The Expectation Game
Some players have surpassed expectations this season, think Chris Davis, Jose Fernandez and Hiroki Kuroda. Others have failed to live up to them, think Ryan Braun, Matt Kemp and Curtis Granderson. Still others are looked at as utter failures in some cases, even when that perception might not be totally accurate. Those are the players we'll address today.
Bryce Harper #Fail. That's what folks thing right? Try this on for size. He had 533 at-bats last season. He only has 303 this season. Let's allow him to keep his current rate over an additional 230 at-bats. Here is how that would look.
2012: .270-22-59-98-18 with a .817 OPS 2013: .267-30-70-88-11 with a .868 OPS
Is that really that much of a step down? Obviously not, but the expectation game has crushed him in many folks eyes.
Tim Lincecum is 6-13 with a 4.53 ERA. He stinks. However, he's dropped his ERA nearly ¾ of a run since last season (5.18). His 9.24 K/9 mark would be a three year high. His 3.47 BB/9 rate would be a three year low. He's cut his 1.11 HR/9 mark from last season down to 0.94. He's cut his 1.47 WHIP down to 1.32. His 1.44 GB/FB ratio is three hundredths better than his career mark. I'm not saying he's been good cause he hasn't been. I'm merely pointing out that he's shown some improvement amidst his maddening season.
Daniel Nava hit 10 homers with 49 RBIs the first three months of the season (just 75 games played). Over his last 31 games he's failed to go deep a single time while driving in a total of seven runs frustrating his owners to no end. Uh, folks, has anyone bothered to notice that over his last 31 games that he's hitting .313 or that over his last 19 games he's batting .340 with a .436 OBP? Pretty good numbers, aren't they?
I finished Battlestar Galactica, the SciFi series that was completed in 2009 (yes, I was late to the party). I'm not a science fiction fan by any means, but the show was well written and well acted, and for a show that was content with blowing a lot of things up, it was actually much deeper than you would think making it a thinking man's series as well. If you've got 80 hours to kill you might find a way to watch the series.
Max Scherzer is 18-1. He's a fantasy superstar. Chris Sale is 9-11. He's a fantasy blah. At least that is the perception with some folks. But the truth is that they have been nearly identical hurlers this season, at least close enough that they should be mentioned in the same breath, though they never are. Check it.
Scherzer: 2.82 ERA, 0.90 WHIP, 185 Ks, 38 BBs in 172.1 IP C. Sale: 2.78 ERA, 1.07 WHIP, 175 Ks, 36 BB in 165.1 IP
Again, wins and loses are a terrible way to judge a player.
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Ryan Zimmerman is batting .257 with three homers and six RBIs in the second half, a dreadful level of production for a supposed all-star caliber talent. Amazingly, there is another guy with a similar last name, on the same team, that is even worse of late. Jordan Zimmermann has a 6.75 ERA and 1.73 WHIP over his last six starts. Dreadful is right. Some calm amidst the storm. Something people miss, a lot, is that you have to look at things in a broader context. We like to focus in 50 at-bats or five starts, I get it completely. But the fact is that a guy like Zimmerman was too goo in April and he's been way worse than he should in August. Just the way it is. Add it all together, look at his entire body of work and not just his last handful of starts, and what do you get? He's got 14 victories, a career best mark. His current ERA is 3.37 which is below his career mark (3.45). His 6.68 K/9 mark is a bit low, but the past two seasons the mark was 6.98. It's not gone down much at all. His 3.67 K/BB ratio is a notch above his career mark (3.54). His 0.94 HR/9 mark is just off his career mark (0.91). His 1.11 WHIP is better than his career rate (1.18). I know he's stunk of late, but his 25 starts this season should have been exactly the level of production you were expecting from him.
To see how others are evaluating Gomes and every other player don’t forget to go to Fleaflicker.com where you can check out the owned percentages of all big leaguers.
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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