Archive for September, 2010

Waiver Wire: September 30th

Angry because the Mariners decided not to pitch Felix on Sunday? Here’s a few guys that could help ease the pain…

Tim Stauffer | SP | Padres | 11% owned

Once upon a time Stauffer was the fourth overall pick in the draft, but injuries have delayed his big league breakout until this season, at age-28. He slid into the rotation earlier this month after working in long relief all season, and he’s given the Padres more than they could have asked for. Stauffer has posted a 2.25 ERA (~2.90 FIP) in five starts, holding the opposition to one run or less four times. He’s got one start left, this Saturday against the Giants and Barry Zito with San Diego’s season possibly on the line.

Paul Maholm | SP | Pirates | 17%

Maholm usually isn’t a guy fantasy owners rush out to acquire given his low strikeout, high contact, few wins resume, but if you’re stuck in the finals and need a spot start this weekend, he’s about as good a bet as you’ll find on the waiver wire. He’s allowed just eight earned runs (13 total) with 20 strikeouts and six walks in his last four starts (24.1 IP), and this weekend he meets up with the Hanley Ramirez-less Marlins in Miami. Perhaps it’s a strong finish, perhaps is just a four start fluke, but if you’re desperate and need help, at least go for the hot hand.

Ownership rates based on Yahoo! leagues.

Erick Aybar, Perrenial “Sleeper”

Coming into the year, Erick Aybar was a bit of a deep-league sleeper at a tough position. His first two years in the league had shown small signs of progress towards the ability to be a speedy, albeit underpowered, option at shortstop. Then he struggled his way to a .253/.307/.331 year that has taken most of the bloom off of the rose. Should deep league owners consider him in drafts next year?

Of course, he’s had mediocre BABIP luck this year. His .289 BABIP is both below his career number (.309) and his xBABIP (.328), so he could have had some balls bounce better for him this year. If you add his missing hits back in as singles, his new slash line is .275/.328/.353. Though that’s much closer to his .275/.318/.366 career line, it’s still a step back from offensive production that was borderline at best.

What happened to his power? Before you laugh about putting that adjective anywhere near the 5’10” 170-pound middle infielder, his ISO in 2008 and 2009 was over .100, and much closer to the .126 ISO that batting-average qualifying shortstops averaged this year. His .078 ISO this year was a definitive step back. It’s not his flyball profile – his 36.3% in that category is a career-high. But it may just be in his batted ball profile anyway, since his 14.8% line drive percentage was eighth-worst among qualifiers this year.

There were some positives in this lost year. Aybar did up his walk rate for the third-straight years (though it’s now up to a below-average 6%), and he did steal 21 bases this year. Err.. that’s about it.

So if Aybar can return to a 17/18% line drive percentage, show average batted-ball luck, and therefore find himself back in the .100ish ISO range, he’s a sleeper again in 2011? First, that’s a lot of ifs. Second, we pretty much know what that upside looks like – his .312/.353/.423 2009 season would describe most of that upside, and there’s little reason to think he can push that envelope much further. Maybe he walks a little more, and maybe he adds in his 20-25 steals that he showed he was capable of this year, but we’re talking about a shortstop that could hit near .300 (though that’s no lock if he strikes out 15% of the time next year again) and steal 25 bases, with little home run power. And we know what the downside look likes now.

He’s a sleeper, barely. But the ceiling is low so the cost should be even lower if you’re going to draft him in 2011.

Scot Shields, Master of his Domain

We got word the other day that Scot Shields is likely to retire after the season, which shouldn’t be a shock due to his poor performance this year. Shields has an ERA of 5.28 this year, and his FIP is even higher. It’s not a good way for the 34-year old to wind down his career, but this isn’t how we should be remembering him.

How many of you considered Scot Shields to be a dominant fantasy player during his peak? Don’t be shy, raise your hands. I’m not going to lie, I’m sitting here at my desk waiving my hand in the air (like I just don’t care!).

Shields was a player who had one skill that no one else seemed to be able to master: holds. That’s right, Shields was able to lock down the holds category for your squad, something that no one else was doing on a consistent basis (as I will show later). But not only did he give you a bucket of holds, he was a dominant reliever who would rack up other numbers for your team.

Some of us fantasy “gurus” preach the value of setup men, even in leagues where holds don’t count. You’ve heard it before, but setup men with high strikeout rates are extremely valuable because they will help your ERA and WHIP, and give you the occasional save. Shields was the epitome of this strategy, because he would pitch in 60+ games every year, and could really rack up the K’s.

