Showing posts with label Joey Votto. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Joey Votto. Show all posts

Monday, March 04, 2013

Is Adrian Gonzalez a 2013 Fantasy Baseball Bust?

I have been writing quite a bit lately about the various position tiers of fantasy baseball. If you have been following here and in Big League Magazine (you should subscribe!) you will know that I believe the top tier at first base to be much smaller than most seem to expect. I am about to share with you my reasoning on one of the players typically expected to be in the first tier this season but who I believe is in the midst of a serious decline in production - Adrian Gonzalez.You will find my first base tiers and some brief comments on each player below the Adrian Gonzalez portion of this article.

First basemen have a reputation in MLB as well as in fantasy as being the biggest bats in the game. These are the guys that find their way into lineups regardless of defensive limitations or lack of running speed based on the quality of their hitting skills alone. We expect them to hit for average and for lots and lots of power. If we ran a poll of what fantasy owners wanted from their first baseman I have no doubt power would rule the day. Personally, I believe that high batting averages and big power are essential qualities in a top tier first baseman. First baseman typically do not steal bases so if they do not hit for average they become three category players. I don't know about you but if a player covers less than four categories he is moving way down my list. 

When Adrian Gonzalez was with the San Diego Padres he was a very good first baseman with outstanding numbers, especially considering he was playing most of his games in the sport's least favorable hitting environment. His batting averages were usually in the .275-.285 range with 30-plus homeruns per season. As a Padre he was a serious threat to score 100 runs and collect 100 RBI every season. He probably peaked during the 2008-2009 seasons when he hit 36 and 40 homers. His isolated power has declined in each of the three years since that peak. He went from a high ISO of .274 in 2009 with 40 homeruns to just .164 in 2012 when he hit just 18 homeruns between the Boston Red Sox and Los Angeles Dodgers.

Gonzalez suffered a shoulder injury in May of the 2010 season. He played through the pain the entire season and had what was initially expected to be relatively simple surgery in October of that same season. The surgery was often referred to as "cleaning up the shoulder". Later it was revealed that the rehab could take up to five months. This meant that even if he started the season on time there was a significant risk that he would still lack ideal strength in the joint. This had the potential to sap his power and make him a far less productive power hitter. That did not happen but his skill indicators still took a fall even as his production remained strong.

While rehabbing the shoulder Gonzalez, who had implied he would not be returning to the Padres when he reached his impending free agency, was traded to the Boston Red Sox. They were very aware of the shoulder problem but did not seem at all worried about it. Fenway Park tends to boost batting average and slugging percentage while robbing batters of homeruns. So Gonzalez seemed quite productive in 2011 despite power numbers that might seem disappointing when compared to his San Diego numbers. Few noticed that his .380 BABIP seemed very much out of character. His groundball rate rose dramatically with a corresponding decrease in flyballs. He was swinging at many more pitches out of the strike zone but he was making slightly better contact as well, even as he drew fewer walks. Before the 2012 season the Red Sox signed Gonzalez to a seven year $154 million dollar contract.

Gonzalez started very slow in 2012. He had just 6 homeruns through the end of June. His batting average was relatively mediocre until a brief BA surge in June. This was despite a first half .327 BABIP. His line at the end of June was just .283/.329/.416 with 6 homeruns, 45 RBI and 42 runs. That would have been a pretty good line for your shortstop (assuming you were getting steals somewhere else) but for your first baseman it was atrocious. There are lots of theories about what happened. For some it was the Bobby Valentine Effect. Just about anything that went wrong in Boston during the 2012 season has been laid at the feet of their former manager. However, there had been a clear change in skills and approach. The trade to the Dodgers seemed to make him happy. He was back on the West Coast and overall his second half was much more productive - .317/.361/.517 with 12 homers, just 33 runs but 63 RBI and even two stolen bases.

