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Tuesday, August 18, 2009
Two weeks ago, I got the idea to hold a mock auction for the 2010 fantasy baseball season.
Although it may seem early to begin contemplating next season when we have about six weeks left in the current one, many people who play fantasy baseball have already started to think about next year. In many keeper leagues, the trade deadline has just passed or will be coming soon, and many teams are trying to position themselves for success in 2010.
Sometimes, it's hard to sort through values when so many things can happen between now and next April, but I figured the best way to get started was to take the "wisdom of crowds" by recruiting a bunch of smart fantasy baseball enthusiasts and conducting a mock draft on my blog. To add to this crowd-sourcing project, I told all of the participants they would be competing for a prize. The masses—that means you—will be voting on the team that did the best job in drafting.
So what players' stock has risen this year? What players' stock has fallen? Where will breakouts like Mark Reynolds, Ben Zobrist, Aaron Hill, Justin Upton, Zach Greinke, Wandy Rodriguez and Ubaldo Jimenez be picked next season?
Our first mock draft of 2010 may hold some clues.
We conducted two rounds daily. Each day, I asked the participants to give me a list of the 20 best players remaining, sorted by draft priority. As a result, I was able to not only administer this draft, but also to get inside the participants' heads and measure variation in their valuations.
For example, on day one, all participants would have drafted Pujols, Hanley, Braun, and Utley in the first round. These guys are solid bets to be there next year. Will Mark Reynolds also be in the cream of the crop? Right now, it's too early to tell. A couple of drafters had him high. But many others didn't have him listed as a top 20 player.
From the looks of the draft and into the minds of the participants involved, players whose stock has risen for 2010 and who could escalate higher in the coming months include: Carl Crawford, Justin Upton, Matt Kemp, Joe Mauer, Ryan Zimmerman, Kendry Morales, Pablo Sandoval, Jayson Werth, Jon Lester, and Javier Vazquez.
In turn, here are some players on the wane whose stock could fall much further than what you see below: David Wright, Jose Reyes, Manny Ramirez, Alfonso Soriano, Alex Rios, Jake Peavy, Brandon Webb, and Francisco Rodriguez.
It's also clear by this draft that second base is experiencing a bit of a renaissance. By round five of this draft, most of the teams had already lined up their second baseman. In contrast, talent at shortstop seems meager, especially with Jose Reyes and Jimmy Rollins falling to second/third round territory.
What are your thoughts? Who was over-drafted and who deserves the newfound respect? Also, please vote in the poll of who had the best draft. I've sorted the draft by rosters. Plus, a prize is on the line.
1. The Sports Banter – Albert Pujols
2. Hamboners – Hanley Ramirez
3. The Devil Wears Prado – Ryan Braun
4. Dan’s Dukie Blasters – Chase Utley
5. Evil Empire – Mark Reynolds
6. Unruhlies – Alex Rodriguez
7. .Beyond the Box Score – Tim Lincecum
8. He Thrills B. Mills – Carl Crawford
9. The Fat and the Furious – David Wright
10. The Juicy Danglers — Matt Holliday
11. The Juicy Danglers — Justin Upton
12. The Fat and the Furious — Prince Fielder
13. He Thrills B. Mills — Miguel Cabrera
14. Beyond the Box Score —Matt Kemp
15. Unruhlies — Ian Kinsler
16. Evil Empire — Evan Longoria
17. Dan’s Dukie Blasters — Mark Teixeira
18. The Devil Wears Prado — Jose Reyes
19. Hamboners — Grady Sizemore
20. The Sports Banter — Justin Morneau
21. The Sports Banter – Ichiro Suzuki
22. Hamboners – Ryan Howard
23. The Devil Wears Prado – Joe Mauer
24. Dan’s Dukie Blasters – Derek Jeter
25. Evil Empire – Brandon Phillips
26. Unruhlies – Johan Santana
27. Beyond the Box Score – Dan Haren
28. He Thrills B. Mills – Manny Ramirez
29. The Fat and the Furious – Brian Roberts
30. The Juicy Danglers — Jimmy Rollins
31. The Juicy Danglers — Ryan Zimmerman
32. The Fat and the Furious — Jason Bay
33. He Thrills B. Mills — Carlos Beltran
34. Beyond the Box Score — Zach Greinke
35. Unruhlies — Roy Halladay
36. Evil Empire — Troy Tulowitzki
37. Dan’s Dukie Blasters — Bobby Abreu
38. The Devil Wears Prado — Kevin Youkilis
39. Hamboners — Adrian Gonzalez
40. The Sports Banter — Dustin Pedroia
41. The Sports Banter – Josh Hamilton
42. Hamboners – Javier Vazquez
43. The Devil Wears Prado – B.J. Upton
44. Dan’s Dukie Blasters – CC Sabathia
45. Evil Empire – Curtis Granderson
46. Unruhlies – Brian McCann
47. Beyond the Box Score – Ben Zobrist
48. He Thrills B. Mills – Aaron Hill
49. The Fat and the Furious – Lance Berkman
50. The Juicy Danglers — Robinson Cano
51. The Juicy Danglers — Joey Votto
52. The Fat and the Furious — Felix Hernandez
53. He Thrills B. Mills — Carlos Lee
54. Beyond the Box Score — Jacoby Ellsbury
55. Unruhlies — Nick Markakis
56. Evil Empire — Victor Martinez
57. Dan’s Dukie Blasters — Justin Verlander
58. The Devil Wears Prado — Aramis Ramirez
59. Hamboners — Adam Dunn
60. The Sports Banter — Alfonso Soriano
61. The Sports Banter – Alexei Ramirez
62. Hamboners – Cliff Lee
63. The Devil Wears Prado – Josh Beckett
64. Dan’s Dukie Blasters – Nelson Cruz
65. Evil Empire – Adam Jones
66. Unruhlies – Jonathan Papelbon
67. Beyond the Box Score – Nate McLouth
68. He Thrills B. Mills – Yovani Gallardo
69. The Fat and the Furious – Adam Lind
70. The Juicy Danglers — Jayson Werth
71. The Juicy Danglers — Matt Cain
72. The Fat and the Furious — Raul Ibanez
73. He Thrills B. Mills — Michael Young
74. Beyond the Box Score — Andrew McCutchen
75. Unruhlies — Kendry Morales
76. Evil Empire — Hunter Pence
77. Dan’s Dukie Blasters — Shane Victorino
78. The Devil Wears Prado — Josh Johnson
79. Hamboners — Andre Ethier
80. The Sports Banter — Jon Lester
81. The Sports Banter – Adam Wainwright
82. Hamboners – Pablo Sandoval
83. The Devil Wears Prado – Torii Hunter