But, back to that holds thing. Holds is a very volatile category, because players who rack up a lot of holds can often times move into the closer’s role shortly thereafter. Not many players have the ability to stay atop the leaderboards for so long while the rest of the leaders change, but that was Shields. From 2005-2008, Shields was the only player to have at least 30 holds in multiple seasons, let alone do it every year. I’d be willing to guarantee that he’s the only player doing that in any category.

Remember Shields as the dominant player that he once was, not the laughing stock he is today.

Five ERA-FIP Laggers

Every year a few pitchers run into particularly poor luck or get stuck with a bad defense or shoddy bullpen work and see their ERA suffer despite strong peripheral stats. It drives fantasy owners nuts because a guy is pitching well but we aren’t reaping the full benefits. With less than five days left in baseball’s regular season, here are five starting pitchers who outperformed their ERA by more than half-a-run this season…

Edwin Jackson | FIP: 3.86 | ERA: 4.51

Jackson obviously split time between each league, with his stint in Arizona representing the ugly half (well, really two-thirds). The K/9 (6.97) and BB/9 (4.02) weren’t anything special with the D-Backs, but his ERA was still almost a run greater than his FIP. The numbers improved across the board after the trade to the ChiSox (9.22 K/9, 2.08 BB/9, 3.25 ERA, 3.09 FIP) despite moving to the tougher league, but more than anything he benefited from a LOB% regression. After consecutive seasons of a ~76% strand rate, it dipped to 67.1% in Arizona before rebounding to 75.6% in Chicago. I thought maybe the D-Backs horrifically bad bullpen cost him a bunch of runs, but it turns out they allowed just four of Jackson’s nine inherited runners to score (compared to three of nine with the ChiSox).

Anyway, it’s easy to forget that Jackson is just entering his prime (turned 27 this month), so his best years should be coming very soon. In fact, at 3.7 WAR, 2010 was a career year for the former Dodger. Some unfortunate luck did him in this season, but going forward an ERA right at 4.00 or even a touch below isn’t out of the question.

Brandon Morrow | FIP: 3.17 | ERA: 4.49

Shut down due to an innings limit earlier this month, Morrow’s first full season as a big league starter has been a smashing success for the Blue Jays, even if his ERA doesn’t necessarily agree. His 10.95 K/9 was by far the best by a pitcher with at least 140 IP (Yovani Gallardo and Jon Lester tied for second at 9.71), and even though his 4.06 BB/9 is a tad high, it did improve as the summer went on. A .348 BABIP is a little up there for a guy that gets swings-and-missed 11.0% of the time, and the 69.0% LOB% is a bit on the low side. Either way, there’s every reason to expect Morrow to continue to improve with experience, and he could be primed for a take-off next season.

Ricky Nolasco | FIP: 3.87 | ERA: 4.51

Nolasco was the ERA-FIP darling coming into 2010, with 2009’s 3.35 FIP being sabotaged by a 61.0% LOB% that resulted in a 5.06 ERA. His K/9 dropped more than a full strikeout to a still respectable 8.39 this year (perhaps due to decreased movement on his splitter) while his walk rate actually improved to 1.88 BB/9, though his homerun rate jumped a bit to 12.4% from 11.0% (FB% increased 1.3% to 41.1%). Nolasco’s season ended in late-August because of a knee injury, and there’s always the possibility that it was hindering his performance. He’s consistently posted stellar DIPS numbers (this year’s FIP is the worst of his career for a full season), and I’d jump right back on this horse next season. In fact, he could end up being a little undervalued on draft day.

Rick Porcello | FIP: 4.33 | ERA: 5.01

The 21-year-old wunderkind got a little taste of statistical correction this season, after enjoying a 3.96 ERA and a 4.77 FIP last year. He cut down on his walk (2.19 BB/9) and homerun rates (9.5% HR/FB) this season while maintaining a strikeout rate right around 4.6 K/9, but a BABIP jump (.306 after .281 last year) and LOB% drop-off (64.2% after 75.5%) really did him in this season. Of course the awful start to the season hurt Porcello’s numbers more than anything, but until he starts missing some more bats he’s not going to post low enough ERA’s to justify the lack of strikeouts and the unspectacular WHIP’s.

James Shields | FIP: 4.26 | ERA: 5.04

What happened to Jamie? He was Jamie all throughout his minor league career, but as soon as he got to show it was James. Meh, whatever.

