Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Random Lists: Movies, Pitchers and Band Names

I am cheap. I milk free trial subscriptions whenever possible. I gorge myself on the free samples at Costco. I steal hotel shampoo.

As you might imagine, I do not subscribe to HBO. I did, however, receive a phone call from Verizon offering me a free month of HBO and Cinemax, and as long as I cancel before the month is up, I don't pay a dime! But, wait, there's more!!! Actually, there's not more. Of course, I took them up on the deal, and it has been totally worth it thanks to "Hard Knocks". I can't get enough of sports documentaries. My favorite scene so far (I'm only halfway through the first episode) is when the Dallas players arrive for training camp and Adam (Pacman) Jones and Terrell Owens are talking (yelling to each other) about their respective weights. Adam asks Terrell what his current weight is, "Two-what?" (as in two-fifty). Owens' response, "Two-sexy".

On that note, I present to you three lists of ten:

Ten best sports Movies (some of the movie clips are nsfw):

I wanted to include TV shows, as it was "Hard Knocks" that got me on this topic in the first place, but I couldn't really think of any that I am familiar enough with to rank. Also, I'm only including movies that I've seen.

10.) "The Sandlot" - Do you love baseball? Were you ever a kid? If so, this movie will make you feel happy all over.

9.) "The Bad News Bears" - Most sports movies resort to sappiness, but "The Bad News Bears" was filled with kids who you knew from the neighborhood and was coached by your friend's divorcee dad.

8.) "Hoop Dreams" - Best. Documentary. Evar.

7.) "Raging Bull" - De Niro's performance as boxer Jake LaMotta is legendary.

6.) "The Wizard" - How can you not be a fan of a Fred Savage vehicle about a kid who, "...Scores 50,000 points on Double Dragon!!!!1" The product placement was shameless (Power Glove, anyone?). Bonus awesomeness: the movie features Jenny Lewis, of Rilo Kiley. Wait, you're saying video gaming isn't a sport?

5.) "Caddyshack" - The most quoted sports movie ever?

4.) "Happy Gilmore" - Yes, I have "Happy Gilmore" ranked above "Caddyshack". It's my list, so back off.

3.) "Hoosiers" - I want Gene Hackman to be my coach. In life.

2.) "The Big Lebowski" - You didn't think I was going to leave this one off the list did you?

1.) "The Natural" - The holy grail of sports movies for me. I could watch this movie on a loop for a week and still get goosebumps for the scene below.

Ten pitchers to target for next year's draft:

I'm not including Santana, Sabathia, Peavy, Halladay or Webb, because they are too obvious. Also, they will probably get taken too early. There are far too many pitchers available later in the draft to take these guys in the first two rounds. The following list is of pitchers you should be able to get later in the draft - at least after the 5th round in a 12-team league.

10.) Johnny Cueto - I think he'll be better than Volquez next year, as he has comparable stuff and better control.

9.) Clayton Kershaw - Lefty stud of the future in the NL Weak should have a strong 2009.

8.) Max Scherzer - The D-backs rotation is going to be sick next year, and Scherzer should be a big part of it. Again, let someone else take Webb or Haren in the 3rd round and grab Scherzer much later.

7.) Joba Chamberlain - Don't forget about Joba. He still strikes people out and plays for the Yankees.

6.) Brandon Morrow - Seattle's version of Joba throws 100 mph when he needs to and his slider and changeup are improving.

5.) Matt Garza - Garza is still maturing, but he's got a great offense behind him, and I think next year will be a step forward.

4.) Chad Billingsley - Strikeout machine in a pitcher's park? Yes, please.

3.) Rich Harden - He'll be available longer than he should because of the injury risk.

2.) Brett Myers - I really believe that he can still be a dominate pitcher. If he doesn't have too great a finish to the year, he'll be a great bargain.

1.) Tim Lincecum - Tiny Tim is all kinds of filthy, and I'd much rather have him in the 5th round than Peavy or Santana in the 2nd round. Actually, I might rather have him over those guys period.

Ten worst band names of all time:

10.) The Dave Matthews Band - Imagine how much more popular they would've been had they named their band "Suede Foreskin" or "Plaid Rattail".

9.) Live - "Live in concert, Live!!!" Really, it's not cute.

8.) Coldplay - You know how I know you're gay? You named your kid Apple. Also, you named your band Coldplay.

7.) Limp Bizkit - I picture a turd. You?

6.) Blink 182 - I'm all for having a mysterious band name, but after awhile it gets really tedious listening to all of the hilarious fake stories about its origins.

5.) Widespread Panic - Actually your music puts me to sleep. I'm panicking from boredom. I don't care how many college kids think you are cool. You suck.

4.) Panic! At the Disco - The exclamation point seems misplaced. (Clearly, I don't like band names with the word "Panic" in them.)

3.) Barenaked Ladies - Talk about disappointment. :(

2.) Hoobastank - Such a repulsive band name could only finish second to...

1.) Audioslave - If I was in 4th grade and had a band, I would name it Audioslave. Then I'd write Audioslave all over my Trapper Keeper in big, block letters.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008


I stumbled upon this website called Wordle.

You put in your blog URL (or a bunch of words) and it spits out a "beautiful word cloud". Curiosity got the best of me, so I plugged in our blog and got this.

