Tag Archive | "Prince Fielder"

Triple Play: Miguel Cabrera, Mitchell Boggs, Roy Oswalt

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Triple Play: Miguel Cabrera, Mitchell Boggs, Roy Oswalt

Posted on 06 May 2013 by Chris Caylor

In this week’s edition of the Triple Play, we look at the most consistent hitter in the game, a closer banished to the minors and more. Off we go:

Miguel Cabrera

Who’s Hot?

Miguel Cabrera, Detroit Tigers

Talk about en fuego. In the past week, he smashed four homers, drove in 13 runs and punished opposing pitchers to the tune of a .461/.562/1.038 batting line. Prepare to roll your eyes: Cabrera is on pace to drive in 201 runs. While that obviously isn’t happening, what is happening is that the 30-year-old is continuing to prove he is the most consistent hitter in baseball. For the season, Cabrera is hitting .389/.467/.627, with six home runs, 36 RBI and 26 runs scored. If you drafted Miggy with your first-round pick in your fantasy draft or you spent the big bucks required in your auction league, you are likely having no buyer’s remorse pangs. Credit must be given, of course, to Austin Jackson for doing a terrific job getting on base in front of Cabrera (30 runs scored already) and to Prince Fielder hitting behind Cabrera. Going into Sunday’s games, the Jackson/Cabrera duo had scored 56 of the Tigers’ 155 runs, while Cabrera and Fielder have teamed up to drive in 64 of the team’s 152 RBI. The key to it all, though, is Cabrera – the best hitter in baseball (including fantasy baseball). Period.

Who’s Not?

Mitchell Boggs, St. Louis Cardinals

I hate to pile on Boggs here, but my goodness, has he ever been awful. After a 2012 season in which he was one of the best setup men in baseball, Boggs has cratered. In his first 10 appearances, Boggs tallied two blown saves, two losses, and a 12.66 ERA. He allowed a ghastly 30 baserunners in just 10 2/3 innings. The final straw came last Thursday, when he walked the only two batters he faced against Milwaukee. With usual closer Jason Motte now facing Tommy John surgery and out until midseason 2014, Boggs was supposed to provide stability in the Cardinals bullpen. He did not. The instability was further compounded when left-hander Marc Rzepczynski was demoted last week as well. It is fortunate for St. Louis (and fantasy owners) that Edward Mujica has stepped up to fill the void at closer. As the Cardinals try to rebuild their bullpen on the fly, it is worth remembering that the same thing happened in 2011. If Boggs is trying to find a bright side in his demotion, perhaps this will help: Boggs was last sent to the minors in 2011. When he returned, he was a key cog in the retooled bullpen that helped propel the Cards to their 11th world championship in 2011. General manager John Mozeliak hinted that Boggs’ stay at Triple-A Memphis would be short. Cards fans and fantasy owners hope that Boggs can return and be the pitcher he was in 2012.

Playing the Name Game

Player A: 1-0, 3.00 ERA, 0.58 WHIP, 12 IP, 16/2 K/BB ratio
Player B: 1-0, 1.63 ERA, 0.72 WHIP, 11 IP, 13/4 K/BB ratio

Player A is Reds’ rookie pitcher Tony Cingrani. Player B is the Marlins’ own rookie, righty Jose Fernandez. What a pair these two are. Cingrani has been everything the Reds expected and then some in his four starts in 2013. His six-inning, 11 strikeout performance against the Nationals was nothing short of dominating. I don’t see how the Reds can justify sending their prized southpaw back down to the minors even when Johnny Cueto returns from the disabled list. He has proven he belongs. Meanwhile, in Miami, Fernandez, who was born the year before the Marlins came into existence, is becoming the only reason to watch the Marlins while Giancarlo Stanton is injured. After scuffling his past three starts, Fernandez was brilliant over the weekend in earning his first career victory. He struck out nine Phillies, allowed one hit and one walk during seven shutout innings. At age 20, Fernandez is likely to be strictly monitored this season, but the strikeout potential is there for fantasy owners if you can live with the shorter outings and occasional spells of inconsistency. If he’s available in your league, he’s worth a look.

