steals - that market is pretty well covered already. Perhaps, though, it can be a useful tool when you're trying to find help in the runs scored category. It stands to reason that a player with a positive UBR will score more runs than a neutral baserunner in the same environment. Maybe a correlation study needs to be done...
Non-Home-Run Power: Chronicles of ottoneu | FanGraphs Fantasy Baseball
Pretty awesome advice for people in linear weights leagues or leagues that count SLG%. I have to admit I've never thought of exploiting the High-ISO/Low-HR guys like this. Any time somebody points out what may be a new "market inefficiency," you should be paying attention.
2011 Fantasy Baseball, THE RUBBER Week 8: Top 50 Pitcher Rankings | The Fantasy Fix
Starting pitcher ranks, plus a nice little rant about who to trust in fantasy baseball.
Checking In: Whiffs in 2011 | Beyond the Box Score
Top swing-and-miss rates by pitch type.
Beef the Series: NL Central Outfielders | Sons of Roto
Who would you rather have: Matt Holliday or Jay Bruce? Give me Holliday in a redraft league.
Fantasy Fever: Struggling Stars | WhatIfSports.com
What to do with underperformers.
But what's behind this huge drop-off in performance, especially given pretty much the same pitchers in the rotation? In order to help answer this question, I have collected copious amounts of Pitch F/X data to attempt to determine whether there has been a change in approach, skill, or if a regression to the mean may be in order.
DLR Derailed, time to hit the FA wire | Fantasy Baseball 365
Jorge De La Rosa has a torn ligament in his throwing elbow. Bad news for fantasy owners who now must sift through the free agent wire to try and find his replacement.
For instance, Chipper this year has swung at 70.5% of pitches in the zone. The league average is around 65%. On the other hand, Chipper has swung at only 22.0% of the pitches outside of the zone, with a league average of around 30%. That's quite a combination: swinging more than average at strikes and less than average at balls.
Ramos’ pop — he’s got a .168 Isolated Power that is comfortably above the .137 major league average — isn’t shocking, given that Baseball America said before the season that he "has good loft and leverage in his swing, giving him a chance to hit for solid-average or slightly better power in time." Ramos’ patience, on the other hand, has been a pleasant surprise.
The bottom line is that [Rios] is suffering from poor luck, and it has helped lead to a .205 average. There really is no reason for us to think that is going to continue. As long as he continues with the metrics that he has and do what he does, you have to believe a hot streak is going to come.
For my money, I still think Choo can produce like the five category guy most made him out to be, and I would expect that he’ll fall back into a high batting average mold fairly soon, so if a window of opportunity exists on Choo at all, it’s probably pretty small to begin with. If Choo follows his career trends, you’ll probably be pretty happy you acquired him when it’s time for the stretch run.
May has been a bit more stable for Reyes. He's pitched at least 6 innings in 3 of his 4 starts while striking out 18 batters and only walking 4 in 25.2 IP. At times he has been hittable, but he's shown he can be successful this year by limiting walks - he's walked exactly 1 batter in 8 of his 9 starts. At 26, he may just be turning a corner.
The change dips more than the fastball, but it basically comes in straight. So he doesn't throw hard, he doesn't throw with movement, how does he get batters out? The straight movement of his pitches implies a ball thrown with a lot of backspin, and if you watch video of Collmenter, you can see where that comes from.
The truth of the matter is that all of Axford’s important peripheral numbers are very similar to last season. He’s striking batters out at nearly the same pace – a fantastic 11.39 K/9 – walking a bit less, and has kept his FIP down to a sparkling 2.11.
The Cheeks Weather Report (5/25/11) | Sons of Roto
Fantasy baseball weather report.
Minor Matters | RotoRob
Today we take a look around the minors and check in on the development of a few players.
Obviously, playing in Petco Park I wouldn’t put too much stock into [Tekotte's] power, though it is nice. There’s a chance that he develops into a 10/30 type player, something no fantasy owner would complain about.
It’s probably not ethical to knowingly deceive a fellow owner in trade talk, but at the same time one could argue that talking up any player who you want to trade is at least somewhat deceptive by nature...Following, are some lines of argument that sound credible or logical enough to pass the sniff test, but are likely not true. You can take these true lies and use them to talk up your own players in trade offers (and decide whether you are being unethical or simply operating within the ethical latitude of any salesperson).