My boy Jedd Gyroko to the DL. Sad day. Was finally starting to play well.
— Davis Mattek (@DavisMattek) June 10, 2013
Proactive has never been a term associated with me – outside of my first few years of puberty. I’ve just never been good working ahead. Ever. As a kid, I would leave the excess grass festering on top of the lawn all week, attempting to lazily mow over it without ever having to grab a rake. Fun fact: It only makes things worse and leads to wicked bad thatching. I’ve actually been meaning to write a nice thank you letter to man that invented the bag that clips on the back of the mower – humanity’s second greatest invention. But, inevitably, I keep putting that off too. Oh, the first? The stand-up taco shell, of course.
Throughout college, regardless of length, I would begin writing papers around 3am the day of. This required jumbles of java and a brief cameo into hyper-focused world of Adderall. Thankfully, the education system isn’t doling out four-game suspensions for a positive test; if they did, I doubt anyone would graduate. To this day, I still wake up at the last possible minute every morning, don’t pay my bills until the due date and, expensively, book flights at the very last second. It’s truly a disgusting way to live.
So, as an act of self-betterment, I decided to start this very column Sunday afternoon, with the focus on my new main man Jedd Gyorko, better now to me now as “Stupid Jedd Gyork Face.” He’d been absolutely killin’ it for over a month, dishing out tremendous dividends for everyone that stuck with him through his dismal first three weeks. He was etching a place inside the Top 10 of middle infielders for the rest of the season, and then it happened, I was punished for trying to alter my habitual nature – FORSAKEN: Gyork Face strained his groin and hit the DL.
Now, after scribbling down some gleeful prose about the guy carrying a slew of my teams this season, I was forced to panic scan my waiver wire for a replacement. Turns out, there is no replacement available, so it devolved into a manhunt for a player that just wouldn’t kill me while he’s out. Surprisingly, I found a few capable fill-ins:
Derek Dietrich – Sometimes the hardest thing to find, especially in deeper leagues, are MIs that can just get regular at-bats. Luckily, the Marlins will run out anyone with a resting heart rate above 24, allowing Dietrich time to acclimate himself to the bigs. And while the average certainly hasn’t been there over his first 30 games – just .222 – he has been contributing in other places. Dietrich’s shown more than respectable pop, smacking six HRs in his first 117 major league at-bats, knocking in 15, crossing home 16 times. If you need some counting numbers, you can certainly do a lot worse in the interim.
Mark Ellis – Ellis is your classic waiver wire fodder, when he’s healthy that is, which is seemingly never. But, for the moment, he’s been stout enough to take the field and when he’s engraved in the lineup, he gets to hit near the top. Essentially, he’s like the poor-man’s, second base version of Stephen Drew: He’s not going to pad any one stat, but he does enough across the board to keep you afloat.
Logan Forsythe – How about replacing Gyork Face with the man that replaced him? Forsythe’s going to play everyday, taking over full time duty at second base, and inheriting Gyorko’s spot in the order – sixth. Plus, he’s been raking at the plate since his call up: Batting .333 with a dinger and 3 RBIs. Not bad. Now, don’t expect that pace to persist – I mean, this is still Logan Forsythe we’re talking about – but he can be the perfect bridge until Gyorko is back to full health.
As long as he is back by Dustin Ackley Gnome Night next month I will be happy. — Cristobal (@frenchtopher) June 13, 2013
Dustin Ackley & Danny Espinosa – These two are for you gamers looking down the road a little at middle infield. Espinosa’s rehab begins Thursday and he’s proven to be a capable power/speed threat before. But will the Nationals be willing to give him his old job back when he’s ready to return? Potentially. While Anthony Rendon’s been solid, I’m guessing if Espinosa can start hitting, he’ll be back in. And Ackley will be back up before you can stay “position change.” The former second baseman will retain his eligibility, but has been seeing time in left field and may get some reps at first base as well. Since his demotion he’s tearing apart Triple-A, bashing two long flies, churning out a .429/.536/.607 slashline, hitting in all 13 games with Tacoma.
I can’t contain my excitement any longer. After sitting through another mediocre season of The Real World, it’s finally time to for the world’s greatest booze fueled, PED enhanced reality competition to begin; THE CHALLENGE. It’s like Survivor on steroids, literally.
