Exactly 27 years ago today the genius known as Mel Brooks unleashed the film “Spaceballs.” To boil a masterpiece such as that down to a single scene is impossible, but the trailer does a solid job. Okay, and the ludicrous speed scene. And the “When will then be now?” clip. You know, just go watch the entire film; it’s on Netflix.
Thoughts on Everth Cabrera
After turning in his first multi-hit game in nearly a month, Cabrera caught my writing eye once more. He burst onto fantasy radars two years ago — despite his .246 batting average — with 44 steals. Cabrera followed up his breakout 2012 season with an even stronger 2013 campaign. His steals dipped to 37 but his triple slash jumped 30-50 points across the board while maintaining a nearly identical BABIP. This season hasn’t gone according to plan and there are some interesting numbers worth looking at.
After dropping his strikeout rate to 15.9% last year, I hoped his high strikeout rates of previous seasons were behind him. Unfortunately this year we’ve seen him spike back up to a 23.8% rate, higher than his 21.1% career average. Where his strikeout rate has climbed his walk rate has plummeted to nearly half of his 2012-13 average. Admittedly I don’t watch many San Diego Padres games, but the numbers don’t give me the impression he’s been pressing at the plate. Last season Cabrera averaged 4.01 pitches per plate appearance and this year he’s posting an even higher tally at 4.13. His 54.7% first strike rate is the lowest of his career and given his pitches seen rate and low F-Strike%, one could expect his on-base percentage to be strong. Except it isn’t. What he does choose to swing at he is missing at a clip that more closely resembles his 2012 numbers than the 2013 version.
I realize his .288 BABIP is nearly 30 points below his career average — and 50 points below his 2012-13 average — but he seems to have lost his offensive gains of last year. If you’re clinging to the hope he’ll hit .280+ again, I think you’ll be disappointed. Cabrera’s speed is still useful but his rate stats won’t be pretty. He’s a starting shortstop who is available in almost 40% of CBS, ESPN and Yahoo! leagues for a reason.
Brett Lawrie to miss 3-6 weeks
On Sunday Lawrie was struck by an errant fastball from Johnny Cueto and yesterday we learned the extent of the damage. The Toronto Blue Jays moved him to the 15-day disabled list and let us hope he misses the low end of the timetable. As the article alluded to, Lawrie was having a solid season if you throw out his putrid April. The opening month of the season was cruel to him as his .176 BABIP brought him a .192/.243/.384 line, equating a 70 wRC+. Since the calendar flipped to May he’s hit for a 113 and 110 wRC+ in May and June respectively.
The return of Travis d’Arnaud
The New York Mets are expected to recall d’Arnaud today prior to their game against the Oakland A’s. The catcher was sent down to Triple-A for 16 days but he mashed a .444/.483./926 line before apparently earning another shot on the major league roster. The Pacific Coast League is known for its offense and Las Vegas, home of the Mets’ Triple-A affiliate, is no exception. The takeaway is d’Arnaud isn’t as good as his Triple-A numbers nor is he as bad as what he showed to begin the season. Currently sitting on a 51 wRC+, both ZiPS and Steamer project him to hit much better for the rest of the season. I’m cautiously optimistic for him as his 257 major league PA’s are still well within the realm of small sample size.
The daily five
Starting pitcher: Scott Kazmir — $9,000
After praising d’Arnaud, I’m now picking against him. By RA-9 WAR, Kazmir rates as a top 10 pitcher and by WAR he falls all the way down to 17th. Factor in the Mets’ 92 wRC+ against left-handed pitchers and I love Kazmir today.
Starting pitcher: Jake Peavy — $6,700
Great price and a great matchup for Peavy as he’ll pitch in Safeco. Another chit in his favor is he’ll be pitching in Safeco against the Seattle Mariners and their 21st ranked 90 wRC+ against righties.
Other hitter: Alex Rios — $4,400
Another Rangers right-handed hitter.
Remaining budget: $20,400
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