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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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Open Mic II: Judgement Day

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Open Mic II: Judgement Day

Posted on 25 February 2012 by Bryan Grosnick

About a week ago, our colleague Dennis posted the results of the first few rounds of a fantasy draft he was a part of. I really like this idea, and think that there’s a lot to learn from this process. So, instead of my usual Saturday Roster Report post, I’ve decided to post my own recent fantasy draft.

Miguel Cabrera

I look to our readers and other writers for their comments, their raves, and their criticisms of all the teams that participated. And as Dennis requested in his original post, it would be great if everyone could be cordial in their comments, regardless of how they feel about draft strategy.

The draft was a regular snake draft run over at Mock Draft Central – and it was standard for them. Imagine a traditional 5×5 league (AVG, HR, R, RBI, SB, W, ERA, WHIP, K, SV) with 23 roster spots and no bench. 5 OFs, MI, CI, UTIL and the usual suspects otherwise. Here’s how the draft went for the first five rounds:

ROUND ONE

  • Team1  - Matt Kemp (OF)
  • Team2  - Albert Pujols (1B)
  • Team3  - Ryan Braun (OF)
  • Team4  - Jose Bautista (3B, OF)
  • Team5  - Miguel Cabrera (1B)
  • Team6  - Joey Votto (1B)
  • Team7  - Troy Tulowitzki (SS)
  • Team8  - Justin Verlander (SP)
  • Team9  - Adrian Gonzalez (1B)
  • Team10 – Jacoby Ellsbury (OF)
  • Team11 – Robinson Cano (2B)
  • Team12 – Roy Halladay (SP)

ROUND TWO

  • Team12 – Clayton Kershaw (SP)
  • Team11 – Justin Upton (OF)
  • Team10 – Dustin Pedroia (2B)
  • Team9  - Evan Longoria (3B)
  • Team8  - Carlos Gonzalez (OF)
  • Team7  - Prince Fielder (1B)
  • Team6  - Jose Reyes (SS)
  • Team5  - Hanley Ramirez (SS)
  • Team4  - Curtis Granderson (OF)
  • Team3  - Felix Hernandez (SP)
  • Team2  - Cliff Lee (SP)
  • Team1  - Tim Lincecum (SP)

ROUND THREE

  • Team1  - Andrew McCutchen (OF)
  • Team2  - Mike Stanton (OF)
  • Team3  - Josh Hamilton (OF)
  • Team4  - Ian Kinsler (2B)
  • Team5  - Adrian Beltre (3B)
  • Team6  - Mark Teixeira (1B)
  • Team7  - David Wright (3B)
  • Team8  - Cole Hamels (SP)
  • Team9  - Jay Bruce (OF)
  • Team10 – Dan Uggla (2B)
  • Team11 – Carlos Santana (C, 1B)
  • Team12 – Ryan Zimmerman (3B)

ROUND FOUR

  • Team12 – Hunter Pence (OF)
  • Team11 – Aramis Ramirez (3B)
  • Team10 – Brett Lawrie (3B)
  • Team9  - C.C. Sabathia (SP)
  • Team8  - Jered Weaver (SP)
  • Team7  - Dan Haren (SP)
  • Team6  - Nelson Cruz (OF)
  • Team5  - Zack Greinke (SP)
  • Team4  - Mike Napoli (C, 1B)
  • Team3  - Carl Crawford (OF)
  • Team2  - Starlin Castro (SS)
  • Team1  - David Price (SP)

ROUND FIVE

  • Team1  - Matt Holliday (OF)
  • Team2  - Eric Hosmer (1B)
  • Team3  - Elvis Andrus (SS)
  • Team4  - Desmond Jennings (OF)
  • Team5  - Yovani Gallardo (SP)
  • Team6  - Jon Lester (SP)
  • Team7  - Stephen Strasburg (SP)
  • Team8  - Paul Konerko (1B)
  • Team9  - Brian McCann (C)
  • Team10 – Alex Gordon (OF)
  • Team11 – Asdrubal Cabrera (SS)
  • Team12 – Matt Cain (SP)

So yeah, with that in mind…I’m Team5. And here’s my entire team:

