Results tagged ‘ San Diego Padres ’

Jon Garland Finds a Home at Petco Park

By Tommy Rancel //

After spending nine seasons in the American League, Jon Garland
is in year two of his National League West tour. The right-hander
signed with the Arizona Diamondbacks prior to the 2009 season, and was
traded mid-season to the Los Angeles Dodgers. Garland didn’t gather
much interest on the open market this off-season. He settled on a
one-year deal with another NL West team, the San Diego Padres, worth
slightly more than $5 million. In hindsight, it may have been the
smartest move of his career.

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A
double-digit game winner in each season since 2002, Garland is already
halfway there in 2010. He goes into his next start with a 5-2 record in
nine starts. At first glance, his 2.38 ERA suggests a career season
thus far, but Garland has been the beneficiary of some good luck, and a
lot of home cooking.

Looking at FIP (fielding independent
pitching) and xFIP (expected fielding independent pitching), two
metrics that strip defense and luck from a pitcher’s performance,
Garland is pretty much the same pitcher he has always been. His 4.20
FIP is slightly lower than his career 4.70 FIP, but when we neutralize
his home run rate, his 2010 xFIP of 4.77 is actually slightly higher
than his career xFIP of 4.62.

Pitching in Petco Park has done
wonders for some of Garland’s numbers. The largest reason for his xFIP
being higher than normal is home run rate. In his career, Garland has
given up 1.10 home runs per nine innings (HR/9). Thanks to the spacious
dimensions of Petco – especially in right-center field – his HR/9 is
less than half that (0.51) thus far in 2010. In fact, he has not
allowed a home run in 25 innings at Petco; his HR/9 on the road is
0.96.
 
In addition to a suppressed home run rate, Garland has
enjoyed a lower than normal batting average on balls in play (BABIP) in
San Diego. Overall, his 2010 BABIP of .262 is nearly 30 points less
than his .289 career number. Looking at the home/road splits again, his
home BABIP of .224 is far below his relatively normal road BABIP of
.300.

Because of the lower home run and hit rates, his home
ERA (1.08) is two and a half runs lower than his road ERA (3.54). That
said, Garland has arguably been a better pitcher on the road, even if
the superficial stats don’t show it. Away from Petco, he is striking
out more than seven batters per nine innings (K/9); at home, his K/9 is
a microscopic 2.88. In addition to more Ks on the road, he is walking
fewer batters in enemy territory. He has allowed 11 walks in 28 road
innings, while handing out 16 free passes in 25 home innings (5.79
BB/9).

Regression to the mean tells us that at some point
Garland will come back to earth, and revert to career norms across the
board. However, regression doesn’t take into account that Petco Park
has been one of the most unfriendly home run parks over the past three
seasons (last or second-to-last in home runs per game every season
since 2007).

If the Padres keep up their winning ways, Garland
is likely to continue his quest for a ninth straight double-digit wins
season. However, Bloomberg Sports’ Fantasy Tools warns us of some rough patches ahead.

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The
system projects Garland to go 8-10 with a 4.18 ERA for the rest of the
season. If you can live with season-ending totals of 10-13 wins, a
league-average ERA, and little in terms of strikeouts, then Garland is
a safe play. However, if you have better talents at the head of your
rotation, you might want to consider selling high on Garland. Even
Petco Park can’t prop him up forever.

For more on Jon Garland and the surprising San Diego Padres, check out Bloomberg Sports’ Fantasy Tools.

Scott Hairston’s Early-Season Surge

By R.J. Anderson //

Scott Hairston is not the only Hairston on the San Diego Padres. His brother, Jerry Hairston Jr., has been the Friars’ starting shortstop with Everth Cabrera on the disabled list. Scott starts most games for the Padres too, and why wouldn’t he? The Padres traded Hairston during the 2009 season, but reacquired him in the Kevin Kouzmanoff deal and quickly decided he would start in the outfield.

So far, Hairston is batting .247/.357/.494 with six homers and three steals. Besides the fact that Hairston’s previous career high in home runs is 17 – and that he’s on pace to top that by a healthy margin – Hairston is also walking more than 13% of the time. It wasn’t too long ago that Hairston was a top prospect with the Arizona Diamondbacks. Playing second and clobbering home runs, but doing so with poor defense, the Diamondbacks eventually traded him to the Padres; they would also allow Dan Uggla to leave via the Rule 5 draft, a player with a similar skill set.