84. Dan’s Dukie Blasters – Johnny Damon
85. Evil Empire – Mariano Rivera
86. Unruhlies – Alex Rios
87. Beyond the Box Score – Joe Nathan
88. He Thrills B. Mills – Jake Peavy
89. The Fat and the Furious – Chris Carpenter
90. The Juicy Danglers — Shin Soo Choo
91. The Juicy Danglers — AJ Burnett
92. The Fat and the Furious — Clayton Kershaw
93. He Thrills B. Mills — Geovany Soto
94. Beyond the Box Score — Ryan Doumit
95. Unruhlies — Cole Hamels
96. Evil Empire — Derrek Lee
97. Dan’s Dukie Blasters — Chad Billingsley
98. The Devil Wears Prado — Carlos Quentin
99. Hamboners — Howie Kendrick
100. The Sports Banter — Tommy Hanson
101. The Sports Banter – Matt Wieters
102. Hamboners – Russell Martin
103. The Devil Wears Prado – Asdrubal Cabrera
104. Dan’s Dukie Blasters – James Shields
105. Evil Empire – Joba Chamberlain
106. Unruhlies – Vladimir Guerrero
107. Beyond the Box Score – Chipper Jones
108. He Thrills B. Mills – Gordon Beckham
109. The Fat and the Furious – Jason Bartlett
110. The Juicy Danglers — Jered Weaver
111. The Juicy Danglers — Wandy Rodriguez
112. The Fat and the Furious — John Lackey
113. He Thrills B. Mills — Jonathan Broxton
114. Beyond the Box Score — Ricky Nolasco
115. Unruhlies — Stephen Drew
116. Evil Empire — Roy Oswalt
117. Dan’s Dukie Blasters — Chone Figgins
118. The Devil Wears Prado — Max Scherzer
119. Hamboners — Jarrod Washburn
120. The Sports Banter — Matt Garza
121. The Sports Banter – Mark DeRosa
122. Hamboners – Brandon Webb
123. The Devil Wears Prado – Ubaldo Jimenez
124. Dan’s Dukie Blasters – Mike Napoli
125. Evil Empire – Rich Harden
126. Unruhlies – John Danks
127. Beyond the Box Score – Carlos Pena
128. He Thrills B. Mills – Scott Baker
129. The Fat and the Furious – Francisco Rodriguez
130. The Juicy Danglers — Miguel Montero
131. The Juicy Danglers — Jose Valverde
132. The Fat and the Furious — Jorge Posada
133. He Thrills B. Mills — Jair Jurrjens
134. Beyond the Box Score — Jhonny Peralta
135. Unruhlies — Dexter Fowler
136. Evil Empire — David Price
137. Dan’s Dukie Blasters — Heath Bell
138. The Devil Wears Prado — Joakim Soria
139. Hamboners — Andrew Bailey
140. The Sports Banter — Brian Fuentes
Posted by Eriq Gardner at 2:38am (21) Comments
Wednesday, August 19, 2009
Young shortstop Elvis Andrus has shown remarkable development for a 20-year-old jumping from Double-A to the majors. Expect more from him in the short term ... and a lot more in the future.
The shortstop position is among the most difficult to judge in fantasy baseball. Every season, the demand for shortstops outstrips the supply, with 2009 as no exception. The collapses of Jimmy Rollins, J.J. Hardy, Jose Reyes, and Rafael Furcal have left large voids for fantasy owners to fill. Unlike most seasons, however, a number of young, high-ceiling options have made themselves available. Need a stopgap? Potential star? Stolen bases? ... Team owners, set your eyes on Elvis Andrus, one of the most exciting (and underappreciated) options in fantasy baseball. He is young. He is fast. He is maturing. But, most importantly, he is widely available on the waiver wire and via trade in many league formats.
Coming into 2009, Andrus was rated as one of the best prospects in the minor leagues. Ranked the fifth-best prospect in the Texas League (Double-A) by Baseball America, he could also be found sitting at fourth in the Rangers' major league-best farm system, which included Neftali Feliz, Derek Holland, Justin Smoak, Martin Perez, Taylor Teagarden, etc. While the 20-year-old possessed an elite glove and great range, his bat needed additional development time in the minors.
Before spring training 2009, Elvis was slated for the Triple-A Pacific Coast League with a probable 2010 arrival. This all changed, however, as Michael Young's diminishing glove necessitated a move to third, opening up short for Andrus. While the fielding chops were undoubtedly there (helping the major league team), the bat was very questionable—hurting fantasy league owners. As with many top prospects, however, Andrus was drafted with inflated expectations, due more to his top prospect status than any realistic expectations with his bat.
He did have one thing going for him, however: great speed. In his 20-year-old season at Double-A Frisco, Elvis posted 54 SB in just 535 plate appearances. Still, a lack of pop (four home runs) and a questionable approach at the plate (38 BB vs. 91 K) left significant room for doubt. The glove would make him worth it for the Rangers, but the underdeveloped bat could render him a shortstop version of the 2008 Michael Bourn: huge steals, but a disaster everywhere else. At that juncture, he was a calculated risk. No, a very calculated risk. Nothing more.
Thus far in 2009, Andrus has been a pleasant surprise. He has stolen bases at a significant clip with just a slightly below-average bat. In fantasy, especially deep leagues and those that employ more than two middle infielders, this makes Elvis a quality asset. His '09 batting line stands at .269/.332/.385 with five home runs and 23 stolen bases (92 percent success rate) in just 370 plate appearances. Just as encouraging are his 27:55 walk-to-strikeout ratio and 21.7 percent line drive rate, which mean he has adjusted well to major league pitching and is driving the ball. While his .311 BABIP is above average, it looks to be a bit low for a player with his line drive rate, speed, and groundball percentage (53.6 percent). In addition, he has only hit successfully on 20 percent of his bunt attempts. Again, a low rate that should recover in the future and help improve his batting average.
Particularly exciting is Andrus' 16.8 strikeout percentage, as it outdoes his 18.9 percent rate from 2008, which was posted at Double-A. Don't expect the K-rate to regress, either, as his good eye (21.6 percent O-Swing v 60.2 percent Z-Swing) and good contact skills (86.2 percent contact percentage) hint that his strikeout rate should remain steady, and perhaps even improve to the 15 percent range.
