Mostly MLB Notes

Dalton Del Don
Yahoo! SportsJuly 20, 2012

I liked Jason Kubel entering the year, buying him in LABR, drafting him in Yahoo! Friends and Family League and also my home league, but I must say I didn't see this coming. I liked the idea of him getting out of one of the toughest hitters' parks and into one of the best while also switching to the easier league, but there was also obvious risk with Kubel suddenly being asked to play the outfield every day, and even though he was clearly being paid like a starter, he joined an Arizona team that has one of baseball's best fourth outfielders in Gerardo Parra. So far, Kubel has held up physically, and after a slow start (he didn't homer and had a .250/.333/.300 line over the season's first two weeks), he's batting .293 with 17 home runs and 63 RBI over 82 games played. While he's a poor baserunner, he actually hasn't been a total disaster on defense according to UZR (-0.6), and Kubel's .910 OPS ranks 10th best in the National League. For fantasy owners, he's been a steal.
This is one of the most intense sequences I've seen.
Super moon walking is legit.
Another intense crash sequence, but this guy who nearly gets hit wasn't too worried about it.
Alfonso Soriano entered May 15 with zero homers and a .250/.288/.302 line over 116 at bats. He currently has 18 homers with 54 RBI and is slugging .498. The overpaid 36-year-old went from being a legitimate candidate to be designated for assignment into a legitimate fantasy asset, although his .328 OBP as a corner outfielder remains a problem for the Cubs. However, for someone generally regarded as a poor defender (and he has his fair share of highlights to prove it), UZR vehemently disagrees. Here are his UZRs since joining Chicago: 32.0, 16.1, -2.9, 5.1, 3.4, 8.9 (the latter being extra impressive since we are just more than halfway through the year). A discussion on defensive metrics is a whole other issue, but despite committing too many errors, it kind of makes sense a former second baseman has more range as a left fielder than maybe he gets credit for. In fantasy terms, Soriano no longer runs, and his 78:21 K:BB ratio is pretty ugly, but he hits in the middle of a lineup that's improved with the addition of Anthony Rizzo ahead of him and he has shown he's not done as a run producer with his recent power surge. It likely won't last, but Soriano is probably a tough sell to skeptical league mates anyway, so for those who got him later in drafts, just enjoy the solid production.
This footage is awesome, probably best viewed uninformed. The girl's reaction makes it all that much better.
Car goes boom.
Mr. Wizard was before my time, but he sure seems like a jerk in hindsight.
Since Ryan Zimmerman got a cortisone shot before a game June 24, he's batting .365 with eight homers and 22 RBI over 85 at bats. He was hitting .218/.285/.305 over 220 at bats with three home runs beforehand. There was clearly a cause and effect here, but there's also no certainty how long the cortisone will last. It could be the rest of the season. It could fade soon. Still, Zimmerman owners have to be ecstatic over the recent performance, and it looks like he may not be a total bust after all. As disappointing as he's been so far in 2012, his recent surge has made a major difference. Compared to last year, he has: the same amount of steals, one fewer homer, five fewer RBIs and just four fewer runs scored – in 25 fewer games played. Let's hope Zimmerman's cortisone lasts throughout the 2012 season.
These headlines really tell the story: Man barricades himself in hotel, demands pizza and Paris Hilton … Man held at gunpoint, stabbed for not being a barber … Man seeking to lick woman's feet robbed and beaten.
Here are the average fastball velocities for Felix Hernandez since entering the league in 2005: 95.8, 95.2, 95.6, 94.6, 94.0, 94.1, 93.3, 91.7. Of course, it's hardly rare for a pitcher's trajectory to look like this. In fact, it's actually normal. But this year's drop has been the steepest, and for someone with past (albeit small) arm issues, an injury was a bigger concern than anything else. Hernandez entered his June 17 start with a 3.70 ERA and since then, he's posted a 1.36 ERA and a 0.93 WHIP with a 59:7 K:BB ratio over 53.0 innings. Despite working with his lowest velocity ever, and not to mention a career-low GB%, Hernandez also has a career-high 9.15 K/9 ratio. The diminished velocity is certainly something to keep an eye on moving forward, but for 2012, Hernandez obviously still looks like an elite fantasy starter.
Police Blotter: Man jailed for bomb threat on job application … Man arrested for posting ad seeking rapist for wife … Woman arrested again after calling 911 because she was unhappy with mugshot.
After his walk off blast Thursday, Cody Ross is somehow up to 16 homers and 50 RBI over just 63 games played this season. As a Giants fan, he will always have a special place in my heart (NLCS MVP!), but as someone who traded a closer for him and Shaun Marcum in my home league (I knew Marcum's arm was a ticking time bomb, so I demanded Ross as compensation), only to have to drop Ross with my DL slots full, it's been beyond frustrating to see him return much earlier than anticipated and also perform like this. His prorated stats over 162 games are: 41 home runs, 113 runs scored and 129 RBI. He's been an absolute steal in fantasy leagues this year.
Long read of the week: A Snitch's Dilemma
A serious review of Wendy's food: "The cheese is very unique in the sense that it's not made from any real dairy product."
This daredevil (and by that I mean maniac) survived a 200 meter fall after attempting to walk backward along a tight rope while holding a stick and blindfolded.
Quick hits: Mike Trout's steal in the All-Star game was the first knuckleballer R.A. Dickey had allowed this season … Over 102 at bats, Justin Morneau is batting .147/.185/.225 against left-handers this year … Over his last 285 at bats, Alex Gordon has hit one homer … Zack Cozart is on pace to finish the year with 16 home runs and 33 RBI … Adam Dunn leads major league baseball in K% (35.9), BB% (18.7) and HR/FB% (35.9) … Freddie Freeman hits as many ground balls as fly balls, and his LD% (31.9) leads MLB, so his .315 BABIP appears to be a bit unlucky … It's tough to complain about Jose Bautista's MLB-low .217 BABIP when he hits a ton of fly balls (49.4 FB%) and all those homers don't count toward his hit rate. Moreover, his 13.7 LD% is the lowest in baseball … At home this season, Curtis Granderson has 16 home runs. And one double … Meet Shaq Thompson, who's currently 0-for-37 with 36 strikeouts this year.