Sunday, June 30, 2013

2013 NBA DRAFT DIARY: Part II

Hasan R

(Part I of Hasan's diary can be read here).

Pick 6, New Orleans Pelicans: AND HE IS FINALLY PICKED! Nerlens Noel free fall has stopped and his landing spot is in New Orleans! Nerlens Noel and Anthony Davis! The Thin Towers! Guys, we have a really fun frontcourt…and he’s been traded to the Philadelphia 76ers.  Does this mean Andrew Bynum will not suit up for the 76ers? ESPN is reporting that he is traded to the 76ers along with a protected 2014 first round pick for Jrue Holiday and a 2013 second round pick. Great trade for both teams.

Pick 7, Sacramento Kings: Ben McLemore has been selected by the Kings. A potential star with a high upside, McLemore is a great shooter and elite athlete. The Kings needed shooting and athleticism and they got it. Love this pick for this Kings. What this fan base needed, especially after the shenanigans with Seattle.

Pick 8, Detroit Pistons: Rumored to be grabbing a point guard, the Pistons have opted to pivot and grab Kentavious Caldwell-Pope. One of the best shooters in the draft, this is a good injection of talent to a backcourt with Brandon Knight running the point. Should be a fun backcourt to watch and keep an eye on this season.

Pick 9, Minnesota Timberwolves: Wolves select Trey Burke and he has been flipped to the Utah Jazz for their no. 14 and 21 picks. Jazz needed a point guard and Burke fits the bill. Most NBA ready guard in this draft he can start immediately for the Jazz.


Pick 10, Portland Trail Blazers: These guys have been eyeing a PG this draft and get it in the form of CJ McCollum. He projects to be a very similar PG to Damian Lillard making this a fantastically fun backcourt to watch. *Immediately removes Pelicans from League Pass and replaces them with the Trail Blazers*. This pairing has potential to score lots of points, create space for LaMarcus Aldridge, and McCollum can shoot well, handle the ball well and create his own shot. Good running mate for Lillard and this backcourt should have opposing defenses in fits if they can click.

Part III of Hasan's diary is available.

Friday, June 28, 2013

2013 NBA DRAFT DIARY: Part I

Hasan R

Hello everyone and welcome to my first DRAFT DIARY. That’s right folks, I am ripping off Bill Simmons’ shtick (and who cares?  It’s not like he’ll be doing a draft diary this year because he’ll be too busy on TV to do one anyway, right?).  This draft proves to be an interesting one with NBA pundits moaning that it is a “weak draft” and it’s a bit of a gamble outside of the top 10 picks. So, without further ado, let’s start talking about David Stern’s final draft.

But for good measure: BOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!

Pick 1, Cleveland Cavaliers: Ok, frankly for pick 1, I am absolutely expecting that they pick Nerlens Noel. I mean injury or no injury, he is one of the top players in this draft and Cleveland can afford to gamble on his ability to start giving them depth at the C/PF position.  AND HOLY HELL THEY DON’T PICK HIM. They pick Anthony Bennett! SHOCKER. Bill Simmons is genuinely perplexed. I am too. I suppose he would make a great pick and roll partner for Kyrie Irving, and projects to be a 20 and 10 player going forward, so I suppose it could have been worse. They could’ve drafted me (absolutely not—Ed).

Pick 2, Orlando Magic: The Magic are still undergoing a rebuilding project of sorts and have what they want in explosive guard, Victor Oladipo. There is absolutely no way they do not take him and I cannot fathom a scenario where they don’t go with a player who projects to be a star, given his immense upside. And that is what the Magic do in selecting Oladipo, which is fantastic. Hopefully they can slot him into the starting rotation now that Arron Afflalo is gone.  Oladipo was one of my favorite players in the college game last season and I’m hoping he’ll flourish in the NBA with Orlando.

