Showing posts with label David Ortiz. Show all posts
Showing posts with label David Ortiz. Show all posts

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Down the Stretch: The Top Designated Hitters of 2010

Luke Scott has had a career season. Vladimir Guerrero has made a fantastic comeback despite a streaky season. Jim Thome is still a huge threat at the plate and David Ortiz has dared the Red Sox not to re-sign him.

Jim Thome Twins 17.20% 30.90% 0.269 0.396 0.583 0.314 0.309 0.415
Luke Scott Orioles 8.90% 21.80% 0.295 0.357 0.584 0.289 0.309 0.399
David Ortiz Red Sox 14.10% 30.00% 0.267 0.371 0.544 0.277 0.31 0.385
Marcus Thames Yankees 11.40% 29.90% 0.313 0.399 0.463 0.149 0.402 0.38
Jack Cust Athletics 16.20% 38.00% 0.271 0.392 0.45 0.179 0.388 0.374
Jorge Posada Yankees 13.00% 23.30% 0.26 0.365 0.477 0.217 0.287 0.37
Travis Hafner Indians 10.80% 25.00% 0.271 0.37 0.435 0.164 0.325 0.356
Vladimir Guerrero Rangers 6.00% 11.30% 0.296 0.344 0.488 0.192 0.292 0.355
Pat Burrell - - - 12.70% 28.50% 0.253 0.346 0.466 0.213 0.296 0.347
Russell Branyan - - - 10.90% 33.10% 0.237 0.324 0.478 0.241 0.286 0.347
Johnny Damon Tigers 11.70% 17.50% 0.273 0.361 0.409 0.136 0.316 0.346
Hideki Matsui Angels 10.80% 21.70% 0.262 0.341 0.433 0.171 0.294 0.338
Jason Kubel Twins 10.30% 22.70% 0.258 0.335 0.446 0.189 0.289 0.337
Jose Guillen - - - 5.80% 20.90% 0.263 0.317 0.434 0.171 0.292 0.328
Shelley Duncan Indians 9.70% 36.70% 0.223 0.306 0.398 0.175 0.306 0.309
Adam Lind Blue Jays 7.20% 26.10% 0.234 0.292 0.408 0.174 0.278 0.305
Mike Lowell Red Sox 9.90% 14.60% 0.229 0.304 0.375 0.146 0.242 0.3
Mark Kotsay White Sox 9.60% 11.00% 0.233 0.307 0.382 0.148 0.238 0.3
Willy Aybar Rays 9.50% 21.90% 0.24 0.313 0.361 0.12 0.283 0.3
Milton Bradley Mariners 10.10% 30.70% 0.205 0.292 0.348 0.143 0.258 0.289
Jake Fox - - - 4.70% 27.00% 0.22 0.265 0.384 0.164 0.261 0.284

Monday, November 16, 2009

Boston Red Sox Fantasy Report

Last offseason the Red Sox made a concerted effort to bolster their offense by signing Mark Teixeira. There were also several rumors of them attempting to trade for various offensive stars. They also seemed determined to upgrade their captain Jason Varitek with a younger, more offensively oriented catcher. They pretty much failed in every effort. However, the team projected as stacked and there were few public concerns. Then David Ortiz, the heart of the sox lineup began the season with a horrendous months-long slump. The Red Sox were still scoring runs but after every loss, fingers were pointed at the offense and the lack of it from the designated hitter. Eventually Ortiz did pull out of his slump and had a strong second half but the doubts remains as he heads into the last year of his guaranteed year of his contract (the club holds a $12.5m option for 2011).

As David Ortiz slumped, Jason Varitek was as inconsistent as expected from an offensive viewpoint. Lauded as a great leader and fair defensive catcher, Varitek did many intangible things to help the team win. Nevertheless, the Red Sox wanted offense from the catcher position and got it when they sent several prospects to the Cleveland Indians for Victor Martinez who will be the starting catcher in 2010. Varitek will return by virtue of utilizing his player option for $3m and incentives after the Red Sox passed on using theirs.