Player A: 4-2, 1.59 ERA, 0.91 WHIP, 51/7 K/BB ratio
Player B: 3-1, 1.61 ERA, 0.76 WHIP, 42/8 K/BB ratio

Player A is Seattle’s Felix Hernandez. Player B is his teammate Hisashi Iwakuma. It’s no secret that I’m a big Iwakuma fan. The numbers above illustrate why. Iwakuma is King Felix Lite. You can pay big auction dollars or use an early draft pick on Hernandez and be satisfied with the numbers he provides. Or, you could have spent that early pick/auction cash on a hitter like Prince Fielder and then picked up Iwakuma many rounds later and enjoy the similar stats at a bargain-basement price. Obviously, it’s early in the season and Iwakuma does not have King Felix’s track record. But don’t dismiss this as a fluke. Iwakuma has great stuff, doesn’t walk many batters and pitches in one of the most pitcher-friendly parks in the game. I believe he’s the real deal

Random Thoughts

News: The St. Louis Post-Dispatch is reporting that Chris Carpenter thinks the nerve pain in his throwing arm has improved enough that he wants to try to come back as a reliever. Views: If anyone can do it, it’s Carpenter. But the man has nothing to prove to anyone. He was as fierce a competitor as anyone you’ll ever see.

So, Roy Oswalt signed a minor-league contract with the Rockies. This tells me two things: 1) that ol’ Roy isn’t looking for the best chance to win, but rather a team that would stick him in the rotation as soon as possible, and 2) his pouty antics last year in Texas really damaged his reputation. I find it very difficult to believe that Oswalt couldn’t have hooked on with a better team than the Rockies if he hadn’t been such an unprofessional whiner with the Rangers. If he hadn’t acted that way, doesn’t it seem reasonable that teams like the Yankees, Angels, or Mets (all teams in dire need of starting pitching depth in spring training) might have kicked Oswalt’s tires if they thought he would do his job like a pro and not complain to the media constantly like a prissy NFL wide receiver?

Congratulations to Scott Kazmir, who earned his first major-league win since September 2010 this past Saturday. The lanky lefty is only 29. It would be a major, if unlikely, boost for the Indians if he could recapture the success he enjoyed with Tampa Bay. Still, he’s not going near my fantasy team’s roster.

Yu Darvish is receiving in tons of accolades in Texas, but let’s not lose sight of what Pirates starter AJ Burnett has done so far this season. The 36-year-old Burnett has whiffed 57 batters in 42 innings so far this season with a 1.12 WHIP.

Speaking of the Pirates, they’re going to be a real handful for everyone once Andrew McCutchen and Neil Walker start hitting. McCutchen is off to a .259/.319/.444 start, while Walker is hitting (or should I say, NOT hitting) .253/.352/.342. Meanwhile, left fielder Starling Marte is putting up McCutchen-like numbers (.328/.394/.513, while leading the NL with 10 steals).

Wainwright Walk Watch: In 49 2/3 innings pitched this season, Cardinals ace Adam Wainwright has walked three batters. Or, about what the Padres’ Edinson Volquez averages per inning of work.

 

Follow me on Twitter: @ccaylor10

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Detroit Tigers Quintin Berry – A Dirtbag?

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Detroit Tigers Quintin Berry – A Dirtbag?

Posted on 15 February 2013 by Jennifer Gosline

There is no shortage of big names on the Detroit Tigers. Prince Fielder, Miguel Cabrera and Justin Verlander may grab the headlines on one of the most polarizing teams in the league, but what about the other guys?

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The other guys whose names do not litter the media; the players with the not so glamorous roles of base stealing, sac bunting, and quick footed pinch runners, like Quintin Berry. Manager Jim Leyland once referred to these players as “Dirtbags”, the little guys who do not have reporters anxiously waiting for an interview or to snap a photo of their victory smiles. The ones that stand in the shadows of their celebrity teammates, but play hard and make a difference for their team. Dirtbags are the underdogs. With the cameras, lights, and articles swirling around the hype of the All Star starts and MVP awards, the media overlooks players like Berry.

