Tag: Clayton Richard

San Diego Padres: The Not-so Lovable Losers of the NL West

I have not had good experiences with fantasy baseball in the past.

First and foremost, I was terrible at it. I would say that I could identify a comfortable 95 percent of current players by name, but that doesn’t mean I know how to fashion them into a successful fantasy franchise.

Your initial instinct is to grab the biggest names you can find. You want the Pujols’s, the Hamiltons, and the Cabreras. But that’s not how it works. It’s all about variety, depth, and value. You want all your bases covered, forgive the awful pun.

It’s more important to have guys who excel in different areas. You need a home-run guy, sure—but not eight of them. You also want a batting average guy, an on-base guy, a steals guy, etc. There are too many factors and I have no patience for that.

It also requires constant attention due to staggered schedules and an overwhelming number of “day-to-day injuries.” There are baseball games every day (excluding the All-Star break) from early April to early October. It is a grueling fantasy season.

It is no secret that I love fantasy football, but baseball is a drastically different monster. Football only has one “round” per week, for 17 weeks. It is much more manageable.

And despite all the stigmas, very few people obsess over it all week long. I check maybe once a day to make sure that Tom Brady still has all his required ligaments or that some Cincinnati Bengal hasn’t been arrested for public indecency. Plus, given the short season, every game is important and players aren’t just going to take a day off on you. I would hardly categorize the schedule as grueling.

But still, I was left with an empty spot where fantasy football usually resides, and I thought maybe baseball was a fitting suitor.

Yes, despite all noted evidence, I considered fantasy baseball in 2012.

But I decided against it in the end, for one reason, which I at least had the foresight to recognize. And that reason currently has a 5-13 record.


I grew up in a small coastal California town called Encinitas, half-an-hour north of downtown San Diego. My allegiances have never strayed from the Chargers in the NFL or the Padres in the MLB. But every man has his limits, and the Padres are fast approaching mine.

I vaguely remember the 1998 World Series, in which the Padres faced the Yankees. I can also vaguely recall not caring all that much. I mean, I was seven years old, yet to reach diehard fan status.

It has been 14 years now, and the Padres have gone from World Series contender to league laughingstock. They won the NL West division in both 2005 and 2006 (perhaps only due to how bad the division was those years, as they won only 82 and 88 games respectively), but lost both times to the Cardinals in the first round of the playoffs.

But at least there had always been stars. There was always one guy who you could point to and say “That’s our best player, that’s who I want to pay to see.”

For a long while it was Mr. Padre himself, Tony Gwynn, and his pursuit of 3,000 hits. Or it was Trevor Hoffman, walking out to “Hells Bells,” lights-out for so many years. In the early 2000s, it was Jake Peavy, the fireballing righty from Mobile, Alabama. And until 2010, it was Adrian Gonzalez, with one of the prettiest swings you will ever see.

These players kept the Padres afloat, even through 66-98 seasons. And now, with the Padres setting a pace that wouldn’t even see them reach 66 wins, that player is…


No Padre with legitimate playing time is batting over .300, and only two players break that mark (barely) even when removing that restriction (Andy Parrino is 7-of-23 for .304, and Chris Denorfia is 9-of-30 for .300).

The only offensive bright spot thus far has been Chase Headley (.293, 4 HR, 13 RBI), who I have seen strike out in big moments too often to get excited about.

They have scored a scant 60 runs and just marked their first two-game win streak of the season, 18 games in. (Thank goodness for the Pirates, who have somehow managed to cross the plate just 30 times in 15 games—if you’re wondering, the record for fewest runs in a season belongs to St. Louis with 372 in 1908, a record the Pirates are on pace to obliterate.)


As far as the pitchers go, Cory Luebke has been pleasantly decent, putting up a 1.16 WHIP and 2.52 ERA in four starts. Plus, he accounts for 40 percent of the team’s wins, so that’s dandy.