Anyway, Shields caught a real bad case of homeritis in the middle of the season, allowing 19 longballs in just 77.1 IP from late-May to early-August. His strikeout rate is at an all-time high (8.44 K/9), and although his walk rate is the worst of his career, a 2.22 BB/9 is nothing to be ashamed of. I guess the concern is that his BB/9, GB%, HR/FB, BABIP, LOB%, AVG against, wFB/C, and wCB/C have all been trending in the wrong direction for a few seasons now, which is not something you want to see from a guy that’s about to complete his age-28 season. Don’t get me wrong, Shields is absolutely still a quality pitcher, but it’s not a slam dunk that he’ll return to being a very good fantasy starter in 2011.

* * *

Later this week we’ll look at the opposite, five guys who outperformed their peripherals and posted shiny ERA’s. Those are my favorite.

Waiver Wire: September 29

Some people are still fighting in their finals, or trying to squeeze some life out of their last few at-bats, so we’ll do a few last waiver wires. This one is themed by statistical profiles!

Batting Average / On-Base Percentage / Stolen Bases / Runs
There’s no way we can talk about batting average right now and not talk about Mike Aviles (38% owned). Yes, we profiled him just last week, but he’s found that patented Aviles magic once again – his .358 batting average in September is nice. In stretches like this, his low walk rate is a boon: he’s had more at-bats in which to put up those hits, and four multi-hit games in the past week shows it’s working right now. He doesn’t steal many bases, though, so you could also give Cliff Pennington (10% owned) a look in Oakland – he’s getting on base right now and stealing bases to boot. He’s had a nice year, and if he could cut that strikeout rate just a smidgen (19.3% this year, 19.9% career), he might be able to push that batting average up a few points. Franklin Gutierrez is walking a little more in September (5 walks) than he has since his freakish May (20 walks), is playing in a nice park in Texas the next few weeks (against a catcher core that gives up a 67% success rate on stolen bases), and has five stolen bases in his past two weeks. He’s a good shallow league option (26% owned). Ryan Kalish (3% owned) also deserves a mention as the Red Sox fall out of contention, but he’s not quite playing every day, isn’t walking enough just yet (5.6%) and is also batting low in the lineup when he’s in. Finally, deeper leaguers have to look the way of Peter Bourjos (1% owned) for speed and speed alone. He’s still playing most days and he’s swiped four bags in the past two weeks. Beyond improving poor plate discipline stats (3.6% walk rate, 22.4% strikeout rate), Bourjos could also use some regression to the mean in his BABIP (.231). At least he’s gotten on base in five of his last 13 plate appearances and his excellent defense (+36.1 UZR/150!).

Slugging Percentage / Home Runs / RBI
Now we’re looking for boppers. Ty Wigginton (54% owned) is a nice power pickup because he’s playing well and is eligible all over the diamond. The Orioles’ infielder has been wiggin’ out a little at the plate – his strikeout rate climbed almost 7% from last year – but his power is back in line with career norms (.173 ISO, .180 career) and he finishes the year at home, where he has a decent .269/.318/.455 line. He has struggled a little out of the gate, but Pedro Alvarez (19% owned) has been much better in September (.292/.354/.562) and could be your lightning in a bottle – which is, let’s face it, what you are looking for in the final week. The reason we can be excited about this final stretch is that Alvarez has been struggling with the whiff all year (34.9%) but has really cut down on those Ks this month (24.7%), and with nice power already (.200 ISO) and more on the way (.251 ISO in minor leagues), that lower strikeout rate will play just fine. We’ve given Michael Morse (9% owned) a lot of love recently for his power, but he deserves another shout-out here. John Bowker (1% owned) and Lucas Duda (0% owned) are both available in most leagues and could run into some home runs this week as their teams look to next year. Bowker might be the better bet – he’s in his peak years at 27 years old, and has all that minor league promise yet to be tapped into (.198 career minor league ISO, up to .264 over his final two stops). On the other hand, the Bucs draw decent pitching staffs in Florida and St. Louis while the Mets face Milwaukee and Washington over the final week.

Hanley’s “Down” Season Ends

Like countless other fantasy owners, I jumped all over Marlins’ shortstop Hanley Ramirez with the second overall pick in my fantasy draft this season. The shortstop position in general is a wasteland, so getting a premium performer at that spot is a major coup. From 2007-2009, Ramirez hit .325/.398/.549 with a .409 wOBA and an average of 28.7 HR and 37.7 SB per year, and there was no reason to expect him to not continue producing at that pace as he entered his age-26 season.

