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Rotisserie Duck


You Just Might Be A Fantasy Baseball Player PDF Print E-mail
Rotisserie Duck
Written by Don Drooker   
Friday, 14 March 2014 00:00

As Hedley Lamarr (or maybe Chase Headley) once said, "My mind is a raging torrent, flooded with rivulets of thought cascading into a waterfall of creative alternatives." So, with Spring Training upon us, and with apologies to Jeff Foxworthy:

> If you get more excited about Evan Longoria than Eva Longoria, you just might be a Fantasy player.

> If your elbow was fine but you decided to have Tommy John Surgery just to see how long the rehab takes, you just might be a Fantasy player.

> If you sincerely hope that Yasiel Puig buys a Prius, you just might be a Fantasy player.

> If your neighbor brags about his 4x4 and you reply by saying you prefer 5x5, you just might be a Fantasy player.

> If you know it's d'Arnaud and not D'Arnaud, you just might be a Fantasy player.

> If you're walking through the woods when someone yells "Snake" and you yell back "I prefer Auction", you just might be a Fantasy player.

> If you know for sure that Arruebarruena is not an island in the Caribbean, you just might be a Fantasy player.

> If someone refers to a girl as a "Keeper" and you ask if she qualifies at more than one position, you just might be a Fantasy player.

> If the team names "Okrent Fenokees", "Sklar Gazers", "Cary Nations" and "Pollet Burros" are familiar to you, you just might be a long-time Fantasy player.

> If you think the best thing about the Super Bowl is that it's the last football game of the season, you just might be a Fantasy player.

> If you know the whereabouts of Kyle Crick, Kyle Elfrink, Kyle Farnsworth and Kyle Kendrick, you just might be a Fantasy player.

> If you watch a movie that stars Ben Kingsley and you're motivated to check Trace Wood's Long Gandhi website, you just might be a Fantasy player.

> If you think the Mayo Clinic is where Jonathan spends the off-season looking at minor league video, you just might be a Fantasy player.

> If you think "Black Magic Woman" is only a song by the wrong Carlos Santana, you just might be a Fantasy player.

> If your wife suggested you watch the Oscars and you thought about the name "Taveras", you just might be a Fantasy player.

> If you've signed a petition to have Bill James' countenance added to Mt. Rushmore, you just might be a Fantasy player.

> If the term "Pleskoff Prospect" is meaningful to you, you just might be a Fantasy player.

> If you see graffiti that says "Jesus Is The Answer" and you wonder if the question is, "Who Is Matty and Felipe's Brother?", you just might be a Fantasy player.

> If you're hoping to play the part of Larry Schechter in the movie version of his book, you just might be a Fantasy player.

> If you believe that Wilin, Welington and Yasmani are all spelled correctly, you just might be a Fantasy player.

> If the song "Ventura Highway" makes you wonder if Yordano will be sent to Triple-A, you just might be a Fantasy player.

> If you know that the first time Jose Abreu dives for a baseball, it will put him ahead of Bobby Abreu in that lifetime statistical category, you just might be a Fantasy player.

> If you are secure in the fact that Lord Zola is not a character created by J.R.R. Tolkien, you just might be a Fantasy player.

> If you’re absolutely sure that the word "Florimon" is not Jamaican slang, you just might be a Fantasy player.

> If your employer uses a company called ADP to process payroll and your paycheck causes you to wonder if you can get a quality closer in the top-60, you just might be a Fantasy player.

> If you meet someone whose child is named Jurickson and you don't think twice, you just might be a Fantasy player.

> If you really believe that a guy named "Scooter" will hit home runs, you just might be a Fantasy player.

> If you know more about Bubba Starling than you do about Clarice Starling, you just might be a Fantasy player.

> If you know that brothers Cesar and Maicer Izturis were born only eight months apart, you just might be a Fantasy player.

> If you're sure that Pete Seeger, Bob Seger, Kyle Seager and Corey Seager are all talented, you just might be a folk/rock Fantasy player.

> If you know that Jake Odorizzi and Rougned Odor don't stink, you just might be a Fantasy player.

> If you know that Starlin, Alcides and Asdrubal are all spelled correctly, you just might be a Fantasy player.

> If you believe that Matt Adams losing 6-7 pounds during the off-season is like throwing a deck chair off the Titanic, you just might be a Fantasy player.