Pick 3, Washington Wizards: Washington Wizards are now on the clock.  Based on conversations I’ve had with Felipe M, this is one of the teams we’re hoping, with the right moves, can make the playoffs.  And I can only see one payer over here which addresses the need the Wizards have at SF. And as I type this out, Otto Porter was selected by the Washington Wizards. This is a perfect fit for this team. Great wing player to pair with John Wall and Brad Beal and is able to play off the ball well. Good defender and willing to defend, I hope he does help the Wizards make the playoffs.

Pick 4, Charlotte Bobcats: Hey, look! Nerlens Noel is still on the board! Alex Len is still on the board! Ben McLemore still on the board! Picks looking good for the Bobcats: three fairly safe picks up there. And the Bobcats decide to pick CODY ZELLER!!??!! A major downgrade from Noel or Len, Zeller is a bizarre pick for number 4. Once again, the Bobcats are snakebitten by one Michael Jordan. What are they thinking in Charlotte? 


Pick 5, Phoenix Suns: ALEX LEN HAS JUST BEEN DRAFTED AHEAD OF NERLENS NOEL. Hey, maybe we have a Geno Smith situation occurring here at the NBA draft regarding Noel.  Somebody cue Tom Petty. Anyway, this was a fantastic pick for Phoenix. Rumors pegged the Cavs picking Len as well and I’m not surprised. Suns love him and he can take over for Marcin Gortat eventually. Of course the Suns medical team had hang-ups about Noel’s knee, but Len is the second best big man in this draft and a good pick for Phoenix. 


Wednesday, June 26, 2013

COURTSIDE VIEW: 2013 NBA DRAFT--Cavs/Knicks Edition

Johnny J

This will be my last NBA story for the 2012-13 campaign. I will continue my writing on stories and my opinions about different NFL topics. You can look forward to more of my opinions and jabs on the NFL. Ask about me at Fourth & Forever (coming soon!).

The 2013 NBA Draft is just days away and if you are excited like I am, you are wondering who your favorite team is going to draft. I will be be dissecting a couple of the high projected prospects and if they're a good fit for the Cleveland Cavaliers. In other words, if you were a General Manager of an NBA team, do you draft for need or do you just grab the best available player, regardless if they fill that void in your line-up? Lottery picks can sometimes be hard to predict. Just because a player was awesome in college, doesn't mean he has what it takes to succeed in the pros. For a team like the New York Knicks (late 1st round pick), they might be better off taking the "best available" player.

The Cleveland Cavaliers have two picks in the first round, including the number one pick overall. They also have the 19th pick as well. They won the NBA Lottery for the second time in three years. In 2011, the Cavaliers gambled on a young point guard named Kyrie Irving, who only played eight games at Duke due to an injury. He came back in the NCAA Tournament and scored 28 points in a Sweet Sixteen loss to Arizona. Two years later, at age 21, he is now an All-Star. So where do the Cavaliers go on building a team around Irving? There's been talk that the Cavs may trade the first pick, but I doubt that will happen. They've also been flirting with the Dallas Mavericks about acquiring forward veteran Shawn Marion to move up six spots to #13th (from 19th) and they would be taking $9.3 million off the books for the Mavs in return. The Mavs are hoping to have as much money as possible, for when July 1st rolls around, they hope of landing Chris Paul and Dwight Howard (Can't have one without the other, apparently--Ed)

In my opinion, the Cavs only need to fill a few spots, such as both starting forward positions and a shooting guard. They are good at center with Anderson Varejao and North Carolina product Tyler Zeller. I know a lot of mock drafts have the Cavs taking a center since Varejao only has one year left on his contract, but I don't know about taking one early.  They have a center now in Zeller.  I like him; he deserves a chance to start.  He put up great numbers at UNC. Let him be the man in the middle. With the number one pick, the Cavs should draft for need, so I would pass on a center and take shooting guard Victor Oladipo out of Indiana. He would be a great complement to Irving. This guy has a great all-around game and upside. He can shoot, drive, and finish. Plus he has great athletic ability. A young backcourt that will make the Cavs more dangerous sounds tempting to me. Then at pick #19 or (#13 if they make that trade I was talking about earlier), I think the Cavs should draft center Gorgui Dieng from Louisville. He can play the four as well as center as he is equipped with a short-range jumper. He is a rim protector. Imagine him and Varejao on the floor at the same time. That just gets my mouth watery for what they can do with two second round picks. I would prefer to see them trade one of the two second round picks and grab Paul Pierce. They made a pitch to the Celtics for Pierce already. I think that would be a great pick-up. Talk about making the playoffs!  He is someone who can give the Cavs leadership presence. Make a package built around Paul Pierce for a second round pick. Plus he only has one year left. It's worth a try.