First, if you don’t watch this show, there’s actually something wrong with you. Go get yourself checked out. Seriously.
Second, I’ve now watched the trailer about 200 times, even giving it the Zapruder treatment on more than one occasion, and I’m still too jazzed to formulate my takeaways into complete sentences, so…
… Wes lookin a bit HGH’y, more than usual at least. And did he lend some to TJ Lavin… Either slapping/stiff arming to the face is now acceptable or this only lasts two episodes…ELECTRIC FENCES (don’t whiz on them)… Aneesa and Paula must be pushing 50 at this point… Jonna’s hot, but I can do without the Russell Westbrook getup… Seems like the producers took a stroll to the hammock district before shooting… So many ladders… PLASTIC LIGHTSABERS… When do Johnny and Frank get their own spin off show… LESBIAN BEACH MAKEOUTS… Flying elbows worthy of Dusty Rhodes… Sarah’s moved on from Alton to Jordon? No, actually that makes sense… If Jordan had both hands would you be able to tell him and Trey apart… TRASHELLE… Are they on the island fromLOST… SARS MASKS… Bags over the head? Is there a Zero Dark Thirty competition… DUBSTEP… QUICK CUTS… PARTYING… BABES… SENSORY OVERLOAD!!!!!!
Third, I came to the sad realization that, in my entire life, I’ve never and will never be as happy as Jemmye while she’s getting her grind on.
FIP HIM THE BIRD
OK, so the Undertaker is 21-0. But what’s his xFIP? — D.J. Short (@djshort) April 8, 2013
We’ve now accumulated enough of a sample with pitchers to make some educated guesses – or as some sabermetricans call them “determinations” – on their future prospects. Fielding Independent Pitching (FIP) and Expected Fielding Independent Pitching (xFIP) are the two ERA estimators I prefer to use. Some people rather tERA or SIERA, weirdos. They’re all good stats, and basically knowing which ones people use really just tells you whether they’re spending most their time on FanGraphs or Baseball Reference. What matters, is finding giant discrepancies between them and a pitcher’s current ERA. And there are giant gaps for some pretty prominent Fantasy hurlers this season.
Here’s a list of pitchers with ERAs more than a full run lower than their FIP:
Expressed in (ERA/FIP)
Jason Marquis – 3.59/5.77
Jeremy Guthrie – 3.60/5.64
Chris Tillman – 3.89/5.15
Now just by simply looking at their names, you expect them to get substantially worse as the season moves forward, but there are some bigger hurlers that have been hiding out from the regression Gestapo, and it’s only a matter of time before they’re purged.
Jeff Locke – 2.39/3.98
Kris Medlen – 2.87/4.01
Hisashi Iwakuma – 1.79/3.07
Jordan Zimmerman – 2.00/3.10
And the list expands digging through xFIP:
Expressed in (ERA/xFIP)
Zack McAllister – 3.43/4.68
Jeff Locke – 2.39/4.17
Kris Medlen – 2.87/4.26
Hiroki Kuroda – 2.84/3.89
Kyle Kendrick – 3.22/4.11
Patrick Corbin – 2.28/3.83
Clay Buchholz – 1.71/3.24
Hisashi Iwakuma – 1.79/3.13
Jordan Zimmerman – 2.00/3.53
Mike Minor – 2.44/3.59
Travis Wood – 2.65/4.44
Shelby Miller – 1.91/3.16
Bartolo Colon – 2.92/3.95
Jason Vargas – 3.74/4.74
I can’t concretely say every single one of these guys is going to watch their ERAs start to balloon, but most of them will. That’s the probability of the situation. They’ve been getting lucky somewhere: whether it’s been with balls in play, stand rate, home run/fly ball ratios, an inflated walk rate… whatever; their current paces do not have a highly likelihood of sustainability. I’m not saying you need to go out and trade Jordan Zimmerman, Iwakuma or Miller; it’s not as if their FIPs and xFIPs are something to start hyperventilating into a paper bag over. But, if you practice the time-honored strategy of selling a player at the peak of his value, this is that moment. Unless you think the jury is still out on science. Prime example, I’ve ridden Corbin up the standings all season, but before his start Wednesday, I finally pulled the trigger on a deal, getting Coco Crisp straight up in return. I’m far more bullish on Crisp than most, but a Top 60ish player should be what you’re seeking in exchange for the lefty. Do it now, because his 5 IP, 4 ER outing against the Dodgers is going to start becoming a regular occurrence.
