Tag Archive | "David Wright"

Playing The Name Game: Spring Training Edition

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Playing The Name Game: Spring Training Edition

Posted on 11 March 2013 by Chris Caylor

This is the first of a two-part spring training edition of Playing the Name Game. This article is targeted at those owners whose drafts (or auctions) haven’t yet taken place. Most of my drafts/auctions have not occurred, which is unusual, based on the comments of several fantasy baseball writers I read and respect. Now, I happen to play in AL-only and NL-only leagues, as I find those leagues more challenging than typical mixed leagues.

NameGame

Regardless of whether the format is draft or auction, fantasy baseball league winners are usually the owners who get the most bang for their buck. Owners who drafted Mike Trout in the mid-to-late rounds, or spent his/her money on R.A. Dickey instead of Tim Lincecum, probably enjoyed finishing in the money in their leagues last year.

The goal of these articles is to identify players who might similarly boost your team in 2013. Let’s jump right in.

First Base

Player A: .299/.344/.463, 18 HR, 108 RBI, 116 OPS+
Player B: .227/.308/.462, 32 HR, 90 RBI, 110 OPS+

Player A is the Dodgers’ Adrian Gonzalez. Player B is Ike Davis of the Mets. Gonzalez has superior talent around him, but his home run totals have dropped each of the past three seasons. At 25, Davis is five years younger and smacked 20 home runs in his final 75 games in 2012. The difference in average draft position, though, is what really struck me: Gonzalez is going in the 3rd-4th round, while Davis is going between rounds 12-16. Why draft A-Gon when you can fortify your middle infield and outfield in the early rounds and get plenty of power from a guy like Davis (or Paul Goldschmidt) later?

Speaking of middle infield:

Second base

Player A: .290/.347/.449, 15 HR, 65 RBI, 20 SB, 112 OPS+
Player B: .257/.335/.379, 14 HR, 76 RBI, 31 SB, 103 OPS+

Player A is Dustin Pedroia of the Red Sox. Player B is Jason Kipnis of the Indians. Personally, I consider Pedroia one of the most overrated players in baseball. The way he runs his mouth, you’d think he was better than the Yankees’ Robinson Cano. But the numbers prove otherwise. Kipnis, meanwhile, will turn 26 shortly after Opening Day and plays for a team that added Michael Bourn and Nick Swisher to its 2013 lineup. True, Kipnis did tail off drastically in the second half of 2012 after a terrific first three months. But the power is developing to complement his 30-steal speed. In ESPN leagues, Kipnis is coming off the board two rounds after Pedroia. That equals two rounds where you can load up on big-time outfielders or an elite shortstop instead. I’m buying.

Shortstop

Player A: .287/.360/.486, 8 HR, 27 RBI, 2 SB, 111 OPS+
Player B: .292/.335/.511, 25 HR, 73 RBI, 21 SB, 126 OPS+

Player A is Troy Tulowitzki of the Rockies. Player B is Ian Desmond of the Nationals. Last year was supposed to be The Big Year for Tulo, as he was entering his age 27 season and coming off three consecutive seasons where he compiled an OPS+ north of 130. Instead, Tulo only played 47 games and missed the final four months of the 2012 season. Entering his seventh season, Tulowitzki has played in 140+ games just three times. When healthy, he is the best shortstop in either league. Unfortunately, that’s become a huge gamble for fantasy owners due to the multiple leg injuries. Desmond is entering his own age 27 season and put up his 2012 stat line despite missing about a month with a dreaded oblique injury, so his numbers could have been even better. Oblique injuries don’t seem to recur with the same frequency as leg injuries. Tulo has the edge in power, but Desmond has better speed, which is more difficult to come by.

Third Base

Player A: .306/.391/.492, 21 HR, 93 RBI, 15 SB, 143 OPS+
Player B: .244/.317/.476, 30 HR, 85 RBI, 1 SB, 117 OPS+

Player A is the Mets’ David Wright. Player B is Pedro Alvarez of the Pirates. Here’s an interesting stat: in 2009 and 2011, Wright combined for just 24 home runs. In 2010 and 2012, Wright smacked a combined 50 home runs. Which Wright will it be in 2013? Will the moved-in fences at Citi Field boost his power numbers, or are the 30-homer days gone for the six-time All-Star? It strikes me as an expensive gamble, given his average draft position in the 1st-2nd round. Meanwhile, in 2012, Alvarez found the power stroke that tantalized the Pirates into making him the #2 overall pick in 2008. Like all Pittsburgh hitters, he tailed off in the second half of the season, but his 53-point jump in batting average (and 178-point jump in slugging) shows that Alvarez has figured some things out at the plate. It looks like the Buccos have finally found their cleanup hitter to protect Andrew McCutchen. And at less than half of Wright’s average auction value, Alvarez should be a major-league bargain for fantasy owners.

