August 23, 2008
Xavier Nady isn't the sort of player we tend to cover here in Closing Time. He's already owned in an overwhelming percentage of leagues, he didn't injure himself tonight, and he's not in a disastrous slump. He went 2-for-5 with a homer on Friday, but that's not really actionable information.
It's just that fantasy experts owe Nady and his owners an apology. Or at least some of us do. We've derided him, told you he'd collapse, cautioned you against reckless enthusiasm...and today, with only five weeks left in the season, he's batting .328.
That's three points higher than Nady was hitting at the end of May. He now has 21 home runs, 78 RBIs and an OPS of .939. He's hit .342 since the All-Star break.
So yeah, it's possible that fantasy experts -- or at least some of us -- are not right about everything, always. You should be highly skeptical when we make the "Player X always fades in June and Player Y always gets hot" argument. That's especially weak, and often based on too little information.
Sorry, Xavier. And sorry to those of you who were convinced Nady was a sell-high, so you traded him for, say, Rafael Furcal.
Not that those owners are still reading fantasy baseball content, but still.
With the necessary apologies out of the way, let's shift to news of the broken and the under-owned...
• Wait, no. While we're discussing dangerous arguments put forth by fantasy experts, here's one possible outcome of the "Never pay for saves" approach:
Eddie Guardado 0.2 IP, 0 W, 0 SV, 0 K, 27.00 ERA, 7.50 WHIP
Jensen Lewis 1.0 IP, 0 W, 1 SV, 2 K, 9.00 ERA, 2.00 WHIP
Fernando Rodney 1.0 IP, 0 W, 1 SV, 2 K, 18.00 ERA, 4.00 WHIP
Some nights, you'll get exactly what you (didn't) pay for.
• Twins leadoff hitter Denard Span went 3-for-5 with a homer and four RBIs, and raised his average to .325. He's still just 5.6 percent owned. Minnesota moved a half-game ahead of the White Sox with the win, so they're pretty much guaranteed to lose tomorrow.
• If you haven't been tracking Brandon Morrow's progress at Triple-A, here's an update: he pitched 4.2 innings on Thursday, allowing two hits and two runs. He struck out 10. Consider stashing him for use in September.
• Luis Ayala saved Johan Santana's win on Friday. He entered the game with a 5.58 ERA and 1.44 WHIP in 59.2 innings this season, and he's been consistently ugly all year. Still, here's a nugget from the AP recap:
Heilman pitched a perfect eighth and Ayala, acquired on Sunday from Washington, earned his first save of the season with a 1-2-3 inning.
“Might see more of that as long as we’re seeing more of those types of results,” Manuel said of using Heilman and Ayala in the eighth and ninth.
Harris entered this season with only seven career homers in 1243 at bats. He now has 19. He's hitting .286/.341/.492 since the break. Note the recent leap in Harris' fly-ball percentage. He'd always been somewhere in the 20s, but last year it was 36.9, and this season it's 40.3
In other Nats' news, leadoff hitter Emilio Bonifacio stole his fifth base of the season, but he's still hitting just .237.
• Another Drew has fallen. JD has a herniated disc.
• Ben Francisco is hitting something like .635 on nights that I handle Closing Time. True to form, he went 3-for-5 with a run scored and an RBI. He's hitting .288 for the year with 12 home runs. You'll want to add him on Tuesday in anticipation of my next C.T.
• Dave Bush beat the Pirates, earning his third win in his last four starts. He should get the Bucs again next Friday. Ryan Doumit left the game with flu-like symptoms, and Nate McLouth has been out with an unspecified illness. (The Pirates' website masterfully described Doumit's issue as "McLouth-like symptoms.") While those two are out, you're looking for streaming opportunities.
• Check the highlight of the Tigers-Royals finish. You won't see a pitch like that end well very often.
• Chris Dickerson only went 1-for-5, but the hit drove in two runs. He also stole his third base in nine games. Dickerson had 26 steals at Triple-A before the call-up.
• If Jon Rauch is trying to make a case to take over as the Arizona closer, he did not help himself tonight with this line: 1.0 IP, 2 H, 2 ER, 0 K, 1 HR, L, BS. And the home run was not cheap. Here's the video. That's not a happy Mark Grace.
• Gio Gonzalez allowed two earned runs to the Mariners, but struck out seven in a no-decision. Mark Ellis (shoulder) and Jack Cust (blurred vision) both left the A's loss early. They were replaced by Eric Patterson and Rajai Davis.
"He's got a tear in the upper right side of his leg, the groin region. It's actually a deep hip flexor muscle. We're just getting the results back," (manager Trey) Hillman said.
• Giants first baseman Travis Ishikawa hit a three-run homer on Friday. He's now batting .259 through eight games with two HR and a steal, and NL-only owners should pay attention. The 24-year-old hit 16 homers in only 171 at bats for Triple-A Fresno.
Photos via AP
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