How was your weekend? Have a good time watching the Super Bowl or did you drown your sorrows in beer, nachos and wings (you might have eaten the same foods to excess even if your team won)? No mater how your Sunday went it should now be full on baseball mode for you with the NFL season in the rear view. Let's get you caught up on some recent news on the diamond as well and some of the random anecdotes that I so love to share with you all.
Norichika Aoki has scored 80 runs, while stealing at least 20 bases the last two years. Toss in a .285 average both seasons and you have one of only four men in the game to go reach all three of those marks in both 2012 and 2013. Three of them are pretty obvious – Carlos Gonzalez, Andrew McCutchen and Mike Trout. Who is #4? He is an outfielder. He hasn't hit one home run the past two years. In fact, he hasn't hit a homer in his career. Still, he's swiped 62 bases the past two years and has hit .294 and .305. He is Ben Revere of the Phillies.
Why aren't more people talking about Freddie Freeman? Do folks realize he went .319-23-109-89 with a .396 OBP last season? Sure the average might come down, that BABIP was high last year, but he's still a young vet just entering his prime years.
Tim Hudson is on the Giants for those of you that forgot, and with his ankle responding as expected it seems very likely that he will be ready for Week 1 of the season. In three of his last four seasons he won 16 games, and in each of the past three years his WHIP has been 1.21 or lower. Just saying.
Reed Johnson as an NL-only option now that he's signed with the Marlins? Perhaps. Dude flat out mashes against lefties, and for his career that slash line is something (.311/.366/.456). Allen Craig was pretty good last year, right? Here's Craig's overall slash line: .315/.373/.457. See what I'm saying about Johnson?
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You see the other day that James McDonald signed with the Cubs? He seems more likely to fill a spot in the pen than the rotation but after the Cubs top-3 of Jeff Samardzija, Travis Wood and Edwin Jackson there ain't much of note. Jake Arrieta probably grabs the 4th spot leaving the 5th to Chris Rusin, Justin Grimm, Jason Hammel or McDonald. James throws a nice fastball that has led to a 7.76 K/9 mark in his career, though a 4.06 BB/9 rate has helped to elevate his WHIP into danger territory at 1.40. A nice arm does McDonald have, but he's a long way from being someone to target in NL-only drafts. As for Jason Hammel, who was also signed last week, he had a strong 20 start effort in 2012 with a 3.43 ERA, 1.24 WHIP an a 8.62 K/9 mark, but all those numbers regressed in 2013 (4.97 ERA, 1.46 WHIP, 6.20 K/9). Hammel is a solidly skilled arm even though nothing stands out. There's also the fact that he's never thrown 180 innings in a big league season and that he's failed to record 140 innings the past two years. Like Jackson he's hard to recommend, even at the moment, in NL-only leagues.