|Baseball Ticker: Week of May 28, 2007|
Written by Matt Souders (Contact & Archive) on May 27, 2007
Two Start Pitchers Worth Using:
You Make the Call:
Eight games this week:
Seven games this week:
At the hitter’s parks this week:
Ratchet them up!
Richie Sexson (1B, Mariners): It's late May and Sexson is hitting worse than half the pitchers in the NL. Why would I put him on this list? Because it's late May. The flowers are in bloom, the weather is warming up, and it's the season of the annual Sexson hot streak. The perennial slow starter is off to one of the worst starts of his life, but he's showed signs of life in the last several games since returning to the Mariner line-up, collecting more walks than Ks and hitting a lot of balls hard. Your league mates may have given up on him. If he can be had for cheap (or on the wire), grab him and enjoy to 30 HRs he's about to hit.
Octavio Dotel (CL, Royals): I just got a look at the former Astros phenom in live action for his second appearance since returning from the DL. He got hit around in his first appearance, but he looked electric Friday against a Mariners' line-up that knocked probable all-star Gil Meche around for 7 early runs. I saw no indication of injury trouble on the horizon for the oft-injured relief ace. He threw free and easy and 94-96 mph with movement. The Royals may finally have their closer.
Jack Cust (DH, Athletics): Just another flash in the pan? Big flies and big K rates usually spell doom for the late-bloomers who arrive with 6 HR weeks, but Cust isn't one of those one-week wonders. He has some of the best plate discipline in organized baseball (many of his Ks are of the looking variety) and lazy-fine strike zone judgment. He's one of the most extreme all-or-nothing pitch-stalking power hitters I've ever witnessed, and as such, even when he's not seeing the ball well, he'll get on base and keep you relatively satisfied. The only question is what the As will do when Piazza, Kotsay, Bradley, Snelling, et al start to come back from their injuries and encroach on Cust's playing time. You can bet they'll move a few players for relief depth to help make up for the absence of Huston Street and Justin Duchscherer. As of now, Cust is a full time DH and a very productive one at that.
Miguel Tejada (SS, Orioles): Something has definitely been weird about this season for Tejada. He's spent his entire career slugging for the gaps and banging out a productive .280-.300 average, but this year, he's hitting a shockingly empty .310. The power has gone out of his swing to date. I just can't believe that will continue. He's too good a hitter to suddenly become Juan Pierre.
Ratchet them down!
Carlos Zambrano (SP, Cubs): I sincerely hope you didn't waste a first or second round pick on Zambrano, because all of the relevant trends in his pitching profile point toward his overuse leading to (at a minimum) a drop in effectiveness, possibly even an impending trip to the DL. His walk rate has been on the rise, to the point where he's walking one every other inning now. His K rate has fallen some this year as well, and he's becoming increasingly hittable and prone to short-inning starts. If you have Zambrano on your roster, you might consider trading him.
Jason Marquis (SP, Cubs): Two Cubbies in one ticker, and they're both on the wrong list. A lot of folks are starting to take Marquis seriously as a quality starter, but don't be fooled. He's pitching in some incredibly good luck right now, with a HR/F of just north of 5% (unsustainably low even for a true ace), a BABIP of .210 (the Cubs as a team are around .285) and a very poor K/BB. He's going to get splattered eventually and his owners are going to have buyers remorse.
J.J. Hardy (SS, Brewers): It may be partially due to a relatively weak early schedule for the Brewers, partially due to some good fortune, and partially due to his undeniably large talent, but there's simply no way that Hardy continues to slug anywhere remotely near .600. Throughout his minor league career, Hardy was lucky to slug .400 (granted, there were some pitchers parks on his multi-city tour of the Brewers farm system), and equally interesting is the fact that Hardy has always had an excellent eye ratio (almost as many walks as strikeouts) until this season when he suddenly turned up the dial on his swing and started striking out more than twice as often as he walked (which has thus far been a rare occurrence for Hardy in 2007). He's turned himself into a one-dimensional slugger and is still somehow hitting over .300 and slugging .608. That's unsustainable entirely Expect a MAJOR crash for Hardy. He'll be a good player, but I'd be surprised if he hits 15 more HRs the entire rest of 2007 let along manages a .275 BA the rest of the way.
Reggie Willits (OF, Angels): Please...do yourselves a favor and stay away from owners who are offering you Willits claiming he's a sure thing for a bunch of steals and a high BA with lots of runs scored. The man is on one of the luckiest runs in recent memory. It won't last. He's a journeyman for a reason, called up at 25 after an unspectacular minor league career in which his on base percentage consistently exceeding his slugging percentage. He's got a good eye, but in the big leagues, they're going to knock the bat out of his hands and he's going to disappear.