June 19, 2013
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Wednesday, June 24, 2009
We are nearing the All-Star break, and this is typically when fantasy teams really get cranking with trade offers, retooling their lineups, and start dissecting the numbers a lot more closely. We'll take a look at four outfielders who could be a major bonus to fantasy teams for the rest of the season.
Colby Rasmus, St. Louis: He reminds me of Grady Sizemore, but with less speed. Don't think just because he only has one stolen base this season that he doesn't have the wheels. In the minors, he averaged nearly 15 steals per season, which may translate to 10-12 in MLB. I don't care who you are, if you hit behind Albert Pujols, you're going to get the best opportunities possible to produce. Rasmus has been a top prospect for a few years now, and he is finally starting to show his skills at the major league level. He could eclipse the 40-double mark this year, and while his average should dip to a more reasonable .270-ish range, it wouldn't surprise me to see him accrue 65 RBI by season's end.
Nolan Reimold, Baltimore: Formerly the No. 3 prospect in the Orioles organization, Reimold has finally earned every day playing time with the Birds. The way he has been playing, he could be the dark horse for AL ROY. The power is there, and his plate discipline has been pretty darn good. I would compare him to Conor Jackson, except with more power potential. Once some of his teammates begin to rebound from slumps (Brian Roberts, Melvin Mora), the RBI opportunities will rise. I could see him finishing the season with close to 20 HR and 70 RBI with a .280 average.
Chris Young, Arizona: You don't go from hitting 54 HR and 170 RBI combined over the previous two seasons to hitting a measly six HR in nearly 250 plate appearances this season. His walk and strikeout rates remain very similar to the past few seasons, which is encouraging, but the main difference is that his GB/FB rate is so much lower than what has been the norm for him. He could be pressing a bit, so it could be a batting mechanics issue causing him to keep popping the ball up (his HR/FB rate is down sharply). If he can figure things out, expect a rebound in the second half. He is nursing a groin injury right now, but it is unlikely that he will need to miss any great length of time, so I would try to trade for him now while you still can get good value. He may even be lingering on some free agent lists in some mixed leagues.
Jay Bruce, Cincinnati: This guy launched 21 HR as a rookie last season and has had a very rough go of it in 2009. His BABIP is currently the lowest among all qualifying players in MLB at a ghastly .199! A guy with this type of talent simply should not be hitting this badly. While a demotion doesn't seem likely, he may benefit from some time off to get his head straight. In the meantime, check and see if he is available on your free agent list and snag him for what could be a resurgence in the second half. He is way too good to keep hitting this poorly (just look at how he severely crushed minor league pitching).
Posted by Chris Neault at 4:19am (4) Comments
The first winner of Worst Monday fielded only hitters; the second winner fielded only pitchers.
The third winner of Worst Monday, Corey Robinson, seized the worst of both worlds—a hitter (Mike Napoli) who struck out twice in three at-bats, and a pitcher (Matt Palmer) who gave up 6 ER and 12 baserunners in 4.2 innings and took the Loss in the process.
For his effort, Corey wins a year's subscription to Heater Magazine. And with -5.7 points, Corey is now tied with last week's winner for the season crown; if Corey can hold that position until October, he will get a free copy of the 2010 Graphical Player, coming out in December.
Thanks to everyone who entered. Worse luck next week!
Posted by John Burnson at 12:37pm (0) Comments
Thursday, June 25, 2009
Welcome to THT Fantasy's Roster Doctor. If you'd like your team to be analyzed by one of our fantasy baseball experts, please send your full roster to this address. Also be sure to include your league's player pool (mixed, AL-only, NL-only), number of teams, scoring format (roto, head-to-head, points, etc.), categories, whether or not it's a keeper league, and any other pertinent information. If your roster is selected it will be analyzed in a future Roster Doctor column.
Player Pool: Mixed
No. of Teams: 20
Categories: Traditional 5x5 plus OBP and SLG for hitters, and K/BB ratio for pitchers
Scoring Type: Head-to-Head
Other Notes: Daily updates, Aug. 16 trade deadline, 5 keepers per year (3 years max), 6 teams make playoffs
C - Jorge Posada
1B - Kendry Morales
2B - Kelly Johnson
3B - Chipper Jones
SS - Marco Scutaro
CI - Josh Fields
MI - Alberto Callaspo
OF - Carlos Beltran
OF - JD Drew
OF - Pat Burrell
OF - Matt Diaz
UTIL - Dexter Fowler
UTIL - Jeff Keppinger
BN - Coco Crisp
BN - Carlos Delgado
SP - Roy Oswalt
SP - Josh Beckett
SP - Zach Duke
SP - Dave Bush
RP - Justin Masterson
RP - Pedro Feliciano
RP - Alfredo Aceves
P - Matt Thorton
P - Jeremy Affeldt
P - Ramon Troncoso
P - Tim Hudson
DL - Brandon Webb
So right now your team is sitting in 18th place of a 20 team league. I feel this team has enough solid parts to compete and a couple of key moves could propel it into the top half of the league, although cracking the top six will be quite the challenge.
The first problem spot is at second base where Kelly Johnson is stinking it up. It is almost bad news that his groin injury is not serious, since then he could have been placed on the DL, giving you the flexibility to pick up someone new. If you do manage to free a roster spot, a good replacement is Kelly Johnson's probable real life replacement, Martin Prado, and he comes with the added bonus of being able to fill in for Chipper when he misses a few games here and there.
