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The 2012 Spring Training All-Star Team

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The 2012 Spring Training All-Star Team

Posted on 30 March 2012 by Daniel Aubain

There’s nothing more useless than putting too much emphasis on the statistics players are putting up in Spring Training. Just ask Jake Fox. He hit 10 Spring Training home runs in 2011 and accumulated just 15 HITS in the regular season and found his way onto many a fantasy baseball squad for his catcher eligibility. How’d that work out for those managers?

Some Spring Training statistics are worth paying attention to, like a hitters walk rate (positively) or strikeout rate (negatively). Stolen bases are also a nice statistic to keep an eye on, especially for players fighting for a roster spot. A pitcher’s K%, K/9 and K/BB ratios are nice to keep an eye on. They’ll let you know if they are in the zone or struggling with their command. So just keep Spring Training numbers in perspective when scrolling through the box scores or stat web sites.

That all being said, let’s celebrate the 2012 Spring Training All-Star Team, by position:

Milwaukee Brewers catcher Jonathan Lucroy leads all catchers with 20 hits and sports a gaudy .513 batting average. Of those 20 hits, seven have gone for extra bases (five doubles and two home runs). He’s also only struck out two times in 39 at bats but hasn’t walked. I also like to see that he stole a base in three attempts. He’s virtually gone undrafted in ESPN leagues (ADP 260+) and only owned in 7.4% of their leagues. Now might be a good time to reassess your catching depth chart.

Kansas City Royals first baseman Eric Hosmer leads the majors with 25 hits and 23 RBI  in just 22 games played this Spring and looks primed for a monster sophomore season. He’s also stolen three bases, so the 11 he swiped in 2011 don’t seem like a fluke.

Texas Rangers second baseman Ian Kinsler has 20 hits, a .408 batting average and has scored 14 runs in 15 Spring Training games. His four doubles and four home runs prove he’s ready for the season to get underway.

Toronto Blue Jays third baseman Brett Lawrie is proving to be the real deal. He’s gone 17-for-30 (.567 BA) in just 12 games this Spring with seven doubles and two triples. Oh, and he’s stolen five bases, too. If you own him in your fantasy baseball league, the season can’t start soon enough.

Los Angeles Dodgers shortstop Dee Gordon is showing us all his speed is the real deal. He’s stolen 10 bases in 12 attempts in 17 games to go along with 20 hits for a .417 batting average. His two triples and six walks are also great signs of things to come.

Detroit Tigers left fielder Delmon Young has 10 extra base hits (five doubles and five home runs) and 19 RBI in 18 games this Spring and will be a steady fixture in the middle of the Tigers lineup for 2012. Somehow he’s only owned in 91.4% of ESPN leagues. Check your waivers.

Kansas City Royals center fielder Lorenzo Cain has 14 extra base hits and a 1.345 OPS in 54 Spring at bats. He’ll be a fixture at the top of what seems to be an explosive offense for 2012, so pay attention. With an ADP of 224.7 in ESPN leagues and a mind-numbingly low ownership percentage of 28.7%, now is the time to check to see if he’s sitting out there on your league’s waiver wire and POUNCE!

Los Angeles Dodgers right fielder Andre Ethier is showing he’s healthy by clubbing 13 extra base hits (eight doubles, three triples, two home runs) in 15 games for a 1.412 OPS. He’s also scored 11 runs while driving in 12. It will be interesting to see where contract extension talks go if he gets off to a hot start now that the Dodgers’ ownership situation is heading towards a resolution.

Los Angeles Angels designated hitter Kendrys Morales seems to be back in form his 22-month layoff from injury. As of today (Thursday, March 29th, 2012), he’s gone 10-for-16 (.625 BA) with two home runs with 16 total bases. He’s up to 87.7% owned in ESPN leagues, so your window of opportunity to grab him off waivers has probably closed. Those owners who drafted him with an ADP of 201.1 should see an extremely high return on investment.

