Tag Archive | "Bonifacio"

Ozzie Guillen and I Have Way More in Common Than I Thought

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Ozzie Guillen and I Have Way More in Common Than I Thought

Posted on 27 June 2012 by Trish Vignola

Nothing has changed in the timeline for his return, the multifaceted Emilio Bonifacio is still due at some point back after the All-Star Break. Still, Tuesday was a crucial day for Emilio Bonifacio. That’s nice. I speculated pre-Full Spectrum Baseball Fantasy Baseball draft that Bonifacio was going to have a significant impact on the Marlins.

Heck. I even drafted him.

However, the only impact Bonifacio has made on my team is the space he takes up on my Disabled List.

The Marlins center fielder was examined and cleared by a team physician to increase his baseball activities. Bonifacio got the green light to start hitting and play catch. He is still recovering from surgery to repair a torn ligament in his left thumb.

The injury occurred in Cleveland on May 18, and he’s been on my disabled list since May 20. Sigh.

On Tuesday, Bonifacio began hitting off a tee. He also put a glove on and played catch. The injury is to his glove hand.

Before this, Bonifacio had taken practice swings in recent days. As previously mentioned, the team’s hope is to have him back after the All-Star break.

The Marlins come out of the break on July 13 at home against the Nationals.

“I don’t want to be rushed back,” Bonifacio said. Why should he? He has spent a whole season making me rethink my entire fantasy Baseball strategy. To be fair, I’ve also had David Robinson and any assortment of New York Mets bullpen at some point. Enough already. I’m glade Bonifacio is “feeling great,” but I really need him to get off his butt and start taking swings before I have to drop another person.

Who knew though that there was one person out there who understood what I was going through?

All the losing is trying Marlins manager Ozzie Guillen’s patience. Who can blame him?

Because Miami has a number of young players, the fiery Guillen has been careful not to lash out at his team. Instead, he’s been uplifting and encouraging. I just keep yelling at my Mac Book screen.

“I have to be careful how I treat these kids here,” the manager said. “I don’t have a veteran team. I don’t know how they’re going to handle it. I’m not going to put more pressure on them. I don’t need to say something they know. How you’re going to say it, how they’re going to digest it, how they’re going to take it.”

Veterans don’t take it well either. Ask Bobby Valentine or any of my players…who apparently can’t hear me yelling through my computer screen.

While he’s bitten his tongue, the manager cautioned he could be close to once again making headlines because of his emotions.

“I will, pretty soon,” Guillen said. “I want to be on ESPN. I want to be all over the news. I haven’t been there for a long time.”

Thank you. I’m always looking for writing topics.

Guillen continues, “I should. I make a lot of money when I’m doing that. Pretty soon I’m ready to erupt. But right now … I’m just trying to be positive the most that I can, because we need that.”

Bottom line for both Ozzie and myself is production. The Marlins have been an enigma, because they won 21 games in May, but have just five wins in June entering Tuesday. I dropped two spots in the rankings since Monday.

“I believe we have a good ballclub,” Guillen said. I’m not so sure I do.

Guillen continues, “I believe we do. Why? Because we’ve played good before. I know we’re going to play good again. The only thing I want is more consistency. I want the players to feel that way, how good they are.
“We went from the best team in baseball to the worst team in baseball. You can’t be that drastic. That’s why I’m confused. I think we have the talent.”

I have Jose Reyes AND Joey Votto. How could I have gone so wrong?

Guillen on Tuesday sported a cleaner look, shaving off his goatee. I don’t have one.

“I shaved it because I had more white hair than when I got here,” he joked. “Thank you to the Marlins. I look older.” Me too, Ozzie. Me too.

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Is Rodriguez Done As A Top 10 Third Basemen?

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Is Rodriguez Done As A Top 10 Third Basemen?

Posted on 29 May 2012 by Bryan Geary

The fantasy baseball landscape at third base looks much different than it did at the end of last year. Only three players who ranked in the 2011 top 10 for third base according to ESPN’s Player Rater are currently in the top 10: Adrian Beltre (6), Jose Bautista (8) and Emilio Bonifacio (9). With fantasy elites Miguel Cabrera (currently ranked 3rd) and Hanley Ramirez (5th) gaining eligibility at third, the position has suddenly become much deeper. This begs the question: is Alex Rodriguez still capable of being a top 10 third basemen in fantasy baseball?

Rodriguez’s early power struggles have been well documented, though he did show signs of breaking out on Wednesday in Kansas City, blasting two home runs and looking like, at least for one night, the A-Rod of old. But what can we expect from a nearly 37-year-old Rodriguez, coming off a season in which he played 99 games and finished 12th on the Player Rater? Even though he comes in at 10th as of Sunday, after checking out the numbers, there is some reason for doubt.