Unfortunately, opening day starter Edinson Volquez is already up to a 4.30 ERA and has yet to get a win. Promising up-and-coming Clayton Richard has given up 12 earned runs in 18 innings, and I’m not sure who the other starters are.

I’m honestly not sure if Bud Black knows who they are.

Although they are probably going to overshoot the 6-45 mark I set for them for the first third of the season, all of these wins are meaningless. The Padres organization and the MLB as a whole have deeper-set issues. It goes deeper than just a bad team full of bad players.

It is an organization that doesn’t care about product, and a league that doesn’t care about market discrepancies. Not to make it out to be a conspiracy, it’s not like the league is fixing anything (directly), but I honestly believe that MLB would like to see the same five or six teams in the World Series hunt every year. It’s just best for business.

So this is why you won’t talk me into fantasy baseball: because my connection to the game has already been lost after two weeks. I’m already on the Clippers’ and Kings’ bandwagons—let’s hope I don’t move to LA and start rooting for the Dodgers.

Matt Kemp does have one of those lovable faces, doesn’t he?

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San Diego Padres Pitching Staff: Can They Duplicate 2010 in 2011?

San Diego was picked to finish dead in 2010 last by every major writer and scribe in the world, including myself. Just goes to show ya that the game is more than stats. The Padres were nothing short of amazing last year, nearly winning the N.L. West.

Pitching wise, this was one of San Diego’s best seasons, with Mat Latos and  Clayton Richard leading the way. Combined with the best bullpen in baseball most of the season, and the slam the door shut policy of closer Heath Bell, the Padres took the Giants right to the wall before conceding the division.  

Even though the Padres have lost 3 of the starters from last years rotation, namely Jon Garland, Kevin Correia and Chris Young, San Diego still looks strong,  adding  former Cincinnati Red and SDSU alum Aaron Harang to a young and hard throwing staff.

What follows is a reasonable extrapolation of what I feel will be the players who break camp and hit the show come the end of March.

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Richard, Gonzalez or Hudson: Who Do the Chicago White Sox Miss the Most?

Clayton Richard- 13-9, 3.71 ERA

Clayton has been a big part of the Padres’ first place pitching staff. He has racked up nearly 200 innings while giving his team a chance to win. I’ve heard numerous Sox fans wishing he were still in our rotation this season.

However, I don’t think he’s that big a loss based on a few factors.

The biggest one is that he is in a very good situation that helps his numbers. Not only is he in the NL, which features shallower lineups, but he pitches half of his game at Petco Park, one of the most pitcher-friendly parks in the league.

That shows in his splits from this season: his ERA is 3.15 at home and 4.37 away from Petco Park. In fact, his ERA+ (which is park-adjusted) is below league average this season.

How much worse would those numbers look if he were still on the Sox, pitching in homer-friendly US Cellular Field against lineups that feature a designated hitter?

Richard also puts a lot of guys on base, as shown in his 1.40 WHIP. If not for his solid .7 homers per nine rate and 74.8% strand rate (both career lows), his ERA could be a fair amount higher.

Finally, Clayton just turned 27, making him several years older than the other two pitchers featured in this article. He probably doesn’t have as much upside because of it.

While his numbers might look decent on paper, Richard doesn’t  look like a guy the Sox will miss long term.


Gio Gonzalez– 14-9, 3.35 ERA

Gio has been a personal favorite of mine since I saw his devastating curve ball in draft prospect video. I wasn’t particularly happy when the Sox traded him (twice), but his lack of control made it look like a non-issue until this season. The 25 year old has taken a major leap forward this year.

While most teams would kill to get a talented young lefty like Gonzalez, there are still two things to consider when evaluating his production.

First, much like Richard, Gonzalez is much better at his spacious home park than he is on the road. Gio has a stellar 2.56 home ERA but a much more pedestrian 4.22 ERA. That said, a 4.22 is still pretty good considering he pitches in the American League, as shown by his 125 ERA+ this season.

