Tag Archive | "Ryan Roberts"

Kipnis Shakes Things Up At Second Base

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Kipnis Shakes Things Up At Second Base

Posted on 27 June 2012 by Bryan Geary

Last season was a banner year for second basemen in terms of fantasy baseball. The usual suspects (Cano, Pedroia, Kinsler, Phillips) all had excellent years, while guys like Ben Zobrist, Howie Kendrick, and Ryan Roberts also put up big years. Coming into 2012, second base was a position fantasy owners felt like they could count on for big production in the middle infield. Unfortunately, injuries and ineffectiveness have made second base one of the more spotty positions thus far. Right now, the ESPN Player Rater has second-year player Jason Kipnis easily leading the way.

Kipnis, a 2009 second-round pick, was raking in his big league debut last year before ceding to a hamstring injury in August. There were certainly high expectations for him coming into 2012, though he seemed to be overshadowed by Mariners second baseman Dustin Ackley, who has been a disappointment thus far. Kipnis, however, has been a big time power speed threat, posting 11 home runs and 17 steals so far. And while his 25 home run pace may be a surprise, it is the speed that has really grabbed my attention. As a minor leaguer, he never surpassed 12 steals, so where has this speed burst come from? Kipnis has always drawn rave reviews for his baseball IQ and baserunning instincts, and he is showing why in his first full season, having only been caught once all year. Simply put, Kipnis is getting better fast.

Nothing unusual jumps out at you about the season Kipnis is having, either. His BABIP, strikeout and walk percentages, ISO, and batted ball stats are all very similar to what he has done previously. In other words, what Kipnis is doing seems very sustainable. His splits, both home/away and platoon, are really the only ugly mark on an otherwise excellent season. While players typically benefit from playing at home, Kipnis is thriving on the road this year, hitting .326/.376/.556  as opposed to a paltry .227/.287/.320 at Progressive Field. That may be a freak thing, but his platoon splits are cause for a least slight concern. Kipnis has mashed righties to the tune of a .304/.352/.484 line with 9 home runs. Against lefties, his triple slash is an ugly .218/.289/.337 with just 2 home runs. It is not uncommon for young players to have trouble with same side pitchers, and this is not to say Kipnis will not figure it out. However, it is something to keep an eye on.

The bottom line is that Kipnis is a top 5 second basemen at this point. And as far as this season, with Pedroia’s lingering hand injury, the only second basemen I would rank ahead of him are Cano and Kinsler. Other than that, I do not see better options than Kipnis. It is surely too late to buy low on him, but in keeper leagues, especially if you are out of the race this year, Kipnis is a guy you can build around.

Heating Up

Ben Zobrist was nothing short of awful over the first two months of the season, hitting a combined .203/.342/.397. This led to many frustrated owners, but with the climate at second base, there were not many other quality options. If you have not noticed, Zobrist is out of that early season funk. He has absolutely crushed the ball in June, hitting .319/.430/.500 in 20 games with 3 home runs. Especially for those in leagues that count OBP, he is back among the fantasy elite, with a 16.5% walk rate that leads all second basemen and ranks 5th in all of baseball. There may still be time to buy low on Zobrist, so do so if you can.

King of the Hill

Everyone remembers Aaron Hill‘s crazy good 2009 season in which he had 36 home runs and 108 RBI, but two poor follow up seasons led to his departure from Toronto as well as elite fantasy status. It turns out that a change of scenery may have been exactly what Hill has needed. Since being traded to Arizona (a hitter’s haven), Hill is hitting .303/.372/.494, which is nothing short of studly. He has a massive platoon split this year — .360/.408/.655 home versus .210/.299/.311 away — but as long as he continues to play half of his games at Chase Field, does it matter that much? Hill currently ranks 6th on the player rater and a hot June (5 of his 10 home runs) is only helping.

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Cardboard Hunters: How to collect

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Cardboard Hunters: How to collect

Posted on 05 April 2012 by Jared Thatcher

When it comes to baseball cards, there are many different ways to collect them. Collections can be comprised of a favorite player, a favorite team, an entire set, only graded cards, a rookie collection, cards from a certain era, cards of players who have accomplished a certain feat (3000 hit club), autograph cards, etc. Some of these collections are becoming harder and harder to collect as card makers continue to produce low-numbered inserts that are hard to get a hold of.

