Should you care about September call-ups: guys like Wil Myers, Billy Hamilton, Dylan Bundy and Shelby Miller? Mike Trout is still killing it. How long can he keep it up? Just how far has Adan Dunn rebounded? The homers are there, but what about his horrific batting average and atrocious strikeout pace? Roy Oswalt pitching better than you thought. Seriously. Should someone be giving him a chance to start?
Billy Hamilton, Wil Myers, Dylan Bundy, Shelby Miller... these are some of the names we're hearing as potential call-ups in September. Everyone is all excited about adding these fellas to their fantasy roster for September. Should they be?
I came across a very interesting article by Jason Collette from last season. Here is what piqued my interest in particular from that wonderful article.
From 2005-10, a six year stretch mind you, there were only 69 September call-ups that garnered 20 at-bats. Twenty. hat's basically six games worth of at-bats. So before you go over the top to add these youngsters, remember that salient fact – most won't play enough to matter. Oh yeah, that group also collectively hit just .253. Hell, only 53 percent of the call-ups even scored one run.
Second, just three players in that six year stretch had 100 at-bats. Three. Very few of these players rack up huge at-bat totals.
Face it, it's a crapshoot (Jason's article also goes into some detail with pitchers as well). Just he way it is.
Hamilton is likely to only serve as a pinch runner if called up. The Reds don't think he can hit enough to have success at the big league level at this point of his development. It's hard to steal bases from the bench, or if you're not even called up as suggested by GM Walt Jocketty.
Myers has been killing it in the minors. In 128 games this season Myers has hit .308 with 35 homers, 104 RBIs, 93 runs scored and an OPS of .979. Totally killing it. Jeff Francoeur has been one of the worst hitters in baseball this year, and the Royals would lose nothing giving Myers a real shot. He's someone to consider despite the overall data about call-ups not seeing much work.
Bundy has been the pitching version of Myers. He's gone 9-3 with a 2.08 ERA, 0.92 WHIP and 10.3 K/9 mark. He's been amazing. At the same time he has thrown only three games above High-A ball and is just 20 years old. He's an elite prospect, as highly regarded as any in the game, but he's so young an inexperienced, and it sounds like he will not be called up an instead pitch in the instructional league, not the bigs, according to Britt Ghiroli.
Miller is one of the top-10 pitching prospects in baseball. The 21 year old has poor numbers on the year, 10-10 with a 4.89 ERA and 1.40 WHIP, but he's been on as great a run as could possibly be expected. Over his last eight games he has walked a total of four batters – in 48.1 innings. Not just locating pitches, he's also struck out 57 strikeouts. He'd likely pitch out of the bullpen if called up by the Cardinals.
The moral of the story is that there may be a couple of guys who make a big mark in September who aren't currently on a big league roster, but there will be many more who fail to live up to expectations than boost you in the fantasy standings.
Mike Trout Still Doing It
I don't really understand it, but here are the facts. Mike Trout is already a superstar, is performing at levels we've barely ever seen before, and he's showing no sense of give in his game. Get this – he's gotten even better in the second half.
2011: .341/.397/.562 with 12 HRs, 40 RBIs in 258 at-bats
2012: .339/.412/.638 with 13 HRs, 34 RBIs in 174 at-bats
I'm shocked. I admit it. I still find it hard to believe that he's going to be capable of sustaining these rates moving forward, but to this point of the season I've been totally wrong about that. Totally.
Alfredo Aceves Tanking
The Red Sox have gotten 25 saves from Alfredo Aceves who stepped in when Andrew Bailey injured his thumb. Bailey is back now, and through seven outings he's posted a 1.69 ERA and 1.13 WHIP. While those numbers seem unsustainable, were you aware that Bailey owns a 2.06 ERA and 0.96 WHIP for his career (164 games)? In truth, Bailey has had one of the better starts to a career that we've seen in recent times, he's just been continually weighed down by one injury after another. With 179.1 innings pitched in his career, Bailey's 2.06 ERA stands out. Since 1950, among pitchers who have thrown 175 innings in their career, Bailey's mark is, get this, the best mark in the game (Mike Adams is second at 2.15). That's right. If you've tossed at least 175 innings in your career, and you began pitching in 1950 or later, you've been unable to match the ERA of Bailey. Given that fact, and the additional addition of the fact that he was brought in to Boston to handle the 9th inning, it would seem that Bailey is on the precipice of reclaiming 9th inning duties would it not? That case is only strengthened by the recent struggles of Aceves.
Aceves blew his stack after not being called on to close a game and he was suspended three games by manager Bobby Valentine. "Remember, I don't have a lot of rules," Valentine said. "But one of the rules I stated early on is that you don't do anything to embarrass yourself, your teammates or your organization." But it's more than the blow up with Aceves, and it's more than the return of Bailey. It's that Aceves (A) just ain't great and (B) he's been pretty terrible of late.
