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Friday, January 22, 2010
Last night I participated in my second mock draft of the offseason (the first was for Rotoworld Magazine) with a good compilation of websites represented. Baseball Digest hosted the draft and Kevin Orris of Fantasy Pros 911, Ivar Anderson of Fantasy Gameday, and our own Troy Patterson were some of the participants. Having the experience of one mock draft behind me, I did find this one much easier to get through so mock drafts certainly are not a complete waste of time if you take them seriously and take something away from each one.
Below is my team listed, and clicking this link should show you the full results of the draft.
Round 1 — Chase Utley
Round 2 — Justin Upton
Round 3 — Felix Hernandez
Round 4 — Roy Halladay
Round 5 — Curtis Granderson
Round 6 — Chone Figgins
Round 7 — Josh Johnson
Round 8 — Joakim Soria
Round 9 — Geovany Soto
Round 10 — Jason Bartlett
Round 11 — Rafael Soriano
Round 12 — Jorge Cantu
Round 13 — Brett Anderson
Round 14 — Frank Francisco
Round 15 — Colby Rasmus
Round 16 — Mark DeRosa
Round 17 — Alcides Escobar
Round 18 — Julio Borbon
Round 19 — Dexter Fowler
Round 20 — James Loney
Round 21 — Matt Thornton
Round 22 — Jesus Flores
Round 23 — Justin Duchscherer
Round 7 — Having taken the dominant duo of King Felix and Halladay in round three and four I thought I would hold off on starting pitching for a little longer, but Josh Johnson was too tempting in the seventh round. I believe he is as good as any pitcher in the league but is misrepresented with his current ADP around 80. If I'm looking for a good SP value in the seventh/eight rounds of drafts Johnson is a good guy to target.
Round 9 — Even though this was a two catcher league, taking Soto here was a mistake. After the elite catchers go, there is a definite middle tier with guys like Russell Martin, Kurt Suzuki, Jorge Posada, and Miguel Montero that start getting taken around pick 100. There is not much to distinguish among these backstops, so I would rather take the catcher that falls through to the 11th/12th round than start the catcher run as I did in this draft with Soto in the ninth round.
Round 13 — The word is out on Brett Anderson and even though his ADP is currently listed as 236 at Mock Draft Central, I believe it will fall below 200 sooner than later. This kid had a tremendous rookie season at age 21 and his sophomore season should be similar, if not better. I had the pleasure of seeing him pitch in person and although I am not a professional scout by any means, for what it's worth I was thoroughly impressed. He mixes his full arsenal of offerings well and was fooling hitters all night, and drawing weak contact when they did connect. If you are looking for someone whose ADP will be higher come next offseason, Anderson is a great bet.
Round 19 — Fowler did not have the greatest of rookie seasons batting .266 with four home runs and 27 steals, though he did do a lot of things well. He has a good all-around fantasy package that makes him my current outfielder of choice in the later rounds of drafts. I got him at pick 220 and his current ADP is 260, so he is a good fourth/fifth outfielder to round out your outfield rotation.
That's all for now. Any more mock drafts I participate in I'll be sure to share my thoughts in a similar post.
Posted by Paul Singman at 5:08pm
I know that this isn't exactly big news in the short-term, but for dynasty or keeper leagues, it's worth noting. Oakland Athletics outfield prospect Grant Desme, rated No. 6 on our own Matt Hagen's Top Ten Oakland A's prospect list, has announced that he's leaving baseball to "pursue the priesthood", according to a report by Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports.
Desme, 23, was coming off of a huge 2009 season, split between Single-A and Single-A advanced, in which he hit .288 with 31 home runs, 68 extra-base hits, 40 steals and an overall "triple-slash" line of .288/.365/.568 in 552 plate appearances. He was regarded as the organization's best outfield prospect before the acquisition of Michael Taylor earlier in the offseason. He was expected to start the season in Double-A, but it now appears that his career as a baseball player is over.
Posted by Satchel Price at 1:37pm
Thursday, January 21, 2010
After losing their ace, John Lackey, the Los Angeles Angels filled their empty rotation spot with Joel Pineiro on relatively fair contract worth two-years and $16 million dollars. Pineiro, coming off one of the best years of his career, posted double digits wins for the first time 2003. His win total of 15, as well as his 3.49 ERA, was the second best of his career, and by far the best numbers we've seen from the right-hander since his Seattle Mariner days.
