Saturday, April 11, 2009


Player of the Week

Man, what an Opening Week. There was so much baseball out there floating around, just waiting to be watched that it made my head hurt. I don't get the MLB Network, I don't have the Extra Innings package, and I own no MLB TV service on my computer. I am just a college student with standard cable who wants to watch as much baseball as we can. And from that sample size: this is what I can glean.

We have a very clear cut Opening Week Player of the Week. And she shares his name with the Mighty Ducks' coach. Emiiiiiiilllllliooooo Bonafacio ate Washington pitchers for breakfast, lunch and dinner. There is nothing quite as exciting as Opening Day ... except maybe for an inside-the-park homer. So Emilio nearly exploded baseball fan's hearts by providing us all with a double dose of excitement on April 6.

The Aces (Current and Former Tribe Edition)
As for my Indians, it isn't looking so good. Both Cliff Lee and Fausto Carmona defined the term "meltdown" in their two initial starts. But what is sadder is the fact that the offense couldn't produce more than 6 runs in Arlington (a.k.a the place where home runs are born). It could be worse though, the Indians could have had CC Sabathia pitch the owner. Ouuuuuch. I am sorry, CC, you're my dude but even you have to know that that isn't going to cut it in the Bronx. Cliff Lee had some good signs in his initial outing. He was striking people out when he needed to and even settled into a groove at certain points. There were just a few times that he missed his spot that the Rangers capitalized. And the Rangers DO look excellent, by the way. But CC really had no signs of life to speak of in his start. He was in danger early on and never seemed to get out it.

Ladies and Gents, Your Defending World Champions
Speaking of run support ... I think it is too easy to blame Brett Myers for the Phillies first game. Sure, he fell apart in the early going, but he DID settle down later in the game and we was pitching in a game that Cole Hamels was supposed to pitch in. If I'm Charlie Manuel, I am more worried by the fact that the Phillies hitters laid an egg on Opening Night, in their hitter-friendly park while facing Derek Lowe. Having said that: Derek Lowe was dealing on Sunday night. If he can resemble an Ace for 4 or 5 months, I will feel pretty good about my 2nd-in-the-East Braves pick. Jair Jurrjens did exactly what he was supposed to and nearly replicated Derek Lowe's start the day before exactly. But then came the Phighten Phils in an 8-run 7th inning outburst that I would have loved to have witness. I didn't, so for now I can only assume that it was an aberration and the Phils need to get their bats along with the program.

Fantasy Minute with BBB
I have never really been much for Fantasy Baseball. I play Fantasy Football every year but have never enjoyed the Baseball version. It is really only for two reasons: A) I am very forgetful and would surely never remember to set my line-ups every day. B) I never shut up about how I know everything there is to know about Major League Baseball, so it will be really embarrassing when I finish dead-last. But this year I am finally going for it. I am in a small 8-team league with some of my family.

So, to curb the embarrassment of a last-place season, I have come up with a poorman's formula to determine the best players available. I don't know anything about Fantasy Baseball rules so I don't know if the rules we are playing with are the norm, but I noticed that statistical category was about 1 point. There were, however, a few exceptions. Home runs, RBIs, wins, Stolen bases are all worth more points, while Strikeouts (for hitters) will cost you a point. So I thought I would simply add up all of the "major" categories and subtract anything that took points away.

I have found that all the pitchers essentially add up to the same result so I won't be using the formula for them anymore. But when it comes to hitters, results can vary anywhere from -65 to +68. I think it is fairly promising so I am going to give it a go with the hitters in my Fantasy draft.

The math is basically a kindergarten level and I did not account for the actual point level. So a 5-point homerun and a -1-point strikeout are weighted the same under my little equation. It is imperfect and probably a little stupid but I think it could work. My draft is tonight (Thursday) so I will keep you updated periodically on my progress to see if my goofy little formula works for Fantasy Baseball. Consider me a guinea pig (emphasis on the "pig") for this concept.

In case you are curious, here are the 5 best hitters under my equation, (let's call it the Bojalad Factor):

1. Dustin Pedroia 2B - +68
1. Carlos Beltran CF - +68
3. Justin Morneau 1B - +67
4. Carlos Quentin LF - +63
4. Mark Teixeira 1B - +63

And here are the best players by postion:

Catcher: Victor Martinez (based on 07 stats) - +63
First-Base: Justin Morneau - +67
Second-Base: Dustin Pedroia - +68
Third-Base: David Wright - +54
Short-Stop: Jimmy Rollins - +62
Outfield: Carlos Quentin - +63
Outfield: Carlos Beltran - +68
Outfield: Josh Hamilton - +45

Potential first overall picks Albert Pujols and Hanley Ramirez received +56 and +13, respectively, under my little system. The absolute worst player I measured was Mark Reynolds with a back-breaking -68. Any other players you would like to know about are available upon request.

Now, let's start this experiment to see if I can draft a competitive Fantasy team.

Linkin' it Up
Bill Simmons may barely write about anything other than basketball anymore but he still has a keen eye about the goings on in baseball. His profile of A-Rod is dead-on to me.

Spending in baseball is universally down this year and the Yankees are leading the cost-cutting charge!

Oh and here are the top 25 earners in baseball per FoxSports.

Odds and Ends
- Is it just me, or does anyone else find it strange that Terry Francona batted Rocco Balldelli 5th and Jason Bay 6th against the Rays?

- I am completely terrified of Zach Greinke. I hope the Indians only have to see him 3 or 4 times this year.

- What is up with the offensive fire-power in the Padres-Diamondbacks series? Is the NL West going to score runs by the bunch this year?

- Speaking of NL West, Chad Billingsley should be the Dodgers Ace.

- My man-crush of Nick Markakis just grows every day.

- In the Sports Illustrated Baseball Preview, SI predicted the AL Cenral to finish in descending order of each team's manager's experience. (i.e Gardenhire - 10 years, Wedge - 7 years, Guillen - 6 years, etc.) It will be interesting to see how this plays out.

- Dallas Braden looked pretty bad for the A's. I can only hope it was just Opening Day jitters.

- If Chris Carpenter keeps on pitching like that, the Cards will be in the playoffs no problem.

Fallen Angel
Finally, there was the horrifically sad news this week that baseball has lost one of its most promising upcoming stars. Angels Pitcher, Nick Adenhart, was killed late Wednesday night when a car ran a red light and smashed into his car. Two other people were killed and one person was still in critical condition as of Thursday.

We don't know what Adenhart would have done in his career. That is the tough part about potential: it is only a shrewd idea in all our heads. But Nick did his part to make that idea a little less shrewd and a little more realistic. His final start, pitched only a few hours before his death, was an absolute gem. The first words beat writer Lyle Spencer wrote in his game recap were:

"Nick Adenhart couldn't have been much better."

How fitting.

Rest in Piece, Nick Adenhart and all baseball fans' hearts go are surely going out to his friends, family and the Anaheim community.

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