Berry has something that a lot of other players do not have or else they just keep it buried deep within them. He has an affection for baseball that is pure and raw, the feeling that every baseball fan and probably every player gets when it is the start of the season. I am not sure why some other players do not show this emotion. Perhaps, it is because they are nervous of it being seen as weak, or that it will overshadow their ability as a ballplayer. All I know is that Berry wears his heart on his sleeve and he does not hold back.

On May 23, 2012 Berry made his Major League debut with the Tigers at Cleveland where he went 1-5 with 1 Run. He came onto the field bright-eyed and with the unbridled enthusiasm of a little leaguer. His first hit in a Tiger’s uniform resulted in a double… on a bunt. It was an unconventional bunt double, but nonetheless, his speed was proven. His quick feet and boundless energy caught the attention of the team and the fans. It is guys like Berry that help make a team thrive. The outfielder’s spark was infectious with every move he made. Even watching from the dugout his facial expressions showed it all. He put the child-like excitement back into the game.

He may not have had the most appealing slash line at .258/.330/.354 but it was the entertaining factor and of course his hustle, that was simply invaluable. Baseball needs more than just those big hitters. They need a team to work together. The animated Tiger proved himself over the season to be a hard working replacement for the injured Austin Jackson. It was Berry’s dirtbag quality and timely plays that kept him on the roster even after the veteran starting center fielder returned.

Berry had 44 Runs and 29 RBIs after the Tigers called him up last season. But the magnitude of stolen bases might be what lands Berry a spot on the 25 man roster in 2013. Last season, he swiped 21 bags out of 21 attempts, leading the major leagues in stolen base percentage with 100%. The next Tiger with the most steals in 2012 was Austin Jackson, with 12. However, Jackson’s injury definitely decreased his numbers last season; he finished with 22 in 2011.

With little hitting power, this speedy outfielder has a Spring Training invite to battle for a coveted spot on the active roster. I agree that Berry has some work to do to prove he deserves that place. Passion can only go so far, but there is more to Berry than being a cheerleader and he is dying for every opportunity to prove it. He will be competing with outfielders Don Kelly and Brennan Boesch who, along with Berry, are left handed hitters. Boesch may be the stronger hitter, and Kelly may be more versatile, but no one has the speed and energy of Berry.

While no one can ignore a Triple Crown or a Home Run Derby winner, nor should they, Berry may just be that gritty player that gives the Tigers an edge. He gives hope for every underrated career minor leaguer who just wants a chance in the bigs. This season, Comerica Park might once again be filled with the echoing chants of “Berry, Berry”. However, the 28 year old would be happy to fly under the radar and be lost in the shadows of the star studded Detroit Tigers. He just wants to be a part of the team. Every club should have a player like Quintin Berry, a guy with an honorable title of: Dirtbag.

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2012 Fantasy All-Stars: American League Edition

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2012 Fantasy All-Stars: American League Edition

Posted on 04 July 2012 by Bryan Geary

Mike Trout

The real life All-Star rosters were announced over the weekend, which means it is a great time for us to look at the 2012 Fantasy All-Stars to date. Some things that will be taken into account include: the ESPN Player Rater, Fangraphs leaderboards, average draft position, and my own personal expert (just kidding) analysis. So, without further ado, I present to you the 2012 mid-season fantasy baseball All-Stars for the American League.

Catcher

Real-life pick: Mike Napoli 

Player Rater pick: A.J. Pierzynski

Fangraphs Leaderboard: Joe Mauer

My pick: A.J. Pierzynski

For me, this was a pretty easy decision. While Mauer has certainly had a bounce back year and Matt Wieters has been solid aside from a putrid May, if you are looking at production across the board, Pierzynski has seperated himself from the pack. The 35-year-old catcher has become a power hitter in 2012, with his 14 dingers to date only 4 shy of the career high 18 home runs he hit in 2005. His power spike is evidenced by a ridiculous increase in both his ISO and his HR/FB numbers. In 2012 his ISO of .231 not only ranks 12th in the American League, but it is nearly 100 points higher than his career mark of .142. His HR/FB ratio of 20.3% is more than double his career mark of 8.9%. I have no idea if the power spike is sustainable, but Pierzynski deserves recognition for the awesome first half he has had.