Andrus' weighted pitch type values show few weaknesses other than a minor problem against curveballs (-1.34 wCB/c). Perhaps the best feature is his above-average performance against change-ups (1.08 wCH/c) despite seeing over 65 percent fastballs. This shows an advanced ability to recognize off-speed pitches, wait on change-ups away, and drive them to the opposite field. Andrus has put five extra base hits into the Arlington power alley, including a 400-foot bomb. Check out his Arlington hit chart. The batted ball distribution is balanced, although there are too many fly outs to right and not enough pulled. Still, not bad for a guy who doesn't turn 21 for another week.
For the rest of the year, expect Andrus to post a .275 batting average with about a .720 OPS, finishing the season with about eight homeruns. This, when, coupled with 35-plus stolen bases, make his complete lack of RBI easier to handle. In a 12-team mixed league, Elvis profiles as a just below-average shortstop. And since he is much easier to acquire than most high-steals players, he is a great option for a team in need of speed that can't mortgage the farm. Need a shortstop? Elvis might be exactly the kind of player you've been waiting for.
Elvis has a big career ahead of him. So, for those in keeper leagues especially: keep an eye on him. While he does not profile as a keeper this season (other than those in extremely deep keeper leagues), he is a guy you want next year. The 2009 Baseball America Prospect Handbook projects Andrus to become "Edgar Renteria in his prime". For those of you too young to remember the Old Edgar, he was once among the best shortstop options in fantasy baseball. See: Renteria, Edgar, circa 1999 and 2003, when he went 11-37-.275 and 13-34-.330, respectively. Elvis could do just that, with additional steals thrown in. Not bad production at shortstop, huh?
While "Edgar Renteria in his prime" is certainly a welcome outlook, in a perfect world, our boy Elvis could one day approach Jose Reyes territory, albeit with 50 stolen bases per year, not 70. (But if Andrus gets 750 plate appearances like Reyes does, all bets are off.) The power projections are very similar, as too is supporting cast of the Texas and New York offenses. If Andrus can get a spike in walks similar to Reyes' 2007, expect nothing short of greatness, both in fantasy and on the diamond.
Of just as much reason for excitement is Elvis' budding home run swing. Pundits have projected him for 10-20 homeruns per season when he matures, though his power potential is already beginning to show. With just a 27.4 percent flyball rate, Andrus has posted a home run in every 65 at-bats, good for a HR:FB% of 8.1 percent. While having just 16 other extra base hits is a legitimate concern, the .116 isolated slugging percentage can be explained by his high groundball rate. As Elvis begins to hit more fly balls, the slugging percentage and home runs will rise—great news if you're in an OPS league.
While this year's "power spike" is a welcome one, there is cause for concern. If you look back to the Arlington hit chart, you will notice very few fly balls to left past the middle of the outfield. Until he learns to pull the ball with more authority, he will never reach his power potential. Use this to your advantage, however. If you notice the fly balls reaching further into left field, make sure to pluck Andrus from an unsuspecting owner before its too late. You'll be glad you did.
The bottom line is, don't miss out on Andrus next season or in 2011. He is a player to reach on. I repeat: GET ELVIS NEXT YEAR. If you're in a keeper league, he could develop into a consistent second- or third-rounder, with a shot to be a perennial first-round pick. Even if he doesn't hit full tilt next year, you'll enjoy his production from the second-half of the draft.
With just about six weeks left in the season, lots of teams are looking for reliable production out of the shortstop position. Elvis Andrus projects as a .275-.280 hitter the rest of the way, with just under 10 homerun power and a 35-plus steals pace. The only concern left is his inability to drive in runs, as he'll bat ninth behind OBP black holes Taylor Teagarden, Hank Blalock, and Jarrod Saltalamacchia. Still, with his skill set, Andrus should be a good option at a low price for teams in need of a shortstop and steals. Go get Andrus if you can, and don't you dare miss out on him next season.
Posted by Mike Silver at 2:11am (10) Comments
Thursday, August 20, 2009
The signing period is behind us, and the 2009 draft class has been added to the ongoing THT Top 100 Prospects list. Check it out. It is about as deep a prospect list as you are going to find. That will be the case until all of this year's MLB rookie class graduate from the list in the off-season. Here is the lowdown on some of the newest big names to hit the top of the list.
Stephen Strasburg / SP / Washington / N/A / 7/20/88 / ETA: 2010 / High: #3 / Low: #3 / This Week: New
It doesn't look like Strasburg will see the majors this year, but I'm expecting at least a taste of life at Double-A.
Average Year Projection:
Too early to tell.
Prime Year Projection:
Too early to tell.
8/19/09 - Washington played their cards right and got a deal done with the most hyped pitching prospect in history. They knew Strasburg wouldn't walk away from a record setting deal of any sort, and now Washington D.C. is officially back on the baseball map.
Donavan Tate / OF / San Diego / N/A / 9/27/90 / ETA: 2012 / High: #17 / Low: #17 / This Week: New
Expect Tate to get his feet wet at the rookie level.
Average Year Projection:
Too early to tell.
Prime Year Projection:
Too early to tell.
8/19/09 - San Diego has signed themselves one of the more gifted position players in recent years. As long as they let his numerous tools develop properly, we could be looking at the next Jason Heyward, superstar level outfield prospect.
Zack Wheeler / SP / San Francisco / N/A / 5/30/90 / ETA: 2012 / High: #34 / Low: #34 / This Week: New
San Francisco will take it slow for the rest of the year. No need to rush high school arms in their first year.
Average Year Projection:
Too early to tell.
Prime Year Projection:
Too early to tell.
8/19/09 - The Giants have found themselves another potential pitching star in Wheeler. His pure stuff, at this point, isn't quite on par with Bumgarner's, but he certainly has a more electrifying arm than former first round pick Tim Alderson. He is a good pick for an organization that has done very well with their high picks in recent years.
Christian Friedrich / SP / Colorado / Advanced-A / 7/8/87 / ETA: 2011 / High: #34 / Low: #60 / This Week: +16
A taste of Double-A could, and should, be in the near future. His dominance of the California League demands it.
Average Year Projection:
Too early to tell.
Prime Year Projection:
Too early to tell.
8/19/09 - Not only has Friedrich had an unreal breakout campaign, he is having himself the type of year that could earn some major hardware come awards time. Friedrich has done the impossible and flat out laughed in the face of California League hitters. I would love to see a Double-A promotion. And so would opposing Cal League hitters. Friedrich is rocketing up prospect boards everywhere.
