Tag Archive | "Mid Season"

Bold-ish Predictions For 2013

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Bold-ish Predictions For 2013

Posted on 04 April 2013 by Will Emerson

I know you have been waiting months, days even, for this exciting moment. Well, it is a bit late, I know, but better late than never, right? Just agree. In any event, it is here! Your wait is over! My much anticipated bold-ish (The “ish” part  will be important. Just wait, you’ll see.) predictions for the 2013 Major League Baseball season.

Mike+Trout+Mark+Trumbo+Los+Angeles+Angels+UsyIUqrRGyIl

Mark Trumbo will sock over forty homeruns. During his mid-season tear it sure seemed like Mr. Trumbo would easily clear forty dingers, but alas, he did not. Trumbo had a huge drop off (a drop off that may or not have cost me a fantasy baseball championship and that I may or may not still be bitter about) where he hit a measly five homeruns from August to the end of the season. Five? FIVE?! Well, there were lingering injury issues and those should be out of the way, so look for more long balls from Trumbo this season. Yeah, the forty homerun number is certainly attainable for Trumbo, so not super bold, but bold-ish.

Felix Doubront will win 17 games, post a sub 3.50 ERA and strikeout 200 batters. Last year Felix went 11-10, with a 4.86 ERA, a 1.45 WHIP and 167 strikeouts, so this prediction has its bit of boldishness, does it not? Fact is, Doubront had a 9.34 K/9 and an xFIP of 3.81. I feel like working with Pedro Martinez, John Farrell and Juan Nieves will help Doubront harness his talent and overall goodness.

Hee Sop Choi and or Hideki Irabu return to Major League Baseball. Huh? Choi is tearing it up in the South Korean pro baseball league right now! Well, he probably is. Why wouldn’t he be? What with that sweet swing and all? You know he’s just itching to get back to America, probably. Now, Hideki Irabu? You just know he is ready for a comeback! And quite frankly, what team would not want a 42-year old former major league pitcher who posted a career ERA over five? Hmmm? Hmmmm?! Surely some team will want it for a gimmick or something. If ony there were a team everyone thought was so bad that they would look for any sort of something to draw a crowd. If only. Eh, onto another prediction.

The Houston Astros will have an All-Star representative….. not named Jose Altuve. Okay, this is bold for sure, right. Now, do I have a prediction of who this All-Star will be? Well, not per se. I mean go ahead and name as many Houston Astros as you can? How many did you get? Ten? Of those, how many do you think could be an All-Star? Hmmm? Well, my shortlist of possible Astros All-Stars includes Lucas Harrell, Justin Maxwell and Carlos Pena. Should any of them, with the numbers they have produced in their career, be considered potential All-Stars? Eh. But who knows, stranger things have certainly happened, right? Now, while I listed several potential players that could earn that coveted All-Star spot for the Houston Astros, my best bet is my boy Bud Norris, because…

Bud Norris will finish top ten in the National League Cy Young voting in 2013. Yeah, you don’t need the “ish” on this bold statement. There is really no way this should happen, but if Bud Norris pitches even half as good on the road as he does at the Juice Box? Well, look out world! Last year at home, Bud Norris posted a 1.71 ERA and a .96 WHIP over 73.2 innings. Likelihood of this one coming true? Not great, sure.

Jered Weaver will win less than 15 games and have an ERA over 3.50. Now, I am not saying I am not a fan of Weaver (I’m not). Weaver is good, certainly. The numbers do not lie. Last season Weaver won 20 games and posted a sub-three ERA, and only once in the last four seasons has he won less than fifteen games or posted an ERA over 3.50. So why do I think that he will not picth as well this season? An xFIP of 4.18 and a sub-seven K/9 that Weaver posted last season. Now, Weaver has a good defense behind him, which has helped him overcome that ugly xFIP, but I feel the regression is a comin’ and this is the year for it to a come!