His ERA was nearly in line with his 3.68 xFIP, but LIPS ERA had him about 4.0 in 2009. Under the tutelage of Cardinals pitching coach Dave Duncan, a known proponent of the ground ball, Pineiro saw his GB% shoot up over 60% last season. That said, if you are expecting bigger and better things from Pineiro next season, you are likely to be disappointed.
He is moving from the NL Central to the AL West. This means he is trading games against the Astros and Pirates for games against the Rangers and highly improved Mariners. The home ball park factor change is rather neutral and his ground ball tendencies actually match up well with the Angels middle infield group of Erick Aybar, Mazier Izturis and Howie Kendrick. Despite the upgrade in defense, there are a few things working against Pineiro moving forward.
Of qualified starters, Pineiro's 4.42 K/9 was third worst in the Major Leagues. His contact rate was nearly 88% and he induced a swinging strike less than 6% of the time. On the other hand, his walk rate was excellent as he handed out just 27 passes in 214 innings, but a 1.14 BB/9 is unlikely in 2010.
Thanks to his new found love for sinkers, Pineiro was able to keep the ball in the yard at an impressive clip (0.46 per nine); however, that may be a little too impressive. His HR/FB rate was just 6.5% which is nearly five percent under his career average; that number is due for some regression. Looking at his batted ball data, his .297 BABIP might be a tad low for all the ground balls, but certainly not something that stands out as a fluke. In addition to his BABIP, his LOB% might regress, but only slightly.
Unimpressive K rates and a regression-likely home run rate are not encouraging things when you factor in the move from NL to AL. Nonetheless, Pineiro is still a decent option for fantasy players. He is relatively healthy and surpassed 200 innings last year. His ground ball ability and the Angels middle infield seem to be a good marriage of talents. He should post double digit wins, and keep the walks to a minimum, but the low strikeout total is a turnoff and the likely home run correction is a bit of a concern.
Posted by Tommy Rancel at 7:30pm
In case you missed it, today we unveiled four terrific new writers for our revamped Buy On The Rumor blog. To get things started, I'll point out a few things from the past few weeks that I found particularly noteworthy. (Note that all quotes come from MLB Trade Rumors).
Brian Bruney told Bill Ladson of MLB.com that he wants to close for the Nationals in 2010. Bruney will have to compete with newly acquired Matt Capps for the role.
Bruney wants to close, and so does Eddie Guardado. Despite whatever perceived question marks surround Capps, it would be foolish to let Bruney or Guardado compete with him for the job, much less take it from him. Despite this, it does appear that Capps will have to compete for the job, but I'd draft him with relative confidence. Even if someone else comes out of Spring Training with the job, it shouldn't last long.
The Pirates inched closer to an agreement with [Octavio] Dotel last night...
With Capps gone they don't have a clear closer, and Dotel would receive a serious boost from this signing, which seems imminent. One guy who has received almost no play this off-season, though, has been Joel Hanrahan. His unlucky 2009 and public perception don't meet his skill level. A potential late-round steal if the Pirates don't end up signing a Dotel and still worth owning in some leagues even if they do — Dotel is far from a sure bet to stay healthy.
The Orioles need help at the infield corners, and they've contacted the agents for a long list of free agents: Carlos Delgado, Hank Blalock, Joe Crede, Nick Johnson, Ryan Garko, Garrett Atkins, and Mike Jacobs.
They ended up signing Atkins, but the fact that they were in talks with so many other CIs and that they're looking for yet another CI shows that they're probably not ready to give prospect Josh Bell playing time to start 2010, as some thought could be the case at one point. A mid-year call-up looks like the best case scenario, though without any time at Triple-A, we may be waiting until 2011 to see him.
Ed Price of AOL FanHouse... reports that the Angels are telling people there's a significant chance they deal an infielder, likely [Maicer] Izturis. Price says Erick Aybar and Brandon Wood sound "untouchable."
Am I the only one who finds this a little strange? Untouchable? Really? The Angels have had so many chances to give Wood a serious look over the years and they constantly bypass him. It might be that they just don't like his particular skillset, but I'm going to be wary of drafting him unless the Angels make a lot of room and make it clear that he's their guy. Then again, they've held onto him for this long, so they must like something about him.
[Ben] Sheets topped out at 92 mph on Tuesday...
A lot is being made of Sheets's encouraging throwing session, but 92 doesn't sound all that impressive to me (and some sources say it was 91). He usually averages over 93, so topping out at 92 means he was probably averaging around 90. It's still January, but since 2002, his lowest average speed was 91.7 in 2003 (when his K/9 was just 6.4). Add in his rising BB/9 over the past couple years (not to mention the declining K/9) and Sheets looks like an AL or NL-only pick to me, at least for right now.