> If a conversation with Jason Collette would be more interesting than one with Toni Collette, you just might be a Fantasy player.

> If someone invites you to see "Kung Fu Panda" and you ask if they have box seats, you just might be a Fantasy player.

> If you know that the Cecchini Brothers are not characters in a mob movie, you just might be a Fantasy player.

> If you believe that "Rotoman" may soon become a comic book Superhero, you just might be a Fantasy player.

> If you think that Doug Fister and Dexter Fowler were stolen during the off-season, you just might be a Fantasy player.

> If you know that Conor spells it "Gillaspie" and Cole spells it "Gillespie", you just might be a Fantasy player.

> If you wonder why the Mexican restaurants in Kansas City don't serve Moose Tacos, you just might be a Fantasy player.

> If meeting Billy Beane is more exciting than meeting Brad Pitt, you just might be a Fantasy player.

> If you know the difference between Ryan Wheeler, Tim Wheeler and Zack Wheeler, you're definitely a Fantasy player.

> If you're hoping that Alex Guerrero isn't related to Pedro Guerrero, you just might be a Fantasy player.

> If Ron Shandler has replaced John Grisham as your favorite author, you just might be a Fantasy player.

> If it ever crossed your mind that Julio Iglesias might follow Jose Iglesias to Motown, you just might be a Fantasy player.

> If you've changed your name from Mike to Giancarlo, you just might be a Fantasy player.

> If you think Ben Revere needs to "get on his horse" this season,    you just might be a Fantasy player.

> If you believe that because Prince Fielder and Billy Butler were the only AL players to appear in all 162 games, it means that you can eat anything you want, you just might be a Fantasy player.

> If the song "Camptown Ladies" makes you think of Lucas Duda, you just might be a Fantasy player.

> If someone tells you they live on Houston St. and you immediately think about saves, you just might be a Fantasy player.

> If you know that the word "Norichika" means "Ground Ball" in Japanese, you just might be a Fantasy player.

> If you know the difference between Jarred Cosart, Kaleb Cowart and Zack Cozart, you just might be a Fantasy player.

> If your wife isn't concerned about you visiting Asian websites because she knows you're scouting prospects, you are obviously a Fantasy player.

> If you don't believe that Robinson Cano is worth $240 million but you're sure he's worth at least $29, you just might be a Fantasy player.

> If you know that Yovani, Aroldis, Ubaldo and Anibal are all spelled correctly, you just might be a Fantasy player.

> If you're hoping that Cody can save your Asche, you just might be a Fantasy player.

> If you know the stats of John Smiley and Drew Smyly, you just might be a long-time Fantasy player.

> If you know more quotes from Dylan Bundy than from Al Bundy, you just might be a Fantasy player.

> If you have a copy of Grant Balfour's X-Rays, you just might be a Fantasy player.

> If the total bill every time you shop at Costco is $260, you just might be a Fantasy player.

> If the song "Whip It" comes on the radio and you think about control pitchers or Devon White, you just might be a Fantasy player.

> If Ian Kinsler, Ryan Braun, Scott Feldman, Trevor Rosenthal, Nate Freiman, Ike Davis and Craig Breslow are all on your team, you just might be a Jewish Fantasy player.

> If the names Leonys, Taijuan, Kolten, Rymer and Xander are familiar to you, you just might be a Fantasy player.

> If you think Steve Moyer has better velocity than Jamie Moyer, you just might be a Fantasy player.

> If you know that Stolmy, Josmil, Mauricio, Yorvit and Koyie are all spelled correctly, you just might be a Fantasy player.

> If your Zen Master plays a guitar, you just might be a Fantasy player.

> If you know that Yuniesky spells it "Betancourt" and Christian spells it "Bethancourt", you just might be a Fantasy player.

> If you would eat raw squid and eel to have Masahiro Tanaka on your team, you just might be a Fantasy player.

> If you are secure in the fact that Chris Liss is the youngest curmudgeon west of the Mississippi, you just might be a Fantasy player.

> If you actually know that the Marlins have a player with the first name of Arquimedes, you just might be a Fantasy player.

> If you absolutely hate it when managers decide to give their closers some work in non-save situations, you just might be a Fantasy player.