The Red Sox will make the playoffs. Everyone is down on the Sox this year after what can only be described as an abysmal 2012 for the Beantowners, but not sure they’ll be that bad though. I mean, sure, they could not hold onto Lyle Overbay, but that aside, I still think they can do some things in 2013. The outfield should be pretty good defensively with the addition of the Flyin’ Hawaiian Shane Victorino and I think Mike Napoli probably has another 30 dingers in him this season. Not to mention a full season of Will Middlebrooks and some guys roatating through the shortstop position! Pitching, I think, is the big question, but I think that starting rotation will be much better than people think, so do not sleep on the BoSox!

Josh Hamilton plays less than 100 games. I know, I know, barely bold-ish on this one, but come on, they can’t all be gold, can they? Something tells me sometime in June or July Hamilton’s season will come to an end, leaving the Angels with only 3-4 big hitters in their lineup. Seems like Hamilton is always injured and I feel like his body is wearing down on a high rate from season to season and his days of full, MVP, seasons are behind him.

Kendrys Morales will hit 30 or more home runs. Remember when Morales was a stud? A superstar in waiting? And then, remember when he hurt himself celebrating? It happens. I, for instance, have pulled a muscle getting out of bed. Freak injuries happen. Anyways, Morales quietly hit 22 bombs for the Angels in 2012 in 484 at bats, so 30 is definitely attainable. What makes this bold-ish, is that he now will be playing home games in Safeco and possibly platooning with guys in the Mariner lineup. Now, they have messed with the dimensions in Seattle, but there is still the possibility this will be a picther’s park. But I am still thinking this year will be a big year for Mr. Morales, so ,ark my words!

So there you go!My boldish predictions for the 2013 season. When these come true, remember, you heard it here first, folks. Enjoy the season!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Stephen Strasburg – Is he a keeper?

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Stephen Strasburg – Is he a keeper?

Posted on 30 March 2013 by Trish Vignola

Stephen Strasburg – Is he a keeper?

sstrasburg

Well, I guess that’s too late to figure out now. I kept him. He’s now the “ace” of my fantasy baseball team. I know what you might be thinking. Keeping Strasburg? Isn’t that a no-brainer? He’s already been named the Nationals’ Opening Day starter. However, you are talking to the same woman who had Joey Votto on her team last year. The same Joey Votto who missed like a third of the season due to injury.

In fantasy baseball, I’m kind of the kiss of death.

Last Friday, Strasburg yielded 3 runs in 6 innings of pitching to the Tigers. All right that’s pretty average. Actually, that’s pretty good by mid-season standards. He only walked one person and he struck out five, which is even better. Then Strasburg took a comebacker off his thumb. Yes, it was his non-throwing thumb but shades of Joey Votto flooded my nightmares for the next half of week.

Yes, my nightmares are of the fantasy baseball variety.

There are positives though. He’s not Johan Santana and he’s not signed by the Mets. Seriously though, Rotoworld ranks him 5th. Only Clayton Kershaw, Justin Verlander, David Price and Cole Hamels are ranked higher. ESPN ranked him lower but still in the top 20. The key to Strasburg’s success though is pretty obvious. It comes down to two words…

Innings… Count…

Is there one or not? The Nationals ended Strasburg’s season in early September last year at 159 1/3 innings pitched. Their concerns about Strasburg’s health in his first season following Tommy John surgery seemed to trump the importance of their first trip to the playoffs. It seems ludicrous. However, think about the situation with Johan Santana. After throwing the Mets first no-hitter, coming off of a season ending surgery, he’s now headed again towards… you guessed it… season ending surgery.

Based on how the Nationals treated Jordan Zimmerman’s rehabilitation, there will be a watchful eye but no official innings count. I am essentially banking on Strasburg giving me 190 innings, give or take, in order to get me out of the fantasy cellar. (No, that’s not something from “Fifty Shades of Grey.” I’m that bad in fantasy baseball.)

ESPN is projecting that if Strasburg can give me (yes, me personally) about 196 innings, his line would look something like 16 wins, 244 strikeouts, a 2.94 ERA and 1.09 WHIP. That would pretty much keep him in the elite of fantasy statistics amongst starting pitchers. That also gets me out of the proverbial cellar. If he “Joey Votto”’s me, I’m going to start testing for mold because I will be living in the cellar for the rest of the season.

