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Thursday, January 28, 2010
On January 22, 2010 the Cincinnati Reds made an under the radar signing of Jose Arredondo to a Major League contract. The biggest reason this signing flew under the radar, among others, is that Jose Arredondo will be missing the 2010 season due to Tommy John surgery he'll be having this month. Another likely reason this deal hasn't been well covered is due to the fact Francisco Cordero is already the closer in place in Cincinnati. All that said, the Arredondo signing is one that should be of interest depending on your league's format.
Jose Arredondo was a very useful reliever during the 2008 season for the LA Angels of Anaheim, and was being referred to by some as a closer in waiting. Arredondo's LIPS ERA for the 2008 season was 3.67 and his DIPS WHIP was 1.25, rather solid for a rookie reliever pitching in the more difficult league. Arredondo was unable to repeat his 2008 performance last year. Arredondo's LIPS ERA jumped to 4.34 and his DIPS WHIP to 1.46. The question that now arises is why the jump in his LIPS ERA and DIPS WHIP, was it due to injury, or was he simply less effective? Well according to fangraphs player page for Arredondo his average fastball velocity dropped from 93.7 MPH to 92.4 MPH, his slider velocity dropped from 85.4 MPH to 84.9 MPH, his slitter dropped from 85.2 MPH to 83.9 MPH, and his changeup velocity remained almost identical as it was 84.4 MPH in 2008 and 84.5 MPH in 2009. While none of those velocity drops are staggering, they are of note, and could help explain his regression.
Another problem, which without question hurt Arredondo was a jump in walks per nine innings (BB/9) from 3.25 in 2008 to 4.60 in 2009. His groundball ratio (GB%) also regressed from 51.2% to 44.2% which likely hurt his LIPS ERA and DIPS WHIP as well. It remains to be seen how Arredondo will recover from TJ surgery, and how long it takes him to rehab. Fantasy owners can be thankful that Arredondo is expected to (or perhaps has had, though I haven't been able to find anything) surgery in January. That means even if he takes the full twelve months to recover and rehab, he'll have a few months to display good health before most fantasy drafts.
Those fantasy gamers who play in deeper leagues, or in leagues that use holds, should keep tabs on Arredondo's rehab this season. Early next year the first things I'll be keeping tabs on are where his velocity is, what his walk rate is, and what his groundball ratio is. If Arredondo is able to keep his GB% around 51.2%, as it was in 2008, he'll have a reasonable shot at managing the perils of his homeballpark (12.3% greater rate of home runs per flyball according to David Gassko's Ball Park Factors). If he can keep the ball in the yard, he should also enjoy the fruits of the move from the AL to the NL, which in the least should help his strikeouts per nine innings (K/9). In conclusion, Jose Arredondo is a player I'll be keeping tabs on this year with the intention of scooping him up in 2011 if healthy.
Posted by Josh Shepardson at 4:03pm
1. Jordan Lyles / SP / Lyles dominated in 2009 by pumping the strike zone with his low-90s fastball. He has strong movement and command in that fastball, while his curveball and change-up are promising but works in progress. He is a legit ace prospect but still has much to prove.
2. Jiovanni Mier / SS / Mier was one of my favorite prospects in the 2009 draft. The first things that jump out are his defense and overall confidence. He has some advanced plate discipline and the potential for a bit of power. His baserunning instincts will yield steals. He may never be a star, but he still has room to grow. If nothing else, he has the intangibles to be a strong big-league shortstop.
3. Jason Castro / C / Castro put together a very solid full-season debut in 2009. When he was drafted, I thought he would be nothing more than an above-average major league catcher if everything worked out. I still feel that way, but, so far, everything has worked out—and it hasn't been an accident. He is close to the big leagues and has proved himself in my eyes.
4. Sammy Gervacio / RP / Gervacio has a terrific slider that he uses just as much as his fastball. He is Houston's closer in training, and if he improves his command he will reach that level.
5. Tanner Bushue / SP / Bushue has a long way to go with his secondary offerings, and he has a history of injuries, though none of them have been serious. But he seems to use little effort to generate his low-90s heat. His short Gulf Coast League stint was impressive, and it will be fascinating to see how he adjusts to being a full-time pitcher.