On August 1st, 106 games into his season (arbitrary endpoints), Hanley sported a rather un-Hanley-like .279/.362/.435 batting line with just 14 homers. He was benched for a lack of hustle earlier in the season and had been battling a series of minor and nagging injuries all summer (everything from a sore ankle to a hamstring strain to lightheadness to a sore back according Corey Dawkins’ great injury tool). A late surge had Ramirez’s season line sitting at .300/.378/.475 (.373 wOBA) with 21 homers and 32 steals before elbow issues ended his season prematurely. It’s certainly fine production, but a notch below what he had done while posting consecutive seven-plus win seasons in 2008 and 2009.

Of course, offense is down around the league, something like 4.6% (ballpark figure). Ramirez’s offensive production is down around 10-14%, so it’s not just a matter of the decline in overall offense projecting itself onto him. Something else was going on this season, so let’s dive into the batted ball data.

Coming into the season with an established BABIP of around .350 or so, Hanley’s average on balls in play dipped to .327 in 2010, the lowest of his career. That can likely be attributed to a career worst 16.3% line drive rate, down about 2% or so from the past few seasons. His homerun production remained very strong (14.2% HR/FB) even though his fly ball rate was a career low 32.7%, down considerably (8-10% or so) from his previous performances. As you’d expect with career lows in LD% and FB%, his groundball rate was a career high 51%, up almost 10% from the past few years.

Naturally, the increase in grounders led to fewer extra base hits, with Hanley’s ISO dipping into the .100’s (.175, to be exact) for the first time since his rookie campaign. Let’s graph it up, with some help from Texas Leaguers. Here’s his 2008 and 2009 spray charts…

Now here’s 2010…

Nothing really out of sorts here, though the increase in opposite field homeruns stands out. Of course adding power the other way isn’t unusual players as talented as Hanley at that age. The hits to shallow left and center are a bit more spread out this year compared to 2008-2009, when they were lumped together in two distinct groups, but otherwise there’s nothing to get worked up over. The fact that nothing stands out, say an extreme increase in balls hit to the opposite field or yanked down the line, is a good thing. We don’t want change, we want the same old Hanley Ramirez.

Has Troy Tulowitzki eclipsed Hanley as the top fantasy shortstop? I think a very strong case can be made that he has, but that’s an argument for another time. If Ramirez is able to cut back on the grounders and starts clubbing more line drives and fly balls, the ISO and run production will come back. His batted ball profile changed somewhat considerably as he battled elbow problems and various other ailments (correlation ≠ causation, of course), but at his age there’s no reason to think his bat has slowed to the point that it’s a long-term concern.

I wouldn’t at all hesitate to grab Ramirez with a top three fantasy pick next season. He’s still clearly an elite fantasy performer even with his “down” season, particularly at the shortstop season. Sometimes players just have seasons below their standards, and that’s quite easy to do when your standards are as lofty as Hanley’s.

September’s Surging Starters: Volquez

Edinson Volquez has had many ups and downs this season, including a steroid suspension that was ignored, a return to the bigs, a trip back to the minors, and then back into the big league rotation. Like Scherzer, Volquez’s brief minor league “tune up” did wonders for him as far as we can tell.

The last time someone talked about Volquez at this great site of baseball worship Volquez, the G-Unit said this about the Reds’ starter:

“To this point, Volquez has exhibited a power arsenal, if little idea of how to spot his wicked pitches.”

That is classic Volquez. Very good pitches, but problems putting it all together. But, he’s done a great job putting it all together recently, albeit in a very small sampling.

In three starts this month, Volquez has an xFIP of 2.95 thanks to more than a strikeout an inning, and a BB/9 under 3. While his strikeout rate is about right, it’s a surprise to see his BB/9 be so low, because even during his great 2008, Volquez’s control wasn’t great.

All of Volquez’s pitches have been thrown for strikes at least 60% of the time during September, with all of them getting whiffs at least 10% of the time. For good measure, he’s thrown his changeup 26% of the time, and has gotten a whiff on over 31% of occasions. That, my friends, is amazing, and probably unprecedented. Overall, he has lead the league in whiff% this month, coming in at over 16%.

Has Edinson Volquez returned to the form that made his 2008 so special? Could be, but we really don’t know. Of course, with any small sample comes the warnings (small samples may be dangerous to your health, consult a doctor if a sample lasts less than fours hours, etc.), but this has been a really good sign of things to come. He’s never going to be a pitcher with superb control, but he could be able to keep his BB/9 around 3.50 and be a very successful starter.

