Tag Archive | "Major Leaguers"

Josh Hamilton solid looking pose

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Sabermetric Spotlight: Josh Hamilton

Posted on 09 August 2012 by Patrick Hayes

Sabermetric Spotlight: Josh Hamilton, OF, Texas Rangers

The Reason -

So you may have heard of this gentleman named Josh Hamilton once or twice before in your life. His life-story is one that mimics that of Millenium Force at Cedar Point to date. In a nutshell, that also is a microcosm of his 2012 year thus far. Through the first two months he hit 21 HRs (four in one game!) and saw his average stay well north of .360, needless to say, he was unstoppable. Counting his moon-shot tonight, he now has only 9 HRs in the past 3 calendar months combined, which is a drastic drop from the pace he set in the spring.  It wouldn’t be a stretch to see him set his career high for dingers before September rings in, he needs just three more. What the heck has happened to him this year, besides becoming infamous for letting go of his bat when he swings and misses?

Josh Hamilton solid looking pose

Basic Numbers -

As Hamilton has cooled down during the early summer months, his slash line has sunk to a pedestrian (I use italics in place of that sarcasm font that needs to be invented) .288/.351/.575. Most major-leaguers would take that in a heart beat. Taking a look at the rest of his basic stats below, a few things jump out.

Josh Hamilton basic stats

To me, the first is his projected games played number. Being present for 150 games would be his second best (2008 had 156 played), topping the 133 in 2010 which saw him bat .359 and win the AL MVP. Having him consistently in the lineup has been a struggle in the past, this alone is an impact on the lineup each night. The next eye-popper is his amount of time he has whiffed and recorded an out, just above once per game. I’ll dig into this more later. Oh, and those 95 RBI are tied for the league lead too.

Sabermetrics -

I just mentioned his K’s, but how at what percent is he at? Looking at the chart below, a whooping 23.7%. That number is way up from his career average of 19%. Surprisingly, Josh is walking at a rate (9.1%) that exceeds the past two years, and his career average (8.2%). Unfortunately his career low BABIP of .308 is the correlation of his lowest batting average since 2009

Josh Hamilton sabermetric stats

Not much has changed from a line-drive perspective. He is hitting less ground-balls, which leads to an increase in fly-balls. It is these fly-balls that are leaving the yard at a rate of over 25% of each fly, an almost unsustainable number. His ISO factor of .278 supports the increase of his homerun tally, this will be a career year as far as that stat is concerned.

Pitch and Swing Data -

Less fastballs (46.1% in 2012 vs 50.7% in 2011) and more off-speed/breaking pitches (change-ups 2.7% more, curves up .8%) has been the calling of opposing pitchers this year. Again, these stats almost identically reflect what he faced in 2010, his career year to this point.

Holy crap! Hamilton is swinging at 46.5%! of pitches outside the strike zone! This is up from 41% in 2011 and 37.3% in 2010. I see a trend developing. The same can be said for pitches in the strike zone (84.5%, 81.7%, 80.7% 2012-2010). A direct inverse of this is the dropping of contact,  Josh is only connecting with 77.7% outside the strike zone from 83.8% last year. Contact as a whole is down 9.1%. There is one reason for swinging at balls more often, he is only seeing strikes 38.2%, down from 42.8% in 2011. I’m baffled as to how he is walking more this year.

Forward Looking -

I already eluded to the fact that he is on pace to play 150 games this year, but that also translates to 579 at-bats. The Rangers currently hold the best record in the American League and will be looking to firmly secure the number one seed as the season winds down. Playing at the Ball Park in Arlington is only a benefit to his offensive numbers, I can sense some heroics down the stretch. Big picture wise, he isn’t in any MVP talk this year, but he is in a race with Miguel Cabrera of the Detroit Tigers for the RBI and HR title. It just so happens that the two leaders of runs batted oppose each other this weekend in Texas.

Fantasy Analysis -

Having Josh Hamilton on your team this year has been one of fist pumping and pounding. Ups and downs on repeat. You loved him to start the year and have been swearing at him to get his act together since June. If you were one of the smart ones to capatlize on his value and trade him on that legendary four homerun night, then props to you. He is a welcomed benefit to any team in a playoff race right now and is without-a-doubt a keeper next year, in all formats. I wouldn’t be surprised to see him being the most traded player this year or next (Pujols would be my next guess).

