Goodbye Jose Fernandez

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By hueytaxi on Flickr (Original version) UCinternational (Crop) [CC BY 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons
I have struggled over the past few days as to what to write about the loss of Jose Fernandez. Still as I am typing this am unsure what to really say. We knew so little about him, yet he was such a great personality in the sport we love.

He played every game like it was his last and had one every step of the way. He was a boy at hear, but a man on the field. There were times that his energy got him in trouble, but he was never the type that intentionally acted out. He was admired by Cuban’s everywhere as one of their own who made the American dream a reality.

If you weren’t aware Fernandez tried four times to escape Cuba, failing in the first three attempts. In his fourth attempt at 15 he finally made it. On that journey he had to rescue his mother who fell out of the boat an in to the water. Surely an experience like that made a strong bond even stronger. It’s a shame that the water that lead carried him to freedom, also took him from us.

He was beloved by his team, coaches and front office personnel. It has been easy to see what his teammates like Giancarlo Stanton, Dee Gordon, Marcel Ozuna and others thought of him by their tweets, Instagram photos and reactions on the field Monday. He was loved by the entire MLB family.

We never will know what he could have been, a Cy Young winner, hall of famer, greatest pitcher we ever saw. But the memories we do have were impressive and won’t soon be forgotten.

Rest in peace Jose, we won’t soon forget you.

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Waiver Wire Add, Randal Grichuk

Randal Grichuk came in to the 2016 season with a lot of hype coming off of a break out season in 2015, but we soon found out that past performance doesn’t always lead to future success. Grichuk started the season with a .206 batting average and eight home runs in 62 games, with a horrible .276 OBP and .392 slugging percentage. This lead to him being demoted to Triple-A to try and find his swing. After being recalled on July 5th he lasted another 22 games before his second demotion of the season. This wasn’t the last we would see of him in St. Louis, but by this point many fantasy owners had already give up on a repeat of 2015 and some may have considered him a bust.

Randal Grichuk
By Minda Haas Kuhlmann on Flickr (Original version) UCinternational (Crop) [CC BY 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons
Nine games later Grichuk was recalled again on August 11th. Since then he has been a man on fire. His triple slash line since the promotion is .341/.356/.886. He has five home runs, seven doubles and a triple. To go along with those numbers, he has 11 RBI and 7 runs. He has been hitting the ball well and playing daily for the Cardinals and has begun to give fantasy owners new hope. Though he still doesn’t walk enough, one walk in 12 games, and strikes out way too much, 15 K’s in 12 games, he is putting the bat to the ball and raised his contact rate to 70%. Currently Mike Matheny has been batting him in the 7th or 8th spot in the Cardinals lineup, but other than Matt Carpenter there is no one in St. Louis’s batting order that would stop Matheny from moving Grichuk to the top third giving him even more fantasy value.

Grichuk is owned in less than 50% of all CBSSports.com leagues and should be owned moving forward in at least 70% of leagues. Don’t forget he came in to 2016 owned in 89% of leagues and has already moved up from his lowest ownership percentage of 30% quite a bit. If he is on your waiver wire, make sure you pounce while you still can.

(Players to drop for Randall Grichuk: Giancarlo Stanton, Max Kepler, Andrew Benintendi, Josh Reddick, Michael Saunders.)

Stanton to the DL, Again!

images-2_1Fragile is defined as easily broken, shattered, or damaged. For years I have defended Giancarlo Stanton and made the claim that his injuries are just bad luck and not because he is fragile. Finally it is time to reverse course. Stanton is fragile.

Once again Giancarlo will spend time on the disabled list this season. In Saturday’s game he limped off the field in the ninth inning with a groin injury and today we learned that he will go on the 15-day DL. We still don’t know the extent of the latest injury, but an MRI will be done soon to give the team a better idea as to what they are dealing with.

Stanton made his major league debut in 2010 with the Marlins as a 20 year old. In his rookie season he played in 100 games. In 2011 he played in a career high 150 games. Over his seven year career Stanton has played in 811 games, an average of 116 games per season. He has spent time on the disabled list in parts of multiple seasons. In 2011 he battled leg and eye injuries, 2012 knee soreness, 2013 a grade two hamstring injury, 2014 he was hit in the face by a Mike Fiers pitch and 2015 he broke the hamate bone in his left hand.

Stanton has tremendous talent and has been an all-star three out of the seven years he has been in the league, but none of that does any good if he can stay on the field and play. There is a saying in sports, the best ability is availability, and clearly Stanton does not always possess that ability.