6. Ross Seaton / SP / Seaton's fastball hasn't been as good as advertised, but he has shown strong consistency with his control. Even though it is early, his strikeout numbers are a concern. He has a long way to go with all of his offerings, but 2009 was a decent debut.
7. Jonathan Gaston / OF / Gaston's bat came alive in the California League, where many bats seem to hit their peak. He has immense power due to his all-or-nothing swing, which has resulted in cringe-worthy strikeout numbers, but his saving grace could be his patience at the plate. He also has some sneaky baserunning instincts to work with. Gaston will be playing Double-A ball in 2010, and a lot of eyes will be on him as he tries to prove that 2009 was not a fluke.
8. Brad Dydalewicz / SP / Dydalewicz will never be an ace, but the young man put together a strong Sally League debut. He has good sink to his pitches, inducing a strong groundball rate. With better control and an uptick in his strikeout rate, he could have a middle-of-the-rotation future.
9. Chia-Jen Lo / RP / Working out of the bullpen, Lo combines a mid-90s heater with a developing curveball and change-up. His command is lacking, and if he is going to live up to his potential one of his secondary offerings needs to become a dependable weapon.
10. Jay Austin / OF / Austin has some strong tools, highlighted by his raw, plus speed. He has a quick, compact swing, but almost no power to speak of. His swing and speed make me think the top of the order could be in his future, and he has a good amount of time to get there, but he has a long, long way to go.
1. Jarrod Parker / SP / For Parker, everything hinges on a successful recovery from Tommy John surgery. Before the surgery he was one of the more dominant pitchers in the minor leagues. Parker has, of course, been severely downgraded, but he still fits in near the bottom of my top-100 list and at the top of Arizona's top 10.
2. Brandon Allen / 1B / Allen had a terrific 2009 minor league season, proving that his 2008 breakout was not a fluke. Yet his brief major league debut and Arizona Fall League performance were lackluster to say the least. Which hitter will we see in 2010?
3. Ryan Wheeler / 1B / Arizona did a fantastic job restocking a failing farm system in the 2009 draft, as seven of the next eight players are from that draft. My favorite of the group is the fifth-rounder Wheeler. He murdered the ball over a half-season, and if he picks up where he left off he could move fast.
4. Bobby Borchering / 3B/1B / Borchering draws offensive comparisons to Chipper Jones for his plus bat speed and emerging power. He debuted in the rookie Pioneer League and looked like anything but Chipper Jones, with his head-scratching plate discipline and cringe-worthy contact skills. He has likable tools but plenty to learn.
5. David Nick / 2B / Nick showed everything you could possibly look for in a high school second baseman making his professional debut. He showed more power and speed than most were expecting, and his patience and contact skills have been very solid for a high schooler. I'm intrigued. What will he do for a followup?
6. Mike Belfiore / SP/RP / Belfiore looked like he had a raw but promising arm coming into the 2009 draft. He was selected earlier than I was expecting, but his numbers have justified his sandwich-round selection thus far. I'm not sure if he is a starter or a reliever, but he has great sleeper potential.
7. Wade Miley / SP / Miley's 2009 was a disappointment of sorts, as his arm doesn't have much projection left and his numbers were sub-par. But Miley induces ground balls and has a plus pitch with his curveball. With improved command he could move quickly and eventually settle in as a solid mid-rotation starter.
8. Chris Owings / SS/2B / Draft reports spoke highly of Owings' intangibles, game knowledge and natural instincts. And he showed off his quick, compact stroke and workable speed during his Pioneer League debut. But his plate discipline has looked awful and he doesn't project to have much power.
9. A.J. Pollock / OF / Pollock has plus contact skills, good gap power and above-average speed. But his plate discipline and lack of home run power will ultimately hinder him, leaving me thinking that he is nothing more than an average outfielder one day.
10. Marc Krauss / OF / Krauss has a great, natural eye at the plate, with above-average bat speed and the potential for average power. He doesn't have the tools to be a star, but he could move quickly through the system and turn into an average corner outfielder.
Posted by Matt Hagen at 6:10am
Lots of high-skilled players get big discounts due to injury concerns. Ben Sheets, Rich Harden, and Mike Lowell are just a few of the candidates for the sale rack. The big question is: Just how much of a discount should you apply to these types of players?