The New York Knicks on the other hand, needs to draft for best available player. A lot of the good players who can fill their need at point guard and center will be gone at pick #24. With that said, I like the Knicks to draft center Kelly Olynyk. A center that can score. A Knicks' fans dream. Simply because Tyson Chandler and Marcus Camby can't score on their own. Bleacher Report has him going at #23 to the Indiana Pacers, but if he falls, the Knicks should grab him. Bleacher has the Knicks grabbing another shooter. Another shooter!!! They don't need another shooter, unless Olynyk is gone. He is the only center I would bite on.  He is a need and best available player rolled into a nice gift bag for New York. Olynyk can back-up Chandler and help spread the floor and clear the paint because of his shooting ability. He would be a great addition to New York who got killed on the boards against the Pacers in the playoffs. Draft for need here!

If Olynk is gone at 24. Then you grab the best available player. Such as Allen Crabbe, a shooter out of California. I still like this pick, but all the shooters the Knicks have can't be on the floor at the same time. That did no good in the playoffs. Because, realistically, people have bad games (J.R. Smith) and slumps can occur. I'm expecting all of the Knicks free-agent shooters to re-sign. Guys like J.R. Smith, Chris Copeland, and Pablo Prigioni. If they don't, then you have to replace them.  The only way the Knicks will move pass top-notch teams in the Eastern Conference is if they have a low-post scorer. You can't trust Amar'e Stoudemire's grandfather knees. He hits the floor hard, he goes out and stays out for a long period of time. Also he has a restriction on his minutes. He can't play more than 30 minutes a game. Next they will be saying he can't play all 82 games in the season. Olynyk is the answer!

The Cavs and the Knicks are headed in different directions. The Cavs are getting young talent and the Knicks are just getting older. If the Cavs make the right moves to build a team around Irving, they will be an elite team in a couple of years. Yes, an elite team, I didn't stutter and you're hearing it first from me. The Cavaliers will be an Eastern Conference contender. The Knicks are built to win now. Now as in, "re-sign your shooters" and draft the guy who led the Gonzaga Bulldogs to a 33-2 record. Drafting for best available player is the only option and he is projected right around that magic number of 24.

More NBA content is available here

Monday, June 24, 2013

COURTSIDE VIEW: What Would you do for a Klondike Bar?

Johnny J

With the Miami Heat winning back-to-back NBA titles, it is official; I just lost another bet. In fact, I lost three bets that came out to a grand total of $60. I usually don't make bets unless I absolutely feel the team I pick will win. That didn't happen.  My luck was so bad, that one team I gambled on was actually swept in these playoffs, which made it worse. So the next day, when I saw the person who won the wagers, I quickly went up to him and paid off my debt. I don't like being in debt so I try and pay off my debtors as soon as possible. There's no chasing me down or confronting me because I would go looking for that person I owe money to first. There's no waiting until the next time I get paid because I would have the money on me already just in case I do lose. When that happens, I earn the reputation of me being an honest person. People don't mind making wages with me because I end up chasing them down to get rid of my debt. Chris Bosh, I hope you are taking notes because I feel you owe Pat Riley and your teammates your salary, which is just as bad as Ray Allen jumping on the bandwagon with the enemy.