I know in the offseason I wrote an article saying Josh Fields is a decent late-round option at third base but now in June, it is apparent he has dropped from fantasy relevance. Once again the real life replacement Gordon Beckham is intriguing, but my feeling is that he is already owned. Chase Headley, Kyle Blanks, Ty Wigginton, Willy Aybar, and Ryan Garko are all players I'd rather see in that CI spot over Fields.
Callaspo certainly is not a sexy option at MI, but he is a solid one and you could do a lot worse there.
Beltran's fall is untimely and may be the dagger in your season looking back, but let's see how we can work around it as best we can. My favorite outfield pickup up is Seth Smith right now, who is outperforming the others stuck in that Rockies logjam in the outfield. I see the playing time start to fall more in his favor, both on the Rockies or on another team if he gets traded. A safer replacement with more stable playing time could be Gabe Gross or Daniel Murphy.
Burrell has simply been a steel anchor this season, dragging down all of the teams he is on, and I think in the next week or two it is time to make a decision on him. He has the potential to get hot and knock a few home runs and post a solid OBP, but is that worth waiting for? Are there better options in free agency? Unless he picks up the production over the next week I would bench him and cut Delgado or Crisp for the outfielders mentioned above. Another name to consider is Chris Dickerson if he continues to get regular playing time when the gets DH taken away.
The last note on your hitting: Keppinger can be dropped for most of the outfielders I have already mentioned as possible pickups.
Transitioning to your pitching, it appears decent, and obviously if Brandon Webb had not gone down it would look much better. Oswalt might be someone you could look to trade, if his name can cover his numbers and fetch you something valuable. I can see why you picked Bush since he would be extra-valuable in this league because of the K/BB category, but unfortunately he's walking plenty of guys this year, taking away aspect of his game that made him valuable.
For someone who punted saves, I like a lot of the guys in your bullpen—Thorton and Aceves namely—because I believe Thorton has a decent chance of becoming the ChiSox closer (Jenks trade) and Aceves is a great ratio helper, often throwing multiple innings in his appearances.
Overall, I think you might want to half throw in the towel here. I gave you some suggestions of how to help your hitting in little Band-Aid patches, but you will have to pull off a superbly good trade—Kazmir for Zambrano-esque—in order to jump into contention for that last playoff spot. When your best hitter and pitcher are lost to injury for significant periods of time, it is easier to start thinking about next year and hire a new trainer.
A strategy you should consider is trading away some of your remaining valuable pieces for a player you would want as a keeper for next year, helping you for then, hopefully with better luck next time.
Posted by Paul Singman at 2:59am (0) Comments
Looking for more prospect info? Find out where every prospect fits into the The Hardball Times ongoing Top 100 Prospects List.
New Player Breakdowns
31. Trevor Cahill / SP / Oakland / MLB / 3/1/88 / ETA: 2009 / High: #31 / Low: #46 / This Week: +15
Oakland is committed to allowing Cahill the chance to work through his struggles, and that trust has paid off. He has slowly turned into a strong back of the rotation asset in fantasy leagues.
Average Year Projection:
Prime Year Projection:
6/24/09 - After a very rough start to his season, Cahill has started to slowly figure out the major league game, and most of his stats are following suit. Everyone is still waiting for his strikeouts to surface, and they just might as soon as he is fully comfortable facing the some of the best hitters in the world. Cahill works best as an attacker. Currently, he is working on sharpening up his movement and attacking the inside part of the plate. Good things are on the horizon. Is he still a future ace? Time will tell.
34. Tyler Flowers / C / Chicago White Sox / Double-A / 1/24/86 / ETA: 2010 / High: #34 / Low: #48 / This Week: +5
Flowers deserves the chance to show what he can do in the majors, but A.J. Pierzynski stands in his way. Unless a rumored Pierzynski deal goes down, expect Flowers to finish up his 2009 at Triple-A Charlotte.
Average Year Projection:
Too early to tell.
Prime Year Projection:
Too early to tell.
6/24/09 - Flowers' bat has begun to heat up, and his plate discipline isn't far off from Matt Wieters and Carlos Santana's. He is coming on strong as the South Side's replacement for A.J. Pierzynski, if the team is looking to move on. Pierzynski is having himself a heck of a year, though. We'll see just how serious the White Sox are about a youth movement.
35. Nolan Reimold / OF / Baltimore / MLB / 10/12/83 / ETA: 2009 / High: #35 / Low: #75 / This Week: +3
Reimold has burst onto the radar screen of fantasy owners everywhere. He looks like a strong #3 outfielder for the rest of the year.
Average Year Projection:
Prime Year Projection:
6/24/09 - Reimold is the missing piece of an extraordinary Baltimore outfield along with Adam Jones and Nick Markakis. Those men, along with a little help from their friends, are on a quest to get Baltimore back to their winning ways. It's unclear as to how much upside Reimold really has, as he is 25 years old already, but his bat is legit. He can hit for both power and a respectable average. He will probably never be a .300, 30 home run hitter or a true No. 1 fantasy outfielder, but the production of a No. 2 fantasy outfielder is a good bet for his future. If he keeps hitting like this he will move even further up this list. Don't let his age get you down, as Reimold is a good prospect and has plenty of good major league seasons ahead of him.
