konerko
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It’s always fun to generate and debate lists. We’ll continue with the All-2000 to Present White Sox Lineup.
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C – A.J. Pierzynski
1B – Paul Konerko
2B – Ray Durham
3B – Joe Crede
SS – Alexei Ramirez
RF – Magglio Ordonez
LF – Carlos Lee
CF – Alex Rios
DH – Frank Thomas
SP – Mark Buehrle
SP – Chris Sale
SP – Gavin Floyd
SP – Jose Contreras
SP – Freddy Garcia
Closer – Bobby Jenks
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Baltimore Orioles
Boston Red Sox
New York Yankees
Tampa Bay Rays
Toronto Blue Jays


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Edwin Jackson is 4-6 with a 4.47 ERA and 73 strikeouts in 73 strikeouts in 86-2/3 innings. While those aren’t numbers that are going to push you over the top, they aren’t going to hurt you much either. That is until you look at his WHIP.
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Jackson has a WHIP of 1.52, which can be devastating to your team in that category. Even when he threw a no-hitter last year, he still had a 0.89 WHIP in the game thanks to eight walks.
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Jackson averages 3.1 walks per nine innings, which is up from the 2.6 mark he set last year. It is, however, better than the 3.9 career mark he had entering this year.
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After going 2-3 with a 5.86 ERA and a 1.70 WHIP in April, Jackson has settled down to go 2-3 with a 3.51 ERA and 1.40 WHIP in May and June. He averaged 4.3 BB/9 in April and has the mark down to 2.3 for May and June.
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Just because Edwin has turned things around doesn’t mean you should blindly use him. His home/road splits are a telling sign. On the road he’s 2-4 with a 6.07 ERA and 1.63 WHIP. At U.S. Cellular he’s 2-2 with a 2.89 ERA and a 1.42 WHIP. Sure, the WHIP is still high, but it is acceptable considering the low ERA he posts.
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You should also sit him when he faces a top offense. He has a 9.00 ERA against the Yankees, Blue Jays, and Rangers. Against all other teams he has a 3.44 ERA. If the match-up is right or he’s pitching at home, don’t be afraid to trot Edwin out there (assuming you can afford the bump to your WHIP). When he’s on the road or facing superior competition, the alarms in your head should be going off.
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In ten starts this year John Danks has yet to pick up a win while sporting a bloated 1.45 WHIP. Not exactly what everybody expected from him this year. Not after three consecutive double-digit win/sub 4.00 ERA seasons.
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Can he get back on track?
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Considering he’s not all the way off the track, I say yes. The lack of a single win stings, and while the WHIP is high it’s not a death blow to fantasy teams. Nor is his 4.34 ERA. His strikeouts per nine innings is slightly down at 6.1, but his lifetime mark is just 6.9 so he hasn’t went in the tank.
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Consistency has been an issue. He has given up four or more runs in 40 percent of his starts.  Every other start in his past six have been one of those bad starts. With Toronto on the horizon, I’m afraid he’s going to make that four of seven. While I would not start him against the Jays on Sunday, I wouldn’t write him off either.
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Danks has been unlucky, and not just because he’s winless despite an ERA slightly north of 4.00. Not just because his team scored two or fewer runs in six of ten starts. Naturally both of those factors come into play, but he also has a .308 BABIP.  Last year it was .274, in 2009 in was .267, and in 2008 it was .293.
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Considering he was one of the steadiest pitchers over the past three years, I would expect his BABIP to come down. His double-digit win streak is in serious jeopardy, but he should have some nice moments ahead.
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His combined career record for June and July is 18-10 with a 3.78 ERA. The rest of the months he is 28-41 with a 4.09 ERA.
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Use Danks as a streamer when the match-up is right. You should still get some quality starts from him.
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When Alex Rios hit .163 in April the panic button looked tempting. Now we’re approaching Memorial Day and his average stands at .210. What’s worse, the player that hit 21 home runs with 34 stolen bases has just four of each this year.
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Not only is panic setting in, its cousin anger is tagging along. Rios was supposed to be one of the top outfield choices this year and he’s on pace for a .210- 81-13-42-13 campaign. Yikes. Before you begin to craft your hate mail, I urge you to settle down.
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Rios was terrible that first month. Brutal actually. That kind of hole takes time to dig out of. He’s not setting the world ablaze, but he is hitting .269 in May. That’s more than a 100 point improvement. Three of his home runs have come this month as well, helping his OPS improve by .261.
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Alex struggled mightily in 2009, which helped him land in Chicago in the first place. He hit .247 that year with 63 runs, 17 HRs, 71 RBI, and 24 SBs. His BABIP had always been .309 or better, but it dipped to .273 that year. Maybe he just struggled with the adjustment. Maybe getting put on waivers bruised his ego. Maybe he just went into a shell after his altercation with a fan was caught on videotape.