I didn't know we used the word "still" that often.

Still, I love that one of the biggest words is "Ibanez".

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Achievers/Bums - 8/19 - 8/21/08

Grady Sizemore - OF - Cleveland Indians - 4/5, HR, 3b, 7 RBI, SB (Thursday) - Sizemore's power has slowed just a bit in the second half, but he's still got a shot at 40/40, and I think he'll get it. Sizemore is getting better every year, and is an obvious keeper in all formats. Also, he's sexy.

Rich Harden - SP - Chicago Cubs - (Tuesday) Win, 7.0 IP, 0 ER, 2 H, 0 BB, 10 K - I'm always looking for a reason to talk about Rich Harden, and on Tuesday he definitely gave an Achiever-worthy performance, so I get my chance. Since the Cubs acquired Harden in July, he has gone 3-1 with an ERA of 1.50, a WHIP of .95 and a redonkulous 59 K's in 42 IP. In short, he's made Sandy Koufax look like Jose Lima. If you held on to him through the injuries, you are now being rewarded. Piniella and the Cubs are handling him just right by giving him extra days of rest and keeping his pitch-count down.

Raul Ibanez - OF - Seattle Mariners - 7 HR, 27 RBI in the last month - I gave Ibanez love in my first edition of "This Ain't 'Nam" back on July 10th, and you didn't listen. Brandt has been giving Ibanez crazy props for weeks, but you still haven't picked him up. Now it's too late. You're still starting Jay Bruce, and Ibanez is still raking. More Ibanez updates will be forthcoming as he continues to mash. Stay tuned.

A.J. Burnett - SP - Toronto Blue Jays - (Tuesday) Win, 8.0 IP, 1 ER, 5 H, 1 BB, 13 K - This is what Burnett can do when healthy. I thought he'd have a good second half, and so far, so good. His stats after the all-star break are: 6-1, 3.22 ERA, 52 K in 42 IP.


Ryan Howard - 1B - Philadelphia Phillies - Howard is going to shatter his record of 199 strikeouts in a season this year, as he's on pace for 213. He's also 3 for his last 35 with a whiff-tastic 18 strikeouts in that span. But at least he hits homers, right? Not lately. He's only got 5 since the break. If your league penalizes for K's, then bench him immediately. If not, you can probably keep him in there and hope for a power surge. Look and see if Delgado is still available, as it appears he may be getting ready to go on a hot streak.

Jimmy Rollins - SS - Philadelphia Phillies - So here's what not to do in Philly: (a) Call out the fans, (b) then go 3 for 33 immediately after that. J-Roll is losing fans almost as quickly as he's losing his fantasy value. The fact that he was basically correct in his statements about Philly fans being front-runners is completely irrelevant.

Jake Peavy - SP - San Diego Padres - Loss, 5.0 IP, 5 ER, 5 H, 4 BB, 2 K (Wednesday) - Peavy has showed this year why I don't like taking pitchers in the first few rounds of the draft. Peavy was a second-round pick in most leagues this year (Yahoo! ADP 18.2), but he has not lived up to his past greatness. The most concerning thing to me about Peavy is that his strikeouts are down from the last few years. His K/9 is below 9 for the first time since 2003. Not that at a K/9 of 8.7 is bad by any stretch, but with Peavy, you knew wins were going to be hard to come by with the offense he has behind him, so you are counting on the K's. The fact that he barely ranks in the top 25 in that category is a disappointment for those that drafted him so early this year.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Random Thoughts

I am bored.

The trade deadline has passed in all of my leagues. My money league, which normally has one keeper related blockbuster, fizzled. (The second to last trade of the year - Mike Aviles for Jason Isringhausen). Football is still a few weeks away, and the Olympics are wrapping up.

Accordingly, I think that the baseball season is too long. The regular season should end with August, turning the dog days of summer into end of the pennant race. Think about the MLB playoffs coinciding with the beginning of college football and the NFL. Just sayin'.

In a previous column, I extolled the virtues of Netflix's "Watch Instantly" function. I recently became aware of Hulu falls somewhere in between YouTube and Netflix. Like YouTube, it is free. Unlike YouTube, the videos are not copied from an old VHS tape. Unlike "Netflix," Hulu is free with some conditions. Your "price" for admission are several advertisements embedded in the vidoes, but nothing too distracting. Hulu carries an odd variety of movies and TV shows/clips. You can watch entire episodes NBC/Universal shows like "30 Rock" (also on Netflix) and "Psych," plus old classics like "Knight Rider" and the "A-Team." (Also, they have a bunch of "WKRP in Cincinatti" episodes, including the Best. One. Ever.) Don't be fooled by the appearance of "The Simpsons," as most of files are just brief clips. For movies, there is random selection of films in their entirety- ranging from "Enter the Ninja" and "Lone Wolf McQuade" to "Fiddler on the Roof" and "Xanadu." I have a sample of one of Hulu's better films listed below. It will be interested to see if Hulu is the end result of competition from YouTube, or if it is the begginning of another Internet shift in technology.

Raul Ibanez. Sorry, I am obligated to mention him at least once a column.