38. Jenrry Mejia / SP / NY Mets / Double-A / 10/11/89 / ETA: 2011 / High: #38 / Low: UR / This Week: New
This young man has snuck up on everybody, but don't expect the Mets to push him beyond Double-A. Lets see how the kid adjusts to his current league and the advanced hitters he's facing.
Average Year Projection:
Too early to tell.
Prime Year Projection:
Too early to tell.
6/24/09 - I will admit it, I missed the boat on Mejia. Earlier this year I glanced at his High-A numbers, which were impressive on the surface but not all that spectacular peripherally, and then moved on to the next player that caught my eye. But, at the age of 19 I should have at least added him to the bubble. I didn't even consciously realize that he was promoted to Double-A Binghamton until a few starts in. That's when my eyes were opened. Right on cue, kindly Hardball Times reader Suchit Patel emailed me no more than an hour later looking for my thoughts on Mejia. Dear Suchit, go get Jenrry Mejia. I will admit another thing, I haven't even seen him pitch yet, but I'm hoping to catch his next start. I am being aggressive with this ranking, as I've essentially moved him ahead of Fernando Martinez as the team's No. 1 prospect, but the numbers and the age don't lie. He's riding on a lot of hype, and I usually don't just blindly buy into hype, but this time I will take the plunge.
39. Desmond Jennings / OF / Tampa Bay / Double-A / 10/30/86 / ETA: 2010 / High: #37 / Low: #58 / This Week: -2
Tampa's advanced outfield depth chart is crowded, allowing for little wiggle room. If Jennings keeps opening eyes, though, a shot at Triple-A is a no-brainer.
Average Year Projection:
Too early to tell.
Prime Year Projection:
Too early to tell.
6/24/09 - All of the hype is starting to become real. The best two things about his current Double-A run are not the eye popping fantasy stats, but two fantastic ratios that scream future success; a 38/31 strikeout-to-walk ratio and an 87 percent stolen base success rate in 26 attempts. There is a lot to like. But will a Tampa Bay outfield opening present itself in the near future? That's something Jennings can't control.
Read the latest installment of The Hardball Times ongoing Top 100 Prospects List.
Posted by Matt Hagen at 3:03am (4) Comments
Friday, June 26, 2009
Fernando Nieve | New York | SP
YTD: 5.7 K/9, 1.4 K/BB, 1.31 ERA
True Talent: 6.9 K/9, 1.8 K/BB, 4.79 ERA
Next Week Forecast: 11.0 IP, 0.6 Wins, 9 K, 5.13 ERA
Three straight wins from Nieve have gotten him plenty of attention since he joined the Mets rotation, but a deeper look will show a correction is coming. He's got an unsustainable 92% strand rate, and has allowed only 4% of fly balls to turn into homers. His HR/FB ratio has been between 16-17% the past two seasons, and that LOB% should naturally fall nearer to the 75-80% range. True Talent thinks his ratios will improve, while his ERA will fall, so his core skillset is strong, but that luck's definitely due to shift. NL-only owners can look to Nieve for help at the back of their rotation in leagues deeper than 10 teams, while mixed leagues shallower than 16 teams should hold off.
John Lannan | Washington | SP
YTD: 4.4 K/9, 1.3 K/BB, 3.44 ERA
True Talent: 5.1 K/9, 1.4 K/BB, 4.00 ERA
Next Week Forecast: 6.1 IP, 0.4 Wins, 4 K, 3.93 ERA
Lannan gets by on his groundball rates (over 50% for the past three seasons), not his mediocre strikeout rates. Pitching for Washington won't give him many wins, of course, and some of those ground balls are going to squirt through for hits in tight situations. He's done well lately, including a CG shutout against the Mets and 8.1 IP of 2 ER ball against the Yankees, but he's got a few awful starts under his belt, too, like the three outings when he gave up 5+ ER without pitching into the sixth inning. Given those up-and-down performance levels and the difficulty in collecting wins for the Nats, Lannan represents a real risk to your ratios without offering much in return. Teams can roster him cautiously in NL-only leagues of 12 teams or more, or in mixed leagues deeper than 16 teams.
Mitch Stetter | Milwaukee | RP
YTD: 12.0 K/9, 3.1 K/BB, 2.70 ERA
True Talent: 9.5 K/9, 2.2 K/BB, 3.55 ERA
Next Week Forecast: 0.0 Saves, 3.65 ERA
The Brewers lefty recently set a franchise record by collecting 15 straight outs via the K, which shows why his K/9 rate is so high. But he logged similar numbers last year, with 11 K/9, so True Talent may be a bit too conservative in that department. He's also brought his BB/9 rates down from 6.8 in 2008 to 4.1 this year, while continuing to hold HRs to a reasonable rate (0.82 HR/G). He's not used as a LOOGY, since righties only hit .200 against him, though lefties (.104 BA) really don't like to see him, either. He has 13 holds on the year, but he can be valuable in any league for his high-K, low-BA ways. If your league counts holds, he's probably not on the wire anymore, but teams in any league deeper than eight teams could use him as staff filler to boost ratios and add Ks.