Game 7, on Wednesday night, had to be one of the worst games, if not the worst for a so-called superstar in NBA history. Bosh didn't even score a single point. He played 28 minutes in one of the most anticipated games in an  NBA Finals. How did he come out on the floor like a person who just couldn't get the job done?  A superstar should do his job and show up to big games. He had zero points and seven rebounds. When Pat Riley signed him to a six-year, $109 million dollar contract, he pictured a dominant max contract player who was a productive, franchise-type player with the Toronto Raptors.  The same player who became the all-time leading scorer for the Raptors. A double-double average a night guy. Instead, he got a newborn baby who was brought in by a stork. A newborn who was looking to get nurtured by the real superstars of the team. In others words, Bosh is softer than ______(insert your favorite brand name fabric softener--Ed). He's someone who is riding backseat of a championship team. Riding the talents of LeBron James and Dwyane Wade.

So be a man, chase Pat Riley down, and give him your whole earnings of your check. The whole $17 million and some change check for this past season because you're in debt, my friend. A grand total of seven rebounds...seven and one block. ITS AN NBA FINALS, GAME 7! Third String center Joel Anthony could have produced more stats in that time (and for one-fifth of the cost--Ed).  So between Bosh and Wade, I would have to say Bosh is the one who is gone next season (despite qualifying for Early Termination Option, highly doubt that Bosh will walk away from $19 million+ for next season--Ed). I can't see the Heat paying a salary that is just going to increase. Riley is probably trying to work out a deal/trade right now. Maybe a second round pick in return would suffice. Bosh must be best friends with Brooklyn Nets' player, Joe Johnson. I heard he steals from the front office as well. What would you do for a Klondike Bar, Bosh? For a ring, for a chance to glorify and get paid off of your teammates' talents? I would feel better sleeping if I knew Heat veteran, Shane Battier received that salary instead.

Mr. "He Got Game" himself, Ray Allen. Leaving your friendships with the Boston Celtics to jump on the back of LeBron James. Taking less money to join the enemy of your Celtics' team. One of the best shooters in NBA history, desperate for another ring, I see.  He had a few highlights in Game Six to help the Heat prevail, but overall  I see why Kevin Garnett doesn't talk to him any more. Where is your self-respect? I just threw out my, "He Got Game" movie. Allen may have eased his way to another ring, but I'm sure he is still upset about San Antonio Spurs' role-player, Danny Green breaking his record for most threes made in a NBA Finals.  I couldn't reside with the enemy, especially for less money. That's just something I couldn't do. Obviously he must have thought the Celtics were a step slower in reaching the Finals again (Doc Rivers definitely thinks so--Ed). If he continued to play for the Celtics and if Rajon Rondo was healthy, I believe  the Celtics could have reached the finals. What would you do for a Klondike Bar, Ray? Kiss the rival, lose your friend. It must be ice cream in the middle, because dishonor is something that carries weight. Enjoy the 2% fat Klondike bar.


Bosh is a fraud--a fraud I tell you (Kevin Durant would say he's a "fake tough guy."--Ed). Anywhere he goes, he is going to be stealing. Just seven rebounds in an NBA Finals is worse than terrible. He stole minutes as well.  He robbed somebody who was worthy of those 28 minutes. Riley knows what has to be done. Give him the boot and make him earn that $109 million salary somewhere else. As far as Ray goes, going AWOL on his former championship team; the things people will do to be in the spotlight. I didn't see him in any highlights on the Heat's 27 game win streak, so enjoy it while you can, you aren't getting any younger.

More NBA content is available here

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

LINE DRIVES: v3.0--Impatiently Patient

Felipe M

If it seems that I put too much onus on hitters with great plate approach and patience when I write my fantasy baseball advice columns, it's because I'm in a head-to-head league where a player's hitting slump can prove to be more costly than in roto leagues.  For example:

  • Most head-to-head leagues deduct points for hitters' strikeouts
  • Hard to keep up with your opponents when a batter is posting a big fat ZERO for that particular week.
  • When a player is in the middle of a hitting slump, that hitter must fall back on his ability to get on-base in order to not hurt your fantasy baseball team. There are other ways to score points besides (extra) base-hits.
But most importantly, for me, it's easier to gauge a player getting out of his slump soon by analyzing a particular player's walks and strikeouts.  Is a hitter just swinging at every pitch or is he patiently waiting for the right pitch to hit?  Is he finding ways to get on base to keep himself "in the game?" Or is that player wasting outs and then "stewing" about it in the dugout?  Is that player willing to walk his way out of a slump or is that player striking out at an alarming rate (i.e. B.J. Upton)?