 

shairston1.pngHairston’s career batting average is a few points higher, but here’s where things get a little weird. His career batting average on balls in play is about 20 points above his current level, meaning Hairston is a little unlucky based on what we know about his ability to turn batted balls into hits. On the other hand, he’s striking out 33% of the time. That’s well above his typical K rate around 23% and generally enough to kill any hopes of a respectable batting average.

Of course, with Hairston, the golden egg of value is never going to be his batting average, but rather his power. This surge of power is impressive, without doubt, yet carries some sustainability questions. His home run per fly ball ratio is above 20% (career is just under 12%) and he plays in the National League West, where most parks, save for Coors Field, tend to favor pitchers. Hairston plays his home games at PETCO Park, one of the toughest stadiums in the game for power hitters, though a more favorable environment for right-handed hitters like Hairston than for lefties.

Hairston’s status changed over the weekend, though. He suffered a hamstring injury and may be on his way to the disabled list. So there are a few ways to assess his value. In shallow mixed leagues, you can disable him or just cut him outright. In deeper leagues, his DL stint might provide a buy-low opportunity. If you can find someone willing to offer 85 to 90 cents on the dollar based on Hairston’s power potential, though, pull the trigger.

For more about Scott Hairston , check out Bloomberg Sports’ Fantasy Tools.

 

Hanley Ramirez No, Everth Cabrera Yes

By Jonah Keri

Hanley Ramirez is a consensus Top-2 pick.
Troy Tulowitzki’s in most people’s Top 20, and some people’s Top 10.
Jimmy Rollins’ stock has dropped a bit, but he remains a high-round
favorite among fantasy shortstop picks.

In deeper leagues, you can safely ignore all of them.
Building
your draft is all about finding value. One of the best sources of value
this year will be cheap steals – especially from the shortstop
position. In deep mixed leagues and especially NL-only leagues with 10
teams or more, several lightly-regarded shortstops figure to bring a
lot of hidden value in late rounds.
Leading that pack is Everth Cabrera. The 23-year-old San Diego Padre
swiped 25 bases in his rookie season last year, tied for 6th among MLB
shortstops.

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Cabrera’s impressive steals total came despite playing in just 103
games last year. Project those numbers out over a full season, and 35+
steals become a realistic goal; no MLB SS swiped more than 33 bags in
2009. Cabrera figures to get that additional playing time too. He
showed decent plate discipline, walking in 10.5% of his plate
appearances and notching a .342 on-base percentage. Cabrera also played
solid enough defense to earn his team’s trust as an everyday shortstop.
Cabrera will never be confused for a five-category beast like Ramirez.
He hit groundballs on 62.7% of the ball he hit in play last year, an
astronomical figure that severely limits his ability to rack up
extra-base hits. A look at his Spider Chart (bottom center) shows that Cabrera offered
value in the Runs Scored and Stolen Bases department. His other fantasy
categories aren’t pretty: His two home runs put him miles below the
league average even at a more power-deficient position like shortstop,
and you’re probably not knocking in a ton of runs if you’re constantly
chopping the ball into the ground either.

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Cabrera’s value could hinge on his batting average. His .255 mark last
year was sub-par for someone with little to no power and a .325 batting
average on balls in play suggests that the culprit wasn’t necessarily
bad luck. On the other hand, Cabrera’s speed should work to his
advantage, helping him leg out infield hits. If he can hoist his line
drive percentage a bit higher than last year’s 14.8% and stick in the
everyday lineup, we could be looking at a .280 hitter with 80+ runs
scored and 35 steals.
Cabrera sports an Average Draft Position of 249. But his B-Rank (Bloomberg Sports’ proprietary ranking of all players) of 190 demonstrates his significantly higher upside.
Grabbing Albert Pujols or Chase Utley near the top of your draft, then waiting until the late rounds to grab Everth Cabrera (or Cubs shortstop Ryan Theriot,
a player with similar skills) as your starting shortstop and source of
cheap steals, could pay big dividends for your team this season.
For more information on Everth Cabrera and hundreds of other players,
and for dozens of tools to help you dominate your fantasy league, check
out Bloomberg Sports’ fantasy kits.
 

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