Tag Archive | "Rickie Weeks"

Buy and Sell Calls for Cellar Dwellers

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Buy and Sell Calls for Cellar Dwellers

Posted on 15 May 2012 by Dennis Lawson

 

You can't stop A Miles

While the MLB non-waiver trade deadline seems like a tiny dot in the distant future, it might be too early for some teams to pull the trigger on a big move to try and improve.  For others, it might already be too late.  Keeping in mind that not all deals come with the stipulation that the team must improve immediately, a GM in search of help would do well to consider just about anything and everything at this juncture.  As a “buyer” teams will not necessarily be subjected to inflation that often accompanies the deadline.  As a “seller”, teams may be presented with an opportunity to accomplish something that becomes more difficult after the All-Star break.

Consider the potential buyers in this market:

  • Philadelphia Phillies – Being 6.0 games behind the division leader does not point to the end of all things.  Being stuck behind 4 teams in their division with winning records does add a certain element of difficulty, though.  The return of Cliff Lee should help quite a bit, especially with that pesky -9 run differential.  Even so, this team struggles to score runs and has not adequately replaced the production lost due to Ryan Howard‘s absence.  Given the lack of production from Freddy Galvis, Jimmy Rollins, John Mayberry, and Jim Thome, it appears that the Phillies are quickly nearing a point of no return for 2012.  If they need another bat, can they put together a package around Joe Blanton that will fetch what they need?  If not, do they risk floating Cole Hamels on the market to a team in hopes of obtaining big returns?  While it might be difficult to find a suitable trading partner, the Rangers would be an interesting fit.  Maybe something involving Michael Young or Mitch Moreland and Matt Harrison could happen.
  • Milwaukee Brewers – With Rickie Weeks struggling and Alex Gonzalez out for the season, the Brewers could use someone who can play SS and spell Weeks a bit at 2B.  Aaron Miles, anyone?  The switch-hitter represents a potentially inexpensive option who can play several positions and has some mileage left on him.  A team that stands 5 games out at 15-19 could do worse.  Too bad word has it that Miles has struck a deal with the Dodgers.
  • Boston Red Sox – Jon Lester‘s ERA sits at 4.29, and he has the LOWEST ERA among the starting pitchers.  Considering the 6.5 game deficit, the Sox could be buyers, but I doubt that they can buy enough pitching to do it.
  • Los Angeles Angels – This team trails Oakland by 3.0 games for 2nd in the division.  The Angels have 5 players with 100+ at-bats this season, and 3 are hitting below .240.  The combination of big contracts and older players may limit their options greatly, but there certainly must be teams out there that covet Peter Bourjos and……..well, Peter Bourjos.

Potential sellers:

  • Minnesota Twins – When 1/3 of your hitters are below the Mendoza line, you might want to consider throwing in the towel.  If Morneau can raise his numbers just slightly, he might be attractive to a team that needs offense and can handle a good portion of his $14M for 2013 and the balance of his $14M for this season.  Moving Morneau would clear the way for Mauer to get more at-bats at DH, but it might cost the Twins some cash in the deal.  Still, this is not a team headed for the playoffs anytime soon in its current form, so it might be a good idea to implement that 3 year plan now.
  • San Diego Padres – Maybe now is the time for the Padres to also look at their 3 year plan.  If they can work on getting Andrew Cashner-type players in return, I don’t think fans would be too upset about a salary dump that would return talent to prepare the Friars for the 2014 playoff run they seem destined to make.  Since it seems unlikely that too many general managers are going to hand over guys like Cashner, they may simply want to divest themselves of some salary and bring along some minor league guys while wheelin’ and dealin’ anybody who projects to be irrelevant to their plans a few years from now.

Maybe it does seem a bit early for this, but consider the potential impact to the standing (and more importantly fantasy baseball), if 1 or more of these teams takes action.

 

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Finding keepers: Milwaukee Brewers

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Finding keepers: Milwaukee Brewers

Posted on 06 March 2012 by Mark Sherrard

The Milwaukee Brewers are expected to have a good team in 2012, which means that finding keepers on their team may be a bit more difficult, as players tend to be overvalued on winning teams.

That said, there are still some players who may be under-the-radar for the Brew Crew.

1B Mat Gamel finally gets his shot at a starting role with the departure of Prince Fielder. Gamel has spent parts of the last 4 years at AAA Nashville, with a slash line of .301/.374/.512. He should be able to hit for a good average while adding 15-20 homeruns.

SP Randy Wolf is often forgotten about, sitting behind the likes of Zack Greinke, Shaun Marcum and Yovanni Gallardo in the Brewers rotation. However, he posted a lower ERA than Greinke in 2011 and matched Marcum with 13 wins (3rd best on the team).

RP Marco Estrada is definitely a player under most people’s radars. He posted a 4.08 ERA with 88 strikeouts in 92.2 innings last year, splitting time between the bullpen and starting. As a starter, he posted a 3.70 ERA and a 1.09 whip in 7 starts and could overtake Chris Narveson for the fifth starter spot.

SP Zack Greinke’s 3.83 ERA last year was good, but there are certain indicators that say it could have been a lot better. He suffered through a very unlucky first half of the season. His .349 BABIP during the first half led to an unsightly 5.45 ERA. Once his BABIP normalized in the second half (.304), he posted a 2.59 ERA. If he can carry that forward into 2012, he could put together a season reminiscent of his 2009 Cy Young year.

