Saturday, August 19, 2006

Baseball Mailbag - August 17th

Contributed By: Ray Flowers

I'm in a 16-team keeper league in which each team keeps 5 players. I need help deciding on which 5 out of the following to keep: Albert Pujols, Jose Reyes, Carlos Lee, Grady Sizemore, Chad Tracy, Jon Papelbon, Ervin Santana, Jason Schmidt, and Brandon Webb. Any suggestions?
-- Ross, Chicago, IL

Here are the players in order that I would protect them.

1- Albert Pujols (.332-35-93-88-5). No reason need be given.
2- Jose Reyes (.299-14-59-98-49). Could end up the top fantasy earner this season because of the steals.
3- Grady Sizemore (.303-18-55-97-18). In a down year for the Tribe, Sizemore has not disappointed improving his AVG/OBP/SLG/OPS.
4- Carlos Lee (.294-30-89-77-14). Seven straight years of at least 24 HR and 80 RBIs, Lee has recorded at least 99 RBI the past three years.
5- ???

Chad Tracy is a fine hitter (.280-15-64-69-4), but he will only qualify at 3B next year, and he certainly hasn’t taken the next step this season. Papelbon (0.90 ERA, 0.75 WHIP, 31 SV) has been spectacular but the possibility of his returning to the starting rotation coupled with his relative lack of experience would lead me to shy away. E. Santana is intriguing but his career ERA is still 4.49, and it doesn’t figure to be helped by the American League. Jason Schmidt has had a very solid bounce-back season in San Francisco (3.00 ERA,1.18 WHIP, 140 K), but he is a free-agent rumored to be heading to Seattle this offseason, and I don’t generally think the AL is a good place to be for a SP. That leaves us with Brandon Webb, the man I would protect as the 5th guy on your keeper list. Webb has been great all year going 13-4 with a 2.77 ERA, 1.15 WHIP and a stupendous 4.17 K/BB ratio. In fact, Webb has 31 BB in 24 starts this year and other than a rough month of June (0-3, 5.08 ERA, 1.51 WHIP) has been “the man” all year in Arizona. That power sinker can be flat out dominating, and that’s what you want in a keeper.

I’m an need of runs and RBIs and in order to find that I’m looking to deal Carlos Delgado and Coco Crisp for Ichiro (I have Adrian Gonzalez at 1B). I would probably drop a spot or two in HRs, but think I could make up for it in SBs and maybe runs with this deal. What do you think?
-- Joe

First things first, I would be very happy to obtain Ichiro (.324-6-37-79-34) in any deal. Second, you might be able to pull off this deal if you point out the fact that Ichiro has been horrific in August (.194-0-2 in 14 games). Perhaps his owner will panic and want to move him. Funny thing with Ichiro is that he also “struggled” in April, maybe he hates months that start with “A”, hitting .287. This means that from May-July he hit .360, and there is no reason to think he couldn’t match that number the rest of the way. Plus, that speed would likely help you move up in the SB category as you suggested.

As far as giving up Delgado you certainly are in good shape at 1B since Gonzalez has come on so unbelievably strong of late. Since June 1st, in 65 games, Gonzalez has hit .332-15-40, numbers that surpass what Delgado has done since the same date (.245-11-40). Of course, with 26 HR and 74 RBI this season Delgado is very close to his 10th straight season of 30 HR and 90 RBIs, so you would be giving up a consistent power source, but I wouldn’t have a problem with this part of the trade at this point of the season.

The other player you would be giving up is Coco Crisp (.277-6-24-48-16). Crisp has played well since the all-star break hitting .291 with 8 SBs, but really, he is nothing more than a 3rd of 4th OF whereas Ichiro is a fantasy stud. With Gonzalez to cover Delgado, and Ichiro to replace Crisp, this trade makes total sense to me.

I'm in a keeper league and my friend sent me an offer: he is offering me C. Quentin, L. Berkman and E. Bedard for my G. Sizemore. Is this the deal of the century or should I keep Sizemore due to the keeper league status?
--J-K, Orange, CA

This IS the deal of the century. I spoke of Sizemore above, and while I love that guy for what he has done as well as the potential he still has to fulfill, let’s get serious for a minute here. Quentin, a first round draft pick in 2003, is a potential stud who is playing very well in his first exposure to the majors (.250-4-17-91- in 24 games). He has played so well in fact that there are rumors that the D’Backs are still interested in moving Shawn Green through the waiver-wire process to open up a full-time spot for Quentin. He may not be an all-star in the near future, but Quentin will definitely be a quality major league OF. The other OF you would be getting is Lance Berkman who, besides qualifying at OF and 1B for next season, is challenging for the NL MVP this year (.319-32-100-67-1). Sure he doesn’t have the speed of Sizemore, but his average will match the Cleveland outfielders and his power numbers will absolutely dwarf Grady’s.