If Strasburg stays healthy, he could be the best keeper you or I could have ever traded for. A healthy Strasburg has tremendous upside. He’s only 24 and has an entire career ahead of him. Regardless of the little knock to his finger, Strasburg is projected to have no issue in completing the season. If that is the case, he might help me out of the cellar to at least the middle of the pack of my head-to-head league.

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Melky Cabrera Does Something Right…For Once.

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Melky Cabrera Does Something Right…For Once.

Posted on 23 September 2012 by Trish Vignola

Melky Cabrera, serving a 50-game suspension for testing positive for testosterone, a performance-enhancing substance, will not win this year’s National League batting title.

You think?

At Cabrera’s request, the Commissioner’s Office and the Major League Baseball Players Association announced an agreement on Friday to suspend, for this season, part of a rule that might have resulted in the Giants outfielder winning the league’s batting title despite being one plate appearance shy of automatically qualifying for it. Believe it or not, according to Rule 10.22(a), Cabrera still could have been crowned batting champion.

Cabrera asked not to be considered under the circumstances. “I have no wish to win an award that would be tainted,” Cabrera said in a statement on MLB.com. “I believe it would be far better for someone more deserving to win. I asked the Players Association and the league to take the necessary steps to remove my name from consideration for the National League batting title.”

Where was this moral fortitude this spring?

Cabrera continues. “I am grateful that the Players Association and MLB were able to honor my request by suspending the rule for this season. I know that changing the rules mid-season can present problems, and I thank the Players Association and MLB for finding a way to get this done.”
Cabrera had 501 plate appearances and .346 batting average at the time of his suspension on Aug. 15. The requirement to win a batting title is 502 plate appearances, a total based on 3.1 plate appearances per game. The issue in question was Rule 10.22(a). That allowed for an exception by adding one or more hypothetical at-bats to a player’s statistics in order to reach 502 appearances. I don’t get it, but if the player maintained the league lead after such a calculation, he would be named the league champion.

Apparently, Hall of Famer Tony Gwynn won the NL batting title in 1996, via such a calculation. He finished the season with 498 plate appearances. He had a .353 average.

“After giving this matter the consideration it deserves, I have decided that Major League Baseball will comply with Mr. Cabrera’s request,” Commissioner Bud Selig said in a statement to MLB.com. “I respect his gesture as a sign of his regret and his desire to move forward, and I believe that under these circumstances, the outcome is appropriate, particularly for Mr. Cabrera’s peers, who are contending for the batting crown.”

Andrew McCutchen of the Pirates, batting .339 entering play Friday, currently has the next highest average in the National League. Buster Posey of the Giants follows with a .335 average. Cabrera made his request to Michael Weiner, the executive director of the MLBPA. Weinter brought it to Commissioner Selig’s attention. The parties then worked to clarify the rule, and collectively agreed the rule would be amended this season.

“Melky Cabrera, through a written request to me, asked for the union’s assistance in removing him from consideration for the 2012 National League batting title,” Weiner said in a statement on MLB.com. “We complied with Melky’s wish and brought the matter to the Commissioner’s Office, which agreed to suspend the rule. We commend Melky’s decision under these circumstances.”

Yeah, he’s the epitome of righteousness.

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Finders Keepers: Dylan Bundy

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Finders Keepers: Dylan Bundy

Posted on 20 August 2012 by T.J. McDonald

With the playoffs starting in some leagues and with roughly only two weeks left in the fantasy baseball regular season in others, now is the time for keeper and dynasty league owners to find the future stars of tomorrow. In keeper and dynasty leagues, you always need to be on the look out for the next potential star and keeper for your roster, whether that player fills an empty keeper spot or upgrades a previously kept player at said position. September is a key month in scouting your keepers of the future. In the next two finders keepers articles, I will be profiling the number one pitching keeper prospect and number one offensive keeper prospect, as graded by me, with both surprisingly being rumored as September call ups.  First up and this week’s profile is my number one recommended pitching keeper prospect, Baltimore Orioles right-handed pitching prospect Dylan Bundy.