I have dabbled in most of these collecting methods but currently, I am on a mission to collect every Ryan Roberts card ever produced. According to Beckett, there are 46 Ryan Roberts cards out there from companies like Upper Deck and Topps. I chose to start collecting Roberts cards because he has so few cards and I thought it would be a great place to start. Roberts is also my favorite player because I thoroughly enjoy his hustle on the field and the emotion he shows during all nine innings. So far, I have collected 13 of his 47 (I found a minor league card of his NOT listed on Beckett) cards, or 28%. I could probably own more than this but I haven’t pulled the trigger on the recent Topps card parallels from Wal-Mart, Target, and Toys R Us yet. That would easily add another 6 cards to my collection but they are easy to come by so I’m not worried. The hardest part of this collection is finding the low serial numbered cards. Roberts was first seen in 2006 Upper Deck (which I have) and he also has a 2006 Upper Deck Gold #ed/99 (which I also have). In 2006 Roberts also had a rookie card in the Topps 52 set that was designed to look like the old Topps 1952 set. In this set he has a base card (have), a chrome card #ed/1952 (have), a chrome gold refractor #ed/52 (don’t have), and a chrome refractor #ed/552 (have). I just missed out on the chrome gold refractor on eBay the other night. I believe it went for north of $7 and the auction ended while I was sleeping (dang it). The hardest cards that I am attempting to acquire are the 2011 and 2012 Topps Printing Plates. They were randomly inserted in packs and they are numbered 1/1. ONE OF ONE!?!? How the heck am I supposed to get these? What if the pack holding this 1/1 card is never even opened?!?! Anyway, I figure these will be the hardest to come by and will probably cost a pretty penny when I do find them. Over the last two years Roberts has averaged about 20 cards a year spread out over different sets. That said, if you have any Roberts cards, please contact me because I want them! Thanks.

I first started collecting cards by putting together entire sets. My dad gave me a partial Topps 1970 set that I absolutely love. It has some very obscure players in it but also has a great looking Roberto Clemente card and a few good roookies. I intended to put together two sets and give one to my little brother and keep one for myself. You can buy the whole completed set for between $900 and $1100 on eBay but I figured it would be much more fun to build it myself. I will be truthful and tell you that I soon gave up. There are so many cards in the set and putting it together piece by piece soon became very expensive and time consuming. Putting together more recent sets is easier and I was able to collect the whole 2012 Topps Series 1 set with a hobby box and a few blasters. If you are a set collector, I applaud you. I understand how hard it can be and I respect you for having the passion and patience to do it.

Now let’s talk about a much easier and fun collection that is quickly catching on. This set it called The Trifecta. The idea is to collect 3 cards of a certain player; a rookie card, an on card autograph, and a memorabilia card. Some people want the cards to all be signed, some people want them to all be graded, but that is what’s great about this way of collecting, it’s easy and customizable! Collecting a Trifecta will allow you collect cards from lots of different players and are easy to “complete”. Some players do not have game-used memorabilia cards (like Roberts) but most have at least and autographed card and a rookie card. This is a fun and easy way to collect some of your favorite players and allows for you to show off your collection very easily.

If you want to talk cards and collecting tweet me @Jared_Thatcher or leave a comment below. I’m always looking for Ryan Roberts cards and the rookie cards from Hall of Famers for my collection.

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Finding Keepers:  Arizona Diamondbacks

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Finding Keepers: Arizona Diamondbacks

Posted on 20 March 2012 by Mark Sherrard

After winning the NL West in 2011, one would think the Arizona Diamondback would have a lot of quality players on their team. And they would be right. But how many of them are potential keepers?

Let’s take a look:

SP Ian Kennedy broke out in a big way last season, leading the NL with 21 wins to go along with a 2.88 ERA and 198 K’s. His numbers are projected to regress a little in 2012, but he still should be a quality pitcher on any fantasy staff. However, he consistently lasts longer in drafts than he should. His ADP is 70.57. He is ranked: CBS #35; Yahoo! #52; ESPN #72.