I am impressed with Kevin Youkilis' strong second half. I had him pegged as a second half bum (on that note, my apologies to Ryan Ludwick - you rock). In past seasons, Youkilis has faded as the season has continued. Entering tonight's games, Youkilis post-All Star line was .327/8/21 with a 1.036 OPS. Youkilis will start the 2009 season as a 30-year old, and it might be hard for him to duplicate his numbers from this season. However, his dual 1B/3B eligibility will offset any slight decrease in numbers.

I don't like to mention anything remotely political on this site, but this article at The Onion just cracks me up.

I was going through my pre-season notes, and I came across the name of Travis Hafner. How far the might have fallen. I had almost forgotten about his existence.

It's a shame about Ian Kinsler's injury. I expected for Kinsler to have a pretty good season, but nothing of this magnitude (.319/17/81 with 26 SB and 102 R in just 121 games). In my points league, Kinsler is the still #1 batter with more total points than Lance Berkman. Kinsler has been diagnosed with the dreaded sports hernia (whatever you do, don't look up "sports hernia" on Google. Moderate Safe Search, my big toe.) I had never heard of this injury until Donovan McNabb got a few years ago, and it seems that everyone gets it now.

Sometimes, a good headline says it all. Case in point - Mexican woman fights off lion with machete.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Achievers/Bums - 8/18/08

I've got to make this quick because the season premiere of "The Hills" is starting (if you click on the link, the ads will tell you all you need to know about the show). "The Hills" is one of those shows that I don't watch, but my wife watches. Which basically means that I complain about the show, but secretly watch it when she's not home. Tonight "my wife" is watching a double-feature of "Jon and Kate Plus 8" and "The Hills". I've already learned so many things tonight: the sextuplets like the beach, Audrina's family keeps her grounded, Miss Lippy's car... is green ("Billy Madison" has been playing continuously in my head since 1994 - I'm aware that the movie didn't come out until 1995, which makes it even weirder). I thought I would share all of this with you. Why? What's the significance? I don't know.

Light schedule, but there were some Achievers and, of course, worthless, pathetic Bums tonight.


Gary Sheffield
- OF - Detroit Tigers - 3/5, HR, 2 RBI, 2 R - Sheff is still very, very angry. Keep him in your lineup.

Jermaine Dye - OF - Chicago White Sox - 2/5, 2 2B, 2 RBI, 2 R - I still haven't forgiven myself for not picking Dye a couple of months ago. He was available and I needed to fill an outfield spot, but I picked Hawpe instead. Hawpe had a bad game and was dropped the next day. Dye hit two home runs and hasn't looked back since then. He just keeps producing.

Aubrey Huff - 2/4, HR, 2B, 3 RBI - In my points league, Huff ranks between Carlos Lee and Hanley Ramirez. I was not aware of that until just now. Huh. I still won't draft him next year. But hey, if you picked him up early in the year, you deserve a big cookie.

Jason Bay - OF - Boston Red Sox - 3/5, 2 HR, 4 RBI, 3 R, 1 SB - Just Jason being Jason.

The Dodgers - Great move to pick up Greg Maddux. He's not a great pitcher anymore, but he basically gives the Dodgers another pitching coach and he will be a great example for the rest of the pitching staff.


Randy Wolf
- SP - Houston Astros - Loss, 5.0 IP, 6 ER, 5 H, 3 BB, 1 HBP, 4 K - Ed Wade traded for Wolf because he was "a competitor". Perhaps he was referring to Wolf's Connect Four skillz, because the pitching has not been competitive. At all. Hey, at least the Astros have their, "foot in the door" for signing Wolf next year.

Spencer - D-bag - "The Hills" - If you've seen his act for at least ten seconds, you will concur. In a way, his D-baggery is so breathtaking that you almost have to admire it. But at the end of the day, if you saw him in person, you'd want to punch him in the throat.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Achievers/Bums - 8/17/08

Sorry for the lack of posts. Donny and I have actually been busy with real life for once. Anyway, this isn't the Lifetime Network - let's talk baseball

Melvin Mora - 3B - Baltimore Orioles - 3/4, 1 HR, 4 RBIS - Friday; 5/6, 2 HRs, 6 RBIs - Sunday. Baltimore hasn't seen anything this hot since Babs Johnson walked down the street. With 20 HRs and 91 RBIS, Mora has a chance to match his 2004 career highs (27 HRs, 104 RBIs). Mora is probably not available in your league, but if he is, stick him in your Utility or CI spot until he cools off.

Alex Rios - OF - Toronto Blue Jays - 5/6, 3 Rs, 2 RBIs - Yes, he had five hits. Rios also has only 9 HRs and 54 RBIs. Not exactly the figures for which managers were hoping when they drafted him.

Raul Ibanez - OF - Seattle Mariners - 5/5, 1 RBI - I can't leave out the other guy with 5 hits. Looking over my posts, I am sure that Fantasy Achievers mentions Raul Ibanez more than any other website. Tell your friends.

Andre Ethier - OF - Los Angeles Dodgers - 3/5, 2 HRS, 3 RBIs - Ethier smacked two HRs, including the GW HR in the bottom of the 9th. Ethier is deservedly getting more ABs than Juan Pierre, but Ethier is sitting down enough to make you think twice about leaving him in your line-up. Stay away from Ethier if you have to set your roster weekly, but maybe consider pairing him with Juan Pierre if you have the roster space (and time to sit by your computer 10 minutes before every game, fatty).