First Base

Real-life pick: Prince Fielder

Player Rater pick: Edwin Encarnacion

Fangraphs Leaderboard: Edwin Encarnacion

My pick: Edwin Encarnacion

This was a very tough decision for me because Paul Konerko has been so good and Encarnacion has only played 31 games at first base this year. But the Blue Jays slugger had to be on my list somewhere, and he did so at the expense of Konerko’s excellent first half. Sorry White Sox fans. Basically, Encarnacion is in the midst of a career year in every sense of the word: he has already set a career high in home runs and is on pace to set career highs in plate appearances, hits, RBI, steals, and walks. His wOBA (weighted on base average) of .397 is 8th in American League. He is also in the top 10 in home runs, RBI, ISO, SLG, and wRC+ (weighted runs created plus). In a word, Encarnacion has been incredible.

Second Base

Real-life pick: Robinson Cano

Player Rater pick: Jason Kipnis

Fangraphs Leaderboard: Robinson Cano

My pick: Jason Kipnis

Another tough decision here, but what may have swayed me is the average draft position: while Cano’s ADP was 7.6, Kipnis’ was 183.3. Cano’s power numbers are undoubtedly more impressive and he would be a deserving selection, but with the value Kipnis owners are getting based on expectations, I had to give him the nod. Another thing that separates Kipnis has been speed. His 19 steals are good for second in the American League behind only Mike Trout. When you pair that type of speed with possible 20-25 home run power, you get a player that is incredibly valuable for fantasy purposes. His overall line of .275/.335/.426 is nothing to scoff at either. It looks like Kipnis has crashed the elite second basemen party, at least for the first half of 2012, and he deserves to be recognized.

Third Base

Real-life pick: Adrian Beltre

Player Rater pick: Edwin Encarnacion

Fangraphs Leaderboard: Brett Lawrie

My pick: Miguel Cabrera

This was an incredibly tough choice. If fantasy leagues had a way to quantify and score defensive contributions, the easy answer would be Beltre. But the reality is that defense does not count here, which means I am giving the nod to Cabrera. One big question coming into the season was whether Cabrera would stay healthy playing a more demanding position. He did nothing to ease the minds of fantasy owners after he took a ball off of the face in Spring Training, but he has been out there every day for the Tigers, doing what he always does. According to his standards, this has actually been a bit of a down year, especially when it comes to getting on base. His walk rate of 8.4% is way down from his 15.7% mark last year, likely due to the addition of Prince Fielder in the Tigers lineup. But when .315/.376/.541 with 16 HR and 62 RBI is a down year, you are looking a potential Hall of Famer.

Shortstop

Real-life pick: Derek Jeter

Player Rater pick: Elvis Andrus

Fangraphs Leaderboard: Elvis Andrus

My pick: Elvis Andrus

I understand why the fans picked Jeter — he has had an excellent year and he is Derek Jeter — but for fantasy purposes he does little for owners outside of average. With Andrus, we are seeing the maturation of young hitter, particularly with his ability to get on base. The key for base stealers, of course, is maintaining a high OBP. Andrus has improved in this area every year of his career and this year he is getting on base at a .381 clip. Though he will never be a source of power, that high OBP means increased chances to steal and to score runs in that high-octane Ranger offense. To me, Andrus is clearly the best shortstop in the American League at this point and not too long from now everyone will start to see that.

Outfield

Real-life picks: Josh Hamilton, Curtis Granderson, Jose Bautista

Player Rater picks: Josh Hamilton, Mike Trout, Adam Jones

Fangraphs Leaderboard: Mike Trout, Josh Hamilton, Adam Jones

My picks: Josh Hamilton, Mike Trout, Jose Bautista

With all due respect to Granderson, Jones, and surprise contenders Mark Trumbo and Josh Reddick, they come up just short for me. The great thing about the three players that I selected is that they have all had a month in which they went absolutely bonkers. Trout’s big month is fresh in our memories, as the 20-year-old hit .372/.419/.531 with 14 steals in June. Bautista also had an insane month of June, going for a .271/.408/.750 mark with 14 home runs. For Hamilton, his big month came in May (though you could argue March/April) when he hit .344/.405/.781 with 12 home runs. All three guys have carried fantasy rosters for an extended period of time, which is not something that you can say about too many players. They are also your respective AL leaders in home runs (Bautista – 26), RBI (Hamilton –  73), and steals (Trout – 22). A pretty impressive group to say the least.