SP Daniel Hudson also had a strong season in 2011, with 16 wins, a 3.49 ERA and 169 K’s in 222 IP. More of the same is expected in 2012, but like Kennedy, he is undervalued in fantasy leagues. His ADP is 84.70. He is ranked: Yahoo! #56; CBS #63; ESPN #85.

C Miguel Montero hit .282/.351/.469 in 2011 with 18 homers, a pretty good line for most players and even better considering he’s a catcher. He should continue his assault on NL pitching in 2012, with a .270-.280 average and around 20 homeruns. His ADP is 101.70. He is ranked: CBS #53; Yahoo! #66; ESPN #116.

OF Chris Young is unlikely to ever hit for a high average, but he has posted back-to-back 20/20 seasons and should be in line to do the same in 2012. His ADP is 122.82. He is ranked: CBS #88; ESPN #106; Yahoo! #147.

3B Ryan Roberts (aka “Tatman”) is another player who will not post a high batting average but can give you double-digit homers and stolen bases. He nearly missed a 20/20 season last year with 19 homers and 18 stolen bases. His ADP is 194.75. He is ranked: CBS #123; ESPN #165; Yahoo! #233.

When healthy, OF Jason Kubel can provide you with 20+ homers and a .270 average. However, health concerns may be keeping his value down. His ADP is 238.99. He is ranked: ESPN #199; CBS #227; Yahoo! NR.

2B Aaron Hill is not too far removed from hitting 36 homeruns in 2009, but he has been far too inconsistent since then. He could provide double-digit homers and steals, but he could also fall flat. His ADP is 232.09. He is ranked: CBS #197; ESPN #211; Yahoo! NR.

SP Josh Collmenter had a strong rookie year with 10 wins and a 3.38 ERA, but still needs to convince people that he is for real. His ADP is 248.13. He is ranked: Yahoo! #130; CBS #231; ESPN NR.

Best of the rest, but not keepers

OF Justin Upton had arguably his best season to date in 2011, hitting .289/.369/.529 with 31 homers and 21 steals. He would be an obvious keeper, if he weren’t being overdrafted in most leagues. His ADP is 9.56. He is ranked: ESPN #9; CBS #18; Yahoo! #28.

1B Paul Goldschmidt had a strong rookie campaign in 2011, hitting .250/.333/.474 with 8 homeruns in 156 at bats. However, as with most highly ranked prospects, his hype is higher than his production, leading many to overdraft him. His ADP is 144.17. He is ranked: Yahoo! #125; ESPN #182; CBS #240.

SS Stephen Drew had one excellent season in 2008, in which he hit .291 with 21 homeruns, and has not approached those numbers since. Combine that with him likely starting the year on the DL and owners should probably pass on him. His ADP is 150.10. He is ranked: ESPN #160; CBS NR; Yahoo! NR.

The Diamondbacks gave up top prospect Jarrod Parker to acquire the more proven Trevor Cahill over the winter. Cahill has posted a 3.91 ERA over 583 IP in the AL and should benefit from the move to the NL, but many are expecting too much. His ADP is 178.99. He is ranked: CBS #179; Yahoo! #201; ESPN #269.

Finally, RP J.J. Putz saved 45 games for Arizona in 2011 while posting a stellar 2.17 ERA in 58 IP. However, elbow issues caused him to miss time in the middle of the season and at age 35 you have to wonder how much longer he can keep it up. His ADP is 137.86. He is ranked: CBS #113; ESPN #142; Yahoo! #169.

Note: All ADP values are from Mock Draft Central as of March 14, 2012 and player projections are based on BaseballHQ.com.

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Fantasy Sleeper Picks For Each Position

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Fantasy Sleeper Picks For Each Position

Posted on 09 February 2012 by Jared Thatcher

Fantasy baseball drafts are upon us and most of the time you don’t get everyone you want. The tough part is finding guys who will perform once the few elite players at each position are taken. In this article I will give you one player for each position that will probably NOT get drafted in the top 10 for his individual position, but that WILL probably end the year as one of the top 10 most productive for his position.

