Tag Archive | "Jeremy Guthrie"

Kansas City Royals – Contenders Or Pretenders?

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Kansas City Royals – Contenders Or Pretenders?

Posted on 08 May 2013 by Jennifer Gosline

As a baseball fan watching Kansas City suffer for years, I have to wonder if they are actually a good contender this season for the playoffs, or if this is just their 15 minutes of fame.

Kansas-City

There is certainly something for Royals’ fans to get excited about right now. At this point in the year, Kansas City is 17-10, when last season at this time they were only 10-20. A dramatic difference. Pitching, in particular, seems to be carrying most of the team, but their offense is not far behind.

Royal Pitching

Veterans like Ervin Santana and Jeremy Guthrie are having stellar seasons. They have combined for 7 Wins to date, both with having an ERA under 2.50 and WHIP just above 1.00. According to ESPN, while Santana is owned in 97% of fantasy leagues, Guthrie is only owned in 50%. Guthrie brings a commendable work ethic to the team and I think would be a valuable pick-up if he is still available in your league. The right-hander excels at mixing all of his pitches to keep hitters off balance, and he recently threw his first major league shut-out.

The Royals’ starting rotation has been rounded out with the new additions of Wade Davis and James Shields. While Davis is has been struggling since joining Kansas City with a 4.75 ERA, he hopefully can get back down to that 2.43 ERA he finished with in 2012. And Shields may soon become the ace of the team, filling the void that Zack Greinke left. Both Davis and Shields are 2-2 this season.

The Royals’ bullpen has been strengthened with former-starting-pitchers-now-relievers, Bruce Chen and Luke Hochevar. Chen has not allowed an earned run yet this year in 5 appearances, and Hochevar has only given up 1 earned run in 7 appearances. Greg Holland is settling in nicely as a solid anchor for the bullpen. He has 7 saves so far this year and only 1 blown.

Royal Batting

Kansas City’s pitching has started off hot, but the fans are still waiting to see the promise the line-up showed during Spring Training this year. There are only three batters with an average above .300 right now, Jarrod Dyson is one of them and he only has 20 plate appearances so far.

The power is not quite there yet from their top hitters. It somehow got lost in the transition between Spring Training and the regular season. If this team can get their bats going and keep the pitching consistent, they can be a force for the entire summer.

Fantasy owners might want to watch players like Lorenzo Cain, Eric Hosmer, Salvador Perez, and Mike Moustakas. They have all been showing signs of improving in their last 15 games, and might just break out of their slumps soon. Moustakas is only 39% owned in fantasy leagues which is obviously due to his struggle at the plate. If he can start making solid contact again, he will prove he deserves a position on your fantasy roster.

Even though the Kansas City line-up is not producing the way they are capable of, they can still be tough to beat in the American League Central. But if history is any indication, this poor team does not have a chance. If someone were to walk into the baseball world right now and not know anything about the Royals’ past, they would never know that they are usually toward the bottom of the AL Central division.

First place Detroit Tigers better take notice that Kansas City is only a half game back. Can they keep this up? Is this just a flash in the pan? If the starting pitching can continue eating up innings, their bullpen will be able to stay fresh for the long season. And if their bats start producing, then I would say that the Royals can shed the pretender branding and will be a contender in 2013.

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Field Of Streams: Fantasy Baseball Pitching Options

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Field Of Streams: Fantasy Baseball Pitching Options

Posted on 26 August 2012 by Will Emerson

Welcome back to another edition of Field of Streams, your in depth look at some viable, and some not so viable, fantasy streaming options for the upcoming fantasy week. So on with the show! Here comes your look at your fantasy streaming options, owned in less than 50% in ESPN and Yahoo! leagues, for the week of 08/27-09/02:

Marco Estrada (MIL)- Still plenty of available seats on the “Ponch” Estrada bandwagon, kids! Sure Estrada has only one win, but you can’t judge him on that. With a 9.03 K/9, a 1.88 BB/9 and a 3.18 SIERA the tools are in place. Sure he had a stretch of mediocre starts, if you want to base it on wins, or runs given up, but he should have two starts this week and the first one will be against the Cubbies. Not only do the Cubs not tend to score a ton of runs, but Ponch already dominated them last week, tossing a six inning, two hit shutout in which he struck out nine. You may not see an identical outing this week, but it should be pretty darned good. A second start would be against the Pirates, which could be a tougher outing, but I would risk streaming him in that start as well. (2.6% owned in ESPN and 6% in Yahoo!)