> If you drive all the way to Las Vegas in March to see Greg Ambrosius, you just might be a Fantasy player.

> If you know the difference between the two pitchers named David Carpenter, you are certainly a Fantasy player.

> If you bruise your knuckles and immediately think about R.A. Dickey, you just might be a Fantasy player.

> If you think Brett Gardner could be related to Steve Gardner, you just might be a Fantasy player.

> If you know that Brian Kenny is the smartest guy on MLB Network, you just might be a Fantasy player.

> If your wife suggests the two of you watch "Beaches" and you wonder how Brandon's elbow is feeling, you just might be a Fantasy player.

> If you think Perry is a better Capt. Hook than Dustin Hoffman, you just might be a Fantasy player.

> If you think "Classical Gas" is only a song by the wrong Mason Williams, you just might be a Fantasy player.

> If you use a Maxwell Smart voice to say "Marco Scutaro", you just might be a Fantasy player.

> If you are perfectly clear on the fact that "Saltalamacchia" is not tonight's special at that upscale Italian restaurant, you just might be a Fantasy player.

> If you actually know the starting lineup of the Houston Astros, you just might be a Fantasy player.

> If the hotel you book for your family vacation this summer must have wireless access, you just might be a Fantasy player.

> If you have zero interest in the members of the Rockies starting rotation, you just might be a Fantasy player.

> If you go to a seafood restaurant and can't bring yourself to order the (Mike) Trout, (Tim) Salmon or (Kevin) Bass, you just might be a Fantasy player.

> If you book a flight to Honolulu and it makes you wonder if Shane Victorino is really worth more than $22, you just might be a Fantasy player.

> If you think that Doug Dennis is funnier than most stand-up comics on HBO, you just might be a Fantasy player.

> If a politician brings up the topic of inflation and you wonder why he isn't also concerned with position scarcity, you just might be a keeper league Fantasy player.

> If Brian Feldman has ever been your auctioneer, you just might be an expert-level Fantasy player.

> If a pitcher on your team gets relegated to middle relief and you hope he finds religion and joins a monastery, you just might be a Fantasy player.

> If you think that Tyler Flowers could be related to Ray Flowers, you just might be a Fantasy player.

> If you think that the term "Elvis Has Left the Building" means the Rangers shortstop hit a home run, you just might be a Fantasy player.

> If you know that Jean Segura, Dee Gordon, Dayan Viciedo and Didi Gregorius are not females, you just might be a Fantasy player.

> If your kid's history homework includes a lesson about the Wright Brothers and it makes you wonder how much the Mets third baseman will go for at the table, you just might be a Fantasy player.

> If Jeff Erickson is your favorite radio personality, you just might be a Fantasy player.

> If you meet someone named Roberto but keep calling him Fausto, you just might be a Fantasy player.

> If you believe the Cardinals acquisition of Jhonny Peralta will cause Brian Walton to change his name to "Bhrian", you just might be a Fantasy player.

> If you think that Bartolo Colon is related to Andre the Giant, you just might be a Fantasy player.

> If your 2013 catchers were Jesus Montero and Miguel Montero, you just might be a re-building Fantasy player.

> If each time Charlie Morton is scheduled to start, you go to a steakhouse for dinner, you just might be a Fantasy player.

> If you know the true identities of Car-Go, Lo-Mo, K-Rod, J-Roll, J-Up and V-Mart, you just might be a Fantasy player.

> If you've ever tried to buy something with "Patton Dollars", you just might be a Fantasy player.

> If someone sneezes and it causes you to think about the Rangers leadoff hitter, you just might be a Fantasy player.

> If someone uses the term "Wise Guy" and you think of Gene McCaffrey instead of Joe Pesci, you just might be a Fantasy player.

> If the outcome of Daniel Hudson's latest elbow surgery is more important to you than the outcome of Kate Hudson's latest cosmetic surgery, you just might be a Fantasy player.

> If you're excited about the Marlins signing Rafael Furcal, you just might be a Fantasy player.

> If Jeff Winick represented you in salary arbitration, you just might be a Fantasy player.

> If you know that Donovan Hand has a lower lifetime ERA than Brad Hand, you just might be a Fantasy player.

> If you know the connection between Jonathan Singleton and Humphrey Bogart, you just might be a Fantasy player.