But can you count on Gonzalez to repeat his second half numbers? His second half BABIP of .342 is high but not ridiculous for Gonzalez given his career .324 BABIP. His walk rates have come way down since his peak. That has a lot to do with earning fewer intentional walks but that is not all of it. It could be a sign that his bat is not as feared around the league as it once was though it could also be that he now plays in deeper lineups. He is now a far less discerning batter, he has begun swinging at just about anything within reach. His power has declined three years running in dramatic fashion. His batted ball types tell that tale. He has become more of a groundball hitter with declining FB%, ISO, HR/FB% and obviously homerun totals.He has been hitting more doubles but that was primarily in Fenway Park. The Boston doubles could become long outs. If the BABIP scores regress to career levels or worse he could be a complete disaster at his present ADP.

Tier One First Basemen

Joey Votto, Cincinnati Reds - The ideal first baseman is like Votto a five category contributor in a great lineup. The knee injury should not a concern. This could be his career year.

Prince Fielder, Detroit Tigers - Fielder has been very durable but has up and down power numbers. If the pattern holds this should be a up year for Fielders homerun totals.

Albert Pujols, Los Angeles Angels - The best player in the game until 2012, I don't think this is the end. Other than April and September he was pretty much Pujols as usual.

Tier Two First Basemen

Billy Butler, Kansas City Royals- The power everyone wanted arrived but it was mostly a HR/FB illusion. His ridiculous slow (I mean Bug Bunny slow pitch slow) running speed will keep his run totals low.
Mark Teixeira, New York Yankees - The shift is killing his batting average but he still has serious power. The imploding Yankees could erode his RBI totals.

Allen Craig, St. Louis Cardinals- If he could stay healthy he might move up a tier. He hits for average and could hit 35 homers if he ever got a full season of at-bats.

Edwin Encarnacion, Toronto Blue Jays - A few years later than expected, E5 has arrived. An improved O-Swing was a big factor. He steals a few bases too.

Paul Goldschmidt, Arizona Diamondbacks - Everybody's new favorite has even more power than this. There is some average downside in his O-swing, and strikeout rate and it would be foolish to expect 18 stolen bases again.

Paul Konerko, Chicago White Sox _ He is starting to slow down but he is such a good hitter that it may take a few more years to convince most fans. The White Sox have no one to replace him with anyway.

Adrian Gonzalez, Los Angeles Dodgers - A talented player holding a lot of risky indicators. He should probably move down a tier. But unless you skipped the above article you know all that. You might have known anyway.

Tier Three First Basemen

Adam LaRoche, Washington Nationals - He might be in the second tier if he was consistently healthy. If I owned him this season I would move Tyler Moore up my list of reserve picks.

Freddie Freeman, Atlanta Braves - He swings at too many pitches out of the zone but is becoming more patient and his power is improving. He is young enough that his breakout could be shockingly good.

Anthony Rizzo, Chicago Cubs- Rizzo made nice improvements to his long swing and had another very impressive minor league season and a promising major league debut.

Logan Morrison, Miami Marlins - Injuries have kept his promise under wraps. He has the skills to hit for power and average. He is a patient powerful and disciplined batter. Health and at-bats are the key to his breakout.

Corey Hart, Milwaukee Brewers- Hart has solid power and a decent bat. His knee injury could mess up his base to start the season, so expect a slightly lower homer rate.

Ike Davis, New York Mets - He deserves an article of his own. His power arrived in the second half of the season but he spent the first half recovering from the effects of Valley Fever.

Ryan Howard, Philadelphia Phillies - His peak was not very long but it was great while it lasted. He still has big power but the batting average could be disappointing.

Justin Morneau, Minnesota Twins - He finally appears to be healthy. He expects to get a full season of at-bats this season. If he gets them and recovers his former skills he is an MVP candidate.

Lance Berkman, Texas Rangers - Berkman is brittle but very productive when healthy. He is aging quickly and is apparently just playing for the money at this point.

Tier Four First Basemen

Garrett Jones, Pittsburgh Pirates- A solid hitter with pretty good power. Unfortunately the Pirates are always trying to improve on him.

Michael Cuddyer, Colorado Rockies- He's really the right fielder but he serves as Todd Helton's understudy at first base. Cuddyer is a five category contributor without any elite skills.

Mike Morse, Seattle Mariners - Has big power but has yet to prove he can be a consistent contributor from season to season. Injuries have been a factor and his new home park could be intimidating.

