Tag Archive | "Jose Bautista"

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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Welcome To The Bigs, Kid: Anthony Gose

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Welcome To The Bigs, Kid: Anthony Gose

Posted on 19 July 2012 by T.J. McDonald

On Monday Jose Bautista of the Toronto Blue Jays left the game after feeling pain in his wrist on an eighth-inning swing that produced a long foul ball. X-rays were negative but an MRI the following day revealed inflammation. At about the same time Anthony Gose a top prospect in the Blue Jays organization was playing for AAA Las Vegas. He was immediately pulled from the game and told what every kid dreams of, kid you are going to the big leagues.  As Gose so bluntly put it “ Strike out and next thing you know you’re going to the big leagues.”  He was added to the big league club the following day to replace Bautista with the Blue Jays making room on the 40-man roster for Gose by transferring right-hander Brandon Morrow  from the 15-day disabled list to the 60-day DL. Below I will go over all you need to know about Anthony Gose plus if he is worth a flier in both yearly and keeper fantasy leagues.

Prior to the season Gose was rated as the 39th best prospect in all of baseball by baseball America, 59th by Ketih Law & 68th by Kevin Goldstein. Kevin Goldstein also had Anthony Gose  rated as the 12th ranked  prospect in the futures game last week in Kansas City, played during the All Star festivities.  He is a 21 year old center fielder with plus-plus speed, the potential for average power and fantastic defense in center field. He was acquired  by the Blue Jays from Houston in July 2010 for first baseman Brett Wallace.  He was hitting .292 with 77 Runs, 5 Hrs, 41 RBIs, 18 doubles, 10 triples and a league leading 29 SBs in 92 games in the Pacific Coast league this year prior to his call up.  He has all the tools to be an everyday player but does have some concerns.  While a great source of steals with 29 this year in AAA and 70 in 2011 at the double A level he does have 501 Ks in 1,947 career minor league at bats. He has cut down on the strikeout this year though so getting on base may not be the problem it once was. When he does get on base look out the steals will come.

Now as to if he can and will help your fantasy team. In the short term yes, in all leagues if you need steals he is a recommended pickup.  He did not start Tuesday but did get in the lineup late in the game going one for two.  Wednesday he started in right field and batted lead off going 0-3 with 2 Ks.  As you can see he will be given the opportunity to play everyday and possibly bat lead off while Bautista is recovering. If he plays well and with only the likes of Rajai Davis and Ben Francisco to compete with for playing time when Bautista returns, he could easily find himself starting alongside Bautista and Colby Rasmus in the outfield for the remainder of the year and the foreseeable  future.

In yearly leagues while Gose is worth a pickup he may only be short term help.  When Bautista returns possibly as soon as he eligible to come off the 15 day DL,  there is no guarantee he will stick with the big league club. Although a strong showing may force their hand.  If you are in need of steals and have room on your roster I would take a flier and hope he stays on the big league club post Bautista return.  This things are hard to predict but if he starts hitting well and stealing bases and sticks with the club you don’t want to be the guy wishing you had picked him up when you had the chance.

Keeper leagues however are another story. I would advise everyone to run not walk to their waiver wire and pick him up immediately, I did.  Prospects of his caliber do not get called up everyday and now that is he playing and possibly producing you will not be wasting the spot on just a prospect stash. You will have the possible next big thing on your roster and producing in your lineup at the same time. If he was not stashed already, know is the time to act if for nothing less than the short term help with the added bonus that his high keeper potential and value he will add to your roster.  He is just to good of a prospect  to see the Blue Jays not getting him in the line up on an everyday bases next year, if not for the remainder of the year even. So do yourself a favor and pickup Gose now and possibly even keep him, leaving everyone else in your league wondering why the new wonder kid is not available come next years draft time.

Will you be picking up Anthony Gose now or playing the wait and see game hoping no one else pulls the trigger?  Feel free to let me know what you think in the comments and as always follow me on twitter @FantasyzrTJ We can continue the discussion there as well as other fantasy baseball talk & news.

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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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The Swing Shift – Welcome to the New American League

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The Swing Shift – Welcome to the New American League

Posted on 26 March 2012 by Trish Vignola

The National League overall has over powered the American League over the past century. They have the better of the junior circuit in the All Star Game. If you take the statistical freak show known as the New York Yankees out of the equation, they have bested the American League in World Series wins as well. After the Yankees, the next franchises in series appearances and wins are all members of the National League (St. Louis Cardinals, Brooklyn/Los Angeles Dodgers, New York/San Francisco Giants respectively). In fact, the National League has taken the ultimate title the past six out of ten years.