Tyler Matzek / SP / Colorado / N/A / 10/19/90 / ETA: 2012 / High: #51 / Low: #51 / This Week: New
Matzek is another in a strong class of high school hurlers who project to get some work in rookie ball before the year is up.
Average Year Projection:
Too early to tell.
Prime Year Projection:
Too early to tell.
8/19/09 - Between Chacin, Friedrich, and now Matzek, Colorado really seems to be putting together some outstanding pitching, which they have lacked since the team's inception. Matzek was the best high school pitcher in the 2009 draft class, and now he will get every opportunity to show why.
Jacob Turner / SP / Detroit / N/A / 5/21/91 / ETA: 2012 / High: #53 / Low: #53 / This Week: New
Detroit likes to push their pitching prospects, but Turner shouldn't see competition outside of rookie ball this year.
Average Year Projection:
Too early to tell.
Prime Year Projection:
Too early to tell.
8/19/09 - Turner is a future ace in the making, and Detroit has a solid reputation for developing pitching. I like Turner's chances to separate himself from most of his fellow 2009 high school pitching draftees. Select him in your keeper league with confidence. He is Detroit's new No. 1 prospect.
Posted by Matt Hagen at 1:05am (0) Comments
I’m sure many of the readers (and perhaps even some of the authors) here at THT play poker either recreationally or at a somewhat serious level. In fact, my recent absence was partially due to participation in this year’s World Series of Poker (WSOP) in Las Vegas. Maybe you guys haven’t played in the WSOP, but I’m sure many of you have at least played a small home tournament. And if not, here’s a quick disclaimer:
In no way am I, or THT, advocating or promoting gambling.
With that out of the way, there’s a concept in tournament poker (not unique to poker) called endgame. The details can be somewhat complicated but, generally speaking, a player’s tournament strategy should change as the tournament progresses towards its later stages.
One of the (obvious) ways this idea applies to fantasy baseball has to do the total number of innings pitched. I’d imagine that most, if not all, roto leagues place a cap on the number of total innings a team can use during the season. Many times, I’ll find that at this point in the season, the total number of innings I’ve used up projects to a total significantly below the maximum. In other words, if my "innings pitched" were to maintain its current rate, at season’s end, I would come up way short (anywhere from 60 to 100 innings) of the maximum amount allowed.
But this makes some sense, doesn’t it? If I focus or concentrate mostly on hitting, my pitching will most likely suffer in quality or, in my usual case, quantity. My draft may have been hitting-heavy, and I may have been reluctant to use, or selective about using, the "on-the-fringe" pitchers that I had. Or, I may have traded a couple of my pitchers in an attempt bolster my hitting or fix the leaks in my lineup. At any rate, I’m sure I’m not the only one dealing with low inning counts
This probably isn’t the best situation to be in, since the trade deadline has most likely passed and it becomes difficult to find high quality pitchers. But again, its not necessarily quality that we’re seeking. At this point in the season, a team in a standard 5x5 league has probably accumulated at least 800-850 innings, and with a typical cap of 1250 innings, a few mediocre or bad starts shouldn’t really damage your "rate" categories (i.e. ERA and WHIP). Instead, the categories you typically need to catch up on are Wins and Strikeouts.
Its probably obvious to many of our readers here that it is important to try to maximize the number of games played and innings pitched. To help illustrate the point, I’ll quickly use one of my teams from this season. As of this article, I am sitting in fourth place in the strikeouts category with 792 strikeouts in 853 innings pitched. However, on average, my strikeouts per nine innings pitched rate is 0.71 better than the average of the top three teams ahead of me in that category (8.36 vs. 7.65). So it should be clear that I am leaving some points on the board by not maximizing the number of innings pitched. And at this point in the season, that potential four point swing can be huge.
(It’s a potential four point swing because of the three points I would gain plus the one point that would be deducted from the teams ahead of me in the strikeouts category, which are most likely teams ahead of me in the overall standings).
And a quick note, a maximum of 1250 innings, which is the Yahoo league default in a standard 5x5 league, averages out to about seven innings per day for the regular season (which I believe consists of 178-183 days, according to Wikipedia). And if someone can verify this, that’d be much appreciated. Before I discovered the wonders of the internets, I once actually counted the number of days in a season manually, and I really don’t want to do that again. At any rate, I tend to use that seven innings/day rate when I am trying to play this type of "catch-up."
So all that being said, I’m going to reference one of Paul’s recent articles about strategies involved with spot starting. While Paul is primarily talking about Head-to-Head leagues, the ideas in that article pertain to Roto leagues as well.
Posted by Marco Fujimoto at 1:21am (2) Comments
Friday, August 21, 2009
Alex Avila | Detroit | C
True Talent: .241/.311/.358
Next Week Forecast: 0.2 HR, 1 R, 1 RBI, .241 BA, 0.1 SB
Oh, the nepotism! The son of assistant GM Al, Alex was taken in the fifth round in 2008 out of Alabama, where he just became a full-time catcher in 2008. But wait, this guy can play ball! He's burst into the Tigers' pennant race and wrested at least half the playing time already. After showing great hitting and on-base skills in the tough Midwest League in 2008, the Tigers vaulted him over High-A to Double-A. He didn't slow down at all, and even added power (12 HR) and a 44% CS% to his game. If the “True Talent” projection represents his ability now, it will soon be outdated. This guy is on the fast track, and not just due to his family ties.
Julio Borbon | Texas | OF
True Talent: .271/.308/.364
Next Week Forecast: 0.3 HR, 3 R, 2 RBI, .272 BA, 1.6 SB
Borbon is a good prospect, and even better for fantasy purposes, as he's stolen more than 50 bases in a minor-league season. Ron Washington already trusts him to run, as the eight SB in just 33 PA demonstrate. There's a crowded outfield situation in Texas, and a relatively pop-less hitter like Borbon doesn't fit the mold. So, now that Cruz is back, Borbon may see most of his appearances in pinch-running and defensive replacement roles, but is still worth a roster spot in deep AL-only leagues, and is a keeper to keep your eye on.
Doug Fister | Mariners | SP
YTD: 5.8 K/9, 1.8 K/BB, 1.93 ERA
True Talent: 4.8 K/9, 1.2 K/BB, 5.70 ERA
Next Week Forecast: 0.2 W, 2 K, 6.55 ERA
Normally, when a pitcher has a BABIP that's not near .300, you can presume some measure of luck. But Fister's minor-league career has seen a .339 BABIP, an outrageously high total, and a good indicator that his junk and sub-90 “fastball” don't fool hitters, even minor-league hitters. But, as with Rowland-Smith, he's in a great place for him. His minor-league walk rate is just over 2 (2.11), and he induces enough ground balls to get double plays. Could aid WHIP for AL-only teams, despite the hits allowed.