It’s not all doom and gloom however. I would feel like I’d be doing you a disservice if I only mentioned the pitchers that are going to get worse. Here are some guys that should be pinging your radar to acquire for next to nothing in a swap or actually for nothing off the waiver wire:
Expressed in (ERA/FIP)
Justin Verlander – 3.71/2.56
Jhoulys Chacin – 4.52/3.22
Edwin Jackson – 5.76/3.38
Brandon McCarthy – 5.00/3.75
Joe Blanton – 5.87/4.47
Dillon Gee – 5.20/4.17
Felix Doubront 4.84/3.64
Homer Bailey 3.47/2.56 (close enough to get the point)
Again, add more marquee names to that list with xFIP:
Expressed in (ERA/xFIP)
Edwin Jackson – 5.76/3.58
Brandon McCarthy – 5.00/3.95
Joe Blanton – 5.87/3.81
Dillon Gee – 4.84/3.81
Yovani Gallardo – 4.74/3.59
Matt Cain – 5.09/3.93
Wade Davis – 5.37/3.94
Marco Estrada – 5.32/3.97
Tim Lincecum – 4.70/3.57
Roberto Hernandez – 4.91/3.45
Jeremy Hellickson – 5.18/4.06
Dan Haren – 5.70/4.09
Wily Peralta – 6.03/4.28
Ian Kennedy – 5.49/4.45
Felix Doubront 4.84/3.64
Not every single one is going to get exponentially better, but there are some interesting and, more importantly, available names that won’t require much of an investment to add to your roster. Definitely worth the risk.
OH (no) CANADA
Since moving below the 49th, I really haven’t been keeping up with any sporting news emanating from my homeland. I usually don’t care; it’s one of the main reasons I left. But, there were two stories this week that peaked my fancy.
Why are people chirping the euro goalie ban its called the CHL! CANADIAN hockey league! Lets develop our own kids not train everyone else’s — Taylor Deschamps (@DumpDolla) June 13, 2013
Apparently, America isn’t the only place concerned with foreigners taking jobs away. No, Hockey Canada is freaked with the lack of Canadian goaltenders in the NHL so they’re putting measures in place to make certain that they’ll no longer be abetting the problem: By banning European netminders from being drafted into the Canadian Hockey League, the world’s preeminent junior hockey league.
The faulty reasoning is that with more opportunity to play, Canadian keepers will, once again, rightfully rule the hockey world. This is the insane type of thinking that spews from the Canadian hockey world on a daily basis – allow lesser talented goalies to play, diluting the competition of the league. Makes sense. Do they really think a random goalie that couldn’t make one of the 60 – yes, 60 – teams because of international competition is suddenly going to transform into Patrick fucking Roy with some extra reps. Give me a break. All they’re doing is lending the forwards a false sense of security that every keeper is basically the human version of Mr. Sieve. Stunting their growth, while bolstering the strength of the foreign leagues, ultimately letting the Euros gain an edge in that part of the game too. Canadians aren’t going to be confused with Vulcans any time soon.
Français! You see, hockey’s a pretty big deal up north – curling too – whereas basketball… not so much, expect inLa belle province. But, there’s this guy, you may have heard of him, Andrew Wiggins. He recently committed to Kansas and will be probably be next year’s top pick in the NBA draft. Oh, and he does stuff like this:
Also, he’s from Toronto.
Yet, he will not be suiting for his homeland at the upcoming U-19 World Championships, deciding to, instead, focus on his freshman year with the Jayhawks. I’d do the same. Most Canadians on the other hand, did not exactly take kindly to the news. Lets just say “traitor” was the nicest thing to stream across my Twitter timeline that morning.
It’s such faux reaction, though. Honestly, of 34 million Canadians, I’m guessing maybe 17 – I mean a total of 17, not 17 million – are going to watch this tournament. And that may be a false number anyway, since it could just beJames Herbert checking out every angle from 17 screens. The outrage is ridiculous. Save it for 2014 when Wiggins decides he’d rather play his Olympic ball with Lebron James and Kevin Durant instead of Tristan Thompson and Joel Anthony. And even then, could you really blame him?
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