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travis_snider

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The Waiver Wire: Travis Snider

Posted on 02 August 2012 by Daniel Aubain

The Major League Baseball Trade Deadline has come and gone with the usually flurry of deals as some teams prepared to make a final push to lock up a playoff spot while others made deals with an eye to the future. This is the same strategy you should be using over the final two months of your fantasy baseball season, too, especially if you are in a dynasty, keeper or a league which utilizes some sort of minor league system.

Many of the deadline trades made have changed the immediate fortunes of some players and increased their fantasy baseball value. Below, I’ll take a look at a handful of those players whose value has positively been changed due to a deadline deal being made.

Outfielder Travis Snider is a player the Toronto Blue Jays organization, their fans and fantasy baseball owners have been waiting since 2008 to burst on the scene and live up to the dreaded “hype” and “potential” of a player who recently had many thinking would only amount to nothing more than a Quad-A player.

After a relatively average Spring Training landed him back in AAA Las Vegas to start the 2012 season, fantasy owners may have finally written him off as a bust. He was called up to the Blue Jays July 20th for what, in hindsight, was a showcasing of his talents to move him prior to the trade deadline. Snider responded with a .250 batting average with three home runs and eight RBI in 10 games and found himself shipped off to the Pittsburgh Pirates for SP/RP Brad Lincoln.

Snider was immediately inserted into the starting lineup in right field and, in two games, has batted second and fifth, so far. He’s gone 3-for-9 with three runs scored, a walk and two strikeouts and should be a vital part of the Pirates’ offense down the playoff stretch. Not convinced? His 162-game averages for standard 5×5 scoring leagues would be .248/73/21/75/11 with 37 doubles.

He’s only owned in 8.6% of ESPN leagues, 6% of Yahoo! leagues and 23% of CBS leagues and should be a nice addition to your fantasy outfield as you make a run towards fantasy gold.

Here are some other players whose fantasy baseball value was positively impacted by a trade deadline deal:

RP Greg Holland, Kansas City Royals: Jonathan Broxton was traded to the Cincinnati Reds, opening up the closer’s role for Holland to inherit. He’s sporting a healthy 12.71 K/9 ratio but a troubling 1.56 WHIP. If there are saves to be had for the Royals, it looks like Holland will be guy earning the opportunities. (27.1% ESPN; 34% Y!; 33% CBS)

3B Chris Johnson, Arizona Diamondbacks: In three games since his trade from the Houston Astros, Johnson is 6-for-11 (.545 BA) with a double, two home runs and  seven RBI. The D’Backs are surging and Johnson is thriving with his new team. If you’re still looking around for an Alex Rodriguez replacement, look no further. (22.4% ESPN; 24% Y!; 51% CBS)

OF Nate Schierholtz, Philadelphia Phillies: Schierholtz has been the odd man out in San Francisco for some time now and may finally get a chance to play regularly to prove his worth. He’s off to a good start, too. Batting second between Jimmy Rollins and Chase Utley, Schierholtz went 2-for-5 in his debut with a home run. (0.6% ESPN; 2% Y!; 4% CBS)

OF Denard Span, Minnesota Twins: Span was rumored to be on the move to the Reds right up to the 4PM EST deadline but wound up staying put. All he did was hit .361 (35-for-97) in July with 13 RBI, 13 Runs and four stolen bases (three caught stealings, UGH!). He’s also in the midst of a 10-game hitting streak. Do you think the Reds made a mistake not making this trade? (36.4% ESPN; 20% Y!; 53% CBS)

 2B/SS Marco Scutaro, San Francisco Giants: The Giants acquired Scutaro to fill the hole left by injured third baseman Pablo Sandoval and he’s hit in all five games since the trade and creeping toward gaining third base eligibility. He could be a valuable player to fill multiple positions down the wire. If your league has a max/min games played rule, be sure not to leave any games unused. (65.6% ESPN; 28% Y!; 71% CBS)

OF Domonic Brown, Philadelphia Phillies: This may be time to “put up or shut up” for Brown because with Shane Victorino and Hunter Pence being dealt, there’s no time like the present to show if he’ll be part of the future with the Phillies. He made a pinch hit appearance in his debut and singled but followed that up with an 0-for-4 performance. Deep and NL-only leaguers are the only ones who should be diving in this early. (0.8% ESPN; 4% Y!; 19% CBS)

How did trade deadline deals affect your fantasy teams, especially those of you in league-only types of ultra-deep keeper/dynasty leagues? I’d love to hear what players you’re targeting as we start winding down the fantasy baseball season. Does your head-to-head league have a playoff system in place? If so, what week do they begin? Feel free to leave a comment and/or hit me up on Twitter @DJAubain.

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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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