The A's acquired Kevin Kouzmanoff and Eric Sogard from the Padres for Scott Hairston and Aaron Cunningham.
Bad news for Dallas McPherson, a sleeper favorite of mine. And given the re-signing of Jack Cust as well, it also isn't great news for Jake Fox, who is probably looking at part-time at-bats, at best.
Yahoo's Tim Brown tweets that Valverde has offers from the Tigers, Cardinals, and one other team.
He signed with the Tigers (bad news for Joel Zumaya, who was never really a good fantasy option anyway), but the fact that the Cardinals were in on him is interesting. Ryan Franklin really doesn't have the skills of a closer, and he's not one of the better bets to last the year. Jason Motte and Kyle McClellan are two guys to keep an eye on.
Brown says the Tigers and D'Backs "are in" [on Valverde], so they've presumably made two of the offers.
Also interesting that the D'Backs were in on him. Chad Qualls is plenty good enough to close, but the D'Backs don't seem entirely convinced. Their name has been floated around, albeit quietly, in closer talks this winter. I'd have no problem drafting Qualls, but his margin for error might be a little smaller than other closers. Given the choice between him and an equally-talented closer, I'll take the other guy.
Posted by Derek Carty at 11:53am
Earlier this week, the Pittsburgh Pirates and free agent reliever Octavio Dotel agreed to a one-year, $3 million deal, adding a veteran power arm to the team's inexperienced bullpen. Given that the Pirates non-tendered incumbent closer Matt Capps earlier in the offseason, it seems likely that Dotel will be Pittsburgh's closer next season, given the lack of experienced alternatives.
Over the years, Dotel hasn't changed much as a pitcher, in spite of numerous injuries during the middle part of the decade. He's always been a fastball/slider pitcher, using the two pitches to put up monster strikeout rates, but he's had issues over the years with his control and keeping the ball on the ground. After three injury-plagued seasons during which he bounced around with four different teams, Dotel signed a two-year deal with the White Sox before the 2008 season, and managed to stay healthy enough to pitch over 60 innings in each season. His fastball velocity has declined over the years, and while he still gets good movement on it, it's no longer the elite pitch that it was during his prime.
Dotel showed some clear signs of decline in 2009, though, which are certainly worth noting. In 2008, he posted the fourth lowest contact rate among pitchers with 60 or more innings pitched, but last season he fell to 28th among the same group of players. His walk rate, fly ball rate and line drive rate all went up a solid amount in 2009, while he saw drops in his strikeout rate (not surprising given the increase in contact allowed) and fastball run value (according to FanGraphs' pitch values). There weren't any major apparent changes to his stuff, at least according to Pitch F/X data, but realistically the only reason that Dotel's ERA improved from 2008 to 2009 was good luck, as his HR/FB decreased substantially and his strand rate increased by nearly five percent.
Doc Oct isn't exactly one of the best relievers in the game, but his strikeout rate was ninth in the majors among pitchers with 60 or more innings pitched, and there's little reason to expect any regression there, as his 10.83 strikeouts per 9 innings in 2009 was actually below his career mark, and down from the 12+ marks that he posted in 2007 and 2008. Dotel is likely to see some regression in his ERA from last season, his 4.08 LIPS ERA indicates that he was a bit lucky with balls in play last season, but moving from a hitter's park in the AL to a neutral park in the NL should definitely help to offset some that.
Presuming that Dotel gets the closer job, which is almost a certainty at this point, he could very well be capable of providing 30-35 saves, and a healthy number of strikeouts, making him a potential bargain for both fantasy players and the Pirates alike, when you consider that guys like Fernando Rodney and Brandon Lyon are getting multi-year deals worth $5 million or more annually.
Posted by Satchel Price at 10:32am
Sorry the comments were off on my article on Monday. I didn't realize until now. Anyway, they're back on now if you guys would like to head back over there and discuss anything. There's also some good stuff over at The Book Blog about it.
Posted by Derek Carty at 6:24am
Sunday, January 10, 2010
When Brett Myers became a free agent this off-season, and it became clear he wouldn't return to the Phillies, one almost had to believe he'd be moving to a better home ballpark for supressing home runs. Apparantly that won't be the case for Myers in 2010 though, as he's inked a one year contract with the Houston Astros. After Myers signed his one year deal, I immediately dove into The 2010 Bill James Handbook to take a peek at the park indices portion. After taking a look at the index for Houston's Minute Maid Park and Philadelphia's Citizens Bank Park it became evident that Myers was essentially moving to a carbon copy of his former employer's home ballpark. Both ballparks are significantly more favorable to right-handed power hitters than neutral ballparks are, and each allows more home runs on the whole than a neutral ballpark. Surprisingly, both ballparks do reduce home runs to left-handed batters in comparison to neutral ballparks. What does this mean for Myers? Well unfortunately for him it probably means he'll continue to post a home run per flyball ratio (HR/FB) above the league average, which will in turn likely hurt his ERA.