The other concern is that his actual ERA is far lower than his expected ERA of 4.22. He’s struggled with home runs in the past, but has kept the ball in the park much more frequently this year. He also stranded 77.2% of runners this year, much higher than his past rates. Also, though four walks per nine innings isn’t a great rate, that is his career best.

Still, I’m much more of a believer in Gonzalez than Richard. He just turned 25 and was selected as a first round compensation pick, suggesting that he is younger and more talented as well as pitching better this season.


Daniel Hudson- 8-2, 2.45 ERA

Hudson has been lights out since he was traded to the Diamondbacks, posting a 1.69 ERA and a 70/16 strikeout to walk ratio in the national league. Though Edwin Jackson has been solid for the Sox, this trade looks pretty painful.

On top of that, Hudson is still only 23 and doesn’t have a full year of MLB service time yet. That means that his contract will be extremely cheap for another three seasons before he is eligible for arbitration. He’d be highly useful to the Sox given the financial crunch the Sox face this off-season (more in a future article).

His numbers are stellar this season, so any question marks about Dan are related to the big picture.

There’s simply no way he’s going to sustain a sub-2 ERA forever, so what can we expect from Hudson? Is he still a #3 type starter like so many suggested entering this season, or has he shown he can do more? Will teams hit him better when they see him more often?

We won’t really know the answer to those questions until next season.



The Sox appear to have a solid rotation locked up for next season, so this may be a bit of nitpicking. However, it’s hard to ignore that the Sox have given up three productive major league starters with relatively little return so far and a lot of money committed to the players they acquired.

The biggest thing these starters would have given the Sox is cost certainty, with none of them being arbitration eligible until at least 2012. Hudson in particular would be under team control for several more years. With over $40 mil committed to 4 starters already and John Danks needing an extension soon, the extra money committed will be a big issue the next few years.

Hopefully this will all be a moot point in a few years, but the early returns don’t look particularly good.

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Top Five Reasons a Phillies-Padres Matchup Would Not Go to the NL Champs

With the playoffs around the corner, potential matchups are being examined. The regular season is winding down and the hunt is heating up. For the Padres and Phillies, two playoff hopefuls, there is a chance the two will face each other in the postseason.

Whether the Phillies and Padres win the wild card or their divisions, there is a good chance they’ll face each other, making for an intriguing matchup.

On one side is the young, up-and-coming San Diego Padres, stacked with solid young pitching. On the other side is the Philadelphia Phillies, a seasoned team that is defending a National League title.

There have been a lot of good things going on in San Diego this year, and they could be the team to dismantle the defending NL champs in a potential playoff series between the two. Here are five reasons why the Padres can knock the Phillies out of playoff contention.

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San Diego Padres Pitchers Among Most Notable MLB All-Star Afterthoughts

It’s the same conversation, just a different year.

Every season, virtually every Major League roster has players deserving of All-Star selections that get left on their sofas for the weekend.

This year, the Padres pitching staff may be the most distinguished of the All-Star snubs.

The Padres have the best record (49-34) in the National League and boast the best team ERA (3.05) in the NL by a long shot (St. Louis is next at 3.28), yet couldn’t command enough respect to land a pitcher on the roster.

The Padres have as many All-Stars as the Pittsburgh Pirates, the worst team in the NL at 30-52.

Their one All-Star this year is Adrian Gonzalez, certainly deserving of his third invite as a reserve. He’s batting .291 with 16 home runs and 51 RBI.

Gonzalez was one of eight reserves selected by the players, coaches, and managers.

“It means a lot more than any other way to get in,” Gonzalez said. “They’re the ones that pay attention and really see what you can do on the field.”

Commissioner Bud Selig has vastly improved the dynamics since the infamous tie game in 2002 in Milwaukee. Selig gave the midsummer classic a facelift and decided the game would determine home-field advantage in the World Series—rather than the previous alternative of merely rotating home fields on a yearly basis.

An outdated component of the player selection process is the rule that each team has to have at least one representative on its league’s roster. In a game that is supposed to spotlight MLB’s best players, some superior players are left off the roster in favor of less deserving players from weaker teams.