2B/3B Taylor Green put himself back in the Brewers plans after a breakout season at Nashville in 2011. He hit .336/.413/.583 with 22 homeruns and earned a cup of coffee with the big club down the stretch. Capable of playing both second and third, he will likely fill the utility role in 2012 and could see significant playing time if either Rickie Weeks or Aramis Ramirez go down with an injury.

With recent news that he will undergo arthroscopic knee surgery, OF Corey Hart‘s value will take a hit come draft day. That is the perfect opportunity for owners looking for keepers to pounce. Hart hit .285/.356/.510 with 26 homeruns in 2011 and should not miss a significant amount of time. However, make sure you track of his recovery for any setbacks.

C Jonathan Lucroy is not a sexy pick for your catcher’s spot, but you could do a lot worse. He hit a very quiet .265 with 12 homers last year and should be able to build on those results in 2012. While other owners are chasing the Buster Posey‘s of the world, try to sneak Lucroy through in the later stages of your draft.

All of the above players have keeper potential, at the right price. Here are some players on the Brewers who will likely not become keepers.

2B Rickie Weeks was once considered a 5 category second baseman, but injuries have long since sapped his speed and he has only one year where has has played over 130 games in his 7 years in the majors. Some owner will still look at Weeks as a 5 category guy and overdraft him. Don’t be that guy.

3B Aramis Ramirez put up some good numbers in 2011, his contract year. With third base being a surprisingly weak position, someone will likely overpay for Ramirez. Given that Ramirez has had recent injury problems and will turn 34 in June, its best to pass.

At age 35, SS Alex Gonzalez‘ is in the down slope of his career. He still has a little pop, but will not do much for your team average.

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Matt Kemp: The Real NL MVP

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Matt Kemp: The Real NL MVP

Posted on 06 February 2012 by Jared Thatcher

With all the media coverage of Ryan Braun’s alleged performance enhancing drug usage, many fans have called for him to surrender the MVP award. First of all, Major League Baseball can not force Braun to give up the award because it was not given out by them. Secondly, it would be terribly hard for them to prove that whatever he took actually helped him put up better numbers. He has always been a great hitter and is currently in his prime so why would anyone expect anything less than MVP caliber numbers? The real question is: Why was Braun voted the NL MVP in the first place?

Matt Kemp should have been the NL MVP, hands down. Let’s start with the 2011 Dodgers batting order. Kemp hit behind lead-off men Dee Gordon (.338 OBP) and Tony Gwynn Jr., neither of whom are very threatening in the lead-off role. Batting second was a combination of a rusty and slow Casey Blake, and sometimes the compact Aaron Miles. Once again, these guys are nothing to write home about. Kemp hit third in 158 PA but predominately hit fourth behind Andre Either. Either was on a tear at the beginning of the season but slowly faded out and was injured for a few games. He posted a nice .292 BA but has no power (11 HR) and did nothing on the base paths either. Kemp then hit fourth most of the time and was “protected” by James Loney in the five-spot. Loney hit .288 with 12 HR and he only drove in 65 runs. So how in the world did Kemp hit .324 with 39 HRs and 126 RBIs while scoring 115 runs? Who was driving him in? Who was on base when he was hitting for him to drive home? Let’s look at Ryan Braun now.

Ryan Braun hit third almost the entire season. Leading off the Brewers was Rickie Weeks (.347 OBP) who has power and some speed, and Corey Hart (.356 OBP) who has power and makes good contact. Batting second most of the year was Nyjer Morgan (.357 OBP) who has some speed (13 SB) and great plate discipline (.304 AVG). Then of course Braun hit and protecting him in the clean up spot was Prince Fielder. Fielder drove in 120 runs with 38 HR and a .299 average. That is what a hitter in the 3-hole wants as protection. No one would walk or pitch around Braun just so they could get to Fielder. That’s a pretty good 1-4 in the lineup and it allowed Braun to hit .332 with 33 HR and 111 RBIs. Those are great numbers but what if Matt Kemp was hitting third in that lineup!?!

Kemp beat out Braun in almost every category except for slugging percentage and OPS. Kemp led the NL in runs scored (115), HR (39), RBIs (126),stolen bases (40), wins above replacement (10.0), total bases (353), and runs created (141). These numbers are all pretty close between the two players but lets look at the teams they played on. The Dodgers lineup was mediocre at best (see above paragraphs) and they finished the season 82-79, just above .500 for the season. Without Kemp’s 10.0 wins above replacement the Dodgers would have finished 72-89 in 2011, putting them in fourth place and only one win above last place in the division. Kemp scored 17.8% of the Dodgers runs himself and he drove in 19.6% of the Dodgers runs. Braun on the other hand was only worth 7.7 wins above replacement (still really good) so without him the Brewers would have finished the season at about 89-73, still allowing them to be in the wild card race and only one game back from clinching the division. In other words the Brewers would have still been really good. Braun was better than Kemp defensively but he plays a less rigorous position in LF than Kemp plays in CF.

I hope I haven’t lost you or bored you by all the stats and comparisons in the last couple of paragraphs. I said all of that to say this: Matt Kemp was much more valuable of a player to the Dodgers than Ryan Braun was to the Brewers. Kemp was superior in almost every category while playing for a less talented team. Braun was surrounded by talent on a better team and was a valuable asset to them during their playoff run in 2011, but he should not have been named the NL MVP. Matt Kemp got snuffed this year and if Braun really did use PEDs, it makes Kemp’s season look even that more impressive. Next year I hope the voters get it right and give the MVP award to the player who really was his teams Most Valuable Player.

 

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