The two home runs he hit against the Royals were his 6th and 7th of the year, leaving him on pace for 25 home runs over a full season. That would be a career low for seasons in which he played at least 100 games. Maybe Rodriguez can catch fire, but I do not see a huge spike in power going forward. His batted ball rates seem to have a definite trend to them at this point, with his ground ball rate increasing at least two percentage points each year since 2009 and his fly ball rate decreasing by at least three points in that same period. While his HR/FB ratio is actually up to 18.9% this year, his best rate since 2009, he is simply not giving himself as many chances to hit the ball out of the ballpark with a dramatic drop in his FB% (37.2% in ’11 to 29.6% so far in ’12). While his swing certainly looked more like what we are used to seeing the other night, I am not so sure that this is not the new A-Rod.

While he may not be an elite source of power anymore, the good news is that he can still get on base. His OBP is at .368, which puts him behind only David Wright and Cabrera among  qualified third basemen this year. This is good news for those of you in leagues that count OBP (like mine). His walk and strikeout percentages of 10.9% and 18.6% respectively are both right in line with his career averages, so he is a safe bet to continue getting on base like this. In addition to his ability to take a walk, Rodriguez is also contributing a solid average this year, with both his LD% and his BABIP above the career numbers. The other wild card with A-Rod is his speed. This is a guy who could be counted on for 20 steals once upon a time. After stealing only four bases in both of his previous two seasons, Rodriguez already has six in 45 games this season. This is a pretty good indication that his lower body is feeling better after multiple procedures the last few years.

Rodriguez is not what he used to be — anyone watching the games can see that. But if he can keep the average up near .290 and get back to a 10-15 stolen base level, he is still an extremely useful fantasy player. Even with the additions of Cabrera and Ramirez, injuries to guys like Evan Longoria and Pablo Sandoval may mean A-Rod can get back into the top 10 this year. If you are in need at the position, trying to buy low might be a good idea, especially if you have enough power elsewhere on your roster.

Surprise Leader

Edwin Encarnacion has surprised everyone by getting off to a blazing hot start and grabbing the top spot on ESPN’s Player Rankings for third base. Once ranked the 56th best prospect in the game in 2005 by Baseball America, Encarnacion never quite flourished in Cincinnati before they traded him to Toronto. While he posted decent power numbers in his first two years as a Blue Jay, Encarnacion is on pace to hit 51 home runs with 131 RBI over 162 games, both of which would smash his previous career highs. And while I am not at all suggesting that he will live up to this pace, I do think he will be a top 10 third basemen at season’s end. A massive spike in his HR/FB ratio — 17.9% this year, 9.4% last year, 12.3% for his career — suggests that his home run pace will slow. However his BABIP is at .252, which is nearly 30 points below his career average, suggesting he may have actually been a bit unlucky to this point. Of course all the home runs could have a lot to do with that number.

The Hot Add

Kyle Seager is generating a lot of buzz among fantasy baseball circles this week, seeing his ownership in ESPN leagues rise 17.1% in the last 7 days. Baseball America tabbed him as the Mariners’ 9th best prospect after 2010 as a result of his .345/.419/.503 line in the high-A California League. This season he has started 34 of the team’s 49 games at third and fantasy owners have taken notice. I do not see him helping those of you in 10-team leagues much, but he would definitely be worth a look in deeper leagues if he is still available, as I suspect the batting average will improve steadily as he continues adjusting to big league pitching. As an added bonus, Seager could pick up 2nd base eligibility in standard ESPN leagues (minimum of 10 games played for eligibility at new position) this season as he has already made 6 starts there so far.

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Stealing One

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Stealing One

Posted on 03 April 2012 by Dennis Lawson

Michael Bourn Creating Havoc (courtesy of Sports Grid)

For many fantasy league owners, the stolen base category represents somewhat of an afterthought.  Maybe you draft 1 speedy outfielder who can steal bases and also score a few runs as a function of hitting leadoff, but you quickly forget about stolen bases after you have picked up Michael Bourn.  While drafting purely for speed probably will not serve you all that well in the long term, the approach has some merit.  Consider the MLB leaders in stolen bases from 2011.

  1. Michael Bourn (61) – .294/.349/.386/.734
  2. Coco Crisp (49) – .264/.314/.379/.693
  3. Brett Gardner (49) – .259/.345/.369/.713
  4. Ichiro Suzuki (40) – .272/.310/.335/.713
  5. Cameron Maybin (40) – .264/.323/.393/.716
  6. Matt Kemp (40) – .324/.399/.586/.986
  7. Emilio Bonifacio (40) – .296/.360/.393/.753
  8. Drew Stubbs (40) – .243/.321/364/.686
  9. Jose Reyes (39) – .337/.384/.493/.877
  10. Jacoby Ellsbury (39) – .321/.376/.552/.928

That last includes many of the highest ranked fantasy players who do not play a corner infield spot.  Owners could do worse than to grab a few of these guys.  What if you lose out on most of them and still want to contend for some valuable points in the stolen bases category?  Keep an eye on the following players who may not make the leader board but may still help you anyway.