> If you know that L.J. Hoes doesn't play for the Pale Hose, you just might be a Fantasy player.

> If you believe that Derek Holland should move to a one-story house, you just might be a Fantasy player.

> If you think a "Sale Price" is getting Chris for less than $20, you just might be a Fantasy player.

> And, finally, if Draft Day is your favorite day of the year, you have become a true Fantasy player.

Last Updated on Friday, 14 March 2014 03:09
 
Platoon - The Strategy PDF Print E-mail
Rotisserie Duck
Written by Don Drooker   
Friday, 07 March 2014 00:00

When it comes to baseball or movies, trivia can not only be interesting, but also informative. For example, did you know that Oliver Stone wrote the first draft of "Platoon" in 1971 and sent it to Jim Morrison in hopes that he would play the part Charlie Sheen would ultimately play? Morrison had the script on him when he was found dead in Paris. An extension of this thread would also remind you that Sheen played Indians pitcher Ricky Vaughn in "Major League" (1989) and that there was a big league third baseman named Jim Morrison who played 12 seasons in the 70's and 80's.

Legendary Yankees Manager Casey Stengel was a proponent of the platoon strategy decades before Stone's Oscar-nominated film came to the screen. As early as 1950, Stengel utilized righty/lefty combinations in the lineup on a regular basis, including Billy Johnson and Bobby Brown at third base as well as Hank Bauer and Gene Woodling in the outfield. In 1951, only Phil Rizzuto and Yogi Berra played more than 121 games and Mickey Mantle was the fourth outfielder.

With Spring Training upon us and fantasy information coming from all directions, we once again try to dip below the surface to find some nuggets that you can file away for your league's draft. Platoon splits from 2013 tell us how batters fared against right-handed and left-handed pitching and may lend some insight into future success.

American League

> Dustin Ackley, Mariners 2B/OF (Bats Left) - Actually had a better AVG and OPS vs. LHP last season...maybe there's still some hope for the #2 pick in the 2009 Draft?

> Alex Avila, Tigers C (Bats Left) - Hit .139 against LHP...do you really expect him to play every day?

> Carlos Beltran, Yankees OF (Bats Both) - Despite being a switch-hitter, his OBP vs. LHP was only .281...and he hasn't even started his three-year contract.

> Michael Brantley, Indians OF (Bats Left) - Had a .276 AVG against LHP and .288 against RHP...that kind of split makes him a dependable insertion in the lineup.

> Kole Calhoun, Angels OF (Bats Left) - Already over-hyped this spring, he did hit .340 against LHP in 50 at-bats last year...small sample size, but a good indicator.

> Yoenis Cespedes, Athletics OF (Bats Right) - A great talent, but hit only .223 with a .262 OBP vs. RHP and struck out 25% of the time...won't really be a star player until those numbers improve.

> Coco Crisp, Athletics OF (Bats Both) - Another switch-hitter who makes you wonder why...a .218 AVG against LHP.

> Brian Dozier, Twins 2B (Bats Right) - Getting some fantasy love this spring but as long as he hits .219 vs. RHP (in over 400 at-bats), the ceiling isn't high.

> Stephen Drew, Unemployed SS (Bats Left) - Turned down $14 million after hitting .196 against southpaws...wonder if Scott Boras highlighted that in the free agent brochure?

> Alex Gordon, Royals OF (Bats Left) - Amazingly, hit .307 vs. LHP and only .244 vs. RHP...imagine the production if he corrects that flaw.

> Josh Hamilton, Angels OF (Bats Left) - For the record, he's one of my personal favorites, but a .201 AVG and .233 OBP against LHP is embarrassing...the issue is whether he's too old or too stubborn to change his approach at the plate.

> Howie Kendrick, Angels 2B (Bats Right) - Hit .295 vs. LHP and .298 vs. RHP...maybe he will win a batting title someday.

> Leonys Martin, Rangers OF (Bats Left) - Another off-season fantasy favorite, he hit .226 with one home run in 133 at-bats against LHP...maybe not quite ready to join the elite centerfielder crowd.

> Wil Myers, Rays OF (Bats Right) - Is he for real? In half a season, hit .293 against LHP and .292 against RHP...going into his age-23 campaign.