Did You Know? -

On June 22, 2012, Hamilton agreed with Casey Affleck to create a movie based on Hamilton’s life story.

Josh Hamilton bat toss

Conclusion and Projection -

It’s hard not to root for this guy. America is full of revitalizing comeback stories, and Josh’s is no different. This current year may be the most unique of any years past however. Hamilton’s increased K% and BB%, teamed with a lower BABIP and less pitches as strikes has led to a sub-optimal batting average. On the flipside, his flyball rate of homeruns is outstanding, hitting 40 shouldn’t be out of the question. Even with projections of a-plus health, it’s hard not to have that creeping doubt of an injury of some substance as the year dwindles. Bottom line, he is a must watch at-bat each time to the plate.

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

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Drew Stubbs, Reds OF, Sell his stock

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Fantasy Baseball Stock Watch: Buy Jose Reyes Now

Posted on 06 August 2012 by Patrick Hayes

After a week off due to vacationing in the great state of Meeeeechigan, Fantasy Baseball Stock Watch returns to wheel and deal on a few interesting major leaguers. I do realize that the trade deadline in your fantasy league may have passed already but for those that haven’t, I suggest you take my following predictions and reactions to the bank, but not the one in Greece. Yeah, yeah, enough rambling, here we go:

Jose Reyes – SS, Miami Marlins

Jose  Reyes, Marlins SS, Buy his Stock

#1 on ESPNs 5×5 Player Rater for SSs

Jose Reyes is one of the last few remaining “names” on a dissipated Miami team that was ravished before the non-waiver trade deadline. He also happens to be completely on fire of late, to the tune of a .434/.474/.755 slash line in his last 14 games. Outstanding right? Right. He also has swiped six bags in this time frame and has touched home thirteen times in this span. The only lack of production has been his six RBI’s, with a majority of these ABs coming from the three-hole. I’m not too concerned about that from a fantasy perspective though, as with any shortstop position (outside of the injured Troy Tulowitzki), you aren’t expecting jaw-dropping power numbers anyway.

Manager Ozzie Guillen has gone on record saying that with the pending return of Giancarlo Stanton expected in the next week, Reyes will continue to bat third, which is good news for current owners. Adding to the optimistic outlook is the season BABIP of .304 that Reyes has currently, which is down a tick from his career average of .313. The only downside is that the rest of the lineup is one that draws blank stares and has nothing to play for, but nonetheless, Jose is finally playing the way he has in the past and what we have came to expect.

My verdict: Buy Now Candidate

Drew Stubbs – OF, Cincinnati Reds

Drew  Stubbs, Reds OF, Sell his stock

#27 on ESPNs 5×5 Player Rater for OFs

Drew Stubbs, synonymous with being part of a group of players who has all the potential in the world, gets drafted high each year, and still continues to disappoint and break hearts. When looking at the season in a whole, that previous sentence is dead on. However, Stubbs has been on point of late. Blasting 4 HRs in the past 14 days along with 5 SBs, these are the type of power and speed stats that makes scouts and fantasy owners go gaga. The accommodating slash of .362/.415/.660 is mighty appetizing as well, which makes now the perfect time to maximize take your gains and head home.

Have you looked at his season stats? .238/.307/.399 wreaks of a havoc. If you have kept him lingering around to experience this explosion of unsustainable hope, then you might have more patience than me. Striking out at a rate of over 27% is disgusting, as well as his walk rate of 8.7%. I’ll give you credit that his BABIP is well below his career average (.300 in 2012 to .328), but I just can’t fathom putting him in the lineup for the long haul. Sure, he may get a few SBs and pop a HR out here or there, but he will also frustrate you even more so once he and the Reds start to cool down. Do the smart thing here.

My verdict: Sell High Candidate

Chase Utley – 2B, Philadelphia Phillies

Chase  Utley, Phillies 2B, Hold his Stock

#9 on ESPNs 5×5 Player Rater for 2Bs in the last 30 days

Oh, where to begin. Chase Utley has been an injury riddled shadow of what he once was. After starting the year on the DL for those terrible knees, he got off to a slow start but has been steadily getting his swagger back. Three homeruns, six RBI, two stolen bases and a line of .297/.458/.622 in the last 14 days. He knows how to draw a walk too, his eye has remained sharp as ever and is at a rate of 12.5% this year (in line with 2009 and 2010).

