Snapshots are everyones favorite. Some people take actual photos for their snapshots. Others look at an at-bat, a game, a week, a month, but we cannot turn away from the point that we are continually looking at snapshots of player performance on the field. Here are some snapshots from what is going on the diamond of late.
Jamey Carroll â€“ hitting .367 in May
He’s a machine, well, sort of. While it’s true that Carroll has hit .299 since the start of last season, that he has hit .319 this year, and .367 the past couple of weeks, his average is about as empty as any as you will ever find â€“ ever. Over his last 495 at-bats he has zero homers and 26 RBI. Yikes. He has scored 67 times and stolen 16 bags while playing multiple positions, but still. How is is that a guy who has 144 at-bats in which he is batting .319 does he have only three RBI? Given his current pace that would result in a .319 average and 12 RBI in 576 at-bats, which got me to thinking. What is the lowest RBI total for any player who hit .319 with at least 600 plate appearances in the modern era (1900-)? In 2000 Luis Castillo hit a scintillating .334 while knocking in a mere 17 runners. No other player who qualifies for our survey has had fewer than 27 RBI. With Carroll likely to start losing playing time with Rafael Furcal nearing a return to the lineup, it’s time to start planning on which other super-sub type you are going to be counting on in mixed leagues.
John Danks â€“ 0-6 this season
Obviously Danks is a bum an a must drop in mixed leagues, right? I’d suggest that the contrary is true and that he is an excellent buy low option. Here are some of Danks’ numbers from this season and how they compare to his career rates.
2011: 6.92 K/9, 2.77 BB/9, 1.10 GB/FB, 1.04 HR/9, 74.3 LOB%
Career: 6.97 K/9, 3.04 BB/9, 1.06 GB/FB, 1.07 HR/9, 74.1 LOB%
Let me know if you seen any perceptible difference. Obviously you don’t. So the next question is â€“ why has he struggled then? Bad luck? After 2-straight years with a BABIP mark below 16 percent, that number has sky rocketed this season to 22 percent. It’s pretty hard to fathom Danks being hit that well over the course of the season. As a result of the liners he’s also got a .327 BABP, a mark that would be a 5-year worst and it would also mark the first time in four years that the mark was over .295. I really don’t think that will occur. Also, his xFIP, which reports what his ERA should be based upon the factors in his control (with a normalized homer rate), show his mark to be 3.79. The last two years his xFIP mark was 4.38 and 3.99 â€“ again, no real difference.
Danks has pitched much better than most think. In fact, he’s basically been a carbon copy of what we’ve grown to expect from him, so feel free to inquire about whether or not his owner has any interest in moving him.
Ryan Madson â€“ 0.56 ERA this season
I’ve said and written it over and over the past year and a half, and the â€śitâ€ť is my contention that not only is Madson the best reliever in the Phillies’ bullpen, he’s also one of the top-10 middle relief arms in the game. Thankfully, we can, at least for the moment, remove â€śmiddleâ€ť from that designation. Madson has been operating as the Phils’ closer with Jose Contreras and Brad Lidge on the shelf, and while it seems likely that Madson won’t hold on to the closers role no matter how well he pitches when the other two return, there is no disputing his dominance this season as he has allowed one run in 16 appearances this season. In addition to the ERA has has a 0.94 WHIP and has converted all six of his save chances this season. How you like them apples?
Russell Martin – .125 average the past two weeks
On May 2nd Martin was hitting .296 with six homers. Two weeks later he is hitting .243 with seven homers. Really, are you surprised? Martin his .250 in 2009 and .248 in 2010, the same thing we see here. His OBP in those two years was .352 and .347. This year it’s .357. The last two years he stole an average of nine bases a year. Currently he’s on pace to steal eight bags. The only real change has been his power stroke as he has already matched his best mark from the last two years with seven bombs. Still, he has only one homer in 17 games which should put to rest any of those thoughts that some had about him being a 20 homer threat this season â€“ it’s just not likely to happen.
Victor Martinez – .459 average the past two weeks
Ever since he came back from the DL, V-Mart’s goal has apparently been to demolish all pitches thrown his way, and boy has he accomplished his goal. In those 10 games V-Mart has also managed to knock in 14 runs while posting an OPS of 1.292. You shouldn’t be completely shocked by the offensive pyrotechnics since Martinez has hit .300 in his career with five seasons of at least 20 homers. He is one of the better offensive catchers in the history of the game after all.
Jonathan Papelbon â€“ 20 days without a save
From April 22nd through May 12th Papelbon went 20 days without recording a single save for the Red Sox. He ended that drought with saves in two games against the Yankees this weekend. It’s not like he pitched badly during the stretch, he only blew one save in that stretch of nothingness, it’s just that his mates weren’t giving him any games to save. You can worry about Daniel Bard encroaching on the ninth inning all you want, but unless JP is hurt there is no reason to think that anyone other than Papelbon will be closing for the Red Sox this season. After all, he does have at least 35 saves in 5-straight years, an in the history of baseball only two men have ever had a streak longer than that (both Trevor Hoffman and Robb Nen had 7-straight 35 save seasons from 1996-2002).
Ray Flowers can be heard daily on Sirius/XM Radio on The Fantasy Drive, 5-8 PM Eastern, on Sirius 210 and XM 87. Ray’s baseball analysis can be found at BaseballGuys.com and his minute to minute musings can be located at the BaseballGuys’ Twitter account.
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