Milwaukee Brewers starting pitcher Zack Greinke has pitched 19.1 innings this Spring and struck out 28 batters while walking only two. That’s right, TWO. That’s a 14:1 K:BB ratio with a 13.03 K/9. He had a 0.93ERA with a 0.83 WHIP and batters hit just .197 against him. These are the kinds of statistics that matter in Spring Training and should translate into a very dominant season for Greinke in 2012.

This team doesn’t have a closer because no one is truly closing out games yet as relievers are simply trying to get their work in to be prepared to go once the games start to count on April 4th.

Which players would you like nominate to this year’s Spring Training All-Star Team and why? Are you basing your decisions in support of your favorite team and players or from a fantasy baseball perspective (or both)? Use the comments section below to nominate your players and be sure to engage me in a conversation on Twitter @DJAubain.

NOTE: All Spring Training statistics quoted are from MLB.com and are through games played as of March 28, 2012, unless otherwise noted.

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Finding Keepers:  Los Angeles Dodgers

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Finding Keepers: Los Angeles Dodgers

Posted on 13 March 2012 by Mark Sherrard

With all the off the field distractions last year concerning Frank McCourt, its easy to forget about the actual team on the field. The Los Angeles Dodgers did manage to finish above .500 last year and with Clayton Kershaw winning the Cy Young and Matt Kemp finishing second in the MVP voting, the Dodgers have two of the best players in the NL.

However, even with the talent at the top, you do not have to dig too far to find some potential keepers on this team. Here is a look at some of the players who could become keepers.

RP Kenley Jansen is slated to work as the setup man for closer Javy Guerra this year, but that may be just temporary. Jansen has been dominant, when healthy, and could take over the reigns as closer if Guerra should happen to slip. With a career K/9 rate of 15.3, he certainly has the stuff to close, its just a matter of opportunity. Now might be your last chance to grab him before he assumes the closer role.

OF Andre Ethier reportedly has battled a knee injury the last two years, before finally undergoing surgery last September. Its highly likely that his knee issues sapped his power, holding him to only 11 homeruns in 487 at bats in 2011. If he is healthy, the power should return and he still maintains a career .291 average to go with it.

SS Dee Gordon has speed to burn and is slated to start at short. After getting a tryout last year, in which he hit .304 with 24 stolen bases in 224 at bats, Gordon should easily double that stolen base output in 2012. He is another player to target now before his value skyrockets.

SP Nathan Eovaldi ranks as one of the Dodgers top 5 prospects and is currently 6th on the Dodgers starting pitching depth chart. Given that its rare for any rotation to make it through a whole season intact, look for Eovaldi to get another shot as a starter in 2012. He is a good pitcher to stash in a bullpen or bench spot.

OF Jerry Sands is a former top prospect who didn’t live up to his billing last year. However, with only Juan Rivera ahead of him on the depth chart, Sands should get another shot to prove himself in 2012. Worse case scenario is he spends a good chunk of the season in AAA, but with Rivera only signed through 2012, Sands could be worth stashing away for 2013.

SP Rubby De La Rosa came out of the gates hard, when he was called up last June, posting a 3.71 ERA and striking out 60 in 60.2 innings. It all came crumbling down when he underwent Tommy John surgery in August and he is expected to miss most, if not all of the 2012 season. However, he is another player worth stashing for 2013.

The rest of the Dodgers roster does not look keeper worthy. RP Javy Guerra will be the closer, at least at the start of the season, and could net you some cheap saves. However, with Jansen breathing down his neck, he will have a very short leash.

SP Clayton Kershaw was dominant last year on the way to his Cy Young award. However, that alone will likely make him overvalued in 2012 and unless he can repeat his performance from 2011, he is unlikely to get you full value in 2012.

The same goes for OF Matt Kemp, who put up a near 40/40 season while also producing a .324/.399/.586 slash line. Despite his predictions of a 50/50 season, some drop off is expected and he is unlikely to earn what you will have to pay for him.

Finally, 1B James Loney just does not produce like a first baseman and should be left to deeper NL only leagues or at best your utility spot. He has hovered around the .280-.290 mark with 10-13 homers the last 4 years and is unlikely to produce much more than that.

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