Francisco Liriano (CWS)- That 5-10 record with an ERA over five on the season does not look all that appealing, but his xFIP is 3.91 and his K/9 is close to ten. Not to mention he has been quite good since joining the White Sox. He is 2-0 with a 4.39 ERA, 1.35 WHIP and a K/9 of 10.12. Now those numbers are also inflated by one clunker of a start against Oakland. Throw that start out and with the Pale Hose he has a 2.70 ERA, a .99 WHIP and a 9.64 K/9. He looks to be starting at Baltimore and Detroit this week though, no gimmie in either case. He did stymy the Yankees and Blue Jays in his last two starts so he may be alright this week. I say take the risk and stream him! (20.9% owned in ESPN and 41% in Yahoo!)

David Phelps (NYY)- Phelps has been solid out of the bullpen or as a starter for the Yanks this season, as evidenced by his 2.69 ERA and 9.33 K/9. With a SIERA 0f 3.16, it would seem that ERA will rise, but not a ton, so the numbers for the most part are legit. In his two starts since being slotted into the rotation, he has pitched well against the Rangers and Red Sox, holding both to under 3 earned runs. Ks may come down a bit, but will be more than solid. Plus, he will have a pretty good lineup behind him. He should start against Toronto and Baltimore this week and I have no problem recommending streaming him while he remains in the rotation. (1.2% owned in ESPN and 6% in Yahoo!)

Bud Norris (HOU)- Two home starts for Bud this week, means he is worth a stream. I probably don’t need to elaborate here, but I will. Commence elaboration! At the Juice Box this season Norris has an ERA of 2.18, a WHIP of 1.06, a K/9 of 10.40 and an xFIP of 2.83. Hard to argue with those numbers. He should be good to go against the Giants and the Reds. (25.1% owned in ESPN and 31% in Yahoo!)

Patrick Corbin (ARI)- Seems like some people are starting to take notice of Patty Corbin, but his last two starts, especially the last one, have been less than spectacular. So now is the time to determine what you can actually get out of him. As a starter this season he has an ERA of 4.40 and a 1.33 WHIP with an xFIP of 3.81, so the numbers have not been dazzling. His K/9 has also been sub 7, but other than the last two starts he has been very, yes VERY, decent. He is definitely a pitcher worth keeping an eye or two on, but I would avoid him this week against the Reds and wait until he maybe strings a few more good starts together or has a more favorable matchup. (31.8% owned in ESPN and 16% in Yahoo!)

Alex Cobb (TB)- The numbers are not really mind-blowing for Cobbsy. A 4.32 ERA, a 1.29 WHIP and a 6.71 K/9. Nothing earth shattering, right? Well his xFIP is 3.62 and he has been stellar throughout August, aside from one bad start against the Angels in which he could not escape the third inning. He followed that up with a complete game, four hit shutout though, so a nice little bounce back. In August he now has a 3.03 ERA, a 1.04 WHIP and a 7.44 K/9. I like Cobb’s progress this season and while he is pitching against the Rangers in Arlington, I still feel like he is worth the start. (17.2% owned in ESPN and 16% in Yahoo!)

Lucas Harrell (HOU)- Another Houston home start hero (see Norris, Bud), Harrell is facing the Reds in the Juice Box this week and becomes a super viable stream option. At home his ERA is 2.14, his WHIP is 1.22 and his K/9 of 7.14. Now the Reds are good, but Harrell just finds a way to get the job done at home, so I would stream him. As far as my confidence level with this recommendation though, I would say it is about 70-75%. (5.2% owned in ESPN and 13% in Yahoo!)

