Ray's Ramblings: Down the Stretch
Ray Flowers looks at players in the news – Peavy, Pedroia, Meyer, Dyson, Vargas, Pineda and Dunn to name but a few as MLB kicks into high gear for the month of September.
It's the last month of the 2014 regular season in baseball, but stories still abound. Adam Dunn is with the Athletics trying to change history. Michael Pineda has made history with the Yankees. The Twins have a rookie slugger who is making his own history. Jarrod Dyson – he's fast. The Twins might be shutting down their top pitching prospect. The Giants added a vet on the hill and, guess what, he's good all of a sudden. What do you do if you own a player who is hurt but not officially on the DL like Mr. Pedroia of the Red Sox? Finally, did you hear about the game that lasted 50 innings in Japan... and what the pitchers did in that game?
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Adam Dunn is an Athletic as Billy Beane continues to pull out all the stops as the Athletics go all in to win the World Series this year. No player in baseball has played more games and failed to reach the playoffs than Dunn who has appeared in 1,976 big league games. Dunn will mostly DH against righties with the A's, and he still has power with 20 big flies in just 363 at-bats (he also has 54 RBIs, 43 runs scored and a .340 OBP). Only once in his career has Dunn failed to hit 19 homers in a season and never has he appeared in 125 games and failed to hit 26. He has those 20 homers this yeas in 106 games. Still nothing more than an AL-only play.
Jarrod Dyson is fast, but you knew that, right? He recently became the 5th Royal every to steal 30 bases in 3-straight seasons. He's hitting .291 this season, .029 points above his carer mark, and he's got those 30 steals. Here's the deal with Dyson though. He's a rough play in mixed leagues, no matter the size of the league, but he's an ideal outfield option in AL-only leagues. Though he's hit at least 30 steals each of the past three seasons he's never reached 300 at-bats in any one of the campaigns. He just doesn't play enough to do anything other than contribute to the steals category (he has one homer and has set a career-high with 23 runs batted in. Heck, he's only scored 29 runs, fewer than his steal total of 30). He'd steal 50 if he played daily.
Alex Meyer is one of the best pitching prospects in baseball. Unfortunately his season is over. The Twins farmhand has been placed on the DL with should inflammation. So much for him helping my AL LABR squad this season. He will end the year with 130.1 innings pitched and 153 strikeouts. Heat he has. Control he's still looking for (4.42 BB/9). Could crack the Twins' rotation to start the 2015 season or he might still spend some time on the farm looking for that elusive control.
Jake Peavy has stunk for a while now. He's just a league average arm at this point. Or is he? In seven starts with the Giants he's sporting a 2.66 ERA and 1.10 WHIP. Maybe there is something to see after all? He's sporting a 3.00 K/BB ratio which is nice. Unfortunately he's striking out less than seven batters per nine innings, and oh those mechanics. He was always been a slinger, but things have gotten worse. The way he whips his leg around in his follow through – that's far from textbook. I think his arm is going to fly off every time he chucks the pelota, but the fact is that right now he's pitching pretty well and shouldn't be on waivers in your mixed league.
Michael Pineda has a 2.09 ERA, 0.91 WHIP and has been impressive when on the hill. Of course, he's only made eight starts. However, history has followed. Pineda made 7-straight starts allowing two or fewer earned runs and five of fewer hits before losing the streak in his last outing (seven hits allowed). That run tied the Yankees record (at least since 1914). Ron Guidry pulled off the feat in 1981. As for Pineda his velocity is down two mph. He's lost nearly three strikeouts per nine from his rookie mark (it's 6.28 per nine this year). He's somehow walked four batters leading to a 0.84 BB/9 rate (he's not Greg Maddux). Also impossible to think his 4.8 percent HR/F ratio will continue to be the norm, and that's an issue given that his fly ball rate is 48+ percent. He may be able to bring home the bacon in September, he has whenever he's pitched this season, but there are plenty of reasons to point to in regards to expecting the Regression Monster to show up and take a chunk out of Pineda's ample derriere.
Dustin Pedroia has a concussion. He hopes to return to the Red Sox lineup this weekend. However he will not be placed on the DL. Why? With rosters expanding in the month of September teams don't have to place a fella on the DL so they can fill the roster spot. They already have tons of guys on hand to fill in. This is one of the biggest issues fantasy players have to deal with at this point. Do you hold on to a player that should be on the DL but isn't because of roster expansion thereby causing a “dead” spot on your roster? I would hold Pedroia, but for those of you in H2H playoffs, it's a tough blow.
The Twins called up Kennys Vargas who has channeled his inner Kent Hrbek. In 29 games the rookie has hit .309. Impressive. The rookie has four homers, 24 RBIs and 17 runs scored. Impressive 2.0. Let's take it to the next level. There have been three players in big league history – ever – who have had 34 hits and 24 RBIs in the first month they played in the big leagues. Vargas is one. The other two you may have heard of: Joe DiMaggio (48 H, 28 RBI, May 1936) and Albert Pujols (34 H, 27 RBI). Vargas has four walks and 36 strikeouts, awful, and that .400 BABIP ain't handing around. Still, for now at least, there are few who are producing at a higher level.
THE ABSURDITY FILE
Finally, did you see the child abuse that went on in Japan recently. I'm being totally serious here. The managers for the two teams I'm about to discuss should be brought up on child abuse charges. Why? Check out this absurdity.
Chukyo High School and Sotoku High School faced off in the 59th High School Rubber Baseball Tournament in Japan. The game lasted – four days. Literally. The two squads played a FIFTY inning game that finished four days after it started. As if that wasn't amazing enough, check out the numbers that each starting pitcher put up. By the way they both pitched all 50 innings.
Taiga Matsui threw 709 pitches and allowed 26 hits over 50 innings.
Jukiya Ishioka threw 689 pitches and allowed 22 hits over his 50 innings.
These kids threw 700 pitches over four days.
If that isn't child abuse then there is something wrong in this world.
For more, here's a link.
Listen to Ray Flowers' show Monday through Friday from 7 PM EDT on SiriusXM Fantasy Sports Radio (Sirius 210, XM 87). You can also hear me hosting my own show Sunday nights in the same time slot, 7-10 PM EDT.