Hosmer's beard makes him look stupid.
Eric Hosmer, Kansas City Royals - Everyone's favorite sleeper going into the 2012 season was a huge disappointment. His ADP still has him as a top 100 pick. He swings at too many outside pitches but he does have the patience to draw walks and makes strong contact. A good portion of his problems could be related to his .255 BABIP.

Brandon Belt, San Francisco Giants - Belt has not exploded on the major league scene the way some prospect junkies expected. He draws walks but still swings at too many bad pitches. He is very BABIP dependent.

Chris Carter, Houston Astros - The power has been obvious for a long time but the platoon helped him be a bit more productive hitter. The Astros can give him a ton of at-bats. He has some upside potential, if you want to understand his ceiling better read this Minor League Ball article.

Yonder Alonso, San Diego Padres - Alonso had a pretty good full season debut. He showed patience and discipline at the plate. His power was a little disappointing but his 39 doubles hold some promise for greater homer totals in the future. A nice pick in leagues where you can be patient with him. The power will improve.

Adam Lind, Toronto Blue Jays - The lineup around him is vastly improved. The expectations for the Blue Jays are higher than they've been in years and almost all the pressure if off Lind as the DH hitting near the bottom of the lineup. He showed improvement in the second half after his stint in the minors.

Tier Five First Basemen

Michael Young, Philadelphia Phillies - Had his worst season in the majors. It was not quite the fantasy disaster that it was for real baseball unless you drafted him based on his 2011 season.

Chris Davis, Baltimore Orioles - He finally got a full season of at-bats and showed his power potential. He is not a great bat but the power is as real as it gets. I expect more of the same.

Mike Napoli, Boston Red Sox - The news about his hip injury has been a bit blown out of proportion because of how anxious the Red Sox were to protect themselves. According to news that went under reported the condition caught early enough that treatment should be very effective. Napoli has been very productive in Fenway Park.

Brett Wallace, Houston Astros - The Astros are determined to give Wallace as many at-bats as possible. Wallace spent some time in the minors getting his swing back and was quietly productive on his return. This kid has experienced a lot in his very short career.

Adam Dunn, Chicago White Sox - His homeruns came back in a big way but his power adjustment did not improve his batting average much. Despite 41 homers his slugging percentage was just .468 as he hit just 19 doubles. He is closer to done than those in love with the homerun totals would have you believe.

Darin Ruf, Philadelphia Phillies - If Howard were to go down to injury Ruf would be better suited to first base than the outfield role he is bound to have. Ruf is not an empty power hitter nor a one hit wonder. Some guys just take a bit longer to develop. He reminds me a lot of young Ryan Howard.

Tier Six First Basemen

Tyler Moore
Brandon Moss, Oakland Athletics - Based on his track record I will have to see Moss do it again before I'll have any faith in him.

Mark Reynolds, Cleveland Indians - He has serious power and strikes out a ton. He is now is a lineup full of similar hitters. It should be fun to watch. Indian fans will want to wear windbreakers this season.

Justin Smoak, Seattle Mariners - The Mariners are giving him another opportunity based on how he finished the 2012 season. He looks good this spring and the addition if veteran bats mean there should be less pressure on the young players in Seattle.

Tyler Moore, Washington Nationals - A player I like more than most people. Davey Johnson is not a huge fan of rookies and held off using Moore as long as possible in 2012. he knows that Moore can be a very productive bat now. He should have a bench role to start the season.

Juan Rivera, New York Yankees - Rivera is not a great bat but thanks to the brittle and aging bats in the Yankees lineup Rivera should have plenty of at-bats this season.

Tier Seven First Basemen

Todd Helton, Colorado Rockies - A former fantasy stud reduced to hitting for average and trying to stay healthy enough to complete his ridiculous contract.

Matt Carpenter, St. Louis Cardinals He could be the starting second baseman if all goes right but he does not qualify there. He has some potential with the bat if he can find a position.

Jordan Pacheco, Colorado Rockies - A decent hitter but he has no power and no start role.

Gaby Sanchez, Pittsburgh Pirates - A better player than he showed in 2012. The Pirates will give him another opportunity to steal the first base job. He'll end up getting at-bats even if he doesn't start on a regular basis.

Mitch Moreland, Texas Rangers - He has not improved while in the majors and looks to lose at-bats this season to Lance Berkman and eventually Mike Olt.

