Mike Trout – Right Or Wrong?
Has Mike Trout been as good or better a fantasy player this season than in 2013? I'll investigate. I'll then touch on the utter failures of the Brewers' Gomez, problems behind the dish, excellence on the mound in Los Angeles and a few other topics including how the greatest horror writer of all-time gave me a nod. Well sort of.
MIKE TROUT - RIGHT or WRONG?
As right as I was about Mr. Gomez of the Brewers (I will discuss him below), it appears I was wrong about Mike Trout. Well, sort of wrong. I know people aren't going to believe that statement, the prevailing wisdom is that I hate Trout, which of course isn't true. I never said Trout would suck. I never said Trout would fail. What I saw was that he would struggle to match his pace of last season. I was right, and wrong.
In 2012 his slash line was .326/.399/.564 leading to a .963 OPS. In 2013 his slash line is .333/.424/.580 leading to a 1.005 OPS
He's be slightly better in those three measures thanks in part to his insane run that has spanned his last 31 games: .387/.515/.689.
I appear to have been totally wrong here.
He produced 0.60 RBIs per game last season. This year that mark is ever so slightly up at 0.63.
Now comes the fun part.
Trout has 20 homers, 70 RBIs, 80 runs scored and 24 steals.
(1) He had 49 steals last season so he's going to fall woefully short in this category. He stole a base every 2.84 games last season. This year that mark is one every 4.67 games.
(2) He had a homer every 18.6 at-bats last season. This year he has a homer every 21.8 at-bats.
(3) He scored 0.93 runs a game last season. This year that mark is 0.63.
If he stays healthy the rest of the way he'll surpass his RBI mark from last season with ease, but it's an open question if he will reach the homer and runs scored marks. Regardless, he's really going to have to pick up the pace to match his rate of production from last season and he has no real shot to be as effective a fantasy performer, on a per game bases, as he's set to lose 15+ steals from his total from last season.
Admittedly though, I was wrong to suggest he wouldn't be a top-10 performer in 2013.
AROUND THE HORN
Marlon Byrd is struggling. What a shock. What were the Mets thinking in not trading the aging outfielder at the trade deadline (he's 36)? Byrd has hit .160 in July without an RBI in seven games. He's still batting .293 since the All-Star break (21 games) but there was just no way he was going to keep up his first half pace. It's like the Mets ignored a decade of history.
Behind the dish... Ryan Doumit has a concussion and has been placed on the 7-day DL. Alex Avila was tested for a concussion and he passed so he should remain active. Doumit has hit .244 with nine homers and 44 RBIs with 37 runs scored. He's been a passable second catcher in mixed leagues, but he's certainly regressed from last season, substantially (.275-18-75-56). Avila was great in 2011 as he hit .295 with 19 homers and 82 RBIs. He fell off the map last season hitting .243 with nine homers and 48 RBIs. He's gone deep nine times with 36 RBIs this season, in 119 fewer at-bats than last year, so his production has improved a bit. Still, the guy is hitting .198 with a .632 OPS so he's been an utter failure. He is batting .280 with 15 RBIs over his last 14 games though, and that marks him, with health, as a sneaky play at the moment behind the dish.
Carlos Gomez has seen his batting average plummet to .288. As I've continually warned since before the season started, he's just not a very good hitter. He has power and speed, the 18 homers and 29 steals are fantastic in the fantasy game, but he's a wild swinger who has never hit .261 in a season (wow). His .288 average is likely to continue to fall as he's already whiffed 110 times in 108 games. He's also hitting .221 over his last 33 games.
Did you know I'm a character in Steven King's The Stand? (See casting and production notes).
Kenley Jansen finally allowed a base runner Thursday night to end quite a run. Jansen retired 27-straight batters over 10 outings. Yes, that means he technically threw a perfect game – over 10 outings. Why the Dodgers moronically gave Brandon League all that money and didn't have Jansen working the 9th inning from Day 1 this year has to be one of the dumbest decisions made by any club all year. On the season Jansen has four victories, 16 holds and 17 saves. He's also dropped his ERA to 2.01, has a 0.84 WHIP, and is sporting a HOF caliber 9.33 K/BB ratio. By the way, since 2000 there have only been nine seasons when a hurler pitched at least 55 innings with a better K/BB ratio:
12.83 Mariano Rivera in 2008 12.00 Edward Mujica in 2010 11.13 Rafael Betancourt in 2010 10.55 Ben Sheets in 2006 10.28 Cliff Lee in 2010 10.00 Wilton Lopez in 2010 9.63 Jonathan Papelbon in 2008 9.58 Curt Schilling in 2002 9.44 Koji Uehara in 2011
Jonathan Villar should return from his injured thumb this weekend, at least that's what the Astros hope. Villar has been out of action since Tuesday and he left behind a line that's seen him steal 10 bases in 15 games. When a guy can do that, while playing shortstop, you almost don't care that he is hitting .245 with one RBI. Almost.
Josh Willingham (knee) has been activated by the Twins. He's had a rough season with 10 homers and 37 RBIs after back-to-back seasons averaging 32 homers and 104 RBIs in 2011-12. After posting HR/F marks of 17.5 and 21.2 percent the past two years, that mark is down at 12.3 percent this season. It could easily rise. That .224 average will likely come up too since he's a .259 career hitter. He's just gotta stay healthy.
By Ray Flowers
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The co-host of The Drive on SiriusXM Fantasy Sports Radio (Sirius 210, XM 87: Mon-Fri 7-10 PM EDT), Ray also hosts his own show Sunday night (7-10 PM EDT). Ray has spent years squirreled away studying the inner workings of the fantasy game to the detriment of his personal life. Specializing in baseball, football and hockey, some consider him an expert in all three.
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