Dylan Bundy was the 4th pick overall in the 2011 major league baseball draft. Drafted out of Owasso (Okla.) High School, he was the 2011 Gatorade National Baseball Player of the Year, Baseball America High School Player of the Year Award and the USA Today National Player of the Year. In Keith Law’s mid season prospect ranks on July 13th, Bundy was rated the number two prospect in all of baseball and was number one in Baseball of America’s mid season prospect rankings posted July 5th. So far, Bundy has lived up to the hype as he’s been lights out in his first season in the minors. He posted eight consecutive scoreless starts in Low-A, then when promoted to High-A, he struck out 63 batters in 54 2/3 innings. He then went 5.1 innings giving up 2 earned runs with 3 strikeouts and 3 walks in his AA debut. Overall, he is 8-3  with a 2.01 ERA, 106 Ks and 22 BBs in 20  games started over 89.2 innings pitched across three minor league levels this year. He also appeared in this season’s Future Games during All-Star weekend held in Kansas City. Kevin Goldstein stated recently in his article Time for O’s to call up Bundy, ”Bundy’s fastball sits in the mid-to-upper 90s and both his curveball and changeup are advanced, and for much of the season he hasn’t been allowed to throw his low 90s cutter. Which many believe is his best pitch. For many, Bundy is the best pitching prospect in baseball.”

Recently, the Orioles sent their designated hitter, Jim Thome, currently on the disabled list, to watch Bundy’s first start in AA. Showalter said Thome was impressed but told the manager he thinks Bundy needs to add a slider to be successful in the majors. “Well, he does have a slider,” Showalter says. “A real good one. Actually, it’s more of a cutter. They took it away from him down there to reduce the wear and tear. He really wants to throw it. Imagine how good he’s going to be if he’s throwing a cutter, too.”

The Orioles have been very conservative with Bundy this season as he was only allowed to go three-innings in starts in April. He was allowed past five innings for the first time Aug. 1 which was his 18th start of the season. The plan currently in AA is to have Bundy pitch in a six-man rotation  and make a total of four starts, the last of which is tentatively scheduled for Sept. 1. That is the day major league roster limit expands from 25 to 40. This also would leave Bundy at approximately 100 innings pitched at the end of August which is enough under the roughly 125 innings at which the Orioles plan to cap him, for him to help them in September. The Orioles recently shocked the baseball world in calling up their top offensive prospect in their organization Manny Machado directly from AA skipping AAA altogether. So a September call up for Bundy is definitely not out of the question especially with the Orioles in the thick if the playoff race and looking to make their first post season appearance since 1997.

Even if he is not called up in September, which all indications point to him getting the call, he is predicted to start in the Orioles’ rotation next year. If he is available in your league, stash him now and keep a close eye on his possible promotion and results if and when he is promoted. Here is his percentage owned in the following leagues; 0% ESPN, 2% Yahoo, 22% CBS. Pitching prospects are always hard to predict but with some comparing Bundy to the likes of Justin Verlander, Dwight Gooden and Tim Lincecum as well as his pedigree, youth and fact that he is on the fast track to the majors. I grade his keeper potential as an A+.

Will you be picking up and keeping Dylan Bundy? Do you agree with the Orioles possibly calling him up come September and are you buying the hype? Feel free to let me know in the comments and as always follow me on twitter @FantasyzrTJ.

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manny machado

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Finders Keepers/Welcome to the Bigs, Kid: Manny Machado (Special Double Edition)

Posted on 10 August 2012 by T.J. McDonald

Welcome to the special double edition of Finders Keepers/Welcome to the Bigs, Kid. Late Wednesday evening, the Baltimore Orioles shocked the baseball world and fantasy community, at large, by announcing the call up of their top position player prospect, 20 year old Manny Machado.  If you are familiar with either of this series of articles you know what will follow. But if not, here is what will. In this piece, I will give a little background on Machado, welcome him to the bigs and go into his long term fantasy value as well as give my overall keeper potential grade.

