Tag Archive | "Evan Longoria"

Who’s Hot, Who’s Not: Adam Dunn

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Who’s Hot, Who’s Not: Adam Dunn

Posted on 31 July 2012 by Chris Caylor

We have a couple of unexpected names in this week’s edition of Who’s Hot, Who’s Not. Let’s dive right in, shall we?

Hottest of the Hot: Adam Dunn, Chicago White Sox

Dunn vowed to rebound from his ghastly 2011 season, and boy, has he ever. The slugger who averaged 40 home runs a season between 2004-10, then plummeted to 11 last year, is on pace to hit a career-high 50 big flies in 2012. In the past week, the Big Donkey batted .375/.423/.833 with 3 homers, 8 RBI, and 9 runs scored. Dunn even stole a base. For the season, Dunn leads both leagues with 31 home runs (plus 73 RBI). The .215 batting average is still a killer for those in roto leagues, but his .356 OBP confirms that his selective batting eye is as sharp as ever. Combine Dunn’s season with the consistent excellence of Paul Konerko, and it’s easy to see who is keeping the White Sox in contention for the AL Central.

Who else is hot?

Carlos Gomez, Milwaukee Brewers – Gomez has had himself quite a week. You’ve probably already seen his “foul” home run trot, but don’t let that overshadow how productive he has been for the Brew Crew. The speedy centerfielder put together a battling line of .346/.379/.884 with four home runs, 10 RBI and three stolen bases. With Zack Greinke gone, watching Gomez may be one of the only interesting things about the Brewers left in 2012.

Jeremy Hellickson, Tampa Bay Rays – Hellickson has had an up-and-down season, but July has definitely been an extended “up” period for the young righty. Hellickson has hurled five consecutive quality starts this month, with a 2.67 ERA and 0.95 WHIP. Thanks to their horrendous hitting, though, the Rays only managed to win two of Hellickson’s starts. Thanks to Hellickson (and teammates David Price and Fernando Rodney), the Rays may have something to play for when Evan Longoria returns in August.

Paul Maholm, Atlanta Braves/Chicago Cubs – Here’s a name you wouldn’t expect to see in this space. The lefty Maholm, however, is on a roll like no Cubs pitcher has experienced in decades: six straight starts of at least 6 IP and 1 or fewer ER allowed. Maholm, never considered a power pitcher, has struck out 37 batters and walked only 13 during his streak. As a reward for his outstanding pitching, Maholm was traded Monday night to the Braves, where he will attempt to help Atlanta reach the postseason.

Who’s Not

Omar Infante, Detroit Tigers – Since being traded back to the Tigers, the versatile Infante is just 3 for 21, with no home runs or extra-base hits. With Detroit counting on him to upgrade their dreadful second base production, Infante needs to snap out of his funk sooner rather than later.

Tyler Colvin, Colorado Rockies – After being one of the hottest players in baseball in June, Colvin has come crashing back to Earth like Skylab (raise your hand if you got that one). In his past 14 games, Colvin has gone 6 for 46 with 17 strikeouts, including an 0 for 15 stretch. With Todd Helton returning from the DL, Colvin’s playing time figures to decrease until he can stop his descent.

Roy Halladay, Philadelphia Phillies – Here’s a name you would never expect to see in the “Not” section. In his past four starts, Halladay has only 16 strikeouts, allowed 19 hits, and thrown one quality start. In that same time frame, Ross Ohlendorf, Joe Kelly, and the aforementioned Maholm have outpitched Halladay. For the season, Doc has an ERA+ of 93, which would be his worst since 2000. It truly is shaping up to be a season to forget in Philadelphia.

Follow me on Twitter (@chriscaylor), as well as the rest of the outstanding stable of writers at Full Spectrum Baseball.

Stats through Sunday 7/29

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Stock Watch

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Stock Watch

Posted on 16 July 2012 by Patrick Hayes

Tampa Bay Rays, Washington Nationals, Arizona Diamondbacks

Hello and welcome to my brand spankin’ new weekly feature of identifying three players to buy, sell or hold. Now I’m no Mad Money Jim Cramer with buttons and levers, but I will pound my fist into the desk as I realize I should have acted on a player before his peak and after he starts to fail and eat roster space on my team.