> Nick Swisher, Indians OF (Bats Both) - Another switch-hitter not taking advantage of his at-bats...hit .295 vs. LHP but only .220 against RHP in twice as many chances.

National League

> Pedro Alvarez, Pirates 3B (Bats Left) - Only three of his 36 homers came against LHP while hitting .180 in 133 at-bats...won't take the next step until those numbers get better.

> Matt Carpenter, Cardinals 3B (Bats Left) - If you think his 2013 was a fluke, consider that he hit .294 against LHP and .329 against RHP...roster with confidence.

> Carl Crawford, Dodgers OF (Bats Left) - Hit .308 vs. RHP and only .206 vs. LHP...and you still wonder why they kept four "starting" outfielders?

> Ian Desmond, Nationals SS (Bats Right) - His BA was .281 against LHP and .280 against RHP...yes, he's the real deal.

> Carlos Gonzalez, Rockies OF (Bats Left) - Hit for a higher AVG vs. LHP (.310) than RHP (.297)...don't worry about the skills, just the health.

> Bryce Harper, Nationals OF (Bats Left) - While many have already elected him to the Hall of Fame or taken him in the first round of a snake draft, a little patience might be in order...hit .214 with two homers against LHP.

> Yadier Molina, Cardinals C (Bats Right) - Only Buster Posey is in the same conversation when debating the best fantasy backstop...had a .800+ OPS against both lefties and righties.

> Justin Morneau, Rockies 1B (Bats Left) - The excitement about hitting in Denver needs to be tempered...only hit .207 vs. LHP, so you might see Wilin Rosario playing some first base.

> Gerardo Parra, D'Backs OF (Bats Left) - Gold Glove defense is great but when you hit .198 against LHP, playing time gets squeezed...Cody Ross and A.J. Pollock hit right-handed.

> Jose Tabata, Pirates OF (Bats Right) - Hit .292 against RHP, so watch to see if he gets the starting right field job...still only 26.

> Will Venable, Padres OF (Bats Left) - Hit for a higher BA (.276) vs. LHP than RHP (.266)...under the radar player.

Hope you found a few "tick marks" for your draft sheet.

Last Updated on Friday, 07 March 2014 07:46
 
The Boys Of Summer Collection PDF Print E-mail
Rotisserie Duck
Written by Don Drooker   
Friday, 28 February 2014 00:00

In the late 1950's, a Brooklyn Dodger fan was asked, "If you were in a room with Hitler, Stalin and Walter O'Malley and there were only two bullets in your gun, who would you shoot?" He replied, "I'd shoot O'Malley twice." Such was the passion of the post-World War II Dodger faithful and the hatred they felt for the man who took their team away.

As immortalized in Roger Kahn's 1972 book, "The Boys of Summer" and more recently chronicled in the 2007 HBO documentary, "The Ghosts of Flatbush", the Brooklyn Dodgers of 1947-57 created the modern template of how fans feel about their team. Joy, disappointment, loyalty, reverence, sorrow and elation are just some of the emotions that a true fan feels about baseball, and we can never quite explain it properly to someone who has never had the experience.

This visit will combine baseball cards and SABRmetrics, as we'll find the rookie cards of the legendary members of the Dodgers and also review each one's contribution to the team through the use of "Wins Above Replacement" (WAR), the statistic developed to determine the true value of a player. The card values are based on cardboard in "Excellent" (EX 5) condition.

> 1B Gil Hodges, 1949 Bowman #100 ($110) - Played his first full season in 1948 and was an All-Star every year from 1949-1955...even had a couple of productive seasons in the late 50's after the team moved to Los Angeles...his lifetime WAR of 45 isn't quite Hall of Famer caliber, but he was one of the most beloved players on the team.

> 2B Jackie Robinson, 1948 Leaf #79 ($1,150) - On April 15th, the game will once again celebrate his 1947 arrival in the major leagues and the breaking of the color barrier...he was already 28 years old at the time and still played ten magical seasons at Ebbets Field, which included six NL pennants. Accumulated an impressive WAR of 61.4 in his relatively short career.

> 3B Billy Cox, 1949 Bowman #73 ($25) - The interesting back-story is that Cox was traded to the Dodgers from the Pirates after the '47 season in a deal that sent Dixie Walker to the Bucs...Walker was one of the players from the South who made no secret of the fact that he wasn't happy about having a Black teammate...Cox played with the club for eight seasons and retired after the '55 championship campaign with a lifetime WAR of 10.