Johan Santana - W, 7Ks, CG SHO - Santana goes to 3-0 since the All Star break. You expected more than 11 wins and 148 Ks, but at least Santana is turning it on for the stretch. Santana is still solid, and you might be able to pick him up at a discount next season.


Josh Beckett - SP - Boston Red Sox - L, 2.1 IP, 8 ERs - The Red Sox have been dealing with injuries to their starting pitching, and it was time for Beckett to stand up and be the stopper for his team. No, not really. Beckett was smacked at home by a Blue Jays' team that is only ahead of the Mariners, Royals and A's in AL runs scored. After going 20-7 with a 3.92 ERA last season, Beckett falls to a paltry 11-9 with a 4.34 ERA. If the Red Sox are going to catch the Blank Rays, they better hope that Beckett was just having an off day.

Washington Nationals - No one cares about the Washington Nationals. Frankly, I don't think that I even do. However, Nationals GM Jim Bowden's desire to acquire as many middle IFs as possible drives me crazy. The Nats traded Luis Ayala to the Mets for SS Anderson Hernandez. Hernandez, who has the name of a Mexican accountant, owns a career MLB batting average of .138, which somehow makes his 2008 AAA batting average of .202 look respectable. While Ayala has frankly stunk this season (1-8, 5.77 ERA), his career numbers entering this season (26-24 with a 2.82 ERA) are pretty decent, on top of the fact that the Mets are a division rival. I don't expect the Mets to give up their top prospect (even though the Mets are the team that traded Scott Kazmir for Victor "I'm Not Carlos" Zambrano), but do the Nationals need another weak hitting 2B/SS? Are the Nats one switch-hitting Dominican away from enacting Bowden's master plan?

Hernandez is now battling other renown sluggers such as of Cristian Guzman, Pete Orr, Ronnie Belliard, Emilo Bonifacio (hitting .239 and 2 SBs with 22Ks in 16 games since being acquired for closer Jon Rauch) for the positions of SS and 2B. Perhaps it is not fair to call Ronnie Belliard a middle IF, as he (and his career .753 OPS) has played 20 games at 1B, splitting time with other sluggers Kory Casto (.495 OPS) and Aaron "Bleeping" Boone (125 HRs in 1,111 games).

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Achievers/Bums - 8/12/08

Man, it's weird to see Adam Dunn on a winning team. So, we take a couple of days off, and all hades breaks loose. Carlos Lee and Carl Crawford out for the year? Evan Longoria out three to four weeks? Hey, at least no one was counting on production from those guys in the second half. The Big Donkey to the Diamondbacks? (He'll still hit his 40). USA Swimming is sweeping the nation? Aaron Harang gets rocked in his return to action? OK, I should've seen the last one coming become Aaron Harang hates me and wants to ruin my life.


Michael Phelps/USA Swimming - 4 Gold Medals and counting - I never thought I'd give a crap about swimming and I had Michael Phelps fatigue before the Olympics started, but now I'm eating it up. That bitch-slap our boys put on the French was one of the coolest things I've seen in sports ever. Oh, and in case you missed it - Michael Phelps gets his food on in an epic way.

David Ortiz/Kevin Youkilis - Boston Red Sox - combined 5/9, 4 HR, 11 RBI, 6 R, 3 BB - In a game versus the Rangers that was packed with offensive goodness, these guys were the biggest studs. Honorable mention to Dustin Pedroia, Ian Kinsler and Marlon Byrd.

Gary Sheffield - OF/DH - Detroit Tigers - 2/4, 2 HR - Gary Sheffield hits better when he's angry, which is pretty much always. The Tigers placed him on waivers Tuesday, which will probably make him even angrier, so expect lots of violently struck baseballs off the bat of angry Sheff.

Javier Vazquez - SP - Chicago White Sox - Win, 8.0 IP, 0 ER, 5 H, 1 BB, 10 K - Vazquez has been rocky so far in the second half, but I still think he can be a hidden gem if you need another SP to help you in the stretch run. He doesn't always get to face the Royals, unfortunately, but he'll rack up strikeouts and get you some wins because he's on a good team.

Nick Markakis - OF - Baltimore Orioles - 2/3, 2B, 2 RBI, SF - Ladies and gentleman, I give you: the new Bobby Abreu. Granted, he's not Bobby Abreu in his prime, but he's the current Bobby Abreu, which is still pretty darn good. He's had a great season so far and he should be a top-15 outfielder next year.


Joel Zumaya - RP - Loss, BS, 2 ER, 2 H, 3 BB - Detroit Tigers - Seriously, I miss Todd Jones.

Saturday, August 9, 2008

Achievers/Bums - 08/8/08


CC Sabathia
- SP - Milwaukee Brewers - CG Shutout, 5 H, BB, 9 K's - In seven starts with the Brew Crew, Sabathia has four complete games and two shutouts. While this is very impressive, Ned Yost may want to consider saving CC's arm for the stretch run. But if you're in a league that gives bonuses for complete games or shutouts, you gotta hope Ned continues to go Dusty for the rest of the season.