Where does fit in with roto-leaguers?  Well, if a hitter is willing to "wait for his pitch," instead of being overly aggressive, then that hitter will reward your team with a higher batting average, more homeruns, and overall more production for the counting stats that your team needs to stack.

The following is a unique list of ballplayers:
  • Names highlighted in blue are hitters that have seen, on average, the most pitches per plate appearances.  Twelve names are listed because three players tied for 10th place. 
  • Names highlighted in red are the top 10 hitters in terms of swinging percentage in the league.  
  • The table is sorted by highest to lowest on-base%.  
  • All stats are as of Monday, June 17, 2013.


PATIENCE VS IMPATIENCE
Player
P/PA
Swing%
BB%
SO%
Avg
OBP
SLG
BABIP
Shin-Soo Choo
4.24
39%
15.1%
20.4%
0.275
0.425
0.471
0.335
Joe Mauer
4.24
38%
12.9%
19.2%
0.321
0.409
0.474
0.394
Paul Goldschmidt
4.23
42%
11.6%
20.9%
0.305
0.386
0.556
0.344
Carlos Santana
4.37
38%
14.0%
18.9%
0.283
0.385
0.496
0.323
Freddie Freeman
3.82
53%
7.4%
18.9%
0.327
0.383
0.489
0.388
Carlos Gomez
3.76
56%
4.1%
21.5%
0.317
0.356
0.587
0.370
Seth Smith
4.23
43%
10.2%
24.7%
0.273
0.353
0.440
0.352
Josh Willingham
4.30
37%
13.2%
26.1%
0.211
0.352
0.411
0.256
Mike Napoli
4.52
42%
10.0%
33.3%
0.262
0.347
0.467
0.385
Justin Morneau
3.72
53%
7.1%
16.1%
0.288
0.341
0.379
0.335
Jason Kipnis
4.24
39%
10.1%
23.9%
0.265
0.340
0.457
0.323
Torii Hunter
3.70
55%
5.0%
16.8%
0.292
0.339
0.405
0.346
Pablo Sandoval
3.42
59%
5.0%
10.7%
0.289
0.326
0.427
0.294
Adam Jones
3.63
58%
2.6%
19.2%
0.302
0.326
0.513
0.338
Alejandro De Aza
4.23
44%
6.8%
26.0%
0.268
0.314
0.421
0.339
Mark Reynolds
4.29
46%
9.8%
30.5%
0.234
0.312
0.443
0.287
Stephen Drew
4.25
40%
11.7%
27.4%
0.215
0.305
0.374
0.282
Alexei Ramirez
3.37
55%
3.6%
13.3%
0.264
0.295
0.326
0.302
Alfonso Soriano
3.67
56%
3.4%
22.7%
0.253
0.285
0.398
0.304
Adam Dunn
4.36
43%
11.1%
31.8%
0.184
0.280
0.447
0.186
Josh Hamilton
3.64
56%
6.5%
24.4%
0.217
0.273
0.395
0.253
Yuniesky Betancourt
3.31
56%
3.4%
15.8%
0.215
0.243
0.365
0.222

Immediately, you will not only notice that 3 out of the 4 players with the highest on-base% on this list also have a swing% of less than 40% (Josh Willingham has the lowest swing% at 37%), but also have Walk% above 11%.  You will also notice that they don't go over 21% in terms of their StrikeOut% (SO%).  The league average is currently at 20%.  When you hear about certain players that walk as much as they strikeout, they're referring to these players. Shin-Soo Choo personifies that ideal.  

