Tag Archive | "Homers"

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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Is there trouble on River Ave?

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Is there trouble on River Ave?

Posted on 28 January 2013 by Trish Vignola

Is there trouble on River Ave?

Or is there celebration?

ARod2

Although Alex Rodriguez hopes to return from hip surgery sometime after the All-Star break at Citi Field, Yankees general manager Brian Cashman claims that the veteran third baseman could miss the entire season. Cashman dropped this bomb in an interview with WFAN in New York on Friday.

Rodriguez, who is now 37, underwent surgery on his left hip on Jan. 16. He was initially expected to miss about six months. On Friday, Cashman revealed that he is actually prepared for the possibility that the third baseman might not suit up at all this summer.

Cashman says that he remains optimistic. Nonetheless, when asked if there was a chance of Rodriguez missing the entire season, he told WFAN, “Yeah…I think because [of] the serious nature of the surgery and the condition that he’s trying to recover from, you know, there is that chance.”

Rodriguez hit .272 with 18 homers and 57 RBIs during the regular season last year. However, he drew attention when he struggled mightily during the postseason. The three-time American League Most Valuable Player Award winner was 3-for-25 in postseason play. He was only able to muster a devastating .120 batting average. That included a 0-for-18 stretch with 12 strikeouts against right-handed pitchers. He was lifted for a pinch-hitter, including Raul Ibanez, on multiple occasions before eventually being replaced in the starting lineup.

Are the Yankees looking for a way out of this dysfunctional marriage with Alex Rodriguez?

Could their patience with an ailing star have worn thin? Especially after pretty girls in the front row were garnering more of Rodriguez’ attention than the game?

Earlier this offseason, the Yankees signed veteran third baseman Kevin Youkilis to a one-year, $12 million contract to step in for Rodriguez while he recovers from the injury. Youkilis hit .235 with 19 home runs and 60 RBIs in 122 combined games with the Red Sox and White Sox last season.

Although not a permanent fix, it’s interesting to note that if Rodriguez misses out on the year, the Yankees can recoup some of its losses through the team’s insurance. The insurance kicks in only after the player has missed at least four months of the season. It’s minimal unless the misses the entire season. The Yankees would hit the biggest macabre jackpot if Dr. Bryan Kelly, who performed the surgery to repair the labrum and an impingement in the left hip, had the wrong prognosis. If the ability of Alex Rodriguez to resume his career as long as he does the rehabilitation turns out to be wrong, the Yankees win…big time.

From the Yankees’ standpoint, that would effectively get them out from under the remaining five years, $114 million on his contract. The insurance would kick in for 85% of that. Rodriguez would become a voluntarily retired player with a paid-up contract that comes off the Yankee books (and subsequently would lessen their luxury-tax burden).

It would be the same sort of welcome windfall the Baltimore Orioles reaped in 2000. Two years into a five-year, $65 million contract, Albert Belle was forced to retire from the game at 34 with a degenerative hip condition.

Belle disappeared from baseball. Nobody missed him.

Are the Yankees hoping for lightening to strike twice?

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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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Oh yeah man!

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Fantasy Baseball Stock Watch – Buys Broken Down

Posted on 17 September 2012 by Patrick Hayes

Oh yeah man!

Finishing up with the reviewing of my predictions of my fantasy stock watch predictions this year concludes with the buys. Starting with the holds, my confidence was high. After looking into the sells, I felt a little disappointed. Now, after digging into the buys, I’m just embarrassed. Let’s get this over with!

My theory of determining on who to go out and get ranged on a few different factors. I looked for players who were a little off the radar, historically finished the year well and that would be obtainable for a small price. Reyes was the only outlier, but he is under-appreciated and has had a silently solid year. With that said, I present you the ranked order of my success and failures.