  1. Rajai Davis – Davis won’t impress anybody with his hitting numbers, but he did pull off 34 steals in just 95 games.  For owners in large leagues, he might be worth a look for a backup outfielder position.
  2. Will Venable – Venable managed 26 steals with just 370 at-bats, and he was only caught 3 times.  Although his 2011 slash line of .246/.310/.395/.704 was just slightly below his career average, Venable can provide some help as a backup outfielder.
  3. Jason Bourgeois – JB toiled in the relative obscurity provided by the media blackout that is the Houston Astros, but he should not be omitted from consideration.  He compiled 31 steals as a part-time player, and even though he has moved on to the Royals, he still doesn’t need a lot of playing time to accumulate steals.
  4. Erick Aybar – Aybar’s ability to steal bases (30 in 2011) may be put on display even more in 2012.  If the Angels keep him in the #1 or #2 slots, he could be a true table setter for the heart of a much improved lineup.  With players like Bobby Abreu changing roles to make way for the team’s new offensive focal point, Albert Pujols, opposing pitchers may find it more difficult this season to stop the running game.
  5. Alcides Escobar – Like Aybar, Escobar could benefit from being a table setter this season as well.  If he gets a lot of his at-bats in the 9th spot, then he may have a full-time green light to unsettle the man on the bump.  With Alex Gordon, Billy Butler, and Eric Hosmer starting to all come of age, Escobar stands to gain some stolen base and subsequently more scoring opportunities.

If you plan to take the “fire and forget” approach to setting your lineup and ignoring it for weeks on end, then the 5 players just mentioned probably aren’t for you.  However, if you incessantly check for updates on injuries, pitching matchups, projected starting lineups, and other tidbits that may provide an advantage, then one or more of these guys may be just right for you.

For owners in leagues with 12 or more teams, you may have to draft one of these players, and it may pay to know the difference between .250 hitters.  If you truly believe that “speed does not slump”, then keep these names in mind.

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An increasing trend in baseball: 40 steals, 100 strikeouts

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An increasing trend in baseball: 40 steals, 100 strikeouts

Posted on 21 March 2012 by Graham Womack

For a speedy center fielder, Cameron Maybin must have been swinging for the fences in 2011. Besides stealing 40 bases last year, more than he’d swiped in his four previous seasons combined, the Padres outfielder struck out 125 times, also a career-high. It wasn’t the greatest of feats for Maybin, a long-heralded prospect and a centerpiece of the Tigers-Marlins Miguel Cabrera trade in December 2007 who’s been known more since then as something of a baseball vagabond.

Thing is, Maybin’s far from alone in the amount that he struck out and stole bases last year.

Ninety players in baseball history have recorded at least 40 steals and 100 strikeouts in a season, all but two having done so since 1960. Numbers have spiked in recent years, with 30 men accomplishing the feat since 2000 including five each of the past two seasons, a record.

A full list of the men with at least 40 steals and 100 strikeouts in 2010 and 2011 is as follows, courtesy of the Play Index from Baseball-Reference.com:

Rk Player HR SB SO Yr Tm PA AB R H 2B 3B RBI BB CS BA OBP SLG OPS
1 Matt Kemp 39 40 159 2011 LAD 689 602 115 195 33 4 126 74 11 .324 .399 .586 .986
2 Drew Stubbs 15 40 205 2011 CIN 681 604 92 147 22 3 44 63 10 .243 .321 .364 .686
3 Cameron Maybin 9 40 125 2011 SDP 568 516 82 136 24 8 40 44 8 .264 .323 .393 .716
4 Emilio Bonifacio 5 40 129 2011 FLA 641 565 78 167 26 7 36 59 11 .296 .360 .393 .753
5 Michael Bourn 2 61 140 2011 TOT 722 656 94 193 34 10 50 53 14 .294 .349 .386 .734
6 Carl Crawford 19 47 104 2010 TBR 663 600 110 184 30 13 90 46 10 .307 .356 .495 .851
7 B.J. Upton 18 42 164 2010 TBR 610 536 89 127 38 4 62 67 9 .237 .322 .424 .745
8 Brett Gardner 5 47 101 2010 NYY 569 477 97 132 20 7 47 79 9 .277 .383 .379 .762
9 Michael Bourn 2 52 109 2010 HOU 605 535 84 142 25 6 38 59 12 .265 .341 .346 .686
10 Chone Figgins 1 42 114 2010 SEA 702 602 62 156 21 2 35 74 15 .259 .340 .306 .646


What’s behind the surge?