Freddy Garcia | Chicago | SP
YTD: 6.2 K/9, 3.0 K/BB, 10.38 ERA
True Talent: n/a
Next Week Forecast: n/a
Forget about Carlos Torres and Daniel Hudson—Freddy Garcia will be holding down the fifth spot for another 2-3 starts in Chicago until Jake Peavy takes his place atop the rotation. He didn't look nearly as bad as the stats indicate in his one start, and he was able to throw over 90. He's only worth worrying about in the deepest of AL leagues, but he'll get pulled early if he's getting hit, so it's unlikely he'll cause much harm.
Carlos Guillen | Detroit | IF/OF
True Talent: .276/.353/.431
Next Week Forecast: 0.6 HR, 3 R, 3 RBI, .277 BA, 0.4 SB
Guillen came back on July 24, and has hit .289/.373/.500 since. For the first couple weeks, he wasn't able to bat right-handed, but has started the past 14 games for the Tigers. He's not ancient—just 33 years old—and has peaked even better than this before, so it's not out of the question that he could have two excellent months to end 2009. His eligibility at 3b/1b/of makes him versatile, too. Someone to consider, even in mixed leagues.
Brandon Lyon | Detroit | RP
YTD: 6.3 K/9, 1.8 K/BB, 2.84 ERA
True Talent: 6.1 K/9, 1.7 K/BB, 3.78 ERA
Next Week Forecast: 0.1 Saves, 3.80 ERA
Brandon Lyon has an ERA about a point lower than the closer's, and picked up two wins and a save in August. But Fernando Rodney is still the closer. Both “True Talent” and xFIP indicate that it's a wash, with neither pitcher showing quite the skill level a team would like to have in their best reliever. Still, given the difference in ERA, and the fact that Rodney isn't great, Lyon is probably as likely as almost any setup man to move into a closer's role in September. Jim Leyland isn't known for his patience, after all.
Jayson Nix | Chicago | 2B
True Talent: .236/.305/.394
Next Week Forecast: 0.7 HR, 3 R, 2 RBI, .231 AVG, 0.6 SB
In 2001, the Rockies thought Nix was worth a first-round pick. When he was hitting 67 extra-base hits (21 HR) and stealing 24 bases in the California League at age 20 two years later, he was regarded as an exciting prospect. My MLP system tabbed him as being a .270/.340/.425 hitter when he reached his prime years (based on 02-03 data). Well, as we all know, he took quite a detour! Expect the power to slide back down, but even with an awful IF/FB% of over 18%, his .232 BABIP should come up with more AB. A very good fielder by both reputation and (limited sample size) stats, there's no guarantee that Nix will lose the job when Getz returns. A good power/speed contributor for teams in AL Leagues that can afford a hit to AVG.
Ivan Rodriguez | Texas | C
True Talent: .263/.298/.385
Next Week Forecast: 0.3 HR, 2 R, 2 RBI, .260 BA, 0.2 SB
As a Cubs fan, this author has a hard time imagining anything but heroics from the guy who slayed some Bears in 2003. But the 37-year-old version isn't the same, as True Talent indicates. Don't be shocked if he picks up the rate stats in Texas' friendly park, and the abundance of young catching options keeps him fresh. The rest will obviously depress his counting stats, but viewing him as “just a backup” would be a serious underestimation. Could be a surprisingly good second catcher in AL Leagues.
True Talent and Next Week Forecasts courtesy of Heater Magazine.
Posted by Rob McQuown at 2:00am (1) Comments
John Smoltz | St. Louis | SP/RP
YTD: 7.4 K/9, 3.7 K/BB, 8.32 ERA
True Talent: 7.8 K/9, 3.4 K/BB, 4.04 ERA
Next Week Forecast: N/A
Smoltz bombed in trying to switch to an AL team in the toughest division in baseball, but his secondary ratios were about in line with TT predictions. Now that he's back in the NL, on a competitive team with a strong defense, he's definitely going to improve in ERA and wins. The Cards will start him fifth in the rotation for now, then move him into the pen, either in the playoffs or shortly before. That gives you a few starts with a decent upside from a guy who's still talented, extremely competitive, and knowledgeable about NL hitters. Definitely worth a gamble for a handful of wins and Ks in any league, but remember he's still recovering from shoulder surgery, so don't expect him to blow the doors off in ERA or IP—and a continued slide is a very real risk.
Carlos Gonzalez | Colorado | OF
True Talent: .264/.312/.421
Next Week Forecast: 0.5 HR, 3 Runs, 3 RBI, .253 BA, 0.5 SB
My WW partner Rob McQuown had suggested covering CarGo last week, but I wanted to wait a week to see if he could keep it up. As always, I shoulda listened to Rob, since Gonzalez was smoking hot, hitting .350/.391/.950 for the week. Some expect him to share time in CF with Dexter Fowler, but ultimately Colorado wants both starting at the same time. TT is pessimistic about Gonzalez continuing to put up such gaudy numbers and sees a substantial correction coming. I expect the truth is somewhere in between; let's not forget that Gonzalez was once a top prospect, and he may have finally figured it out. Don't think of him as a Coors Field product, as his OPS is 37 points higher in away games. He's a must-add for all NL leagues and 10-team mixed leagues in the short term, and those in keeper leagues should strongly consider holding onto him even after he cools off.
Vincente Padilla | Los Angeles | SP
YTD: 4.9 K/9, 1.4 K/BB, 4.92 ERA
True Talent: 5.9 K/9, 1.7 K/BB, 4.92 ERA
Next Week Forecast: N/A
Texas released Padilla, and the Dodgers grabbed him, after losing Kuroda to a horrifying Close Encounter of the Line Drive Kind. Moving to the senior circuit, with a pitcher-friendly park and good D behind him, would seem like the recipe for success for Padilla. But his run support is unlikely to change much (Los Angeles scores .06 more runs/game than Texas), and you're still looking at a guy with some pretty miserable TT skills. Padilla could only provide you with Wins, not Ks, and is a serious threat to your ratios (His 1.50 WHIP this year is consistent with his 1.46 and 1.63 from the past two seasons). Some look at him as a sure NL-only add, but I can only recommend him to those teams with a healthy lead in ERA/WHIP who desperately need one or two more wins.