Catcher

Player A: .319/.416/.446, 10 HR, 85 RBI, 8 SB, 81 R, 141 OPS+
Player B: .301/.328/.471, 11 HR, 39 RBI, 0 SB, 38 R, 117 OPS+

Player A is the Twins’ Joe Mauer. Player B is Salvador Perez of the Royals. Mauer is now on the wrong side of 30, playing a position that is notoriously brutal on an athlete’s body. That said, Mauer bounced back nicely from a wretched 2011. Mauer is still an elite player, but he lands on this list because he is playing fewer and fewer games at catcher. While the Twins aim to preserve their big-money star, meet the new Joe Mauer: Sal Perez. The Royals’ 22-year-old backstop kept up his impressive contact rate after returning from a knee injury last year and looks like a future superstar at the position. Because he is buried in woeful Kansas City, he may slip a few rounds in your draft or auction. Perez’ 2013 projections are equal to or better than Mauer in every category except RBI. Don’t miss the boat on him.

You may have detected a trend is these five comparisons: I recommend younger, up-and-coming players as better bargains. That isn’t to say you should avoid any of the “bigger” names; only that you should be able to get similar production at a lower cost later in your draft/auction. If it works out, you allow yourself to acquire elite talent at a different position, while another owner might find himself reaching for a backup or platoon player to fill a roster spot.

These are only one man’s opinion. For what it’s worth, though, I did win my league in 2012.

Coming up In Part 2: pitchers and outfielders.

Follow me on Twitter: @ccaylor10.

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The Free Agent Lohse Down

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The Free Agent Lohse Down

Posted on 28 January 2013 by Will Emerson

As spring trainging rapidly apporoaches, there are still some ballplayers looking for a place to call home this upcoming summer. The most prominent of which are probably Michael Bourn and Kyle Lohse (Austin Kearns just misses landing in this tier of free agents, but only by a hair). Well Bourn may find his new identity in Flushing very shortly if those Metropolitans can skirt that pesky rule about giving up draft picks. Let’s take a look at that for a hot minute.

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Goodness knows, we would not want the Mets to miss out on a first round draft pick. They could very well miss out on drafting the next Lastings Milledge, for crying out loud! Heaven forbid! I mean really, truthfully, Mets, what are you really gonna get with your 1st round pick? Hmmm? Your recent track record is not, well, sepctacular in that department. Okay, I am being a bit harsh on the Mets 1st round picks, because their recent picks, with the exception of Matt Harvey, have yet to get to the majors. So, sure, a bit harsh, maybe? But the last Mets first rounder to consistently produce at a high level would be David Wright. Wright was drafted in 2001. The best 1st rounder before him? Arguably Preston Wilson in 1992 or maybe Jay Payton in ’94. So, really Mets, do you really need this pick, when you can get a known commodity in Michael Bourn? Just some food for thought there. But, alas, I digress, let’s get back to the other remaining prominent free agent, Kyle Lohse.

I am positive that plenty of teams could use and possibly have interest in Kyle Lohse and why wouldn’t they? Did you see what he did in 2012?! The surface statistics are eye-popping! 16-3, with a 2.86 ERA and a 1.09 WHIP. Wow! I’m sure many were/are thinking the same thing is me. “What?! Really?! Kyle Lohse?!” Mind boggling would be a way that I would describe these numbers. But I’ll dig a little deeper into the numbers in just a bit, cause an advanced stat nerd like myself does not hold much stock in these superficial statistics. So, if you said there was a starting pitcher on the market who posted those numbers last season for a playoff team, you would think the offers would be pouring in, right? Pouring in, folks! What team out there would not want that in their rotation, right? If only it were that easy. Unfortunately, for Lohsey, and agent Scott Boras, it is not. Instead of Kyle’s celly ringing off the non-existent hook (cause it’s a cell phone and thus has no hook) all he has been hearing is a cricket chorus.

First, and foremost, do not feel the need to shed any tears for Kyle Lohse. He did turn down $13.3 million to return to the Cardinals, so he is certainly not someone who needs our pity. Second of all, aside from having to beat that offer, Lohse also has that whole draft pick compensation thing attached to signing him as well. So, that will drive some prospective suitors away, for sure, especially of they are on the fence about this asking price. Still though, 16-3 with a sub-3 ERA? That has got to be worth a good chunk of change you would think. Edwin Jackson is making $13 million in 2013. Jackson was 10-11 with a 4.03 ERA in 2012 and he got paid, so why no love for Lohse? Even if the numbers are way above what Lohse should be tossing up there ( and they are), he has still got to be worth a decent offer, no? It appears that Major League teams are increasingly more savvy when it comes to looking deeper into a pitcher’s stats and many, like yours truly, see Lohse’s 2012 season as mostly smoke and mirrors and you are about to kind of see why.