Some projection systems, like CHONE and Marcel, forecast playing time (in games or plate appearances). Expected playing time figures heavily in these systems' forecasts for the players' counting stats. The more the system expects the player to play, the more runs it expects the player to score (everything else equal, of course).
It is well known that, for fantasy purposes, one should add in the contributions of a replacement-level player when computing a player's value. So, a player that is forecast to score 100 runs in 100 games is worth more than a player forecast to score 100 runs in 162 games. Why? Because you'll be able to play a replacement player for at least some of the games that the 100-game player is forecast to miss. That player's going to score some runs too.
This is one reason why "real-life" baseball valuation stats, like Wins Above Replacement, figure value relative to a replacement player. Of course, since replacement levels in fantasy are so dependent on how deep your league is (in number of teams, bench size and number of positions used), these kind of replacement-level calculations are usually left up to the user.
The temptation is to do something like the following: Let's say the generic replacement-level player in your league is projected to earn 0.3 RBIs per game. Next, you take, say, CHONE's forecast of 72 RBIs in 122 games for Mike Lowell. Then you compute the expected RBIs from drafting Lowell as 72 + .3 x (162-122) = 84.
Unless you're in a daily league (and probably even then), it is unrealistic to expect to be able to replace Lowell in your lineup the minute he gets injured. So you'd like to apply a discount—maybe instead of assuming the replacement player plays 40 games, you assume he plays only 30 games for you.
I'd argue that the discount that you should apply to injury-concern players should vary a great deal depending on the player (and the injury). John Smoltz may be projected to start 20 games while Sheets is projected to start only 19, but I think you should apply a bigger discount to Smoltz, particularly in weekly leagues. Why? Because Smoltz is far more likely to have a start unexpectedly skipped, giving you a big fat zero in his spot for that week. Whereas Sheets is likely to be already comfortably nestled in your DL spot for the bulk of the starts that he might miss. Same thing applies for Chipper Jones versus Alfonso Soriano.
Pure speculation: If you're looking for some hidden value, I think the players that are catastrophic injury concerns, like Sheets, may give you a little extra profit over players like Harden, who are more likely to have nagging injuries. I bet that lots of fantasy players discount too heavily players that are at risk for season-ending injuries versus players that are given lots of extra days off.
Posted by Jonathan Halket at 6:20am
After spending eight seasons with the Chicago White Sox, Jon Garland will suit up for his forth different team in the past two seasons, and his third National League West team in the past 12 months. After watching Garland eat innings for the Diamondbacks and Dodgers last season, the San Diego Padres signed the veteran right hander to a one-year deal worth at least $5.3 million dollars ($4.7 base + $600k buyout) with a mutual option for 2011. I'm not sure the deal improves the Padres much, but the consensus is you can pencil him for 200 innings of league average pitching which is good for at least 2.5 WAR. That makes the deal a value, but his true value to the San Diego franchise may come at the trade deadline if Jed Hoyer can flip him to a contender for a prospect or two.
Garland is pretty unspectacular as far a peripheral stats. His career K/9 is a paltry 4.72, while his career BB/9 is around three. He has battled home run issues throughout his career illustrated by a HR/9 of 1.12 that is fueled by a HR/FB of 10.7. Obviously a move to the spacious Petco Park will alleviate some of that which would make Garland slightly more attractive.
As mentioned above, his greatest asset is his ability to eat innings. Garland will give you 32-35 starts and between 190-210 innings without breaking a sweat. With the durability comes more chances to win games and he has posted double digit win totals for eight straight seasons.
A groundball pitcher, Garland is going to need some help up the middle. The Padres current trio of of middle infielders: David Eckstein, Everth Cabrera and Jerry Hairston Jr. are not exactly defensive wizards. Cabrera was rated below average in his first major league season after average metrics in the minors. Hairston Jr. has been a pretty good second basemen over the course of his career and he could steal some playing time from Eckstein, who struggled at the position last season; this would be Garland's best bet.
Overall, I would expect the Garland to remain relatively status quo. He won't help at all in terms of strikeouts, but 12 wins, 200 innings and an ERA in the 4-4.5 is likely. The home runs should subside a bit in Petco, however, there's no guarantee that San Diego will be his home at season's end.
Posted by Tommy Rancel at 4:19am
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