Tag Archive | "Cameron Maybin"

Taking a flier on Fiers

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Taking a flier on Fiers

Posted on 02 August 2012 by Gary Perilloux

Sigh: 2012 has been one of those years. On my once-proud Fantasy roster, Clayton Kershaw is not the Clayton Kershaw of yesteryear. Chad Billingsley isn’t the Clayton Kershaw he was supposed to become this year. And Brian Wilson’s beard is less scary than his elbow.

In the pitchers paradise of Petco Park, Cameron Maybin continues to be all tools and no home improvement. He and my defenseless Dodgers shortstop, Dee Gordon, are creating new faults in the Mendoza Line.
After analyzing the heap of trouble Ryan Braun brewed for himself in the offseason, I concluded brilliantly that Braun would not be worth in 2012 what I paid for him in 2011 ($43). Sigh. Double sigh. (Braun’s hitting at a full-season clip of .310/45/113 with 27 SBs and an OPS of 0.991 that would virtually match the 0.994 of his MVP year. And in our classic 4×4 Roto league this year, he sold for – you guessed it – $43.
Sigh. I look at the lonely first base in Miami now, and my aching heart turns to song for consolation, “Where have you gone, Gaby Sa-a-anchez?” (To New Orleans, with a .202 average on his knee.)
The Five Commandments
This year, I simply succumbed to too many no-no’s at our league’s 29th annual live auction:
  • Thou shalt not participate in a draft en route to an out-of-state vacation.
  • Thou shalt not study the players so furiously that thou fails to devise a bona fide draft strategy.
  • Thou shalt not take a pass on the top players merely because they’re selling for as much or more as last year.
  • Thou shalt not pursue the perfectly balanced team to the exclusion of being great in any single category.
  • Thou shalt not replace a hurt player from the draft with a pitcher or batter merely because they impressed you during your vacation trip to live games.
OK, let’s call it quits at The Five Commandments of Fantasy Drafts. By now, you’ve gained a crystal clear view of my train wreck of a 2012 draft. No need to go to Ten Commandments when the first five guaranteed me the cellar through much of the first half of the season.
After finishing within a whisker of first place last year, I’ve found myself treading 30 points or more back for much of the season. For my beleaguered, rag-tag Fantasy team, the 2012 season has become – in the words of that sage Beltway scholar – a clown year, bro.
And yet I trudge on. I stumble toward October with delusions of red, white and blue bunting in my future and a cascade of brown chocolate Yoo-hoo over my head — the fantasy equivalent of the Gatorade shower. In my heart of hearts, I know those will be unfulfilled dreams this year and — you know what? — I’m OK with that.
What? Yes, you heard me right. Part of surviving a keeper league year after year, and it’s a big part, is knowing when to accept defeat gracefully. I saw the gravity of my mistakes early in the year and accepted the fact that 2012 would become for me a kind of Bryce Harper season, a year of dropped flies and stealing home and learning how to hit second and field questions about celebratory beer in Canada: in short, a teachable year.
It didn’t help that after experiencing an awful draft and watching the Royals stagger through a winless first homestand that I wandered down I-70 later in the week and became enamored of Bronson Arroyo’s masterful dismantling of the Cardinals. Man, the garage band rock star looked like his old self. So among my two dozen waiver moves to replace hurt and demoted draftees this year, I made one of my first picks Bronson Arroyo, who’s now on pace to go 7-10 and win the fewest games since he became a full-time Major League starter: a teachable moment.
Fliers and Hot Fiers
In these fantasy years that try men’s souls, the temptation to throw in the towel and find sweet success in simulation games is great – very great. But I’ll have to pat myself on the back for one thing.
I did the adult thing: I accepted at the outset that I was not going to win the league in 2012. It wasn’t going to happen. And with that pressure off my conscience, I set about building the best fourth-place team you’ve ever seen.
Starting out at rock bottom, I reasoned that getting to the middle of the pack should be reward enough for such a bad start. And if I got to the upper middle of the pack – fourth place – why I’d actually be in the money in our league, and that’s all right with me.
And while I’ve had teachable “bad” moments (see Arroyo) this year, I’ve also had teachable “good” moments. Just last week, when the latest of my pitchers succumbed to elbow badness (Billingsley), I was poised to concede wins, where I’m in next-lo-last place, and go with saves, where I could spring from third to second or even first with one more closer success story.
The timing seemed propitious. The Marlins had promoted Mike Dunn to closer for the struggling Heath Bell; and Dunn converted his first opportunity and was available in our league. No brainer, right?
But wait, here’s Ozzie Guillen talking about the dreaded “closer committee” and I’m not feeling so high on Dunn. And in another corner of the league, there’s this guy named Fiers who’s had five remarkable starts in a row as an under-the-radar prospect, a guy who once broke his back in four places, a guy who willed himself into firing a higher-speed fastball.
I’m a sucker for these guys. I need help in ERA and WHIP, too, so my gut says, “Take a flier on Fiers, take a flier on Fiers, take a flier on Fiers …”
I did, and what do you know? The viscera were right. Fiers pitched 6 innings, 5 hits, 0 BBs, 1 ER, 4 Ks and whittled his ERA to 1.96 in his first start for me. There are the moments you live for: In a season of discontent, where winning is out of the question, here is a mini-win with an additional reward: After a weekend away from baseball, I return home to find my team in fourth place!
And then – sigh – there’s this news: Chad Billingsley is coming back already to test that testy elbow, just as I’m feeling increasingly Fiers-friendly. Don’t you just love it? Here’s hoping the gut goes 2-for-2.

