Stock Watch: April 20th

Stock Up

Corey Hart, Brewers

During the offseason, we noted how in 2008, Hart resembled a happy puppy dog chasing a frisbee every time a pitcher tossed him a slider. The result of the lanky Brewer’s unrestrained hacking was a 4.2 BB% and a .327 wOBA. Opposing hurlers continue to go to the slider versus Hart (24.2% of his total pitches seen thus far in 2009, 19th-highest in the majors), but he’s shown more patience to this point: 8 unintentional walks in 53 PA.

Nick Swisher, Yankees

Swisher appeared in this column last week as well, but his path toward everyday playing time became much cleaner with the news that Xavier Nady might be headed for another Tommy John surgery. Off to a blistering start, Swish is projected to post a useful .360 wOBA by CHONE. Plus, he’s leading the league in ERA (somewhere, Gabe Kapler does bicep curls and weeps).

Zack Greinke, Royals

An absurdly gifted hurler, Greinke has channeled his inner Pedro Martinez by posting a 26/5 K/BB ratio in 20 frames to start the season. KC’s ace has yet to be scored upon, and opposing batters have chased nearly 30% of his offerings out of the strike zone (24.6% average).

Adam Jones, Orioles

Jones already proved himself to be a nifty fielder in 2008 (11.5 UZR/150 in center field), but his bat has shown signs of taking flight as well. Like Hart, Jones has worked the count to greater effect in the early going, drawing 7 free passes in 53 PA. The more conservative approach is a welcome sight after the 23 year-old went fishing for pitches outside of the strike zone 36.2% of the time in 2008 (9th-highest in the bigs). Jones left Sunday night’s game with a tight hamstring, but the injury isn’t considered serious.

Manny Corpas, Rockies

Corpas now has dibs on the 9th inning duties in Colorado, as Huston Street will be relegated to middle-man status for the time being. Corpas’ own qualifications for the high-leverage role might be lacking (his career FIP is 3.79, with 6.36 K/9), but he’s worth a look if you can snag him on the cheap.

Stock Down

Chien-Ming Wang, Yankees

Wang’s numbers look like a typo: 6 innings, 23 hits, 23 runs, 34.50 ERA. While keeping in mind that the sample size is incredibly small, his sinker is down velocity-wise (90.5 MPH in ’09, 91.8 MPH in ’08) and his slider has come in softer as well (81.9 MPH, compared to 85.4 MPH in ’08). Perhaps nothing is wrong with Wang long-term- baseball tends to go through its own period of McCarthyism during April, as bold claims are made based on small amount of evidence. Still, Wang has experienced about as much success as this fellow on the bump.

Daisuke Matsuzaka, Red Sox

Dice-K hits the DL with “arm fatigue”, as his fastball dips into the high-80’s with a commensurate drop in slider and changeup velocity as well. Matsuzaka is a prime regression candidate in 2009.

Vladimir Guerrero, Angels

Whither Vlad? The aging Impaler posted his lowest Isolated Power figure (.218) since his Expos days in 2008, jumped straight from 32 to 34 during the offseason, and now he’s on the shelf with a torn pectoral muscle that could sideline him for a month or more. At this rate, we’ll find out that Guerrero is actually just a 42 year-old Moises Alou wearing a mask. Speaking of Alou, is Vladimir entering a Moises-type phase of his career, where he rakes when he’s upright enough to take the field?

Emilio Bonifacio, Marlins

Bonifacio’s hot start engendered hopes that the Fish had lured in a steal during the offseason. However, the Martian inhabiting Emilio’s body departed this past week. He’s 1 for his last 16. Going forward, expect some singles and SB’s, but his total lack of secondary skills will make him something less than an asset.

Alex Gordon, Royals

Failure to Launch: The former Golden Spikes Award winner and Nebraska’s favorite son appeared poised to bust out in 2009, having improved his walk rate considerably during the ’08 season. Unfortunately, Gordon had to undergo hip surgery that is expected to keep him out of commission for about 3 months.

A recent graduate of Duquesne University, David Golebiewski is a contributing writer for Fangraphs, The Pittsburgh Sports Report and Baseball Analytics. His work for Inside Edge Scouting Services has appeared on and, and he was a fantasy baseball columnist for Rotoworld from 2009-2010. He recently contributed an article on Mike Stanton's slugging to The Hardball Times Annual 2012. Contact David at and check out his work at Journalist For Hire.

Comments are closed.