Tag Archive | "Consecutive Seasons"

Playing the Name Game: Spring Training edition, Part Two

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Playing the Name Game: Spring Training edition, Part Two

Posted on 21 March 2013 by Chris Caylor

This is the 2nd of a two-part Spring Training edition of Playing the Name Game. In Part 1, I listed some infielders for you to focus on during your AL-only or NL-only drafts or auctions. As a reminder, I am not advocating that Player B is better than Player A; I am simply pointing out some players that may produce elite numbers at a less-than-elite cost. Now, let’s take a look at some pitchers and outfielders:

Toronto Blue Jays Jose Bautista is brushed back by a pitch in the third inning against the New York Yankees in their American League MLB baseball game in Toronto August 23, 2010. Bautista homered on the next pitch.  REUTERS/Fred Thornhill  (CANADA - Tags: SPORT BASEBALL)

Outfielders

Player A: .303/.371/.510, 22 HR, 85 RBI, 20 SB, 89 R, 119 OPS+

Player B: .283/.373/.441, 16 HR, 67 RBI, 21 SB, 88 R, 131 OPS+

Player A is Carlos Gonzalez of the Rockies. Player B is the Reds’ new centerfielder, Shin-Soo Choo. CarGo suffered in 2012, along with the rest of the Rockies (and their fans), clearly missing Troy Tulowitzki to protect him in the lineup. However, it remains questionable whether Gonzalez will reach the mid-30s in home runs again, as he did in 2010. Choo, meanwhile, bounced back from in injury-plagued 2011 season and to post solid numbers for a mediocre Cleveland team. Now that he is leading off for the deep, talented Reds, Choo could post career-high numbers. Projections I have seen have Choo virtually equaling Gonzalez in home runs, stolen bases and batting average, while besting Gonzalez in runs scored. Gonzalez will retain the edge in RBI, but Choo is being drafted 3-4 rounds later and is going for much cheaper in auction leagues.

Player A: .241/.358/.527, 27 HR, 65 RBI, 5 SB, 64 R, 137 OPS+

Player B: .242/.305/.463, 32 HR, 85 RBI, 11 SB, 85 R, 110 OPS+

Player A is Jose Bautista of the Blue Jays. Player B is the Athletics’ Josh Reddick. Joey Bats’ 2012 season was marred by his wrist injury, which disabled him in July and eventually required surgery. Before that, he led the AL in home runs two consecutive seasons. Reddick came out of nowhere to mash 32 homers for the A’s in 2012. At age 26, his prime years are ahead of him. Bautista might – I repeat, might – drop of the 2nd round in some leagues due to fears about his wrist sapping his power stroke, but he won’t fall much further than that. Reddick, meanwhile, is ranked 20+ spots lower in ESPN leagues. Don’t that let deter you. The power is real and still developing. If Reddick played in a park other than the cavernous Oakland dump, he might threaten for the league home run title.

Pitchers

Finally, we come to the pitchers. In over 20 years of playing fantasy baseball, I have found it much more challenging to consistently build a good pitching staff than to construct a strong lineup. Is it because so many pitchers are one wrong pitch away from a trip to the disabled list? Or is it more that many pitchers who succeed one year struggle the next? Or is it something else entirely? Perhaps a combination of all three?

In any event, I subscribe to two theories when it comes to fantasy baseball and pitching: 1) pitchers with a solid WHIP rarely steer you wrong, and 2) do not punt the saves category. That is not to say that you should spend excessively on saves, but judiciously. Example:

Player A: 3-1 W-L, 42 Sv, 116 K, 0.65 WHIP

Player B: 2-1 W-L, 42 Sv, 69 K, 1.16 WHIP

Player A is Craig Kimbrel of the Braves. Player B is Rafael Soriano of the Nationals. Obviously, Kimbrel put together one of the most dominating seasons we have seen from a closer not named Mariano Rivera in many years. If you put aside the staggering difference in strikeouts, however, Kimbrel is not much more valuable than Soriano in standard fantasy baseball leagues. They compiled the same number of saves. The wins total is negligible. Both WHIP ratios are outstanding. But would you rather have Kimbrel (whom you would have to select in the early rounds of a draft or pay Rivera-like prices for at an auction), or would you rather use that early draft pick/big auction money on a starter like Cole Hamels or Johnny Cueto, knowing you can pick up Soriano several rounds later? I’d take the latter.