Bedard has solid overall numbers on the season (12-8, 3.81 ERA, 125 K, 1.31 WHIP), but as we have discussed here previously in this column, he has been superb of late going 7-4 with a 2.55 ERA, 89 K an a 1.06 WHIP in his last 88.1 IP. Quentin and Berkman would be enough for me to deal Sizemore at this point. Considering the fact that Bedard is being thrown in you should immediately accept this offer and hope your league doesn’t veto the deal.

If you needed to fill an OF position and these were the best free agent guys available, who would you choose: E. Byrnes, C. Blake, J. Jones, S. Green, M. Thames, M. DeRosa?

Well, let’s go through them.

Byrnes (.281-19-50-63-17) has been a great 5x5 performer this year as a late round grab, but he has started to really flail in August hitting .218 though he does have 4 HR in 13 games. During his career, from August 1st on, Byrnes has hit .233-13-54-82-19 in 587 ABs. While those SBs are nice that batting average is not.

Blake has had a bounce-back season of his own (.310-16-51-45-6), though he has now been injured multiple times. Currently on the DL cause of an ankle injury, Blake is out for a couple of more weeks. Combine that with the recent play of Ryan Garko (.333-2-8 in 9 games) and Shin-Soo Choo (.317-2-15-7) and Blake’s playing time could be limited even when he returns.

Jacque Jones has solid overall numbers (.277-20-59-49-6) but his play of late has been lacking to say the least since he has produced merely a .204 batting average in 30 games since the all-star break.

Shawn Green is losing some playing time to Carlos Quentin (as mentioned above), and while Green has decent numbers (.281-10-49-56-4), his power has virtually disappeared with only 2 HR in his last 37 games.

Marcus Thames has totally fallen off the map since the all-star break hitting just .176 in 22 games.

All this leaves us with the obvious choice here, Mark DeRosa, who has turned out to be this year’s super-sub (DeRosa has played in 49 games as an OF, 26 as a 2B, 6 as a SS and 1 as a 1B). If that flexibility isn’t enough of an endorsement, how about his offensive numbers of .331-12-61-64-3. It is unfathomable to me how DeRosa is a free-agent in any league at this point of the season, especially after his 15 RBI week last week. Since the all-star break DeRosa has hit .331-8-32 in 31 games, so he is a must pickup if he is still available.

Ray Flowers, a member of SABR and the Fantasy Sports Writers Association can be reached with comments/questions or suggestions at: Also don’t forget to listen to his fantasy baseball radio show at, where you can call in for live advice, on Friday’s from 2-3 PM EST.

August Factoids

Contributed By: Ray Flowers

1. Known as “Iron Man” because of his rubber arm, Joe McGinnity should have been known as “Wild Man” in 1900 when he set a single season record of 41 hit batters.

2. Known as a singles hitter by most most casual fans, where you aware that Ty Cobb finished in the 10 in OPS a record 20 times during his career (tied with Cap Anson)?

3. No one would be surprised to hear that Hank Aaron and Babe Ruth hold the all-time record with 18 seasons finishing in the leagues top 10 in HR. However, would you be surprised if you found out they were tied at 18 with a third man? Would you have guessed that man was Mel Ott?

4. Robin Roberts is a Hall of Famer, so isn’t it a bit surprising to hear that he holds the all-time record with 10 separate seasons in which he finished in the top 10 in the league in loses (tied with Early Wynn who went 300-244)? He did manage to finish his career with a 286-245 record.

5. From 1968-76 Tom Seaver struck out at least 200 batters per season. Why is that significant? Well, those 9 straight years of 200+ Ks is the longest streak in baseball history.

6. From 1908-1919 Walter Johnson had an ERA under 2.50 in every single season (a ML record 12 straight seasons). His ERA during those 12 years was 1.64.

7. From 1910-1916 Walter Johnson had an ERA below 2.00 in every season (a ML record 7 straight seasons). His ERA during those seven years was 1.56.

8. From 1903-1914 all Christy Mathewson did was win (327 Wins, 133 Loses), an average season of 27-11. In fact, he won at least 20 games in each of those 12 seasons to set the record for most consecutive 20 win seasons.

