By Andy Behrens
June 26, 2007
OK, I've got a fun time-waster. Although it's possible fantasy baseball already is your time-waster, so maybe a secondary time-waster within your primary time-waster might waste too much time.
But still, if you have some discretionary time, here's a nice way to squander it: click on Barry Bonds' player page, then select the "Batter vs. Pitcher" link, and then click on "Since 1987." This is a record of Bonds' performance against every opposing pitcher he's faced, excluding his rookie year. I'll list a few interesting names:
Dennis Martinez – 92 AB, 21 H, 1 HR, 7 RBI, 8 BB, 8 K, .228/.290/.337
Hey modern pitchers, shut up with your pitch counts and your forearm soreness and your shoulder tightness and your tweaked obliques!
Dennis Martinez should make you all feel profound shame. In 1979, he pitched 292.1 innings for the pennant-winning Orioles, posting a 3.66 ERA and 1.22 WHIP. He was 25. In 1992, Martinez pitched 226.1 innings for the Expos, posting a 2.47 ERA and 1.03 WHIP. He was 38. Martinez really was absolutely, inarguably, spectacularly nasty. Barry knows.
Omar Daal – 30 AB, 10 H, 4 HR, 16 RBI, 3 BB, 5 K
This was the pitcher I couldn't quit. (Expletive) Omar (expletive) Daal.
Jason Grimsley – 7 AB, 0 H, 0 HR, 0 RBI, 2 BB, 0 K
So you want to dominate the best hitter in baseball, eh? First you'll need to find the name of a reputable pharmacia in Matamoros. Or maybe a disreputable anti-aging clinic in Florida. Then establish a complex network of aliases and post office boxes. Then fill a plain brown bag with $20,000, preferably in hundreds. Then you'll call this dude who's an associate of Manny Alexan … no, I've said too much already.
Scott Elarton – 9 AB, 6 H, 4 HR, 5 RBI, 1 BB, 2 K
In a way, you have to admire the unthinking willingness to challenge Bonds repeatedly. But man, six hits and four homers in nine at bats, and Elarton only walked him once? Once? Really?
Eric Cyr – 0 AB, 0 H, 0 HR, 0 RBI, 1 BB
This guy, whoever he is, had the right idea.
Rod Beck – 7 AB, 1 H, 0 HR, 0 RBI, 2 BB, 1 K
Nicely done, Shooter. Rest in peace.
Doug Dascenzo – 1 AB, 0 H, 0 HR, 0 RBI, 0 BB, 0 K
Dascenzo was a mostly useless place-holder outfielder for the Cubs in the late-80s and early-90s. Between 1990 and 1991 he was allowed to pitch five innings. These were obviously not high-leverage innings. Still, he was not scored upon. And clearly he owned Barry Bonds.
Brian Fuentes – 11 AB, 8 H, 2 2B, 2 HR, 3 RBI, 2 BB, 2 K
Whoa. File that information away. An 8-for-11 is fairly impressive.
I'm not just reminiscing here, of course. Sentimentality is never rewarded in fantasy sports. No, the reason I'm dredging through all these names is to point out the fact that there are some useful tools out there, like the "Batter vs. Pitcher" link, that can inform your daily lineup decisions. You need to beware of small sample sizes, of course. An 0-for-6 with one K really doesn't tell you anything significant about what might happen going forward. But I like it when one of my hitters has a prior history of success against an opposing pitcher.
I don't generally like to carry many hitters on my bench. I'd rather reserve those spots for ownable starting pitchers. However, when you draft Bonds, someone needs to caddy for him. We've discussed this before. I currently have a Bobby Abreu/Barry Bonds/Frank Thomas job-share going on in the Yahoo! Friends and Family League, and I'm relying heavily on the "Split Stats" and "Batter vs. Pitcher" links for assistance.
Of course, another way to play match-ups is just to start any human with a functioning arm who happens to be facing the White Sox. They're last in MLB in each of the following categories: batting average (.235), runs scored (280), hits (557 … that's 76 fewer hits than the next-to-last team!), doubles (99), triples (2), on-base percentage (.308), and slugging percentage (.363).
Two triples! For the record, Tadahito Iguchi and Rob Mackowiak have them.
I'd like to point out that the White Sox team OPS is .671, which is actually two points lower than Tony Womack's career OPS. So the White Sox' lineup is basically eight Tony Womacks and one guy who isn't quite that good.
Onto some blurbs …
Frank Thomas, who's about to hit home run number 500 in his brilliant career, is 48.5 Percent owned. I realize his batting average is low (.239), but his OBP is still outstanding (.378) and he's usually a slow starter. He's hitting .288/.440/.525 in June. Thomas should occupy a UTIL spot in most leagues.
James Loney (0.2 percent owned) is worth a flier in mixed leagues with a CI position. As we all should've learned in last year's playoffs, he can hit a little. He's batting .448/.467/.897 for the Dodgers with two home runs in 29 at bats. That's one more homer than Nomar Garciaparra (69.6 percent owned) has in 265 at bats. Garciaparra will move to third base to accommodate Loney.
This was an actual exchange between Len Kasper and Bob Brenly on Monday night while Matt Holiday was batting:
LK: "Nazareth had a song called 'Holliday.' There's the Bee-Gee's 'Holliday.' I know your favorite is Madonna's 'Holliday.'"
Kasper then idly spoke a few Madonna lyrics. Those two are the best.
Luis Castillo – who's only 23.4 percent owned despite hitting .304 with seven stolen bases – injured his left hand on Monday. He was spiked while scoring a run in the fifth. Here's how the Minneapolis Star-Tribune described the injury: "(Roy) Halladay, however, stepped and pushed off on Castillo's hand during the play; there was a chunk of skin missing from where the spike landed." Ick. Castillo's hand is understandably swollen, and he'll likely have X-rays taken today.
Jason Bergmann had a nice line in his return from the DL, though he was on a tight pitch count: 4 IP, 4 H, 1 ER, 0 BB, 4 K. Bergmann is worth owning in NL-only leagues, and he's at least a streamable option for mixed leaguers. In 53 innings pitched he has 46 Ks, a 2.72 ERA, and a 1.00 WHIP. His National-ness clearly affects his ability to win games, though.
Wednesday's stream-worthy starters include Kenny Rogers (68.4 percent owned) versus Texas, Boof Bonser (29.5) versus Toronto, and Andy Sonnanstine (0.5) versus the White Sox (see above).
Andy Behrens has written for ESPN.com, the Chicago Sports Review, NBA.com, the Chicago Reader and various other publications. In all likelihood, Andy owns more Artis Gilmore memorabilia than you. Follow him on Twitter. Send Andy a question or comment for potential use in a future column or webcast.
Updated on Tuesday, Jun 26, 2007 6:51 pm, EDT
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