Comments (0)

Stealing One

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

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.

Comments (2)

An increasing trend in baseball: 40 steals, 100 strikeouts

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

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.

Comments (1)

DOs and DONTs:  San Diego Padres

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

DOs and DONTs: San Diego Padres

Posted on 28 February 2012 by Mark Sherrard

When fantasy leaguers generally think of the San Diego Padres, they think “avoid the hitters and draft the pitchers”, mainly due to the ballpark affect.  However, as with every rule, there are exceptions.

Here is an analysis of the fantasy Do’s and Don’ts and they pertain to the Padres roster:

DO draft Nick Hundley as your primary catcher.  He hit .288/.347/.477 with 9 homeruns in just 281 at bats last year, a pretty good line for about a half season’s work.  If he can duplicate that over an entire season, he could quickly move into the upper echelon of fantasy catchers.

DON’T draft Orlando Hudson.  His numbers have been in steady decline the last 4 years and what little value he provides with his steals (19 in 2011) is offset by everything else.

DO take a chance on Yonder Alonso in the mid-to-late rounds.  He has a career line of .293/.370/.466 in the minors.  While he might not have the power you expect from a first baseman and Petco Park will dampen that even more, he should hit for a good average and a bunch of doubles.  He shouldn’t be your starting first baseman, but would fit well in the corner infielder spot.

DON’T roster Jason Bartlett.  Like Hudson, he is another guy who may give you some steals, but little else.  He will be a drag on your batting average and will not provide you with many runs or rbis, so he is best left for your bench or better yet someone else’s team.

DO expect better things from Cameron Maybin.  After struggling in his first few years in the majors with the Miami Marlins, Maybin finally got an opportunity to really show what he could do and literally ran with it.  He stole 40 bases in his first full year and has the potential to steal even more if he can cut down on his strikeouts and draw a few more walks.  I expect him to top 50 steals this year and add 10-15 homeruns.

DON’T expect much from Carlos Quentin.  He is moving from a hitters park to a pitchers park this season and, after his career year in 2008, has only averaged about 24 homeruns while hitting below .250.  Petco will sap his power and drag down his average even more, making him a player to avoid in mixed leagues and shallow NL only leagues.

I DO like Cory Luebke, a lot.  After spending the first half of the season coming out of the pen, Luebke was outstanding after joining the rotation at the end of June.  With an ERA of 3.29 and 154 strikeouts in 139.2 innings pitched, you would think that Luebke benefited from pitching his home games at Petco.  However, he actually had a better road ERA, 2.55, than his home ERA of 4.04.

I DON’T trust Clayton Richard.  Sure he had a fine 3.88 ERA in 2011, but his lack of strikeouts (just 53 in 99.2 IP) and his 1.42 whip are reasons for concern. Roster him at your own risk.

I DO believe that Tim Stauffer is a product of the Petco effect, but I don’t care.  He had a 2.57 ERA at home and a 4.95 ERA on the road in 2011, but if your league allows you to play matchups, well you know what to do.

DON’T sleep on Andrew Cashner.  He has a power arm and will work as the setup man for Huston Street.  Given Street’s injury history, Cashner would make a good late round pick and could become this year’s Rafael Betancourt.

Finally, given the Padres ballpark, I DO think that the Padres will continue to run.  Six players finished 2011 with double digit steals, including Chase Headley (13), Will Venable (26) and Chris Denorfia (11).  But, at the same time, I DON’T expect much power from any of the Padres hitters.  In 2011, Ryan Ludwick led all Padres with just 11 homeruns and I would be hard pressed to pick a hitter who will top 15 homeruns in 2012.

Comments (0)

Advertise Here
Advertise Here