How to Discount Players Based on Injuries

With the recent injury to Giancarlo Stanton I began to ask myself how I would value him in next year’s fantasy baseball draft? This lead to me thinking about how to value injured players in general when they are coming off of injuries.

Some of the players that come to mind are Clayton Kershaw, Michael Brantley and Matt Harvey. All of these players are coming off of injuries that have caused them to miss significant time in the 2016 season. So, when it comes down to draft day in 2017 where do we pick these players?

Every player is different. Obvious right? It is so true though when it comes to how you judge a player based on injuries. Kershaw for example has missed time because of his back over the past two seasons, but even with that there is no one who would not take him as the number one pitcher off the board and there is no way he should go past the second round.

Stanton and Harvey, however, are both very different. Both of them have a history of injuries and have missed significant time because of those injuries. To properly rate these players you have to take their history in to consideration and in the case of Stanton I would likely drop him from a first round pick to a third or fourth round pick because of his history.

Even though history is not a perfect forecaster of the future when I comes to predicting if a player is likely to miss playing time due to an injury the best resource we have is to look at their past history. Keep that in mind when you sit down and draft in 2017.

Is Billy Hamilton a new hitter?

dscn0045_billy_hamiltonBy John on Flickr (Original version)UCinternational (Crop) [CC BY-SA 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons

 

I was listening to a fantasy baseball podcast the other day and the topic of Billy Hamilton came up. An analyst on the program was talking about how in the second half of this season Hamilton has actually began to hit enough to be a useful option in all leagues. They went on to discuss how he was stealing a lot of bases and having more attempts because he was on base more often. To me it sounded like a great narrative. I thought they were on to something because of course they are experts and he was getting a lot more steals. Then I did my own research.

What I found actually surprised me, not a little, but a lot. Let me start by saying I came in to the research with the assumption that Billy Hamilton hadn’t been hitting at all to start the season and that his batting average had gone way up since the first half. I was very wrong.

I started by looking at the season as a whole and trying to find a good, arbitrary, date to use to divide his stats in to two periods. While looking I came to the conclusion that I would use his disabled list stint in mid-July as the cut line. With that I looked at stats from opening day through June 8th and from June 17th to yesterday (August 24th). There is an obvious gap between June 8th and the 17th, but again that was his DL stint for a concussion.

Without telling you stolen base number I want you to look at two slash lines and see if you can guess which is the first half segment and which is the second. Slash line one is .255/.328/.319, the other is .269/.308/.394. Which one is segment one of the season and which is segment two?

Ok, time is up pencils down.

The answer is the first slash line is segment two. Surprised? I was. I never would have thought that Hamilton’s batting average has been lower in the second half of the games played this year than in the first. But why are people saying he is hitting so much better in the second half, he is only getting on-base at .020 points over the first half. Yet his dramatic turnaround is what a lot of analyst are using to justify the fact that in that second half segment he has stolen 37 bases as compared to 16 in the first half. That is more than double and only a difference of eight games played. I had to dig deeper to see what was going on and because of that I found what I was looking for.

@BBBaseball_Talk  Aug 23 WOW, Now that is fast – BB Baseball Talk http://bbbaseballtalk.weebly.com/1/post/2016/08/wow-now-that-is-fast.html … @Reds #Reds @BillyHamilton #MLB #Statcast

In the month of August Cincinnati has had 21 games and Hamilton has started 19 of them. He has a triple slash line of .297/.395/.365 with 18 stolen bases. Now that is a different player and one that needs to be owned in every fantasy league. If you extrapolate that over a 162 game season he would be on pace for 139 stolen bases. Wow! Question is can he keep this up? Over his four years in the majors Hamilton has a career batting average of .247 and an on-base percentage of .296, a full .099 points lower than his on-base for August.

We know that he is a speedster, just look at the recent statcast video of him getting up to 22 mph running down a fly ball. Can he, however, get on base enough to utilize his speed? If he can keep his number near what they are in August moving forward he will be a premier fantasy option similar to Dee Gordon.

Comment form previous site:

GroupBreakChecklists
8/25/2016 07:14:01 pm

What you failed to realize and bring up is that Billy Hamilton batted 7th and 9th for the 1st half of the season. The impact there is tremendous for ability to steal bases. During the 2nd half or after your cut off, he has batted either 1 or 2 in the lineup. Joey Votto is great in allowing base stealers to attempt to steal. As long as Hamilton is batting 1 or 2, he’ll have the Votto advantage.