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Finding Keepers:Texas Rangers

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Finding Keepers:Texas Rangers

Posted on 28 March 2012 by Gary Marchese

The Texas Rangers have been to two straight World Series.  They came within one strike of winning it last year.  They have never won a World Series and are getting closer.  They right now are the class of the American League and they have another strong team to make a run this season.  Here is a look at some of their team to see who you could keep as a finding keeper.

C Mike Napoli has seemed to find a home in Texas.  He hit 320 last year with 30 homeruns and 75 RBI.  He has always had the power but he put the average with it last year.  It was by far his best season and I wouldn’t expect a repeat but maybe something close to it.

SS Elvis Andrus is one of the better young players in the league.  He has a tremendous upside and it looks like he will be a very good major league player.  He is a guy who doesn’t have power but has the speed and can hit 275 or so with a 340 on base percentage.  I expect him to get even better and I would keep a young player like this around for a long time.

3B Adrian Beltre is a top defender in the league.  He also has a lot of power and after it looked like he was declining has played very well with the Texas Rangers.  He hit 296 with 32 homeruns and 105 RBI last year.  He has always had the power and after a couple of down years the last two years have been very good.  He has been around for a while but I would still keep him around on my team.

RF Nelson Cruz is a legitimate power hitter.  He has also shown he can hit for average.  In the last two years he has hit 51 homeruns with 165 RBI.  He is a 270 career hitter and has been inconsistent with his on base percentage.  He is a guy though that I would want to keep around.

LF Josh Hamilton, the talent is there but the question of his makeup will always come.  He is a great talent maybe the best since Mickey Mantle.  Hamilton is a fantastic player but he needs to remain healthy and he needs to stay focused and on course.  He has battled his demons over the years and that is always threatening to derail him.  I still at this point would wan to keep him and not give up on him.  He is just too talented for me to discard.  He hit 298 with 25 homeruns and 94 RBI last season.  In 2010 he hit 359 with 32 homeruns and 100 RBI.  He is an amazing talent and I would kick myself if I gave him away and he kept putting up the numbers.

They have a couple of pitchers I would think about but I can’t put them on this list.  Yu Darvish has potential but until he does it he is another Japanese pitcher who could be a bust.  Joe Nathan used to be one of the best closers but is getting older and we just don’t know how he will recover from injury.  Neftali Feliz is very promising but is going from being the closer to in the starting rotation.  It isn’t an easy adjustment and I want to see him do it first before I decide what I think of him as a starting pitcher.

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Finding Keepers: Miami Marlins

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Finding Keepers: Miami Marlins

Posted on 22 March 2012 by Aaron Somers

The transformation from Florida Marlins to Miami Marlins involved much more than a name change. There’s a new stadium. A new manager. A new shortstop. A new left-handed starter. A new closer. New expectations. But in the end the Marlins have assembled a group of talented players but a roster with just as many question marks as sure things. There’s potential there, on paper, but which players from the group are actual keeper candidates?

SS Jose Reyes is an easy choice to leadoff, both this list and the Marlins lineup. Some have questioned the switch-hitter’s motivation in years past, only to see him have a career year in a contract year. Those same people may expect him to return to those poor habits now that he’s gotten his big contract, but Reyes seems determined to prove his critics wrong.

RF Giancarlo Stanton – or Mike, as you may know him better as – has had “Home Run Leader” written all over him since he first arrived in the Majors wearing a Marlins uniform. Two seasons into his career he averages 36 HR and 95 RBI. In any 5X5 league those numbers are beneficial and valuable. And he’s just going to continue getting better.

SP Josh Johnson has started off each of the past two seasons by pitching to a sub-2.00 ERA through the first third of the season. Last year, of course, an injury cut his season short after just 9 starts (and 60.1 innings) but the results were once again there for the right-hander. If he can remain healthy, he’s a worthy addition to any fantasy baseball lineup.

CL Heath Bell is a unique case as the value of a closer, or any reliever for that matter, is entirely dependent on how your league is setup. Saves/holds, K/9, and ERA are the main categories that must be factors if you’re going to consider keeping a closer at any point in time. The position contains just too much volatility for it to be worth focusing on the back end of the bullpen. But if those categories mean something to your league, Bell’s a name worth keeping an eye on.

3B Hanley Ramirez‘s shift to third base lets him take advantage of some positional scarcity (the same exists at shortstop, but the pool of talented third baseman is seemingly shallower) which could boost him into that “keeper quality” player. Much of this is ultimately going to depend on how Ramirez performs at the plate, as his production has slipped the past two seasons in both the power and speed categories.

SP Mark Buehrle was Miami’s big starting pitching acquisition of the winter and the left-hander has been a reliable workhorse his entire career. He’s topped the 200 inning mark 11 seasons in a row, averages 15 wins per season, and holds a career ERA of 3.83.