9. From 1992-2004, Barry Bonds hit at least 30 HRs in every season, a record 13 straight. During that span, Bonds averaged 47 per season.

10. Would it surprise you to learn that the record for consecutive 30 save seasons is only 8 by Trevor Hoffman (1995-2002)?

11. In 1912, Chief Wilson hit a major league record 36 triples (the 2005 ML leader, Jose Reyes, had 17). Almost as shocking as the overall number is the fact that Wilson’s second best mark in triples in a season was only 14.

12. 1931 was a good year for doubles as Earl Webb set an all-time single season record with 67. During the rest of his career, Webb’s second best mark was a paltry 30 in 1930.

13. In 1982 Rickey Henderson set a single season record with 130 SB. What is less known is that Henderson also set the all-time single season caught stealing mark that year when he was nabbed 42 times.

14. Miller Huggins fashioned himself as a basestealer stealing 20 or more bases on nine occasions. However he was the most discerning of runners. In 1914 he stole 32 bases but was caught 36 times.

15. Barry Bonds set a ML record with 120 Intentional Base on Balls in 2004. He also has the 2nd and 3rd best seasons as well (68, 61). The highest non-Bonds mark? Willie McCovey’s 45 in 1969.

16. Because he rarely takes a took a walk, Jose Reyes made a whopping 536 Outs in 2005, the 4th highest mark in baseball history (Omar Moreno had 560 Outs in 1980).

17. In 1993 Lenny Dykstra was the leadoff man for the Philadelphia Phillies batting .305-19-66-143-37. During that season he came to the plate 773 times, a major league record.

18. To say that fielders, techniques and equipment have improved over the years would be an understatement. In 2005 Edgar Renteria lead the majors with 30 errors, well off the all-time single season mark of 122 held by Herman Long (1889) and Billy Shindle (1890).

Wednesday, August 02, 2006


1. In 1942, 41-year-old pitcher Ted Lyons starts 20 games, and hurls 20 complete games (14-6, 2.10 ERA). At the end of the season he joined the Marines.

2. Did you know that 1929 was the first year that players wore numbers on their jerseys? The team that came up with the idea? The Yankees of course (though in a twist, the Yankees game was rained out on opening day, so technically the first team to wear numbers in a game were the Cleveland Indians).

3. Five perfect games have been turned into no-hitters by errors: Walter Johnson (July 1, 1920), Bill McCahan (September 3, 1947), Dick Bosman (July 19, 1974), Jerry Reuss (June 27, 1980) and Terry Mulholland (August 15, 1990).

4. Did you know that Grover Cleveland Alexander has the record for most pitching Triple Crowns with four (W, K, ERA)?

5. Did you know that there have been two team with four starters who won 20 games in one season? Most people know of the 1971 Orioles with McNally (21 wins), Dobson, Cuellar and Palmer (20), but don’t forget the other team to have done so, the 1920 White Sox (Faber 23, L.Williams 22 and Cicotte and Kerr who won 21 each).

6. Did you know that there was once a man who pitched two complete games in one day? His name was “Iron” Joe McGinnity (apropos name huh) who accomplished the feat on August 1 1903 when he pitched both ends of a doubleheader for the NY Giants. Oh yeah…he won both games; 4-1 and 5-2.

7. Did you know that on June 23, 1917, Ernie Shore pitched a perfect game in relief of Babe Ruth (yes that Babe Ruth, when he was still a pitcher). Ruth walked the first batter of the game, then argued with the umpire, was ejected, assaulted the umpire, and was replaced by Shore. Immediately the runner tried to steal 2nd and was thrown out. Shore then retired 26 straight batters to complete the no-hitter (however the perfect game was lost because of the lead off walk). For the story see the Chicago Daily Tribune, June 24, 1917, p.A2.

8. Did you know on September 10, 1995, Greg Harris, a mustached journeyman pitcher, threw both right and left handed in the same game? He wasn’t the first pitcher to do this, Tony Mullane also accomplished the feat twice in 1892-1983.

9. Did you know that on June 12, 1970, Pirates pitcher Dock Eillis threw a no-hitter while he was wired on LSD?

10. Did you know that Joe Dimmagio’s 56 game hitting streak, the all time MLB record, wasn’t a career high? In fact, Joe D. hit in 61 straight games for the San Francisco Seals of the PCL league in 1933.