Jonny Gomes | Cincinnati | OF
True Talent: .242/.333/.465
Next Week Forecast: 0.5 HR, 1 Runs, 1 RBI, .239 BA, 0.2 SB
As I mentioned in last week's writeup on Wladmir Balentien, Gomes (Balentien's primary OF partner) runs hot and cold. Right now, Gomes is Hot Jonny. Thanks to a four-homer week that lifted his weekly line to .400/.471/1.267, owners are snapping him up. He's certainly worth a short-term add, as his production has stepped up his PT to nearly full time, but TT and his history tells you he's going to turn into Chilly Jonny soon enough. And, just as with Balentien, he will lose plenty of PT when Jay Bruce returns in the next few weeks. Ride him while you can in your NL league or 10-team mixed league, but watch for that dropoff coming and have a backup plan.
Angel Guzman | Chicago | RP
YTD: 7.0 K/9, 2.4 K/BB, 2.72 ERA
True Talent: 8.0 K/9, 2.4 K/BB, 3.61 ERA
Next Week Forecast: 0.0 Saves, 3.66 ERA
The demotion of Gregg from the closer's role has everyone looking towards Carlos Marmol, but Piniella could also give Guzman a turn or two. That's no small consideration, given how much Marmol has struggled with his control this season (8.3 BB/9, 1.3 K/BB). Guzman's numbers are far stronger, and TT shows that he's performing just as expected, with a nudge up in Ks or down in ERA possible. Guzman's had health problems in the past (including TJS in 2007 and a DL stint this season for a strained triceps), but he's also been one of Chicago's best relievers. His superior ratios protect his downside, so don't be afraid to go against conventional wisdom and pick up Guzman to bring you Ks and a few saves—or a lot of them. Worth a roster spot in all NL leagues and 12-team mixed leagues, or if you're scrapping for every last save.
Chase Headley | San Diego | OF
True Talent: .259/.338/.414
Next Week Forecast: 0.5 HR, 2 Runs, 2 RBI, .257 BA, 0.2 SB
Every other Padres outfielder has gone through a hot streak, so why not Headley? That awful 2009 line isn't representative of the .333/.417/.444 numbers he put up over the last 25 games, his best stretch of the season. He's a former No. 1 prospect and their future 3B (he may already qualify there in leagues with low thresholds) and jumped from Double-A to the majors in 2007, so an adjustment period was to be expected. PETCO has been keeping him down—his OPS is 100 points higher on the road in 2009—and will always make him look worse than he is. An eventual keeper, Headley will probably come into his own in 2010. Until then, he's a good OF add for 10-team NL leagues or very deep mixed leagues; as a 3B qualifier, he's only got value in 14-team NL leagues.
Billy Wagner | New York | RP
True Talent: N/A
Next Week Forecast: N/A
The Mets activated Wagner from the DL on Thursday, and he will bring immediate help to a bullpen desperate for stability. Word is that he could even pick up a few saves, a good thing, since K-Rod is struggling, adding more than 2 runs to his ERA since July 1. But he's also been waived, so he could also end up in a team with playoff hopes and a weaker closer situation. But it's unlikely he'll throw many high-leverage innings regardless of his destination, since any team will use him carefully. He might bring you some Ks and saves; the good and bad news is that he's probably not going to pitch enough to hurt, or help, your ratios very much.
Jeff Baker | Chicago | 2B
True Talent: .272/.331/.466
Next Week Forecast: 0.8 HR, 3 Runs, 3 RBI, .277 BA, 0.2 SB
Piniella named Baker his starting 2B this week, pushing Fontenot to the bench, and Baker's earned it with his hot bat, hitting .472/.513/.722 over the past nine games, and .338/.388/.554 with the Cubs. He's shown this kind of pop in the past, mostly against lefties (career .931 OPS vs. LHP, .708 vs. RHP), a trend that's continued in 2009 (.972 OPS vs. LHP, .697 vs. RHP). It's no coincidence that this nine-game binge has come against four lefty starters, but Lou seems ready to start him most of the time, not stick him on the short end of a platoon. Keep an eye on this going forward, as you might want to platoon him instead. True Talent's giving him a very good outlook for a MIF, particularly in the power department, and his TT line would make him the third-best 2B in the NL. That makes him an easy add in all leagues, so long as you watch his splits down the stretch.
True Talent and Next Week Forecasts courtesy of Heater Magazine.
Posted by Michael Street at 2:00am (7) Comments
In the sweep of human history, major-league baseball is, shall we say, a recent innovation. It’s not surprising, then, that we have a poor sense of the proper time scale for evaluating baseball talent. Only since a bunch of men met in La Rotisserie Française to draft mock baseball teams did what happened three years ago become more important to our survival than what happened yesterday.
Take hitters. Tom Tango’s Marcel system says that a hitter’s expected performance in one year is a function of his (and his league’s) numbers in the prior three years. One element of the algorithm is a weighting of 3/12 for the hitter’s performance in the earliest of those three years. There is no way that fantasy leaguers credit 25% of a hitter’s expected performance in 2010 to his numbers in 2007. (In truth, the full weighting is less than 25% since Marcel also calls for 1,200 PA of league-average stats. However, 3/12 is the fraction of the hitter’s portion contributed by that early year.)
Likewise, Marcel asserts that the latest of the hitter’s last three seasons contributes 5/12 (out of all the hitter’s numbers) to the next year. Propose to your leaguemates that less than 50% of a hitter’s expected performance in 2010 hinges on his play in 2009 and you’ll be laughed out of the room.
But those are the ratios per Marcel (and I’m sticking with Marcel here, granting that it is simple, because “simple” can still mean “smarter than us”). The past is prologue, but the immediate past is not the whole story. The point is not that just-closed history is immaterial but that only slightly mustier history fades too fast. I don’t know about you, but six months ago feels like three years ago to me.
What we would be really useful, for fantasy games, is a way to identify players for whom we have exaggerated perceptions—those are the rich buying and selling opportunities. One route would be to examine ownership levels in online leagues or aggregate rankings in mock drafts. However, simpler would be a programmatic approach.
To that end, we’ve created Near-Sighted Marcels (NSM's). NSM’s are simply Marcels with a more, ahem, human-like ratio of memories. In Near-Sighted Marcels, the remote past still counts, but the recent past counts much, much more.
