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Fantasy Baseball Edge: Fifty Facts For Fifty Days

Josh Hamilton of the Texas Rangers (credit: Mitchell Layton/Getty Images)

Josh Hamilton of the Texas Rangers (credit: Mitchell Layton/Getty Images)

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By Matt Cott, Matt Schwimmer, & Moe Koltun of RotoAnalysis.com

The last couple of weeks, we have focused on taking a look at the past in our ‘Best Fantasy Seasons of All Time Series’ (The Hitters, and The Pitchers). In those seemingly short two weeks, two important things have happened: firstly we’ve missed an inordinately large amount of news and happenings in the fantasy world, and secondly, we noticed that there have been exactly 50 days since the start of the Major League Baseball (and fantasy) season with Oakland and Seattle’s series in Japan. So, to celebrate those facts, we have decided to take a break from looking at the past and instead look to the future, not by focusing a lot of our attention on just a few players, but by giving you fifty facts, one per day of the season so far, to help you win your league going forward.

  1. Of the top 20 relief pitchers drafted in CBS leagues, 8 are on the DL (Mariano, Wilson, Storen, Madson, Bailey, Street, Soria, and Farnsworth).
  2. Relief pitching is crazy shallow this year. The league leaders in saves are currently Jim Johnson, Fernando Rodney, and Chris Perez. Closing jobs are changing hands nearly every day. Staying on top of the waiver wire to take advantage of these openings could be the key to winning any individual week.
  3. Jason Hammel and Vance Worley have something in common.
  4. That thing is that each of them have both struck out more batters per inning and walked fewer batters per inning than Jon Lester, Shaun Marcum, Jeremy Hellickson and………………C.J. Wilson.
  5. Emilio Bonifacio has more steals (19) than 10 whole MLB teams do.
  6. Josh Hamilton has averaged just 117.8 games played in his 5 full seasons in the big leagues.
  7. Hamilton is currently on pace to hit 62 home runs if he played just 118 games this season (and 80 homers in 150 games!).
  8. Player A is an outfielder who is hitting .289, striking out in 18.8% of his plate appearances, walking in 10.6% of his plate appearances, has 3 homers and 7 steals.
  9. Player B is an outfielder who is hitting .308, striking out in 22.3% of his plate appearances, walking in 8.1% of his plate appearances, has 8 homers and 0 steals.
  10. Player A has made contact 80.3% of the time that he has swung so far this season, has had ‘swinging strikes’ (the percentage of the time a player swings and misses per pitch) only 7.4% of the time, and his balls have left the park on only 9.1% of his fly balls (home run per fly ball is a very luck-based stat).
  11. Player B has made contact only 74.5% of the time that he has swung so far this season, has ‘swinging strikes’ a whopping 12.6% of the time, and his balls have left the park on 21.1% of his fly balls while his career average is 12.6%.
  12. Player A is hitting Line Drives an absurd 28.4% of the time (line drives turn into hits more often than any other type of hit ball), which ranks him 12th in baseball.
  13. Player B is hitting them 24.8% of the time, which is not in the top 30 in MLB.
  14. Player A is Alejandro De Aza. Player B is Andre Ethier.
  15. Last season, San Diego Padres starting pitcher Cory Luebke struck out 9.92 batters per nine innings, walked only 2.84, and became an enormous fantasy sleeper in the fantasy community.
  16. This season Luebke is missing in action due to injury, but relief-pitcher eligible Padres’ pitcher Anthony Bass has shined, striking out 8.62 batters per nine innings while walking only 2.87 and pitching in spacious Petco Park.
  17. Ricky Romero pitches in the AL East, is striking out only 6.08 batters per nine innings, and is walking a preposterous 4.39 batters per nine innings.
  18. Bass is owned in only 42% of CBS leagues, while Romero’s ownership sits at 97%.
  19. Albert Pujols’ batting average on balls in play (BABIP) is .236 while his career BABIP is .309.
  20. His Line Drive rate is 23.4% while his career rate is 19.1%
  21. His HR/FB rate is 2.3% while his career average is 19.4%.
  22. In other words, I would not worry about Albert Pujols. He has gotten very unlucky to start the year.
  23. In his last two seasons, Rafael Soriano has walked 4.12 and 5.14 batters per nine innings.
  24. Rafael Soriano’s career rate is 2.89 hitters per nine (including these last two seasons). Yankee fans should not pin their hopes on Rafael Soriano unless he can find his command again.
  25. Freddie Freeman leads the major leagues with a 37.4% line drive rate.
  26. No player has ever posted a line drive rate higher then 30.7% in a season.
  27. While Freeman has a very respectable .317 BABIP, it’s fair to claim that he’s been very unlucky this season on balls in play because of the amount of line drives he hits.
  28. Dee Gordon has 12 steals and 1 homer, while Michael Bourn has 11 steals and 1 homer.
  29. However, Bourn is hitting .340, walking 9.0% of the time, and striking out only 16.3% of the time while Gordon is hitting .212, walking 4.8% of the time and striking out 19.3% of the time.
  30. Bourn also pairs all that with 27 runs and 10 RBIs as compared to Gordon’s 15 runs and 8 RBIs.
  31. Michael Bourn is not a ‘pure speed guy’. Dee Gordon is. That is a fact.
  32. There are 2 pitchers in the league with more walks than strikeouts in over 30 IP: Clay Bucholz and Ubaldo Jimenez.
  33. Bryan LaHair strikes out 28.1% of the time, 12th worst in the majors.
  34.  Of the hitters striking out more then him, only one other hitter is hitting above .260
  35.  If Bryan LaHair continued with his .444 BABIP, he would set a MLB record, and his 37% HR/FB rate would be second in MLB history.
  36.  All is not lost with Bryan LaHair because he is 14th in the league in BB% and has a LD rate of 23.3%. While he’s certainly not the next superstar, he’s not a complete fluke who’s going to be in the minor leagues next year.
  37. Of the top 15 on the player rater in 2011, just 2 (Kemp & Braun) remain in the top 15 so far in 2012.
  38. Johan Santana has his best strikeout rate (9.97 K/9) since 2004.
  39. Player A this season: 50 IP, 5-1, 45 Ks, 2.34 ERA
  40. Player B this season: 52.2 IP, 3-1, 47 Ks, 2.22 ERA
  41. Player A is Chris Capuano. Player B is his rotation-mate Clayton Kershaw. Just saying.
  42. 95 of Adam Dunn’s 159 PAs have been “true outcomes”: Homers, walks, or strikeouts.
  43. Dunn is batting .275 with 7 homers in the month of May to make him the top fantasy 1B in that time period.
  44. Henderson Alvarez has posted a 2.62 ERA this season while posting a 5.17 FIP.
  45. Max Scherzer has posted a 6.26 ERA this season while posting a 3.76 xFIP.
  46. Henderson Alvarez has the second lowest K/9 in the major leagues at 2.43, almost the same amount of hitters he walks in nine innings.
  47. Max Scherzer has the third highest K/9 in the major leagues at 10.37,over 2.5 times the amount of hitters he walks in nine innings.
  48. Player A: .267 AVG, 1 HR, and 4 RBIs in 22 games.
  49. Player B: .357 AVG, 2 HRs, and 10 RBIs in 14 games.
  50. Player A is Robinson Cano in April. Player B is Robinson Cano in May. Buy in if anybody in your league is still thinking he is struggling.

Agree? Disagree? Questions? Tweet @RotoAnalysis and be sure to follow Moe @MoeProblems and Matt @KidCotti21. Check out their work on RotoAnalysis.com, as well as The RotoAnalysis Fantasy Sports Podcast.