  1. B.J. Upton – As of July 16, Upton was ranked the 46 overall outfielder according to ESPN’s player rater. Today he sits at 16. In the past 30 days he has nine homers, eight stolen bases and 18 RBI. He isn’t walking much still, but has hit .260 and .255 the past two months, up from where he was at .238 in July. B.J. is the definition of a second half player. My best ‘buy’ selection, by far.
  2. Erick Aybar – Erick was riding a hot streak when I piled on the bandwagon. While he has cooled a tad, he is still batting .352 with seven stolen bases and 18 runs in the past 30 days. Not too bad I say. Especially when he is most likely still a free agent in your league. He lacks power, but is getting on base and filling the stat sheets.
  3. Jose Reyes – On August 6 when I bought Jose’s stock, he was batting .434/.474/.755 in his past 14 games. While that hot streak has cooled, he finished August with .298/.350/.500 and .283/.339/.396 in September. Yes, the power is gone, but he has ten swipes and is still an overlooked impact player.
  4. Brandon Morrow – When I selected Brandon as a buy now player, I felt extremely confident. He was just coming off the DL and was poised to return to his potential. Well since then he has been mediocre at best with 23.1 IP and only 18 k’s. One of his four outings was short and disappointing. Not a great pick but not awful either.
  5. Tommy Milone – Another pitcher who I felt great in buying. Milone was rated the 29th overall SP at the time, but now sits at 40. After the day I declared his stock of value, he went and had three straight bad outings. He then got back on track but was rocked again. His strikeout production has been volatile as well, one game with two, and the next with ten. Definitely not the player he was when I bought. He should have been sold, my mistake.
  6. Clay Buchholz – And then there was Clay. Sticking with the theme of the last two players, I felt as I found a player who had struggled early on and that was finally turning it around. Nope. His ERA, already high at 4.24, has gone up to 4.33. Buccholz pitches late in to games on the regular (7+) but has a habit of allowing four earned runs. Even with these nice extended outings, Clay isn’t striking out more than five per outing. Not the type of performance I had expected. The Red Sox are truly a mess, and so was this selection.
Again, these selections haven’t provided me any justice on who to buy from a fantasy perspective. Perhaps that is why both of my teams have had terrible finishes to the end of the year (I’m stick with coincidences). On the flip side, I hope that my stock watch article have provided you with entertainment and at least assisted on some of your successes. Thanks for following along!

Reactions and opinions are always welcomed. Find me on twitter: @pf_hayes

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buy_sell_hold

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Fantasy Baseball Stock Watch – Sold In Hindsight

Posted on 11 September 2012 by Patrick Hayes

After taking a look last week on the undecided’s, this evening I’ll hopefully be finding out that I sold at the perfect time on six players over the course of two months. These three hitters and three pitchers are all players that I did not have the luxury of having on any of my teams this year, probably helped aid my decision making in cutting ties. Same format as last week (for the most part), here are the players and when I said sayonora.

So it may seem as though I didn’t take too many big risks in determining who I selected, and although that could be a fair-ish argument, these players all have had solid years (for the most part). They were probably bargains when you drafted them, so that played into my criteria on maximizing payout for your investment.

Time to rank them in order of how the selection played out. Just like golf, the lower the number the better and whoever ends up number six, well, you probably missed your window of opportunity by a few weeks. Here we go!

  1. Drew Stubbs – When I visited him on August 6 he was riding a very nice hot streak. Talking to the likes of .362/.415/.660 in the 14 days prior with 4 homers and 5 stolen bases. Since that deciding day I have looked like I know what I’m doing. In the past 30 days from now, Drew is batting .169 in 89 at-bats with 0 homeruns, 2 stolen bases and only five walks. This pick makes me feel good inside.
  2. Starlin Castro – I wrote about Starlin just a few days after he signed a mega contract extension and I predicted gloom for the rest of the year (his slash was .280/.311/.428). Since then, he has been proving me wrong, but only slightly. Castro has started seeing the ball a lot better and has had his average bounce back up to where he normally hits. He hasn’t provided much fantasy stats, other than average, even with hitting .350 for the month of September thus far.
  3. R. A. Dickey – The knuckleballer who stole the attention of the first half of the season. When I decided to push sell, Dickey was in a stretch where he allowed 20 earned runs in his last five appearances. In his last 30 days R.A. has thrown just under 36 innings while allowing 9 earned runs and accumulating 29 strikeouts. Good enough for a 2.27 ERA and 1.12 WHIP. Needless to say, he has been back on track for the most part. Check swinging strike for my decision here.
  4. Ian Desmond – This shortstop, who is having a career year, was in the midst of getting injured and missed some games after I sold on July 16th. Ian was riding a hot streak where he smacked four homers, knocked in nine and had five swipes in his last 15 games. In his last 30 games he is batting .329 with four more homers, 11 RBI and two swipes. Yup, I clearly missed here. And he was a free agent in my league but I passed. I regret both decisions.
  5. Gio Gonzalez – Before I sold on the 27th of August his K/9 was returning to his career average, almost as an indication that the NL has caught on to him. Well, that doesn’t appear to be the case. In his three starts since he has thrown 22 innings, allowed one run and struck out 23. All three of his starts have resulted in wins. He has been clutch down the stretch for the NL East leading Washington Nationals. I whiffed here.
  6. Ryan Dempster – Selling on August 13, just a few starts into his AL stint, I felt real good about this call. His ERA was a low 2.65 but his SIERRA had him at 1.18 higher. Playing in the heat of Texas, I thought this was a no brainer. Well, since then, Ryan has thrown 26 innings in four starts (all leading to wins), struck out 28 and has allowed five earned runs. Dempster is my worst case scenario because of how confident I was, especially after the way he get all pissy when news of being traded to the Braves leaked early. Ugh.

So there you have it. I was actually pretty awful in figuring out who to sell. I hope you didn’t take my advice for all of them, but if you did, hopefully you got some good value in return!

Reactions and opinions are always welcomed. Find me on twitter: @pf_hayes

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