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Fantasy Baseball: Interesting Facts from The Bill James Handbook

This year, I have decided to take a look a several new fantasy/stathead type books to see if they can help me in my roto leagues in 2009. I plan to take a look at the following books:

The Bill James Handbook

The Hardball Times Annual

The Hardball Times Season Preview

Ron Shandler's Baseball Forecaster

I usually get Shandler's book every year, but wanted to see if the other 3 books were of any help for fantasy/roto players. I received the Bill James Handbook yesterday, and here are a few nuggets I have found so far:

  • Rafael Furcal led all leadoff hitters with a .434. OBP, but he was out most of the season. Stephen Drew had a .361 OBP as a leadoff hitter.
  • Speaking of Stephen Drew, he was 4th in the NL in doubles with 44, and 2nd in the NL in triples with 11. He might be better than his brother in just his 3rd major league season.
  • Andre Ethier led all NL right fielders with a .950 OPS, ahead of Ryan Ludwick, Brad Hawpe, among others. Can Ethier become a 30 HR hitter?
  • Jody Gerut, was 2nd among all NL center fielders with an .871 OPS, ahead of Carlos Beltran, Nate McLouth, and Matt Kemp. Who will draft Gerut as a sleeper this year in that SD lineup?
  • Three Cub pitchers led the NL in run support per 9 innings-Jason Marquis, Carlos Zambrano, and Ryan Dempster, and Ted Lilly was 5th. Should the Cubs lineup see a rash of injuries, the 100 year drought could continue.
  • Cy Young award winner Tim Lincecum led the NL in pitches per start with 109.0 per start, and had the top two highest pitch totals in a game with 138 and 132. Something that bares watching in 2009.
  • The Brewers current closer-Carlos Villaneuva-held opposing batters to a .125 batting average with RISP (runners in scoring position) as a reliever, which led the NL. He was also 4th in the NL with a 2.12 ERA as a reliever. Sleeper closer??
  • Colorado's Ubaldo Jimenez led the NL by a WIDE margin in the number of fastballs thrown with 95+ velocity-1,342, while Tim Lincecum was 2nd with 881. Dodgers closer Jonathon Broxton was 3rd in the NL with 655 in his 69 innings pitched.

I plan to pickup the Hardball Times annual this weekend, and will post an article sometime next week.