Mark Rogers (MIL)- Mr. Rogers pitched well, although not great, in his last outing against the Cubs. The Ks/9 are still stellar though as he struck out seven batters in five innings. The K/9 is 9.73 and as long as he keeps the walks below three per nine he should have success. His 3.32 xFIP and 3.33 SIERA indicate that he has been much better than his 5.02 ERA would have you believe. He faces the Pirates at home this week, where he has pitched extremely well and the Bucs are not very patient at the plate. Some may see this one as a tad bit risky, but I am making Mr. Rogers my wild card streaming pick of the week! (1.2% owned in ESPN and 2% in Yahoo!)

Zach McAllister (CLE)- Zach Attack has been a bit inconsistent which has many fantasy owners on the fence about what to expect from him. Zach has an ERA of 3.50, a WHIP of 1.22 and a K/9 of 7.90. His BABIP of .285 is lower then the league average, but not grossly lower and his xFIP of 3.99 is not great, but not terrible. Personally I am not sold on McAllister as a mainstay of a fantasy rotation, but I like him as a streaming spot starter from time to time. And by “from time to time” I mean this week against Oakland. I have no trouble starting him against the Athletics, but would be hesitant to throw him against the Rangers. (3.4% owned in ESPN and 9% in Yahoo!)

So there you have it, another edition of Field Of Streams in the books! So what did we learn this week, children? 1) Lucas Harrell and Bud Norris are must streams at home, B) Ks/9 are your BFFs, 4) Hop on the Marco “Ponch” Estrada train while you can and F) Francisco Liriano is working his way back to fantasy relevance. Good day and godspeed!

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National League pitching planner: April 16 – April 22

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National League pitching planner: April 16 – April 22

Posted on 14 April 2012 by Mark Sherrard

Week 2 is winding down and its time to starting planning for week 3.  Here are the two start pitchers and those with favorable matchups for week 3:

Two Start Pitchers

No brainers

Roy Halladay: 4/16 @ SF; 4/21 @ SD

Stephen Strasburg: 4/16 vs Hou; 4/21 vs Mia

Josh Johnson: 4/17 vs ChC; 4/22 @ Was

Tim Lincecum: 4/16 vs Phi; 4/22 @NYM

Johnny Cueto: 4/17 vs Stl; 4/22 @ChC

All 5 of these guys are aces and should never leave your starting lineup, especially when they have two starts in a week.

Not too shabby

Erik Bedard: 4/16 @ Ari; 4/22 vs Stl

Chad Billingsley: 4/17 @ Mil; 4/22 @ Hou

Joe Blanton: 4/17 @ SF; 4/22 @ SD

Randall Delgado: 4/17 vs NYM; 4/22 @ Ari

Ryan Dempster: 4/17 @ Mia; 4/22 vs Cin

Yovani Gallardo: 4/17 vs LAD; 4/22 vs Col

Gio Gonzalez: 4/17 vs Hou; 4/22 vs Mia

Tommy Hanson: 4/16 vs NYM; 4/21 @ Ari

Ian Kennedy: 4/17 vs Pit; 4/22 vs Atl

Kyle Lohse: 4/17 vs Cin; 4/22 @ Pit

Cory Luebke: 4/16 @ Col; 4/21 vs Phi

Wandy Rodriguez: 4/17 @ Was; 4/22 vs LAD

These are quality pitchers with at least one out of their two starts favorable.  They should definitely help your team this week.

Risky at best

Dillon Gee: 4/16 @ Atl; 4/22 vs SF

Jeremy Guthrie: 4/16 vs SD; 4/22 @ Mil

Joe Saunders: 4/16 vs Pit; 4/21 vs Atl

Kyle Weiland: 4/16 @ Was; 4/21 vs LAD

These are inconsistent or unproven starters.  They could help you this week, but the risk outweighs the potential reward.

Other Favorable Matchups

Johan Santana: 4/17 @ Atl

Santana appears to be fully recovered from his shoulder issues and has a career 2.14 ERA against the Braves.

Cliff Lee: 4/18 @ SF

Lee is 4-0 with a minuscule 0.82 ERA against the Giants in his career.

Ricky Nolasco: 4/19 vs ChC

He has a career ERA of 2.57 against his former team, gets to pitch in his spacious home park and the Cubs are rebuilding.  He’s in my lineup.