C – Jesus Montero – Mariners

I realize he is more of a prospect right now and might end up as a DH, but he should break camp with the Mariners and get at bats right away. It will take a little time for him to qualify at the catcher position but once he does, he might be the most productive in the game of fantasy baseball.

1B – Eric Hosmer – Royals

Hosmer had a great year in 2011 hitting .293 with 19 HR and 73 RBIs over 128 games. He probably won’t be one of the top 10 drafted first basemen so grab him if you miss out on the Vottos, Fielders, and Gonzalez. A little known fact about Hosmer is that possesses some speed also. He had 11 stolen bases and 3 triples last year which will be an added bonus to his fantasy points.

2B – Aaron Hill – Diamondbacks

Hill had an abysmal 2011 inTorontobut showed flashes of his ability when he arrived inArizona. Grab Hill after the Kinslers, Canos, and Pedroias because this year he should return to his 20+ HR and 70+ RBIs. He will never bring you a high batting average but last year he swiped 21 bags and that should help make up for it in fantasy points.

SS – J.J. Hardy – Orioles

This is probably the riskiest pick you can find. I believe in Hardy and if he can stay healthy he will bring power to a light hitting position. In 2011 he quietly hit 30 HR on a terrible Orioles offense which probably wont be any better this year but don’t forget, your drafting him because you missed out on Tulo, Andrus, and Reyes.

3B – Ryan Roberts – Diamondbacks

Someone may take Roberts in the first 10 third basemen but the chances are slim. He ranked in the top five third basemen last year in some fantasy leagues and if he comes to spring training this year with the same attitude, owners might get an even better product. Last year he struggled with the high fastball and this year he vowed to lay off it, which should improve his average and walk rate. Tatman steals bases and may be eligible at other positions so draft him after Bautista, Longoria, and Wright type players are gone.

LF – Nolan Reimold – Orioles

He only played 87 games last year but he showed he could really hold it down in LF. He is only 28 years old and hitting his prime so watch out for a breakout year in 2012. Picking up Reimold is risky but it could payoff big if you are in a squeeze.

CF – Colby Rasmus – Blue Jays

2011 was a lost year for Rasmus and he knows that. His batting average was terrible and he didn’t have the power he showed the past two seasons. Let’s remember, he is only 25 in 2012 and the change of scenery has probably done him well. Hopefully Rasmus catches the home run fever inTorontobut also look for him to exploit his speed this year. Should be a breakout year for the kid.

RF – Matt Joyce – Rays

Given the chance to play full-time in 2011 he really showed what he could do. He hit 19 HR and 75 RBIs while stealing 13 bases last season and this year he should improve on those numbers. The Rays offense is powerful and he should provide pop and batting average this year for his fantasy owners.

SP – Trevor Cahill – Diamondbacks

At only 24 years old, Cahill should become the Ace of the Dbacks in 2012. His ERA and win totals weren’t great inOaklandlast year but he was backed by a pretty terrible defense and the AL West is not as forgiving as you might think. A move to the light-hitting NL West were he will pitch to a pitcher in the 9-hole instead of a DH somewhere in the lineup should help his numbers. The Diamondbacks can also score runs so he should have more than 10 wins this year. Pick him up in the middle rounds and be prepared to be amazed as he turns into a star.

RP – Joey Devine – Athletics

Relief pitchers are hard to figure out because closers can be changed very regularly. Devine is in the mix to close for the Athletics this year and I think he is the most qualified of the mix. Add him to your roster very late in the draft or off the waiver wire and wait to see how the closer situation inOaklandshakes out. Downside you have a very good reliever, upside you have a 30+ saves candidate.

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DOs And DONTs: Arizona Diamondbacks

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DOs And DONTs: Arizona Diamondbacks

Posted on 03 February 2012 by Daniel Aubain

When preparing for the upcoming fantasy baseball season, it makes sense to go through a team’s roster as a whole to see what impact any offseason moves may have had (positively and negatively) on each player’s fantasy value. For example, adding Prince Fielder into the mix in Detroit pushes Miguel Cabrera‘s value up to possibly being selected number one overall.