(A) Aceves has nine loses on the year, a massive total for a relief pitcher. To compare, Bailey had 10 loses in his first three big league seasons. Aceves also has eight blown saves. Bailey had nine his first three seasons. Aceves has a 2.42 K/BB ratio – league average. He has a 1.12 HR/9 – league average. He has a 0.89 GB/FB – below league average. He has a 20.0 percent line drive rate – league average. He has a 10.5 HR/F rate – league average. He has a 67.8 percent left on base rate – below league average. You get what I'm laying down here, right?
(B) Built around the heated exchange with his manager that led to his mini suspension, Aceves has allowed seven runs in his last two outings, both of which ended with a blown save AND a loss.
If you ask me, it's Bailey time in Boston.
Adam Dunn – The Slugger
Adam Dunn has returned to prominence this season after one of the worst seasons in the history of baseball. We'll get to that in a moment. As of this writing Dunn has 38 homers, the most in baseball. His total of 88 RBIs is also tied with Edwin Encarnacion for 6th in baseball. He's also scored 75 runs, more than Adrian Beltre (74), Elvis Andrus (73) and Albert Pujols (71) to name a few. So ends the good with Adam Dunn. Of course all of those counting numbers give Dunn a ton of value, but he's also been an ankle weight for his owners.
After hitting .159 last season, the worst seasonal batting average ever produced in an effort of 475 plate appearances, Dunn has ratcheted things up big time --- though we're talking about a .205 average folks. Compared to last year that's a huge increase, but it's still a horrible mark, awful. After hitting .208 in the first half Dunn has batted .199 over the last 43 outings. He's also posted a .335 OBP which would be a career worst number, minus the hideous .292 mark he posted last season (his career mark is .371). In addition, his .489 SLG is below his career rate of .502. He has improved his K-rate, though that is also relative, like the batting average gain. Dunn has brought his K-rate down from a career worst 35.7 percent to 33.5 percent. Unfortunately that 33.5 percent mark would still be the second worst of his career, well above his 28.0 percent career rate. Yeah, that's not good, not at all. How about a real world example. Dunn has struck out once every 2.47 at-bats. Read that again. Dunn is striking out once every 2.47 at-bats. Goof luck with that. He's well on his way to his first 200 K season, his “best” is 199, though the season worst mark of 223 – by Mark Reynolds – may be just out of reach, or is it? The Sox have played 128 games. Dunn has appeared in 127 of them. He's averaged 3.57 at-bats per game. If he plays every game the rest of the way, 34 of them, that's 121 at-bats. If he keeps up his rate of one K per 2.47 at-bats then he'd pick up an additional 49 Ks. Forty-nine plus 184 gets us to 233 Ks, so maybe that record isn't out of reach after all.
Roy Oswalt Better Than We Think?
Roy Oswalt has passed through waivers meaning that he can be freely traded to any team if the Rangers wish. Speculation centered on the Dodgers, given their wild spending ways and the fact that Chad Billingsley is hurt and Joe Blanton woefully under-performing. Alas, they don't appear interested in Oswalt given what Jon Heyman reported Wednesday. Why no interest in Oswalt? Obviously it has to do with a 5.94 ERA and 1.56 WHIP, not to mention that Oswalt has allowed 68 hits in 50 innings leading to a .325 batting average. Yeah, who can blame teams for passing right? Still, there is plenty going on here that it surprises me no one has taken a shot. Here's what I mean.
(1) Oswalt has allowed one or zero runs in five of his last eight outings. He's also allowed three walks in his last seven starts.
(2) He has 47 Ks in 50 innings, that's a 8.46 K/9 mark which would be his best mark since 2001.
(3) I mentioned the lack of walks of late. It's been since he's returned to the hill this year. Roy has a 1.80 BB/9 mark which would be his best rate since 2006.
(4) His 1.43 GB/FB is a match for his career average of 1.46.
(5) His xFIP, which tries to normalize pitchers efforts in the homer category while giving a good read on how a pitcher is performing based on the events that are in his control, says his ERA should be 3.49, not 5.94. Moreover, that 3.49 xFIP mark is below his 3.57 career rate. Further, his SIERA, an even more advanced measure than xFIP, says his ERA should be 3.39 (career 3.69). Yes, according to the skills Oswalt is flashing right now, his ERA should be two runs lower than it currently is.
(6) Oswalt has a .382 BABIP. That's crazy high for anyone, especially a guy who owns a career .299 mark who has never had a single season above .316 for his career.
(7) Promise this is the last one – I know you're getting more Roy Oswalt information than you had any interest in – his left on base percentage is 64.5 percent. Oswalt owns a career rate of 75.9 percent, an elite number, and he's never been under 72.7 percent in any of his previous 11 seasons.
Oswalt has pitched better than it appears. Someone should be giving him a chance to start.
Ray Flowers can be heard daily on Sirius/XM Radio on The Fantasy Drive on Sirius 210 and XM 87, Monday through Friday, 7-10 PM EDT. Ray's baseball analysis can be found at BaseballGuys.com, and you can also find him on Twitter at the BaseballGuys Twitter page.
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