While the second base position might not be as scarce as it used to be in his heyday, Utley is proving to be valuable in your fantasy lineup of late. It’s almost impossible to expect a sudden reemergence of his capabilities from his peak years, but it’s equally impossible not to root for him to regain those marks. I love looking at BABIP’s and so far this year, Chase’s is well below his career average, .253 in 2012 vs .308, which provides that glimmer of hope that maybe it’s possible. But seriously now, he had a cameo in It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia, you should hold onto his bandwagon for the rest of the year just because of that.

My verdict: Hold while nostalgically grasping your shersey from the depths of closet in remembrance of yesteryear. 

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

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Baseball’s Inaugural Week is Underway

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Baseball’s Inaugural Week is Underway

Posted on 09 April 2012 by Trish Vignola

We’re midway through the inaugural week of the 2012 Major League Baseball season. Thanks to MLB Extra Innings and a well-timed stomach virus, I have watched more baseball than I actually care to admit to. Due to the ensuing lack of sleep scrambling my brain, the following are some musings on what I saw.

For example, my Fantasy Baseball team doesn’t suck…yet. As it stands right now, Johan Santana and R.A. Dickey are my number one and number two. It’s a nice thought, but I don’t see either of them going undefeated for too long.

Speaking of the New York Mets, I just watched Terry Collins’ postgame conference. The press asked him a bunch of obnoxious questions about the team being undefeated. I immediately responded. Come on! It’s the second game of the season. Stop acting like the Mets playing decent baseball is like finding a Chupacabra. In lieu of flipping the table in disgust, Terry Collins calmly reminded those in attendance that regardless of the good or the bad stretches the team might face, they were and always would play as the Major League Baseball players they are. Regardless of how they might be the punching bag of the National League East, the Mets are still Major Leaguers. They are far better than we would ever be. Man. I like this dude.

Did you catch Jordan Norberto pitching for the Oakland A’s last night? He blatantly didn’t hustle to get off the mound to get the out at first. What made it worse was that the announcers said nothing. Has our Moneyball need to not risk injury officially gotten in the way of proper baseball fundamentals?

Did Major League Baseball really have three season launches? I understood and applauded them for a having an International Home Opener and April 5th opened the rest of the season… but can some one explain to me the Miami/St. Louis game on April 4th? If the games in Japan were to bring attention to the International game and April 5th was to launch the game across the country, what was the purpose of the Miami game counting in the standings? When did ugly architecture merit its own moment on ESPN? Man. That stadium is ugly.

With these staggered multiple openers – does it seem like these teams have been playing their first opponents for three weeks?

Did you catch the St. Louis/Kansas City game last night? Until St. Louis blew it open, that game was great. Kansas City actually hung in there with an amazing team picked to march indiscriminately over the American League. For two brief moments, the Royals were a compelling team to watch.

Did Mariano Rivera actually blow a save? That happened right?

I’m watching the Boston Red Sox get smacked around by the Detroit Tigers. My mom wants to know, why does Joe Buck call every game like it’s his last? His very boring last.

On the same subject, why is Joe Buck alluding to Bobby Valentine’s job being in jeopardy already? It’s only game two of the season. Also, didn’t the Red Sox start last season horrifically only to pull it together? If Bobby Valentine’s job is legitimately in trouble, based on what I saw today, he should be so lucky.

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2012 Top 100 Prospects

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2012 Top 100 Prospects

Posted on 01 February 2012 by Jared Thatcher

Under the warm sun of Arizona, it’s already starting to feel like spring. Although the mornings and evenings have slight chill to them allowing you to see your breath, the days are sunny and bright with a hint of baseball in the air. One of the reasons I live inArizona(and there are many) is that I have full access to all Spring Training games and Arizona Fall League games. This allows me to not only watch the Major Leaguers, but also the up and coming super stars. So with that in mind and after much debate/research, I am proud to unveil my top 100 prospects for the 2012 season. I do want to disclose that none of the international free agents will be on this list. MLB.com did not have them on their list and neither will I. Many of those players will be contributing to Major League teams next year and should be considered prospects, but I want you to be able to compare my list next to that of MLB.com’s in addition to others. So here it is…the 2012 Top 100 prospects in baseball!