The Red Sox run the risk of losing slugging left fielder Jason Bay to free agency. A loss that will be difficult for the Red Sox faithful (an unsabermetricly inclined crowd to say the least, despite the clear beliefs of the teams management) to understand. Most analysts believe that signing Bay to the rumored deals that include several years and over 100 million dollars would be a colossal mistake. Granted, it is a mistake the Red Sox can afford to make. Unlike the rival New York Yankees, the Red Sox have avoided including extra years into contracts as incentives to sign. But Bay is an aging player (who some describe as a Three True Outcomes type) who is mediocre at best defensively and a perhaps a future designated hitter. Paying full price for Bay seems like something the Theo Epstein Red Sox would never do but then you hear things. Peter Abraham of the Boston Globe reports on the Extra Bases Blog this series of events:
So we're talking to Theo Epstein Monday afternoon and he mentions that restructuring Tim Wakefield's deal will save the Sox $1.5 million on the CBT, which is GM-speak for the payroll luxury tax, or collective bargaining tax. "That's important because there's some things we want to do this winter and we don't have a ton of room under the CBT," Epstein said. The tax threshold for 2010 will be $170 million. Are the Red Sox actually planning to approach that? I mean, zowie. They were around $125 million this season. Keeping in mind that is an extremely rough estimate, I have the Red Sox committed to approximately $109 million for next season. That's figuring arbitration raises for Jonathan Papelbon, Jermey Hermida, Hideki Okajima and Ramon Ramirez and $500,000 each for the assorted 0-3 service-time players. Let's say they sign Jason Bay for $18 million. So now they're at $127 million. Where is that extra $43 million coming from that Theo seemed concerned about? Are the Red Sox leaving room for Roy Halladay and some other superstar? This is total conjecture, of course, and perhaps Epstein was just musing out loud. But perhaps that was a clue that the Sox are, if nothing else, giving themselves the option to make a huge splash.
It seems impossible that the Red Sox could worry about approaching the tax threshold without planning to devote a substantial amount to re-signing Jason Bay. Maybe they plan to sign Bay AND Holliday and put Bay at designated hitter. That would be out Yanking the Yankees, no doubt.

Fantasy Focus

Clay Buchholz, RHP
The Red Sox have a very strong pitching staff. They have a clear ace in Josh Beckett. Jon Lester is among the top starters in the American League and he has room in his development to become a dominating lefty ace. Daisuke Matsuzaka has been a slight disappoint for the Red Sox but he still has that amazing talent which made him such a desirable roster addition. Tim Wakefield is the versatile, and effective veteran that has the ability to throw opposing lineups into weeks-long slumps. But the pitcher who has the potential to have the biggest impact on the Red Sox staff as it now stand may be Clay Buchholz. The Red Sox have been huge believers in his incredible talent and have refused to include him in potential deals for Jarrod Saltalamacchia, Felix Hernandez, and even Roy Halladay. After several brief appearances in the Red Sox rotation and some rumored (but hard to document) fiddling with his mechanics over the last three seasons (which include a no-hitter in his second major league start), he appears to have finally cemented a place in the Red Sox rotation for the 2010 season.

Coming through the Red Sox farm system Buchholz displayed double strikeout rates and solid groundball rates. He reportedly owned a potentially plus slider, plus fastball, plus-plus change up, and a plus-plus curve ball --The curve being his devastating out pitch. The strikeout rates have fallen in the higher levels (which is to be expected). However, the 6.65 k-rate Buchholz displayed in the majors in 2009 was much lower than we had come to expect. The 7.85 mark for triple-A Pawtucket was also an unexpected low but it may have been a price paid to deliever something else – an increased groundball rate. Buchholz delivered a career best 52.5 GB percentage for Pawtucket in 2009 (discounting small sample sizes). He brought that powerful skill with him to the majors in the second half where he produced a 53.8 percent mark in 92 innings and 16 starts.

FIP says that Buchholz was not as good as he looked this season (4.69 FIP, 4.21 ERA) probably due to his relatively low .289 BABIP. It does not look quite so much like good fortune when compared to his .270 minor league career BABIP. Buchholz has a minor league career K/9 of 10.12, a ML career GB% of 47.6 percent, and a HR/FB of 8 percent. This makes the 15.7 percent HR/FB in the majors look like more of an aberration than his .289 BABIP. The skills are there and even if his development has not gone exactly as expected he does not have anything left to prove in the minors.

Buchholz is an extremely talented pitcher and the Red Sox view him an extremely valuable. In fact, if what we know of trade negotiations is true, they see Buchholz as untouchable. This places him in a very elite class of prospect. I think the Red Sox look at Buchholz and see a pitcher that will eventually compare well to Felix Hernandez and Roy Halladay. While Fantasy Owners should be very careful not to expect too much of young pitchers without a full season of experience in the majors, I think there is a lot of reason for optimism here.