Carlos Lee -
OF - Houston Astros - 4/5, HR, 2B, 3 RBI, 3 R, BB - After Carlos Lee hit a two-run double in the 10th off of Francisco Cordero to beat the Reds last night, manager Cecil Cooper called him the best player in baseball over the last couple of months. Carlos Quentin owners might disagree, but Carlos Lee has been a top five outfielder all year and he's definitely still a keeper.

Chipper Jones
- 3B - 2/4, HR, 2 RBI, 3 R, BB - Chipper is back and doing what he does, i.e., mashing. He hit a loooong HR last night. If your trading deadline hasn't passed, see if you can snag him from an owner who thinks he's selling high.


Adam Dunn
- OF - Cincinnati Reds - 0/4, 3 K's - Adam Dunn has been awesome this year. The average is up a little bit and the home runs are there, but he has gone cold, and it looks like a strikeout binge has begun. If you're in a league that penalizes for K's, I'd keep him on your bench until another home run tear begins. Otherwise, you gotta keep him in there.

Dan Uggla
- 2B - Florida Marlins - Remember when you picked Uggla off of the free-agent pile for a spot start since your everyday second baseman had the day off, and then hit a couple home runs, so you left him there? Then, he just kept hitting them...and hitting them? It's time to forget about that and drop him. 2nd half numbers are as follows: .162 BA, 3 HR, 8 RBI, 23 K, 8 BB.

Alex Rios
- OF - Toronto Blue Jays - 0/5, 3 K's - I challenge someone to give me a good reason for anyone to own Alex Rios at this point. At least he wasn't drafted above Josh Hamilton, Bobby Abreu and Nick Markakis in most leagues this year. (See, it's funny because he was!!!)

Friday, August 8, 2008

This Ain't 'Nam #5

"This is not 'Nam. This is bowling. There are rules."

So I'm a day late with the weekly rule set because yesterday I was so swept up in the Jet Favre mania that I couldn't even concentrate on baseball. Or I just forgot. I'm sure that you, our faithful reader, will forgive me for the delay.

Rule #1 - Never take a job that restricts access to fantasy baseball websites. Or blogs.

Rule #2 - It is okay to kick your dog whenever Keith Olbermann speaks. You're in pain, so why shouldn't your dog be in pain also.

Rule #3 - Stocking your pitching staff with high injury-risk/high reward guys (Harden, Sheets, Kazmir, Bedard, Burnett) can burn you. Don't be afraid to mix in a little Derek Lowe or Mike Mussina.

Rule #4 - Don't be so quick to judge Alanis Morrisette. Have you ever considered that she was actually being ironic by writing a song called "Ironic" which listed situations that were in no way ironic, such as requiring a solitary knife but being presented with several thousand spoons? Ah haaaaah...hmmmm.... ? Did I just blow your mind? No? OK, then.

Rule #5 - No matter how much you swear that you won't let it happen, when you have a kid, he/she will undoubtedly love this guy. You laugh derisively now, but just wait and see who gets the last laugh. (Hint: he'll be purple).

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Achievers/Bums - 8/7/08

Joel Hanrahan - RP - Washington Nationals -2.0 IP, 2 SVs, 1 K - Hanrahan still might be available in your league, but not for long. I picked up him last night in my HTH league. His appearances won't be a pretty, but a save is a save is a save.

Jonathan Broxton - RP - Los Angeles Dodgers - 1.0 IP, SV, 2 Ks - Broxton has not shown the jitters that he showed last season as closer. With his strikeout potential, he will be a top-five closer next year.

Lastings Milledge - OF - Washington Nationals - 5/9, 2 HRs, 5 RBIs - Milledge had a pretty good doubleheader today against the Rockies, but he won't help you much this season. Click HERE for a good insight into Milledge and the life of a batting coach in MLB.

David Wright - 3B - New York Mets - 3/5, 2B, HR, 2 RBIs - Inspired by Donny's harsh comments, Wright hit a game-winning (I do not believe in the term "walk off") HR in the bottom of the 9th against the Padres. Hopefully for the Mets, he can also pitch in relief.

Raul Ibanez - OF - Seattle Mariners - 1/4, HR - Ibanez's bottom of the 9th home run was Seattle's first GW (see above) of this season. Ibanez is hitting .367/7/24 since the All-Star break. Ibanez is a free agent at year's end. Why is he not playing for the....


Arizona Diamondbacks offense- The D'backs were shut out for seven innings last night by Charlie Morton. The day before, Randy Johnson's 7/1 IP, 2-run effort was wasted when Jeff Karsten shut them out. While the Dodgers made the bold move of acquiring Manny Ramirez (who has four HRs in six games), the D'backs made no moves for their milquetoast offense, not even acquiring a cheap rental like Ibanez. The D'backs are relying solely on their starting pitching and upgraded bullpen to get them through the stretch run. While their pitching moves have been very wise (the Mets and Cardinals have to be kicking themselves for not grabbing Jon Rauch or Brian Fuentes), but it will interesting to see in retrospect if the D'backs should have grabbed another bat.