Ranking at #5 and #6 on this table are two players that are highlighted in red:
  • While Freddie Freeman has an aggressive approach at the plate (which limits his walks), he doesn't strikeout that much.  He puts enough contact on the ball where strikeouts are not a concern for him.  His BABIP is extremely high (ranked #2 on this table), but it has to be because of the lack of walks and better than anticipated contact, allowing him to produce the slash line he currently owns at the moment (.327/.383/.489).  There is a lot of luck involved in Freeman's current production, but because he is able to keep his strikeouts in check, he gives himself an opportunity to come up with positive results.
  • On the other hand, Carlos Gomez, I believe, might be more of an illusion than a reality.  Where this .943 OPS comes from is what we're trying to figure out, but one this is for sure--it certainly is a career high for the free-swinging, but speedy Gomez.  He showed some power last season so perhaps the 19 homers in 2012 were part of some unfulfilled potential that finally came into fruition.  But his poor approach at the plate has resulted in only one season where his on-base% was over .300 (.305 in 2012).  Suddenly it's at .356!  Suddenly, he can utilize that speed (currently has 13 stolen bases) and has been one of the best outfielders in the league this season.  But do we put this much faith on an incredibly impatient hitter?  There are signs that point to trouble:
    • The extremely low walk rate is nearly as twice as low as the league average.
    • He's posting all of these big numbers despite having an SO% of 21.5%--Gomez strikes out 5 times as much as he walks!
    • He owns the 4th highest BABIP on this table--.370
While I'm comfortable in proclaiming that Freeman might be due for a slight regression, Gomez is due for a freefall without a parachute.  One advantage that Gomez has is that he does have great speed so he can still get on base by running out grounders, double-plays, and bunting his way on base.  But I just can't see Gomez sustaining this much success with very little skill at the plate.  

Seth Smith is still struggling against left-handed pitching, but has an .844 OPS against right-handed pitchers.  Smith's walk and strikeout numbers are somewhat skewed by his struggles against southpaws, but they're still steady enough to trust his batting eye.  The one concern is a .352 BABIP that may have helped boost his overall numbers.  Nevertheless, when he's facing right-handed pitching, Smith is almost guaranteed to have a good game.  

Willingham has the 3rd highest Walk% on the list and it has been the one saving grace to his frustrating season so far.  His low batting average is a result of a low BABIP of .256 and his Slugging% is the lowest it's been since 2005 (when he lost his rookie status), despite hitting 10 homeruns this season.  Nonetheless, because he is patient at the plate, the high SO% (#5 on this list of players) has not inversely affected his on-base%.  

While we're at it, let's look at this table from a high strikeout% perspective:  

PATIENCE VS IMPATIENCE
Player
P/PA
Swing%
BB%
SO%
Avg
OBP
SLG
BABIP
Mike Napoli
4.52
42%
10.0%
33.3%
0.262
0.347
0.467
0.385
Adam Dunn
4.36
43%
11.1%
31.8%
0.184
0.280
0.447
0.186
Mark Reynolds
4.29
46%
9.8%
30.5%
0.234
0.312
0.443
0.287
Stephen Drew
4.25
40%
11.7%
27.4%
0.215
0.305
0.374
0.282
Josh Willingham
4.30
37%
13.2%
26.1%
0.211
0.352
0.411
0.256
Alejandro De Aza
4.23
44%
6.8%
26.0%
0.268
0.314
0.421
0.339
Seth Smith
4.23
43%
10.2%
24.7%
0.273
0.353
0.440
0.352
Josh Hamilton
3.64
56%
6.5%
24.4%
0.217
0.273
0.395
0.253
Jason Kipnis
4.24
39%
10.1%
23.9%
0.265
0.340
0.457
0.323
Alfonso Soriano
3.67
56%
3.4%
22.7%
0.253
0.285
0.398
0.304
We see a lot of familiar faces on this list, but we also see a lot of blue.  You're probably thinking to yourself, "I thought more patience meant better results?"  Well, it does.  But it also means that since these hitters are seeing more pitches, that means they get deeper into counts, meaning they increase their chances of either taking a walk or striking out in a plate appearance.  However, not only are 60% of these hitters' walk% are above 10% (with Mark Reynolds close to joining that club with a 9.8% Walk%), but these 10 hitters average more homeruns than the next 10 hitters on the list (9.6 vs 8.8).  So even though these players limit themselves with the possible outcomes of their plate appearances (walk or strikeouts), but they also have the power to drive the ball out of the park, adding the third possible outcome to their plate appearance--the homerun!  The "all or nothing" slugger, if you will.

