Hi, my name is Drew Silva. And I’m a baseball addict.
It’s my first post here on this wonderful website and I’m absolutely ecstatic. I’ll spare you too many details about my arrival, but I just want to let the Fan Graphs and Roto Graphs community know how grateful I am to be a part of this movement toward better understanding the game of baseball and, in particular, player performance. Hopefully I can add something to the fray. Just as my man Albert Pujols never squanders an at-bat, I’ll never put forth minimal effort on a post. 110 percent, and all that jazz.
My role on here is two-fold. I’ll provide semi-daily “meta analyses” of individual players, pulling information and opinions from a variety of resources to further understand the characteristics and potential of these chosen athletes. I’ll also be providing links to quality fantasy articles from other websites. If you ever come across, or personally produce, something you feel should be shared, feel free to hit me up.
I may tweak the format from time to time as I get settled in, so bear with me. I’m like the 2008 version of Ryan Howard — I’ll get around to mashing eventually.
The Dodgers’ Andre Ethier is gaining increased attention these days with Manny Ramirez in the penalty box. His club is in first place in the NL West, with a major league-leading .667 winning percentage, and the 27-year-old outfielder is off to a fine start. Ethier is out-pacing his ZiPS projections in nearly every category with seven doubles, six home runs, 27 RBI and 23 runs scored through 123 at-bats. Let’s get further acquainted.
Ethier hosts his own blog on MLB.com, where he can be found reviewing restaurants and likening playoff losses to being “kicked in the stomach.” In a post dated October 16, 2008, he took partial blame for the Dodgers’ early exit against the eventual champion Philadelphia Phillies:
“We just had a lack of execution,” he wrote. “I’m guilty. I was not getting on base in front of Manny so he could drive me in. He hit something crazy like .538 but we didn’t score enough runs. I have to get the job done a little better. I have to come back next year with the knowledge I’ve gained from this and be a better baseball player.”
The Dodgers decided to move Ethier behind Manny in the lineup this offseason and all was well until a few days ago, when Ramirez’s PED-tainted urine knocked everything out of whack. Ethier was doing an excellent job of getting on base, with a .419 OBP through the month of April, but things have obviously changed in Chavez Ravine. He is now being shifted around the lineup on a nightly basis and is being challenged more often than ever by opposing pitchers. He hit third on Saturday, then cleanup on Sunday. In both games, however, manager Joe Torre slotted him behind Orlando Hudson. Torre’s logic is fairly obvious; he wants speed in front of power. But how will it affect Ethier’s offensive totals?
Dylan Hernandez of the Los Angeles Times wrote a piece on Ethier just days before news of Manny’s suspension broke. Today’s subject had been drawing walks, including intentional passes, at an unusually high rate. “He walked 14 times in the Dodgers’ first 19 games, putting him on pace for 119,” Hernandez noted. “He drew 59 free passes last season.” Hitting behind Manny during the first several weeks of the ’09 season, he was being awarded first base whenever the dread-locked slugger failed to reach. He’ll no longer get that treatment, and it’s sure to affect his on-base percentage, among other things. Will it also derail his already impressive RBI and run totals?
No player in the Dodgers’ lineup will get on base as frequently as Manny did. Hudson has a career OBP of .349. Not terrible, but also not too sexy when compared to Manny’s career .412 mark. It’s simple math – there won’t be as many ducks on the pond when Ethier digs in. Expect a step back, unless Ethier can truly step it up.
On to some links…
KFFL asks the age-old fantasy question, “When is it time to punt a category?”
Mark St. Amant of Rotoworld has this week’s Fantasy Man-Crush Index. That third baseman from Tampa Bay, and his .480 wOBA, predictably tops the list. “Our current mesosphere, stratosphere and troposphere just aren’t high enough to contain the skyrocketing value of one Evan Longoria,” writes St. Amant.
Ballpark Bob of Fantasy Baseball Dugout believes WHIP should somehow incorporate HBPs as well. “There have been exactly 10% as many hit by pitches as walks” this season, reports Bentz . Hard to ignore.