Mostly MLB Notes: Buying Matt Cain and examining what’s wrong with Eric Hosmer

Roto Arcade

Matt Cain entered this season having allowed 129 homers over 1,536.2 innings (0.76 HR/9). This year, he’s already served up nine home runs over 34.2 innings. Put differently, he’s allowed the same amount of long balls this month as he did all of the 2011 season, which spanned 221.2 innings. Cain has never had a season in which his HR/FB% was higher than 8.4. That number currently sits at 19.1% in 2013. While some could view this as regression hitting hard, Cain’s previous sample was too big to be written off as a fluke, and it’s worth pointing out just two of his six starts this year have come at home. Cain’s fastball velocity is down slightly in the early going (about 0.5 mph less compared to last year), and thanks to two deep playoff runs, he’s averaged 238.2 innings pitched over the past three seasons, so it’s at least possible he’s wearing down. However, with a 32:10 K:BB ratio over 34.2 innings this year, Cain could just as easily be viewed as a prime buy-low candidate. A 6.49 ERA typically isn’t accompanied by a 1.30 WHIP. I’d try to take advantage of owners fed up with an extremely unlucky stretch of home runs allowed and throw out some trade offers. From 2009-2012, Cain’s ERA (2.93) and WHIP (1.10) were both the fourth-best among all starters in baseball (accompanied by a HR/FB% of 7.0), so don’t let one month change just how consistently good Cain has been. The home park, SF’s bullpen and strong defense are all in his favor as well.

Here’s a funny clip asking people at Coachella about fake bands.

Here’s a cop yanking a suicidal man off train tracks at the last possible second.

Eric Hosmer posted a .338/.406/.571 line as a 20 year old in the minors in 2010. The following season he posted a .439/.525/.582 line (over 118 PAs). His spring training stats over the past three years look like this: .400/.458/.684 with nine homers, six steals and 51 RBI over 155 at bats. But after a promising rookie year in 2011, Hosmer has since posted a .659 OPS – fewer than 20 players have a lower mark over that stretch. He hasn’t homered in his past 114 at-bats. Kauffman Stadium suppresses home runs for LHB at a pretty high rate, but at some point the excuses need to stop. If it’s been a mechanical issue, as suggested, then why did he dominate again in spring this year, only to revert once the stats started counting? There’s upside as a first baseman capable of swiping 20 bags, and he’s still just 23 years old, but Hosmer has been a major disappointment so far this season, as he currently ranks as the 489th most valuable fantasy player despite having a BABIP (.327) 40 points higher than his career mark. In other words, things could actually be even worse. His ISO of .044 is tied for 180th among qualified hitters. Hosmer’s 2.45 GB/FB ratio is the 15th highest in all of baseball and suggests it doesn’t matter what park he plays in – that type of profile isn’t going to hit more than 10 or so homers at best. I was a believer in Hosmer bouncing back in 2013, but it’s been a highly discouraging start, to say the least. Meanwhile, Mike Moustakas is currently sporting a .176/.265/.243 line, while Salvador Perez is at .256/.271/.366. It’s almost as if the Royals struggle to develop hitters.

The sounds made at the end of this Koala fight seriously had me in tears.

Two monkeys were paid unequally, and the consequences were pretty funny.

Jordan Zimmermann is in the midst of a fairly fascinating run. He posted a 3.18 ERA despite a 6.92 K/9 rate in 2011, and then proceeded to record a 2.94 ERA with a 7.04 K/9 rate last year. Zimmermann’s walk rates have always been really low, and he limits homers, but he’s taken it to a new level so far this year, as he has a 2.00 ERA with a 4.75 K/9 rate. Zimmermann’s SwStr% of 6.0 ranks 94th among all starters (other surprising names with extremely low SwStr% include Yovani Gallardo (6.0), Alex Cobb (6.3) and Kris Medlen (6.6)), so he’s really struggled when it comes to missing bats. Zimmermann has defied mediocre underlying stats in the past, but it’s especially crazy to note he currently sports a .200 BABIP accompanied by a 51.8 GB% and a 21.8 LD%. I’m a Zimmermann fan, but if Matt Cain is a prime buy-low candidate, Zimmermann might very well be the No. 1 sell-high pitcher right now.

This basketball footage of two radio hosts versus “wet, dry and baby back ribs” is oddly humorous. Remember, the goal was to see if they could score five points in 45 seconds. "This is the most embarrassing moment of my life."

Here’s Nathan Fielder asking his Twitter followers to play a joke on their parents. And here’s Nathan’s follow up.

Entering 2013, first base was seemingly by far the deepest position. So far, it’s been anything but. Here are some 1B who all had relatively high ADPs entering 2013, with their current overall ranks, according to Baseball Monster: Allen Craig (258), Billy Butler (224), Adrian Gonzalez (141), Eric Hosmer (489), Ike Davis (467), Freddie Freeman (374) and Paul Konerko (233). Among that group, only Freeman has injuries to blame, and it took a two-homer game Monday to get Albert Pujols inside the top-100, so it’s been a disastrous start for most of the league’s premier first basemen. And it’s not like it gets much better for the deeper options, either: Nick Swisher (259), Adam Dunn (371), Brandon Belt (289) and Justin Morneau (366). Early congratulations belong to those who drafted Chris Davis, Mark Reynolds, Prince Fielder and Paul Goldschmidt. What an epically horrible start to a season by the first base position.