The list takes into account: what level the player is at currently, ceiling potential, floor potential, and risk factor in reaching their ceiling. A ceiling is what the player would do if everything worked out perfectly and all his tools developed to their full potential. I tried to keep the ceiling potential key as simple as possible so there are no + or – signs to worry about.

Key:

A = All-Star ceiling

B = Above-average everyday player ceiling

C = Average everyday player ceiling

D = Reliever/Bench/Role player ceiling

  1. Matt Moore – SP – Rays – A

Moore showed everyone what he was capable of last season by breezing through Double-A and Triple-A just in time to win the first game of the 2011 ALDS against the Texas Rangers.Moore should be a shoe-in for a spot in the rotation this season and with his stuff, he might be the ace on most other teams.

  1. Mike Trout – OF – Angels – B

Trout got in to 40 games last year at the MLB level and made the most of it. Although he only batted .220, he stole 4 bases and his 5 HRs while playing all three outfield positions. The outfield is crowded inAnaheimbut with his skills, he should find a spot and be productive.

  1. Bryce Harper – OF – Nationals – A

The Holy Grail of prospects hit a few speed bumps last year as he moved through Single-A and up to Double-A but the fact is, the kid can rake. He hit 17 HRs in 109 games and really broke out his power in the AFL. Expect to see Harper inWashingtonas soon as June but definitely by September.

  1. Nolan Arenado – 3B –Rockies– A

I was able to observe Arenado during the AFL this year and he is absolutely the real deal. Arenado has great plate discipline and the ability to develop some real power. His footwork at third is good and his arm is plus. This is the kind of third baseman everyone looks for.

  1. Jesus Montero – C/DH – Mariners – A

Montero proved that he can hit Major League pitching after his call up last season to the tune of a .328 BA with four homeruns and 12 RBIs in 18 games. He should be an excellent DH inSeattlealthough the Mariners still think he can contribute behind the plate and will have him catching a few days a week.

  1. Trevor Bauer – SP – Diamondbacks – A

This is probably the highest you will see Bauer ranked anywhere, but let’s be honest, he was the ace for the Bruins and he will be an ace in AZ. He struggled a bit last season at Double-A but after all the innings he threw in college, I’m sure his arm was dead. He has a unique delivery and training regimen that should make him durable and effective in AZ this year.

  1. Jurickson Profar – SS – Rangers – A

Defensively Profar will be one of the best once he reaches the majors. Even more impressive is that he led Low-A in extra-base hits. He was once a highly touted pitching prospect but he wanted to hit amd the Rangers gave him that chance. The extra-base hits should turn into HRs. This guy could be a perennial all-star with his tools.

  1. Danny Hultzen – SP – Mariners –  A

Hultzen turned in a top-notch performance this year in the Rising Stars Game commanding three above average pitches. He wasn’t throwing his hardest but it didn’t matter. His command is above average and his arsenal is MLB ready. He probably wont skip the minors but expect him to be inSeattlesoon to replace Pineda.

  1. Manny Machado – SS – Orioles – A

Machado is a minor league shortstop who will actually stick at shortstop. His footwork and glove will be average if not a little better but it’s his bat that will get him to the majors. His power is ridiculous for a shortstop and he walks more than he strikes out. Machado is an elite prospect and should soar through the minors this year.

  1. Shelby Miller – SP – Cardinals – A

When Shelby Miller joins the Cardinals rotation, they will have three aces. Miller has great command at his young age (21 years old). He dominated Double-A and should move up ti Triple-A this season if not joining the rotation right out of Spring Training.

  1. Tyler Skaggs – SP – Diamondbacks – A

It’s good to be left-handed. Skaggs is not only left-handed but also has great command and some sick movement on his pitches. He reached Double-A this season at the ripe-old age of 19. Skaggs is a strikeout machine and should be a mid-season call-up this year. His arm action worries me a bit but if he can stay healthy he should anchor a young and dominantArizonarotation for years to come.