What ratio of the past three seasons should we use? After careful (in human terms!) deliberation, we went with 80/15/5—that is, our internal projections for players are composed roughly of 80% of this year’s numbers, 15% of last year’s, & a sprinkling of the year before’s. That seems a fair (if humbling) allotment. (In the Comments, feel free to discuss the ratio that you would choose.)
Here is a comparison of the coefficients for both standard and near-sighted Marcel (ratios adjusted to 100):
By this light, humans judge the immediate past to be twice as relevant as does Marcel, but the prior year only 1/2 as much, and the outlying year only 1/5 so.
We generated both Marcels and NSM’s for 2010 for the current crop of hitters. We pro-rated the YTD numbers to a full season by multiplying by 4/3. We also expressed the ratio for NSM's as 9.6/1.8/0.6 so that the total magnitude (12) would be the same as with Marcels (5/4/3) and mesh with the injection of league-average PA.
Let’s stick to OPS. We’ll define “Sentiment” as a batter’s NSM OPS minus his Marcel OPS (so a Sentiment above 0 indicates a player who is regarded more favorably by humans than by Marcel).
The leader in Sentiment this year is Tampa Bay shortstop Jason Bartlett:
If you give this season a weighting of 80%, you anticipate an OPS for Bartlett of over 850. Now, Bartlett is having a stellar season, but Sentiment advises us not to get carried away by a guy who had a career 699 OPS in 1,700 PA entering this season, and who has hit as many home runs this season as he did for his entire career before 2009.
Among players with at least 300 PA, here are the leaders in Sentiment:
Say what you will about their maturation (and you will say it), these guys should be regarded with a dash of skepticism and off-loaded (for top dollar) with only seeming reluctance. Every thing that can go their way, has.
It’s harder to find laggards in Sentiment with more than 300 PA—depressed play usually means depressed playing time. Still, you could probably guess the big names: Giles, Ortiz, Cedeno, Ordonez, Renteria, Matsui, Upton (B.J.), Burrell, Atkins, Navarro. Guys who (as anyone is happy to tell you) are down to their last swings. If I had a rebuilding team, I would be scooping up these guys like souvenir cups (and at comparable prices).
It’s good to take stock of our limits. It’s even better if we can characterize those limits and play against them. As you plan your keepers for next season, remember those ancient eras when the year ended in an "8" or "7."
(Here is a link to a spreadsheet with both regular and near-sighted Marcels for all hitters with at-bats in each of the last three years.)
Posted by John Burnson at 2:30am (10) Comments
I introduced you guys to a couple new THT Fantasy writers last week, but we've added another new member of the team since then, so I thought I'd give him an introduction today. His name is Derek Ambrosino, and he'll be discussing keeper leagues with you guys every Monday. He's previously worked for MLB Advanced Media (MLBAM), and you might also recognize him from our comments section writing under the name digglahhh (or, more recently, under his real name).
Posted by Derek Carty at 3:00am (2) Comments
Sunday, August 23, 2009
It’s likely the trade deadline in your league has either passed, or will be passing in the coming week or so. With that in mind, it’s probably as good a time as any to start talking about potential decisions to be made regarding keepers for the following year. In this column, I’d like to take a look at some players whose stock has either risen or fallen this year and evaluate them from a keeper-standpoint.
Of course, a number of caveats apply, so let’s just get them out there and done away with.
1. It’s hard for me to determine Player X as a keeper in any context other than a draft league; I can’t tell you whether I think you should keep Mark Reynolds in an auction league if I don’t know what you paid for him or what other bargains you may have on your roster. (Though, it’s probably a safe bet to say that if you have him in an auction league, he quite likely represents a great ROI, and you should keep him).
2. Not all leagues have the same categories, so I’m going to talk most generally about classic 5x5 scoring mixed leagues. Obviously, Ichiro gets a bump up if your league counts net steals as opposed to raw steals and a demotion if it counts OPS instead of batting average.
3. I don’t know how many keepers your league may allow, so I’ll make comments at two cut off points, shallow and deep. Shallow will refer to a 10 team league with 3 keepers per team (30 total keepers); while deep will refer to a 12 team league with five keepers each (60 total keepers). I’ll try to pick players who might be around either of these borders, and try to focus on guys who have seen a change in their value this season. I will consider as “borderline” players who I think are defensible as keepers at that cut off, but I’d be hesitant to actually recommend.
All that said, let’s get going, shall we?
Broxton has had a great year in his first full go-round as closer, cementing himself as one of the elite at his position. He embraces a high workload, posts inhuman strikeout rates, closes for one of the best teams in baseball and plays in a division overflowing with pitchers’ parks and mediocre line-ups. Still, I wouldn’t consider keeping him in a league that doesn’t reach 50 total keepers. The reason is replacement value. Unless your league is extremely fond of keeping closers, there will be plenty of elite closer options remaining after keepers are declared. There won’t, however, be many players with 30/30 potential, or with realistic shots at 40+ homers. Don’t put one of those guys back in the pool to keep Broxton. Additionally, he may flirt with double-digit wins this year, but don’t expect that to be repeatable.
Let me also make two overarching points here. First, Broxton’s evaluation is basically applicable to the entire crop of top tier closers. Second, because I hate reading pieces in which the author makes a whole slew of predictions that are cumulatively preposterous (we’ve all read football season previews where the combined records of all the teams don’t add up to .500), I actually tried to list as many players as I would clearly choose to keep before considering closers. I started having to think about the decisions in the low-fifties.
Leagues are rarely won in the first few rounds of drafts, but they can be lost there. That’s why I’m a proponent of reliability in my early picks. You can pencil Dunn in for his 40 homers and 100 RBIs. His skill set dictates he should be good for 100 runs too, but a putrid supporting cast hurts the cause. Dunn’s OF-eligibility pushes him over the hump. There aren't a whole lot of 40 home runOFs out there and anytime you can get power production like that without using spending one of your corner infield spots, that’s a great opportunity. Dunn’s faults are well known, just make sure you are cognizant of batting average throughout the draft, and you’ll be fine.
Two things make the Greinke dilemma especially interesting. One is that the jump Greinke made has been a quantum leap. Sure, he broke out last year, but to go from borderline All Star to Cy Young candidate is skipping a step or two. The other factor is that, as is the case with Mark-Reynolds, it’s likely that if you have Greinke, you also have your top picks from the draft to consider as keepers.
You know what scares me about Greinke? Two words: Francisco Liriano. Track record is really important to me when it comes to elite pitchers, you can’t get burnt keeping a pitcher and win your league; it’s almost impossible.