Here’s another news anchor fail. This one's reminiscent of a “Bruce Almighty” scene.

The human chair scare prank.

Austin Jackson has seen his batting average drop more than 100 points (from .393 to .286) over the past dozen games, but he’s off to an encouraging start nevertheless. His K% (16.2) is easily a career low, while his LD% (25.0) is a career high. After being successful on just 57.1 percent (12-of-21) of his stolen base attempts last year, Jackson is a perfect 5-for-5 in 2013, and if that is a sign of things to come, it’s huge news for his fantasy value. He’s swinging and missing at the lowest rate of his career, and after scoring 103 runs in just 137 games last season, he’s on pace to finish 2013 with a whopping 169. That number is unrealistic, of course, but he’s among the favorites to lead the league in the category, as it really helps hitting in front of Miguel Cabrera and Prince Fielder. Still just 25 years old, Jackson is quietly developing into a star, as he’s also terrific defensively in center field. Hopefully the newfound base stealing ability is here to stay for his fantasy owners.

Headlines of the week: Dead Prostitute Leaps From Her Coffin..…11 Haunting Larry David Tattoos..…Scrotum Surgery Leaves Las Vegas Man 132 Pounds Lighter.

Here’s a couple attempting to steal fuel. It doesn’t go as planned.

This robbery attempt wasn’t exactly successful either.

Quick Hits: The average true distance of home runs in the majors this season has been 396.6 feet. Justin Upton’s MLB-leading 12 homers (11 of which have been solo shots) have averaged a league-high 423.5 feet. What a start to the year. Every fantasy owner of his should name their team “True Grit”…After getting traded to Texas last season, Ryan Dempster posted a 5.09 ERA and 1.43 WHIP. The year before that he posted a 4.80 ERA and 1.45 WHIP with the Cubs. He’ll turn 35 years old soon and joined a Boston team in the offseason that plays in a tough AL East division and calls Fenway, a terrific hitter’s park, home, so it’s safe to say Dempster’s 3.30 ERA, 1.13 WHIP and 43 strikeouts over 30.0 innings have been unexpected. His 35.3 K% is the third highest in all of baseball….Bartolo Colon is having quite a remarkable season, posting a 3.38 ERA and 1.03 WHIP with a 20:1 K:BB ratio. He’s done so by throwing his fastball 90.5% of the time (there’s only one other pitcher who’s thrown his FB more than 75.1%). Since joining Oakland last season, Colon has recorded a 4.63:1 K:BB ratio, second only to Cliff Lee among all starters in baseball…Anibal Sanchez became just the third pitcher ever to record 17 strikeouts in eight innings or fewer during his dominant performance against the Braves on Friday…Entering the All-Star break last season, Ryan Vogelsong had a 2.57 ERA and 1.20 WHIP with a 2.3:1 K:BB ratio and a 6.7 K/9 rate over 290.1 innings after joining the Giants. Since then, he has a 5.19 ERA and 1.43 WHIP with a 2.9:1 K:BB ratio and an 8.8 K/9 rate over 109.1 innings. Your guess is as good as mine. Moreover, Vogelsong has a .330 BABIP this season despite playing for a Giants team that ranks first in UZR.

Police Blotter: Cops seize 53 king cobras from car…After 396 arrests, woman begs for parole…Man arrested after board game turns violentMan gets 15-year jail sentence for having sex with his pit bull.

Longread of the week: Michael Bay’s movie looks pretty campy, but the real story behind “Pain & Gain” is absolutely crazy.

Quick Hits Part Deux: Matt Moore has walked more batters (15) than he has allowed hits (13). It’s not exactly easy to have a 1.13 ERA with a 4.22 BB/9 rate. His average fastball velocity is way down (92.5 mph compared to 94.4 last year), as is his SwStr% (8.5). Moore has obviously experienced some luck (as every pitcher with an ERA that low does), with a .149 BABIP, but his HR/FB% of 9.4 is close enough to league average. In fact, Moore hasn’t allowed a run this season other than via the home run (h/t Jason Collette)…Brandon Belt’s homer Monday was the Giants’ first from their first basemen this season…In a high stakes NFBC league, I have Giancarlo Stanton, Stephen Strasburg, Coco Crisp and Chris Young. Monday night wasn’t exactly ideal for me. Speaking of Strasburg, he’s allowed more earned runs in the first inning (7) than he has in all others combined (6)…If you haven’t seen this unbelievable GIF of Yu Darvish’s five pitches (with the same release point), check it out. I want to brag about me picking him as the AL Cy Young winner before the season, but the problem is he ended up on none of my fantasy teams, so I didn’t exactly back up my talk. I’m an idiot…This pitcher didn’t appreciate the batter asking for time…Gio Gonzalez has a 10.00 ERA and 2.44 WHIP against the Braves this season and a 3.52 ERA and 0.96 WHIP when not facing Atlanta…Since June 1 of last year, Josh Hamilton has batted .236/.306/.446 over 543 PAs, striking out 29 percent of the time over that span. His plate discipline has become frighteningly bad. Oh and in case you were scoring at home, my first three picks in Mixed LABR this year were Matt Kemp, Hanley Ramirez and Hamilton. Oof.

Follow me on Twitter.

What to Read Next