Thursday, July 12, 2007

Mailbag, July 5th, 2007

Fantasy Fandom, July 5th, 2007
Contributed By: Ray Flowers of


Quick question. If you had to make the call on the following deal, which side would you rather be on? Andrew Jones or Michael Cuddyer?
-- Shawn, Seattle

Who would have thought four months ago that this would be a valid question? Andruw Jones has been horrible almost from day 1 producing arguably the worst overall numbers of his career. Jones, hitting .201-14-48-38-3, has a massive 87 Ks in 83 games with a .176 average in day games and an identical .176 mark since May 1st, a span of 58 games. This is no longer a slump, it’s way beyond that. Jones owns career average of .263 but his unseemly .201 mark is simply atrocious. Though Jones is still on pace for 25+ HRs and 90+ RBIs, he averaged 46 HRs and 129 RBIs the past two seasons so his owners might be close to pulling back on a bottle of vodka to dull the pain. Less HRs, RBIs, runs scored (he is on pace for his worst total since 1997) and that average mark him as the modern day Rob Deer. How scary is that?

Michael Cuddyer on the other hand is enjoying a strong season (.280-9-51-55-3). Hitting 4th in the Twins lineup, Cuddyer is on pace for a second straight 100 RBI, 100 run season, something, shockingly, Jones hasn’t done sine 2000-01. Cuddyer currently has more runs (17), hits (22), RBIs (3) with a higher average (.079 points), OBP (.067 points), SLG% (.048 points) and OPS (.116) than Jones though amazingly Jones still holds the advantage in HRs (14 to 9). Regardless, Cuddyer has been the more consistent and overall stronger performer, so if it was me, I would prefer Cuddyer at this point since 83 games with a .201 average just scares the hell out of me.

I have Ken Griffey, Carlos Lee, Carl Crawford, and Corey Hart as my OFs and Rafael Furcal as my shortstop. I was offered a trade of J.J. Hardy for Crawford. My gut reaction is to say no, hoping that Furcal will actually start playing better. Should I try and get more for Crawford?
-- Jeff, Mesquite, TX.

You should absolutely ask for much, much more for Carl Crawford than J.J. Hardy no matter how strong your OF is. Crawford (.286-6-51-44-21) is a top-10 talent despite a less than superb first half. Still, he is on pace for a career-high in RBI (previously 81), and he should still steal 40+ bases by the time the season is complete. Those SBs are just too hard to give away when you consider the fact that unlike some other speedsters, Crawford contributes in other categories. Crawford has been cold at the plate of late but as recently as June 24th he was hitting .303, so don’t make the mistake of just looking at his overall batting average and being disappointed.

I have written about Hardy a couple of times this year, and just as common sense had predicted, he has slowed dramatically despite great overall numbers (.283-18-52-48-0). In another case of ‘don’t be fooled by overall numbers’, Hardy has only 3 HRs in his last 29 games and even worse just 6 RBIs in his last 23 outings. He is also hitting only just .233 over his last 23 games, so even though his overall numbers are tremendous, he hasn’t been worthy of starting for over a month. Hardy will be lucky to be a top-10 SS the rest of the way whereas Crawford could easily be a top-10 overall performer. Add to that the fact that Rafael Furcal has been slightly more valuable than Hardy since June 1st (.244-2-13-17-4) and that he, unlike Hardy, has been an all-star caliber talent for years, and you are better off going with Furcal at SS anyway. Go with your gut and pass on this offer.

Truth be told, there are quite a few metrics that may not be classified as “new” but might be new to the general reader. The reason for this is basically we only know that which we are exposed to. Each week we will look at one metric or idea that can be added to your “toolbox” of knowledge to help you capture your leagues championship crown through a simple explanation of what it measures.

Last week we discussed Component ERA or ERC (see: This week, we will build upon that discussion by talking about a concept that plays directly off the idea of ERC, and that is ERC Difference.

