Hope you enjoyed the All-Star Break. For me it's a reminder to appreciate baseball. In June, I went through a stretch where I didn't watch a whole lot, mostly because I was just a tad burned out on it. The break reminds me how much I miss it during the winter. I'm ready for the second half. Today is July 14, the 41st anniversary of perhaps the most unnecessary play in baseball history. (Pause the video at around 8 seconds and see how far away he is when he starts leaning. What a jerk.) On this day in 1980, J.R. Richard pitched in his last major league game, leaving in the 4th inning after complaining of nausea and a "dead arm." He would have a stroke 16 days later while warming up before a game. Today is Bastille Day. On this day in 1798, the Sedition Act was signed into law by President John Adams. Happy birthday to Happy Chandler (1898), Gerald Ford (1913), the real-life Crash Davis (1919), and Howard Webb (1971). Here are your fantasy baseball links for today:
Objects in mirror are closer than they appear | The Hardball Times
... and other rational reminders at midseason
Jason Isringhausen has been doing a bang-up job as K-Rod’s primary setup man this season, though his 4.67 FIP and 4.81 xFIP do a better job of telling the real story than his 3.14 ERA. Izzy isn’t missing many bats (6.4% whiffs) and is giving up a ton of fly balls (just 30.5% grounders), so CitiField is saving him some headache. He has the Proven Closer tag and is seven saves away from 300, things that could impact his role even if they really shouldn’t.
Follow the jump for more of the latest fantasy baseball news and analysis from around the web.
Obviously, you don’t really want Rivera if he only faces left-handers. However, Tony Gwynn, Jr. is no one’s idea of a starting left-fielder, even given his excellent defense. At age 33, it is certainly in the realm of possibility that Rivera is done. But we cannot forget he hit 25 home runs just two years ago. If he hits well out of the gate, he could easily win more playing time and provide some deep league value.
Trade Target: Ian Kinsler | Roto Hardball
A million times yes. Hopefully the Kinsler owner in your league is blinded by batting average.
The ZiPS projections have Hardy hitting .269/.323/.443 with 8 home runs and 26 RBI from this point forward. That would leave him with a .349 wOBA, which would have ranked 4th among all shortstops last season. Currently Hardy is owned in just 67% of leagues. That’s a crime. Yes, he gets hurt, but with a position as scarcely populated with good players as shortstop that number deserves to be much higher.
A 3.6 BB/9 over [Morrow's] first 88.0 innings isn’t anything to go crazy about, but it is backed up by a dramatic increase in F-Strike%. His previous career high sat at just 55.3% (versus a league average of 58%-59%), but this season that rate has jumped to 62.0%. So maybe this improved control is sustainable after all and a true change in talent level. If that ends up being the case, he could have a huge second half.
So, when you put it all together you have a pitcher [Jurrjens] with impressive numbers, but a poor strikeout rate who has received good luck and has been hit hard? Oh yeah, let’s not leave out the fact that one of his best assets thus far in 2011 is something that is fickle and can’t be depended on [wins].
Jimenez still ranks on the short list of the game's best arms, he makes peanuts compared to what a free agent acquisition of his caliber would earn, and he has pitched better of late. Those factors make it likely that he'll continue to wear black and purple for years to come. But it's not totally out of the realm of possibility that the Rockies look at Jimenez's decreased velocity and performance and decide to sell, raiding another team's farm system in the process.
Because his gruesome, low-velocity start to the season left a bitter taste in the mouths of many owners, Vazquez remains on the waiver wire in most leagues. His ESPN ownership rate is just five percent, and he’s taken in roughly a quarter of Yahoo leagues. Should he retain the stuff that he has shown in June and July, Vazquez could be a great pickup for pitching-starved teams.
Axford's Highs and Lows | Baseball Analytics
I've already dropped Axford. Does that make me crazy?
Barnes' biggest problem is a tendency to leave pitches over the fat part of the plate, making him gopher-vulnerable when his command is off. However, he's shown the ability to make needed adjustments. He isn't on the 40-man roster yet and might not see the majors until 2012, but Barnes has the markers of a pitcher who could end up surprising a lot of people.
Fantasy Baseball Player Prospecting: Bryce Harper, more | KFFL.com
Yes, there were OF besides Bryce Harper featured in the Futures Game. Remember Wil Myers, Gary Brown and Alfredo Silverio.
Apologies to any Joe Buck fans out there but what goes around, comes around. Buck has stated in the past that he "barely watches" any sports and when he announces baseball games "it's just not as special and unique as it used to be...that's just the way it is." Combine his disinterested demeanor with comments like that and it's hard to conclude he's in it for anything other than a paycheck. Find someone who cares, FOX.