  1. Jameson Taillon – SP – Pirates – A

BaseballAmericaranked him #11 before last season after he was selected second overall in the draft. Taillon posted an ERA just under 4.00 in A-ball, which was a bit disappointing but he is young. The Pirates have no reason to rush him and when his tools develop, he could be a force on the mound.

  1. Julio Teheran – SP – Braves – A

Teheran worries me a bit but his upside is too good to pass up. In his short time in the majors last year he got hit around and didn’t have great command. Teheran dominated minor league hitting and at 20 years old he has lots of time to figure it out. The Braves rotation is pretty full but Teheran should still make an early appearance this year.

  1. Anthony Rendon – 3B – Nationals – B

Rendon was the best hitting prospect in the 2011 draft and should move quickly through the system in 2012. Although he is blocked at 3rd (see Ryan Zimmerman), he might be a nice trade piece. A different situation might see a Zimmerman trade and Rendon is promoted with the rest of the Nationals young talent to create contender for years to come.

  1. Randall Delgado – SP – Braves – B

Another young Braves pitcher who is blocked inAtlanta! Delgado pitched 35 innings in the majors last season and at least kept his ERA to a low 2.83. The strikeouts were mo where near where they were in the minors but his control and groundball rate looked good. Delgado may be a long reliever if he doesn’t make the rotation in 2012.

  1. Travis d’Arnaud – C – Blue Jays – B

D’Arnaud  is an offensively minded catcher that should be a force in middle of the order for the Blue Jays as soon as this year. How he handles the pitching staff and catching everyday are yet to be seen but the kid can flat out hit.

  1. Devin Mesoraco – C – Reds – B

At 23 years old it’s time for Mesoraco to produce at the big league level. He got a late season call up last season and did not live up to the hype. I still have faith in his power and ability to hit for average. He should get a chance this year inCincinnati.

  1. Taijuan Walker – SP – Mariners – A

Another Mariners pitching prospect with huge upside? That’s right.Walkerhas wicked movement on his offerings and could be a strikeout king. He is only 18 but even if he doesn’t make the rotation he should still be a top reliever.

  1. Wil Myers – OF – Royals – B

2011 was sort of a lost year for Myers. He was moved from catcher to the outfield in an attempt to get his bat to the majors quicker. The move didn’t really work. His batting average dropped by 60 points and he lost the power from 2010. Expect him to start out the year at Double-A but he should regain his previous form and move quickly through the system.

  1. Arodys Vizcaino – SP/RP – Braves – B

The third Braves pitcher in the top 20. I know its crazy. Their system is deep and talented. Vizcaino will probably be a reliever for the foreseeable future and a darn good one at that. His velocity is very good and should rack up the strikeouts.

  1. Manny Banuelos – SP – Yankees – A

Banuelos has been dominant in the minor leagues and should definitely get a chance in the Yankees rotation this year. With his stuff and the Yankees offense, he could win a lot of games.

  1. Martin Perez – SP – Rangers – B

Although he struggled at Triple-A toward the end of last season, Perez still has great stuff. The Rangers rotation is a bit full but if there is an injury or a bullpen spot open, look for him to fill it. He strikes out almost eight batters per inning but still walks too many. With some better command he will an above-average starter or a stellar reliever.

  1. Anthony Rizzo – 1B – Cubs – B

Chicagois the perfect place for Rizzo to get a second chance. You can argue with his minor league numbers and the Cubs plan to play him every day at first base. While his defense is average or a little better, his bat should play well in Wrigley Field.

  1. Bubba Starling – OF – Royals – A

The tools and potential of Starling are off the charts. Can he live up to them? Only time will tell. He is the coveted 5-tool player but reminds me a bit of Billy Beane. If he can keep his head straight he could be a perennial all-star in a few years.

  1. Derek Norris – C – A’s – B

I saw Norris a couple times this year and now that he is in the A’s system, he should move quickly. He is blocked by Suzuki inOaklandbut the A’s have never shied away from moving players to let better ones come up. His bat could be one of the best for a catcher who will stay at catcher. He strikes out a ton and the batting average may never be there, but he has tons of power. I’m a believer.