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Whatever the reason, Rios bounced back last year. His BABIP (.306) came along for the ride.
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It’s way down this year. I’m talking way, way down for a guy with his speed. It is .219 to be exact. He’s usually around 100 points higher. Will he bounce back to .300? Unlikely. Not after 50 games are in the books. He could, however, have a .300 BABIP from here on out. July (.297 average, .799 OPS) has historically been his second best month behind May (.297 average, .850 OPS). Of course August and September are his two worst months so the struggles could continue, but maybe he got them out of the way early this year.
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Whatever the case, Rios is trending in the right direction and the odds of improved luck are in his favor. It’s a good time to try to buy low on him. If you already have him, it’s a good time to hold (unless you get a Godfather type offer that you can’t refuse). That way you get to reap the benefits of the rebound rather than your competition.
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Jake Peavy is set to make his 2011 debut on Wednesday against Anaheim. He was 7-6 last year for the White Sox with a 4.63 ERA, a 1.23 WHIP, and 93 strikeouts in 107 innings. He hasn’t thrown 200 innings since 2007, but he is worth a look in deeper leagues.
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Peavy started off slow last year, posting a 7.85 ERA in 28-2/3 April innings and a 5.09 ERA in 40-2/3 May innings. He settled down, posting a 1.75 in 36 June innings, before being lost for the season on July 6th.
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The Angels strikeout nearly as much as anyone if you are looking to start Peavy in his season debut. Just know that it is a risk.
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We have teamed up with DraftStreet.com to offer an exclusive free contest to LestersLegends.com readers. The freeroll will have $100 in cash prizes, the top 5 get paid, and it is totally free to sign up. Click here to get in on the action.
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(Photo Credit: Getty Images, By: Christian Petersen)
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Adam Dunn is hitting .157 with three home runs and 12 RBI. He’s never been one to hit for average, as evidenced by his lifetime .249 average, but this is ridiculous.
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Even when he was hitting poorly though he was a consistent power threat. His OPS always seemed to be around .900. He hit 46 home runs in 2004 before hitting 40 for four straight years and 38 for two. He had a down year of 92 RBI in 2006, but has had between 100 and 106 RBI since 2004. I don’t know if there has ever been a more consistent player in baseball.
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Until this year. Dunn is on pace to hit 15.7 home runs with 62.7 RBI. Those aren’t the numbers you expected when you took Adam Dunn. So what gives?
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It doesn’t give his owners much solace, but he has missed seven games this year. Not to mention the fact that he quickly, perhaps too quickly, returned from his appendectomy. I know, I know Matt Holliday is doing just fine, but everybody is different. Remember that an appendectomy usually meant a trip to the disabled list. He may be able to play, but you’d be kidding yourself to think he was at 100 percent. Dunn was hitting .286 (four hits in 14 ABs) before his appendectomy and .130 (nine hits in 69 ABs) since.
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Dunn is also still getting accustomed to the American League. After ten years of playing in the National League, it is understandable to struggle a bit as he gets familiar with the ballparks and the pitchers.
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Of his 83 at bats, 30 have come against Jeremy Guthrie (2), Justin Verlander (3), Dan Haren (3), Jered Weaver (3), Francisco Liriano (4), C.C. Sabathia (3), Brett Anderson (2), Trevor Cahill (2), James Shields (4), Jose Valverde (2), Joakim Soria (1), and Mariano Rivera (1). He has just two hits (.067) against them.
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Adam is also dealing with a some poor luck. His .213 BABIP is the lowest of his career and 81 points off his career mark of .294. Eventually he’ll start to hit the ball out of the ballpark and not right at the defense. He’ll get more comfortable with the league and he’ll get his strength back. He may be in too big of a hole to give you 38 HRs and 100 RBI, but he’s still capable of 30 and 85. At this point, I’ll take that.
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Now is probably the best time to buy low on Adam Dunn.
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(Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)
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I thought the NFL was a copycat league. Apparently Adam Dunn didn’t get the memo. Like Matt Holliday, Dunn underwent an emergency appendectomy early this morning. Like Holliday he’ll hope to make a speedy recovery. Dunn was hitting .286 with three runs, a home run, and five RBI. Here are some early season options that could help fill the void while he is out.
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  • Gaby Sanchez, FLA: .444, two runs, two RBI
  • Ike Davis, NYM:  .333, three runs, one HR, four RBI
  • Justin Smoak, SEA:  .294, one run, one RBI
  • Lyle Overbay, PIT:  .278, one run, one HR, three RBI
  • Garrett Jones, PIT:  .250, two runs, one HR, one RBI