Willy Taveras - OF - Colorado Rockies - 1/8, no SBs. You would hope for more from Taveras in a doubleheader at home. If you can tolerate the awful batting average, Taveras is still a great source for SBs, especially if he is one of his hot streaks.

Javier Vazquez - SP - Chicago White Sox - In the first two months of the season, Vazquez started with his usual strong numbers - 5 wins and a 3.43 ERA with 77Ks in 78.2 IP. Since June 1, Vazquez has fallen apart, winning only 3 games with an ERA of 6.23. While the Ks are still there (64 Ks 69.2 IP since 6/1), Vazquez will kill you on ERA and WHIP. I would recommend sitting him or selectively pitching him until he puts together a few good starts.

Brett Favre - QB - New York Jets - While this is still a good move for the Jets, who desperately needed a brand name on their team and somehow upgraded at QB, this trade is fitting justice for Favre. After doing his best to ruin the Green Bay Packers (HERE is a great summary), Favre is sent to AFC purgatory with the New York Jets, where he will inherit a rebuilding team and an unfamiliar offense.

I would expect some glimpses of 2007 Favre (28 TDs, 15 INTs), but probably more of 2005 or 2006 Favre (20 TDs, 29 INTs - 18 TDs, 18 INT respectively). In the off-season prior to 2007, Favre had a rigorous work regime to offset the diminished returns of the past two seasons. Favre spent the 2008 off season "retired" and not committed to playing football. At age 38, it will difficult for Favre to be much of a positive factor if he is not in game shape.

Favre's tenure in New York will be unmemorable. Other great players have finished their careers with "other" teams (Montana with the Chiefs, Jordan with the Bullets/Wizards), but memories of their performances were mere footnotes and quickly forgettable (I forgot Joe Montana even played with the Chiefs until it was mentioned during the Favre saga). However, none of these detours came with the rancor of Favre's break-up with the Packers. Hopefully, Favre and the Packers will be able to put this behind them in a few years, and Favre will be remembered for what did for the Packers and not to them.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Achievers/Bums - 8/06/08


Vladimir Guerrero - OF - Los Angeles Angels - 2/3, HR, 4 RBI, BB - Vlad has been doing extra impaling since the "Tex Factor" arrived in Anaheim. He started slow this year and his power numbers are down a tad, but I think he'll end up with numbers close to his career averages, which we all know are awesome.

Troy Percival - RP - Tampa Bay Rays - Win, .2 IP - I usually don't include closers in the "Achievers" section, but I think Percival deserves a nod for the job he has done for the Rays this year. He's saved 24 out of 27 so far, and although he spent a couple weeks on the DL, you can't deny the value he's provided for where he was drafted (Yahoo ADP was 183.5).

Shaun Marcum - SP - Toronto Blue Jays - Win, 7.0 IP, 1 ER, 3 H, 2 BB, 7 K's - After giving up 16 earned runs in his last three starts, Shaun Marcum found his control and pitched a gem against the A's. Marcum is not a sell-high candidate as he has the potential to be an excellent starter long-term. The buzz around Marcum has died down a little bit, so it might be the perfect time to try to snag him. (Of course if the jackass in your league who owns him just went on a cruise and has no internet access until after the trade deadline, your out of luck).


David Wright
- 3B - New York Mets - 2/5, RBI, SB, E - The Mets have lost seven of their last ten, and there is a lot of blame to go around: Carlos Beltran, Jose Reyes, Pedro Martinez, the bullpen - all very, very bad lately. But I mainly blame David Wright, who despite having a couple of hits and a SB last night, has been brutal lately. Over the last week he's hitting .150 with 2 RBI, 2 R and 1 SB. That's what I get for giving him ridiculous props a couple of weeks ago.

Scott Kazmir - SP - Tampa Bay Rays - ND, 4.1 IP, 5 ER, 9 H, 3 BB, 4 K's - Scott Kazmir is a tease. He can look like Johan Santana (the Twins version) one start and Barry Zito (the Giants version) in the next. He led the AL in strikeouts last year, and early on, it looked like the numbers would be even better in 2008. But in his last ten starts he has only gone six innings twice. He's going through a rough patch, but I wouldn't sell. His strikeouts make him so valuable and I think he'll get it together; you just have to be willing to stomach the ups and downs and realize he is going to mix in the dominating performances with what he did last night.

Derek Lowe - SP - Los Angeles Dodgers - Loss, 3.1 IP, 8 ER, 13 H, 2 BB, 2 K's - Holy crap, I almost started him.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Achievers/Bums - 8/5/08

Fernando Tatis - OF - New York Mets - 2/4, 2 HRs, 4 RBIs - The Mets and their gimpy bullpen needed all of Tatis' offense to hold off the powerhouse Padres. The Mets LF job is his to lose. Grab him in NL Only and think about him for your Utility/DH spot in deeper mixed leagues.

Dave Bush - SP - Milwaukee Brewers - W, 7.0 IP, 7 Ks - Bush was officially named the fifth starter, and he scored an impressive victory on the road against the Reds. While the Brewers will no longer pitch Bush exclusively at home, you should. Use him as a streamer when he is pitching at home.