The remainder of the top 25 prospects
  1. Xander Bogaerts – SS – Red Sox – B
  2. Jacob Turner – SP – Tigers – A
  3. Leonys Martin – OF – Rangers – A
  4. Jarrod Parker – SP – A’s – A
  5. Matt Harvey – SP – Mets – B
  6. Tyler Pastornicky – SS – Braves – B
  7. Hak-Ju Lee – SS – Rays – C
  8. Dylan Bundy – SP – Orioles – B
  9. NickFranklin– SS/2B – Mariners – C
  10. Yonder Alonso – 1B – Padres – B
  11. Yasmani Grandal – C – Padres – C
  12. Jed Bradley – SP – Brewers – C
  13. Gerrit Cole – SP – Pirates – B
  14. Robbie Erlin – SP – Padres – B
  15. Mike Montgomery – SP – Royals – C
  16. Brett Jackson – OF – Cubs – C
  17. Billy Hamilton – SS – Reds – B
  18. Anthony Gose – OF – Blue Jays – B
  19. Drew Pomeranz – SP –Rockies– C
  20. Jedd Gyorko – 3B – Padres – C
  21. Kolten Wong – 2B – Cardinals – C
  22. Tim Wheeler – OF –Rockies– B
  23. A.J. Cole – SP – A’s – C
  24. Austin Romine – C – Yankees – B
  25. Christian Yelich – OF – Marlins – B
  26. Dellin Betances – SP – Yankees – B
  27. Drew Hutchinson – SP – Blue Jays – C
  28. Francisco Lindor – SS – Indians – A
  29. Gary Brown – OF – Giants – B
  30. Jake Marisnick – OF – Blue Jays – B
  31. Jonathan Singleton – 1B – Astros – B
  32. Jose Iglesias – SS – Red Sox – C
  33. Joe Panik – SS – Giants – B
  34. Nathan Eovaldi – SP – Dodgers – C
  35. Miguel Sano – 3B – Twins – B
  36. Ryan Lavarnway – C – Red Sox – C
  37. Tyler Matzek – SP –Rockies– C
  1. Zack Wheeler – SP – Mets – C
  2. Zach Lee – SP – Dodgers – C
  3. Adrian Salcedo – SP – Twins – C
  4. Christian Bethancourt – C – Braves – C
  5. Christian Colon – SS – Royals – C
  6. Gary Sanchez – C – Yankees – C
  7. Jaff Decker – OF – Padres – C
  8. Jake Odorizzi – SP – Royals – C
  9. Casey Kelly – SP – Padres – C
  10. James Paxton – SP – Mariners – C
  11. Wilin Rosario – C –Rockies– C
  12. Aaron Hicks – OF – Twins – C
  13. Nestor Molina – SP – White Sox – C
  14. Steve Lombardozzi – 2B – Nationals – C
  15. Will Middlebrooks – 3B – Red Sox – C
  16. Starling Marte – OF – Pirates – B
  17. Brad Peacock – SP – A’s – C
  18. Edward Salcedo – 3B – Braves – C
  19. Jarred Cosart – SP – Astros – D
  20. Matt Dominguez – 3B – Marlins – C
  21. Michael Olt – 3B – Rangers – D
  22. Tom Milone – SP – A’s – C
  23. Jean Segura – SS – Angels – D
  24. Trevor May – SP – Phillies – C
  25. Grant Green – SS – A’s – D
  26. John Lamb – SP – Royals – D
  27. Sonny Gray – SP – A’s – B
  28. Archie Bradley – SP – Diamondbacks – B
  29. Michael Choice – OF – A’s – D
  30. Carlos Martinez – SP – Cardinals – C
  31. David Holmberg – SP – Diamondbacks – D
  32. Jackie Bradley – OF – Red Sox – C
  33. Taylor Guerrieri – SP – Rays – C
  34. Matt Adams – 1B – Cardinals – C
  35. ChadBettis – SP –Rockies– D
  36. ChadJames – SP – Marlins – C
  37. Mikie Mahtook – OF – Rays – C
  38. Sammy Solis – SP – Nationals – C

Follow Jared on Twitter @Jared_Thatcher

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