As this is the first article in this recurring series of Stock Watch, let me first try and set a few guidelines and framework to create some sort of continuity. Here we go:

  • I’ll focus on batters one week and then pitchers the next. Repeat.
  • I’ll attempt to focus on players owned in at least 50% of the leagues, but there will be exceptions to this rule for names of interest ie. Roy Oswalt.
  • Pitchers Habits I like:
    • First pitch strikes
    • Flowing locks and intimidating facial hair
  • Hitters Habits I like:
    • Patience at the plate
    • Fancy names and great intro music
  • Detroit Tigers fan – I’m too harsh on the team and normally shy away from all players due to an emotional interest. This practice may or may not follow suit here as well. Bullish, no doubt.
BJ and Justin Upton

BJ Upton –  (#46 on ESPNs 5×5 Player Rater for OFs)

Over his last 15 games he has hit to the clip of just .238, but he has a history of heating up in the second half of the year, especially in the months of August (.234/.312/.404) and September (.282/.366/.496). While his walk percentage in 2012 sit at 7.6% compared to his career average of 10.9%, I do like the fact that his BABIP of .314 is below his average of .326.

What is the cause of these decreases? It’d be hard not to at least attribute some of his decline to the added pressure due to the injuries and sub-performing players the Rays have endured thus far. With the likes of Desmond Jennings (hopefully) regaining his late 2011 swagger, as well as Evan Longoria returning after that devil of a hamstring, there should be a natural increase to the output BJ will experience in the upcoming dog days of summer.

My verdict: Strong Buy Candidate

Ian Desmond – (#1 on ESPNs 5×5 Player Rater for SS)

Ian Desmond, National's SS.

This man has been on fire of late, batting .389 with 4 HRs, 9 RBI and 5 SB in his last 15 games. Unfortunately, all good things must come to an end, and suffering an ‘oblique injury’ which results in missing a few games could be the signal you need to sell high on the 26 year-old shortstop. Besides the injury, his ISO factor of .224 is an increase of 215% from last year when he had 639 Abs.

Although his BABIP of .318 remains right in line with his career average of .316, he is swinging at more balls outside of the strike zone, 37% this year vs. avg of 32.6%, and is swinging and missing at more pitches than ever before too, 11.3%  up from his average of 9.5%. Adding to the intrigue, his K% is down to 19.5%, a half percentage point from where he typically sits. If you drafted Desmond late, (which you did, his ADP was 233), now is the perfect time to sell before he plummets from his perch at the top. Your ideal trade target should be that team on the outside looking in of the playoffs who is adept to taking lollipops from strangers.

My verdict: Super Strong Sell Candidate

Justin Upton – (#35 on ESPNs 5×5 Player Rater for OFs)

Where o’ where will Jupton end up? Justin has been centered in trade talks for the past few weeks and the 24 year old with 5 years experience could be destined for a new address. But why would Arizona trade this scouts dream with his 5 tools, spectacular smile and favorable contract? There have been hints that he might not have the best head on his shoulders but that isn’t suitable reason to give up on such a high ceiling talent. Let’s look deeper.

His disappointing year at the plate .264/.351/.393 is not even close to his career averages of .276/.356/.476. After his monster year in 2011 which saw him knock 31 HRs, knock in 105, steal 21 and bat .289, adds to the pain and suffering owners have experienced this year. Perhaps the most eye popping stat is his unexplained decrease in power, ISO of .125 in 2012 vs. .240 in 2011 and a career average of .200. His BB% and BABIP remain near averages, as does his K%.  This only adds to the complexity of deciding what to do as the trade deadlines near.

Taking all factors into play, (and believe me, I spent two days deciding if I wanted to go after him, but passed), I feel like the best play at this time is to simply hold on to Justin and endure the waiting game. He has been seeing the ball better of late and a change of scenery or a playoff run may be just what he needs to enlighten team owners everywhere. Monitor the rumors closely and don’t be shy of pulling a deal if the right trade presents itself.

My verdict: Begrudgingly Hold Candidate

Reactions and opinions are always welcomed. Best of luck till next week when I decide the fate of three pitchers.

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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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3 UP and 3 Down

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3 UP and 3 Down

Posted on 03 May 2012 by Gary Marchese

3 Up and 3 Down

It is that time again for the weekly 3 UP and 3 Down.  This is a weekly article I do looking at three players who I consider “up” or performing well and three who are “down” or struggling at this point in the season.  I may also look at teams later on in the year but for now we will stick with players.

UP: Bryce Harper

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Bryce Harper got called up to the major leagues at the age of 19. He got called up because Ryan Zimmerman got put on the disabled list. He is here though no matter how he did it and trying to stay. He was going to be up in the majors at some point this year anyway. Harper has made an immediate impression. He has a strong arm that he has been showing off, made some good defensive plays and has a couple of hits. The power will come in time as he adjusts and gets used to major league life.