Feel free to follow me on Twitter (@BlogFTBleachers) for more of my thoughts on the great game of baseball. You can also follow my coverage of the Washington Nationals at District on Deck and the game as a whole at Blogging From The Bleachers.

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DOs And DONTs: Colorado Rockies

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DOs And DONTs: Colorado Rockies

Posted on 10 February 2012 by Daniel Aubain

This edition of DOs And DON’Ts will focus on the 40-man roster of the Colorado Rockies. The Rockies have been very active this offseason, tinkering with a roster that, as a whole, underachieved in 2011 despite having two of the game’s best offensive players as well as a bunch of very useful fantasy baseball options.

  • DO what you can to draft SS Troy Tulowitzki as the best shortstop option in the game. He’s currently being drafted with an ADP (average draft position) of 4.61 in mock drafts on MockDraftCentral.com and could easily give you a robust 5×5 return of .300/100/30/100/10 in 2012. Don’t forget, he stole 20 bases in 2009 but has steadily declined (11 in 2010; 9 in 2011) since then so keep the stolen base expectations low and be happily surprised if he runs more this season.
  • DON’T expect 1B Todd Helton to give you the production you need out of your primary first base option. He’ll give you a decent average and near 15 home runs as a corner infielder (CI), infielder (IF) or a utility player (UTL) in very deep, mixed league formats or NL-only ones with expanded rosters. With two season left on his current contract, look for the Rockies to start auditioning some younger guys (Tyler Colvin) as the season wears on with an eye on the future.
  • DO pair up OF Carlos Gonzalez with Tulo if you love the Rockies and love winning at fantasy baseball. CarGo gives you the exact same 5×5 line as Tulo (.300/100/30/100) except with the ability to steal 20+ bases. Injuries robbed him of some of his numbers in 2011 but you need to be drafting him under the assumption he’s healthy and ready to be an elite fantasy option in 2012.
  • DON’T invest a pick in any of the players in the mix at third base for the Rockies (Casey Blake; Chris Nelson, etc.) not named Nolan Arenado unless you’re in a dynasty league or another type with a minor league system built in. He may not make it to the majors in 2012 but is currently the future at this position for the Rox.
  • DO watch to see what positions 1B/OF Michael Cuddyer qualifies for in your league come draft day. He played 17 games at second base in 2011 and has the most fantasy impact at that position. RotoChamp.com projects a .274/71/18/75/9 line for him in 2012 and that would rank as the 12th-best option at second base.
  • DON’T rush to grab SP Jhoulys Chacin too early, no matter how much you love him as a sleeper. He’ll probably go undrafted in your standard 8-10 team shallow leagues and is currently notching an ADP of 192.21 on MockDraftCentral.com. His sub-4.00 ERA, 13+ Win potential and 175+ Strikeouts will definitely help you in deeper leagues but be aware of his career 4.2 BB/9, 1.89 K/BB and 1.31 WHIP. General Manager Dan O’Dowd has already called out Chacin for being overweight and not working hard this offseason. Stay tuned.
  • DO draft OF Dexter Fowler for his speed. After stealing 27 bases in 2009, he’s been sort of a let down on the base paths with only 13 steals in 2010 and 12 in 2011. Expect him to be a fixture in the leadoff spot for the Rockies in 2012 with the green light to run.
  • DON’T forget new CL Rafael Betancourt when drafting your closers. His high Strikeout numbers (10.5 K/9) coupled with rarely walking batters (1.2 BB/9) led to a superior K/BB ratio of 9.13 and a minuscule WHIP of 0.87 in 2011. It will be interesting to see how he performs during his first true shot as a team’s closer.
  • DO look for C Ramon Hernandez to have a successful first season in Colorado. Look for him to get 300-400 at bats and provide a dozen or so home runs with a batting average you can live with. He’s a “must own” in all two-catcher format leagues and and in NL-only leagues, where he’s possibly the 5th or 6th-best option (Brian McCann; Buster Posey; Miguel Montero; Yadier Molina; Jonathan Lucroy) behind the plate.
  • DON’T draft newly-acquired SP Jeremy Guthrie. He’s not much of a strikeout pitcher (5.5 K/9 career rate) and will probably be no better than he was with the Orioles.
  • DO keep an eye on 2B/SS Marco Scutaro this Spring. He could wind up being the Rockies everyday second baseman and hitting in the number two slot in the order. Again, he’s really only on your radar in NL-only or very deep, mixed leagues with additional roster spots for middle infielders.

The Rockies should continue to be competitive in the relatively weak NL West especially if an additional wild card team is added into the playoff mix for 2012. Keep an eye on some of the Spring battles surely to take place (third base; second base if Scutaro falters; starting pitching) for players who could climb into the “sleeper” category for those of you who draft later rather than sooner than most.

Be sure to leave a comment if I overlooked a player you have your eye on or one that I’ve over/under-valued. I’m very active on Twitter at @DJAubain talking mostly baseball but adding a certain level of snarkiness to my tweets most seem to appreciate and enjoy.

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