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AL Player Notes- August 12th, 2011

Eric Nehs

Curtis Granderson (CF-NYY) Granderson went 1-for-4 with a strikeout, a home run and 2 RBI's agains the Angels yesterday. While he improved his slash line to .275/.367/.583, the home run was his third in two days and his thirty-second of the season. Granderson's season has been fantastic, as he has set career highs in home runs, OBP, SLG, ISO, RBI's, wRC+ and wOBA through only 505 plate appearances. Not to mention that he has stolen 22 bases on the season. Granderson's HR/FB ratio is 21.6 percent this season (fourth in baseball), an improvement from 14.5 percent last season and his career ratio of 12.9 percent. Surprisingly, Granderson's ratio is almost is good on the road (20.6 percent) to his home numbers (22.5 percent), so he has not bee solely reliant on Yankee Stadium's short porch for his increased totals this season as it has been suggested by some.

Chris Tillman (SP-BAL) The White Sox roughed up Chris Tillman in last night's start for 6 earned runs on 8 hits, 3 strikeouts, 3 walks and 1 home run in only 2.2 innings pitched. His record fell to 3-5 for the season while his ERA increased to 5.52. Tillman's peripherals have improved this season despite the high ERA. His 6.68 strikeout ratio is a career high and he lowered his walk rate from 5.20 to 3.63 BB/9 this season. He has pitched better than his overall numbers suggests. He has an xFIP of 4.73, and his numbers have been influenced by an unlucky .343 BABIP and a strand rate of 65.7 percent. However, I do not think his stuff translates to the majors anymore. He used to throw 94 mph in the minors when he was first acquired by Baltimore in the Bedard trade, but now he average 89.5 mph on his fastball. His 5.8 swinging strike percentage is below average, and I wouldn't take a chance on him in any keeper leagues.

Kyle Farnsworth (RP-TB) Farnsworth earned his twenty-first save of the season yesterday as the Rays beat the Royals 4-1. He lowered his ERA to 1.98 for the season after he pitched a scoreless inning against the top of the order, and he lowered his xFIP to 3.05 in the process. He has yet to allow a base runner in 5.1 innings pitched in August while improving his strikeout rate to 7.24 K/9 for the season. He has continued to rely on the ground ball for his 2011 success, as his 52.2 percent ground ball rate is a career high. I have projected in previous notes that he would finish with an ERA closer to 2.50 this season, but Farnsworth has shown no signs of letting up in the second half. Additionally, opposing hitters are not hitting the ball as hard off of him as in previous years. His 17.2 percent line drive rate also represents a career low.

Fausto Carmona (SP-CLE) Carmona's record fell to 5-12 for the season despite holding the Tigers to 4 runs (3 earned) on 7 hits, 6 strikeouts and 2 walks in 7 innings pitched. His ERA fell to 5.12 for the season despite having an xFIP of 4.15. I have said during the season that Carmona's numbers should be better, but his ERA has stayed above 5.00 for most of the season. He continues to be negatively affected by a strand rate of 62.4 percent, second lowest among starting pitchers, and a HR/FB ratio of 14 percent. His fly ball rate has dropped this season, and his velocity has not dropped from 2010 so it is hard to explain the uptick in home runs. His 4.99 strikeout rate is a career low, but his 7.8 swinging strike percent is his highest since 2007. Furthermore, his walk rate of 2.76 BB/9 is his best since 2007. His August xFIP of 3.88 is his best since May, and he has yet to allow a home run this month. I like his chances to get his ERA below 5.00.

Torii Hunter (RF-LAA) Hunter went 1-for-3 with one walk and he extended his hitting streak to 9 games in the Angels' 6-5 loss the Yankees. He now has 14 home runs and 58 RBI's for the season with a slash line of .254/.325/.399. Much has been made about the poor play of the Angels' veteran outfielders, but Hunter has played well of late hitting above .510 in August. He has lost power and speed this season, but he is still on pace to finish the year with 20 home runs. His power has dropped because his fly ball rate has slightly decreased in favor of a higher line drive rate, which should get Hunter's average close to .265 by the end of the season. The main reason for Hunter's average drop is his 20.3 percent strikeout rate, which is his highest since 2001.

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