Vacation

I’ll be on vacation — traveling in Europe! — for all of May and June.

Venturing into a baseball-less culture will surely be strange, but I’ll have the Internet to keep me (fairly) updated. Hopefully I’ll return with plenty of new ideas and things to write about.

Fantasy 2013: Pitching Sleepers (Pt. 2)

A few days ago, we identified a few players who are candidates to move into the top 20 for starting pitchers this season. Now, we’ll examine 3 more starters and assess their chances of becoming top-tier fantasy options. Continue reading

Fantasy 2013: Pitching Sleepers (Pt. 1)

Fantasy season is nearly in full-swing, and if you’re an owner, your draft is likely taking place in the next few days. This will be a two-part series: each article will spotlight three starting pitcher “sleepers” for 2013 — players who are likely to significantly outperform their average draft position.

Each of the following players have, by my estimations, a pretty good chance of moving into the top 20 for starting pitchers this season: Continue reading

Phillies 2013 Preview: Outfield

The Phillies’ outfield is — how do we say it? — a bit of a mess right now. At this point, it looks as though new center fielder Ben Revere is the only player with a guaranteed starting spot; left and right field are still up for grabs. As a result, this piece will preview all three of the team’s outfield positions. Continue reading

Phillies 2013 Preview: Third Base

Let’s start out by being honest with ourselves: Michael Young isn’t that good at baseball. He isn’t that good now, and never really was that good, despite ex-teammates’ corroborations that he’s an excellent clubhouse guy. Continue reading

Phillies 2013 Preview: Shortstop

Love him or hate him, he keeps chugging along.

“Him,” of course, refers to Jimmy Rollins, the Phillies’ 34-year-old shortstop and Philadelphia’s longest-tenured athlete. He’s received his fair share of criticism from fans during the last couple of years, but it’s hard to argue with his production. Rollins has amassed the most fWAR of all National League shortstops (42.5) and the most of all shortstops in baseball not named Derek Jeter over the past decade. Continue reading

Phillies 2013 Preview: Second Base

Spring training has arrived and Chase Utley is healthy. Of course, we’re not quite sure what “healthy” means for Utley. He’s missed significant chunks of time in each of the past 3 seasons because of degenerative knee problems, and they aren’t going away any time soon. Nevertheless, Utley is optimistic about his conditioning and health for the Phillies’ upcoming campaign. Continue reading

Phillies 2013 Preview: First Base

It was a scene Philadelphia fans will never forget.

The Phillies had just lost the 2011 NLDS to the St. Louis Cardinals. Ryan Howard, the team’s first baseman and $125 million man, was crumpled up in a heap near home plate, writhing in pain and clutching at his left ankle. He had torn his left Achilles’ tendon mid-swing, sending a weak ground ball up the first base line, ending the team’s high World Series hopes…

…yeah, yeah, we all know the story. Continue reading

Phillies 2013 Preview: Catcher

2012 was a season of career highs for Carlos Ruiz. Despite appearing in just 114 games, he clubbed 16 home runs and saw his isolated power jump to .215, more than doubling his 2011 totals in both categories. It’s unclear how much of those gains were legitimate, however, after Ruiz was suspended in November for 25 games for testing positive (twice) for an unprescribed amphetamine (Adderall).

Adderall is used to treat attention-deficit disorders and is neither a steroid nor a performance-enhancing drug (hence the 25-game suspension instead of 50). Ruiz wasn’t juicing, by the classic definition, but he probably benefited from increased attention and focus. Continue reading

Kyle Kendrick and Unfair Comparison

I admit that I, like many Philadelphia fans, have been rough on Kyle Kendrick over the last couple of years. Kendrick has flirted mostly with mediocrity during his 6-year career, illustrated by his 4.30 ERA and 4.82 FIP. Since his first call-up in 2007, he’s spent time in both the starting rotation and bullpen, largely overshadowed by star teammates Cole Hamels, Cliff Lee, Roy Halladay, and Roy Oswalt.

Toss Joe Blanton and Vance Worley into that mix, and it’s hard for Kendrick to distinguish himself as much more than a long reliever with spot starter potential. A lack of strikeout stuff (4.64 career K/9) means he’s a sinkerballing, contact-inducing, defense-dependent pitcher — making him something even less than an afterthought for fantasy owners and a whipping boy for the sabermetric community. Continue reading

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