Prince Fielder - 1B - Milwaukee Brewers - 1/4, 1 HR, 2 RBIs - Prince pounded the ball like it was one of his teammates (I am sure that I am the only guy to think of that line). Seriously, how does a vegetarian stay so fat? Are they making soy Snickers bars now? Hi-oh.

Aaron Heilman - RP - 0.1 IP, 3 ER - In his first shot at closer replacing Billy Wagner, Aaron Heilman did his best Duaner Sanchez imitiation, turning a four-run lead against the Padres into a one-run game. With Wagner now on the DL, the Mets better hope that Brian Fuentes can make it through the waiver wire.

Joba Chamberlain Meets The Most Feared Man in Baseball

There are certain sentences that you never want to hear under any circumstances.

"The IRS is on the phone for you."
"Michael Vick took your dog for a walk."
"Is that your wife with Bill Clinton?"

High on that list for any fantasy dork is "(Insert Pitcher on Your Team) is going to visit Dr. James Andrews."

The latest pitcher to walk the green mile to the orthopedic legend's office is Joba Chamberlain. Chamberlain left his start against Texas on Monday clutching his shoulder. Even if there is not a serious injury at this time, you can bet the Yanks will be uber-cautious with their 22-year old phenom. If you are a Joba owner, prepare to wait a while for Joba to return.

Monday, August 4, 2008

Achievers/Bums - 8/04/08


Jay Bruce
- OF - Cincinnati Reds - 1/2, HR, 2 RBI - Jay Bruce isn't as good as he looked in his first week after being called up, but he's not as bad as he's looked since then either. With Griffey gone, Bruce doesn't have to masquerade as a lead-off hitter anymore and he can hit in the three-hole as he should. He hit seventh last night against lefty Manny Parra, but I imagine he'll be back hitting third for most of the rest of the season. In the four games since Griffey's departure, Bruce is hitting .357 with three HR's and five RBI.

Roy Halladay
- SP - Toronto Blue Jays - Win, 8.0 IP, 1 ER, 4 H, 1 BB, 8 K's - Last year Roy Halladay racked up 139 strikeouts, which trailed such fire-ballers as Joe Blanton, Andy Pettitte and Chad Gaudin; in 2006 he struck only only 132, which didn't even rank him in the top-50 in the majors. So it has been fairly surprising that with another six or seven starts still to go his 149 strikeouts trail only his teammate A.J. Burnett in the AL. If Halladay keeps this up, it will be hard for him not to win another Cy Young - even pitching in Toronto.

Michael Young
- SS - Texas Rangers - 2/4, HR, 3 RBI, 2 R - I've never been a huge Michael Young fan, but this year he's been the best fantasy SS not named Jose or Hanley. I still don't think he's that great, but as long as he's hitting somewhere between Kinsler and Hamilton, he'll put up solid numbers

Robinson Cano
- 2B - New York Yankees - 1/4, HR - A lot of Yankees are hot right now, but look at what Cano is doing in the 2nd half so far: .367 BA, 4 HR, 9 RBI. You might still be able to trade for him if your deadline hasn't passed, and you should if you can because he's just heating up.

Raul Ibanez - OF - Seattle Mariners - 3/5, 1 HR, 6 RBI - Why is this guy still on the Mariners? Are you telling me that there weren't any contenders who could've used his bat?


Lance Berkman
- 1B/OF - Houston Astros - 0/4, 2 K's - No HR's and only seven RBI's in the last month is very un-Puma-like. I think it's the same as when Utley slumps though, you just keep him in the lineup and realize that the numbers will come. No reason to panic.

Prince Fielder
- 1B - Milwaukee Brewers - 1/3, BB - Prince Fielder had his very own OMG moment last night when he was caught on camera shoving starting pitcher Manny Parra like a little girl (video below). Ned Yost said it's nobody's business. It's a family matter and will quickly be resolved. Uhh, yeah, because Prince Fielder would neeeeever hold a grudge against a family member.

Sunday, August 3, 2008

Achievers/Bums - Weekend Edition

Bobby Abreu - OF - New York Yankees - Yes, I am aware of Xavier Nady's big day. However, the big story for me has been the reemergence of Bobby Abreu since the All Star break. Since the second half began, Abreu has a line of .387/5/17 with two SBs. He can help you with average, runs and stolen bases. If you need help in any of these categories, try to pick up Abreu before your trading deadline.

Hiroki Kuroda - SP - Los Angeles Dodgers - For all I know, Hiroki Kuroda could be an awful person. He could litter, steal candy from children or wear tights. However, I do know one thing about Kuroda - he pitches pretty well at Dodger Stadium. After his victory on Saturday, Kuroda's record at home stands at 4-1 with a 3.29 ERA and a 1.01 WHIP. If you have space on your roster, he might be worth holding onto, but remember that he is Mr. Hyde on the road (2-7, 5.25 ERA).

Matt Holliday - OF - Colorado Rockies - Holliday hit three home runs over Saturday and Sunday against the Marlins. While Holliday hitting home runs is no big news, it is notable that he did so on the road. Holliday is a great beneficiary of playing in Colorado (.365/81/294 in Colorado - .280/42/166 everywhere else). As he is a pending free agent after the 2009 season, there is a chance that Holliday will be shopped in the offseason. If you are in a keeper format and out of contention for winning your league , this might be the time to think about moving Holliday. You can trade Holliday his highest value and not worry about him moving away from Colorado.