Just what is ERC Difference? Simply put it is the difference between the actual ERA and the ERC of a pitcher. By measuring the difference, we can find out which pitchers may be pitching “lucky” and which pitchers may have had poor luck thus far (of course there are many factors involved here, but for space reasons, let’s just go with the supposition that this statement is true). The pitchers who have been “lucky” could very easily see a correction in their ERA in the second half with the resulting number being higher. Conversely, those pitching in “poor luck” right now could see their ERA’s move down in the second half of the season.

There are 92 MLB pitchers who have thrown enough innings to qualify for the ERA title (1 IP per game, or 162 for a full season). These are the pitchers that we will review here. So let’s jump right in.

Chris Young has an ERA of 2.00, tied with Brad Penny for the best mark in baseball. Young’s ERC mark happens to be 2.08. That means that Young currently has an ERA that is 0.08 better than what ERC estimates that number should be. Here is the obvious equation that we are using:


Another way to say this would be to say that Young has been slightly “lucky” this season (.08 worth). So, any pitcher who has an ERA that is below his ERC mark could be considered a bit lucky. Here are those pitchers who have experienced the most “luck” according to ERC Difference through July 4th, and are candidates to see their ERA’s rise in the second half if their “luck” runs out.

Doug Davis 4.29 5.99 -1.70
Mike Maroth 5.08 6.36 -1.28
Zach Duke 5.79 6.94 -1.15
Livan Hernandez 4.54 5.55 -1.01
Chuck James 3.96 4.93 -.97
Scott Kazmir 4.28 5.09 -.81
Miguel Batista 4.63 5.31 -.68
Chad Gaudin 2.92 3.57 -.65
Matt Morris 3.25 3.86 -.61
David Wells 4.16 4.77 -.61

A quick look at this list should make you very nervous if these are names that are currently on your roster. Three of the pitchers might surprise you considering the fact that they all have ERA’s below 4.00 (Chuck James, Chad Gaudin and Matt Morris). The others, besides Scott Kazmir, are all borderline control type pitchers who you would have to figure might see some peaks and valleys over the course of a season.

However, this isn’t the end of the discussion. If you want to make ERC Difference even more relevant, it would be beneficial to place it in context. What do I mean by that? Well, even if Gaudin sees his ERA total even out in the second half and it approaches his current ERC mark of 3.57, his ERA would still be just 3.57 or 1.20 runs below the number the ERC mark of David Wells (4.77). However, wouldn’t you still rather have Gaudin in this scenario even if his ERA could adjust by a larger margin than Wells the rest of the way (-.65 compared to -.61) since Gaudin’s ERA will still be much lower than Wells’ mark if things hold? Let me illustrate with a clear example.

PITCHER A has a 1.00 ERA and improves by 10% to .90
PITCHER B has a 10.00 ERA and improves 10% to 9.00

PITCHER B improved by one full run whereas PITCHER A improved by only .10 a run making it appear like PITCHER B improved more. In reality, they both improved by the same 10% mark, it’s just that PITCHER B was so bad to start with that his 10% improvement seems greater without putting it in context. Therefore, we need to place the ERC Difference in context, and in order to do that we simple divide a pitcher’s ERA by his ERC mark.

David Wells = ERA/ ERC
= 4.16/4.77
ERC Difference = 0.87

Wells ERA is actually 13% lower than it should be signaling that a possible rise is in the cards if things “even out” (.87-1.00 = .-13 or 13% below average).

Simply put, if a pitcher has the exact ERA that he should according to ERC his adjusted ERC Difference mark, or ERC+, would be 1.00 (4.16/4.16 as an example). An ERC+ under 1.00 is poor meaning that the pitchers ERA could rise, while an ERC+ above 1.00 is good meaning that his ERA could go down if all other factors remain constant. Here are the pitchers who have been the luckiest so far and are solid bets to see their actual ERA’s rise in the second half.

