Tag Archive | "Fantasy Roster"

SP_291079_BORC_rays_11

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

Ben Zobrist: A Love Story!

Posted on 22 August 2012 by Will Emerson

It’s no secret amongst my baseball loving colleagues that I have had what you might call an advanced stat man crush on Ben Zobrist for several seasons now. And quite frankly can you blame me? Okay well, maybe don’t answer that question, I suppose. The point of the matter is Zobrist is an advanced stat stud and in my mind could be one of the most underrated fantasy, maybe even real life, baseball players around. Now sure, you could easily argue that his real life value is greater than his fantasy value and that is a valid argument. But that don’t sway the man crush. As you may know, Zobs has recently started getting playing time at shortstop for Joe Maddon, which only enhances his real life, and more importantly, fantasy value. Already eligible at the somewhat shallow second baseman position, the addition of shortstop eligibility makes him a world class fantasy asset allowing flexibility on whatever fantasy roster he may be on. But what many fantasy owners may not even realize is the added shortstop eligibility alone is not what should be making them take notice and commence salivating. Oh no, no. If any salivating should occur, it should be at how well he stacks up against the shortstop field this season. But first off, just for kicks, let’s take a look at his value at the cornerstone.

As a two-bagger, he is ranked in the top ten fantasy wise, which is decent . I mean, that’s better than two-thirds of second baseman out there. Among second basemen this season he is tied for 5th in runs scored, 10th in RBIs and tied for 4th in homers. Now as you may or may not know, I am not so down with the counting stats, but that’s not a bad showing for Zorilla. He certainly will drop a little in the ranks because of his average hovering in the .260s, which has actually been a ton better since his slow start to the season (.203 average through May) in that department. But here’s why I really love Zorilla; his advanced stat goodness. Amongst second baseman this year with at least 200 plate appearances he is second in OBP (.373), 3rd in SLG (.460) and OPS (.833). Oh and  his ISO of .199 is also third amongst those same second baseman and his .365 wOBA? That also ranks 3rd. The only second basemen with better numbers in these categories would be Robinson Cano and Aaron Hill. Well with the exception of OBP, where he only trails the immortal Skip Schumaker. So overall he’s already pretty valuable at a week fantasy position, but I know what you are all wondering, ” but Will, how does he stack up against other shortstops this season?” Why I thought you’d never ask!

You see with Troy Tulowitzki missing a good chunk of the season, shortstop has been a tad bit weak. A good spot for a fantasy team to pick up runs, steals maybe some batting average, with not a ton of pop or all-around help, for the most part. Enter the Mighty Zorilla! Zobs  very well has the potential to be the best fantasy shortstop down the stretch. At the very least he is probably the most underrated. If you don’t believe me, just take a look at these numbers stacked up against the other shortstops with at least 200 plate appearances this season:

RUNS:
Derek Jeter (NYY)- 74
Elvis Andrus (TEX)- 70
Jimmy Rollins (PHI)- 70
Ben Zobrist (TBR)- 67

HOME RUNS:
Ian Desmond (WAS)- 17
J.J. Hardy (BAL)- 16
Ben Zobrist (TBR)- 14
Danny Espinosa (WAS)-14
Jed Lowrie (HOU)- 14
Jimmy Rollins- 14

RBIs:
Starlin Castro (CHC)- 61
Ian Desmond (WAS)- 53
Mike Aviles (BOS)- 52
Alexei Ramirez (CWS)- 52
Asdrubal Cabrera (CLE)- 51
Ben Zobrist (TBR)- 49
Elvis Andrus (TEX)- 49
Jhonny Peralta (DET)- 49
JJ Hardy (BAL)- 49

Okay not necessarily eye-popping numbers I suppose, and yes, again, this is wihout Troy Tulowitzki thrown in there, but you may notice the mighty Zorilla is the only one in the top six in all three of these categories, which is none too shabby. Of course it should also be noted that Hanley Ramirez is not included, but looks to be headed towards being shortstop eligible once again next season and would top Zobs in homers and RBIs. But if you’re in a league with some cooler, hipper, non-counting stats, and by gum you should be, than you may want a bit more here, right? I mean, quite honestly who could blame you? Go on, tell me? No one? That’s right! So let me throw you some numbers that will show you why Zobs is gonna be a fantasy shortstop gem and a half for the rest of this season and into next.