Although Lohse had an ERA under three in 2012, his xFIP was just south of four at 3.96 and his BABIP of .262, which made him an extremely lucky pitcher. So you can see there is a regression a comin’ friends. Using Edwin Jackson as a comparison once more, E-Jax had an xFIP  of 3.79 and a BABIP of .278 in 2012, so this is a fair comparison for Lohse. So that $13.3 million should look pretty good for Kyle. But the problem with getting Lohse the contract he wants does not stop there. Not only do many people doubt the legitimacy of Lohse’s 2012 numbers overall, but they doubt how well he can pitch outside of Busch Stadium or even not as a Cardinal. Kyle’s ERA was over a full run higher on the road than at home. While the difference in xFIP is not as significant, it was still a third of a run higher on the road. So all else being equal, not only should that $13.3 million look pretty darned good, but it may be the best bet for Lohse at this point, even though he wants a multi-year contract. Well Kyle, (may I call you Kyle?)that multi-year contract is probably not showing up at your doorstep anytime soon, so you may need to start thinking about just pitching in 2013. Expecting last year’s numbers from Lohse would be downright silly, to say the least, so the best best bet for him would be to sign whatever one year deal he can grab and prove he can be solid once again and look for more dough in 2014.

As I mentioned, a good amount of ballclubs could certainly use Lohse’s services even if, as expected, he regresses closer to his xFIP. Early projections have an ERA around 3.70 for the upcoming season, which is still not terrible, but it is no 2.86. Kyle is unlikely to put up ace numbers in 2013 and he can’t be playing the market as if he is going to, because no one else seems to be doing that. I think it is quite safe to say no one is buying into last season’s numbers from Lohse. The early projected numbers for 2013 peg Lohse as a third or fourth starter in a rotation. The good news though is although his ERA is looking to regress, his xFIP has been improving each of the last three seasons. In 2010 it was 4.79, down to 4.04 in ’11 and slightly lower 3.96 last season. On the other side of that coin, that minor improvement in xFIP, will still, most likely, not translate into an ERA below 3.50 in 2013. Or will it? Hey, ya never know, right? After all his 2012 xFIP should not have translated to anything remotely close to a 2.86 ERA, but somehow that’s the number that will appear in the ERA column on the back of Kyle Lohse’s baseball cards next to 2012. The bottom line here, Kyle, is you need come down off your pedestal and know your actual worth and if you think you’re worth more, you’re gonna have to go out and prove it. Until that day comes, sir, you keep your ear to the grindstone.

 

 

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World Baseball Classic Team USA Rosters

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World Baseball Classic Team USA Rosters

Posted on 15 January 2013 by Press Release

TEAM USA PROVISIONAL ROSTER FOR 2013 WORLD BASEBALL CLASSIC TO BE ANNOUNCED THURSDAY ON MLB NETWORK’S HOT STOVE

All 16 World Baseball Classic Provisional Rosters to be Announced on World Baseball Classic Roster Special Thursday Live at 4:00 p.m. ET

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Secaucus, NJ, January 15, 2013 – The Team USA Provisional Roster for the 2013 World Baseball Classic will be announced on MLB Network’s Hot Stove this Thursday, January 17 live at 10:00 a.m. ET. Co-hosted by Matt Vasgersian and Bill Ripken, who was part of the 2009 Team USA coaching staff, Hot Stove will begin at 9:00 a.m. ET and break down Team USA and feature an interview with Team USA manager Joe Torre.

Later in the day, the remainder of the Provisional Rosters for the 16-team field will be announced on MLB Network during a World Baseball Classic Roster Special live at 4:00 p.m. ET. Co-hosted by MLB Network’s Greg Amsinger and Heidi Watney with Dan Plesac andBill Ripken, the one-hour special will analyze the entire 16-team field, look back at the history of the World Baseball Classic and feature interviews with Team USA pitching coach Greg Maddux and Team USA member and New York Mets third baseman David Wright. The show will also preview the tournament schedule as MLB Network will be the exclusive English-language broadcast partner for all 39 games of the 2013 World Baseball Classic in the United States from March 2-19.

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The State of The New York Mets Entering Winter Meetings

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The State of The New York Mets Entering Winter Meetings

Posted on 21 November 2012 by Trish Vignola

Characterizing himself as “more optimistic” than he was two months ago, Mets chief operating officer Jeff Wilpon said Tuesday that trading either David Wright or R.A. Dickey would be a last resort for the team. Speaking in Far Rockaway, Queens, where he and pitcher Matt Harvey served meals to Hurricane Sandy victims, Wilpon said his first priority is still to ink Wright and Dickey to contract extensions. The Mets’ backup plan is to enter next season with those two on their current expiring contracts. Their final option is the trading block.