Doug Davis 4.29 5.99 .72
Mike Maroth 5.08 6.36 .80
Chuck James 3.96 4.93 .80
Chad Gaudin 2.92 3.57 .82
Livan Hernandez 4.54 5.55 .82
Brad Penny 2.00 2.41 .83
Zach Duke 5.79 6.94 .83
Scott Kazmir 4.28 5.09 .84
Matt Morris 3.25 3.86 .84
Gil Meche 3.26 3.78 .86

So what this chart shows us is that Livan Hernandez’s actual ERA is 18% lower than it should be according to ERC (.82-1.00 = 0.18) whereas Gaudin’s is also 18% lower despite the fact that his actual ERA is over a run and a half lower (2.92 compared to 4.54). Each pitcher’s ERA is 18% “better” than it should be but even if each pitchers ERA evens out, Livan Hernandez is certainly not the pitcher you want on your team considering the fact that his ERA could be almost two full runs higher than Gaudin (5.55 to 3.57).

Here are the pitchers who could see an improvement in their ERA in the second half if their luck improves (of course, this assumes that hey continue to pitch to the levels that they currently are).

Jeremy Guthrie 2.63 1.89 1.39
Ted Lilly 3.84 2.86 1.34
Josh Beckett 3.38 2.62 1.29
Joe Blanton 3.09 2.43 1.27
Javier Vazquez 3.70 2.97 1.25
James Shields 3.76 3.04 1.24
Roy Halladay 4.27 3.51 1.22
Dave Bush 5.11 4.24 1.21
Aaron Harang 3.84 3.19 1.20
Kip Wells 6.06 5.07 1.20

In the end all we are doing here is predicting possible outcomes based on a very small amount of evidence so our “conclusions” could end up being off. In order to form a more sound opinion on a pitchers possible performance the rest of the season we will need more data. To this end, we will try to accumulate another piece of the puzzle next week.


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. However, his HR total 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.

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?

Often overlooked in a spectacular career was the fact that Hank Aaron had 15 different seasons with at least 100 runs, the most such seasons in history.

Known as a singles hitter by most casual fans, where you aware that Ty Cobb finished in the top-10 in OPS a record 20 times during his career (tied with Cap Anson)? In fact, his lifetime OPS of .945 is the 25th best of all-time for batters with at least 5000 plate appearances. To compare, Ken Griffey Jr. has an OPS of .932 despite out-homering Cobb 585 to 117.

Ray Flowers, a member of the Fantasy Sports Writers Association (FSWA) and the Society for American Baseball Research (SABR), can be reached with comments and questions at: To read more of Ray’s work visit

Tuesday, February 13, 2007


SWIP = (K- BB) / IP

To read the full article go to

Here are the 2006 SWIP Leaders (min. 75 IP).

