Lying, Whoring Numbers: 4/25/12

A common sight for Cardinals fans
Photo Credit: Keith Allison

Welcome to another edition of “Lying, Whoring Numbers,” where the only “small sample size” is located in your pants. Burn!

Seriously though, I want you to keep reading in spite of the small penis joke.

More after the jump:

The statistic: .500 SLG
The player: David Freese
The .500 SLG mark is considered big boy territory among baseball enthusiasts. All the great power hitters post slugging percentages of .500 and over, so that must mean David Freese has turned into a reliable power hitter right? R-right?!?!

Sorry David Freese lovers, but he just isn’t that nice. He’s worth owning in fantasy, but the breakout season many envisioned after his hot start is nothing more than a mirage. Though he rocked three HRs in his first six games, Freese has since recorded a .226 BA with just one extra-base hit in his last 35 PAs. He has been very aggressive at the dish this season, which may help explain why he was able to jack some HRs early. However, this approach has also led to him posting a 10.2 SwStr% and 28.6 K% (along with a weak 6.3 BB%). Freese also possesses an unsustainable 23.1 HR/FB and all three of his bombs this year have been of the “just enough” or “lucky” variety (according to HitTrackerOnline.com). So yeah, David Freese really isn’t a burgeoning power threat; just another solid, yet unspectacular fantasy third baseman. If someone in your league is still dumb enough to think a breakout is on the way, go ahead and fleece for Freese.

The statistic: 8.20 ERA
The player: Tim Lincecum
I already spoke about Lincecum and the imminent turnaround he will have sometime this year, but the media and fantasy owners are shaking in their boots worse than Michael J. Fox. Lincecum’s FIP (3.18) and xFIP (2.81) are both over five runs lower than his ERA. He is striking out 11.57 batters per nine innings. Despite the increased walk rate (4.34 BB/9), he’s actually throwing more first-pitch strikes than ever (66.3 F-Strike%). Lincecum undergoes a transformation EVERY season, and while it may take some time for him to hit his stride, it’s not like he’s suffering Brandon Morrow-itis. Lincecum’s “violent” delivery hasn’t led to a significant injury yet (he’s pitched at least 210 innings the last four years), so this notion that scouts think he has an injury is fascinating. Last time I checked, scouts had no MD, PT, or RN titles after their names, so believing anything some fat guy sitting in the stands has to say about a medical diagnosis is like taking beauty tips from Dee Snider. Due to all the negativity surrounding his performance to date, Lincecum makes a fine buy-low target.

The statistic: .362 BA
The player: Michael Young
At this stage of his career, Michael Young’s value comes from the fact that he hits for a high average and produces quality counting stats in a potent Rangers lineup. The power is pretty meager at this point (11 HRs last year), so when his BA starts to go, Young’s value will drop precipitously. So far this year, Young has maintained a high BA, but it’s more of an illusion than a testament to his skill. For starters, Young’s BABIP is a ridiculously high .390 (career .338). He’s also making weaker contact as he’s hitting fewer line drives and is posting a career-worst 54.1 GB%. Like Freese, Young has been very aggressive this season, swinging at a lot more pitches. Problem is, almost 40 percent of these hacks have been at pitches outside the zone. I don’t get to see Young play on an everyday basis, but the batted ball profile reeks of a player who is “cheating” on some pitches. That’s usually accompanied by declining bat speed which, at age 35, wouldn’t be a surprise. Like I said before, if Young isn’t posting a really high batting average, his value plummets. With the peripheral evidence piling up against him, it’s hard to see Young putting up numbers similar to his 2011 season. Trade him now while his value is still very high.

The statistic: 0.86 BB/9
The player: Jordan Zimmermann
Can we stop talking about Jordan Zimmermann as a sure-fire SP3 now? I’ll give him credit for limiting the walks and throwing a lot of strikes, but just because hitters aren’t walking doesn’t mean they aren’t able to hit him. Sure his 0.71 WHIP looks fantastic, but keep in mind that hitters are still smoking his pitches when they make contact (22.6 LD%). Yes, Zimmermann also induces a lot of grounders to help his cause, but he’s benefiting greatly from a .200 BABIP (93 points below his career mark). Zimmermann has also given up no HRs yet this season and the long ball has been an issue for him in the past. I’m not saying Zimmermann is a useless fantasy option. His ERA and WHIP should be good in 2012. Problem is, he generates a low number of strikeouts, which makes him more of an SP5 in fantasy. With his hot start, he’s another player to sell if possible.

The statistic: 30.8 K%
The player: Jordan Schafer
The assumption is that, “well, he’s striking out a lot, so his plate patience sucks.” Not true. Schafer is posting a very good 12.8 BB%, which is exactly what you want to see from a leadoff hitter. If Schafer continues to strikeout often, his BA will probably suffer, but considering the price you paid, he’s still a valuable fantasy OF. There’s a good chance he’ll improve on his strikeout rate, however, as he had an 82.3 Contact% in 338 PAs last year. You probably won’t get much for Schafer even if you tried trading him, so you might as well hold and see how this plays out. At the very least, Schafer looks like a worthy contributor of runs and stolen bases.



About Starbonell

Starbonell is the co-founder of Sons of Roto and one of the most insightful and colorful fantasy analysts in the game. Mixing intelligent and well-researched advice with an entertaining style of writing that is easy to digest, Starbonell is the king of info-tainment.