Jonathan Papelbon, RP
They have died down recently but not long ago, Red Sox Nation was flooded with rumors about a possible change in the closer role for the Red Sox. These rumors found fertile ground in a few areas. One, Red Sox General Manager, Theo Epstein, does not believe in paying exorbitant prices for closers. He has learned well the PR lesson of not actually having a closer but I doubt that his core beliefs on building bullpens has changed. Two, Jon Papelbon has refused attempts to sign a long-term contract. He has indicated that he will not accept anything that does not pay him as one of the best closers in the league. In other words, he wants to be paid like Mariano Rivera. This makes it unlikely that he remains in Boston past his arbitration seasons. Three, rookie Josh Bard came up from the minors and justified all the talk of him being the closer of the future. In fact, Bard was dominating in the playoffs. Meanwhile, many fans have blamed Papelbon for the Red Sox failure to advance past the first round.

Papelbon was not his usual self in 2009. His control was way off and his fastball was much less effective than it has been. This is not to say that Papelbon was bad. In fact, he was a fine closer. Nevertheless, he was less deceptive, less dominating, and less intimidating in 2009. It does make some sense that the Red Sox in their search for offense use Papelbon as bait. Bard is definitely a closer-quality talent who the Red Sox love. They have a deep bullpen and plenty of help in the minors should Bard fall apart. With the Detroit Tigers in dump mode, perhaps the Sox can pry Miguel Cabrera away to fill the role they failed to fill with Teixeira. It would give the Tigers a real closer finally, and dump enough salary that they could keep Curtis Granderson and Edwin Jackson. Just a thought…

Searching for Sleepers

Jeremy Hermida, OF
Red Sox fans were surprised by the acquisition of Jeremy Hermida. They were expecting news regarding Jason Bay, one of several shortstops, or maybe even Roy Halladay, not a fourth outfielder. This is what Hermida represents to Red Sox fans these days. If you aren’t a huge name with a huge contract, what good are you? The thing is Hermida has it in him to be good…very good. I will not re-hash Hermida’s development as a prospect. Since the trade, a million and one blogs and newspapers have related the story of Hermida’s high minor-league walk rates and impressive plate discipline. However, what they have neglected to share is that Hermida was probably a bit overrated based on numbers put up in the low minors. Yes, he had good walk rates but his strikeout rates were not very impressive and this is part of his problem.

I am not going to pretend to completely understand strike zone dynamics, but I am going to share my theory anyway. Despite the ability to lay off pitches outside of the strike zone, Hermida still has high strikeout totals. He is not missing pitches in the zone; he has an upwards trending contact rate in the strike zone. I am guessing that he is being called out on strikes in the zone (I could not find this data – I know it is out there somewhere, but I wanted to get this published). Perhaps he is being stubborn about a personal strike zone, or Umpires just are not respecting his judgment. Whatever it is, I think he needs to start swinging at more pitches. Hermida had a 90 percent contact rate in 2009, and swung at just 23.9 percent of pitches outside the strike zone. Either he has been just unlucky (possible), or he is being called out on borderline pitches, pitches that Hermida needs to do something with. There is more evidence that Hermida needs to swing more in his BABIPs. His MLB career BABIP stands at .322, yet his career batting average is just .265. How can his discipline be good, his BABIP be high, and his batting average low, when he does not swing at many pitches? If you look at the image below, it appears that he does receive a lot of called strikes out of the zone but I have no idea if this is typical or not.

Here is what we do know. Hermida makes better than average contact in the strike zone, and less than average at pitches outside the zone. When he makes contact the result is better than average. His walk rate is back on the rise and has been better than average anyway. He is trending more fly balls and line drives and fewer groundballs. He looks (in my eyes) like a player just on edge of a leap forward. The Red Sox obviously see things they like and believe he can be a productive player for them. They certainly did not acquire him for his defense. Therefore, they must believe that he can contribute with the bat. The Red Sox are excellent evaluators and have top notch coaching, that in combination with Hermida’s talent make me willing to take a chance on Hermida in AL-only leagues. I would have to be very impressed during Spring Training to recommend him to shallow mixed-leaguers, but anything can happen.

Best Team Blogs for the Boston Red Sox

Firebrand of the American League -

Yawkey Way Academy -

ProJo Sox Blog -

El Guapo’s Ghost -

Sox Prospects -

Wednesday, June 03, 2009

Time to Dump Manny Parra?