Cole Hamels: 4/20 @ SD

Hamels is 6-2 with a 2.28 ERA in his career against the Padres and gets the added benefit of pitching in Petco.

Clayton Kershaw: 4/21 @ Hou

Kershaw may not have the best career ERA against (3.19) of this group, but Houston is not much more than a AAA team this year.

Tomorrow, I’ll take a look at the AL pitching matchups.

 

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The Roster Report – February 8, 2012

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The Roster Report – February 8, 2012

Posted on 08 February 2012 by Bryan Grosnick

Hello there, hardball fans! Just when you thought the past four days would give you absolutely nothing on the transaction wire, Dan Duquette and Dan O’Dowd made a deal. While not the most exciting move in the baseball world, it at least gives us something else to talk about while teams gather minor league depth and wait for pitchers and catchers to report. We’ve got coverage and analysis of all the big and little moves right here, in this edition of the Roster Report.

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The Baltimore Orioles trade SP Jeremy Guthrie to the Colorado Rockies for SP / RP Jason Hammel and RP Matt Lindstrom.

I was surprised (not shocked, but surprised), when the word came through that the Orioles had traded Jeremy Guthrie away, and received just two average-to-below-average major league veterans in return. The Orioles were in the midst of some expensive arbitration proceedings with their one long-term rotation stalwart when they decided to deal him to Colorado for two other, ostensibly inferior pitchers. But this deal wasn’t a salary dump, as the pitchers that Baltimore added cost roughly the same amount as the Orioles would have had to pay Guthrie, who signed a one-year deal for $8.2MM after the trade to Colorado.

Jeremy Guthrie, over the past five years with the Orioles, has been the very definition of average. Guthrie’s ERA has always outpaced his FIP, which means that luck has played a bit of a role in his success, but he is doggedly consistent from year to year. Once again, in 2011 Guthrie struck out about five and a half batters per nine, walked about two and three quarters per nine, and gave up a little more than one home run per nine. All of this added up to a 4.48 FIP, and an ERA nearby at 4.33. He only won nine games, but that’s because he played for the Orioles. Those numbers on a team like the Red Sox or Yankees would have been good for 13 or so wins. Though these numbers make him only a two-win starter, we’re talking about a guy who has taken the ball for nearly a thousand innings over the past five years. There’s a great deal of value in that fact, which probably drove his high arbitration number.

Going to Colorado, however, is probably going to hurt Guthrie’s performance. Guthrie gives up far too many homers at Camden Yards, so you’d have to believe that he’ll give up even more in Colorado. The good news, though, is that Guthrie is out of the AL East, and we’ll get to face the Giant and Padre offenses instead of the Red Sox and Yankees. Moving to the easier league with his career xFIP of 4.61 and career SIERA of 4.60 should be good enough to still be a solid #3 or #4 starter, due to his reliability. But if the HR spike, then he could go downhill in a real hurry. And in fantasy, I’d avoid him…he gives up too many hits, and doesn’t rack up enough strikeouts.

The return that the Orioles received is anything but exciting. Matt Lindstrom is a reliever with a blistering fastball, one that averages 96.1 mph according to PITCHf/x data available at FanGraphs. The only thing is, Lindstrom doesn’t use that heater to strike very many people out. In 2011, Lindstrom only managed a 6.0 K/9 ratio, far inferior to pitchers with worse speed and stuff. Though his K/9 rate has decreased consistently over his five seasons in the majors, Lindstrom stays effective by limiting HR and walks. With 45 saves in his major league career, as well as a respectable (but not excellent) 3.48 career FIP, Lindstrom is a perfectly adequate and slightly above-average reliever. But Lindstrom also has little-to-no upside, and will be a free agent after making $3.6MM in 2012. He’ll have fantasy value if the Orioles dub him the team’s closer, but beyond that, he’s probably a pass unless you’re in a holds league.