1.16 J.J. Putz
1.07 Takashi Saito
0.99 Ben Sheets
0.93 Francisco Liriano
0.91 Brad Lidge
0.85 Johan Santana
0.84 Jonathan Broxton
0.77 Scott Kazmir
0.76 Curt Schilling
0.76 Jake Peavy
0.74 Pedro Martínez
0.73 Cole Hamels
0.70 Bob Howry
0.69 Mike Mussina
0.69 Francisco Cordero
0.68 Scot Shields
0.68 Aaron Harang
0.67 John Smoltz
0.67 Adam Wainwright
0.66 C.C. Sabathia
0.66 Joel Zumaya
0.64 Jeremy Bonderman
0.64 Roger Clemens
0.64 Kevin Gregg
0.64 Brett Myers
0.64 Chris Carpenter
0.63 Orlando Hernández
0.63 Javier Vázquez
0.61 Dave Bush
0.61 Scott Linebrink
0.61 Félix Hernández
0.61 Jimmy Gobble
0.60 Boof Bonser
0.59 Joaquín Benoit
0.59 Dan Haren
0.59 Mariano Rivera
0.59 Jered Weaver
0.58 A.J. Burnett
0.58 Roy Oswalt
0.57 Chris Capuano
0.55 Scott Baker
0.55 Jesse Crain
0.55 Jon Rauch
0.55 Scott Proctor
0.55 Randy Johnson
0.55 Matt Capps
0.54 Brandon Webb
0.54 John Lackey
0.53 Chris Young
0.53 James Shields
0.52 Erik Bedard
0.52 Aaron Heilman
0.51 Rich Hill
0.51 Kelvim Escobar
0.51 Ian Snell
0.50 Andy Pettitte
0.50 Scott Olsen
0.50 Bronson Arroyo
0.50 Brad Penny
0.48 Kevin Millwood
0.48 Matt Cain
0.48 Darren Oliver
0.47 Jason Schmidt
0.45 Shawn Camp
0.45 Jon Lieber
0.45 Héctor Carrasco
0.45 Roy Halladay
0.45 Anthony Reyes
0.44 Carlos Zambrano
0.44 Byung-Hyun Kim
0.44 Geoff Geary
0.43 Ted Lilly
0.43 Juan Cruz
0.43 Vicente Padilla
0.43 Brandon McCarthy
0.42 Claudio Vargas
0.42 Todd Coffey
0.42 John Maine
0.42 Cory Lidle
0.42 Kyle Lohse
0.42 Brett Tomko
0.41 Ricky Nolasco
0.41 Josh Johnson
0.41 Ryan Dempster
0.41 Josh Beckett
0.41 Rodrigo López
0.40 José Contreras
0.40 Scott Downs
0.40 Freddy García
0.40 Odalis Pérez
0.39 Elmer Dessens
0.39 Gil Meche
0.38 Elizardo Ramírez
0.38 Greg Maddux
0.38 Taylor Buchholz
0.38 Chan Ho Park
0.38 Brandon Claussen
0.37 Chuck James
0.37 Esteban Loaiza
0.36 Ryan Madson
0.36 Salomón Torres
0.36 Daniel Cabrera
0.35 Bruce Chen
0.35 Cliff Lee
0.35 Josh Hancock
0.35 Jeff Weaver
0.35 Tom Glavine
0.35 Ervin Santana
0.35 David Wells
0.34 Dontrelle Willis
0.34 Shaun Marcum
0.34 Justin Verlander
0.34 Víctor Santos
0.34 Jon Garland
0.34 Nate Robertson
0.32 Adam Loewen
0.32 Chad Qualls
0.31 Eric Milton
0.31 Brad Radke
0.31 Derek Lowe
0.30 Oscar Villarreal
0.30 Oliver Pérez
0.30 Fernando Nieve
0.30 Enrique González
0.30 Jorge Sosa
0.29 Zach Miner
0.28 Tim Hudson
0.28 Doug Davis
0.28 Paul Byrd
0.28 Tim Wakefield
0.28 Roberto Novoa
0.27 Jamie Moyer
0.27 Jason Jennings
0.26 Ron Villone
0.26 Aaron Sele
0.26 Matt Morris
0.26 Wandy Rodríguez
0.26 Jarrod Washburn
0.26 Jake Westbrook
0.25 Luke Hudson
0.25 Woody Williams
0.25 Joe Blanton
0.25 Clay Hensley
0.25 Mark Buehrle
0.24 Casey Janssen
0.24 Jeff Francis
0.24 Barry Zito
0.23 Liván Hernández
0.23 Zach Duke
0.23 Anibal Sánchez
0.22 Mark Hendrickson
0.21 Tony Armas
0.21 Carlos Silva
0.21 Ramón Ortiz
0.21 Jon Lester
0.20 Paul Maholm
0.20 Jae Seo
0.19 Jaret Wright
0.19 Casey Fossum
0.19 Josh Fogg
0.18 Jeff Suppan
0.18 Kenny Rogers
0.18 Noah Lowry
0.17 John Thomson
0.17 Aaron Cook
0.17 Jeremy Sowers
0.17 Jason Johnson
0.16 Jorge De La Rosa
0.16 Kris Benson
0.16 Brian Moehler
0.16 Mark Mulder
0.15 Tomo Ohka
0.15 Kameron Loe
0.14 Sean Marshall
0.14 Sidney Ponson
0.14 Joel Piñeiro
0.13 Mike O'Connor
0.13 Ryan Franklin
0.13 Ruddy Lugo
0.13 Miguel Batista
0.12 Jake Woods
0.12 Pedro Astacio
0.12 Tim Corcoran
0.12 Julián Tavárez
0.11 John Koronka
0.11 Chien-Ming Wang
0.11 Jason Marquis
0.10 Gustavo Chacín
0.10 Jamey Wright
0.08 Horacio Ramírez
0.08 Mark Redman
0.07 Brad Halsey
0.05 Mike Thompson
0.05 Todd Wellemeyer
0.02 Runelvys Hernández
0.01 Chad Billingsley
0.01 Steve Trachsel
0.00 Brad Hennessey
0.00 Carlos Marmol
(0.01) Kirk Saarloos
(0.01) Shawn Chacón
(0.03) Scott Elarton
(0.07) Jeremy Affeldt
(0.09) Seth McClung