Leo Nunez | Florida | RP
YTD: 8.0 K/9, 1.9 K/BB, 4.13 ERA
True Talent: 7.5 K/9, 2.1 K/BB, 3.84 ERA
Next Week Forecast: 0.6 Saves, 3.72 ERA
Florida closer Matt Lindstrom had been stinking up the joint even before his injury, and most observers see either Nunez or Kiko Calero as the heir apparent. Calero is on the DL as another victim of the Marlins' abusive bullpen usage, but he's put up the best numbers among the possible closer candidates. Nunez and Dan Meyer (see below) will share time with Renyel Pinto at the back end of the bullpen while Calero's out, and possibly beyond. Nunez delivers Ks with his fastball, but throwing heat and knowing where it's going are two different skills. His BB/9 (4.2) and his HR/9 (1.39) are undoubtedly why FIPS and True Talent think his elevated ERA is just about right. He's the best of the healthy RHP, which makes him worth a pickup for teams needing saves, but Calero's numbers are much better. Unless Nunez or Meyer suddenly finds a groove, Gonzalez will probably install Calero in the closer role when he returns.
Dan Meyer | Florida | RP
YTD: 8.7 K/9, 4.3 K/BB, 2.03 ERA
True Talent: 7.6 K/9, 2.2 K/BB, 3.85 ERA
Next Week Forecast: 0.0 Saves, 3.72 ERA
Meyer has strong numbers, but he's a lefty, and managers don't tend to put LHP at the end of their bullpens, even if great lefty closers like Billy Wagner, John Franco, Randy Myers or B.J. Ryan should change this ossified mindset. Plus, Meyer pitches better against RHB (.760 career OPS) than LHB (.799 career OPS), which bodes well for him. He got the save Wednesday because Nunez was unavailable, but he could outperform Nunez if given a chance. His 3.45 FIP and 3.76 xFIP, like True Talent, say that he's getting lucky, and that 1.32 HR/9 rate is unacceptable for a closer. But if Gonzalez opts to play matchups at closer, Meyer's a better lefty option than Pinto, with better ratios in all departments but HR/9 and that balanced platoon split. If you're a believer in momentum, and think that Gonzalez is contrarian enough to try a full-time lefty closer, Meyer's a fine pickup. Even if he doesn't wind up as the primary endgame option, those K numbers and excellent control mean he can still help you.
Casey McGehee | Milwaukee | 2B/3B
True Talent: .264/.324/.389
Next Week Forecast: 0.2 HR, 1 Run, 1 RBI, .257 BA, 0.0 SB
After Rickie Weeks went down, McGehee started platooning with Craig Counsell at 2B, and has hit well enough to pick up a few starts at the hot corner and even at DH. His True Talent numbers and his .395 BABIP are sure signs that he's hitting over his head, but he's smashing the ball right now (.426/.483/.648 this month), and Ken Macha might find it hard to sit him until he cools off. Depending on the Brewers' plans for Bill Hall and Mat Gamel at the end of interleague play, McGehee could work his way into more playing time, increasing his value as a 2B qualifier. Unless he plays more than part time, however, McGehee is only a viable roster option in NL leagues deeper than 14 teams or mixed leagues deeper than 18 teams.
Kyle Blanks | San Diego | 1B/OF
True Talent: .259/.327/.416
Next Week Forecast: 0.2 HR, 1 Run, 1 RBI, .260 BA, 0.0 SB
The top prospect in the Padres organization, Blanks' path to the majors has been blocked by Adrian Gonzalez, so he's been learning to play the outfield. In spite of his massive 6-foot-6, 285-pound frame, Blanks is actually quite athletic in the field and at the plate. In the minors, Blanks showed good plate discipline and power (.303/.393/.505 career) and hasn't look overmatched against big-league pitching. Some see his arrival as a signal that Gonzalez will be traded, but even if that doesn't happen, Blanks should be up for good. Keeper owners should certainly grab him if they've got the room, and everyone should watch him closely to see if he can adjust. In the meantime, he's worth a flier in NL-only leagues deeper than 14 teams or 20+ team mixed leagues.
Garret Anderson | Atlanta | OF
True Talent: .276/.317/.414
Next Week Forecast: 0.6 HR, 2 Runs, 3 RBI, .280 BA, 0.1 SB
He doesn't know how to take a walk (4.7 career BB%), but Anderson has been one of the most reliable BA and RBI producers in baseball, averaging .296 and 103 RBI in his 16-year career. Those numbers have slipped in recent years—he hasn't cracked 100 RBI since 2003, or a .300 BA since 2004—but he's still pretty solid. After a slow start, he's cranked it up in June, hitting .297/.333/.438. He's still a 37-year-old DH playing almost full-time in the OF, so this peak isn't likely to last as the season wears on. Atlanta's also got one of the weaker run-producing offenses in the NL, further diluting his value. True Talent tells you that his recent hot streak will last long enough to bring his YTD stats up a bit, but not much. This all makes him worthwhile in NL-only leagues deeper than 18 teams, though shallower leagues can still take his production while it lasts.
