Angels with smokin’ hot bats

So far, it’s a pitcher’s year in major-league baseball. Not on my team, however.

I pass the first monthly milestone with massive advantages in hitting, due in part to Matt Kemp, who leads the National League in batting average, home runs, RBIs, runs, and hits. David Wright, with the second best batting average, and Jay Bruce, with the second most homers, are a capable supporting cast.

My pitchers are also bucking the trend somewhat, unfortunately. Mat Latos has been almost as bad as Matt Kemp is good. My relievers have had some bad outings and I’ve lost for the year a back-end starter, Chris Narveson.

Yet I find myself in third place at the end of April. I dropped Narveson and picked up Marco Estrada, his replacement on the Milwaukee Brewers. Estrada will get more strikeouts.

.284 batting average (1st by .013)
46 HR (1st by 16!)
146 runs (1st by 2)
145 RBI (1st by 13)
20 SB (5th in the middle of a pack)
3.68 ERA (7th)
1.28 WHIP (6th)
145 K (9th, ten out of 7th)
10 wins (tied for 6th but two out of 4th)
6 saves (tied for 6th)

Remember how I estimated 46 points of hitting? Right now, I have 46 points of hitting. I estimated totals of .275, 225 HR, 910 R, 900 RBI, and 140 SB. On a pro-rated basis, I have .284, 276 HR, 876 R, 870 RBI, and 120 SB. Of all my estimates, I’m only really off in wins and strikeouts, and with seven active starters (Chris Luebke and Estrada qualify as relief pitchers, and if Chris Carpenter starts, he would make it eight), those numbers should start to climb.

Fox backs down

On March 24, YouTube sent the following notice about the half-minute “Futurama” clip I had uploaded to illustrate my point in “Futurama commits clownslaughter“.

Dear 101Webs,

Your video “Futurama commits clownslaughter”, may have content that is owned or licensed by FOX. As a result, the video has been blocked on YouTube.

This claim is penalizing your account status. Visit your Copyright Notices page for more details on the policy applied to your video.

– The YouTube Team

When this happens to you, you have two options. You can succumb to the man and take down your video or you can contest the accusation at risk of losing your YouTube account.

I contested. In my reply, I claimed fair use of the clip for illustrative and educational purposes.

What do you know – FOX agreed. I got this today:

Here we go again…

Over the past year, I’ve added several fellow managers in the Irrational League to my Facebook friends list. Doing this little monthly updates may expose my position, but so what.

We held our draft last Saturday. As a reminder, we’re in a ten-team NL-only 5×5 league with 25-man rosters and four reserves apiece. We start with six keepers (new) and over five hours scrape every last dreg out of the pot.

This year, I had some choices to make. I had eight protectable players: Matt Kemp, David Wright, Matt Holliday, Lance Berkman, Jay Bruce, Mat Latos, Corey Luebke, Chris Carpenter.

Chris Carpenter’s neck injury quickly whittled the list down to seven, and as much as I love fellow Rice alum Lance Berkman, he was the oldest of the bunch. Bye, Lance.

I went conservative this year. Last year I finished in the money by the hair of my chinny chin chin, with Chris Carpenter’s masterpiece edging me in. A lot went wrong with the draft, as several of my hitters fell off the face of the Earth. This year, I went with more reliable choices… I think. We’ll see. I did take a chance on Chris Carpenter, but that was a late pick and he’s deep in my reserves. And my only first basemen are both question marks, but how hard is it to find a first baseman?

My 2012 hitters and projections:

C: Yadier Molina: .290, 10 HR, 50 R, 55 RBI, 5 SB
C: Miguel Montero: .285, 15 HR, 60 R, 70 RBI
1B: Bryan LaHair: .270, 15 HR, 45 R, 50 RBI
2B: Aaron Hill: .245, 20 HR, 70 R, 70 RBI, 15 SB
SS: Jason Bartlett: .255, 5 HR, 55 R, 45 RBI, 20 SB
3B: David Wright: .285, 20 HR, 80 R, 80 RBI, 15 SB
CI: Justin Turner: .260, 5 HR, 45 R, 45 RBI, 5 SB
MI: Omar Infante: .290, 5 HR, 55 R, 55 RBI, 5 SB
OF: Matt Holliday: .300, 25 HR, 75 R, 80 RBI, 5 SB
OF: Matt Kemp: .290, 30 HR, 100 R, 100 RBI, 30 SB
OF: Jay Bruce: .255, 30 HR, 85 R, 90 RBI, 5 SB
OF: Nyjer Morgan: .280, 5 HR, 55 R, 40 RBI, 20 SB
OF: Chris Heisey: .260, 20 HR, 55 R, 60 RBI, 5 SB
UT: Jim Thome: .240, 15 HR, 35 R, 35 RBI
UT: Gerardo Parra: .290, 5 HR, 45 R, 35 RBI, 5 SB

Adam Kennedy and Josh Hamilton have bench spots. Hey, if the Rangers tank, Hamilton will be on the move.

I estimate totals of .275, 225 HR, 910 R, 900 RBI, and 140 SB. That’s less than I normally draft, but I think that’s a function of last year’s overall reduction in hitting. By last year’s stats, those numbers are good for first in average, home runs, and RBI while well above average in the other two categories. Let’s call it third. That’s 46 points, which is amazing, but I think it’s an exaggeration.

I like my pitching, especially Luebke, who still qualifies as a reliever. There are very few decent starters who qualify as relievers this year. I can think of one, and I have him. There are others, but I don’t like their chances.

SP: Mat Latos: 14 W, 175 K, 3.45 ERA; 1.20 WHIP
SP: Ted Lilly: 12 W, 145 K, 4.15 ERA, 1.25 WHIP
SP: Jordan Zimmermann: 12 W, 140 K, 3.60 ERA; 1.25 WHIP
SP: Jhoulys Chacin: 12 W, 145 K, 3.70 ERA, 1.40 WHIP
P: Erik Bedard: 9 W, 135 K, 3.90 ERA, 1.35 WHIP
P: Chris Narveson: 11 W, 130 K, 4.50 ERA, 1.45 WHIP
RP: Corey Luebke: 12 W, 145 K, 3.50 ERA, 1.20 WHIP
RP: Sean Marshall: 30 Sv, 4 W, 70 K, 2.60 ERA, 1.15 WHIP
RP: Eric O’Flaherty: 5 W, 60 K, 2.20 ERA, 1.10 WHIP
RP: Bill Bray: 3 W, 55 K, 2.90 ERA, 1.15 WHIP

Chris Narveson is the only guy I can’t stomach, but he’s only holding a place for Chris Carpenter. I also have Francisco Rodriguez on the bench for emergencies, or if John Axford goes toes up.

I figure I’ll get 30 saves (good for sixth), 94 wins (second), 1195 K (third), an ERA of 3.65 (fifth), and a WHIP of 1.27 (sixth). That’s 33 points in total, which is weak on its own. Combined with the 46 hitting points, though, the total of 79 points should be enough to win. It should take 76 (I had 70 last year).