Thursday, July 14, 2011

THE DAY AFTER -

6:30AM - I got out of bed.

6:45AM - I was outlining the chapters for my midterm.

7:00AM - I get almost done with Chapter 1.

7:30AM - Sidetrack #1 - I know I have a blog to write today.  Maybe I should get back into writing something about baseball.  It's been awhile. 
7:45AM - back to the outlines.  I get into chapter two and there's an interruption.

9:10 -AM interruption took way too long.  And I still am not dressed.  Haven't made it to the doctor either.  Oh well, time to blog.

So now I'm blogging about baseball, as the second half of the season begins today.  Six years ago, I had never played fantasy baseball -- the artistic community of Hollywood doesn't have so many sports fans -- not because I didn't want to, but because I knew few people who did.  Now it's 2011 and I'm an admitted addict.  I used to be in 5-6 leagues when I was writing about it.  Now I'm focused on one - an old style 4X4, which eschews the RUNS and STRIKEOUTS categories....  So closers now hold a ridiculously high position in your pitching agenda as SAVES is a 1/4 of the tally in the pitching world.  To that end, I traded some keeper value for Huston Street and Jose Valverde, along with acquiring Matt Holliday and Troy Tulowitzki while dealing breakout candidate Asdrubal Cabrera (yes, I drafted him), legless Buster Posey and Neftali Feliz.  Yes Feliz was a closer too, but essentially Troy replaces Cabrera and is likely to have a better second half, I strengthen my outfield adding Holliday to disappointing Carl Crawford and Tori Hunter, Ben Revere and Maggilo Ordonez.  I also have Vlad Guerrero who is good for the AVG. category and RBIS.  He subs in as a 5th outfielder or Utility player sometimes.  My starting pitching now has a stumbling David Price, now with turf toe (an acquisition I got for Nelson Cruz), Tommy Hanson, Ryan Vogelsong, Alexi Ogando and John Danks (i believe his rebound with continue in the second half)-- it's a young core that could be amazing for the second half.  My relief corps of David Hernandez, Huston Street, Jonathan Broxton (please make it back this year you velocity-stripped hefty bag) and Ryan Madson (also drafted). I also have held onto Johnny Venters, a genuine find because of his countless 0.00 ERA and .000WHIP lines that held stave off some minor disasters that occur with starters.  Both he and Hernandez have filled those gaps to keep my ERA lower than it could be.  I was leading the category until both Price and Ogando had two horrific starts in the last two weeks leading up to the break.  We'll see how things figure after. 

The one thing I look for in fantasy players is their ability to draft.  Acquiring someone via waiver wire is a skill too, but really it's more about having tons of time on your hands.  If you're the guy that foresees candidates that turn out great from Day 1, that to me is a testament of your ability.  Injuries don't count in that assessment.  But if you really planned let's say to take Lance Berkman this year because you doubted that he was done, then I commend you.  If you acquired him because you were first to your "unlimited waiver wire pickups" or got the biggest bid on him in your FAAB market, then eh, you got lucky.  The rest of my team I pretty much drafted -- John Buck at catcher with pickup Wilson Ramos.  Dustin Pedroia (keeper), Adrian Gonzales (keeper), Miguel Cabrera, Starlin Castro, Mark Reynolds (picked him up the moment I saw the power come back and dropped mega-disappoint Casey McGehee), Dominick Brown, Eric Hosmer and Shane Victorino.  I've also added the enigmatic Vance Worley - which guy will show up the walk machine or the guy who threw a 2-hitter right before the break and has an overall ERA under 2.7.  His overall K/BB ratio does not bode well for him to keep a low WHIP, but his last two starts he had a 14/4 K/BB and he's playing for the top-notch Phillies.  Wins are something I need.

My opinion is Carl Crawford will have a great second half if he gets back right away.  He's now more of an RBI candidate than steals guy, unless Francona moves him back to the #2 spot, and I don't see that happening.  Ellsbury is simply tearing up the joint, with Gonzalez plating everything around.  I don't know if HAdrian can continue to rule Fenway the way he did the first half.  He's going to hit a slump again at some point.  Be ready for it. 
So we're off today with eight games on the slate.  Minnesota and KC start a new series.  The last one Minnesota swept a 4-game at K.C.  I'm sure the Royals want some payback.  They face the ever puzzling Francisco Liriano, who has a no-hitter to his credit this year but probably the ugliest one in recent memory.  He also seems to be an inconsistent mish-mosh of quality starts and disasters.  If he has control of his fastball, much like David Price, he's deadly.  His slider doesn't have the bite it did when he first came into the league, but it's still a nasty pitch.  However, it's only useful when he can paint the corners with the Numero Uno.  At 5-7 with a 5.06 ERA it appears he is still an unpredictable pitcher.  However, keep in mind his BAA is the lowest of his career since 2006 at .227, and his K/BB is 70/45 in 83 innings, and he's still inducing groundballs at a 1.23 GO/AO, though not at as high a rate as you'd like.  The Twins offense also was anemic for most of the first half, with Mauer, Kubel and Young all on the DL at some point.  Ben Revere appears to have given the Twins a spark in the leadoff role and the guy runs a ton.  He also gets caught a ton, five times in 16 attempts.  That's a third, and those like me who saw how fast this guy is at the AFL hope it's simply a matter of pitcher study and timing than anything else.
Florida vists Wrigley, Baltimore gets Cleveland, Texas gets Seattle and Milwaukee gets the Rockies.  Yanks have Toronto and the Fathers visit the Large Mongloids in SF.
And my Pirates, well, they are over .500 at the break.  I can't tell you how many times I said to people on message boards Neil Huntington knew what he was doing.  And he does.   He's done a great job so far in rebuilding this team.

We're off for a second half of baseball.  Enjoy.