Ricky Nolasco - SP - Florida Marlins - Nolasco capped an impressive week with 13 Ks against the Rockies. If you pitched Nolasco in a HTH format this week, you received a win, 21 Ks, a 3.21 ERA and a o.79 WHIP. Nolasco has recovered from his elbow problems that plagued him in 2007.

Joel Hanrahan - RP - Washington Nationals - Hanrahan got his first save as the Nats closer. While he will not be dominant, as my pal Donny points out, a save is a save is save. Hanrahan might still be available on your waiver wire, and he is a great pick-up if you currently have either ...


Kyle Farnsworth/Fernando Rodney - RP - Detroit Tigers - Newly acquired Kyle Farnsworth blew the lead in the 8th by giving up three runs on three hits. After Curtis Granderson tied the game with a HR in the top of the ninth, and Miguel Cabera hit a HR in the top of the 10th to give the Tigers the lead, Rodney added his contribution by giving up two runs with three walks, including the game winning bases loaded BB to Carlos Pena.
The Tigers bullpen is a mess, and there does not appear to be a savior in sight. I would recommend dropping Rodney immediately, but keep Farnsworth on the bench for now, if you have a roster spot.

Jeremy Hermida - OF - Florida Marlins - I like Jeremy Hermida, and I think that he will be a good player in the long run for the Marlins. However, Hermida earned the dubious golden sombrero on Sunday, going 0-4 with four Ks. If you are in a league that factors Ks, you know the glorious feeling of looking at the negative four points and wondering what Rob Deer is doing right now.

Elijah Dukes - OF - Washington Nationals - While Elijah Dukes has met a good deal of the Nationals expectations for this season (for instance, he has not threatened to kill anyone), he still finds a way to make headlines for not doing anything good. First, he was benched from the starting lineup on Saturday for showing up late at the ball park. Then, he sat out on Sunday due to an injury to his leg from hitting himself with his own bat (maybe his leg was pregnant). While his antics and injuries will be an continued distraction, Dukes is a must own in NL Only leagues, and a worthwhile risk in deeper mixed leagues. Before he missed 19 games with an injured knee in early July, Duke hit six HRs and stole seven bases over 32 games in June and July. When healthy and/or out of jail, Dukes will hit third in a very soft Nats' lineup.

Phil Mickelson - LH -WGC-Bridgestone Invitational -Of course, anyone who wins over the next few months will have an asterisk as the guy who won without playing against Tiger. Phil Mickelson won't have that problem this week after completely falling apart on the 17th hole. Of course, this criticism is coming from a guy who sharted himself when he earned his first double-boogey two weeks ago.

Friday, August 1, 2008

Achievers/Bums - 8/01/08

I'm in a good mood because I'm going to go see the Reds square off against the Nats today. Yes, both of these teams suck, but as a Reds fan I have a mandatory man crush on Jay Bruce. The downside is that Josh Fogg is on the bump for the Reds. Anyway, all achievers today.


Ubaldo Jimenez - SP - Colorado Rockies - Win, 7 IP, 0 ER, 2 H, 3 BB, 10 K's - I'm not getting too excited yet, but check out his numbers since the break: 4-0, 1 CG, 1.24 ERA, 20 K's. Pick him up if he's available; he gets to pitch at Washington, L.A., San Diego and twice at San Francisco from here on out. Also, his name is Ubaldo, and that's a pretty cool name. Not as cool as this one, but cool.

Jason Bay - OF - Boston Red Sox - 1/3, 3B, 2 R, 2 BB - Bay scored the first and last runs last night in his debut with the Red Sox. I like that Francona is batting him fifth as it takes a little pressure off. Remember he is coming from Pittsburgh where there is more pressure on Cheese Chester to win the Great Pierogi Race than on Pirates hitters. I think Bay will be a good third or maybe second outfielder the rest of the way.

Ken Griffey, Jr. - OF - Chicago White Sox - 2/3, 2 RBI, BB - Although he's in a less hitter-friendly park and is apparently going to be hitting seventh, I actually think Junior's fantasy value went up with the move to Chicago. Simply put, I think he's going to try harder in Chicago. They're letting him play center, and he is going to try to make Kenny Williams look good for believing in him. Plus he's now motivated by the chance of winning a World Series (not gonna happen). His two RBI were the difference last night against the Royals; let the love-fest begin.

The Nats Youth Movement - Granted, it was against the atrocious Homer Bailey, but the new-look Nationals got off to a good start last night. All the kids got hits last night, and that new middle-infield of Alberto Gonzalez and Emilio Bonifacio looked great in the field, especially when turning an inning-ending double-play in the 7th. None of that helps you in fantasy, but there are a couple of useful players in the mix that you'll want to keep an eye on. Elijah Dukes' multiple restraining orders in real life shouldn't extend to your roster as he is developing into a real power/speed threat. Catcher Jesus Flores has quietly put together a nice season with 45 RBI, and with Estrada and Lo Duca released, he appears to be the Nats catcher of the future. He's probably only worth a roster spot in NL-only leagues, but I like his upside.

Contributing Achievers