> SS Harold "Pee Wee' Reese, 1941 Play Ball #54 ($375) - Played for the Dodgers in the early 1940's before spending three years in the military during the war...came back to be the captain of the legendary team and was an All-Star for nine consecutive seasons beginning in '46...inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1984, he had an impressive lifetime WAR of 66.2.

> OF Jim "Junior" Gilliam, 1953 Topps #258 ($135) - Primarily a second baseman, Robinson moved to the outfield to accommodate Gilliam's Rookie of the Year arrival...at Dodger Stadium, his number 19 is retired along with numerous Hall of Famers...a fixture in the lineup for 14 seasons, his lifetime WAR is 40.9.

> OF Duke Snider, 1949 Bowman #226 ($415) - Patrolled centerfield and was invariably compared to his contemporaries Mickey Mantle and Willie Mays...was on every All-Star team for the first seven years of the 50's and played for 18 seasons...inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1980, his lifetime WAR is 66.5.

> OF Carl Furillo, 1949 Bowman #70 ($65) - While not considered a star compared to some teammates, he was an integral part of the team during the 50's and led the NL in '53 with a batting average of .344...has a lifetime WAR of 35.

> C Roy Campanella, 1949 Bowman #84 ($285) - "Campy", the child of an Italian father and black mother, arrived in the Majors the year after Robinson...played only ten seasons before being paralyzed in an off-season automobile accident in 1958…won three NL MVP awards in the 50's...elected to the Hall of Fame in 1969, he accumulated a WAR of 34.2 in his relatively short career.

> P Don Newcombe, 1950 Bowman #23 ($90) - Another star of the Negro Leagues, he broke in with the Dodgers in 1949 and proceeded to win 56 games in his first three seasons...after two years in the military during the Korean War, he came back to win 56 more the next three campaigns and won the MVP and Cy Young awards in '56...his WAR was 29.5 in ten seasons.

> P Preacher Roe, 1949 Bowman #162 ($65) - Also acquired in the 1948 Dixie Walker trade, he was a mainstay of the Brooklyn rotation from 1948-53 and made four All-Star teams...his 12 seasons produced a lifetime WAR of 35.1.

> P Carl Erskine, 1951 Bowman #260 ($50) - Helped the "Bums" to five pennants during his eight seasons in the rotation, including a 20-6 record in '53...his lifetime WAR is 16.6.

Those 11 cards would sure look nice on a shelf in your den, wouldn't they? Of course, we've saved you some money because even though Sandy Koufax and Don Drysdale joined the team while it was still in Brooklyn, their stardom materialized after the move to L.A. Was one of your favorites left off the list? Maybe Andy Pafko, Sandy Amoros, Don Zimmer, Clem Labine, Don Hoak or Ralph Branca? In that case, you're a real fan.

Last Updated on Friday, 28 February 2014 02:37
 
Fantasy Pitchers - Velocity Or Repertoire? PDF Print E-mail
Rotisserie Duck
Written by Don Drooker   
Friday, 21 February 2014 00:00

For a numbers guy, it is always interesting to see media and fans debate the idea of Aroldis Chapman remaining a closer or becoming a member of the Reds’ rotation. It seems as if the discussion somehow assumes that he would be just as successful in either role. In 2013, Chapman threw his 98 mph fastball 85% of the time, going to the slider on a mere 15% of his pitches. And for the entire season, he did not throw any other pitch...curve, change-up, cutter, splitter, screwball, knuckleball or eephus. So, do we really think that his strikeout rate of 15.8 per nine innings would translate to stints of 6-7 innings instead of 3-4 batters? Kenley Jansen of the Dodgers had a K/9 rate of 13 and threw his fastball 94% of the time (the highest figure in baseball), but we don't hear anyone clamoring to put him in the rotation because it isn't a worthwhile idea.

The reason that quality starting pitchers are paid so much more money than closers is that they have a pitch repertoire. The internal game between batters and pitchers is all about deception and timing. Yes, in many cases these guys can throw hard, but their success comes from the location and variance of their pitches. With the help of the 2014 Bill James Handbook, let's look at the best fantasy starters from last year and what they bring to the mound. The dollar values are based on a standard 5x5 Rotisserie league.

