For one night, the White Sox look like the team to beat in the AL Central.
The Tuesday Takeaway
The White Sox entered last night’s matchup with Justin Verlander with a .237 team TAv, the second-worst mark in baseball. Only the Marlins, at .231, had been less potent at the plate as a group, and Mike Redmond’s bunch did not have the benefit of a designated hitter. Among junior-circuit clubs, the Yankees, 11 points ahead of the White Sox at .248, were the next-worst squad.
The American League’s least productive lineup, one with only two starters toting on-base percentages higher than .310, is not supposed to collect 23 hits in a game against Verlander. But on Tuesday, the White Sox did.
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Detroit reasserts its dominance in the AL Central.
The Monday Takeaway
Two days before their scheduled return home to welcome the Tigers, the Indians earned a 6-5, series-opening victory over the Royals to move into first place in the American League Central, a perch they had not held since May 23. The Tribe snuck up on a scuffling Tigers squad that had lost six of seven, bouncing all the way back from its own eight-game skid in early June.
Over the last four days, though, Jim Leyland’s club has reasserted its strength, ensuring that the Indians’ stay atop the standings would be a short one. The Tigers won the first two games of the four-game set at Progressive Field, running the home team’s losing streak to four contests and their own winning streak to five. A 9-6 victory on Sunday gave the Indians a chance to salvage a series split on Monday night, which would have left them just 1 ½ games behind first-place Detroit.
Cole Hamels snapped a six-start losing streak, and he stays in the auto-start ranks as Paul looks ahead to next week.
Welcome to the Weekly Pitching Planner. Each week I will cover the pitchers are who slated to make two starts and help you decide who you should start and who you should sit. Sometimes guys will be in the “consider” where they might have one good start, but a second tough one and then your league settings might determine whether or not you should go forward with him. The pitchers will be split by league then by categories:
Auto-Starts – These are your surefire fantasy aces. You paid a handsome sum for them either with an early draft pick or high dollar auction bid so you’re starting them anywhere, anytime. Guys can emerge onto or fall off of this list as the season evolves. There won’t be many – if any – notes associated with these groupings each week. We are starting them automatically so why do I need to expound on how awesome they are and will be in the coming week?
The Phillies have reportedly agreed to complete another big-money, long-term extension, this time with Cole Hamels.
FOX Sports' Ken Rosenthal has reported that the Philadelphia Phillies have agreed to extend Cole Hamels to a six-year extension in excess of $137.5 million. However, the deal and the amount of money involved have not yet been confirmed. If and when the extension is announced and/or the contract details are finalized, we'll update this post.
If you're in the middle of the pack when it comes to free agent acquisition budget, you're in a great position to improve your team this month.
Welcome to the All-Star break, fantasy players. If you’re reading this right now, chances are you still have a pretty good chance of winning your league, so congratulations! Today, I wanted to talk about a good value proposition that usually presents itself around this time of year.
If you’ve followed my early-season advice of being aggressive with your FAAB budget, chances are you’re sitting somewhere in the middle of the pack in terms of FAAB remaining. You’ve made a few buys, many of which have hopefully worked out, but several of your competitors have been pinching pennies in anticipation of MLB’s trade deadline while a few others have blown their stakes early. In Tout Wars and LABR, I find myself in this exact position:
Sometimes I write about serious things. Today, for instance, I wrote about umpires. Umpires are usually pretty serious, because they know that if they smile they might look vulnerable, and then someone might throw a helmet at them. And yesterday, I wrote about the Astros, who are more serious than we thought they’d be.
Derek takes a look at top players who might become available in AL-only leagues.
Of all the leagues I play in, one of my favorite rule quirks is in the Draft Day AL-only league (formerly CardRunners). In Draft Day, owners are allowed to pick up any player in any baseball universe. If the player winds up playing in the American League, you get his stats. This applies not only to more common fair-game pickups like minor leaguers but also to National League players, allowing owners to speculate on potential mid-season trade candidates. Presently, there are seven National Leaguers owned in the league, so I wanted to take a look at each and see why.
Carlos Quentin | San Diego Padres | OF
In just nine games since coming off the disabled list, Quentin has already blasted five home runs for the Pads while triple-slashing .484/.543/1.097. The Friars aren’t going anywhere this season, currently sitting in the basement of the NL West, 19 games out of first. PECOTA has written them off entirely at this point, giving them a 0.0 percent chance of making the playoffs. Quentin is a free agent at the end of the year, and rumors are already circulating about potential trades with the Blue Jays mentioned as a specific possibility. The Padres are also talking about extending him, although that could just be to keep his value high.
What are the real mechanical precursors of pitcher injury? And what is the real lesson of Mark Prior's injury history?
Pitching mechanics are a bit like long-snappers in football, in the sense that we hear about them only when something goes horribly wrong. Mechanics rarely enter the discussion until a pitcher gets hurt, but when an ace succumbs to injury, the village folk grab their torches and pitchforks to go on the hunt for blame.
Experience has taught me that there is rarely an isolated cause for a pitcher's injury, with confounding variables that include mechanics, conditioning, workloads, genetics, and plain old luck. The pitching delivery is a high-performance machine, with a multitude of moving parts that must work efficiently in concert for the system to perform at peak levels, and any weak link in the system can lead to a breakdown.
Bryce Harper has already impressed with his play, but on Sunday, he made a similarly strong statement about his much-maligned makeup.
We thought we knew Bryce Harper pretty well even before he arrived in the big leagues. We saw him on the cover of Sports Illustrated when he was 16. We watched him dominate against older amateur competition, get drafted first overall, and hold his own against professional players several years his senior. Presented with Harper’s on-field exploits and the testimony of talent evaluators, we never questioned his skills, except to wonder whether he was merely great or the most promising prospect ever.
Our only serious questions concerned his makeup, and Baseball Prospectus was the source of some of the most concerning quotes. Two years ago, Kevin Goldsteinwrote, “It’s impossible to find any talent evaluator who isn’t blown away by Harper’s ability on the field, but it’s equally difficult to find one who doesn’t genuinely dislike the kid.” Kevin repeated a scout’s assessment that Harper had “top-of-the-scale arrogance, a disturbingly large sense of entitlement, and on-field behavior that includes taunting opponents.” He quoted one front-office official who said, “He’s just a bad, bad guy. He’s basically the anti-Joe Mauer.”