Jason Hammel is the other piece that the Orioles received in the deal. After two sneaky-good seasons in 2009 and 2010 with Colorado, Hammel pitched poorly in 2011, eventually getting dropped from the Rockies’ rotation late in the season. In his first two seasons with Colorado, Hammel was worth 7.8 Wins Above Replacement according to FanGraphs. To put that in perspective, he was better than Roy Oswalt, Cole Hamels, and Yovani Gallardo over that span. But 2011 was a down year, as his strikeout rate (4.97 per nine) and walk rate (3.59 per nine) regressed badly, and he was only able to put up a single Win Above Replacement. Eventually, Hammel was banished to the bullpen in favor of younger, higher-upside pitchers.

What little analysis I’ve seen of this deal has been straightforward: since the Orioles didn’t save any money and didn’t add any players with long-term team control, it was a bad deal on their end. And as for the Rockies, well, they added a guy who will give them 200 solid innings, and at no premium cost. Allow me to take a dissenting opinion. Jason Hammel saw his strikeout rate go down, and his walk and homer rates go up in 2011. If this was an abberation and could even regress to his career averages, not just his pretty-good 2009-2010 form, then I’d argue that Hammel is a better pitcher in 2012 than Jeremy Guthrie is. But the AL East is a harsh place to pitch, and Hammel could wind up replicating his 2007 season with the Devil Rays. There’s a much wider range of outcomes than there was with Guthrie. The other issue in play is Matt Lindstrom’s value as a mid-season trade piece. If the O’s do use Lindstrom as a closer, they may be able to flip him mid-season for a middling prospect or a lottery ticket, which would increase the value of this deal. Again, this is a lot of moving pieces, but after taking a deeper look, there’s potential in this trade for the Orioles. Given that Guthrie probably wasn’t long for Baltimore anyways, giving up a little surety may not be the worst thing in the world for the O’s.

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The Washington Nationals sign OF Rick Ankiel to a minor league contract with an invitation to Spring Training.

By know, you know the story about Rick Ankiel. A stud pitcher loses his control and moves to the outfield, proceeds to hit for power and not much else. Well, in 2011, Rick Ankiel stopped hitting for power too, managing just an .124 isolated slugging and nine homers. Ankiel hits left-handed, and has become a platoon-only bat, doing nearly all of his damage against right-handed pitchers, but he no longer does enough damage against them. Let’s put it this way, even when he faced righties, Ankiel only managed an 86 wRC+. In layman’s terms, this means that Ankiel was 14% below league-average against righties…and those are the guys he’s supposed to be able to hit!

Ankiel does have redeeming factors, though. Namely, he can play all three outfield positions, and he acquits himself fairly well in the field. Aside from his well-documented cannon of a left arm, he showed good range in center for the Nats last season, posting an 11.6 UZR/150. Though that’s too small of a sample size to make a blanket statement of excellence, Ankiel has a history of solid outfield defense that scouting reports can back up. He’s also about average as a baserunner, nabbing 10 steals in 2011 against three times being caught.

The thing is, Washington already has several capable outfielders ready to play. Jayson Werth and Mike Morse are locked in to two of the outfield spots, and there are plenty of players competing for the third starting slot. Roger Bernadina is ready to go, and though he’s a bad hitter as well, he still out-hit Ankiel in his limited duty in 2011. That’s not saying much, however…Bernadina was merely 11% worse than league average, according to wRC+. Bernadina offers more speed on the basepaths than Ankiel, hit better against righties, and could be close to Ankiel’s capabilities defensively. Mike Cameron was also added, albeit on a minor-league deal. Cameron could be the right-handed hitting part of a platoon, as he’s always mashed lefties. Well, except for last year, when he couldn’t hit water if he fell out of a boat. Oh, and then there’s also uber-prospect Bryce Harper waiting in the wings, and either he or Werth could slide into center field at any point if management deems him ready for the big leagues.

In truth, there’s hardly any way that Rick Ankiel opens the season as the regular center fielder for the Nationals, and may miss out even if the Nats go with a CF platoon. Perhaps he could be the fifth outfielder on the Nationals due to his flexibility, but Rick would have better been served signing with a team like the New York Mets who could use a player who can play all three outfield positions, hit righties, and doesn’t already have Roger Bernadina. Even if he does break camp with the Nats, don’t expect him to get much run, and certainly don’t pick him up in fantasy unless a major injury hits.