In my primary NL-only league with Manny Parra I am in second place, two points out of first place. In a 16 team mixed league, I'm in fourth place with Manny Parra, second place without him. In the mixed league I have no choice but to hang on to him until he is either disabled or killed by some aggravated fantasy owner. (Jon is in no way endorsing such a move, regardless of his rising level of frustration -- legal department) But in the NL-only league I was holding him because I had hopes that he might turn it around. My hopes are fading fast.

A lot of my faith in Manny Parra developing into a frontline starter was based on his strong finish in 2008. Combined with his great scouting reports and glowing resume I figured I couldn't go wrong. However, since joining the major league team, Parra has seen his control degrade from good to horrid. He is still good at inducing groundballs but the homeruns still kill him. You can make the case that his luck is just awful based on three years of FIPs significantly lower than his Earned Run Averages. He has also had an elevated BABIP in the majors, he has never had one below .332 in the majors. But how much is enough? How long should long CAN you wait before you have to dump a player like this for the sake of your season?

We've just passed the one third marker of the season and for me that is when worrying about slow starts and poor performances is kicked up a notch. This is when I'm doing everything I can to get value for the David Ortiz on my rosters (not that I actually rostered Ortiz, large, older players coming off of sub par seasons are not usually high on my draft list). I plan to do one round about the members of my NL-only to see if I can dump Parra on them. If not I'll FAAB the best arm on the free-agent list. I still believe in Parra's future, but I'd rather win than wait for it to happen.

Manny Parra Statistics Courtesy of
2006 Brewers (A+) 10.04 5.27 1.91 0.66 0.234 1.45 0.316 69.40% 3.84
2006 Brewers (AA) 8.33 2.30 3.63 0.00 0.227 1.09 0.305 63.90% 2.31
2007 Brewers (AA) 9.04 2.90 3.12 0.22 0.235 1.19 0.317 73.80% 2.59
2007 Brewers (AAA) 8.65 2.42 3.57 0.35 0.170 0.85 0.225 79.70% 2.82
2007 Brewers 8.89 4.10 2.17 0.34 0.252 1.41 0.332 69.20% 3.35
2008 Brewers 7.97 4.07 1.96 0.98 0.279 1.54 0.337 71.70% 4.16
2009 Brewers 8.01 5.65 1.42 1.10 0.299 1.83 0.359 62.40% 4.90

Monday, June 01, 2009

Hope for B.J. Upton Owners (and Ortiz...kinda)

I've received over a dozen e-mails from B.J. Upton owners this week. Everyone has the same question. When will Upton start to hit? Well, I obviously don't have those answers and no one possibly could. But the guys at have posted an article that just might provide Upton owners with a little hope for the future.

Tampa Bay Ray's Tickets as low as $5!

It's all based around Upton's BABIP on different types of batted balls. It does ignore Upton's reduced walk rate and elevated strikeout rate. His HR/FB is also even worse than it was last season. So there is a lot of reason to be pessimistic. That said I have complete faith that he will turn it all around this season.

You can make two arguments about Upton's lack of GB hits:

1. He's lost speed.

2. He's been unlucky.

You know which way this is going. Upton's Speed Score is above his career average and his fielding remains excellent. Either he's become the most mechanically sound baserunner within the span of a season or he's still pretty damn fast. Given that Upton's strategy for stealing bases is run on the first move and outrun the relay throw to second, I'm going to go with the latter.

I still think Upton is going to be a beast this season. I wouldn't pay full price but if an owner in your league is offering discounted Upton I would leap at the deal. If you're holding Upton, you've probably received a ton of low ball offers. Keep the faith and don't give in. There is still A LOT of the season left. Check out Upton's career statistics below, courtesy of

LABR: Big Papi has found a believer

ESPN Shop - Father's Day 09

2004 Devil Rays 8.60% 28.90% 0.324 0.409 0.151 5.3 0.339 0.323
2006 Devil Rays (AAA) 14.00% 22.40% 0.374 0.394 0.126 7.4 0.329 0.360
2006 Devil Rays 6.90% 22.90% 0.302 0.291 0.046 4.8 0.313 0.275
2007 Devil Rays (A+) 22.70% 11.80% 0.375 0.412 0.176 1.9 0.214 0.356
2007 Devil Rays (AAA) 0.00% 14.30% 0.429 0.857 0.429 0.1 0.400 0.562
2007 Devil Rays 12.10% 32.50% 0.386 0.508 0.209 4.9 0.399 0.387
2008 Rays 15.40% 25.20% 0.383 0.401 0.128 5.7 0.351 0.354
2008 Rays 7.00% 24.20% 0.333 0.652 0.364 8.7 0.279 0.425
2009 Rays (A+) 30.80% 22.20% 0.643 0.444 0.000 3.2 0.571 0.489
2009 Rays 11.80% 32.30% 0.297 0.290 0.086 7.4 0.290 0.282

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

What's wrong with David Ortiz?