Volquez will likely be a key cog for in the Reds’ playoff machine, and having the opportunity to watch him pitch against good competition will be a big part in helping to determine his ADP next year. My guess is that Volquez will end up going under the radar, and could be a nice value pick in drafts as long as he doesn’t explode during the playoffs.

September’s Surging Starters: Scherzer

By now, we all know that Max Scherzer really struggled with his control during the month of May, prompting the Tigers to send him down to the minors to slightly tweak his mechanics and get him back on the right path. Everyone also knows that he had only two starts in the minors, was recalled, and has bounced back ever since. But, for me, “bounced back” isn’t a strong enough statement to describe his performance of late. Scherzer is probably one of the better stories in fantasy baseball this year, but he doesn’t seem to be getting enough credit for the clinic he’s put on in the last couple of months.

June and July
Right away, Scherzer started putting up numbers that owners (and the Tigers) had expected of him. He was striking out over a batter an inning, keeping the walks at a reasonable level, and not getting killed by the longball. These two months were nothing special (for Scherzer), but they proved that the ship may be righted for good.

Scherzer had some troubles keeping a high K-rate in August, but that was due more to bad luck than to diminished ability. He lowered his walk totals, and thanks to a .254 opponents BABIP, he turned in a nice and shiny 1.29 ERA.

This is where Scherzer has really shined. During the month of September, Scherzer has lowered his walk totals even further, but has been striking out more than a batter an inning once again. For a pitcher with a very high strikeout rate, a 4.88 K/BB is more than anyone could ask for. He has been beyond dominant lately. To prove a point, here is Scherzer’s last five starts.

9 IP, 9 K, 1 BB, 1 ER
7.1 IP, 6 K, 2 BB, 4 ER
6 IP, 5 K, 1 BB, 4 ER
8 IP, 11 K, 2 BB, 2 ER
7.2 IP, 8 K, 2 BB, 0 ER

Not only is Scherzer striking batters out at a high rate, but he’s also pitching deep into games, something that has become underrated in fantasy circles. In my mind, Scherzer shouldn’t fall past the fifth or sixth round next year, and should be the first Tigers’ pitcher off the board. That’s right, Max Scherzer is better than Justin Verlander, and should be treated like it.

Week 26 Two-Start Pitchers

Here is the last-minute look at the two-start pitchers for Week 26. First the starters who you may be on the fence about putting into your lineup:

Mark Buehrle – He has lost back-to-back starts and in his last six games Buehrle is 0-3 with a 5.92 ERA. He has two home starts this week but Buehrle has not been very good at the Cell, with a 4.95 ERA. Put the veteran on your bench this week.

Mike Pelfrey – Citi Field has been very, very good to Pelfrey this season. In road parks, he is 5-6 with a 4.95 ERA. But in his home park, Pelfrey is 10-3 with a 2.87 ERA. In his last five home starts he is 4-1 with a 1.73 ERA. In his last five road starts Pelfrey is 1-3 with a 4.76 ERA. He has two home starts this week so get him in your lineup.

Jonathan Sanchez – In his last seven games, Sanchez is 3-1 with a 1.80 ERA. During that stretch, he has allowed 17 BB in 45 IP, compared to a 4.29 BB/9 ratio for the entire season. Sanchez faces division opponents Arizona and San Diego this week. He has pitched well against those two teams, with a combined 2.40 ERA in seven games. Get Sanchez in your lineup this week.

C.J. Wilson – Although he has lost his last two decisions, Wilson has been pitching just as well down the stretch as he has most of the season. In his last eight games he is 6-2 with a 2.75 ERA, with 53 Ks in 52.1 IP. Wilson has two home starts this season and while he has a slightly higher ERA in Arlington, he has a 10-2 record in his home park. Make sure Wilson is in your lineup.

Carlos Zambrano – In his last start, Zambrano pitched six shutout innings but came away with a no-decision, which ended a five-start winning streak. Since returning to the rotation, Zambrano is 6-0 with a 1.42 ERA in nine games. His walk rate in this stretch (33 BB in 57 IP) is troubling, but Zambrano has survived thanks to allowing just 1 HR in 57 IP. This week he faces San Diego and Houston. The Astros are last in the NL with 405 walks, nearly 200 behind the league-leading Braves. Houston is also last in the league in HR (105), while San Diego ranks 12th in the 16-team league. Look for Zambrano’s strong pitching to continue and get him active.