Unfortunately, half of these players' BABIP are lower than average (Adam Dunn's BABIP of .186 is a league worst, perhaps making him the unluckiest player in the Majors).  These 10 hitters also own a minute, group batting average of .238.  So even though these players know how to work a count and take their walks, the problem with a lot of these "all-or-nothing" batters is that they're not taking enough walks and are striking out too much.  For the guys wearing blue tags on their names, it might be that they could be a bit too patient and perhaps need to be more aggressive at the plate.  

A quick rundown:
  • Mike Napoli needed a high BABIP of .385 just to be able to hit .262 on the year.  He's due for a slump.
  • It can't get any worse for Dunn as his BB/K is similar to Napoli's and his HR% is double that of Napoli's as well.  We seem to be saying this every season that Dunn has been wearing a Chicago White Sox uniform, but he can only go up from here.  
  • Reynolds, like Dunn, has a similar approach to Napoli and a higher HR% as well, but none of the gaudy slash line that Napoli possesses.  Reynolds current BABIP of .287 might mean that Reynolds has room for slight improvement.  
  • Stephen Drew has probably seen better days.
  • Alejandro De Aza has been a major disappointment this season.  The pop in his bat is nice, but his mediocre slash line comes at the heels of a .339 BABIP.  De Aza is a head-scratcher because he does see a lot of pitches and his swing% is kept in check.  Despite the patient approach, De Aza still doesn't take enough walks and strikes out too much.  De Aza is a player that highly depends on making good contact with the ball (career BABIP of .341) and relies on his speed on the basepaths.  The SO% of 26% is also a career high for De Aza.  Add it all up and you're left with a very ordinary player.
  • Josh Hamilton's struggles are well-chronicled (didn't realize that eye color was a tangible attribute that needed to be tracked when analyzing player performance).  Hamilton's struggles can be summed up fairly easy: not enough walks, too many strikeouts, and not enough good contact with the ball.  
  • Jason Kipnis' approach has led to some success despite the low BB/K.  The good slash line might be a product of a .323 BABIP.  If Kipnis can cut back on the strikeouts, he might be able to prevent a slump from prolonging for too long.  Otherwise, I believe he's due for a dip in production.
  • Alfonso Soriano has been mentioned as someone that might help roto-leaguers who are looking for a cheap source of homeruns and stolen bases.  If you can stomach his awful approach at the plate, he can still be that 15/15 guy, otherwise don't expect much of anything else.  The counting stats are more of a direct result to consistent playing time more than skill.  
Finally, we take a look at the BABIP leader on the first data table, Joe Mauer.  We have been hyping up Mauer since February.  He posseses an OPS of .883 despite having a worse HR% than Mike Napoli (2.1% vs Napoli's 3.2%).  Both players have high BABIPs, but Mauer has been drawing more walks and can control his strikeouts.  But isn't Mauer due for some regression?  Maybe, but Mauer has posted a BABIP of .300+ since his rookie year.  Plus if anybody can sustain this kind of hitting for the remainder of the season, it would be Mauer who has proven to be one of the best hitting talents in the Majors.  But isn't a high BABIP an indicator of luck rather than skill? Yes, but when you're talking about Mauer who has the hitting skills and great plate approach, all you can do is chalk this one up to Mauer finding ways to create his own luck.  

In conclusion, we've learned that the patient approach is indeed the best approach at the plate.  Free-swinging players (i.e. Pablo Sandoval and Adam Jones) can still be productive as long as they can continue to deliver good contact with the ball and, most importantly of all, limit their strikeouts.  Conversely, we also found out that there is such a thing as being too patient as players that fall into this category (Adam Dunn, Mark Reynolds, etc.), limit the possible outcomes of a plate appearance by taking going deep into counts as they look for the perfect pitch to drive the ball far ("all-or-nothing" slugger).