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The State of Your Team
by Ray Flowers
June 14, 2004

PART II- BUY 

In PART II of this article we will give you the scoop on who you should try and pry away from your competition. Also recall from PART I that we are not concerned with the overall totals of each player; we are concerned with how they will perform from this point forward. Remember the old adage, without risk there is little reward. 

Stats as of June 22, 2004 
Stats: Avg., HR, RBI, Runs, SB, OPS 

C - Joe Mauer
2004 Stats- .286,3,8,10,0,.919 (in 49 AB)

Is Mauer all the way back from his knee injury? Well according to Mauer he sure is (http://bigleaguers.yahoo.com/mlbpa/news?slug=mlbpa-joemauercatchingupafterd&prov=mlbpa&type=news). The #1 pick in the country in 2001 just ahead of Mark Prior, is the darling of the Twins organization. We are especially interested in that .919 OPS of his, a total which would place him in the Jorge Posada, Mike Piazza class (though if we had to compare Mauer when he matures to a current catcher, he figures to be more of a Pudge Rodriguez type hitter…but that ain’t half bad either). Mauer might be a free agent in your league right now, but if he isn’t you might want to try and pick up the guy, he could hit .305,6,35 in the second half if healthy. Also the chance of a 2nd half slide that most catchers experience is minimized because he missed so much time in the first half due to his injury.  

1B- Jason Giambi
2004 Stats- .250,11,31,28,0,.871

3 Year Avg.-
.302, 40,116,109,2,1.026

How could we recommend this one-legged, lefty-swinging, possible steroid using former slugger? Because he is Jason Giambi. There is no way that he plays this bad for the whole season, no way (currently he’s on pace for .250,27,75 which would be his worst year ever). We gotta admit that there really isn’t any reason to agree with us, but it’s just a gut call on our behalf (his totals in June thus far have produced, if you can call what he’s done producing, his worst month statistically of the season: .196,2,7). Even if he only matches last years totals (.250,41,107) he’s still in for a monster 2nd half. We bet he gets there. 

2B- Jose Vidro
2004 Stats- .268,6,31,21,2,.732

3 Year Avg.-
.315,16,73,87,3,.859

We wanted to list Bret Boone, but he will probably still be highly valued because of his power numbers the past three years. That said, get Vidro while you still can, his hot streak has started and it just might last for the rest of the season. Vlad or not Vidro can hit, and his performance this year, mirroring the impotent Expos offense, has been perplexing. This man is a career .303 hitter who was hitting .233 at the start of June, something that eventually had to change. Since June 1st it has as he has brought his average up to .268 overall (his June numbers: .366,2,16,12,1,.929). Grab him while the price still reflects his poor start. 

3B- Eric Hinske
2004 Stats- .245,6,31,28,6,.692
2 Year Avg.- .256,18,74,87,13,.812

Just who is Hinske? Is he the Rookie of the Year performer or the struggling gap hitter of last season (he did produce 45 2B last year)? Good question. We’re betting that he’s just simply a solid major leaguer who’s continuing to grow as a hitter. There are other 3B we might suggest that you pick up, but there are a couple of reasons we suggest Hinske. First, he was injured last year, so some of the appreciation for his talents may have vanished. Second, he has had a slow start this season and has plenty of room to grow. Third, the Blue Jays have yet to hit, and that just can’t last especially when Carlos Delgado and Vernon Wells return. Fourth, in his first two years, he has a higher AVG, OBP, SLG an OPS in the second half of the season. Couple that with the fact that he’s hitting ..315,2,10 with 3 steals in June, and his ascent to the top rung of fantasy 3B might be resuming.  

SS- Edgar Renteria
2004 Stats- .275,4,30,38,8,.704

3 Year Avg.-
.300,11,80,76,24,.794

Three years in a row, from 2001-2003, Renteria’s stats went up in the following categories: AVG, HR, RBI, Runs, SB, OPS, Hits…that’s right, for three straight years ALL of his core stats have gone up! Now he probably won't match his numbers from last year, not with his slow start, but his 2002 season numbers are still attainable (.305,11,83,77,22 which closely mirror his 3 year average by the way). Plus he’s had season highs in June in AVG ,OBP, SLG an OPS. You’d take that wouldn’t you?  

OF- Andruw Jones
2004 Stats- .248,12,37,39,2,.826

3 Year Avg.-
.264,35,105,99,8,.830

Now this is an obvious choice, and the only way your really going to pull this one off is to get him from an owner who is out to lunch, but its worth the chance because one of these years Andrews’s gonna break out isn’t he (for goodness sakes, he’s still only 27)? Hell, he’s still on pace for 29 HR and 90 RBI/Runs even with this slow start. With Rafael Furcal and Chipper back in the lineup, the Braves figure to make their annual run at the division title, but now may be time for this Jones to lead the Braves to the title. People often look at AVG and allow that one stat to dictate their decisions so if someone undervalues Andruw based on his, swoop him up. Heck, if he matches last years .277 average he’ll hit over .300 from this point on.  

