The Dodgers hit a bunch of homers off a guy named Bailey, and more from Monday's action.
The Monday Takeaway
If Homer Bailey never has to see Adrian Gonzalez again, the Reds right-hander would be just fine with that. Gonzalez entered Monday’s series-closing matinee 10-for-23 lifetime with five homers and two doubles against Bailey. Among opponents with at least 20 head-to-head plate appearances, Gonzalez’s 1.632 OPS was tops by more than 250 points. And that was before this:
What's the best way to spend money, given what we know right this minute?
A few years ago, I had a conversation with my brother. We were talking about (surprise!) baseball, but then his finance degree started talking. He pointed out to me that baseball is actually a really bad business model to be trapped in. The majority of your costs are fixed. You will be paying them, no matter what. Unlike the NFL, MLB contracts are largely guaranteed, so once a team signs a big expensive free agent, they are on the hook for paying him, sometimes on the hook several years into the future. On the other side, a lot of the revenue sources that teams have traditionally counted on (attendance, concessions, merchandise)—items that even in the age of huge TV contracts and regional sports networks being big feeders of the bottom line are still important—are variable. Fans usually come out to support a winner and a lot of times it’s hard to know how good you’ll be in three years. Will there be enough revenue to cover the cost of that fancy new second baseman? Teams aren’t completely operating in the dark when it comes to budgeting, but unlike a lot of other industries where if demand slows down, you can simply slow down production (and save money that way), baseball doesn’t let you do that.
The Brewers outfielder has a 1.132 OPS since the All-Star break, but how much of that surge can he sustain?
Rebuilding teams are too often overlooked in fantasy leagues. Their competitive situation brings about inherent obstacles—such as low win totals for starting pitchers or lower-than-expected RBI totals—but their ineptitude also affords them the freedom to experiment with fringe players in hopes of uncovering an unexpected contributor for the following campaign.
Notes on first-rounders Hudson Potts, Taylor Ward, and others.
Hudson Potts, 3B, San Diego Padres (Complex Level AZL)
Selected 24th-overall in June out of a Texas high school, the artist formerly known as Hudson Sanchez has already earned his first professional promotion after a solid debut, especially for a kid won’t be 18 until October. A tall third baseman with very soft hands and fluid motions on the field, Potts swings right-handed, gets the barrel to the ball quickly, and shows the ability (and willingness) to use the whole field. He has good balance at the plate and a swing tailored to hit line drives, but he has the frame to develop power as he progresses. I expect his defensive ability to carry him early on, and there’s a reasonable chance the power eventually comes around to league average. —Matt Pullman
Winston Lavendier, LHP, Los Angeles Angels (High-A Inland Empire)
Lavendier's "windup," if you can call it that, basically consists of him lifting his leg into a tucked coil, tensing every muscle in his body, and hurtling every part of it towards the plate as hard and fast as he can. It is among the highest of high-energy delivery you'll see, and it creates some good (moderate deception and quality extension) along with some bad (I just can't see a reliable command profile coming out of that delivery). He controlled the stuff pretty well, though, generating quality plane and driving the ball into the zone. He was all fastball in this look, piling up three outs on just nine pitches with some electricity and finish at 91-94. He apparently has a relatively deep complimentary arsenal, as well, showing a slider and what appeared to be a splitter in warmups, with both moving at a similar vertical trajectory. —Wilson Karaman
Surveying the ninth-inning situations around the league.
It was something of a slow week in the closer world, with a couple of (former) closers returning from injury but not getting their jobs back. Besides that, the only storylines are clarifications (or a lack of clarity) in some of the most miserable bullpens in the league. Sounds fun! As always, you can keep up with the changes on the closer grid. Now, to the news!
The Mets, on the brink of being out of it, have the most attractive player on the August trade market, and a reasonable path to trading him.
Sunday night complicated things, a little. One can never talk about what the Mets should do without talking about the disconnect between that and what the Mets will do, and the gulf between those two things grows out of both the bizarre ownership situation and the even more bizarre fan culture that surrounds the team. Thus, when Yoenis Cespedes cracked a game-winning, two-run homer to beat the Giants on national TV and bring the Mets back to .500 Sunday night, he made it excruciatingly hard for the Mets to consider trading him. Still, if we can (hypothetically) bridge the gap between what is and what ought to be for a moment, the fact is that they ought to explore it.
Keeping the baby, throwing out (with maximum speed and efficiency) the bathwater.
One of the virtues of baseball is its harmlessness. Particularly in the summer, when teams have grown comfortable into their rosters, when seasons aren’t yet won or lost, the game relaxes. Unlike football, with its constant climax and its unending, wearying significance, even the greatest accomplishments and worst mistakes of a baseball player can only do so much; another game waits tomorrow. Summer baseball does not enervate, it does not demand. It’s an old person’s game, not because there is a certain demographic who grew up once loving baseball and will die off, as is often assumed, but because its pace matches the preference of a certain mindset. That demographic, however, still terrifies the men charged with profiting off it.
A look at how the wise guys spent their money in expert leagues this week.
Welcome to The FAAB Review, the series that looks at the expert bidding in LABR mixed, Tout Wars NL, and Tout Wars AL every week in an effort to try and help you, the Baseball Prospectus reader, with your fantasy baseball bidding needs. Bret Sayre and I participate in LABR Mixed while I have a team in Tout Wars NL, so I can provide some insight on the bids and the reasoning behind them. LABR uses a $100 budget with one-dollar minimum bids, while the Tout Wars leagues use a $1,000 budget with zero-dollar minimum bids. I will also be including Bret’s winning bids in Tout Wars mixed auction league where applicable.
LABR and Tout Wars both use a bidding deadline of Sunday at midnight ET.
Robert Gs... Gsell...Gonna pitch out the bullpen so it doesn't really matter.
The Situation: The Mets face what amounts to a do-or-die three-game set with St. Louis, the second wild card leaders, this week. One of those games will be started by Jacob deGrom. That is good. The other two are scheduled to be started by Jon Niese and Seth Lugo. And now that Steven Matz is headed to the disabled list with shoulder inflammation, it isn't a huge surprise that they called up their best upper-level starting pitching prospect to...uh...well...pitch out of the bullpen?
The Background: Gsellman was the Mets 13th-round pick in 2011 out of Westchester High School in Los Angeles. A multi-sport athlete, he was also only 17 when drafted and proceeded through the system slowly, spending a Summer at each of the organization's three short-season affiliates. He's been on prospect radars for a while but only cracked the Mets top ten for the first time this past offseason off a strong campaign between St. Lucie and Binghamton. Gsellman struggled to miss bats in his first taste of Double-A, but the addition of a slider this Spring has helped him find more success in the upper minors in 2016.