That sexy .373 OBP Zobs is putting on the table? That is higher than every single shortstop with at least 200 plate appearances this season, and this is including Hanley Ramirez. Also, only Ian Desmond and Tulo have higher slugging percentages than Zorilla and only Tulo has a higher OPS. Oh and in case you were curious, Jed Lowrie and Ian Desmond are the only shortstops with a higher ISO and the only other shortstop with an ISO even over .175 is Tulo, who is tied with Zobs with an ISO of .199.

So while other shortstops can always pop out of the woodwork, I would say Zobs could very well end up being a top five fantasy shortstop for 2013. Now sure, wOBA, ISO, OBP and OPS do not always necessarily translate into fantasy awesomeness, but you have to like the potential, especially where you will probably be able to draft Zobs. Fact of the matter is, I’m guessing he still falls behind some of your more well known commodities when draft day rolls around, so you can probably still grab him a bit on the cheaper side. With the potential to be a top five fantasy shortstop next season, he could very well fall behind at least eight or nine shortstops, second baseman as well for that matter, come draft day. So jump on the Ben Zobrist man crush bandwagon while you can my friends!

Comments (1)

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)

Ring my Bell – Why Heath Bell should be on your Fantasy Roster

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

Ring my Bell – Why Heath Bell should be on your Fantasy Roster

Posted on 23 February 2012 by Trish Vignola

It is the middle of your draft. You have to fill the rest of your roster spots.  You’re 30 seconds away from making your choice. The clock ticks down.  You don’t have a closer and Mariano Rivera is long gone.  You see Heath Bell.  Should you draft him?  Didn’t he used to be New York Met?  Sure, but he learned to pitch the second they traded him back in 2006. The clock strikes zero. You’re up.  What do you do?

Since Heath Bell’s tenure with the Mets as well as the San Diego Padres, Major League Baseball has definitely sat up and taken notice of Bell’s prowess. According to ESPN.com, he agreed to a three-year deal worth $27 million with the newly minted Miami Marlins.  Back in the highly competitive National League East, this is Bell’s shot to show he’s ready for the big time.  Now, does he deserve a spot in your big time?

Heath Bell has racked up a career 134 saves, 494 strikeouts, a 3.06 ERA and a 1.20 WHIP.   He might be 34 years old (i.e. slightly north his career’s midpoint), but he’s just getting better with age.  He has kept his ERA under 3.00 for the past three seasons.  In those same years, he has delivered at least 40 saves a season.   He converts over 83% of his save opportunities and only blew l5 saves last season. He also kept his WHIP very respectfully under 1.20.

So, what are Heath Bell’s potential capabilities now that he’s a Marlin?  Let’s face it. He has spent his career on some pretty miserable teams, and by miserable, I mean the New York Mets and the San Diego Padres.  The Miami Marlins are making some moves though.  Bell will be joining the team with Jose Reyes, Mark Buehrle and new manager, Ozzie Guillen.  They are not as good as the Phillies, but they are going to put up a fight.  Heath Bell will have more support than he’ll know what to do with.

Juan Oviedo, the artist formally known as Leo Nunez, will welcome Heath Bell to the bullpen.  Oviedo would move from closer to set-up.  If Oviedo can get his identity straightened out with the Dominican authorizes and is cleared to play, Bell would be a part of a pretty lethal one-two combination at the end of the game.

Heath Bell is by no means Mariano Rivera, but the chance that you land Mo in the draft is slim to nil.  There’s only one of him and he’s going to go early.  Bell, a two-time Relief Award Winner and easily one of the top ten relievers in the league, is a pretty interesting alternative.  Even though his strikeout numbers have dipped, his other numbers have stayed consistently strong for three years.  He’s got a lot of baseball left in him, and with an upgrade in his team, he’s got all the tools to just get better.

Heath Bell isn’t going to go cheap on your draft day but you shouldn’t need to break the bank on him either.  Based on his new team, if he stays healthy, Bell is going to deliver for your Fantasy Baseball team.  I don’t know about you, but I’m going for him.  (Jeez! I hope I just didn’t give away my draft strategy.)

Comments (0)

Advertise Here
Advertise Here
BBA