The Commish Online                                                                                
BLOG ARCHIVE:  05/01/07 - 05/31/07
Kindred spirits: well who knew?  My teen obsession, Alyssa Milano, turns out to be a die hard baseball fan and now even has her own blog, called touch 'em all.  At first glance, it looks like a shameless promotion for her new line of baseball-themed clothing, but upon reading her entries, it appears that Samantha Miceli actually knows her stuff.  I guess Tony taught her well.

After years of multiple "Peavy is great" entries on this website, I have tried to resist giving the Padres hurler such praise this year, but his performance is making it impossible to go unnoticed.  Heading into June, Jake Peavy has a miniscule 1.47 ERA, a 7-1 record, a K-BB ratio over 4.0, and he has allowed only 1 home run so far this season.  Topping it off, Peavy is hitting .231 with 3 RBIs.  Needless to say, San Diego's ace is making a name for himself and becoming as automatic in the National League as Johan Santana has been in the American League.

05/24/07's Gene Wojciechowski wrote an insightful article about the... let's call them "eccentric" fellows who patrol McCovey's Cove for a shot a glory, fame, and riches thanks to a Barry Bonds home run ball.  What makes the article insightful is that rather than simply interviewing the group of guys, Wojciechowski strapped on the gear, manned a kayak, and experienced the night just as Gene Pointer and the rest of the gang did.

June is approaching and you're getting nervous that Paul Konerko may never find his swing again.  He will always be shockingly slow, but his stats will climb, so don't go trading away your underachievers in deals reeking of desparation.  Listen to Thomas Paine and exercise a little common sense.  It may take you to the promised land.  The latest Fantasy Focus explains how...

All eyes will be on Rafael Furcal tonight (at least those eyes that can stay awake for West Coast games) to see if he can match Milt Stock's (who?) record of four consecutive four-hit games.  Furcal has raised his batting average 83 points in the past four games thanks to a 14 for 16 hitting binge.  If he continues the pace tonight, he might be sharing a long standing record - Stock's feat came in 1925 with the Brooklyn Dodgers.

Where have all the runs gone?
Blame it on good pitching, bad fundamentals, less "juice," and whatever you'd like, but runs are way down this year.  At the end of 2006, only 18 teams averaged less than 5 runs/game (and NONE under 4 runs/game).  This year, a whopping 23 teams are averaging less than 5 runs/game, and more alarming, SIX teams are below 4 runs/game (including last year's champ in St. Louis and 2005's champ in the White Sox).  It will be interesting to see if the trend continues as the weather heats up, because if the runs don't pick up, we all know what everyone will be blaming...

On the "Cust" of stardom:  Jack Cust, journeyman hitter with less than 200 career ABs, suddenly put it all together for one week, dominating the AL with 6 home runs and 14 RBIs in just 7 games last week.  The trend is unlikely to continue, but it's always nice to see a 28-year-old player who was willing to stick around finally reap the benefits of all those minor league busrides.

There's been a lot of talk the past few years (this site included) about the group of exciting young pitchers coming in (Hernandez, Peavy, Cain, Papelbon, Weaver, etc.).  Make no mistake, however, the mound still belongs to the veterans.  With far less stuff than they've ever had, guys like Maddux, Smoltz, Glavine, Moyer, Wells, Clemens, Johnson, and others are still getting it done near or past their 40th birthdays.  In fact, they are even signing multi-year deals.

What does that mean for baseball?  For starters (pun intended), there can NEVER be enough good young pitching coming through the pipeline.  If oldtimers with gout and diabetes like Wells, or "make your own contract" guys like Clemens can't be pushed out of the rotation yet, then there still is plenty of room for more young pitchers.  Secondly, it means that the game is so much more than pure skill, and that like a "real" job, the education learned in the process makes the player better year after year, even as the skills erode.  For a guy who would be on my last big contract if I had the talent, that makes me smile a little.

Since my picks were subpar last year, I thought now would be a good chance to pat myself on the back before everything falls apart by June.  Sure it's only May 9, but 5 of my 6 picks to win their division are currently leading their division, and even my World Series pick of the Dodgers over the Red Sox still looks like a possibility. 

With 80% of the season still ahead, the one team I think I underestimated was the Angels, specifically the pitching staff.  MORE specifically, Bartolo Colon.  Somehow, Colon has become one of the major's most underrated pitchers of the past decade.  Putting in 8 1/2 years of durability primarily in the American League (save for half a season with Montreal), Colon was often in the 200+ IP department and currently sports a career ERA below 4.00.  Before his recent surgery, Colon put together 8 straight years of 14 or more wins, and his postseason ERA is 3.61 in 9 starts.  The way he's pitching so far this year, Colon appears healthy and is likely to finish his career with about 200 wins, a K/BB ratio around 2.3, and K/IP ratio of 7, and an ERA in the high 3's.  It's not exactly a Hall of Fame career, but it may turn out to be one of the more overlooked careers by an American League pitcher in recent memory.

If you're like me and you drafted Toronto closer B.J. Ryan in the 6th round of your fantasy draft, please join my lawsuit against Blue Jays management.  They claim that they hid Ryan's injury in spring training.  For that, I expect G.M. Ricciardi to reimburse my dues of $210, or at least help me convince another owner to give me Mariano Rivera instead.  If you don't play fantasy baseball and think we are all just a bunch of losers, then read the latest Foul Territory, because you may be right!

Looking at the current Pythagorean Records, Cleveland, Pittsburgh, Tampa Bay, and Milwaukee are all outperforming by about 2 wins, and even the Cardinals and their 10 - 16 record is 2 wins too many.  On the flip side, look for the Blue Jays, Yankees, and Cubs to pick up a few extra W's if they continue to outscore their opponents at the same rate.

The catcher position in fantasy baseball seems weaker than past years, and Mike Piazza's recent shoulder injury (still catcher-eligible in most leagues) doesn't help matters.

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