OF- Brian Giles
2004 Stats- .273,10,42,42,5,.817

3 Year Avg.-
.302,32,95,101,11,1.000

OK, Petco is the worst HR park in the majors so far this year (only 44 HR have been hit there, or 36.7% less than the average park), but this is Brain Giles right? Giles will probably fall right around 25 HR this year, but he still has to bring that average up while collecting a lot of doubles in that expansive OF right? After a horrendous April (.238,4,14), he rebounded with an extremely strong May (.330,5,20). However, June has seen a return to his April level (.230,1,8). But Giles is too good to be this bad…his record just will just not allow it. Factor in the Padres being in the pennant race, something he rarely experienced in Pittsburgh, and we say the man comes through big time.  

OF- Shawn Green
2004 Stats- .254,9,33,36,2,.760

3 Year Avg.-
.288,37,108,105,11,.907

What the heck happened to Shawn? There was a time when you wouldn’t have traded this guy for any OF not named Ramirez, Sosa or Bonds. His three year average for homers, 37, includes last years total of only 19. He’s stopped running, his average has fallen, and his power has almost disappeared (.760 OPS for him is flat out embarrassing). So why do we recommend him? Unless Green has ebola or some other life threatening illness this fall makes no sense. Sure he has an injured shoulder, but so does Jeff Bagwell and while he cant make a 90-foot throw, he still hits 30 HR a year. Following our theme, Green has used June to bring his average up from .238 to .254, and when his infamous hot streak hits, you want to have him on your team. Plus in his career he’s a better hitter in the second half with a higher AVG, OPB, SLG an OPS after the all-star break.  

SP- Roy Oswalt
2004 Stats- 4-6,3.95 ERA,77 K,1.29 WHIP,0.60 SWIP

3 Year Avg.-
14-7,2.92, 153, 1.14, 0.72

This man perplexes us. His assortment of pitches may best the best in the NL. So far this year he is experiencing career worsts in ERA,WHIP, BAA, K rate and BB rate. So what’s wrong with him? Nothing. In fact for the first time in a while he appears to be healthy. So what gives? We say that the law of averages will balance out by the end of the year, just give it time. What makes his stats particularly hideous is his horrid June (1-2, 6.11ERA, and 1.61 WHIP). But a look at his career stats show that he’s better in the 2nd half in ERA, WHIP, and BAA so a turnaround is likely. Plus, 15 wins and 200 K are still very possible (meaning you’d be getting a guy who would win 11 games with 123 K from now). Throw in the fact that he’s likely to lower his ERA to around 3.20 by seasons end, and you have lots of room for improvement with this man. One last point: with 4.24 runs of support this year, Oswalt ranks only 79th out of all starting pitchers thus far in offensive support. 

SP- Bartolo Colon
2004 Stats- 4-6,6.04,63,1.57,0.41

3 Year Avg.-
16-11,3.62,174,1.20,0.42

You thought Oswalt was off a bit, well Colon has turned into Colby Lewis all of a sudden. Is it his massive girth? Does he have a potentially career threatening arm problem? We say no to both of those. But there are major issues to discuss. Firstly, Colon leads the AL in HR allowed (21), after allowing an average of 25 his first 6 seasons. Second, he is on pace for career worsts in most major categories. But do not despair. We watched Colon’s last outing, and while he did give up 3 bombs (they were all solo), he only allowed those three runs. He was still throwing 95 mph in the 8th inning, so the heat is still there (his career K rate prior to 2004 is 7.25 per 9/IP and this year it is still fairly high: 6.91). Also his career walk rate of 3.40 per 9/IP prior to this year has actually gone down to 3.18 in 2004. So if his K rate and BB rate have held steady, maybe it’s just the HR that have bothered him? Well his BAA against sits at .299, and for a guy who’s career average is .255, something must be up. We say he has just had some bad luck with some bloop hits, and if he can curb that gopher ball rate, he’ll be fine. Historically July has been his best month, so take a chance on this ace. His overall numbers might still blow, but from here out he might be someone you want on your team. You could probably get him for some belly button lint at this point, so why not try.  

RP- Brad Lidge
2004 Stats- 1-3,2.45 ERA,0.97 WHIP,1 Sv,1.24 SWIP

Last Year Avg.-
6-3,3.60, 1.20, 1, .65

Trade rumors are starting to swirl around Astros closer Octavio Dotel and who do you think will take his place if he’s traded? Also if you watch Baseball Tonight on ESPN, you’ve heard Peter Gammons state that according to the players he talks to, Lidge has the best slider in baseball, even better than Randy Johnson’s. Another salient factor attesting to this guys dominance is his current SWIP of 1.24 (to put that in perspective, the last two years Eric Gagne’s is 1.31). With stuff that filthy, and a manager in Jimmy Williams who seemingly switches pitchers before the hitter reaches first base on a single, Lidge is in line to compliment his dominant totals with some save chances. If Dotel does get traded, Lidge has to vault right up to the top of the closer list. Just pray his arm troubles are behind him.  

RAYS NOTES: 

Did you know that the record for RBI in an inning is 8 by Fernando Tatis who on April 23, 1999, when hit two grand slams in the third inning off of Chan Ho Park? 

Ray Flowers can be reached with comments/questions or suggestions at: ray@drafthelp.com

You can also visit Rays’ blog at www.wildpitch.blogspot.com for a full review of all of his recent article and other interesting stuff. 


 


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