Miguel Montero | Arizona | C
True Talent: .254/.334/.421
Next Week Forecast: 0.3 HR, 1 Run, 1 RBI, .259 BA, 0.0 SB
Now that Chris Snyder is on the DL, Montero will get most of the PT behind the dish, which could energize him to reach those True Talent levels. He's shown the ability to hit for power in the past, slugging .556 in the second half of 2008, but his problem has been pitch identification (0.51 BB/K career). That's what keeps his BA low, but he can obviously lay into a pitch when he does make contact. Chase Field is a good place to hit, and Montero will get his chance to show what he's got. If he can impress enough, he might hang onto the starting role, since Snyder has slumped after a hot May, leading to an overall line of .224/.358/.381. True Talent tells you Montero will improve his power, and NL owners should certainly take notice of this opportunity to pick him up. He's worth a roster spot in 8-team NL leagues and mixed leagues deeper than 12 teams.
Posted by Michael Street at 2:00am (3) Comments
Chris Davis | Texas | 1B
True Talent: .243/.296/.476
Next Week Forecast: 1.3 HR, 3 Runs, 4 RBI, .241 BA, 0.1 SB
Chris Davis has made even the pessimistic comparisons to Mike Jacobs seem rosy, and the legend of Rudy Jaramillo gets a tiny bit of tarnish. Sure, Davis was selected in every format, but shallow leaguers have already cut him, and he's a viable trade target in larger leagues. He has some crazy numbers right now, with a 48% FB% of which 21% leave the yard, and a Ct% of just 55%. Something has to give, and while there's a chance all those Ks will sink him, his past suggests it's a fluke. And when the contact rebounds, the power will be top-notch.
Alfredo Figaro | Detroit | SP
YTD: 12.9 K/9, 3.5 K/BB, 3.60 ERA
True Talent: 4.2 K/9, 0.9 K/BB, 6.83 ERA
Next Week Forecast: 4.2 IP, 0.2 Wins, 2 K, 6.65 ERA
The first aria was nice, but we're not sure how the rest of Figaro's opera will be. The Tigers have made huge strides in team defense this year, with a league-leading .851 team RZR, and a good .701 DER. So, consider bidding $3 in 12-team AL leagues for the rotation slot, the ability to throw 98, and being Fernando Rodney's cousin. But even with a quick hook, he could do some serious ratio damage in less-deep leagues.
Tyler Flowers | Chicago | C
YTD: .281/.433/.522 (AA)
True Talent: n/a
Next Week Forecast: n/a
For deep leagues which use two catchers, the mere mention of the “C” position in a prospect is exciting. Since no other catcher is “interesting” this week, the idea of grabbing Flowers and just playing him as a zero until he's promoted is worth considering in deep AL leagues. The White Sox are right around .500 as predicted pre-season in Heater, and could be sellers this year (clearing a spot for Flowers) unless Quentin goes nuts. Catcher or not, he's a great hitting prospect for keeper leagues.
Gio Gonzalez | Oakland | SP
YTD: 9.5 K/9, 1.4 K/BB, 8.03 ERA
True Talent: 7.5 K/9, 1.4 K/BB, 5.35 ERA
Next Week Forecast: 5.1 IP, 0.3 Wins, 4 K, 5.41 ERA
Unscientific advice suggests avoiding any pitcher Kenny Williams ships out. Gonzalez has twice had that “honor” already at age 23. He's lost his control and looks nervous on the mound in Oakland. Gio does have great stuff and blew away AAA. He will have a good home park and defense backing him up. With Outman out, now is his time to lay claim to a rotation spot, but he won't get much “leash” before a return to Sacramento is contemplated.
J.P. Howell | Tampa Bay | RP
YTD: 10.9 K/9, 3.2 K/BB, 1.82 ERA
True Talent: 9.9 K/9, 2.8 K/BB, 2.92 ERA
Next Week Forecast: 0.3 Saves, 2.95 ERA
Masterful in the lefty setup role since the start of 2008, Howell has now collected three of the last four Rays saves, picking up a “W” in the other game. It's difficult for a lefty to earn a closing role, especially when his “fastball” comes in at an average of 86 mph and his ground balls ways are nice for situational duties. But Howell has shown almost no platoon split in his career, and he has “inertia” on his side now.
Ricky Romero | Toronto | SP
YTD: 7.3 K/9, 2.5 K/BB, 3.59 ERA
True Talent: 5.4 K/9, 1.2 K/BB, 5.57 ERA
Next Week Forecast: 5.0 IP, 0.3 Wins, 3 K, 6.05 ERA
The injuries keep mounting in Toronto, but oft-injured Ricky Romero hasn't been stricken ... yet. TT predicts him to revert to minor-league levels despite an enormous “unlucky” 18% HR/FB rate, and a normal .306 BABIP. We're going to suggest instead that he's very “high risk.” He has shown no fear of throwing strikes in the bigs, even with batters teeing off for nine HR in just 57.2 IP. And with that nice Toronto defense backing him up, he's a good role of the dice if spotted against the non-powerhouse offenses.
Marcus Thames | Detroit | OF
True Talent: .254/.314/.520
Next Week Forecast: 1.6 HR, 3 Runs, 4 RBI, .254 BA, 0.1 SB
Heh, longtime bench/AAAA type Marcus Thames is suddenly batting cleanup for the Tigers. We've seen this before with Clete Thomas, right? Well, the difference here is that Thames has legitimate jaw-dropping power. All the advance fielding metrics indicate he's “adequate” as a fielder. Leyland tries to play “streaks,” so there's always the chance of another benching, but in any league where OBP doesn't matter, the great power stats (5 HR/12 RBI already in just 71 AB) more than make up for the low batting average.