Designated Hitter

Real-life pick: David Ortiz

My pick: David Ortiz

The Player Rater does not have a category for DH-only players and the Fangraphs Leaderboard includes guys like Joe Mauer, so I skipped them here. Besides, this is a pretty easy choice anyway. As much as I love the seasons that Adam Dunn and Billy Butler are having, Ortiz is the clear choice here. He seems to have slimmed down noticeably and as a result he is having perhaps his best season since 2007. He ranks 2nd in the AL in runs (57), 4th in OBP (.397), 6th in home runs (21), 7th in RBI (53), and 12th in average (.305). Ortiz has been a stud across the board this year and ranks 14th overall on the Player Rater, which is a great value consider his ADP was 74.9. What a year it has been for the 36-year-old.

 

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Has Prince Fielder Been A Disappointment?

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Has Prince Fielder Been A Disappointment?

Posted on 11 June 2012 by Bryan Geary

Prince Fielder has been a perennial 30 home run hitter since his first full season in 2006, averaging 34 per season during that span. Consequently, we just expect the numbers to be there at the end of the year. Perhaps that is why you do not hear more people talking about his drop in power so far this season. The other day I was driving when I heard his name mentioned as a buy low candidate on ESPN Radio. I thought to myself that he did not seem to fit that mold, but that was before I took a look at the numbers. So let us investigate this.

Currently with 10 home runs, Fielder is on pace for 27 home runs this season, a number that would easily be a career low. Maybe people believe the numbers will be there at the end, or maybe the spotlight is not as bright because Detroit is playing poorly, but for some reason not many people have noticed. There is always an adjustment moving from league to league, but Fielder’s .316 average suggests that, on the surface, he is making the adjustment well. However, when you go inside those numbers you see a hitter that has some definite differences from the one we are used to seeing.

We will start with his average, since that might be the most surprising thing of all. Fielder is a career .284 hitter and has never once finished a season over .300 (though he did hit .299 twice). A big explanation for the sudden jump in average is .332 BABIP that is 28 points higher than his career average. When you look inside that number, you see that his line drive and ground ball percentages are both above the career marks, which helps BABIP. Along that note, those two numbers have increased ever year since 2009. It is possible that we are seeing an evolution of Fielder as a hitter. But of course the power was there last year when he smashed 38 home runs, so where is it this year?

Two numbers that are noticeably down this year are numbers that are of great interest to Fielder owners: home run per fly ball ratio and fly ball percentage. During his career, he has hit fly balls 40.1% of the time but this season that number is only 32.5%. Similarly, his career HR/FB ratio is 20.1% while this year that number is 15.9%. Fielder is giving himself fewer chances to hit home runs and is driving fewer of those fly balls out of the ball park. Could this have something to do with the switch from Milwaukee to Detroit? Per the home run maps that you can generate here — the one I created charts Fielder’s home runs at Miller Park in 2011 onto the field dimensions of Comerica — 12 of his home runs were hit to what I would consider center field. Take a look at where this site projects those balls would have landed at Comerica — not many would have gone out.

Take that chart for what its worth, but it’s possible that Fielder’s switch to Comerica Park is having a very real effect on his home run totals. Not enough data is available to do a similar plot for this year’s home runs, but one would have to think that he has already lost a few home runs in the power alleys at Comerica. I think the verdict here is that Fielder may just be different this year. Maybe in his new, more spacious home park, more hits are going to fall for him and the batting average can stay up around .300. As far as Fielder being a buy low candidate, I do not think you are going to get many people who want to sell him low. He still ranks 6th on ESPN’s Player Rater for first basemen, which means he is a valuable commodity to owners. But if you can get someone to give him to you at a reduced price pull the trigger. I am willing to be that his batted ball stats will regress much closer to the mean, which means you might get that 30 home run, 100 RBI guy with a higher average — a win all around.