Mike Carp, Boston Red Sox- A favorite sleeper from 2012, Carp is now a bench bat for the Boston Red Sox. He should find at-bats at first and the outfield corners.

Casey Kotchman, Miami Marlins - Kotchman will battle Logan Morrison for at-bats but unless Morrison remains injured is unlikely to play much.

Carlos Pena, Houston Astros - The new Astros designated hitter. His power is in decline and he has not hit for average in years.

James Loney, Tampa Bay Rays - Why the Rays prefer James Loney to someone like Carlos Lee is a mystery. Loney does not hit for average or power anymore.

Monday, November 01, 2010

Hamilton and Votto Win BBA's Stan Musial Awards

The Baseball Bloggers Alliance concluded their award
season today by naming the best player in each league for 2010. When
all the votes were tallied, two men were comfortably ahead.
outfielder Josh Hamilton, who hit 32 home runs and fashioned an OPS of
1.044 while leading the Rangers into the playoffs, won the award
in the American League. Hamilton received sixteen first place votes
and 261 points overall, which put him ahead of his nearest competitor,
Detroit first baseman Miguel Cabrera, by roughly 70 points.

In the National League, helping Cincinnati to an unexpected divisional
title paid off for first baseman Joey Votto. After a season where he
cracked 37 home runs and posted a 1.024 OPS, Votto also received
sixteen first-place votes toward his total of 252 points. He also
denied St. Louis first baseman Albert Pujols the chance to win
back-to-back BBA awards. Pujols was selected as MVP by the BBA in
2009, but placed second with 197 points in this year’s voting.

Winners of other Alliance awards also received votes in the Musial balloting. In the American League, Walter Johnson winner Felix Hernandez received 21 points, while Goose Gossage selection
Rafael Soriano had a single mention. On the senior circuit, Walter Johnson winner Roy Halladay placed fourth in the voting with 101 points.

The complete voting results are as follows (first place votes in parenthesis):

American League
Josh Hamilton, Texas (16) 261
Miguel Cabrera, Detroit (4) 188
Robinson Cano, New York 158
Jose Bautista, Toronto (1) 146
Adrian Beltre, Boston 107
Evan Longoria, Tampa Bay (1) 102
Paul Konerko, Chicago 65
Carl Crawford, Tampa Bay 56
Joe Mauer, Minnesota 50
Shin-Soo Choo, Cleveland 44
Felix Hernandez, Seattle 21
Vladimir Guerrero, Texas 13
Justin Morneau, Minnesota 12
Delmon Young, Minnesota 10
Cliff Lee, Seattle/Texas 8
CC Sabathia, New York 8
Alex Rodriguez, New York 7
Clay Buchholz, Boston 4
Mark Teixeria, New York 3
Jon Lester, Boston 2
Ichiro Suzuki, Seattle 2
Nick Swisher, New York 2
Jim Thome, Minnesota 2
Kevin Youkilis, Boston 2
Brett Gardner, New York 1
David Ortiz, Boston 1
Rafael Soriano, Tampa Bay 1

National League
Joey Votto, Cincinnati (16) 252
Albert Pujols, St. Louis (3) 197
Carlos Gonzalez, Colorado (1) 118
Roy Halladay, Philadelphia (1) 101
Adrian Gonzalez, San Diego 98
Troy Tulowitski, Colorado 98
Ryan Zimmerman, Washington 93
Matt Holliday, St. Louis 84
Aubrey Huff, San Francisco 32
Adam Wainwright, St. Louis 17
Ubaldo Jimenez, Colorado 16
Josh Johnson, Florida 16
Dan Uggla, Florida 16
Jayson Werth, Philadelphia 16
Ryan Braun, Milwaukee 13
Prince Fielder, Milwaukee 10
Ryan Howard, Philadelphia 9
Martin Prado, Atlanta 7
Jason Heyward, Atlanta 6
Rickie Weeks, Milwaukee 5
David Wright, New York 5
Adam Dunn, Washington 4
Kelly Johnson, Arizona 4
Andres Torres, San Francisco 1

Baseball Bloggers Alliance was formed in the fall of 2009 to encourage
cooperation and collaboration between baseball bloggers of all major
league teams as well as those that follow baseball more generally. As
of this writing, the organization consists of
233 blogs spanning all 30 major league squads as well as general baseball writing.