  • C  - Buster Posey (R6 P8)
  • 1B – Miguel Cabrera (R1 P5)
  • 2B – Ben Zobrist (R8 P8)
  • SS – Hanley Ramirez (R2 P8)
  • 3B – Adrian Beltre (R3 P5)
  • OF – Adam Jones (R7 P5)
  • OF – Peter Bourjos (R11 P5)
  • OF – Yoenis Cespedes (R15 P5)
  • OF – Lucas Duda (R18 P8)
  • OF – Brennan Boesch (R19 P5)
  • MI – Emilio Bonifacio (R16 P8)
  • CI – Lance Berkman (R9 P5)
  • UT – Jesus Montero (R14 P8)
  • SP – Zack Greinke (R4 P8)
  • SP – Yovani Gallardo (R5 P5)
  • SP – Chris Carpenter (R12 P8)
  • SP – Scott Baker (R17 P5)
  • RP – Joel Hanrahan (R10 P8)
  • RP – Sergio Santos (R13 P5)
  • RP – Aroldis Chapman (R20 P8)
  • RP – Frank Francisco (R21 P5)
  • RP – Jonny Venters (R22 P8)

So that’s my draft, and my team. What do you guys think?

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DOs And DONTs: Seattle Mariners

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DOs And DONTs: Seattle Mariners

Posted on 23 February 2012 by Daniel Aubain

Winning at fantasy baseball doesn’t requiring owning the best players on only the best teams in the league. Knowing where to look for the players who will bring in the numbers needed to compete for a championship is what makes a winner. Teams like the Seattle Mariners have several high-caliber fantasy baseball assets on their 40-man roster and are the type of team in flux where you could see other lesser-known players getting chances to play due to the fact winning real games on the field may not come easy in The Emerald City in 2012.

Below are a list of the fantasy baseball DOs and DON’Ts you need to be aware of when targeting Seattle Mariners players this drafting season:

  • DO expect to hear SP Felix Hernandez‘s name in the Cy Young Award debate again this season despite another season where big numbers in the Wins column could be hard to come by. King Felix finished fourth in the AL in Strikeouts with 222 in 2011 and should remain near the top with the elites of the game for years to come.
  • DON’T pass on OF Ichiro Suzuki this baseball season. He’s already slotted into the number three spot in the Mariners’ lineup and could see an increase in his Home Runs and RBI totals but a reduction in Stolen Bases. He’s in the final year of his contract and could be playing for one last multi-year deal.
  • DO target 2B Dustin Ackley as your primary second baseman if you miss out on the elites (Robinson Cano, Dustin Pedroia, Ian Kinsler) and second tier guys (Dan Uggla, Chase Utley, Brandon Phillips). Ackley should easily provide double-digit homers and stolen bases while not killing your batting average (.270s) and chipping in decent Runs and RBI numbers hitting out of the two hole.
  • DON’T forget about CL Brandon League as a late-round closer option. He filled in very nicely last season (37 Saves, 2.79 ERA, 1.08 WHIP) and has very little competition in this bullpen to lose the job.
  • DO expect the Mariners to utilize three players at the catcher position this season. Jesus Montero, Miguel Olivo (RH) and John Jaso (LH) will each see significant time behind the plate if they are all still on this team come Opening Day. Montero expects to get the bulk of his starts at DH but I just can’t imagine an organization investing this heavily in developing a DH-only player.
  • DON’T go sniffing around this team’s other starting pitchers for draft bargains unless you expect big things from rookie Hector Noesi. Brought over with Montero from the New York Yankees for Michael Pineda, expect the Mariners to run him out there as their number five guy to see how he performs. Dynasty leaguers may want to draft and stash him away if your league uses a minor league system. He should be avoided in all other league types until he proves to be the real deal.
  • DO target OF Mike Carp as a fourth or fifth outfield option in deeper leagues for his .270/70/20/80/5 potential.
  • DON’T know what to expect out of 3B Chone Figgins in 2012? Join the club. He’s moving into the leadoff spot, being handed the starting third base job going into Spring Training and could continue being the fantasy bust he’s been since signing with Seattle. Or, will he return to a player who can hit .280 and steal 40+ bases in a thin third base field. I’ll be taking a chance on him if he is still sitting out there at the end of each of my drafts.
  • DO keep an eye on 3B Kyle Seager this Spring. Figgins HAS TO be on a short leash and Seager will be the benefactor if/when Figgins falters. The term “sleeper” is so overused these days but toss this name around in front of your league mates and watch for the blank stares. Sleeper!
  • DON’T go crazy drafting 1B Justin Smoak. He may hit you 20 home runs but at the price of a .230 batting average. You can do better elsewhere.

The Mariners are another one of those teams who have a few “can’t miss” players on their rosters followed by a ton of question marks. The good thing is this is the kind of team who’ll be quick to pull the trigger to find out what type of talent some of their younger players have and could uncover a few hidden gems come summertime.