2011 AL Central Preview

28 February 2011

LestersLegends.com is teaming up with EE Sports World.com to break down all the divisions in baseball. My assignment was the AL Central. I’ll review the teams in the order I expect them to finish.
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First Place:  Minnesota Twins
The key to the Twins success is the health of Justin Morneau and Joe Nathan. Minnesota did an excellent job piecing things together last year with Jim Thome, Michael Cuddyer and company, but if they want to repeat as American League Central Champions, they’ll need Morneau’s bat. The Twins always seem to get by at closer so this isn’t nearly as primary a concern. Even if he falters, they have Matt Capps as an insurance policy.
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The Twins added Tsuyoshi Nishioka in the offseason to bolster their middle infield. The rest of their moves were just securing their free agents, namely Carl Pavano and Jim Thome. Delmon Young and Danny Valencia were pleasant surprises for the Twins last year while Michael Cuddyer once again showed his versatility. Denard Span struggled at times, but should bounce back.
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Francisco Liriano shined in the rotation, which will be the key to the Twins success. If they can get strong efforts from Liriano, Pavano, Scott Baker, and company there is a good chance that Ron Gardenhire pulls the right strings again to maintain A.L. Central dominance.
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Second Place:  Chicago White Sox

The White Sox added some firepower in the offseason by bringing in Adam Dunn to join the likes of Alex Rios, Paul Konerko, Alexei Ramirez, and Carlos Quentin. Juan Pierre will once again set the table, and Gordon Beckham looks to break out.
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The White Sox have a solid rotation, and should get a nice boost when Jake Peavy returns from shoulder surgery around the All-Star Break. Until then, it will be up to John Danks, Mark Buehrle, Gavin Floyd, and Edwin Jackson to carry the load. The White Sox lost Bobby Jenks in the bullpen, but Matt Thornton and Chris Sale should be up to the task.
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Ozzie Guillen will be entertaining, or annoying depending on your point of view, once again. You cannot accuse him of not speaking his mind. The White Sox seem to have a mental block that keeps them from getting past the Twins. If they can overcome it, the division is theirs for the taking.
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Third Place:  Detroit Tigers
Miguel Cabrera is the most talented player in the division, but he may also be the most troubled. Good news for Tigers fans and his fantasy owners that his arrest happened before the season started. He’s dealing with a serious issue though that is bigger than baseball. Fortunately the structure of the season could be what he needs to keep his life in order.
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On a less serious note, the addition of Victor Martinez gives the team a little more firepower. With Austin Jackson, Ryan Raburn, Carlos Guillen, and Jhonny Peralta, the Tigers could have a potent offense in 2011. Justin Verlander anchors the pitching staff with Max Scherzer living up to his promise. There are question marks in the back end of their rotation, which makes it hard for me to imagine they can surpass the Twins or the White Sox.
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Fourth Place:  Cleveland Indians
The Indians could actually surprise some people this year. Shin-Soo Choo is one of the most underrated players in the American League. Grady Sizemore is trying to recover from knee surgery. He was one of the most exciting players in baseball, and could really help their offense. Carlos Santana looks like one of the best young catchers in the league while Orlando Cabrera will provide veteran leadership. If players like Michael Brantley and Matt LaPorta can take the next step, the Tribe have an outside shot of taking third place.
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That is, if they get the pitching they need. Fausto Carmona had a strong year, but if he loses his mechanics on his sinker, he can go south fast. Justin Masterson has the goods, he just needs to work on his control issues. Too many free passes lead to big innings. Chris Perez is a solid closer, but the rest of the pitching staff is loaded with question marks.