Thursday, September 21, 2006


September 22, 2006
Contributed By: Ray Flowers


(First Year)

1 Delmon Young (.356-3-10-12-2) – 20/20 as soon as next year?
2 Nick Markakis (.296-16-60-69-2) - .325-14-39-40 in 62 second-half games.
3 Chris Duncan (.304-18-38-53-0 in 247 AB) – Big-time power, also plays 1B.
4 Andre Eithier (.314-11-54-50-5 in 382 AB) – Slumped in second half, still well over .300.
5 Melky Cabrera (.286-7-49-73-12) – Quietly put up a strong rookie year.
6 Jason Kubel (.247-8-26-23-2) – Next year could easily hit .275-20-75.
7 Luke Scott (.382-8-30-24-2 in 170 AB) – Hasn’t stopped hitting since called up.
8 Chris Young, ARI (.250-2-9-8-2 in 60 AB) – All-around talent is breath taking.

STARTERS (First or second year)

1 Felix Hernandez (11-14, 4.68 ERA, 165 K, 1.39 WHIP in 179 IP) – Dominant in spurts, needs consistency.
2 Jered Weaver (11-2, 2.15, 96, 1.00 in 108.2 IP) – Never let up, is it stuff or deception?
3 Matt Cain (13-10, 3.99, 168, 1.25 in 178 IP) – 2.80 ERA, 1.11 WHIP with 88 K in 86.2 second half IP.
4 Scott Olsen (12-8, 3.87, 156, 1.27 in 172 IP) – Almost a K per IP.
5 Justin Verlander (16-9, 3.63, 121, 1.32 in 181 IP) – 4.61 ERA, 1.55 WHIP in second half.
6 Ian Snell (14-10, 4.67, 166, 1.45 in 181 IP) – Almost a K per IP, shot at 15 wins.
7 Annibal Sanchez (8-3, 2.90, 65, 1.15 in 102.1 IP) – No-hitter will drive up price.
8 Chuck James (10-4, 3.62, 80, 1.24 in 107 IP) – 6-2 with a 2.73 ERA last two months.

RELIEVERS (First or second year)
1 Huston Street (4-4, 2.88, 61, 0.99 with 35 SV in 65.2 IP) – Only his second season.
2 Jonathan Papelbon (4-2, 0.92, 75, 0.78 with 35 SV in 68.1 IP) – Will he start next year?
3 Chris Ray (3-4, 2.90, 49, 1.13 with 32 SV in 62 IP) – Quiet but effective in 2nd year.
4 Joel Zumaya (6-3, 2.00, 91, 1.18 with 1 SV in 76.1 IP) – Gas, gas and more gas.
5 Adam Wainwright (2-1, 2.92, 66, 1.10 with 1 SV in 71 IP) – 2007 closer for Cards?
6 Takashi Saito (5-2, 2.25, 95, 0.92 with 19 SV in 72 IP) – Will he close next year?
7 Taylor Tankersley (2-1, 2.95, 43, 1.42 with 3 SV in 36.2 IP) – If Borowski moves, does Tank close?
8 Cal Merideth (5-1, 0.82, 31, 0.73 in 43. 2 IP) – Better ERA and WHIP than Papelbon.