I thought I would be really conflicted about Quentin, but when I did the thought exercise to test my intuition about Broxton, I found there were way more than 30 players I’d rather roll the dice on than Quentin. I’d rather gamble on, say, Aramis Ramirez staying healthy. Toward the deeper end, the upside is hard to overlook. He has the pedigree and clearly showed his capabilities last year.
I really wanted to not recommend Reynolds in shallow leagues, but I have to at least give him a tentative thumbs up. I even went to Hit Tracker hoping to find that a disproportionate number of his homers were classified as “lucky,” but ‘twas not the case. In fact, only Pujols and Dunn have hit more “no doubters” than Reynolds, who has blasted 19 homers 430 feet or further.
There are a few things that put me over the top on Reynolds.
1. While the strikeout rate remains truly frightening, the walk ratio is moving up.
2. Minus the average, Reynolds wasn’t that far from being a pretty high level 3B producer last year, and could have been knocking at the door of the deeper keeper pool even with just an incremental step forward.
3. The steals drastically elevate his “floor.” Obviously, we can worry about the batting average. Anything over .270 seems unsustainable unless he hits 45 or so homers, but I don’t think we need to worry about .240 either. Another way to approach this would be to think about worst case scenario, which might be along the lines of 80/25/90/12. Meanwhile, what’s the upside? 110/45/120/30? He could totally have another top-10 overall value season next year. And, while you may worry about the BABIP, perhaps the fact that he’s 26 and could still be improving his core skills, which might be able to mitigate some of legit worry with legit hope.
Reynolds is like a poker hand in which you think you might be beat, but you are getting three-to-one on a call. I maintain a “borderline” recommendation because I’m generally conservative by nature about these things, but I couldn’t fault anybody for going all in on Reynolds.
There’s a group of players that seem to only live up to their projected fantasy value when everything goes right. Ichiro is a member of this group, along with Jimmy Rollins and Derek Jeter. These players will not justify their pre-season rankings unless they have great years by their own standards.
Personally, I wouldn’t be all that confident in a 10-12 team league if Ichiro was the third best player on my team. I’d prefer a guy with a higher ceiling; I’d easily keep Ellsbury or Markakis over Ichiro, who is likely not a top 30 player without hitting .350. I also wouldn’t even consider keeping him if I was keeping a starting pitcher, doing so would just put you at such a power disadvantage so early in the draft, you’d be chasing those categories the whole draft and likely wind up reaching along the way.
Tulo is a great example of a high ceiling player. He plays a premium position. He hits in a great ballpark. He has shown elite fantasy potential previously and he’s stepped up his running game (at least for fantasy purposes) and emerged as a five-category threat. Tulo has risks, as just about any player outside the top 30 will have, but they are risks I’m comfortable taking on.
Soriano will be 34 next year and he hasn’t played a full season or stolen 20 bases since 2006. The ISO’s been trending down too. Soriano doesn’t seem to be the type of player who will decline gracefully. I can see betting on him in the deeper pools, but I’d easily trade the ceiling for the reliability of a slightly lesser player on this one. I can’t emphasize enough how down I am on the way players of his make-up and component skills age. If you have a greater appetite for risk and want to chase the 30/30 potential, here’s a question: who has a better chance to go 25/25 next year, Alfonso Soriano or Alexei Ramirez? I don’t think I’d keep Ramirez either, but a middle infield-eligible guy on his way up seems like a more attractive proposition.
Posted by Derek Ambrosino at 1:36am (10) Comments
Monday, August 24, 2009
Gavin Floyd was a potential bust in 2009 due to ratios that didn't match his numbers through last season. He has regressed, but not nearly to his FIP or xFIP. John Danks had also beaten is FIP and xFIP, but with a strong K/BB and average groundball rates he seemed to be the better choice in 2009. Looking at the numbers they have been almost the same.
IP ERA W K K/9 K/BB HR/F BABIP LOB% xFIP Gavin Floyd 157.7 3.94 10 134 7.65 2.53 9.60% 0.295 69.10% 3.83 John Danks 141 3.96 10 116 7.40 2.27 9.80% 0.295 73.20% 4.42
Floyd's average performance in 2008 was a bit deceiving. He has always been a much better pitcher against right handed hitters. His career K/BB against right handers is 2.49 and in 2008 it went up to 3.23. This looked like a great step forward, but his numbers against left handers was 1.39. Putting this togethor made him a solid bet in games against teams loaded with right handers, but not left-handed batters.
In 2009 Floyd has seemed to find a balance. His K/BB is now at 2.59 for right handers and 2.48 versus left handers. He seems to have added a bit more off speed pitches this year and his contact rate against on pitches out of the zone have dropped.
His skills have seemed to find a level around 2.50-3.00 and he should maintain the skills for an ERA around 4.00 going forward. His strikeout rate is fair so he adds a solid amount of strikeouts as well.
After this season we will have to look back and wonder who the real John Danks is. In 2008 Danks took a big step forward. With a solid K/BB and an improving groundball rate, he looked like a great bet to meet or beat his 2008 numbers. As a lefty he should dominate left handers more than Floyd, but over his career he has fared similar to Floyd. His K/BB against right handed batters is at 2.50 while at 2.06 versus left handers. This year they have both been around 2.27 making him average against both.
Looking at this year his control has not fared as well and his BB/9 has returned to 2007 levels at 3.26 making his solid K/BB drop to 2.27. He is having trouble getting swings on his pitches out of the zone this year. Last year 27.9 percent of his pitches out of the zone were swung at, but this year he regressed to 22.3 percent.
His xFIP shows this year he has been fairly lucky and could regress even more this year. He also has not shown the ability to maintain a BB/9 as low as in 2008 at 2.63 since Double-A. He does also have a solid strikeout rate that adds value, but his walks are borderline for his skills. He does have some track record in the minors for higher strikeout rates, but eight would likely be his limit. He seems to be one of the pitcher who has failed to dominate left handers, but managers have not learned to keep their left handers in the lineup.
Both pitchers are still young and having less than 550 innings they are still establishing their skills in the majors. They also have to contend with the inflated home runs pitching in US Cellular and with average groundball rates. These two pitchers are very much clones statistically and hold value as late round picks to fill your pitching staff.
Floyd still gets some flak for his poor component ERAs in 2008 and might continue to fall later in drafts than Danks. I would expect him to be a better value based on draft selection, but Danks would be the player more expected to develop better skills if either of them does.