A Few Good Men: Targeting Red Hot Hitters
Players who hit leading up to June 1st, hit all season.
Whenever I watch a movie with Kevin Bacon in it, I think back to my days with Prodigy, an IBM company. In the early 90s, we used to play a bar game called “Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon”. It was a play off the concept that any two people on Earth are six or less acquaintance links apart (six degrees of separation). We would say an actor or actress’ name and the person whose turn it was would have to connect them to Kevin Bacon by citing movies that the actor or actress was in and then connecting them eventually (within six movies) to Kevin Bacon. I remember in 1992, when “A Few Good Men” came out, it ruined the game. All the brat pack could be connected through Demi Moore and also casts of SNL & SC TV. Superstars like Paul Newman (Color of Money), Robert Duvall (Days of Thunder) and Dustin Hoffman (Rain Man) could be connected through Tom Cruise. The cast was phenomenal so even more could be connected through Nicholson, Keifer Sutherland, Cuba Gooding Jr and TV through Noah Wyle.
So, as many of you likely know, I work with one of the great fantasy baseball minds in the industry, Ray Flowers. In fact, they call him “The Oracle”. Well, meet “The Oracle of Bacon”. From this page, you can connect any actor to any actor and a myriad of genres. I HATE THIS. This takes all the fun out of this completely. A bar game is now defunct by a smart phone being able to give you an answer in about eight seconds. Worse, they freaking stole Ray’s moniker and put The Oracle of Baseball on Baseball-Reference.com. The game is broken, it is like online Monopoly. No rolling the dice. There is no longer a need for the conversation that has you deciding..."was that Alec Baldwin in “She’s Having a Baby” or was that River Phoenix in “Stand by Me”? " Gone forever. Another good drinking game killed by the Internet.
Ok, enough reminiscing. So, I watched “A Few Good Men” again this weekend. Have seen it a number of times as the court room scenes are fantastic and equal to the great scenes in “A Time to Kill”, “JFK”, “Rainmaker” or “To Kill a Mockingbird”. This story is so multi-layered that each person who watches it sees something different in it. It is the story of Private Santiago. He doesn’t run as fast as the other Marines. He doesn’t work quite as hard. To keep order amongst the men, he is given a “Code Red”, a term for a hazing to get soldiers in line. Unfortunately, this time the hazing goes bad and the Private dies. Two men are charged with the crime and are defended by LT Daniel Kaffee (Cruise), son of Lionel Kaffee a world renowned trial lawyer. Kaffee is selected because the Government wants this to go away because the base where it occurred is run by Colonel Nathan R. Jessup (Nicholson) and the Government wants to keep the peace and power in the hands of a man who is protecting the country.
Well, all hell breaks loose when Kaffee challenges the system, Jessup and the United States government to try to save the two Marines who were just following orders.
Why this movie? Well, June is the time that you can find a few good men to help your fantasy baseball team. It is a theory of mine over the years that the players who hit in the three weeks leading up to June 1st, will hit for the rest of the season. We took players who struggled through May 11, 2014 but are on fire since then (three weeks). These hitters will hit for the rest of the season and definitely won’t hurt you so it is time to acquire them. So in the words LT Galloway (Demi Moore) utters when asked why she likes these Marines so much…
“Because they stand on a wall and say, Nothing's going to hurt you tonight, not on my watch."
Pablo Sandoval - San Francisco Giants – Projected as the sixth rated third baseman to hit 20 home runs and drive in 75. He produced a third of the homers and a fourth of the runs batted in within the last three weeks alone. In the first six weeks of the season, he batted a paltry .189 and produced only two home runs and seven runs batted in in 127 at bats. In the last three weeks, in only 80 at bats, he has exploded batting a cool .375 with 6 big flies and 19 runs batted in. His swing looks better and as the weather warms in many of the places that the Giants will play, expect Sandoval to continue this for the rest of the season.
Jason Heyward – Atlanta Braves – Have to admit, I thought that the numbers would be completely destroyed with the switch to lead off. It has hurt the runs batted in numbers a lot. He started slowly too and usually teams cannot sustain that kind of performance. In 136 at bats, he had a .206 batting average. He did walk 17 times and stole six bases. In the last three weeks, he has showed himself to be dangerous batting .329 with almost as many runs batted in and runs scored in almost 60 less at bats. The leadoff slugger is heating up for good now. Jump on the band wagon.
George Springer – Houston Astros – He does it all. It was anticipated that Springer would not come up until the June deadline, but he was recalled in early May. At first, he struggled to find his form with 93 at bats hitting just .215. During the recent road trip, he homered seven times in seven games and was an absolute monster. In his last 74 at bats, he has homered eight times with 21 runs batted in. This is the kind of push around June 1st that tells the story of the rest of the season. He is for real. With a .259 season batting average, you may be able to convince someone to part with him now.
Xander Bogaerts – Boston Red Sox – For sixty percent of his at bats this year, he was fairly empty. Getting 30 hits and only one run batted in. He was just having plate appearances and many owners were thinking about jettisoning the young shortstop. He had only six extra base hits before May 11th. Then it happened, he turned it on in the last 80 at bats crushing it for a .363 batting average, twice as many extra base hits in forty less at bats and eight times as many runs batted in. The real great news is that unlike last year when he batted a paltry .138 versus right handed pitching and hit .467 versus left handers, this year he is hitting about .300 versus both handed pitchers.
Edwin Encarnacion – Toronto Blue Jays
When the season started, E5 was off to a normal start for him. Through 143 at bats, he had six home runs and 27 runs batted in. In the last 52 at bats, he has 11 home runs and 20 runs batted in. He is the hottest player in the majors at the time that tells us to “go get him”. In his last three weeks, over 75 at bats, he is batting .308 with 13 home runs, 25 runs batted in and 19 runs scored. If the theory is right, he should lead the league in home runs and runs batted in by the end of the season.
We use words like honor, code, loyalty. We use these words as the backbone of a life spent defending something. You use them as a punchline.
I am sure right now, many of you are asking where are players like Hunter Pence, Nelson Cruz, Miguel Cabrera, Yasiel Puig, Justin Upton and even Hanley Ramirez. Well, these players have been red hot in the last three weeks, but they are not under anyone’s radar and their season long statistics do not represent a chance to buy low. The above players say that they are BUY candidates and will continue this performance for the rest of the season. So, when confronted with tough decisions whether it is to trade guys who are underperforming, find guys like this who will rake for the rest of the season or to put one of the most powerful men on the stand risking your career, I say BE BOLD. And if someone comes at you with a bad trade offer, quote Nathan R. Jessup after he incriminates himself…