Daily Archives: December 19, 2011

Huston Street and Edinson Volquez: 2012 Fantasy Baseball Targets

Monday December 19, 2011

Peter Stein (Fantasy Baseball Analyst – MLB reports):  As players continue to get moved in the offseason, it is important to take notice before your fantasy draft next March. Trades and free agent signings can have major impact on a player’s value. It is these types of players that you want to target on draft day, with the hope of drafting them at last year’s value. It is this approach that is essential for acquiring surplus value.

After the San Diego Padres lost Heath Bell to free agency, they now turn to the 28-year-old Huston Street to close games in 2012. Last year, with a 3.86 ERA and 29 saves, there were many more desirable closers than Street last season. However, leaving Colorado for San Diego, I expect Street to revert back to his Oakland days and quietly be one of the league’s top 10 closers. The reasons have everything to do with his surroundings.

First and foremost, Street is moving from one of the league’s most hitter friendly ballparks to the pitching friendly confines of PETCO Park. The proof is in the stats. In his three years playing in Colorado, Street had a 4.20 ERA in 94.1 inning at home compared to a 2.59 clip in 73 road innings. What has gotten Street into a lot of trouble throughout his career is the long ball, surrendering 22 home runs in the 167 innings he pitched as a Colorado Rockie. Expect this number to dramatically decrease in San Diego. For perspective of just how big PETCO Park is and how difficult it is to hit a home run, in the 2009 and 2010 seasons, Adrian Gonzalez his just 23 of his 72 home runs at home. Baseball Reference indicates that Coors Field allowed 17% more home runs than the average park in 2011, while PETCO yields a rate 7% less than the average park.

At first glance, coming off a season with a 3.86 ERA and 1.45 HR/9 innings, Huston Street had the worst season of his career and will be undervalued by many. However, his fielding independent numbers show that he is the same pitcher that he has always been. The strikeout rate (23%) was just a little lower than his career clip (25.2%), and he was hurt by a .317 BABIP (.274 career) and an inflated home run per flyball rate (14.5% compared to 8.1% career). His XFIP was a much more respectable 3.14. Lastly, with the low scoring offense in San Diego, Street is likely to have a boatload of save opportunities, even if the team struggles to win 75 games. They are not going to below any teams out, so the majority of the wins will result in save chances. With Mike Adams gone as well, Street should not be susceptible to competition within the organization, especially as I expect the Padres to try to showcase Street as trade bait come July.

Huston Street projection for 2012:  57 IP, 4W , 3L, 36 SV, 58K, 2.81 ERA, 1.06 WHIP

By taking the same approach, Edinson Volquez is a guy to keep an eye on in 2012. He struggled mightily in 2011, finishing 5-7 with a 5.71 ERA while also pitching 87 innings in the minor leagues as a 28-year-old.  However, this is a guy who has had success in the past and still demonstrated the ability to miss bats in 2011.

If used wisely, that is only at home and against favorable matchups; he has potential for great value. His k/9 ratio hovers just below 9 and he is another player who was hurt by the long ball. An astonishingly high home run per flyball rate of 20.7% in 2011 made it impossible for Volquez to have success. However, his career rate is only 12.7 percent and the switch to PETCO Park should assure that Volquez regresses back to the mean in 2012. By no means a guy who should anchor your staff or even start regularly, but he can provide tremendous value as spot starter in 2012. Furthermore, he is the type of player I like to own in the beginning of a season, because if has an impressive April, his trade value will be through the roof given his past success.

Many fantasy players will label Volquez and Street as “has been’s” given the fact that they are both a few years removed from their most successful major league season. However, both players are only 28 years old and were in unfavorable surroundings last season and now move to a pitcher’s most desirable location in San Diego. They will likely fly under the radar, and if they can be had for a price based on their 2011 performance, fantasy owners will surely reap the benefits in 2012.

***Today’s feature was prepared by our Fantasy Baseball Analyst, Peter Stein.  We highly encourage you to leave your comments and feedback at the bottom of the page and share in the discussion with our readers.  You can also follow Peter on Twitter (@peterWstein).***


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MLB Ballpark Traditions: American League

Monday December 19, 2011

Doug Booth-  Guest Baseball Writer:  Since I finished writing the book on my experiences in chasing down the World Record by going to all the baseball parks, I decided to ask for help in my research. I went to every ballpark for two years in a row from 2008-2009, and am always fascinated by traditions and things each city does at a ballpark. Like Sweet Caroline is always played in the bottom of 8th at Fenway or…. Tailgate parties that I have seen in Oakland, New York and Minnesota. This could be something on field, in the air, outside the ballpark, after or before the game. Fans have their own way of celebrating.  This is just what I have picked up.  What else am I missing?

