Tag Archive | "Low Expectations"

Finding Keepers:  New York Mets

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Finding Keepers: New York Mets

Posted on 11 March 2012 by Mark Sherrard

The New York Mets find themselves in a bit of a rebuilding year, after finishing 4th in the NL East in 2011. However, with low expectations comes lower perceived value, which means more opportunities for Finding Keepers.

Here is a look at some Mets players who could be undervalued in 2012 and end up keeper worthy.

After a strong rookie year, in which he hit .264/.351/.440 with 19 homers, 1B Ike Davis missed most of the 2011 campaign with an ankle injury. Add to that the speculation that he may have Valley Fever and many fantasy owners will steer clear of him. However, in 36 games last year, he did hit .302/.383/.543 and looked like he was well on his way to a breakout year before the injury. If he proves healthy this spring, snatch him up before someone else does.

2B Daniel Murphy is not a flashy guy, he will not get you a bunch of homeruns or stolen bases, but he did manage to hit a quiet .320/.362/.448 last year, while qualifying at 2B, 3B and 1B. His multi-positional eligibility might make him a bit more valuable to some, but moderate numbers in the counting stats might just keep his value low enough to be considered keeper material.

SS Ruben Tejada is another player who will not carry a team and will barely raise a blip on most owners radars. He offers no power and little speed, but his .284/.360/.335 line last year and multi-positional eligibility (2B/SS) make him valuable in deeper, NL only leagues. A couple bucks or a late round pick could net you a quality UT player.

OF Lucas Duda got some regular playing time last year and played well, earning the starting right field job for 2012. He has some power and with a .292/.370/.482 slash line in 2011, he showed that he can handle big league pitching. This might be the last chance to get him cheap, because I expect bigger and better things from him this year and into the future.

C Josh Thole is another under-the-radar kind of guy. He is not going to provide a lot of homeruns, but he will hit for a good average and will likely be undervalued in most leagues. He is your typical won’t hurt you second catcher and could be a good keeper in deeper leagues.

2B Reese Havens has been the second baseman of the future for the Mets ever since he was drafted in the first round of the 2008 draft. Problem is, he has not been able to stay healthy for a full season. He owns a career .269/.366/.463 line in 4 minor league seasons, but has hit .301/.379/.505 in AA. For those of you with reserve or minor league spots, you might want to consider taking a flier on Havens.

SP Johan Santana is coming off shoulder surgery, an injury that has felled many a quality pitcher, such as Brandon Webb. That alone will scare many owners off. However, he pitched well in his Grapefruit League debut on Wednesday, topping out around 92 mph. If his changeup is still working, he could start back up where he left off in 2010. He should come cheap and, at age 32, he should still have a few good years left in him.

I am not sold on the rest of the Mets starting pitchers. Mike Pelfrey, Jonathan Niese and Dillon Gee have shown some flashes, but have not been consistent enough to be considered keepers. R.A. Dickey had a strong 2011 season, posting a 3.28 ERA, but at age 37 his better days are probably behind him.

Finally, OF David Wright is one guy who will likely be overvalued based on his name alone. His 2011 season was marred by back issues, which may keep his value down, but should also make you reconsider drafting him.

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Finding Keepers: Chicago Cubs

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Finding Keepers: Chicago Cubs

Posted on 03 March 2012 by Mark Sherrard

The Chicago Cubs have a lot of new faces this year and a lot of low expectations to go with them.  This is the perfect storm for finding keepers.  Let’s take a look at some players who might be flying under the radar for the Cubs this year.

1B Bryan LaHair put up some gaudy numbers at AAA last year, with a slash line of .331/.405/.664, including 38 homeruns in just 456 at bats.  However, at age 29 and with Anthony Rizzo breathing down his neck, not many are giving LaHair much of a chance to hold onto the first base job for long.  But, if he gets out of the gate quickly, he should stick with the big club and could move to the outfield once Rizzo is ready.

SP Ryan Dempster was the victim of some bad luck last year, as his hit rate was above his norm, while his strand rate was below normal.  This resulted in an ERA of 4.80, the highest he has posted since returning to the starting role in 2008.  Giving normal regression to the mean, he should return to his sub-4.00 level.  Getting some wins, however, is another question.

3B Ian Stewart was another victim of bad luck.  His Batting Average on Balls in Play (BABIP) was just .224 in 2011 compared to a career average of .302.  Giving his low contact rate, he is unlikely to hit much more than .250 in any given season, but he certainly is capable of bouncing back from his .156/.243/.221 line in 2011. With top third base prospect, Josh Vitters still at least a year away, Stewart will be giving every opportunity to prove that 2011 was a fluke.

OF Marlon Byrd flies under a lot of radars as he doesn’t dominate any one category.  However, he is capable of providing double digit homers and a .280-.290 average.  Plus, depending on where he hits in the Cubs order, he could add either 75 rbi’s or 75 runs.  He has lost 40 pounds this offseason and is in his contract year, so he is playing for what could be his last big payday.  However, with Brett Jackson waiting in the wings, Byrd will also be the subject of numerous trade rumors this year, so those of you in NL only leagues that don’t carry over stats should be wary.

SP Paul Maholm quietly put together a fine season last year with a 3.68 ERA and 1.29 whip.  He will not provide a lot of strikeouts, with just 97 in 162.1 innings last year, nor will he rack up a lot of wins for the Cubs.  But is worth targeting in the late rounds.

RP Carlos Marmol has run hot and cold every other year with the Cubs.  So, after a down year in 2011, we can expect a good year, right?  Well, if he can keep his control in check, Marmol is downright unhittable.  He struck out 138 batters in just 77.2 innings in 2010 and is certainly capable of putting up those numbers again.  Watch him closely this spring.

SP Matt Garza posted the lowest ERA and highest strikeout totals of his career in 2011, so its hard to think of him as being undervalued or a potential keeper.  However, Garza seemed to get stronger as the season wore on, posting a 2.45 ERA in the second half compared to a 4.26 ERA in the first half.  If he can carry that over to 2012, he could become a fantasy ace.

The following players are likely not keeper material:

SS Starlin Castro will likely be overvalued after a strong sophomore campaign.  He is a player on the rise, just don’t overpay for him.

C Geovany Soto had a down year after what seemed like a comeback year in 2010.  He still has some power, but he struggles against righthanders, which will limit his batting average.

2B Darwin Barney got out of the gate fast last year before wearing down in the second half.  The Cubs appear to think of him as more of a utility infielder type and he may have to hold off Adrian Cardenas to keep his job.

The Cubs cannot give away aging veteran OF Alfonso Soriano.  So, they will keep plugging him into the lineup for now, but his defense screams DH and he is not getting any younger.

Finally, OF David DeJesus blames his poor 2011 season on his surgically-repaired right hand.  There could still be some upside there, but let someone else take that chance.

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