1 Joe Mauer (.344-11-79-81-8) – No way he repeats…right?
2 Victor Martinez (.315-16-87-75-0) - .300 hitting catchers, there are only 2 guaranteed.
3 Brian McCann (.326-21-80-56-2) – More than just that Roger Clemens HR.
4 Michael Barrett (.307-16-53-54-0) – Missed time with fight, injury.
5 Johnny Estrada (.306-11-70-43-0) – Great bounce back from 2005 struggles (.261-4-39).
Others: Russell Martin (.285-10-59-59-10) – Will he keep stealing?
Kenji Johjima (.295-17-71-57-3) – Tremendous first season.
Ronny Paulino (.318-6-53-36-0) – More power, less average next year?

1 Albert Pujols (.328-46-128-112-6) – Best all-around hitter…period.
2 Ryan Howard (.312-57-140-101-0) – Ungodly power, what about an encore?
3 Lance Berkman (.312-41-122-88-3) – Also quals. at 1B, tremendous overall hitter.
4 Justin Morneau (.325-33-125-92) – Little chance he repeats the average.
5 Mark Teixeira (.270-28-98-90-2) ) – 30 Hr, 100 RBI still isn’t that bad is it?
Others: Conor Jackson (.285-13-71-68-1 in 446 AB) – Too much discipline to fail.
Adam Lind (.375-1-5-6-0) – Hit a combined .330-24-89-63-30 with a .950 OPS
James Loney (.261-1-8-16-1) – Hit .380-8-67-64-9 in 98 games at AAA

1 Chase Utley (.300-29-92-120-13) – Best at 2B, no questions remain.
2 Rickie Weeks (.279-8-34-73-19) – 20/20 possibility with health.
3 Brian Roberts (.290-9-52-79-35) – Less power, more speed.
4 Robinson Cano (.339-11-71-55-4) – Can he win a batting title?
5 Dan Uggla (.287-26-89-103-6) – The new Jeff Kent?
Others: Kaz Matsui (.252-2-21-26-7) – Hitting .338-1-14-16-5 in 22 games w/Rockies.
Howie Kendrick (.270-3-25-21-6) - .360 hitter in minor league career. Will also qual. at 1B next year.
Chris Burke (.282-9-40-54-11) – Will Biggio be back?
Josh Barfield (.283-12-55-67-19) – Outstanding rookie season.

1 Jose Reyes (.299-19-77-119-57) – Best fantasy player in the game?
2 Derek Jeter (.339-14-95-110-32) – Best season in years.
3 Jimmy Rollins (.275-22-73-116-36) – Just a small step below Reyes.
4 Miguel Tejada (.327-22-94-95-6) – Never stops hitting regardless of teams record.
5 Michael Young (.315-14-95-89-7) – 200 hits four straight seasons.
Others: Freddy Sanchez (.346-6-82-84-3) – Also quals at 3B, has 19 GP at 2B.
Stephen Drew (.315-4-21-22-2 in 178 AB) – Full-time job is his next season.
Hanley Ramirez (.285-13-53-112-50) – Who woulda thunk it?

1 Arod (.284-34-116-106-16) – Still the best.
2 Miguel Cabrera (.338-25-110-108-9) Moves ahead of Wright with his average.
3 David Wright (.307-24-110-90-20) – Almost identical to last year (.306-27-102-99-17).
4 Garrett Atkins (.328-27-114-108-3) – Did you realize he was that good?
5 Aramis Ramirez (.291-35-111-87-2) – Huge second half: .332-19-59-47 in 65 games.
Others: Ryan Zimmerman (.283-19-99-81-11) – 100 RBIs as a rookie?
Esteban German (.342-3-29-39-7 in 240 AB) – Also OF, why didn’t Royals play him more?
BJ Upton (.246-0-7-17-10 in 142 AB) – 2nd overall in 2002, needs to field better 12 E in 40 games.

4. RAY’s NOTES - Fantasy Factoid, How About That?
Michael Young has 206 hits this year, his fourth straight season with over 200. Since 1940 only three other batters have accomplished this feat four years in a row: Wade Boggs (7 years), Ichiro Suzuki (six) and Kirby Puckett (four).

Ray Flowers, a member of SABR and the Fantasy Sports Writers Association can be reached with comments/questions or suggestions at:

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).