Manny Machado is a 20 year old shortstop prospect in the Baltimore Orioles organization.  He was drafted 3rd overall in the 2010 Major league draft, was Baseball America’s #11 prospect coming into the season and was ranked #9 in their mid-season rankings. He projects to be a potential All Star with plus grades for both hit tool and power from scouts. He hit .266 with 11Hrs and 59 RBIs in 19 games this year in AA.  While profiled as a shortstop, the Orioles plan to give him time at third upon his promotion as they are in the thick of the playoff race.

The Orioles are in a three way tie atop the wild card standings and only 4 and a half games back of the AL East leading New York Yankees.  It looks as if the Orioles are doing everything they can to make their first playoff appearance since 1997.  While Machado has not been lights out this year in AA, since the AllStar break, he has hit a .275 with four HRs, 11 BBs and 15 Ks in 104 plate appearances and was on a tear his last ten games hitting  .444 with three doubles, two triples, three HRs and seven RBIs.

If he can live up to even half the expectations most have for him it will not be hard to outperform the dismal production of the revolving door of Orioles third basemen this year who’ve hit a combined .245 with 13 HRs and 45 RBIs on the season. The one catch here may be his defense.  He has only played two career games at third with one error, so some could argue the O’s are throwing him into the fire at the hot corner without the proper minor league experience at this position.  However, the Orioles have struggled defensively at third, with Wilson Betemit making a team-high 13 errors at third and Mark Reynolds making six errors at the hot corner in 15 games and also the Orioles do not seem to overly concerned about the tranistion.

As Oriole’s vice president of baseball operations Dan Duquette told the team’s official website,”Manny should be a plus defender, wherever we play him. He’s a five-tool player, and he can help our team. I think he improves our team, and it’s important here (for this club) to be strong.” When Manny himself was asked by the media before Thursday’s game about how comfortable he was playing third his response was, “I’m very comfortable out there. Every day I try to be proactive, I try to take a couple ground balls at third base after I catch my grounders at short. I am pretty comfortable out there. So, I’m really looking forward to it.” He started at third base Thursday night going 2-4 with a triple and one run scored.

Now for his fantasy value in yearly leagues. I wouldn’t drop anyone of good to decent value for him. As @FantasyRundown stated yesterday on Twitter, “Human nature to get excited about the latest and greatest, but I would not drop anyone of significance for Manny Machado.”  However, I suggest if you have a bench spot or start the Logan Forsythe and Willie Bloomquists of the world, pick him up.  Just keep in mind, many top prospects struggle when they first get called up.  Case in point, Mike Trout struggled in his first tour in the big leagues prior to this season.

Once Machado gains his dual eligibility (3b/SS), it will be a major asset going forward and since he will be playing third primarily depending on your leagues rules it shouldn’t take long to add 3rd base eligibility to go along with his short stop eligibility. With this dual eligibility he could be a valuable asset onany yearly league owners bench.

Now for keeper leagues. Pick him up as he is a very highly rated prospect and a highly rated prospect can be very valuable keeper and or trade asset. Keep him for the rest of the season and go from there or even flip him immediately to the owner in your league who is enamored with prospects. Either way it is a win/win. At worst, he can be dropped come keeper time and at best, you have either flipped him for valuable pieces and/or have the next big thing on your fantasy roster come keeper time. He may lose shortstop for next year but if he does not, having dual eligibility will make him that much more valuable. When a prospect is called up prior to the expanded rosters in September it gives you a larger sample size than just the normal September callup small sample size. This enables you to have that much more of a look at the player. Allowing you to make an even better asset of him as a player and potential keeper, come keeper time. Percent owned as of Thursday August 9th: 2% ESPN, 8% Yahoo and 35% CBS. He is currently only shortstop eligible. I grade his keeper potential as an A.

Will you be picking up Manny Machado or did you happen to have have him already rostered?  Let me know in the comments and, as always, be sure to follow me on Twitter @FantasyzrTJ for all your fantasy baseball needs.

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