Rising Fast

Paul Goldschmidt saw his ownership rise 44.4% over the past week and he is now taken in 82.7% of leagues. I am telling you if you need help at first base and he is still out there in your league, grab him and grab him yesterday. This is a guy who showed 30 home run power in the minor leagues with an average that is not going to kill you (he is hitting .292 this year, 7th among qualified first basemen).  Another big reason to own Goldschmidt is his home park Chase Field, which is yielding 1.755 home runs per game, second only to The Great American Ballpark. He is young, playing in a great park, and seeing the majority of his at bats in the 5 or 6 hole, which means plenty of RBI chances. Grab him while you still can or see if you can get him cheap from an owner who might not see him as a household name.

Rekindling the Prospect Shine

Justin Smoak was a disappointment last year, hitting .234/.323/.396 with only 15 home runs. He had a nagging thumb injury and he also dealt with the death of his father, leaving some people, including Keith Law, to think that he may break out this year with a fresh start. It did not happen right away, but Smoak may be coming around of late. Over his last 15 games he is hitting .255 with 4 of his 10 home runs on the season. It is not great, but it is progress. A career .283 hitter in the minors, I am not sure where the average went, but it may never be there. However, if he can turn himself into a 25 home run guy and keep the average around .250, he would be a valuable fantasy asset for those in AL-only leagues or deeper leagues. He is still available in more than half of ESPN leagues, so think about giving him a roster spot if you need help at first.

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Finding Keepers: Detroit Tigers

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Finding Keepers: Detroit Tigers

Posted on 02 April 2012 by Gary Marchese

The Detroit Tigers were a good team last  year.  They even upset the New York Yankees in the first round of the playoffs.  They lost to the Texas Rangers in the ALCS.  Detroit made some upgrades and seems to be a very strong team going into 2012.  I believe they have a bunch of fantasy keepers on their team.  Here I will take a look at some.  I would love to hear any feedback, agree or disagree.  I can be reached on twitter @gmarchesej, email gmarchesej@aol.com and comments under this article.  Thanks for reading and I hope you continue to do so with not just me but the other writers as well.

Miguel Cabrera

SP Justin Verlander, he is one of the best pitchers in the game today.  If you have him on your team you don’t want to give this guy up.  He will be the anchor of your pitching staff.  He is still young and has many good years ahead of him.  He won the MVP award in 2011 and will look to continue his dominance in 2012.  He was 24-5 with a 2.40 ERA and a 0.92 WHIP.  What an amazing season, in his career he is 107-57 with a 3.54 ERA and a 1.19 WHIP.

Closer Jose Valverde, you can’t argue with perfection.  I don’t really know how he did it but he did.  Valverde was perfect last year and if I had him on my team I would want to ride that for as long as I could.  There is no reason to give him up at this point.  He was 49 for 49 in save chances and 2-4 with a 2.24 ERA.  It was his best year by far but still worth holding onto and see if he can repeat it or come close to last year.

C Alex Avila is an all-star catcher with power.  He is a guy you want to hold onto.  He came up in 2010 and wasn’t great but really broke out last year.  He hit 295 with 19 homeruns and 82 RBI.  His on base was 389, a catcher with those kind of numbers you don’t want to let go of.

3B Miguel Cabrera is a hitting machine.  He is one of the best hitters in baseball.  He is a guy that you fear as an opposing pitcher.  If he is on my team there is no way I can give him up.  He is still fairly young also and in his prime.  He hit 344 last year with 30 homeruns and 105 RBI.  He is a 317 career hitter who will hit you 30+ homeruns a year.  His worst year was 26 homeruns and that was in 2006.

1B Prince Fielder left Milwaukee for a big contract with the Tigers.  He is a great power hitter though and is playing in a city where his father played.  He hit 299 with 38 homeruns and 120 RBI last year.  He will only benefit from having Cabrera in front of him in the lineup.  He hit 28 homeruns in his worst year and has hit 50 once and 46 another time.  He is a great power hitter and you need that on your team for sure.

Max Scherzer, Rick Porcello and Doug Fister all starting pitchers are guys I would look at as honorable mentions.  I don’t think they are great but they are all  young with potential.  They also aren’t that bad pitching wise.  They could all win you anywhere from 10-15 games and have an ERA around 4 at the worst, the best they may do is 3.5 to 3.8 ERA.  I would take a long look at them if they were on my team and think about keeping them.  I am not going to say they are definite keepers but they are borderline.

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