Luis Valbuena | Cleveland | INF
True Talent: .246/.315/.375
Next Week Forecast: 0.5 HR, 3 Runs, 2 RBI, .247 BA, 0.5 SB
Luis Valbuena had one homer entering the Cubs series but quadrupled that total in just two games. With the Tribe's bullpen laying the season to waste, the much-rumored DeRosa trade could free up full-time work for Valbuena even after Asdrubal returns. Still very young, this year's TT of about .250 and half a homer and steal per week could just be the first glimpses of a fine offensive player for years. Seattle could certainly use him and/or Asdrubal back.
True Talent and Next Week Forecasts courtesy of Heater Magazine.
Posted by Rob McQuown at 2:00am (0) Comments
Monday, June 29, 2009
Jacoby Ellsbury had a huge 33 games in a 2007 call up and even made a great showing in the 2007 playoffs, but has yet to match those numbers since. He has been given many comparisons to other players, including Fred Lynn, Johnny Damon and Ichiro Suzuki. So far though he has fallen short in different ways, like batting eye or power. This leaves him in a dangerous position and looking dangerously more like Juan Pierre.
Name GP AB R HR RBI SB CS K% BB% BABIP HR/FB P/PA Jacoby Ellsbury 69 282 37 3 24 31 6 9.9% 6.6% 0.327 3.6% 3.8 Juan Pierre 67 229 37 0 24 18 6 7.9% 6.9% 0.357 0% 3.5
This season Ellsbury has shown improvement in his contact rate. His career strikeout rate is 12.9 percent, but he has been at or below 10 percent almost all season. Looking at his career he has a 13 percent strikeout rate in the lead off spot in 764 at-bats, but a 10 percent rate in any other spot in the order with 183 at-bats. This is still a small sample size, but may be a sign for the Red Sox to keep him at the bottom of the order.
However, the problem hasn't been strikeouts so much for Ellsbury, but the lack of walks. He has been extremely consistent with his walk rate, which is at only 6.8 percent in his career. This has always been a problem, and contributed to his OBP dropping to .336 last year. A reduction of his strikeout rate this year has pushed his OBP back up to .354. That isn't great, but for a bottom of the order guy with speed it doesn't hurt.
Unfortunately, the power has disappeared this season for Ellsbury as he has seen his HR/FB go from 10.9 percent in 2007 to 7.3 percent in 2008 and now 3.6 percent through 278 at-bats this year. This used to help differentiate him from Pierre. If he can't reach 10 homers, he starts to look like a one or two category guy and his value drops.
Ellsbury also hasn't been able to keep his BABIP as high as Ichiro's. While Ellsbury had a BABIP of .388 in limited time in 2007 year, his career BABIP is just .327. Ichiro's career BABIP is .358, resulting in better averages and OBPs.
Pierre is a well known entity at this point. He holds value in fantasy leagues for his batting average and steals, but in real baseball his value is limited. Now that teams are catching on, he has come to be a bench outfielder unless injuries strike. With Manny Ramirez out for a drug suspension he has seen plenty of at-bats and produced as we have come to expect.
In every season since 2001 Pierre has stolen 40 bases, scored 87 runs (except last year) and his career batting average is .301. He is as consistent as the come, but so is his walk rate. His career rate is 5.8 percent and this year's 6.9 percent is his highest since 2003 with the Marlins.
Power is the category where Pierre falls behind Ellsbury. Pierre has never topped three homers in a season, while Ellsbury hit nine in 2008 and has three so far in 2009. Pierre should be able to find full time at-bats as long as Willy Tavaras and Michael Bourn can get starting jobs. Unfortunately, that won't happen on the Dodgers now that Manny is back, and according to this LA Times report there is no interest in moving Pierre, so he will be dead weight to your team for the remainder of the year.
So being compared to Pierre doesn't make Ellsbury a bad fantasy option, but it certainly won't help him with the Red Sox. They are almost the same player, with a slight boost in SLG (about 30 points) for Ellsbury. Pierre's value will continue to fluctuate with his playing time, and his situation in Los Angeles, where he is behind both Ramirez and Andre Ethier, doesn't look good for now. Ellsbury has a firm grip on a starting gig, and is on pace for 60 steals this year, and should provide solid fantasy value going forward. If he could ever gain a few points in his walk rate he could head back to the top of the order and be an elite lead off man, but for now he's relegated to Pierre comparisons.
Posted by Troy Patterson at 1:49am (3) Comments
Over the weekend, the St. Louis Cardinals shipped reliever Chris Perez (and a PTBNL) to the Indians for the everywhere-eligible DeRosa. The question many NL-only leaguers will be asking themselves this week is, "How much should I bid on Mark DeRosa" (or its close cousin, "Should I use my waiver priority on DeRosa?").
While DeRosa is a solid player, he's a far cry from a guy like Manny or CC. At this point, FAAB dollars are generally running low, and putting in the necessary bid to win DeRosa will all but eliminate a team from the competition to acquire any future league-switchers.
So what's an NL-only leaguer to do? There's no clear-cut answer, as is often the case in fantasy baseball, but there are some factors to consider that can lead us to a sound decision.
The DeRosa Factors
Note: All dollar amounts mentioned are on a $100 scale. Adjust as necessary to your specific league.