> Clayton Kershaw (age 25), $41 - The best pitcher in baseball has a fastball that averages 92.6 mph, but he only throws it 61% of the time. He mixes in 24% sliders and 13% curves, so 37% of what the hitter sees are breaking balls.

> Max Scherzer (age 28), $38 - The AL's best throws his 93.3 mph fastball even less...56% of the time. He adds 21% change-ups and 23% sliders and curves.

> Hisashi Iwakuma (age 32), $28 - His average fastball isn't even 90 mph (89.5) but you only see it 53% of the time. His out pitch is the splitter, which he throws 23%. Along with another 24% of curves and sliders, he has a distinct advantage.

> Yu Darvish (age 26), $28 - You amass 277 strikeouts by blowing hitters away, right? He only threw his 92.9 mph fastball 38% of the time. 32% sliders, 16% cutters and 8% curves made the difference. As if that wasn't enough, he even threw a few splitters and change-ups to make hitters look silly.

> Adam Wainwright (age 31), $27 - The Cards ace still has decent velocity at 91.1 mph, but he only throws that pitch 40% of the time. Mixing in 28% cutters and 27% curves makes him an All-Star.

> Matt Harvey (age 24), $27 - The fastball velocity of 95.8 mph caught your eye but you only saw it on 57% of his pitches. 18% sliders, 13% curves and 11% change-ups made him a four-pitch pitcher.

> Jose Fernandez (age 20), $27 - You could toss a blanket over this phenom and Harvey when it comes to repertoire. He threw his 94.9 mph fastball 57% of the time and added 21% curves, 13% sliders and 9% change-ups. If he gets angry with his agent, I have a degree in finance.

> Cliff Lee (age 34), $27 - This veteran is a model of this type of success. 55% of the time, he used his 90.7 mph fastball and then blended in 21% cutters, 16% change-ups and 8% curves.

> Madison Bumgarner (age 23), $24 - Throws 91.4 mph with the fastball, but uses it only 38% of the time. Also throws 38% sliders along with 13% curves and 10% change-ups. Pitches as if he's ten years older.

> Chris Sale (age 24), $23 - Another savvy youngster with good velocity, his 93.1 mph fastball is used on 51% of his pitches. 30% sliders and 19% change-ups seal the deal.

> Anibal Sanchez (age 29), $23 - The Tigers did their homework on this free agent signing. Only 47% of the time did hitters see his 93 mph fastball, but contending with 24% change-ups and 21% sliders is what made the task so difficult.

> Felix Hernandez (age 27), $21 - The "King" gets more deceptive each season. His fastball velocity of 91.9 mph isn't as quick as it used to be, but he only needs that pitch 53% of the time. 23% change-ups, 13% curves and 10% sliders is what makes him an ace.

There's a dozen guys you'd love to have on your fantasy team. Do any of them resemble a pitcher like Chapman? Even if you proceeded down to the rest of the top-20, the only starting pitcher with a lack of repertoire was 40-year-old Bartolo Colon. He averaged 89.9 mph on his fastball and threw it 85% of the time while earning $19 in fantasy value. How did he do it? The answer is that he did it with extraordinary luck. Bill James’ analysis indicates that Colon's ERA of 2.65 should have been at least 3.07, while another well-respected statistical website thinks it should have been 4.00. Are you willing to bid at the table on the chance that he can duplicate his 2013 success?

Last Updated on Friday, 21 February 2014 02:18
 
Vintage Nicknames PDF Print E-mail
Rotisserie Duck
Written by Don Drooker   
Friday, 14 February 2014 00:00

Even if you weren't around in the early 1950's, the chances are that your baseball legacy as a fan traces back to your dad or grandfather. In recent months, the Old Duck has had the privilege of dealing with some vintage collections that include Bowman and Topps cards from that era. In addition to the obvious statistical history on these cardboard gems, the stories on the backs of the cards are fascinating. Let's see who might have been on the list of great nicknames that crossed paths with you or your ancestors. The values of the cards are based on "Excellent" (EX 5) condition.

1951 Bowman

> #2 Larry "Yogi" Berra, $190 - Your kids probably think he was named after Yogi Bear, but the cartoon character didn't debut until 1958.