“We hope to have a resolution,” Wilpon said to mlb.com. “And you know what? Part of that resolution might be that we get deals done with both of them or one of them. Part of that might be that they both come back and play for us next year. They’re both under contract. This is not a free-agent situation. This is not an arbitration situation. They’re both under contract. We have all the flexibility in the world with that.”

Wright and Dickey are entering the option years of their respective contracts, after which they can become free agents. General manager Sandy Alderson hinted that the thinking might be focused on signing those players to new deals or looking to trade at least one of them. As recently as last week, Alderson said that he would like to have clarity on the situation by the Winter Meetings, beginning Dec. 3. Nonetheless, Wilpon said he would rather retain both players on their current contracts than trade either of them.

“The process is ongoing — that’s all I can say,” Wilpon said to mlb.com. “I know there’s some misconception in the marketplace about what’s going on, and that’s because we’re not talking and the other sides are not talking. I don’t want to get into where we are, what offers have been there, what haven’t. The process is ongoing. It’s a good process right now… They’re both important to the franchise and fan favorites. So we’d like to keep it that way.”

Rumors have swirled regarding the Mets, though the team has made no official moves outside of Minor League signings. Earlier this month, Alderson preached caution regarding trades, while still naming Dickey, Jon Niese and Dillon Gee as potential candidates for a deal. Harvey brushed off speculation that the rotation will not report to Port St. Lucie, Fla., in February intact.

“It’s baseball,” Harvey said to mlb.com. “A lot of it is a business and everybody’s trying to win, so trades are always possible. Not being here, not being in New York is always possible. You never know, but I’m happy to be here. I’m happy to be a New York Met. I’m ready for the season to start.”

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A New York Met Has Found His Way To The DL…In November

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A New York Met Has Found His Way To The DL…In November

Posted on 09 November 2012 by Trish Vignola

Really?!

Oh, for the love of God! It’s November 6th and a New York Met has found a new and exciting way to get hurt. Seriously? It’s Election Day. What can you do to conceivably cause yourself harm? Are you pressing the voting lever too hard?

According to the Associated Press, Outfielder Lucas Duda broke his right wrist while moving furniture at his apartment in Southern California last month. (Immediately, Mets fan collectively thought “Who Saw that Coming?” upon reading this statement.)

The team announced that Duda had surgery Monday. They expect him to be ready for Spring Training in February. I hope he’s not on the Johan Santana calendar to recovery. If that’s the case, Lucas Duda won’t see a diamond until David Wright is on a Hall of Fame ballot.

Dr. Andrew Weiland at the Hospital for Special Surgery in New York operated on Lucas Duda. The Mets expected Duda to be discharged from the hospital today. The 26-year-old slumped to a .239 average with 15 homers and 57 RBIs in 459 plate appearances this year. That is down from a .292 average with 10 homers and 50 RBIs in 347 plate appearances in 2011.

Although drafted in the seventh round, Lucas Duda was always a prospect the Mets took seriously. Former Mets manager Jerry Manuel watched Duda during batting practice when he was first called up. He noted that Duda reminded him of Magglio Ordóñez or Moisés Alou. In 2010, Lucas Duda was named the Sterling Organizational Player of the Year.

Yes, in 2011, Lucas Duda came out like gangbusters. 2012 was a different story though. After a season of dwindling numbers and being demoted to Buffalo in favor of Matt Harvey, Duda now falls victim to what seems to be a stupid, senseless injury in this writer’s humble opinion. I’ve begun to think. Is Lucas Duda just another Aaron Boone (without actual timely hitting, of course)?

In other New York Mets news, reserve catcher Mike Nickeas and outfielder Fred Lewis each rejected outright assignments to the organization’s new Triple-A Las Vegas affiliate and elected for free agency. The Mets signed a two-year Player Development Contract in September with the Las Vegas 51s professional baseball team of the Pacific Coast League. Nickeas only played in 47 games and hit one home run. He wasn’t an impact player. However, current Mets’ backup catcher, Anthony Recker, is only slightly better. Fred Lewis? I didn’t even know he was on the team, which says a lot about his impact with the team. Frankly, it also says a lot about my patience with watching the team past the 4th or 5th inning, where I would see a player like Lewis come off the bench. He played in 18 games with the club.

On a far more positive note for the organization, R.A. Dickey took home Outstanding Pitcher honors in the National League. Voted on by his peers, it’s a promising sign for Dickey leading up to the Nov. 14 announcement of the NL Cy Young Award. Four of the National League’s last five Outstanding Pitchers went on to win the Cy Young.

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