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The Seattle Mariners sign RP Hong-Chih Kuo to a one-year, $500K contract.

In space-time continuum terms, Hong-Chih Kuo is not too far removed from an excellent 2010. But in performance terms, Kuo is way totally far away from that year. 2011 was, to put it bluntly, a disaster. Last season, Kuo suffered from a social anxiety issue, and when he pitched, he pitched very, very poorly. Being an older reliever with no developmental upside, you might think that Kuo is a low-upside player…but you’d be wrong. In 2008 and 2010, Kuo was one of the best relievers in the majors, and has always been able to strike out more than a batter per inning. In 2011, control became a major issue, as he came close to walking a batter an inning as well. That just won’t play anywhere. Kuo also used to be able to limit his HR, and that went out the window in 2011 as well.

The fact of the matter is, Kuo might be broken beyond fixing. But for a million dollars (the amount Kuo will make if he makes the Mariner team), the Mariners are taking a risk on huge upside. If Kuo’s command, injury, and anxiety issues that damaged his performance are less than 2011, then he’ll be a very talented, very valuable reliever in 2011. But unless he unseats Brandon League as closer early in the season, he’s probably not a good bet in fantasy.

Quick Hits

  • Brad Penny, formerly of the Tigers (and Cardinals…and Giants…and Red Sox…and Dodgers…and Marlins) has agreed to a one-year deal with the Fukuoka SoftBank Hawks of Nippon Professional Baseball in Japan. Penny pitched a full season with Detroit last year, but was incredibly ineffective in his 181.2 innings. Both his ERA (5.30) and FIP (5.02) were nearly 25% worse than league average, so finding work on a major league roster was going to be tough. Penny has become completely unable to strike anyone out, despite a fastball that still lives at 92.9 mph, but he could be effective in Japan.
  • The New York Yankees made their second-most important free agent signing of this offseason, inking utility player Bill Hall to a $600K deal. Hall hit for no power and played bad defense last season…but he can hit poorly and play poor defense at a number of positions, so I guess that means he has value. Even though the Yanks don’t have a lot of depth at the ML value, Hall still won’t last long as a major-leaguer in the Bronx. No fantasy value, virtually no real-world value.
  • The Nationals also signed Mark Teahen to a minor league contract, and invited him to Spring Training. Why? I’m not sure. Teahen, famous for his role in Moneyball (the book) and most recently part of the Colby Rasmus trade to Toronto, was devastatingly bad in 2011. If you like wRC+ as a metric, get this…he was about 50% worse than league average with the stick. Since Teahen’s never been a defensive whiz, and there was no indication that his performance drop was due to injury, he’s extremely unlikely to be a major-leaguer in 2012. Triple-A roster filler.
  • Conor Jackson isn’t just a picture on milk cartons anymore…he’s a Texas Ranger. Added to the franchise on a minor league deal, Jackson is a corner outfielder and first baseman who hits for no power. As you might imagine, that’s not something that draws lots of demand. But the Rangers are very left-handed, so there’s a non-zero chance he could pair as a platoon partner for Mitch Moreland or spell David Murphy…but he’s just not a very good hitter, even against lefties. Pass on him in fantasy, and don’t expect him to get more than 150 PA, if any at all, in Arlington.
  • The Mariners weren’t done adding relievers this week, signing Shawn Camp, formerly of the Blue Jays. Camp is a groundball specialist who is particularly effective against right-handed batters. Camp’s FIP has lived around 4.00 for the last three years, and though his strikeout numbers are continuing to diminish, he probably can still be effective for another year or two. But he won’t get the benefit from Safeco Field that many pitchers do, and he’ll be completely irrelevant in fantasy.
  • The Cardinals signed Alex Cora to a minor league deal, which probably says more about the state of available middle-infield players than it does about Cora. Cora’s not a particularly slick fielder and an atrocious hitter, managing just a .224/.287/.276 slash line in 2011. If he makes the major league roster, it will be as a defensive replacement, and should get very little burn.
  • Newly-minted free agent Justin Ruggiano was picked up by the Houston Astros on a minor-league deal. Though the Astros are awful, they’re actually probably set in the outfield with players like J.D. Martinez, Jason Bourgeois, Fernando Martinez, Brian Bogusevic, and Jack Cust. Ruggiano, who has been a solid hitter in Triple-A, plays good defense and could catch on as a utility outfielder…but his upside is pretty low.

