Mostly MLB Notes: Bryce Harper slumping


Over his last 16 games (starting just 13 of them), Carlos Gomez has racked up four homers and nine steals. He has a .320/.386/.620 line after the All-Star break and despite projected to finish with just 338 at-bats, he's on pace to produce 14 home runs and 31 steals. While the counting stats and batting average aren't great, Gomez may quietly be turning into a fantasy asset. Still just 26 years old, he's already set a career-high in homers this season and over the past three years, he's stolen bases at an elite 86% success rate. It's possible the last two weeks have been nothing but a good old fashioned hot streak that means nothing, and he hasn't shown any real growth in K% or BB% this season, but a player with this kind of SB potential who's slugging more than .600 since the ASB needs to be firmly on the fantasy radar.

Here's some road rage revenge.

I wasn't familiar with this game show, but this conclusion is riveting.

About three weeks ago, I was negotiating a trade for my closer for an outfielder. The outfielders in play came down to Dexter Fowler, Corey Hart or Bryce Harper. Usually when choosing between seemingly even options, I like to let others decide, but my trading partner apparently agreed with this theory and essentially let me pick among the three OFs. I chose Harper, if for no other reason other than he seemed like the most fun guy to own, and I have zero shares of him in any other leagues. Since then, which was during the All-Star break, Harper is batting .171 with one homer over 70 at-bats. His OPS is .523, as pitchers have seemingly made proper adjustments. What Harper has done overall this season at his age remains remarkable, and his future obviously looks bright, but it's clear I made a poor choice for the rest of 2012. Moreover, before the year started I made a $100 bet with RotoWire's Chris Liss on which player would have the better career, Harper (me) vs. Mike Trout. Crazy to think what Harper has accomplished as a 19-year-old, yet I suddenly look like a big underdog. I would take a Trout vs. the field for AL MVP this season bet right now no question.

Crazy bus driver plows through many cars on highway.

Here's an elephant crashing a pool party.

Carlos Quentin is both an injury and batting average risk, but with 10 homers over 170 at-bats, he remains plenty valuable in fantasy leagues when healthy. Going from U.S. Cellular Field and before that Chase Field to Petco Park is a pretty drastic change, evidenced early by his massive home (.215/.292/.385) vs. road (.295/.432/.571) splits. However, while it destroys left-handed power, according to The Bill James Handbook, over the past three years, Petco has been neutral when it comes to right-handed batters and home runs, with a Park Index of 98 (15 parks ranked lower over this span), which is pretty revealing. Quentin has a strong 24:22 K:BB ratio since moving to the "easier league," and it's safe to expect him to perform better at home moving forward. Quentin is tough to recommend when his career high for at-bats in a season is 480 (when he hit 36 homers and was a genuine MVP candidate back in 2008), but that along with the overblown Petco factor should lower his price in trade talks and at draft tables next year, in which you should take advantage.

In honor of the Olympics, here's a hurdler who may not quite understand the rules.

Meet "Buttermilk," quite possibly the coolest goat ever.

Warning — a personal rant is ahead: As a Giants fan, I have no problem with the Hunter Pence trade. In fact, I liked it. However, it also compounded the problem with last year's Carlos Beltran deal, in which they gave up top prospect Zack Wheeler, who has the upside to be a future No. 1 or No. 2 starter. Beltran is admittedly an injury risk, but there's little doubt he's a far superior hitter to Pence (use any measure you want: wOBA, wRC+, OPS), and while Pence probably offers more as a base runner at this stage of their careers, both are about equal as right fielders. So why did the Giants just let Beltran, who had a provision in his contract that he couldn't be offered arbitration, meaning no compensation picks, walk via free agency? I'm glad Giants ownership was willing to spend here, but Pence should cost around $14 million in his final year of arbitration next season, while the Cardinals signed Beltran for two years, $26 million. It simply doesn't make sense.

I'm partial to Fever Ray to begin with, but I think we can all agree this is the best ever acceptance speech.

Bat For Lashes, who's similar to Fever Ray, recently released a new single, and I recommend it.

One last music comment: I feel crazy for saying so, but I actually think the new The Smashing Pumpkins album isn't terrible. Seriously.

Quick hits: Only a rain-shortened game could prevent Justin Verlander from pitching at least six innings in his 64th straight start Tuesday (actually, he had allowed four runs and was at 107 pitches, so it was debatable whether he would've come out for the sixth regardless). Only two other pitchers had a longer streak since 1920 … Stephen Strasburg is currently batting .333/.405/.545 … Dustin Ackley has a .304 OBP on a Mariners team that has scored the second fewest runs in the American League this season, yet he's somehow on pace to score 90 runs … Marco Estrada doesn't qualify yet, but if he did, his 5.4 K:BB ratio would rank third best in all of baseball. But with 16 homers allowed over just 74.2 innings, he might not want to be around the strike zone quite so much … Jason Kipnis has easily been one of the best surprises of 2012 for fantasy owners, but he hasn't homered since June 17. Moreover, after going 20-for-21 on SB attempts before the All-Star break, he's gone just 1-for-4 since.

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