The following is a list of DOs and DON’Ts to be used when evaluating the fantasy value of players on the Arizona Diamondbacks’ 40-man roster:

  • DO build your fantasy baseball outfield on the back of OF Justin Upton. He is currently being drafted sixth overall with an ADP (Average Draft Position) of 8.80 on MockDraftCentral.com and easily projects a standard 5×5 league line of .280/90/25/90/20 or better. Oh, by the way, he’s just 24 years old. Absorb that for a moment.
  • DON’T go too crazy when drafting SP Ian Kennedy as the ace of your fantasy pitching staff. His 21 Wins, sub-3.00 ERA and nearly 200 Strikeouts were incredible numbers in 2011 but unprecedented, at that. RotoChamp.com projects as few as 11 Wins and as many as 15 with an ERA as high as 3.50. The low WHIP and high Strikeout numbers should still be there in 2012 but remember, pitchers can’t control Wins and too many factors outside the pitcher’s control can negatively effect ERA.
  • DO expect another 20/20 season from OF Chris Young but prepare for the .240 batting average (or worse) to go along with it. He’ll probably chip in 80+ Runs and 80+ RBI, making him a solid 4-category. But that batting average. Blech!
  • DON’T wait too long if you are planning on grabbing 1B Paul Goldschmidt because every savvy owner in your league is targeting him, too. With an ADP of 147.45, you can expect him and his 30+ home run potential to start being swooped up between rounds 10 and 15 (depending on league size).
  • DO target 2B/3B/OF Ryan Roberts as a late-round option as your starting third baseman if you miss out on the top tier options or as a super utility type player if your league uses additional roster slots like Middle Infielder (MI) or Infielder (IF). You may not be excited over his .260/60/15/60/10 line but I promise you could wind up with a lot worse as your starting third baseman, especially in deeper mixed leagues.
  • DON’T write off 2B Aaron Hill as a bust. He probably won’t his 36 home runs like he did in 2009 or even 26 like he did in 2010 but he could go .260/60/15/60/15 and cost you virtually nothing on draft day.
  • DO keep an eye on SS Stephen Drew and his recovery from a horrific broken ankle injury which ended his 2011 season in July. Think of grabbing him late and stashing him on the DL to start the season if reports from Spring Training say he won’t be ready to start the year on the active roster.
  • DON’T shy away from CL J.J. Putz one of your team’s closers. He saved 45 games in 2011 with 61 Strikeouts in 58 innings pitched (9.5 K/9; 5.08 K/BB) and a minuscule WHIP of 0.91. The D’Backs are expected to be very competitive in the NL West and Putz should continue racking up the Saves and K’s.
  • DO you know which catcher ranked fifth overall in Total Bases among all major league catchers? Obviously I’m talking about Miguel Montero. He has the potential for a .280 batting average with 15-20 home runs with a healthy amount of Runs and RBI, too. With the Tigers’ Victor Martinez lost for the year, Montero has a chance to become a top 5 fantasy catcher in 2012.
  • DON’T know what to expect from outfielders Jason Kubel and Gerardo Parra? That’s okay. Neither do I. Signing Kubel makes little sense since both players are left-handed and Kubel is a defensive liability and much better suited as an AL DH.
  • DO fill out the middle-to-end of your pitching rotation with SP Daniel Hudson. He has 15 Win potential with around 175 Strikeouts and won’t hurt you in the ERA (3.19 career) or WHIP (1.15 career) categories, either.
  • DON’T overlook this team’s bullpen depth when looking for vulture Saves or Holds. RP David Hernandez (23 Holds; 10.0 K/9), RP Takashi Saito and RP Brad Ziegler would all be in the mix if Putz falters or is injured.

Did I miss anyone who you feel will have some level of fantasy impact in the 2012 season? Do you have your eye on a potentially sneaky rookie? What type of impact does manager Kirk Gibson have when it comes to platoons considering all the utility-type players on this roster?

Feel free to leave a comment here or engage me in a conversation on Twitter @DJAubain.

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