Glengarry Sandbox  (06/08/01)

This week's Sandbox update was inspired by the movie 'Glengarry Glen Ross', a riveting movie with great performances by a number of the best actors in the business.  Jack Lemmon, Kevin Spacey, Al Pacino and (gulp) Alec Baldwin give memorable performances in this raw examination of the world of sales and philosophical metaphor for our society.

Anyway, the reason GG is this week's theme is that I don't really have any solid theory or pithy analysis; all I have are leads on the directions that particular players are going.  I just hope my leads don't turn out like the ones in the movie - missing or insane.

You're either looking forward or looking in the past.

I decided to drop Bubba Trammell.  It wasn't because his bat has gone cold in late May/early June.  It's because his playing time is threatened by the return of Mike Darr.  Mark Kotsay has picked up his game considerably over the past month and is starting to look like the player the Padres envisioned when they traded for him.  He will be playing every day.  Mike Darr is a similarly talented all-around player, although his plate discipline isn't as good as Kotsay's.  As long as he's hitting above .300 and supplying solid defense, though, he'll be playing everyday as well.  Those two guys will get the majority of the playing time in center and in right field until Tony Gwynn returns, at which point they'll be in center and left.

This means that Trammell, despite the fact that he's probably the third or fourth best hitter on the team, will have to share playing time with Rickey Henderson, Mike Colangelo and Tony Gwynn.  Colangelo will probably end up with a good number of those at bats as he has really blossomed with regular playing time.  In games he starts, Colangelo is hitting .318 and slugging .545.  Between Henderson's dogged pursuit of historic records and Colangelo's emergence, Trammell will be squeezed for at bats.

From a fantasy game standpoint, even with as productive as he is, he's probably not gonna get the opportunity to produce a lot of fantasy points.  As I explained last week regarding starting pitchers, opportunities can be as crucial as performance.  If Trammell is not gonna get the ABs, then regardless of how well he performs, his value will be limited in a fantasy point game. 

Coffee is for closers

With Billy Wagner down for a little while with an elbow strain - preliminary results of the testing indicate he'll be fine in a couple of weeks - I decided now was a good time to pick up an extra reliever.  I found it somewhat ironic that the same week that Wagner went down, the guy he replaced in Houston (Todd Jones) got replaced in Detroit.  Matt Anderson has always had the stuff to close.  His 100 mph fastball has been well chronicled.  His problem has been polish... setting hitters up with his other pitches.  He simply hadn't figured out that he had to throw his other pitches, if only to show that he had something other than an amazing fastball.  Given the knowledge of what's coming, a major league hitter can hit any pitch that's in the strikezone, regardless of how amazing.

Well, something must have clicked on for Anderson in April because since April 21st, he's been one of the best relievers around, pitching 19 2/3 innings allowing just 10 hits and 4 walks (2 intentional) and striking out 18 batters.  His ERA over that time is 1.83.  The word is that he'll be the primary closer until Todd Jones gets himself straightened out, but if Anderson keeps pitching the way he has recently, there's no way Jones gets the closer's job back.

Despite the fact that his career numbers have been pretty mediocre to this point, there are indicators that he can continue to maintain his high level of performance.  One is his aforementioned judicious use of his other pitches.  Another is that the rap on him has been that he tends to overthrow his fastball, which makes it sail high.  But with a taller strikezone this year, that pitch, which was previously called a ball, is now called a strike.  Strike one instead of ball one can make a huge difference.   

Go to lunch!  Will you go to lunch!

Well, I was really out to lunch this week.  By the time my suspicions concerning Glendon Rusch were confirmed, it was too late to do anything about it.  All of the players I was considering as replacements - Adam Eaton, Randy Wolf and Roy Oswalt - were snatched up before I could make my replacement.

However, all is not lost.

Kip Wells, who I had a good feeling about in spring training (26/9 K/BB ratio in 22+ innings) , has finally been put in the White Sox' rotation.  He's pitched very well against some tough competition - Oakland, Toronto (twice) and Kansas City - allowing 3 runs or less in each start.  He's averaged 16 fantasy points per start, which is quite promising.  It'd be nice if the White Sox would do a better job of scoring runs for him; they've scored 10 runs in his 4 starts.  But I think he'll put in enough innings to make it worthwhile to have him on the roster.  He's topped 100 pitches just once, which I expect is more a product of manager Jerry Manuel trying to stretch him out in an effort to prepare him for regular starting duty than it is any statement on the way he's pitched.  He should be able to go 7 pretty regularly in the 110-115 pitch range in the near future.  With better run support, he could become a Mulder-esque 18-20 point starter.

The Standings

                                                                      Starting P      Relief P      Hitters FP
Rank  Team                        FP   G  FP/G    FP  G  FP/G   FP    G   FP/G   Total
1     ...Jumanji!                883  54  16.4   431  48  9.0  1885  571   3.3    3199
2     BaseballHQ Bombers         894  51  17.5   436  56  7.8  1764  568   3.1    3094
3     SF Mock Woodmen            740  61  12.1   325  47  6.9  1971  558   3.5    3036
4     Fantasy Baseball HQ        897  61  14.7   516  57  9.1  1541  568   2.7    2954
5     Dr. Stats Juggernauts     1293  61  21.2   376  51  7.4  1272  548   2.3    2941
6     Sandbox Sports             867  61  14.2   396  56  7.1  1638  567   2.9    2901
7     The Write Stuff            942  52  18.1   304  49  6.2  1534  558   2.7    2780
8     WSS Hurlers                984  64  15.4   296  48  6.2  1461  531   2.8    2741
9     Desert Dwelling Scalawags  961  75  12.8   168  52  3.2  1546  556   2.8    2675
10    Press Room Pundits         940  63  14.9   242  40  6.1  1492  567   2.6    2674