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DOs And DONTs: Tampa Bay Rays

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DOs And DONTs: Tampa Bay Rays

Posted on 12 February 2012 by Gary Marchese

This is a look at the Tampa Bay Rays team in the eyes of a fantasy baseball player.  I want to take a look at the dos and don’ts of the roster for your fantasy team.  This is what I would do and not do in regards to the Rays.  I have already taken a look at the New York Yankees, New York Mets and Boston Red Sox.  My colleagues have taken a look at the Baltimore Orioles, Arizona Diamondbacks, Chicago Cubs and Colorado Rockies.  We will continue to do all the teams and then also take a look at whole divisions.

Do take their starting pitching.  If you are in a league where it is the whole teams pitching then at least starting pitching wise they should be at top or near the top of your list.  James Shields, Matt Moore, David Price, Jeremy Hellickson and Wade Davis.  The Rays continue to develop pitching and their pitching is what lets them compete.  Matt Moore looks to be a future ace, we all know what Price can do.  Hellickson is up and coming and Shields is a proven pitcher.

Don’t bet on B.J. Upton ever living up to his potential.  Upton has so much potential and he will show flashes of it at times.  He never has put it all together though and there are plenty of other outfielders I would look to first.

Do go ahead and take Evan Longoria.  Longoria is one of the best in the game right now.  He is young and he has all the tools.  He should be near the top of your list for third baseman in the league.  In that division he may even be the best.  He is better then Alex Rodriguez right now and maybe even Kevin Youkilis as they start to age.

Don’t even bother looking at their catchers.  Jose Molina is their starting catcher.  He is a very nice backup catcher and he is starting on this team.  I think that pretty much says it all.  He is a great defensive catcher but he doesn’t  have too much fantasy value, he isn’t much of a hitter at all and has no speed.

Do take a shot on Desmond Jennings.  He has all the talent in the world and can be a future star.  If you are in a keeper league then this is even more of a guy for you.  Jennings is 25 years old and last year was his first season in the majors.  He batted 259 with 10 homeruns and 25 RBI and a 356 on base percentage.  He played in 63 games and also had 20 steals in 26 attempts.

Don’t get too caught up in the Sam Fuld craze.  He is a nice story, a nice guy and a nice player.  Fuld though most think he may be a superhero really isn’t.  He is a superb defender and is playing with diabetes but he isn’t a great hitter.  He doesn’t have any power, won’t drive in many runs and doesn’t hit for a very high average.  He is a guy to root for but that doesn’t help your fantasy team.

Do look at Matt Joyce as not one of your top outfielder picks but a middle round type of guy.  He batted 275 with 19 homeruns and 75 RBI last year.  He also had a 347 on base percentage.  That is a very nice year and he is talented.  He is also just 27 years old and has a bright future ahead of him.  Last year was his best year but I see that continuing.  He is on a good team for him.

Don’t look at Kyle Farnsworth as a top closer.  He had a very good year last year but I still wouldn’t trust him.  He had 25 saves and a 2.18 ERA with 51 strikeouts and a .99 WHIP.  His career ERA is 4.25, I would expect more towards the norm this season.

Do take a look at Carlos Pena.  He may be a good backup first baseman to have.  He is back with the team that he had his best years with.  He still has the power and should be helped out by playing in Tropicana Field.  I like him as a backup first baseman or even a DH.  He only batted 225 last year but still had 28 homeruns and 80 RBI with a 357 on base percentage.

Don’t bother with the Rays shortstops.  You aren’t going to get a lot of production out of them.  Reid Brignac and Elliot Johnson both hit under 200 last year.  Sean Rodriguez was better then them but he only hit 223 with eight homeruns and 36 RBI.  He had a 323 on base percentage.  That was their best shortstop, I would look elsewhere for this position.

Do like what you see from Ben Zobrist.  He is a second baseman who hit 269 with 20 homeruns and 91 RBI.  He also had a 353 on base percentage and 19 stolen bases.  He isn’t Robinson Cano or Dustin Pedroia but he may be in the next tier of guys.  He is worth looking at as your second baseman if you can’t get one of the top guys and at the very least as a utility or bench guy.

I am on twitter and can be followed or reached @gmarchesej.  You can also email me at gmarchesej@aol.com.  Please comment, good or bad on the site but just keep it civil.  I look at all comments and will respod, let me know what you think and if you have any suggestions.  I may have missed someone you were thinking of, let me know.  Thank you for reading and supporting the site.

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