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Fifth Place:  Kansas City Royals
Zack Greinke is gone. Jeff Francis, Luke Hochevar, Kyle Davies, and Vin Mazzaro do not intimidate opposing batters. Joakim Soria is one of the best closers in the American League, but how many leads will he be able to protect? Speaking of protecting, who is going to protect Billy Butler in the Royals’ lineup? Mike Aviles had a strong finish to last year and Kila Ka’aihue has a cool name and some pop, but this is a team that is going to struggle to avoid 100 losses.
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Gordon Beckham was the eight pick in the 2008 Amateur Draft after his .411, 97 runs, 28 HRs, 77 RBI, 17 SBs season for the University of Georgia. He tore through the Minors hitting .322 with 40 runs, 7 HRs, 33 RBI, and two SBs in 59 games for Single-A Kannapolis, Double-A Birmingham, and Triple-A Charlotte.
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His adjustment to the Majors went swimmingly as he hit .270 with 58 runs, 14 HRs, 63 RBI, and seven SBs as a rookie with the White Sox in 2009. He was highly regarded heading into last year.
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He started the season hitting just .216 with a .277 on-base percentage, a .304 slugging percentage, and .581 OPS before the All-Star Break. He had just one HR and ten RBI in the first two months of the season.
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He flipped a switch following the break though as he hit .310 with a .380 OBP, .497 SLG, and a .877 OPS the rest of the way. He has six HRs and 27 RBI in his final 171 at bats after having just three and 22 in his first 273.
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Unfortunately the struggles returned for Beckham in September. He had just six hits in 32 ABs (.188) with two runs and two RBI. With just two good months on the year, Beckham won’t be as popular in fantasy drafts.
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That gets me excited. Who doesn’t like a good bargain? He’s expected to hit second in the White Sox lineup, one that added Adam Dunn to go along with Alex Rios, Paul Konerko, and Carlos Quentin. With Juan Pierre setting the table, and wreaking havoc on the basepaths, along with Beckham’s power, he has a chance to have a solid RBI total from the two-hole. With the boppers behind him, he has a good chance to score plenty of runs. I don’t see him as a major SB threat, but that’s just fine if he can provide the power that he’s capable of.
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What’s your take? Do you like Beckham in 2011 or not?
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Jake Peavy threw 20 brilliant innings for the White Sox last year going 3-0 with a 1.35 ERA, a 0.85 WHIP, a .162 BAA, and 18 Ks. Obviously that’s not a pace he can keep in a full season with the White Sox, but he should still be one of the better #2 fantasy pitchers out there (click here for starting pitcher rankings).

Leaving PETCO Park and the National League isn’t ideal for Peavy, but he’ll adjust. Talented pitching generally holds up regardless of where you pitch. Take C.C. Sabathia for example. He had no problem delivering for the Yankees last year. Same with Cliff Lee in Philly.

Peavy is a 95-68 (.586) pitcher with a 3.26 ERA, a 1.18 WHIP, and a .231 BAA. His K/9 ratio is 9.02. While he’s been dominant at home, he hasn’t been terrible on the road.

Home: 740.3 IP, 47-31, 2.82 ERA, 1.09 WHIP, .219 BAA, 792 K
Away: 622.3 IP, 48-37, 3.79 ERA, 1.29 WHIP, .244 BAA, 574 K

His primary opponents (Twins, Tigers, Indians, Royals) aren’t exactly offensive juggernauts. Peavy may not put up the numbers of yesteryear, but he won’t be going as early in drafts, which should offset things. I’d be more than happy with him as a #2 fantasy pitcher.

Prediction: 15-8, 3.50 ERA, 1.22 WHIP, 175 Ks

Past profiles:
Arizona Diamondbacks:  Brandon Webb
Atlanta Braves: Yunel Escobar
Baltimore Orioles:  Adam Jones
Boston Red Sox:  Clay Buchholz
Chicago Cubs:  Geovany Soto


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