This argument is strengthened by the greater urgency of winning the game, due to the home field advantage in the World Series at stake.

Players that are producing better first halves statistically, and helping propel their team to the top of their divisions, are not being commended for their efforts. With the All-Star game now in its eighth year of “meaning something”—it’s time to dismiss the one-player-per-team rule.

The 33-man rosters for each team are selected through the following process: Baseball fans vote on the starting position players (eight). The players, coaches, and managers vote 16 players; eight pitchers (five starters and three relievers) and one back-up player for each position. The manager selects nine players, followed by a final vote by the fans (via Internet) chosen from a list of five players.

It no surprise that the fans didn’t vote in a player from the often overlooked Padres roster.

But the fact that Phillies manager Charlie Manuel and other MLB players didn’t feel the need to include Heath Bell (MLB-best 23 saves, 1.77 ERA) or Mat Latos (9-4, 2.77 ERA) is an insult to the Friars.

“To be frank it’s kind of ridiculous I think,” Tony Gwynn Jr. said. “Every year somebody is going to get snubbed, and it doesn’t help that we’re on the West Coast where people don’t get to see our guys throw as much.

“Heath shouldn’t be having to get in on a fan vote, but that’s the way it works and hopefully we can get the fans behind him and get two guys in.”

The 22-year-old Latos (99.2 IP, 70 H, 91 Ks, 0.96 WHIP) yields the lowest opponents batting average (.193) among all starting pitchers, and most importantly, has been the most reliable pitcher on the team with league’s best record.

One could even make a case for Clayton Richard (6-4, 3.00 ERA), along with Mike Adams (2.25 ERA, MLB-best 21 holds) and Luke Gregerson (2.23 ERA, MLB-second best 19 holds).

The most deserving Friar flawed by the inept selection process is closer Heath Bell.

Yet, he isn’t shocked that Manuel left him off the NL roster.

“For the pitching staff I know there’s a lot of good National League pitchers out there,” Bell said. “From starters to relievers—he has to make hard decisions.”

Last year, when San Diego was in the cellar of the NL for the first half of the season, they received two All-Star selections: Gonzalez and Bell.

Bell (4-0) has struck out 49 in 36.2 innings, leads the league in saves, and already has two saves and a victory in the month of July, but does not have an invite to Anaheim July 13.

Unless, that is, Bell gets selected with the final vote for the last roster spot in the NL.

“At least I still have a chance,” Bell said. “It’s unfortunate that Luke (Gregerson) doesn’t have a chance anymore, or (Mat) Latos, because they’re well-deserving too.”

Bell is a candidate along with Carlos Gonzalez (Rockies), Joey Votto (Reds), Billy Wagner (Braves), and Ryan Zimmerman (Nationals).

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San Diego Padres and the Pickoff Artists

It sounds like they could be some sort of traveling act, and they may be coming to a town near you.

Simply put, Padres pitchers Clayton Richard or Wade LeBlanc could pickoff a ghost runner.

When either of the two lefties allow hitters to reach base, runners go from being in a secondary lead and back to the dugout within seconds.

No need to ask Florida Marlins outfielder Chris Coghlan who probably has the best pickoff move in baseball.  Richard picked off Coghlan in the Padres 3-0 win over the Marlins Friday night. 

It was Richard’s sixth pickoff of the season, which puts him with LeBlanc for best in the majors.

In fact, the Padres lead the majors with 13 pickoffs so far this season.  It doesn’t take a mathematician to solve there being just one other pickoff that wasn’t Leblanc’s or Richards.

Leblanc actually picked off five baserunners in his first three starts.

Pickoff moves go as unnoticed in box scores and game recaps as they do to the leaning baserunners.

A pickoff move limits a runners ability to get a good lead and steal bases.  Good leads and stolen bases lead to more runs, more runs lead to more wins; you get the idea. 

Unless you were tuned in, it is difficult to notice how big of a role Richard’s pickoff played Friday.