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DOs And DONTs: Baltimore Orioles

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DOs And DONTs: Baltimore Orioles

Posted on 06 February 2012 by Daniel Aubain

One doesn’t have to be a rocket scientist to know that the Baltimore Orioles will not be a very good team on the field in 2012 (and beyond) but that doesn’t mean a few of their players won’t have impactful fantasy baseball seasons.

Below is an evaluation of their entire 40-man roster and which players should have a significant fantasy impact this season as well as those you should probably avoid.

  • DO realize the best the O’s have to offer, fantasy-wise, is OF Adam Jones. He’s currently sporting an ADP of 75.35 on MockDraftCentral.com and should provide a steady return (.280/80/25/90/15) at that point in your drafts. Just keep an eye on some of the other outfielders being drafted around this spot (Shane Victorino 75.15; Mike Morse 78.22; Drew Stubbs 81.57) who could provide a better return simply by being on better teams.
  • DON’T bother drafting any of this team’s projected starting pitchers per RotoChamp.com (Jeremy Guthrie; Zach Britton; Wei-Yin Chen; Jake Arrieta; Tsuyoshi Wada) unless you have an affection for sub-10 Win guys with plus-4.00 ERAs with 2:1 K:BB ratios.
  • DO draft C Matt Wieters as your primary catcher (ADP 99.43) before the bottom falls out of viable options around this point. He’ll provide a standard 5×5 line around .270/70/20/70/0 and save you from killing yourself for having to draft the likes of Chris Iannetta, Miguel Olivo and Josh Thole.
  • DON’T worry. 1B/3B Mark Reynolds will probably hit over .200 this season. Probably. On the bright side, he’ll definitely hit over 30 home runs. Okay, okay. That’s a probably, too. There are so many negatives to drafting him that you’re probably better off letting someone else draft him. Make that definitely better off.
  • DO continue to expect steady production from OF Nick Markakis in line with his career numbers. He’s averaged (over 162 games played per Baseball-Reference.com) a .295/89/18/85/9 line over six seasons in the Bigs and seems to be a safer bet than Jones to continue doing so.
  • DON’T expect much out of 2B Brian Roberts until he proves he’s fully recovered from his concussion. He’s only played in a combined 98 games over the last two seasons and reports have him and the O’s being cautious moving forward through Spring Training. Grabbing him in the final rounds of your deep mixed leagues and stashing him on the bench until his health concerns become clearing is not a bad strategy but keep your expectations low.
  • DO draft SS J.J. Hardy if you like 15-25 home runs from your low-average, zero-speed shortstop position. AL-only and very deep leaguers have no choice but to draft him when needed but in those 8-10 team mixed leagues that don’t utilize extra roster slots like MI or IF, you’d be better off aggressively pursuing a top-tier shortstop and leaving Hardy’s ownership to some other unfortunate sucker.
  • DON’T you dare draft 1B/3B Chris Davis! How many times are you going to be fooled into believing he’s “on the verge of big things”. Until he actually proves he can provide “big things”, stay away.
  • DO you think RPs Jim Johnson, Kevin Gregg or someone else will emerge as the team’s closer? Does it matter? One of these guys will get 20-30 Saves and my money would be on Johnson.

What Orioles’ player(s) are you most excited to draft and which are you avoiding like the plague? Be aware, though. This is the kind of team that could throw in the towel pretty early and start shipping valuable players off in deals to go young and cheap. Why else would they be linked to Manny Ramirez? And if they do start a fire-sale, what young players get first crack at the big leagues?

This article is the latest installment of “DOs And DON’Ts”. Be sure to check out all of the other teams covered already here and keep an eye out for your favorite team sure to be covered soon.

I’d love to hear your thoughts on my assessment of the Orioles and the value that this series brings to your fantasy baseball drafting strategies. Use the comments section below or interact with me on Twitter @DJAubain.

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