The good news for Myers is that he appears to understand the perils of allowing fly balls, and thus has pitched predominantly to groundball contact (Myers' career ground ball ratio (GB%) is 47.7 percent, while his flyball ratio (FB%) stands at 32.2 percent for his career). Myers has also historically helped his own cause by posting a solid strikeout rate at 7.50 strikeouts per nine innings (K/9) for his career, and limiting the free passes with a 3.14 walks per nine innings (BB/9) for his career. One thing working against Myers is that his strikeout rate does appear to be dropping, though it is hard to gauge exactly how significantly coming off an injury smeared 2009 campaign, and a 2007 season in which he spent much of the year closing. In Myers last healthy season as a starter, 2008, he posted a K/9 of 7.72, a drop-off from his 2006 season's K/9 of 8.59. A relatively safe projection for Myers 2010 K/9 is likely something just north of 7.0, but not much higher until he shows reason to believe otherwise.
Those preparing to project Myers production for the 2010 season should have an easy go of it, as it will probably fall in line with his most recent seasons with the Phillies. The ease of projecting Myers 2010 production is likely bad news for those hoping to draft a talented pitcher at a reduced rate this season. Myers appears likely to post an ERA significantly north of his true pitching skills, which will at least in part likely be illustrated once again by a large gap in his ERA and xFIP (xFIP is explained thoroughly here ). The likelihood of Myers striking out 150+ hitters if he eclipses 190 innings pitched makes him someone worth drafting after 60 or so starting pitchers go off the board, but his poor ERA and only serviceable WHIP will likely mean he shouldn't be drafted higher than that. If Myers is able to stay healthy all season, and continues to post numbers he has control of in line with his career norms, his free agent status and where he ultimately signs will be of interest going into 2011. Until then though, he appears to be a talented starting pitcher who will be held hostage by a launching pad home ballpark.
Posted by Josh Shepardson at 9:23pm
Wednesday, January 06, 2010
Adrian Beltre's move from Seattle to Boston should be one that benefits both he, and his fantasy owners in 2010. Adrian Beltre recently inked a one year deal with the Boston Red Sox with a player option for 2011, which means he will no longer be playing half his games in the nightmare for right-handed power hitters that is known as Safeco Field. Safeco Field is amongst the most difficult ballparks for right-handed power hitters to hit home runs in, and Beltre was no exception. Beyond home runs being limited to right-handed hitters in Safeco Field, doubles and batting average in general are according to Bill James' park indices which can be found in The 2010 Bill James Handbook. Just taking a peak at Beltre's triple slash lines from 2007-2009 at Safeco, .252/.304/.399, and on the road, .287/.331/.488, as compiled by Dan Budreika at Fangraphs, it is next to impossible to argue that Safeco Field didn't severely hamper Beltre's ability to produce as a batter. Couple Beltre's move away from the unfriendly confines of Safeco Field with a move to Fenway Park and you are likely looking at a recipe for success. Fenway Park is the most favorable home ballpark for slugging doubles in all of Major League Baseball since 2007 according to Bill James park indices. On top of being the best doubles park from 2007-2009, Fenway Park was also slightly better then neutral for right-handed batters in batting average and home runs in 2009.
While it is likely Beltre won't hit in the heart of the order as he did in Seattle, the move from Safeco Field should more then offset a drop in the order. It is also possible that being slotted lower in Boston's lineup may still result in more runs batted in for Beltre then he had in Seattle, as he may hit shortly after high on-base percentage sluggers Kevin Youkilis and J.D. Drew. Overall, Beltre's move from Seattle to Boston via free agency should go noted by fantasy gamers when it comes time to put together draft rankings and cheat sheets, as well as for those deciding on keepers in deep keeper or dynasty leagues, AL-Only leagues or deep leagues in general. It is possible that Beltre may crack the back end of the top ten third baseman for the 2010 fantasy season in 5x5 mixed leagues with his move to Boston. It seems entirely possible Beltre could post a 5x5 line of 80-28-90 .285 with 11 stolen bases, which would make for quite the useful fantasy line at a top heavy position.
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