BBA is organized under a similar structure as the Baseball Writers of
America, where blogs that follow the same team are combined into
“chapters” and only two votes from the chapter on an award
are counted. The blog chapters that are focused on general baseball
were allowed two votes as well, which they could use both on the same
league or split between the two leagues.

generally followed one of two methods when casting their ballot.
Either representatives of the chapter were given the ballots for
voting or a “group ballot” was posted, accounting for both of their

Ballots are posted on the respective blogs and for this award,
were tabulated on a 13-9-8-7-6-5-4-3-2-1 point scale for first through
tenth place. In the interest of transparency, links are given below for
the ballots. Chapter affiliation is in parenthesis. Those chapters
that decided on the group method are noted with an asterisk.

American League
Camden Crazies
The Bottom Line
The Tribe Daily
Motor City Bengals
Switch Hitting Pitchers
One Royal Way
(Kansas City)*
Twinkie Talk
Seth Speaks
Bronx Baseball Daily
(New York)*
Contract Year
Rise of the Rays
(Tampa Bay)
Infield Fly
The Blue Jay Hunter
Advanced Fantasy Baseball
Victoria Seals Baseball Blog
Misc. Baseball
Blogging From The Bleachers

National League
Blog Red Machine
Marlin Maniac
Marlins Diehards
Feeling Dodger Blue
(Los Angeles)
The Eddie Kranepool Society
(New York)*
Dugger’s Corner
Where Have You Gone, Andy Van Slyke?
The Outfield Ivy
(St. Louis)
Pitchers Hit Eighth
(St. Louis)
Friar Forecast
(San Diego)*
(San Francisco)*
Advanced Fantasy Baseball
Victoria Seals Baseball Blog
Misc. Baseball
Ron Kaplan’s Baseball Bookshelf
Blogging From The Bleachers

Prior Winners: 2009: Joe Mauer, Minnesota; Albert Pujols, St. Louis

The official website of the BBA is located at
The BBA can be found on Twitter by the handle @baseballblogs and by
the hashmark #bbba. Members of the BBA may be heard at Blog Talk Radio
every Tuesday night with their call-in show,
BBA Baseball Talk, which may also be downloaded as a podcast from iTunes. For more information, contact Daniel Shoptaw at

Wednesday, September 01, 2010

Martin Prado: Best Hitter in the National League?

I found something odd inside last week's Baseball America. On page 15 they printed the results of their survey of major league managers of the best tools in baseball. Most of it was fairly predictable. The best National League baserunners were Michael Bourn, Nyjer Morgan and Andrew McCutchen. The most exciting players in the American League were Carl Crawford, Josh Hamilton and Ichiro Suzuki. And the best hitters in the National League were Albert Pujols, Joey Votto and Martin Prado. Say what, now? Martin Prado?

It's true that Martin Prado has been extremely good over the last couple of years. First as a utility player and finally as the full-time second baseman. Dave Cameron of had good things to say about him during his Trade Value series of articles in which Prado ranked at number 47.
The ultimate performance over tools guy in the big leagues right now, Prado’s success is a testament to how pedigree doesn’t mean everything. This is a guy who hit 15 home runs in 2,119 minor league plate appearances, and was simply not considered much of a prospect when he got to the big leagues. However, for the last three years, he’s been one of the best second baseman in baseball, adding some power to his already good contact rates and turning himself into a legitimate All-Star this season. He’s headed for his prime years as an already good player, and the Braves have him under control for three more seasons. He might be the most unexpected guy on this list, but he’s earned his spot here.
By wOBA, Prado comes in an impressive seventh among second basemen this season with an extremely solid .368 score. He ranks 22nd in wOBA in the National League, which is impressive for a player that was not expected to become an offensive force.

