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Posts from the ‘Rookies’ Category

Lake Trout, Brown Trout, Rainbow Trout – finally Mike Trout!

April 28, 2012

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With the decision by Los Angeles Angles Manager Mike Scioscia to put Mike Trout on the field – we thought it would only be appropriate to toss some of our own trout on the baseball field.  If it works with squid and catfish at some National Hockey League ice rinks, it’ll be good enough for us as well.

Lake Trout, Brown Trout, Rainbow Trout and Mike Trout on the field!

Our hats off, rods up and fish on the field salute to Mike Scioscia for his decision!

The Los Malos Muchachos will start Mike Trout immediately in our line up.  We think this is the spark the Angles will need to get it going and close the gap on the Rangers.

We encourage Angels Nation to empty their ice chests and get behind the Angles and celebrate the arrival of Mike Trout to The Show!

Nice job Mike Scioscia!

Royals Crowned this year?

April 2, 2012

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In an ESPN head to head league I joined this year – the Eleven Jerks League, I selected Alex Gordon for $10 as one of my pre-season Keepers. I inherited this team from last year’s manager – how he ended up with Alex Gordon on his team I am not sure. But I was glad to have the opportunity to select him as one of the two guys I would take into my draft – the other being Prince Fielder.

I selected Alex based on his value price of $10 more than on confidence of his performance. The idea being to select players whose value is less than market – or whose value I think are currently undervalued and will rise during the season. Alex Gordon cost me $10 and Prince Fielder $19 – a total of $29 dollars. Not bad – so long as they deliver.

Alex showed promise last year in Kansas City. If he can just cut down on his strikeouts this year, and show a little more patience at the plate – pick out HIS pitch and not be afraid to take some walks as the lead off hitter I think I have a “$10 keeper”.

The Waiver Wire reminds me that Alex played in 151 games last year (.303 Batting Avg., 23 HR and 87 RBI) and finished the 2011 as a Gold Glove Winner and almost cracked the Top 20 in MVP Voting (he finished 21st).

KC Royals have had some Phenoms in the past.

What’s not to like about the young Royal’s talent in 2012?

Eric Hosmer is catching a lot of attention in all Leagues. I would have drafted him at First Base for my Team – or tried anyway. If he can come close to the level of play he enjoyed in 2011 (.293 Batting Avg., 19 HR, 87 RBI in 128 games) he will prove that his third place finish in Rookie of the Year voting was well deserved.

The Waiver Wire like’s Mike Moustakas over at third base as well. But can these Royals live up to the expectations the Fantasy Managers have on them?

I am hoping that Alex Gordon is the sleeper of the bunch and is able to show that 2011 was the beginning of some great years. And I like him hitting in front – at the top of the order where he can get out and score some runs.

But let’s not forget some other Royals players – current and past – who have had lofty predictions and expectations placed on them. Let’s call them as they were at the time: The Phenom, The Natural and The Big Stick.

1. The Phenom: Clint Hurdle was shown on the on March 20th, 1978 cover of Sports Illustrated and touted as “This year’s Phenom” . In the feature article, Larry Keith of SI writes about “…budding flowers and chirping birds” and speaks of the 1978 crop of phenoms as the “Eternal Hopefuls of Spring” – with Clint Hurdle being the best of them.

Clint Hurdle featured on SI cover, March 1978 as "This Year's Phenom"

2. The Natural: Jeff Francoeur once graced the cover of Sports Illustrated and was billed as “The Natural” as a result of his hot start in August 2005 with the Atlanta Braves.

After is call up on July 6th, Jeff did play and look like the summer’s version of the eternal hope when at age 21 he hit a home run in his first game. Jeff ended 2005 with a .300 Batting Avg., 14 HR, and 45 RBI in his first 70 games.

But I recall Chipper Jones – one of the best pure hitters in my book – saying about Jeff “…it’s not supposed to be that easy”.

And in fact Jeff did show a tendency to swing outside the zone too often. This was an interesting fact not overlooked by J.C. Bradbury over at Sabernomics as early as April of 2006. J.C. evidently like Chipper was still pondering Jeff Francoeur.

And where is Jeff today? After signing a one year deal with Kansas City in December 2010, Jeff agreed to a two year extension on August 18, 2011 worth $13.5M.

3. The Big Stick: Sports Illustrated cover on June 12, 1989 Bo Jackson. “Nobody Hits ’em like Bo” – the writer in this case was none other than Perter Gammons. Perhaps Peter did not choose the title, as it could have read “Nobody Hits ’em, Throws ’em or Catches ’em like Bo – period.” In small print I would have added “oh yea, he can run with the best of ’em too!“.

This is not the article to dive into Bo’s stats, or talk about what could have been. The fact is, there are only a few players who come along in any sport who can leave you with the feeling Larry Keith described. I am sure any of the managers in a fantasy league would overpaid for Bo just to earn bragging rights with the other fantasy managers.

Are the “Baby Royals” comparable to Clint, Jeff or Bo when they were just breaking into the Big League? I’ll let others take a swing at the comparisons.

Baseball Reference has ready-made stats to make a stab at the comparisons of Alex Gordon, Eric Hosmer and Mike Moustakas to other players at similar points in their careers.

Some players with similar stats to Alex Gordon through age 27 include Eric Hinski, Dave Henderson, Bernie Carbo and Ray Lankford.

Players with stats similar to Eric Hosmer through age 21 listed include Eddie Murray, Greg Luzinski, Jake Beckley and Willie Mays. You can probably guess of those which three are in the Hall of Fame. Check to see if you were correct here.

Are they trending up, just beginning to peak or do they have “holes” in their swing that other teams will begin to exploit this year as they did with Jeff Francoeur? We’ll just have to wait and see.

I’m pulling for Alex Gordon – and would have been first in line to take Bo in 1989!