New York Yankees-Yankee-Stadium

1. They take roll call for every position player–and it comes from the bleachers once the game starts. Each 9 starting fielders in the TOP of the first gets their name called. The fans chant each of the BALLPLAYERS until they wave their hats back to acknowledge them.

2. Frank Sinatra’s “New York, New York” is played at the end of every game in an infinite loop.

3. You got the ‘DEREK JETER’ with rhythmic clapping after wards

4. They chant HIP-HIP JORGE for Jorge Posada–or they say his name to the famous chant of soccer—JORGE-JORGE-JORGE-JORGE-JORGE-JORGE.

5. Of course there are the famous calls of John Sterling for each player. Example,-“Teixeira sends a TEX MESSAGE TO RIGHT FIELD oh you are on the ‘MARK’ Teixeira.

6. Of course booing all the opposition is common.


Boston Red Sox-Fenway Park

1. Play the song Sweet Caroline in the bottom of the eighth.

2. They boo the catcher and pitcher of the opposite team every time they meet at the mound.

Toronto Blue Jays.-Rogers Center

1. They start at the time of 37-or 07 after the hour to accommodate both the Canadian and American anthem.

2. They have a chant in the stands where a guy counts from 10-1 and then everyone screams.

3. Other cities have called the some of the worst fans in baseball—they do the wave when they are down 10 runs—do you think they would do the wave in New York or Boston if their team was behind by 10 runs?

Baltimore Orioles-Oriole Park at Camden Yards

1. They chant “Oh” really loud at the time of the national anthem when the part says Oh say does that star spangle….”

2.  There was a kid who would sprint out with a player’s jacket whenever there was a pitcher called in relief from the bullpen-is he still there?

Tampa Bay Rays-Tropicana Field

1. They play the “HEY RAYS” song when they win.

2. They post the starting lineups on a scoreboard outside the park whenever they are playing that day.

3. They light up the lights outside the ‘TROP’ on nights they win so that motorists can tell the home team won.

4. They have cowbells they use in the stands ‘for effect’

Chicago White Sox-US Cellular Field

1. Their come out song is “Thunderstruck.”

2. They always shoot fireworks after the home runs.

3. They have an old-time song they sing every game, what is it?

Detroit Tigers-Comerica Park

1. They have one of the only names retired instead of numbers with “TY COBB”S’ name being displayed but no number ahead of his name.

2. They play “Detroit Rock City”, by Kiss before the game

Kansas City Royals-Kauffman Stadium

1. They shoot the water fountains high between innings.

2. One of the only clubs that play western music, this includes a rendition of “I got friends in low places.”

Minnesota Twins-Target Field

1.TC(the Twins Mascot)-hits batting practice with a lucky fan before every game.

Cleveland Indians-Progressive Field

1. They have the loyal drummer in right field that attends every game.

2. They usually play the song “CLEVELAND ROCKS” at some point in the game.

3. There is always a clip from ‘MAJOR LEAGUE’ used too.

Seattle Mariners-Safeco Field

1. There is a train that comes through about every 10 minutes in the background-almost as frequent as planes at CITI FIELD.

2. They were the ‘original team’ of the theme “ZOMBIE NATION” by KernKraft 400.

Oakland A’s-McaFee Coliseum/now O.Overstock Coliseum

1. Get there early enough and you are sure to find half the parking lot tailgating. Note: “Worst park to where opposition gear, after all, A’s fan is also “RAIDER FAN.”

2. I would never suggest public transportation in this area, serious safety concern–pay the excruciating 17 dollars and park outside the stadium for easy access in and out.

Texas Rangers-The Ballpark in Arlington

1. They play the “Natural” theme song whenever there is a homer hit by the home team.

2. “They sing the STARS AT NIGHT SONG” as do the Astros.

Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim-Angels Stadium

1. The staff used to wear the 20’s usher outfits until recently but they still all wear straw hats like lots of other staffs.

2. They have the waterfall going a lot-and they also have fireworks every time there is a homer hit.

These traditions make baseball great.  I would appreciate any other traditions that you know of.  If you are the game it makes the experience so much greater in participating.  Booth7629@gmail.com

Get ready for Part 2 of Doug Booth’s Ballpark Traditions feature on MLB reports, with a look at the National League Traditions. Coming up this week on MLB reports!

*** Thank you to our Guest Baseball Writer- Doug Booth for joining us today on MLB reports.  To learn more about “The Fastest 30 Ballgames” and Doug Booth, you can follow Doug on Twitter (@ChuckBooth3024) and click here for Doug’s website, fastestthirtyballgames.com*** 

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