With two and a half months of fantasy baseball underway, it’s easy for managers to feel lost and hopeless. However, it’s important to remember that, like the Oregon Trail, the season is a six month journey and we have plenty of unexplored territory to traverse. Whether you’re trying to make up ground or leave the pack behind, MDS is here to help manifest your destiny and mine gold from two players that can be had for a few beads and some furs. We’re talking about the sweet singing
swinging Second Baseman, Gordon “Lightfoot” Beckham and the gun slinging Starting Pitcher, Chad “Buffalo” Billingsley.
has basically played like garbage and polluted the fantasy landscape thus far. His .206 Batting Average and one Home Run have left a single tear welling in the eye of his owners. Some people have a deep abiding respect for the natural beauty that was once this highly touted prospect; and some people don’t. Gordo is currently owned in only 38% of Yahoo! leagues. If he isn’t a free agent in your league, his recent 112 At Bat streak without an Extra Base Hit should make him a cheap buy. What many people don’t realize is that Beckham has been plagued by a .250 BABIP. His 15.5% Line Drive and 51% Ground Ball Percentages suggest this number should be higher. The league average for BABIP is .298. Beckham has also been unlucky with a 1.9% Home Run to Fly Ball Percentage. The league average for HR/FB% is around 10-11%. The eighth overall pick in the 2008 draft is much too talented to continue hitting this poorly. The White Sox GM, Kenny Williams, sat down with Gordon and told him to go back to his aggressive approach at the plate and he has responded well. Since the two had a pow-wow, Beckham has strung together a 4 game hit streak, going 4 for 13 with 3 doubles in the process. Last season Beckham hit 14 HR and stole 7 bases in 103 games, his price won’t be any lower than it is now. If you need some cheap, productive help at the 2B position, look no further.
Chad Billingsley is a well known gunslinger. Tickets to Buffalo Billingsley’s Wild NL West Show could be expensive unless you can find an owner who is fed up with his 1.40 WHIP. Billingsley currently ranks 84th among all SP eligible pitchers on Yahoo! and his overall rank of 289 may help you acquire his services at a reasonable price. Chad’s ugly WHIP is not the result of him walking too many batters, he has actually reduced his walk rate from 3.94 BB/9 down to 3.17 BB/9. The issue is his .332 BABIP. He has a career BABIP of .308 and he is actually giving up less Line Drives this year than he has in the past (17.4 LD%). His 1.40 WHIP should be considered bad luck, not bad pitching. He is still striking out eight batters per nine and inducing a good number of ground balls (47.8%, 1.38 GB/FB) so I would also consider his 69.2% Strand Rate to be unlucky. His career average for LOB% is 75.4%. His owners may believe that Billingsley is pitching his worst ball in the past four years, but all this adds up for me to believe that Billingsley should be posting the best numbers of his career when it comes to ERA and WHIP. Look for a big turnaround in the second half of the season.