Throughout Richard’s six shutout innings, several Marlins baserunners were heading back to first base as Richard delivered a pitch to home plate. 

Catcher Ronny Paulino had a two-foot lead at best at times. 

Before picking him off, Richard issued a leadoff walk to Coghlan in the third inning and then walked Gaby Sanchez.  Hanley Ramirez then lined a single to left field that likely would have scored Coghlan for the 1-0 lead.

The 13 pickoffs are ninth place in Padres franchise history—and we’re at the end of June. 

The single-season record for pickoffs in a season is 16, held by Charlie Hough (1988), Charlie Leibrant and Terry Mulholland (1992) and Greg Smith (2008).

Of those four, only Hough, a knuckleballer, was right-handed.

The all-time record for pickoffs is a season belongs to the Braves, who had 39 in 1992

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San Diego Padres News and Notes: Team Acquires Infielder Kyle Phillips

While the San Diego Padres are locked in a scoreless battle with the Toronto Blue Jays on Friday night, I figured we’d get an update on the team as they made what I would call a minor move earlier today.

According to Jordan Bastian of MLB.com, via Twitter , the Padres acquired catcher/infielder Kyle Phillips from the Blue Jays for a player to be named later.

Phillips was said to be stuck behind several other players on Toronto’s depth chart, and it will also be a homecoming for him as he was born in San Diego.

It’s not yet known where he’ll fit in with the Padres or perhaps where they’ll play him, but with Chase Headley struggling over the past week and a half, I wouldn’t be surprised to see Phillips spell Headley at third from time to time as well as Everth Cabrera at shortstop.

Not much else going on in the way of trades for the Padres, and the team’s front office has kept their cards close to the vest and not revealed which way they’re prepared to go.

Jed Hoyer is, undoubtedly, doing his due diligence where the team is concerned, but we may not know what the team is going to do until the final hour of the deadline—just like last year where they shocked every Padre fan by dealing Jake Peavy to the White Sox for Clayton Richard and a few other players.

Stay tuned as we’ll bring you all the goings on with the Padres, the latest rumors, and any breaking news and trades that may come up with the team.

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The Fantasy Fix’s Week 11 Two-Start Pitchers & Stephen Strasburg

Fantasy Baseball’s Pitching Line of the Week:

Stephen Strasburg (SP-WAS)  7 IP, 4H, 2R, 0 BB, 14 K, W

The long awaited Major League debut of Stephen Strasburg is officially over. The dust has settled, but some fans have yet to pick their chins off of the ground from the amazement that was a dominating fourteen strikeout performance.

Strasburg schooled the Pirates with remote like control of his blazing fastball, changeup and a curveball that had the Bucs’ knees bucklin’. What may have been more impressive was the velocity on his pitches as he progressed into the later innings, it never changed.

The only runs Stephen surrendered came on a two-run home run by Delwyn Young in the top of the fourth inning for Pittsburgh that also scored Neil Walker. Strasburg was awarded the National League Player of the Week award in his first full week in the Major Leagues.

He started two games, went 2-0, pitched 12.1 innings while posting a 2.19 ERA and striking out 22 batters. Good luck trying to acquire this guy in most fantasy baseball formats. He is currently owned in 92% of Y! Leagues. I wonder what the fools in the other 8% of Y! leagues are waiting for?

The “Double Dipper ” is a starting pitcher who will get two starts in the same week. Each Sunday we will preview top three options in each league and highlight streaming options for players owned in less than 50% of Y! leagues.

Top 3 NL Double Dippers:

Roy Halladay/PHI (@NYY, vs. MIN): He starts regardless of match-ups.
Josh Johnson/FLA (vs. TEX, vs. TB): 1 ER allowed in last five starts. Insanity.
Adam Wainwright/STL (@SEA, @OAK): 8.71 K/9, Ludicrous Ratios.