The league's normal "big bid": What does a big bid look like in your specific league? Did Adam Rosales go for $28 or just $8? Did Chris Coghlan top $30? This will determine, in part, how much you'll be bidding on DeRosa and other league-switchers. Holding all else constant, the smaller the required bid, the more favorable bidding on DeRosa is. Also keep in mind that the normal "big bid" will change throughout the year as teams start running low on cash. Evaluate your own league as need be.
My team's remaining FAAB: How much FAAB does your team have left? If you're following Scott Swanay's FAAB schedule I copied in my early season article on FAAB, you might only have $20 or $25 left right now. If you're low on cash, I would consider a bid unfavorable. While aggressive bidding is encouraged, leaving yourself with only a couple bucks to spend over the final 55 percent of the season will surely cause problems for you. If you have a medium or high total, I would consider a bid favorable since you will, at the very least, have some money left over to spend on hole-plugging role players the rest of the way.
Minimum bid: Does your league allow $0 bids, or is $1 the minimum? If it allows $0 bids, consider a DeRosa bid favorable since you can still acquire fill-in players even if you end up running out of cash.
Is FAAB tradeable?: If it is, a bid would be more favorable since you could still realistically acquire more, even if you run low.
Other teams' remaining FAAB: Perhaps the most important factor. If there are several teams with a lot of money left to spend, or a few teams who at least have you covered, a bid on DeRosa would be very favorable. Sure, it'll take you out of the running for subsequent league-switchers, but were you even in the running to begin with if Team X still has $90 left and is saving up for just this occasion? Make your bid now, and if you win DeRosa, great. If you don't, at least some team will have less FAAB the next time around. Waiting could be catastrophic if teams have a lot of FAAB left. You'll bid $35 on the guy who comes available next and Team X will bid $55.
My team's needs: Does this player fill specific needs or is it simply a value bid? Both are valid reasons to bid, but fantasy owners must always remember that the ultimate goal is to win the league, regardless of what shape that takes. If DeRosa fills a specific need for you, a bid is more favorable than if he would simply be a trade chip, especially as we get closer to August and the end of the season (and since owners will temper their offers with the hope they can land a better player via FAAB in a couple of weeks).
Who will he be replacing: This goes hand-in-hand with the previous factor. The worse your current player is, the more favorable a bid becomes. You're certainly not going to bid $30 on a guy if he's only going to be a marginal upgrade. In DeRosa's case, because he can play so many positions, he's likely a sizeable upgrade for just about every team in the league at some position.
How much work does my team need?: Would your team be better served with one big player (like DeRosa) or by acquiring a greater quantity of less-talented role players over the next month and a half? The less work it needs, the more favorable a bid is.
Quality of other potential league-switchers: Who else could be switching leagues this year? Is there another Manny coming, or will the remaining players simply be solid contributors in the DeRosa mold? Plus, we must consider the fact that we have no idea which players will actually be traded, much less whether they'll be traded into the NL (as opposed to an AL team dealing with another AL team). While there probably won't be anyone of Manny or CC's caliber this year, there are some appealing guys like Matt Holliday and Jermaine Dye, as well as some DeRosa-level guys like Aubrey Huff, Brad Penny, Jhonny Peralta, and Mark Teahen.
Unless you feel like you have enough money to make a serious run at a guy like Holliday, I'd say it's a pretty favorable year to make a bid on DeRosa. There's no guarantee who else will be traded or when, and getting DeRosa now will offer more value than a guy like Huff will in a few more weeks (not to mention the fact that bidding will improve your chances of ultimately ending up with someone instead of being left out in the cold).
Quantity of other potential league-switchers: Even if there aren't any superstar league-switchers, simply having a lot of them would drain FAAB funds and would likely make for some bargains later on. This factor should be considered in conjunction with the remaining FAAB of the other teams. Overall, though, I would lean towards bidding on DeRosa rather than waiting. Even if a lot of guys do get traded over (far from a sure thing), you'd likely have to wait until the end of July for the bargains and miss out on a whole month of production from DeRosa.
Standings fallout: Consider who the top pursuers will be and ask yourself this question: if DeRosa lands on another team, would it be the worst thing in the world? Maybe the 9th place team really needs a middle infielder, has a lot of money to spend, and is bunched up in home runs with a few teams who are near the top of the standings overall. If he were to win DeRosa, it wouldn't be the worst thing in the world. It would drain some FAAB from the pool and take some points away from your competitors. Just make sure to weight this against the likelihood that said team actually wins DeRosa and compare against how DeRosa would directly help your team if you were to win him.
What are your trade options?: While many would rather give up FAAB than talent for a quality player, others may not have that luxury. Or perhaps it would actually be cheaper to trade for a slumping hitter who will produce similar numbers to DeRosa (Garrett Atkins, maybe?). Every league will differ, but this is an option that should at least be considered.
If you evaluate all of these factors within the context of your own league, hopefully you will have a pretty clear decision laid out for you — or at least you won't be completely bidding in the dark. As always, feel free to send any comments or questions to me via e-mail or the comments section below.
What do you guys think? Did I miss any factors that you consider? What players could be switching leagues that would have an impact on your decision?
