Pineiro’s resurrection as an extreme control/ground ball specialist continued on Thursday as he manhandled the Brewers on Thursday with ease. He needed just 100 pitches to finish off the Brewers in a complete game effort and rolled 19 ground balls. He threw 70% of his pitches for strikes, didn’t walk a batter, and struck out 5. Only 3 balls found holes and he allowed just 1 ER, lowering his ERA to 3.20. Andrew touched on Pineiro’s ERA actually in line for some positive regression and it appears we’ve seen some of that of late. With such an impressive combination of command and ground balls, Pineiro’s Ratio numbers are very much real. Don’t expect many K’s, but if you’re a high K team that needs WHIP contribution, Pineiro’s an underrated commodity as he piles up effective innings for the Ratio categories.
For the first time all season Rafael Furcal has looked a little bit like his old self. Furcal went 3-5 on Thursday night and is now 14-30 with 9 Runs scored in the first 7 games here in July. His EYE in July has been superb with 5 BB’s and 3 K’s and while some of this is BHIP regression (.435 BHIP% in July), he’s also showing some pop with 4 extra base hits in 30 AB’s. Furcal’s still not running much, just 1 SB in 1 attempt despite being on base 19 times in July and that will ultimately continue to depress Furcal’s value. BA improvement and Run production look to be on the rise for Furcal, but without the SB’s his overall value will be limited to that of a Christian Guzman type.
I’ve noted the tendency for Wolf’s skills to erode as the season goes on and it appears we’re seeing some of those same tendencies play out here in 2009. Wolf’s K Rate per month has gone from .86 to .78 to .52 in June. Here in July the rate has been better through 2 starts (.89, largely thanks to 8 K’s against the Padres in his last outing), but the BB Rate has shown a similar disturbing trend (.26 to .31 to .33) and Wolf has a history of breaking down. On Thursday night he was provided 11 runs to work with and though he only allowed 2 ER’s in 6 1/3 innings, he allowed 9 base-runners to a punch-less Mets lineup and only struck out 3. I’m thinking now is a good opportunity to sell high on Randy Wolf while his season numbers look spectacular.
As they like to say in the world of prognosticating, “We’re usually not wrong, just sometimes we’re early”. Well for 4 years and now counting I’ve been “early” on Edwin Encarnacion. At this point there’s really no sense in backing down. Encarnacion has shown terrific improvement in his career in his FB Rate, Slugging %, and EYE all big-time indicators for a power hitting 3B in a great home-park. Unfortunately for one reason or another it just hasn’t all come together, so while Encarnacion’s season long numbers look horrendous try to get past them and consider Encarnacion as a nice stash option. On Thursday he went 2-4 with a 3B and a HR, driving in 3 and scoring 2. The big night in the power department gives him 3 extra base hits in 21 AB’s since returning, a good indicator the wrist injury may not limit his power. While he hasn’t shown good plate discipline (0 BB’s, 7 K’s), he was making great strides in that area early in the season with 13 BB’s in his first 63 AB’s. I still stand by Edwin as a long-term impact bat at 3B, though admittedly as each year passes without the BIG breakout I’ve expected, doubts creep in. In leagues of 14 or deeper he needs to be owned as well as all NL Only formats, in shallower formats I can understand waiting for more production before pouncing.
Uggla went 4-6 in the Marlins big offensive effort on Thursday night, scoring 2 runs and driving in 1. I’ve noted this several times but Uggla’s career stats have a significant trend to them with production peaking in June, hitting a hiccup in July and then bumping back up in August, before a steep fade in September. This has been consistent throughout his career and while his overall numbers don’t stack up at all compared to last season (a career year that won’t be replicated), the pattern has been the same. Uggla’s OPS by month has been: .745, .745, .840, .658 (prior to last night’s game). For his career his OPS by month has been: .750, .976, .894, .744, .773, .735. The performance has been under his career levels, but the trend remains the same. Uggla owners may be able to squeeze another month or so of league average production, but if history holds the majority of Uggla’s production has been had.