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2010 Season Update – At the Quarter Pole

Status: 3rd Place, 67.5 points. 1.5 points out of 2nd (Stanimals), 6.5 points out of 1st (Pirate Smokers)

Recap: After starting poorly with bad pitching (primarily because of ineffective relievers), the squad has slowly accumulated points, from a low of 34.5 points (Day 2), steadily gaining over 30 points over the first 45 days.  At the start, all categories were in bad shape, except for steals, where I was “in the money”.  High point: 70 points, Day 40, while being just 1.5 points out of First.

  • What’s Working: Runs, Wins, Strikeouts, WHIP
  • What Needs Improvement: HR, RBI, Steals, Average, ERA
  • Help!: Saves

2010 Draft: 20/20 Hindsight:

Would Have Done Differently:

  • Would not have wasted $63 on two middle infielders. Should have followed hunch and gotten a $14 Kelly Johnson at least, instead of being stuck with a $1 Omar Infante/Cristian Guzman platoon. Tulowitzki is marginally acceptable at $31 – only lacking power at this point.
  • Would not have “chased” both Drew Storen ($8) and Aroldis Chapman ($11).  Stick with Storen, and then spent 2B and P monies on an actual closer.
  • Apparently shouldn’t have protected Matt Diaz – he’s the new Saberhagen: only performs in odd-numbered years
  • By missing out on relatively affordable closers (although many have had sketchy performance), had to compensate with too many set-up guys in the minor leagues, subsequently missing out on some OF and C depth.

Did it Right:

  • Evaluations on SP Ian Kennedy and RP Tyler Clippard were dead-on.
  • Also had hunches on SP Wade LeBlanc and RP Jose Contreras (but had to FAAB them)
  • Selecting Marlon Byrd was a great fluke.  Out of a group of similar $9-10 OF’s, Byrd has been outstanding, while Kyle Blanks is injured and hitting under .200, Conor Jackson has been on the DL and Mark DeRosa is on the DL.
  • Stretching for OF Matt Holliday worked out so far, as targeted OF Carlos Lee has been just awful
  • Did not speculate on SP Brandon Webb or SP Chris Young

Player Performance Evaluations:

Exceeds Expectations:

  • 3B Chase Headley – has been slumping a bit of late, but still .290 with 16 RBI and 9 steals! Only 2 homers.
  • OF Marlon Byrd – Excellent – .325 avg, 7 HR, 26 runs, 25 RBI, 3 steals
  • UT Cristian Guzman – Thought would be buried on bench, but playing regularly at SS, 2B, even RF – .307 avg
  • SP Mat Latos – Coming on strong – 3 wins, 3.28 ERA, 0.993 WHIP, 37 K’s
  • SP Ian Kennedy – Only one rocky outing – 3 wins, 3.24 ERA, 1.097 WHIP, 49 K’s – has given up 9 HR though
  • SP Wade LeBlanc – Good pickup, 1 win, 1.88 ERA, 1.333 WHIP, 17 K’s
  • RP Tyler Clippard – Leads league in wins with 7 W’s, 2.22 ERA, 1.200 WHIP, 32 K’s in relief

Meets Expectations:

  • OF Matt Holliday – Fast start, then slumped a bit – .300 average, 21 Runs, 16 RBI, 4 HR, 3 SB
  • C Ronny Paulino – Didn’t have high expectations, .291, 2 HR, 12 RBI, 9 Runs
  • 1B Adam LaRoche – Notorious slow starter – .274, 6 HR, 26 Runs, 28 RBI
  • 3B Casey Blake – Very good start, slump as of late – 5 HR, 15 runs, 24 RBI, .263 average (was over .400)
  • SP Josh Johnson – Rough start (still in spring training mode), 4 wins, 2.68 ERA, 1.000 WHIP, 63 K’s
  • SP Clayton Kershaw – Now-“usual” rough April, leveling out – the walks! 4 wins, 3.23 ERA, 1.340 WHIP, 59 K’s
  • SP Johnny Cueto – Rough start, now cruising. 3 wins, 3.67 ERA, 1.204 WHIP, 40 K’s
  • SP Randy Wells – As expected, one horrific start. 3 wins, 4.12 ERA, 1.312 WHIP, 39 K’s. ERA would be 3.13 without May 6th start.
  • SP Chris Volstad – Low-reward flyer. 3 wins, 4.29 ERA, 1.212 WHIP, 30 K’s.

Needs Work:

  • 1B Prince Fielder – Horrible April. Slowing picking up steam. 6 HR, 18 RBI, 25 Runs, .272 average
  • 2B Brandon Phillips – Even worse than last year, for $32? .258 average, 4 HR, 3 steals, 27 runs, 11 RBI. Not 20/20 again.
  • SS Troy Tulowitzki – Sure the average is nice, .300, but only 2 HR, 19 RBI. 29 Runs and 3 steals. Not worth $31.
  • OF Hunter Pence – All the Astros suck. Slowly digging out of hole. .250, 6 HR, 18 Runs, 16 RBI (nobody on base).
  • OF Drew Stubbs – We knew the average would be bad, but now batting 7th, no steal opportunities. .194 average, 4 HR, 8 SB.
  • SP Madison Bumgarner – was supposed to be 5th starter, rocked plenty. Now re-gaining velocity in AAA with mechanical adjustment.

Disappointing!:

  • C Chris Iannetta – Not his fault he was demoted to AAA (predicted this in March). Raking at AAA, Trade rumors.
  • OF Matt Diaz – Batted wonderful .185, on DL with thumb injury, released.

Outlook for the Rest of 2010:

Optimistic. Lacking homers and RBI, and my “big hitters” have struggled thus far. I fully expect the under-performers (Prince Fielder, Matt Holliday, Hunter Pence, Brandon Phillips, Troy Tulowitzki) to bounce back, to an extent.  That should boost HR and RBI, and keep me competitive in steals (I never thought I would win that category anyway).  The starting pitching has been fantastic, actually, although each starter has had a slightly rocky stretch, the past 3 weeks have seen marked improvement in ERA and WHIP, something difficult to do when you have nine starters active (that helps with the K’s also). In the past 30 days, my WHIP has decreased from 1.567 to 1.242 – pretty good.  And the ERA has improved from 5.13 to 3.85.  At issue this year is my 3.85 ERA would normally finish the season in 3rd place within the category – and this season it’s good for 8th.  While pitching will likely normalize a bit, it’s going to be a banner pitching year. With a $42 FAAB purchase of Jose Contreras, I now have put some distance between myself and the other two save-punters (The Pi Train and Stanimals), as I now have 1 save, and Drew Storen has been brought up to the big-league club, so we’ll see how that goes.

If the pitching continues in this vein, and the hitting rebounds to the mean, I should be in a position to be in the money.  Helping matters are the good amount of prospects I have, that will likely help when promoted.  Buster Posey, Madison Bumgarner, Edinson Volquez, Aroldis Chapman, Jose Tabata – all are in AAA (or DL for Volquez), and should increase my depth substantially, while providing some great trade chips to upgrade a position of need. Hopefully.