For most of you that don't follow the Pirates it probably seems like Jason Bay is really coming on right and really busting out of that slump? Well Bay hit 5th HR in the last 3 weeks last night in another 1-4 effort and when you look at his August numbers, he's just 7-30 with 5 K's and 2 BB's. He's still not hitting for much average and with limited power (although it seems like its coming on because he's hitting more HR's than 2B's), the EYE continues to be weak and on the whole I don't see much reason to believe Bay will be the guy we expected coming into 2007, the rest of the way. If you can make a decent deal for him, I continue to recommend taking that path.
Time for another lesson in statistical analysis! We have a pitcher with a Strand Rate of .79, a BHIP% of .244, and an ERA of 2.92. Unfortunately while this pitcher is probably having quite a strong year, it's got almost no where to go but down and that's exactly what's been happening with John Maine. After getting his ERA down to 2.92, Maine's taken two consecutive starts on the chin raising his ERA to 3.53, which is a much more accurate picture of the pitcher he is. Maine's still quite valuable and a good SP option that offers strong K and W potential, but he's not a sub 3.00 ERA pitcher and the last two starts where 12 of the 17 batters he's allowed to reach base have scored is simply a result of the Strand Rate regressing to more normal levels.
Gonzalez is going unnoticed to most mixed league competitors out there but those in deeper leagues probably understand how good Gonzalez has been this year. Gonzalez knocked out his 16th HR of the season and has seemingly regained the promising power he displayed earlier in his career with the Marlins. Of course playing in the bandbox that is Cincinnati is probably helping things, but regardless Gonzalez has shown good growth in his 2B and HR Rates and as a result has helped bring his average into the .260+ range. He's gone from a sub-.250 hitter with little pop to a potential 20 HR candidate with a .260-.270 average, a very nice progression for the 30 year old and someone who's probably underrated a bit in deeper leagues.
Any time a rookie pitcher gets off to a strong start people are going to start looking for answers as to how long it will last. So let's dissect Joel Hanrahan a bit today. Hanrahan was a 2nd round pick of the Dodgers in 2000 and progressed well through the system before stalling a bit at AAA and ultimately was dumped by the Dodgers. In came the Nationals to scoop him up and that's how we got here. So after another win yesterday with 5 1/3 innings of 1 run ball, Hanrahan sits at 2-0 with a 2.86 ERA. Sounds intriguing right? Well tame your expectations a bit, Hanrahan showed solid K Rates in the minor leagues but always struggled with command and as he increased levels showed more propensity for allowing the long ball. So far Hanrahan's minor league numbers are translating to about what we'd expect at the major league level. He's striking out a decent amount of batters, but walking an alarming 4.5 per 9 innings. He's allowed 20 baserunners in his last 10 1/3 innings and isn't lasting deep into games because of control problems. He could be worth a look in really deep NL only leagues, but a youngster with poor control is likely to do you more damage than he can good. His 2.86 ERA is a complete mirage when compared to the 1.53 WHIP, so exercise plenty of caution with the youngster. He's a decent prospect and someone that has the potential to develop into a mid rotation starter, but nothing to get too excited about in the fantasy world.
If you want to talk about one of the more quietly disappointing fantasy seasons from a player we were pretty high on, Felipe Lopez makes a pretty good example. Lopez got off to such a terrible start this year and Manny Acta's unwillingness to utilize the SB hurt his value even further. Through June he sat at .234-.284-.333 with only 9 SB's and was likely kicked to the curb by many a fantasy owner. However, Lopez has gotten hot recently and is starting to offer some value (likely while sitting their on the waiver wire), he's started running again, with 6 SB's in July and 2 more in August) and is actually finding his way on base with some pop. In August his EYE has really come around as he's walked 6 times and only struck out twice. Most of Lopez's peripherals have evaporated this season, but he's a guy that if you're in need of speed is worth riding through this recent hot streak. The increased EYE shows a player really seeing the ball well and if he's on base it appears he's going to be running quite a bit more. The type of guy I'd add if I was desperate for SBs and just try to ride the wave.