Player A: 20-5 W-L, 2.81 ERA, 142 K, 1.02 WHIP

Player B: 8-14 W-L, 3.81 ERA, 165 K, 1.28 WHIP

Player A is Jered Weaver of the Angels. Player B is Josh Johnson of the Blue Jays. Weaver has finished in the Top 5 in Cy Young balloting each of the past three seasons. Johnson was acquired as part of that massive trade between Toronto and Miami. Although the transition from NL to AL is typically more difficult for pitchers, that in this case is cancelled out by Johnson moving to a much better team. Forget the win-loss totals from last season; Johnson is still getting plenty of swings and misses when he pitches. Weaver missed almost a month in 2012 with back pain. Johnson is an injury-risk himself, but he is a year younger than Weaver and offers ace-like potential at No. 2 starter value. I’ll take my chances here.

Opening Day is rapidly approaching. If you’re like me and have your draft or auction coming up in the next 7-10 days, I hope this article proves helpful to you.

Follow me on Twitter: @ccaylor10

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Trading Down

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Trading Down

Posted on 09 April 2012 by Dennis Lawson

Trading Places

With a couple of games in the books, maybe your team appears to be slightly under-performing projections or your expectations.  Maybe that young bull of a middle infielder everybody was hyping is 0-7 and has not hit a ball out of the infield.  Or maybe you spent your top draft pick on a first baseman who has a .150 OPS to this point.  Obviously, you know not to panic, but do you know what to start looking around for right now?

Look around you for owners who are attempting to trade down as a knee-jerk reaction to slow starts by some of their players.  Obviously, veteran owners know better than overreact in the season’s first week, but some less experienced owners could be tempted into what appears to be a fair trade at the moment.  Here are 10 players that just might pique your interest.

  1. Carlos Marmol – Ignore the 27.00 ERA and 6.000 WHIP coming into the day.  Marmol has a reputation for going off the reservation at times, but he usually manages to get back on track.  He has averaged 100 strikeouts per 162 games for his career, and he has 5 consecutive seasons of 90+ strikeouts.  If someone panics on Marmol, be ready with to make an offer, if you need a 2nd closer.
  2. Matt Holliday – His .125 average and 2 rbi do not impress, but Holliday will find his stroke eventually.  The issue is whether or not you can snag him on the cheap before he finds it again.
  3. Scott Rolen – Maybe his shoulder issues will catch up to Rolen again this season, but you can count on Rolen to make the necessary adjustments and improve on his .143 average with 0 home runs and 0 rbi.
  4. Chase Headley – Do not be held off by Headley’s 6 strikeouts in 11 plate appearances.  Once he gets it rolling, he can be a .260-.270 hitter with double digit stolen bases.  Maybe that won’t crack your starting lineup, but in leagues that carry 6 outfielder positions, he might be a good 5th or 6th slot guy, even though he’s playing 3B this season.
  5. Aramis Ramirez – Ramirez may not be driving the ball right now, but he will.  Once he does start hitting, the Milwaukee lineup should give him plenty of rbi opportunities.
  6. Hunter Pence – Pence probably could not maintain a slugging percentage of .125, even if he tried.  At least, so goes the traditional thinking.  Maybe his warmup swings remind you of a hack golfer searching for his ball in the weeds with a pitching wedge, but it works.
  7. Todd Helton – You simply will not convince me anytime soon that Helton has forgotten how to hit a baseball.  Ignore the slow start and consider grabbing him, if you need a corner infielder or have a corner infielder with an injury history.
  8. Carlos Lee – Despite playing for what appears to be a slowly dismantling Astros team, Lee managed 94 rbi last season, and I see no reason why he cannot get to at least 80-85 this season.  Lee’s batting average, slugging, and OPS may vary greatly from year to year, but he has averaged 107 rbi per 162 games during his career.
  9. Shane Victorino – Just give Victorino time, and he will be hitting .270 and stealing a base every 5 game or so.  The object here is to find someone unwilling to wait until he does.  When they want to trade down, then there is your opportunity to trade up.
  10. Freddie Freeman – People already bailing out on Freeman could regret their decisions in a matter of weeks or even just days.  This early in the season, guys like Freeman need just a good couple of at-bats to right the ship.  Sadly, some owners will not give him the chance.

While I found it tempting to simply pull names at random from a hat, I instead went through Yahoo’s search tool to locate players who had dropped 3 or more points in terms of league ownership.  Oddly enough, Roy Halladay was only owned in 97% of all leagues, so that probably provides a good indicator of how many defunct leagues exist already.

 

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