Fantasy Notes: Sexson Rolling Since Break
August 29, 2006 | | comment on this post
- Richie Sexson, just dreadful the first couple of months of the season, has spent the past few weeks trying to justify that huge cash outlay by the Mariners. Since the break, the hulking Sexson is batting .280 with 11 homers while getting on base at a .354 clip. That home run total is the second highest among AL first baseman since the break, with only Mark Teixeira having gone yard more. And with Sexson’s modest 5-for-9 run the past three games, he’s managed to work his average back to .239. But you don’t tend to draft him for his BA, do you? It’s all about the power, baby. And believe it or not, Sexson is now on pace for 34 jacks and 109 RBI, not too shabby, especially considering the whole he dug himself.
- While we’re talking about the Mariners, Kenji Johjima has had a pretty successful North American debut, especially with the bat. He’s hitting .294, and has improved as the season has progressed, always a nice sign. But he really doesn’t powess the kind of power we thought he had when Johjima slammed five homers and slugged over .640 for the month of June. In just one other month has the Japanese import managed to hit as many as three homers and slug as high as .409. He can hit for average, yes, but I think the main concern about him remains his defense (10 passed balls and four errors).
- And then there’s Ichiro. Hard to believe that you can pin much of the Mariners’ August swoon on him, but that’s what happens when your best hitter has a 520 OPS for the month. In the second half, Ichiro’s BA is down 75 points and his OPS has plummeted 230 points. Yet somehow, he’s still batting .319 for the year.
- Those of you that jumped all over Jamie Moyer for your NL-only teams only to see him get hammered last night, my message is: don’t sweat it. Despite the rough results (nine hits, seven runs — five earned — in six innings), Moyer did his thing. That is, he recorded 12 ground ball outs compared to just six in the air. So the Mets found some holes. It happens. Moyer is still a wise investment for the rest of the season.
- Looks like the Gambler is over his second-half woes. Long vilified for being a horrible pitcher after the All-Star break, Kenny Rogers appeared to be headed down the same path this year, getting beaten like a step child in three of his first four post-break starts. Since then, however, Rogers has been phenomenal. In his last five starts covering 33 innings, he’s given up just 21 hits and 10 runs — six earned — with only two homers allowed (and none over the past four outings). The 41-year-old southpaw looks like a fine play down the stretch.
- One pitcher who’s been true to form this year is the A’s Joe Blanton. Traditionally a second-half pitcher, he has not failed to live up to that rep this season, recording a 6-2 mark with an ERA below 3.40 since the break. Compare that to his 8-8, 4.95 record before the All-Star game as you know why you need to take another look at him. It’s improved command and a serious reduction in the gopher ball department (just one homer allowed in eight post-break starts vs. 10 in 18 starts before that) that have been the ingredients to Blanton’s turnaround, because opponents are actually batting five points higher against him since the break.
- Here’s a name for you: Casey Fossum. The Rays’ starter managed just 43 Ks against 39 walks in 16 starts and 89 2/3 innings before the break. Since then, he must be drinking the same Kool Aid as Scott Kazmir, as he’s rung up 45 batters (with 19 walks) in just 38 2/3 innings and eight starts. The thing is, his walk rates are about the same, as are his hit rates, yet the ERA hasn’t really changed. I think it will, so you might want to consider Fossum as an option.