Other scheduled two-start pitchers in Week 26 are listed below. Please remember that these are projected pitchers and changes can and will happen during the week.

Halladay, Jimenez, F. Hernandez, Price, Lee, Buchholz, Haren, E. Santana, Scherzer, Latos, Hanson, W. Rodriguez, E. Jackson, Lackey, B. Anderson, Lilly, Burnett, A. Sanchez, Davis, Slowey, Niese, Volquez, Braden, Matusz, Minor, Galarraga, Stauffer, Carrasco, Sanabia, Francis, Bush, Lohse, Millwood, Drabek, Davies, R. Lopez, Rzepczynski, Pauley, O’Sullivan, Burres, Morton.

Now I want to provide some accountability and check in and see how previous recommendations turned out. There needs to be a two-week lag, since last week’s pitchers have not completed their second start yet. So here are Week 24 pitchers and how they fared.

Dickey – Advised to start. W, 3.00 ERA, 4 Ks, 1.33 WHIP (2 starts)
Enright – Advised to start. 14.85 ERA, K, 2.855 WHIP (2)
Garland – Advised to sit. W, 3.86 ERA, 10 Ks, 0.857 WHIP (2)
Hudson – Advised to start. W, 0.63 ERA, 14 Ks, 0.698 WHIP (2)
Narveson – Advised to start. 5.91 ERA, 8 Ks, 1.500 WHIP (2)

One Sad (Kung-Fu-Less) Panda

A tough season just got worse for Pablo Sandoval this week when Andrew Baggarly, the San Francisco beat writer, stated out loud what had become increasingly obvious over the past few weeks: the Panda has had to grab some pine. The move has had implications both real and fantasy.

Sandoval is now a dropper in most re-draft leagues. He’s not playing enough and when he does, he’s been struggling. Though he no longer swings at more than 50% of out-of-zone offerings, his 44.4% number in that category this year would still rank him as first- or second-worst among batting title qualifiers in that category over the last three years. He does supplement that with a decent contact percentage on pitches outside the zone (77.1%), but that number ranks as 26th-best this year. And even given that decent contact percentage, he still makes contact on those pitches less often than the average batter on an in-zone pitch (88.2%).

That sort of thing has worked for other batters – obviously, Vladimir Guerrero (39.4 career O-Swing%) comes to mind. Vlad the Impaler owns an edge in both nickname ferocity and power with the bat, and those things are linked. Guerrero’s ISO both career (.243) and 2010 (.191) far out-ranks the kung-fu-less Panda’s (.178, .137 respectively). Guerrero has always had a nice BABIP (.319 career), but until recently he was also a svelte, athletic base runner.

Otherwise, the similarities continue. Guerrero’s groundball-to-flyball ratio is 1.20, while Sandovals’ is over one again (1.19 this year, 1.25 career). They both reach, they both put the ball on the ground, and until this year, they both had nice BABIPs. Sandoval’s current BABIP (.289) is well below his career level (.324) as well as his xBABIP (.307). But, even with a few ticks forward in batting average, his missing power is a problem.

He’s stuck in a bind here. He could elevate the ball more and add some power via the flyball, but then his BABIP would drop because of the basic nature of flyballs. Or he could continue on his path and wait for his BABIP luck to return – he did have close to a .200 ISO combined over his last three minor league stops, with high BABIPs and the same approach. The problem with being a ‘Fat Ichiro’ is that those high BABIPs have something to do with Ichiro’s high volume of groundballs and his ability to use his athleticism and funky run/swing combo to his advantage. Sandoval has neither of those abilities, nor the raw power of Guerrero.

He’s in a tough position, and so are his keeper league owners. Deeper keeper league owners have no choice but to hold on to him and hope the kung fu returns – there’s no sense in selling low. Shallower leagues can bid him adieu.

In re-draft leagues, there are a couple more notes regarding his benching. Edgar Renteria will play shortstop most days, and given his current ISO (.100) and career ISO (.113), it seems that he could outperform his ZiPs RoS ISO (.050) fairly easily. The ZiPs number is understandable given his ISO last year (.078) and age (35), but Renteria’s team is in a pennant race and the end of his career is possibly in sight – motivation levels are high. Deep league owners looking for magic in a bottle could look his direction, considering his availability (5% owned). Ditto for Juan Uribe, but he was playing often already, is owned in more leagues (22% owned), and might just have used up all of his tricks in his two-homer, six-RBI inning the other day.