Top 3 AL Double Dippers:

David Price/TB (@ATL, @FLA): 1 ER in last two Starts. LOB% 81.3
Clay Bucholz/BOS (vs. ARI, vs. LAD): two Starts @Home. 3 ER in last three. Breakout.
CJ Wilson/TEX (@FLA, @HOU): 2-0 in last two. .226 BAA.

Warning: Streaming can be lethal. The following are owned in less than 50% of Y! leagues.

Carl Pavano/MIN (@NYM, vs. SEA): Solid ERA & WHIP. 3.69 K:BB
Justin Masterson/CLE (vs. NYM, @PIT): 2-0 in last three including two-hitting the BoSox.
Freddy Garcia/CWS (vs. HOU, vs. TOR): 3-0 in last three. 15:4 K:BB in that span. 

Don’t Touch ‘Em

Brad Lincoln, Ian Snell, Kyle Davies, John Lannan 

Week 10 One Start Stars Owned in 50% or Less

Clayton Richard /SD 48% Y! – Saturday vs. BAL (Millwood): 4-1 w/2.29 ERA over last nine  
Fausto Carmona /CLE 26% Y! – Friday @PIT (Maholm): Tossed a CG, 3 H, 1 ER Gem last turn.

Who will be the best Two-Start Pitcher owned in 50% or less in week 11?
Will Stephen Strasburg continue to live up to the hype?
Leave a comment, or reply to us on Twitter

Make sure to check out our weekly Two-Start Pitchers and Must or Bust Analysis on www.thefantasyfix.com

Read more MLB news on BleacherReport.com

Who Are These Guys? Padres’ Rotation Scoring Big for Nickels and Dimes

By now, everyone knows the 2010 Padres are very well so far in 2010. Currently at 26-18 and in first place in the NL West, they are this author’s biggest surprise of the first two months of the 2010 season, second to only the AL East’s amazing Blue Jays.

The Padres’ five-man rotation has been phenomal, and is making a COMBINED $9.5 million salaries for the 2010 season. Three of its five members are making under $500,000. By comparison, the Chicago White Sox are paying former Padre Jack Peavy $15 million this year.

Here’s a synopsis of the Padres 2010 rotation, complete with their salaries and also their individual statistics at pitcher-friendly Petco Park.

Can these Padres continue to compete?

In the sad-sack national league, anything is possible.

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Latos Intolerant: San Diego Padres Complete Sweep of Giants

Less than a week ago Mat Latos was three outs away from his first career shutout in Houston. It did not take long for him to get another shot at it.

Latos came within one hit of a perfect game Thursday, yielding only an infield single in the sixth inning to Eli Whiteside while overshadowing Jonathan Sanchez yet again as the first-place Padres won 1-0 to complete a three-game sweep at AT&T Park.

Latos, who was perfect through five innings, faced 28 batters—one over the minimum—struck out five and did not issue a walk. The 22-year-old has thrown 16 scoreless innings against San Francisco this year, both times outshining Sanchez. In two starts, Sanchez has allowed two runs and four hits to the Padres in 15 innings. Yet, thanks to Latos, he has two losses on his record.

And guess what? Sanchez and Latos are slated as probable starters yet again Tuesday at Petco Park.

San Diego (22-12) has won all six contests against the Giants this season. Four of those decisions have been by one run.

It is difficult to point to anything more significant than the Padres pitching this season, with a major league-best 2.66 ERA. But one could make the case for their hitting—the Padres pitchers’ hitting.

Latos accounted for the Padres only run Thursday, with a single in the fifth inning that scored Lance Zawadzki.

In eight shutout innings against the Astros in his last start, Latos—now batting .308 at the plate—knocked two doubles in the 7-0 rout. In the series finale, despite the Friars falling 4-3 in extra innings, Tim Stauffer got the party started with a two-run double.

One can also not discount Clayton Richard’s 3 RBI’s in clutch situations this season.

In football, players who can “go both ways” refer to their versatility and ability to play on both offense and defense.

If the trend continues, Padres manager Bud Black may want to consider a few pinch-hit cameos from his pitching staff.

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