Our Full Spectrum Baseball writers are working hard to finish up all 30 team “DOs and DON’Ts” articles and we’re about halfway done. Be sure to check out the entire series of articles while waiting for us to finish the rest over the next two weeks. Also use the comments section below to let me know if I over/under-valued a player on this team.

If you use Twitter, please follow me at @DJAubain to talk everything and anything baseball. You can also follow @FullSpectrumBB for article links as well as “liking” us on our Facebook page.

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Open Mic: Critique This Draft

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Open Mic: Critique This Draft

Posted on 16 February 2012 by Dennis Lawson

 

Open Mic

Consider this an open invitation to critique a fantasy baseball draft.  Flay it open, rip into it, and do not hold back.  But…before you do any flaying, ripping, or holding, consider the rules of etiquette.

  • Avoid the low-hanging fruit.  No references to anyone’s mom or a basement.
  • Try to omit words like “idiot”, “moron”, and “clueless”.  You will only receive the “I know you are but what I am” classic retort.  Welcome to the baseball kindergarten playground.  My Tonka truck is over there in the corner of the sand box.  Leave it alone.
  • Just assume that I’m aware of my mental health state, and I’m considered competent to drive a Segway on the sidewalks in my neighborhood.

Here is the draft information for round 1:

  1. Player1 – Robinson Cano
  2. Player2 – Adrian Beltre
  3. Player3 – Miguel Cabrera
  4. Player4 – Troy Tulowitzki
  5. Player5 – Matt Kemp
  6. Player6 – Albert Pujols
  7. Player7 – Justin Upton
  8. Player8 – Roy Halladay

For round 2, we flipped the script and snaked back through the players.

  1. Player8 – Jose Bautista
  2. Player7 – Adrian Gonzalez
  3. Player6 – Carlos Gonzalez
  4. Player5 – Joey Votto
  5. Player4 – Justin Verlander
  6. Player3 – Evan Longoria
  7. Player2 – Chris Carpenter
  8. Player1 – Jered Weaver

Round 3:

  1. Player1 – Clayton Kershaw
  2. Player2 – CJ Wilson
  3. Player3 – Cliff Lee
  4. Player4 – Prince Fielder
  5. Player5 – Felix Hernandez
  6. Player6 – Curtis Granderson
  7. Player7 – Andrew McCutchen
  8. Player8 – Tim Lincecum

Round 4:

  1. Player8 – Jose Reyes
  2. Player7 – Cole Hamels
  3. Player6 – Zach Greinke
  4. Player5 – Jacoby Ellsbury
  5. Player4 – Dustin Pedroia
  6. Player3 – Dan Haren
  7. Player2 – Ian Kinsler
  8. Player1 – Asdrubal Cabrera

Round 5:

  1. Player1 – Alex Gordon
  2. Player2 – Hanley Ramirez
  3. Player3 – on the clock

 

If you follow me on Twitter (@gr33nazn), then you already may know a bit about this draft.  Hint:  I am “Player1″.  Defense of the first 3 picks begins right here.

  1. Robinson Cano – Overvalued here as the first overall pick?  Most definitely.  The logic behind this is that 2B may be the weakest position in the draft, and this league also requires a middle infielder (MI) position.  If I can get a premier 2B and a 2nd tier 2B to play that MI position, then I may be denying someone else good production at 2 positions.  Also, Cano could very well be due for better season than he had in 2011, and that would make him well worth the pick.
  2. Jered Weaver – A pitcher in the 2nd round of a small draft?  Well, there may be a first time for everything, and this certainly was a first for me.  Having never taken a pitcher so early, you might call this a panic pick.  It was.  Weaver made my top 5 for starting pitchers, and Roy Halladay and Justin Verlander were already off the board.
  3. Clayton Kershaw – With so many great position players remaining, it seemed like a no-brainer to take a 3B or SS here.  Nope.  More pitching, please.  The point here was to put a bit of panic into the competition.  If the back-to-back selections of Weaver and Kershaw start a run on starting pitching, then I can use my next set of consecutive picks on position players.
  4. Asdrubal Cabrera – Finally snagged a SS to start finishing off the infield.  Still no outfielders, though.  Weaver and Kershaw better keep the ball in the infield a lot.
  5. Alex Gordon – He qualifies at 1B and as an OF.  I have him in the 1B slot for now, but that could change.

So, the microphone is now unattended, and anybody with an opinion may step up and leave some suggestions, recommendations, and/or constructive criticism in the comments section.  Have at it.

Also, keep checking back here for updates to the draft selections, because I have two turntables and a microphone (not really, but that would be cool).

 

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