Posted by Derek Carty at 12:00pm (2) Comments
Tuesday, June 30, 2009
Hitters (H=+1, 2B=+2, 3B=+3, HR=+4, RBI=+1, SB=+2, CS=-1, K=-0.5, BB=+1)
Pitchers (IP=+3. H=-1, BB=-1, ER=-2, K=+1, W=+7, L=-5, S=+5, BS=-3)
C: Matt Wieters
1B: Joey Votto
2B: Brian Roberts
SS: Derek Jeter
3B: Pablo Sandoval
OF: Grady Sizemore
OF: Nate McLouth
OF: Hunter Pence
Util: Luke Scott
DL: Edwin Encarnacion
DL: Carlos Beltran
P: CC Sabathia
P: Josh Beckett
P: Matt Cain
P: Tommy Hanson
P: Javier Vazquez
P: Ricky Nolasco
P: Kevin Slowey
P: Jonathan Papelbon
P: Mariano Rivera
DL: Jake Peavy
Rich wants to know whether to replace Sandoval with Encarnacion upon the Reds third baseman's return from the DL. Rich also is questioning whether JJ Hardy or Ian Stewart would be better options at utility.
Regarding 3B—if this was a Roto league, I'd tell you the team looks like it's a little short on power. In such a case, one might construct the argument that although Sandoval should be more valuable than Encarnacion overall, it's certainly conceivable that the latter could hit more home runs in the second half.
But this is a points league, and better yet, the league penalizes strikeouts and loves a guy with good contact ability. Namely a guy like Sandoval, who might be more valuable in this format than you realize. The format doesn't even care that as a member of the Giants, he doesn't score too much.
As for Scott in Baltimore, he's a guy who might be slightly less valuable in this format. The league is only 10 teams, making Scott a marginal option because he'll get occasional rest days against tough left-handed pitchers. Plus, Scott strikes out at a decent clip and his average is probably due for a slight correction downward. That said, he's probably still a better utility option at the moment than Hardy or Stewart and probably even Encarnacion.
Posted by Eriq Gardner at 1:09am (0) Comments
Over the weekend, the Cleveland Indians traded Mark DeRosa to the St. Louis Cardinals for reliever Chris Perez and a player to be named later. As Porky Pig might say, this transaction represented the first shot of duck hunting season.
From now until July 31—MLB’s trading deadline—we can expect a lot of player movements. Or at least, rumors of player movement.
For anyone in deep leagues and shallow player pools, these trades can be especially significant.
In the Mark DeRosa deal, for example, the value of DeRosa didn’t much change.
But anybody hunting for saves had to consider whether Chris Perez was being lined up for save opportunities later this season, especially with current Indians closer Kerry Wood struggling.
Those in really deep leagues, who still own Jason Motte, may have let out a little smile, and anybody who participates in a league where middle relievers hold value should immediately track the progress of Cardinals prospect Jess Todd.
Finally, Luis Valbuena may not elicit tremendous excitement among the normal viewing public, but the Indians 2B has got to be a hot commodity among fantasy owners who are desperate for a middle infielder who will likely play every day now.
Often the biggest changes in value happen on the periphery. With that in mind, we’ve got our eye on five players whose value may spike, depending on what happens to their teammates.
First up is Ty Wigginton. The Orioles batter could get traded himself, or it could be Aubrey Huff. Still, a player who has hit 22 HRs in three consecutive seasons and one who has an OPS that’s almost 70 points higher throughout his career in the second half deserves close monitoring as to see if he gets a position to play every day.
Next, there’s Seth Smith, who has perhaps unfairly been regulated to a platoon role in the Colorado Rockies outfield. He’s hitting .300 on the year, has an OBP of .427, more walks than strikeouts, and is contributing both power and speed, yet he’s hardly rosterable with Ryan Spilborghs and Carlos Gonzalez stealing Mile High oxygen. But Spilborghs is a good trade candidate and Gonzalez hasn’t been doing much, so keep an eye on any moves the Rockies make.
Third, we’re monitoring Matt Thornton. White Sox general manager Ken Williams is one of the most aggressive executives on the trading front, and while closer Bobby Jenks still has some time of cheap service left to give, the Sox may dangle one of their best trading assets for the right price. If they do move Jenks, Thornton becomes a great candidate to become closer, sporting 37 strikeouts and a 1.15 WHIP in 29.7 innings.
Our final two guys are a pair of prospects who could earn promotion if the chips fall in the right spot.
Matt LaPorta tasted some big league action earlier this season, but the playing time was spotty and he’s now back in Triple-A. The Indians trade of DeRosa starts to clear some room for him, and one trade usually precedes another. The Indians are probably not done trading, and perhaps they’ll look to unload Ryan Garko. Pretty soon, LaPorta probably earns an every-day job.
Finally, a big sleeper—Jarrod Parker in Arizona.
This hasn’t been the greatest year for pitching prospects to make noise in the Bigs. Ask David Price. But Parker keeps impressing in the minors and now stands neck-and-neck with Madison Bumgarner as the most anticipated call-up among pitching prospects. Reportedly, the Diamondbacks have been shopping pitchers like Doug Davis and Jon Garland, which would clear room in their rotation. The Diamondbacks have not been shy about aggressively moving up prospects like Justin Upton and Max Scherzer before, so it wouldn’t be a shocker to see Parker in the majors soon.
For those who want the fantasy ramifications of breaking trades in July, check out the “Buy on the Rumor” column on the Hardball Times home page.