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Entries in Ryan Braun (8)


The Fantasy Baseball Diary: Yoenis Cespedes

Yoenis Cespedes had 23 home runs for the Athletics in 2012.

I just got home from dinner with a friend. Unless I’m on the way to a ballpark, I hardly go out for dinner. Not because of my social anxiety, which I sometimes I exaggerate to get out of having to go to events I don’t want to go to (insert evil laugh), but because I’m vegan. Most people when they hear vegan they conjure up a stereotypical archetype in their head. In most cases it’s either a hippie living near Haight and Ashbury or a young female in a Lifetime movie where the audience learns she's a vegan when she meets her boyfriend’s parents, who are meat and potatoes people, for the first time. Either way, veganism isn’t seen in a positive light.

The first question I’m always asked is some variation of “I hope you’re able to eat here” in a pandering tone. The tone of the question reminds me of intoxicated people at a bar continually asking the sober person why they’re not drinking. Since its Monday, the restaurant was relatively empty, which made my experience more enjoyable. Unless I’m talking baseball, I never know what to say after about ten minutes of conversation. But I was in luck, my friend works in the same industry I used to worked in so we talked about regression and multivariate landing page testing. Pretty interesting stuff right? Now think how much more interesting it would be if you went on a first date with me. I bet it would exceed all your expectations.

Speaking of expectations, to say Yoenis Cespedes surpassed all expectations in his rookie season is an understatement.

Compare out these two heat maps:

Player A is Cespedes and Player B is Ryan Braun.

What made his season more remarkable was his acculturation to the big leagues and to living in the United States. It’s easy to forget he didn’t speak English, had to live in place that was foreign to him and do all this without the help of his support system. The simplest things we take for granted such as ordering a pizza or going to the laundromat were tasks for him. I’m not implying Cespedes did all this on his own; he had Ariel Prieto, former Athletics pitcher from Cuba, as his mentor/interpreter for the entire season.

With only a few weeks of spring training, the Athletics decided to put the best all-around player to come out of Cuba on their final 25 man roster. Other than the jump from high-A to Double A (minor leagues), jumping to the big leagues is the hardest jump in baseball. He had to make adjustments, on the fly, from facing pitchers in the Cuban National Series to exploding breaking stuff in the big leagues. Consequently, Cespedes started off slowly, putting up a slash line of .245/.319/.434 (AVG/OBP/SLG). However, for the rest of the year he posted a slash line of .304/.366/.525. If he maintained his .525 slugging percentage for the entire year he would have ranked 12th in the league, just behind Prince Fielder.

The question for fantasy owners is he legit?

His .326 BABIP (batting average on balls in play) was a little higher than average BABIP of .300, implying a regression is coming. However, his plus (above average) speed will allow for him to have a higher BABIP because he’ll be able to leg out hits.

Cespedes has the rare combination of speed and power, leading to comparisons to Bo Jackson. If you don’t know Bo, you should check out him out; he had the best tools (run, throw, hit, power, fielding) of any player I’ve ever seen. By looking at Cespedes’ cold zones it looks as though are no weaknesses in his plate coverage. He has the raw tools be a 30/30 (home run/steals) player and he's being drafted 63rd at Mock Draft Central, which is a tremendous steal. 


Miguel Cabrera was Too Much with Two-Out

There were many categories in which Triple Crown leader Miguel Cabrera topped the batting world in 2012, but you may not realize that one of those lists was two-outs hits.

Miggy had 79 two-outs in 2012. That is more than Adrian Beltre's 73 two-out hits, David Wright's 72, Ryan Braun's 68, and Torii Hunter's 67. They were the five best in baseball last year.

Before you ask, Mike Trout had 50 two-out hits, the same as Edwin Encarnacion and Paul Goldschmidt.

Check out Cabrera in 2012 with two-out

That's a lot of red when pitchers want to get out of an inning don't you think?

With two-out in 2012, Cabrera hit .346 with 17 homers and 47 RBI. He had a .411 OBP and he slugged .618 giving him an OPS of 1.029.

Overall, Miguel Cabrera had a brilliant 2012 season, it was even great with two-outs. 


Bill Chuck’s Friday Nine to Know


  1. From the day of Andy Pettitte’s first start May 13th (a loss) through his last game (a win) on June 27, the Yanks went 27-14 (.659) tied with the Angels for the best record in baseball. Since that date, the Yanks have played .515 (35-33) ball.
  2. The last time the Red Sox did not have a 15-game winner was 2001, the streak will end this season.
  3. The last time the Red Sox did not have a hundred RBI batter was 1997, the streak will end this season.
  4. Mike Leake leads all pitchers this season with two homers, but Yovani Gallardo has one this season, giving him 10 in his career tying him with Livan Hernandez among active pitchers and trailing only Carlos Zambrano who has 24.
  5. While Albert Pujols is ending up with a strong season, he is not stopping an alarming trend: Pujols hit .357 in 2008, .327 in 2009, .312 in 2010, .299 last season, and .286 this season.
  6. Aroldis Chapman leads all full-time relievers with 119 strikeouts in just 67.2 innings. Dick Radatz who had 181 whiffs in 157 relief innings for the Red Sox in 1964 holds the record.
  7. So far Mike TroutAlex RiosB.J. Uptonand Ryan Braun are the only members of the 20 homer/20 steal club this season, the most in any season were the 19 in 1999. There were 12 last season.
  8. Max Scherzer is the first starter (with a least 162 IP) to average over 11 strikeouts per nine innings pitched since Kerry Wood in 2003 when he averaged 11.35. Scherzer is at 11.21.
  9. Dickie Dietz is the only Giants catcher since the team moved to SF to have over 100 RBI (he had 107 in 1970); Buster Posey had 89.