Sorry for the lateness of today's post. No time to dig into the history of July 8, so let's get right to the fantasy baseball links:
2011 First Base Rankings: July | FanGraphs Fantasy Baseball
How many of you predicted that in July, Votto and Pujols would both be out of the top tier?
Reflecting on the tragedy at Rangers Ballpark | ESPN
Last night, a fan died after reaching for a foul ball and falling at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington. It was the second fall of 20+ feet at that park in a year. I know that this has nothing to do with fantasy baseball, but this story has affected me in ways that few news stories do (which is unfortunate in and of itself). I've been able to think of little else. I sit in or around that section at RBiA quite often, and I can't help but think that I may have encountered this gentleman at some point, or that I have some sort of connection to him through some mutual friends. It's very silly, I know, but I treat baseball - especially going to the ballpark - as an escape, and this blurs the line between real life and (pardon the term) fantasy. I think Buster captures this tension quite well in this piece. It's worth your time.
The BP Broadside: In the Laundry Room | Baseball Prospectus
...As is this. Very rarely can you consider the articles I link to literature, but this is one of those times.
Follow the jump and you'll actually get to read about fantasy baseball. Sorry for the diversion...
I'm not touching Harden in anything but AL-only leagues, and I wouldn't drop anything of substance to pick him up. In his last 244 innings (2009-2011), he has been basically average with high walk rates and higher strikeout rates. Pitching in Oakland should be good for his ERA, but he's Rich Harden, so those walks aren't going anywhere. Combine that with the injury risk, and he's a tough sell.
Right now, ZiPS (U) has him pegged for just eight more bombs, however I don’t see why he can’t double his total and come close to 30. The only thing holding Morse back is health. I don’t see him as much different than David Ortiz from here on out.
In 21 innings of work, Zito has allowed just three runs, 13 hits, and four walks against 11 strikeouts, good for a 1.29 ERA and a 0.81 WHIP. His latest outing was an eight-inning gem against the Padres on Thursday night in which he allowed just one run, four hits, and zero walks while striking out a season-high seven batters and lowering his season ERA to 3.18.
Given Gordon's minor league (and college) track record as a home run hitter, his projection by scouts as a power hitter, and the fact that his home runs are traveling great distances, it is not difficult to envision a power increase from Gordon in the near future. The man clearly has serious pop to center field and as a pull hitter, and some of his doubles should sail over the wall and turn into home runs in the second half.
A cerebral player who once worked with "Swing Mechanic" Jamie Cevallos to add power to his game, Zobrist has a near-.200 ISO from both sides of the plate. Whether he nabs that final All-Star spot or not, Zobrist's rangy D and rediscovered power stroke make him on of the most valuable players in the game.
Slump or Dump: Jayson Werth | Roto Hardball
I voted slump. Any discussion about Werth's batted ball profile has to include a discussion of his BABIP relative to xBABIP. He'll rebound.
Talk about an eyes-to-ankles strike zone. Pena has lunged at 44 percent of pitches thrown off the plate, a clip close to the likes of Vlad Guerrero. Not surprisingly, pitchers just plain aren't throwing Pena strikes: 39 percent of the pitches that he has seen have been within the zone, compared to the 49 percent league average.
Vazquez may not be one of baseball's thirty best pitchers anymore, and thus no longer an ace, but if he can continue his recent performance, a sub-4.00 ERA and strong WHIP with good strikeout totals could be in the cards.
Climbing the ladder with a fastball that can hit 96 on the gun is a different story than trying to do the same with an offering that doesn't break 92. Hughes' high heat could be a problem if he can't rediscover that extra gear on his fastball.
Kipnis is a left-handed hitter, born April 3rd, 1987. He's not a big guy at 5-10 ,180, but he's quite strong and has plenty of bat speed. His feel for the strike zone is impressive, and he has no problem generating power. He seems to handle both fastballs and breaking stuff well, makes adjustments, and can handle left-handed pitching just fine. His running speed is average but he is an aggressive and effective baserunner.
Trout, at age 19, will become the youngest player in the major leagues when he plays his first inning against the Mariners tonight. Trout has spent the 2011 season at Double-A Arkansas, hitting .324/.415/.534 with a .950 OPS in 75 games. In addition to tearing up Texas League pitching for three months, Trout also has 28 stolen bases.
Texas Rangers Jurickson Profar: Best Shortstop Prospect In Baseball | Roto Hardball
As a Rangers fan I want to jump on this bandwagon, but Lee and Machado have proximity to the majors on their side. Still, you should keep your eye on this kid.
Minor League Notes, July 7th, 2011 | Minor League Ball
Austin Kirk, Justin James, James Baldwin, Cameron Seitzer
In July 2000, Mark Mulder went 6 2/3 innings, gave up 15 hits and nine runs — but only two were earned, so that was a classified as a quality start. In June 1997, Randy Johnson struck out 19 in a complete game but allowed four runs. That was not a quality start.
Baseball ProGUESTus: The Real Realignment Solution | Baseball Prospectus
It gets absolutely silly by the end, but the original proposal is solid, though 2 extra teams plus roster expansion is a little too much talent pool dilution for me.