Friday, May 23, 2008

The Buzz Around the Bullpen: Will Young Be The Same Pitcher After Being Struck In The Face?

Welcome back to another edition of the “Buzz Around The Bullpen”. As much as I’d love to jump right in and talk about some baseball, I have to first let you guys in on a little secret. Believe it or not, the Stanley Cup Finals begin tomorrow night. I understand if you are not from Detroit or Pittsburgh this may come as a surprise to you. It is unfortunate that the NHL has taken the back seat to other sports but they have no one else to blame but themselves. It is going to take some time to recover from the strike but I believe the NHL will eventually come back. This series should be extremely exciting with the fresh faces of Sid the Kid and Evgeni Malkin trying to defeat the NHL long-time establishment known as the Detroit Red Wings. Although I think it will be a great series, I have to go with my beloved Penguins in 6. Well before I start growing a mullet like Barry Melrose, lets get back to some baseball talk.

Big Hits

David Murphy (OF, Texas Rangers): Before I start talking about David Murphy’s hot start, I want to make it clear that I do not have a contractual obligation to talk about a Texas Ranger every week. It seems like every week I find myself focusing on at least one Ranger. However, no one can ignore the numbers that Murphy has put up thus far. Murphy is hitting .291 with 6 HRs, 31 RBIs, 24 runs and 4 SBs. Murphy had a hot bat coming out of spring training but owners ignored his numbers and left him undrafted in almost all leagues. Amazingly, he is still available in a little under 50% of leagues. Murphy has been hitting in the 5 spot behind two of the hottest hitters in baseball right now, Josh Hamilton and Milton Bradley. As teams start to pitch around Hamilton and Bradley, they will be forced to give Murphy pitches to hit. Also, with Hamilton and Bradley both having impressive OBPs, look for Murphy to continue to knock in some runs. Give Murphy a long look if you need some help in your outfield.

Doug Davis (SP, Arizona Diamondbacks): Sports have a funny way of each year providing us with a great story. Although Jon Lester’s no-hitter this past week stole some of the thunder, Doug Davis is coming back in a little over a month after battling cancer. Although these feel good stories do not give your fantasy team any extra points, I look for Davis to come back and put up some great numbers. Davis won 13 games last year on a Diamondbacks team that was not nearly as good as their team this year. While Davis always compiles a high WHIP, his potential to put up big strikeout and win numbers more than make up for that. Davis is most likely available in your league after he was dropped when he went on the DL for his cancer treatment. Guys this is going to be the story of the year and you heard it here first. Pick up Doug Davis.

Jose A. Contreras (SP, Chicago White Sox): Contreras has won his last three starts and has not given up more than one earned run in any of those starts. The White Sox are one of the hottest teams in the league right now and it looks like their offense has turned around from an absolutely abysmal 2007 season. Contreras already has 5 wins and while he only averages about 3 Ks per start, he owns an impressive 1.14 WHIP. Although Contreras is only getting older by the day, expect Contreras to win 12-15 games. This isn’t too bad for a guy that is most likely still available on your waiver wire.

Honorable Mention

Salomon Torres (RP, Milwaukee Brewers): (3-1, 3.10 ERA, 22 Ks, 1.41 WHIP, 1 save)
Bartolo Colon (SP, Boston Red Sox): (1-0, 3.60 ERA, 4 Ks, 1.60 WHIP)
Troy Glaus (3B, St. Louis Cardinals): (.280 avg, 2 Hrs, 32 RBIs, 17 runs)

A Couple Quick Misses

Ian Snell (SP, Pittsburgh Pirates): At the start of the 2008 season, the Pirates were looking to Snell and fellow starter Tom Gorzelanny to carry their young pitching staff. Neither has been able to stand up to the task. Snell has not won in his past 7 starts and although he had an encouraging start against the Brewers this week, he continues to put up some ugly fantasy numbers. While he only won 9 games last year, his win total would have been a lot higher on a more competitive team. Recently when asked by a member of the Pittsburgh media about his pitching of late, Snell replied, “I stink”. There is nothing worse than a pitcher who is down on himself and lacks confidence. Snell needs to get back on track but there is no reason to let him hurt your team in the meantime. If you are a Snell owner, don’t be afraid to pull the trigger on a trade for a younger less established pitcher on a much better team. (see Aaron Laffey).