> #21 George "Snuffy" Stirnweiss, $15 - Won the AL Batting Championship with the Yankees in 1945.

> #23 Walter "Hoot" Evers, $15 - He got the nickname as a teenager by imitating cowboy movie hero Hoot Gibson and Tiger fans would yell "H---o---o---o---o---t" when he came to the plate.

> #58 Enos "Country" Slaughter, $35 - This country boy from Roxboro, North Carolina was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1985.

> #60 Alfonso "Chico" Carrasquel, $25 - One of the first great players from Venezuela, he made four All-Star teams in the 50's.

> #72 Lloyd "Citation" Merriman, $15 - The nickname gives you a hint of his great speed on the base paths, as he swiped 44 bases for Columbia in the Sally League in 1948.

> #80 Harold "Pee Wee" Reese, $70 - Not named for his diminutive frame, he became "Pee Wee" as a kid when he was a marble champion...elected to the Hall of Fame in 1984.

> #86 Harry "The Cat" Brecheen, $15 - Won three games in the 1946 World Series for the Cardinals.

> #92 Vern "Junior" Stephens, $15 - Vernon Decatur Stephens Jr. made his last of seven All-Star appearances in '51.

> #102 Emil "Dutch" Leonard, $15 - Spent 20 years in the majors with 191 victories...his first season was 1933.

> #104 Virgil "Fire" Trucks, $15 - Won 177 games in his career with a 3.39 ERA.

> #118 Elwin "Preacher" Roe, $30 - He had as many stories about the roots of his nickname as he did ways to throw a spitball...the year this card came out, he was 22-3 for the Dodgers.

> #149 Emory "Bubba" Church, $15 - Hard to believe that someone born in Birmingham, Alabama in the 1920's could be named "Bubba."

> #170 Sebastian "Sibby" Sisti, $15 - A major leaguer for 13 years (interrupted by three years serving in World War II), he was also the technical advisor for "The Natural" and played the Pirates manager who came to the mound and brought in the fireballing reliever to pitch to Roy Hobbs just before the famous home run.

> #187 Al "Flip" Rosen, $25 - Was the AL MVP in 1953, leading the league in runs, homers, RBIs and OPS.

> #194 Harry "Peanuts" Lowrey, $15 - At 5' 8", he played 13 seasons in the big leagues.

> #235 Jack "Lucky" Lohrke, $15 - According to the back of his card, this Giants utility infielder got his nickname "because he missed both a plane crash and a bus accident."

> #252 Homer "Dixie" Howell, $15 - There were two players named Dixie Howell during this era...this one was the catcher while the other was a pitcher. Amazingly, they were teammates on the 1949 Reds.

> #257 George "Birdie" Tebbetts, $35 - This was a childhood nickname given by his aunt, who thought his voice sounded like a bird chirping. Played for 14 seasons before becoming a big league manager.

> #317 Forrest "Smokey" Burgess, $40 - You shouldn't have any difficulty figuring out this nickname...he was a catcher for 18 seasons and made six All-Star teams.

1952 Bowman

> #5 Orestes "Minnie" Minoso, $55 - From Cuba, he was one of the most popular players in White Sox history.

> #16 Omar "Turk" Lown, $15 - Got his nickname because of his fondness for turkey...led the AL in saves for the pennant-winning White Sox in '59.

> #20 Willie "Puddin' Head" Jones, $15 - Can you imagine a modern ballplayer having this nickname? He was an All-Star in both '50 and '51.

> #66 Sal "The Barber" Maglie, $15 - This pitcher's nickname came from his fastball, which would come so close to the batter's head that it seemed to shave his chin...he was coming off a 23-6 season for the Giants in '51.

> #116 Edwin "Duke" Snider, $90 - Given the nickname by his father for his self-assured swagger as a youngster, he was elected to the Hall of Fame in 1980.

> #223 Harry "Suitcase" Simpson, $30 - When you play for five major league teams in only eight seasons (including the Athletics twice), you pack a lot of bags.

> #242 Everett "Skeeter" Kell, $30 - The younger brother of Hall of Famer George Kell, '52 was his only big league campaign.

In a future visit, we'll look at the iconic first issue of Topps baseball cards from 1952 to see what kind of nicknames and backstories come to the surface.

Last Updated on Friday, 14 February 2014 08:44
 
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