11. Did you know that the record for RBI in a game is 12, accomplished twice, once by Jim Bottomley (9-16-24) and the other time by Mark Whiten (9-7-93)?

12. Did you know Joe Sewell was the best contact hitter in major league history? He had 114 K’s…in his career…Sammy Sosa struck out 143 times in 2004! In fact, Sewell had those 114 K’s in 7,182 at bats, or one every 62.6 at bats.

13. Did you know that for one week Frank Howard was the best hitter ever? During the week of May 12-18, 1968, Howard managed to hit 10 HR over 6 games in only 20 at bats.

14. Did you know that 2 batting titles have been won by players who hit zero HR? Zack Wheat hit .335 in 1918, while Rod Carew hit .318 in 1972, but neither could manage a HR.

15. Did you know that Vince Coleman set the all time record for consecutive SB? From September 18, 1988 to July26, 1989, Coleman stole 50 consecutive bases without being caught.

16. Did you know that Norm Cash owes something to Beethoven? During what would become a Nolan Ryan no-hitter on July 15, 1973, Norm Cash, realizing the futility of trying to hit Ryan, brought not a bat to the plate, but a piano leg! He was ordered to return to the dugout to procure a bat prior to be allowed to hit.

17. Did you know that the worst team of all time wasn’t the 1962 Mets or the 2003 Tigers? The worst team of all time were the 1899 Cleveland Spiders of the NL. After losing 40 of their final 41 games, the Spiders finished the season with a 20-134 record.

18. Did you know that on October 9, 1920 Rube Marquard was arrested by an undercover police officer for scalping World Series tickets…for a game his own team was playing in!

19. Did you know that Babe Ruth’s career HR total is actually 715 and not 714? The reason for this is that prior to 1920, a “walk off” home run, if it created a winning margin of more than one run, was credited only as whatever hit would have produced the wining run. Therefore, on July 8,1918, Babe Ruth’s “walk off” HR was only credited as a triple. (His record still stands at 714 because MLB has decided to maintain the integrity of its records by allowing the ruling that was rendered to “stand” regardless of whether or not the rules were changed later.

20. The following pitcher actually threw no-hitters in games that they actually lost: Ken Johnson, (4/23/1964, Hou v Cin, 0-1, 9IP), Steve Barber (8 2/3 IP) Stu Miller (4/3/1967, Bal v Det, 1-2, 1/3 IP), Andy Hawkins (7/1/1990, NYY @ ChW, 0-4, 8IP), Matt Young (4/12/1992, Oak @ Cle, 1-2, 8IP).

21. Did you know that the longest relief outing in history was 18.1 innings by Zip Zabel of the Cubs on June 17, 1915? He got the win 4 to 3 after entering the game with two outs in the 1st inning.

22. How good was Babe Ruth? In the following years Ruth more than DOUBLED his next closest pursuer in HR: 1919 (29 to Cravath’s 12), 1920 (54 to Sisler’s 19), 1921 (59 to K.Williams and Meusal’s 24) and 1926 (47 to Hack Wilson’s 21).

23. In 2004 against his former team the Mets, Armadno Benitez had 11 saves, an all-time record vs. one team (13.1 IP, 1 ER, 12 K, 0.68 ERA, 0.30 WHIP, .091 BAA).

24. Russ Christopher is the only pitcher in ML history to have an ERA under 4 (3.82), a BB/9IP of over 5 (5.40) and a Win% below .300 (4-13 for a .235 Win%)..

25. There have only been three 3B whoever played who produced a single season of at least .325-40-100. They are Al Rosen (.336-43-135 in 1953), Ken Caminiti (.326-40-130 in 1996) and Adrian Beltre (.334-48-121 in 2004).

26. Everyone knows that Ichiro set the all-time single season hit record in 2004 with 262, but how many of you are aware that he also set the all-time single season record for singles that year with 225?

27. Barry Bonds set the all-time single season HR record in 2001 with 73, but did you know that despite all those homers he still finished 12 extra-base hits behind Babe Ruth’s single season record of 119 set in 1921?

28. When Barry Bonds set an all-time season record with 232 BB in 2004 he reached base 376 times…the second highest mark in history to the 379 times Babe Ruth reached base in 1923.

29. In 1917 Ray Chapman set an all-time single season record with 67 sacrifice hits…guess you would want him bunting in the 9th inning of a tie game.

30. In 1972 Nolan Ryan set a single season record by allowing only 5.26 hits per 9 IP.

31. In 2001 Randy Johnson set a single season record by averaging 13.4 K per 9 IP.