Chris Young (SP, San Diego Padres): I know I am going to surprise some readers with this one but if I am a Young owner, I’m trading him now. First off, Young has struggled this year and he is on a really bad team that is only going to get worse with its top two starting pitchers on the shelf. Secondly, as we have seen before, pitchers take some time to get back from being hit in the face with a batted ball. Pitchers who have been hit have a tendency to not finish their pitches as their first reaction is to get themselves in a position to defend themselves. This could be especially dangerous for a pitcher of Young’s size (6-10). Look for Young to cut his follow-through a little short and with that comes flat hanging breaking balls and flat waist level fastballs. Young is not an overpowering pitcher. His height and release point result in the ball traveling on a plane that is difficult for the batter to make solid contact. As Young begins to back away and not finish his pitches, his height advantage will completely be eliminated. I look for Young to be even more ordinary than he has been for the remainder of the season. Find someone that is still willing to pay for Young like he is a front-end starter.

As with any SportsJudge articles, please feel free to post any questions or comments. Until next time, keep your ears open for the Buzz Around the Bullpen.

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Dumps said...

Would you say your man crush with anyone in a Ranger's uniform has reached an epic level? You are the type of guy that would trade A-rod and BJ Upton for Hamilton and Reyes. I just don't fathom how I can take advice from someone who advises people to avoid Berkman just in time for his career year. I think you should get hit in the face with a ball.

Scott said...

Well so far Milton Bradley has worked out pretty well and you can't question Hamilton's performance thus far. As far as making that trade, yes I probably would make that trade. Hamilton has as much talent as anyone in baseball and for the first time since he has cleaned up his act, he is finally reaching his full potential. I'm not a fan of A-Rod. He's one of the greatest but I'm just not a fan. As far as Lance Berkman, he has been unreal this year. Let's hope Houston doesn't follow the latest MLB craze and have an all you can eat section in the ballpark. Nothing will be more embarrasing for Lance than to have the announcer at Minute Maid request him to remove himself from section 218 and come down to take his at-bat. "Lance please leave your nachos at the seat". I might be wrong but I believe this is coming from the same person that told me Dave Bush would win the Cy Young last year. Enough said.

Kevin Fenstermacher said...

Berkman is the type of player who is very streaky. He goes through months where he absolutely kills the ball like he has so far this year and then months where he leaves you wondering if he brought his bat to the ballpark. His insane numbers can be partially attributed to the men in the lineup around him, Tejada and Carlos Lee. Tejada has made the age question not an issue and has torn the cover off of the ball this year. El Caballo is one of the more consistent hitters in all of baseball. Berkman must be in heaven sitting in between them. 10 SBs at this point in the season is a huge surprise. It is hard to say anything bad about Berkman at all except don't be surprised for a month or two of him hitting .250.

Hamilton was the #1 overall pick for a reason. The kid can rake! He is also in the bandbox to do it in. He is extremely talented and seems to be over all of his off the field issues. If guys like Braun are considered first round talent after one season, you better believe that this guy is. He did his 19HRs in 298ABs last year. That is quite impressive. This kid didn't get much love, even from myself and I am regretting it. I always had too many outfielders on my team when it would be time for me to want to take Hamilton. Poor draft strategy on my part.

As for Chris Young. I don't see how you can trade him at this point. He has pitched poorly and is now on the DL with this injury. Nobody will give value for him. I think the best bet is to wait and pray that he returns to form. It might be tough, but I don't see getting any quality back in trading him at this point.

Scott said...

Kevin you make some really good points about Berkman and I agree with you on Hamilton for next year's draft. This guy is a stud and the only thing better than his numbers is his story. It's good to see a guy clean up his act and get back on track.

Young's trade value is down somewhat but what's better, a guy that can win you 2-3 games in the next week or a guy that is on the shelf the next 15 days. Also, if you are a Young owner, don't expect him to go right back out there and start throwing 85-100 pitches again. When it is all said and done, you're looking at 15 days on the DL plus a couple weeks to ramp up his pitch count/minor start(s)....and all for what...4.50 ERA with only 4 wins. I could see if he was pitching like he did last year and he was on a winning team like he was last year. The hardest thing to do as an owner is to swallow your pride and trade a struggling front end starter for a guy that is putting up consistent numbers. Don't get me wrong...the upside with Young is huge (love his K's and he could possibly turn it around) but how long are you willing to wait. I don't care what league you are in, there is always the "gambler". The guy that's team has been struggling that is willing to take a guy with an injury/some sort of problem for the chance of possibly receiving huge dividends. In one of my leagues someone still has Barry Bonds rostered. So don't always think that an injured guy won't get you the return you are looking for.. Test the waters and see what the market is on him. Then make your decision. Thank you very much for your comments.