I put the word out on Twitter on Tuesday and got a variety of responses. My friend @dianagram reminded me that, in general, strikeouts are up in baseball; teams whiffed 1,150 times apiece on average in 2011, in contrast to the MLB average of 801 strikeouts in 1960. Heck, it was 496 per team in 1930. There’s talk of the strikeout being less destructive, which sounds backwards to me. I miss the days of Joe DiMaggio and Stan Musial striking out roughly five percent of their at-bats. Tony Gwynn did this in recent years, but he was a throwback.

Other followers in my Twitter feed pointed to an increased use of specialized relievers with high strikeout totals, less emphasis on contact hitting, and more emphasis on power. Josh Wilker, author of Cardboard Gods, replied to me, “Fewer slap-hitting lead-off types nowadays? GMs avoid the ol’ Omar Moreno style of contact ‘hitting,’ maybe.” There were other ideas as well, with my friend @figurefilbert suggesting that expansion has diluted talent levels, and @MikeGianella countering that the US population has nearly doubled since 1960. It’s part of a broader question about if baseball’s gotten better or worse over the years, a question I couldn’t answer in one post.

Whatever the case, the trend of high strikeout and stolen base totals doesn’t seem to be going anywhere. This comes even with Bill James and other baseball researchers showing in recent years that the caught stealing rate can be no more than 15 percent before base stealing efforts become counterproductive. Old habits die hard, I guess. That being, I would doubt that teams are all that concerned. After all, the Padres just signed the soon-to-be 25-year-old Maybin to a five-year, $25 million extension two weeks ago.

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Baseball’s Best Kept Secret – Emilio Bonifacio

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Baseball’s Best Kept Secret – Emilio Bonifacio

Posted on 16 February 2012 by Trish Vignola

The Miami Marlins may have a new name, a new uniform and a new look, but what’s going to happen when a ball is hit to center?  The news broke this Monday (February 13th) that outfielder Yoenis Cespedes agreed to a four-year contract with the A’s thus turning down Miami’s offer. CBS Sports presumes that means Emilio Bonifacio will start in center field for the newly minted Miami Marlins. They cite new manager Ozzie Guillen’s interview with a Miami radio station, “Bonifacio would’ve have been my center fielder no matter if Cespedes was here.”  Guillen continued, “If Cespedes (came) to the Marlins, he would have had to make the ball club.” Guillen is great for a sound bite.  However, is Bonifacio an actual lock for the position?

How soon we forget Chris Coghlan?  Two years ago, he was National League Rookie of the Year.  He also was technically the Marlins’ everyday center fielder at the start of last season. However, an injury-plagued 2010 and inconsistent play in 2011 landed the 26-year-old in the Minor Leagues.  One has to ask if Coghlan can find a way to regain his 2009 form (.321 average, 9 HR, 47 RBI), could he throw a wrench in Guillen’s plans for Bonifacio?  He is young enough to still pull it together.

Let’s face it. Emilio Bonifacio had some pretty underwhelming career numbers until Jack McKeon took over the team last year.  Once McKeon turned him loose, Bonifacio was a completely different player.  In 89 games, he hit .310 and stole 36 bases.  Didn’t hear about it?  Why would you?  There are like 8 people at a typical Marlins home game.

With Reyes joining the core and Guillen’s reputation for turning his speedsters loose, Bonifacio looks to continue on his breakneck pace.  AccuScore is predicting 585 AB, 4 home runs, a .280 average, 44 RBIs and a whopping 42 stolen bases.  Bonifacio could be one of the best-kept secrets in Baseball.

No matter what Guillen is saying now, he has to know there are two center fielders jockeying for this spot.  Coghlan is definitely behind the eight ball but he’s still healthy enough to compete.  My money though is on Bonifacio. He hasn’t anywhere near the injuries of Coghlan and has been the picture of consistency since mid-2011.  The only strike against Bonifacio is that he has too many people waiting in the wings to take his spot.  I still predict though that Bonifacio will be starting in center on Opening Day.

So what does this mean to your fantasy baseball team?  If Bonifacio can make the roster, grab him.  If he falls to the middle, you would be absolutely insane to not take him.  He can play center, shortstop and 3rd base as well.  He’s not going to be a big bopper, but he is going to hit for some average and will steal you some major bases.  If Coghlan fades, which I predict he will, Bonifacio will be the biggest bargain of the season.  Why?  Because no one knows how well he plays…yet.

 

 

 

 

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