David Ortiz is large, slow and in his mid-thirties. He has hit for power just about everywhere he has ever played. Last season he had a wrist injury which definitely impacted his stats. But every media source seems to agree with Ortiz and batting coach, Dave Magadan when they say the wrist is no longer a problem. Ortiz missed a few days with a stiff back. At his age a stiff back and sore joints becomes a normal condition. This has been reported as a brief and minor problem. However, Ortiz is not hitting for average or for power. Two weeks ago, Magadan thought he had hit on the answer to Big Papi's problems.

From on April 20th:
Hitting coach Dave Magadan diagnosed Ortiz's issue late last week. Ortiz has been cocking his hands into a hitting position too late, the same problem that has crept up on Ortiz when struggles surfaced in the past, Magadan said.

Late last week, Magadan showed Ortiz two pictures, one from last year during a hot streak and one from this year. In the first, Ortiz had his hands back, ready to swing, while the ball was halfway to the plate. In the second picture, Ortiz was in an identical position, but the pitch had nearly reached the plate.

Yesterday, Koji Uehara struck out Ortiz swinging twice, both at fastballs that did not reach 90 miles per hour. "When you're a little bit late . . . getting to the spot where you need to put a swing on the ball, 87 is like 97," Magadan said.

Magadan emphasized that readiness is Ortiz's main issue. Ortiz has not been hitting the ball to the opposite field and producing familiar Wall Ball doubles, but Magadan said opponents have been pitching him hard and inside. Magadan also said he has witnessed no effects from the wrist injury that plagued Ortiz late last season and in the playoffs.

While Magadan had identified the problem, he was not concerned with it. He and Ortiz worked on fixing it Saturday and Magadan is happy with the results.

"When you can change your season around in two games, it's not a start," Magadan said. "It takes some time. He felt good about the changes he made yesterday. For me, I think it's just a matter of time."
I and David Ortiz owners across the globe hope and pray that this is indeed the problem and that it is just a matter of timing. But I'm not so certain. Ortiz is in a class of player that has historically declined very quickly when reaching their mid-thirties, often it seems to happen overnight. Former Red Sox Mo Vaughn is a good example of this type.

Ortiz has a career walk rate of 13.5 percent, it is currently at 14 percent. His career K-rate is 21 percent, this season his rate is a just a touch higher at 22 percent. His BABIP is a little low at .281 compared to his .308 career rate, but that is hardly a sign of disastrous luck. Ron Shandler's XBA (expected batting average), which combines statistical indicators to predict what a player's batting average should be, suggests that Ortiz should be batting for about a .223 average. That's right on the money so far.

Ortiz's slugging percentage is hovering around .315, which is nearly .300 points below his last few years of production. He is hitting more flyballs than ever but a large percentage of them have been infield flies which helps supports Magadan's theory. The fact that he is not hitting homers at all is much more disturbing than the batting average. This is the part I believe is a fluke that will be corrected in the second half of the season.

So, what's wrong with Ortiz? He's getting older. His bat is slowing down a bit. His batting mechanics are a little off and he has struggled to correct them. I doubt the batting average will improve much above the .260 range, but I believe we'll see 20-plus homers before the season ends. That said, I wouldn't look acquire him unless the price were extremely low. I believe he'll bounce back but he's also an old enough version of the type that falls completely off the map to be willing to risk much. Then, maybe he just misses Manny...

Friday, May 08, 2009

Question of the Week: Which Slow Start Are You Most Worried About?

A new regular feature of Advanced Fantasy Baseball will be the Friday Question of the Week. I would love to get reader suggestions every week. You can e-mail them to or just comment or twitter then to me at @bigjonwilliams. free polls
Which Slow-Starting Star Are You Most Worried About?
Jimmy Rollins SS Philadelphia Phillies Lance Berkman 1B Houston Astros Josh Hamilton OF Texas Rangers Magglio Ordonez OF Detroit Tigers Matt Holliday OF Oakland Athletics BJ Upton OF Tampa Bay Rays David Ortiz DH Boston Red Sox Derrek Lee 1B Chicago Cubs Milton Bradley OF Chicago Cubs Garrett Atkins 3B Colorado Rockies