Still, has there been a major momentum shift? This off-season, 147 players switched leagues. That’s nothing new. On closer look though, 87 moved from the National League to the American League. Did they hear something we didn’t? The remaining 60 took the reverse route.

Albert Pujols, who I always thought was the second coming of Stan Musial, left the St. Louis Cardinals for the Los Angeles Angels. Prince Fielder, who I thought was headed to Miami, left the Milwaukee Brewers for the Detroit Tigers. With Pujols in the American League West and Fielder in the American League Central, the American League is officially a force to be reckoned.

The following are just a couple of ways in which American League now outmuscles the National League. The American League has eight out of the ten largest contracts in Major League Baseball. Out of the 13 active Most Valuable Players, eight of them are now in the American League. Out of the ten home run leaders, only three still reside in the senior circuit.

Let us look at run production overall. After the off-season exodus, take a look at homeruns hit last year. Players who now reside in the American League hit 251 of those homeruns. Only 140 of those homeruns still reside in the National League. Looking at runs batted in last year, players who now reside in the American league were responsible for 1,002 of them. A measly 667 of them still reside in the National League.

So, the American League now outmuscles the National League. It is not like the American League has never been home to big boppers. Alex Rodriguez played his entire career in the American League. What about Jose Bautista? Is he chopped liver? In fact, the American League’s overall Interleague winning percentage from 2007-2011 has always been better than the National League (.546 to .454 respectively). Nonetheless, the National League still beat the American League when it counted in October.

With this new crop of American League boppers, will this translate to American League dominance in October? I think it does. These guys do so much more than hit the cover off the ball; they are brilliant baseball minds. Albert Pujols is already mentioned in the same breath as the greats of the game and he is nowhere near retirement. Based on this off-season, there is a new road to the World Series. Guys, as much as I hate to admit it, it is not through the Bronx anymore.

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Finding Keepers:Toronto Blue Jays

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Finding Keepers:Toronto Blue Jays

Posted on 21 March 2012 by Gary Marchese

The Toronto Blue Jays are probably a better team then they seem.  They happen to play in the toughest division in baseball the American League East.  The Blue Jays have been winning 80-85 games which is very good considering they have to take on the New York Yankees, Boston Red Sox and Tampa Bay Rays 19 times a year each.  Here is a look at some guys on their roster who are potential keepers for your fantasy baseball team.

RF Jose Bautista, He is now one of the premier power hitters in the game if not the premier one.  He is a high on base guy also because teams walk him so much.  He wasn’t a fluke two years ago because he followed it up last year.  In the last two years he has hit 97 homeruns.  His best year before the last couple of years was 16 homeruns in one season.  He has also driven in 227 runs and walked 232 times.  Bautista has finally found a home in Toronto and is playing regularly now.

SP Ricky Romero, He is a good young lefty pitcher.  In the last three years he has won 13, 14 and 15 games in that order and lowered his ERA each year.  He had his best year last year when he was 15-11 with a 2.92 ERA.  He is also doing this in the AL East which is impressive.  Romero is a pitcher you would want on your team, any team especially a keeper league.

SS Yunel Escobar has always had a lot of talent.  He started in Atlanta and then was traded to Toronto.  He seems to have settled in as the leadoff hitter there now.  He had a year last year of 290, 11 and 48.  He wont hit many homeruns but has some pop and wont drive in too many runs but he isn’t supposed too.  He will hit for a good average though and has the potential to steal some bases.  I wouldn’t mind building a team around this player.

3B Brett Lawrie is an exciting young player.  We don’t know what he will be yet or his full potential.  He seems to be well on his way though and I wouldn’t want to part with him if he was on my fantasy team.  He made the majors last year and hit 293 with nine homeruns and 25 RBI in 43 games.  He also had a 373 on base percentage.  He looks like a very impressive young man.  I wouldn’t want to part with this guy at all.

Closer Francisco Cordero is a pretty good closer and has been for a while.  He isn’t great but I think you know what your getting with him.  The closer position is important and you want a reliable guy in that position.  If you can’t have Mariano Rivera or Jonathan Papelbon why not a guy like Cordero.  In the last three years he has had 37, 40 and 39 saves.  You can count on getting 35+ saves from him.  His ERA could be in the high twos or low threes but that won’t kill your overall team ERA.

C J.P. Arencibia is a catcher with power.  He hit 23 homeruns last year with 78 RBI.  In the minor leagues in 2010 he hit 32 homeruns.  If your looking for power from the catching position then I would keep him around on my team.  If your looking for average your not going to get it as he only hit 219 last year.

If there is anyone on this list that you feel I have missed please let me know.  You can comment on the article and if you have twitter you can reach me @gmarchesej.  Thanks for reading as always and I hope you continue to enjoy my colleagues and I finding keepers articles.

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