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At the time of this posting, Prado held a slash of .317/.360/.488 with 15 homeruns, 89 runs scored, and 58 RBI in 498 at-bats. Although his walk rate is unimpressive at just 6.4 percent, he has shown incredible patience at the plate. He swings at far fewer pitchers than most major league hitters both in and out of the strike zone. He also makes far greater contact. He is definitely a skilled hitter. The key to his transformation seems to be his steadily increasing power. The last three seasons have seen his ISO go from .140 to .158 to .171 this season.

Although most leagues do not bother with defense, I thought it would be interesting to see how he has been with the glove. The answer is pretty good overall. He's been excellent at third base just passing at second base but showing some improvement. I think this helps us call him a pretty good third baseman and a very good second baseman.

Unfortunately, the major league managers seem to have elevated him a bit past his true skills as a hitter. He is definitely a player worth watching for fantasy purposes. At 27-years old with experience we may see him take another step up and into the true tier of best hitters in the National League. But for now I would still place players like Albert Pujols, Joey Votto, Matt Holliday, Ryan Zimmerman and Hanley Ramirez in a class above him.

How has Martin Prado helped in your quests for gold. Are you ready to label him one of the best hitters in the National League? Let's hear about it in the comments section.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

The Return of Grady Sizemore and Joey Votto

If you noticed more smiles than usual around the water cooler today it may be that you are looking at the fantasy owners of Grady Sizemore and Joey Votto. It does not matter what format you were playing in or how good your team has done in the meanwhile. Getting one (or even both) of these guys back in action is like pulling off a major trade in which you gave up absolutely nothing. It feels almost as good as it hurt when you lost them in the first place.

Grady Sizemore

Sizemore is avoiding rehab in the minor leagues for the elbow injury that has bothered him since spring training. The Cleveland Indians have been calling the injury an inflamed elbow. The Indians also caution that any further set backs will likely result in season-ending elbow surgery. Sizemore is insisting that his elbow feels good and that he did not feel any pain when he tested the elbow over the weekend. We can only hope that he is telling the truth and that the tests were strenuous enough to be conclusive.

Playing through the pain did not do anything good for Sizemore's early season numbers. When he hit the disabled list he was batting .223/.309/.417 with nine homers and seven stolen bases (of 13 attempts) in 206 at-bats. It is very difficult to measure how much the injury played into his start. His walk rate was down, his strikeout rate was up but other than that everything (excluding the SB-rate) seemed to be typical of Sizemore.

There is no avoiding the fact that Sizemore is a risk for fantasy teams. A sore elbow has the potential to alter his swing and significantly change his results. It could also make him more cautious on the base paths. All that said if I had the opportunity to add Sizemore to one of my rosters I would do it without hesitation. The risk is extremely high but so is the reward. Don't part with your best cogs to add him but if you can manage it without them, I would endorse the move in leagues of every format.

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Joey Votto

Unlike Sizemore, Votto has been rehabbing in the minor leagues and looks on his game. What exactly was ailing Votto has been kept under wraps by Votto and the Cincinnati Reds. We know that he had an inner-ear infection which was complicated by continuing to fly with the condition. He was forced to leave a few games with dizziness. But then he was placed on the disabled list with what the Reds called a stress-related problem. This could be almost anything from stress over the vertigo to a more serious problem they probably exacerbated by not sidelining him when the problem first occurred. Apparently the secrecy over his condition is at the request of Votto himself.
From the National Post:

"Have faith in me as a person that I would make the right decisions for myself and the ball club. I would never sell the team or the city of Cincinnati short,'' he said. "I think I give every single Cincinnati Reds fan exactly what they pay for. I feel like at times, I give more, because [baseball] engrosses my life. It takes a lot of my time emotionally and physically --off the field, too.'
Votto was on fire to start the season and was blasting homeruns even while suffering from the ear infection complications. He went on the disabled list with a slash line of .357/.464/.627 with eight homeruns and two stolen bases in just 126 at-bats. It appears to me that this was totally inline with Votto's development into a great baseball player.

I think the risk with Votto is minimal. He looks and sounds healthy and in a positive state of mind according to local reports. Which is extremely significant if stress alone truly did lead to his DL stint.
From the National Post:

"I was just joking around with people," said Votto as he smiled through a post-game interview on Sunday. "I was in such a good mood today because it's been such a struggle getting through games that I couldn't help but have a smile on my face."
I believe that Joey Votto will go directly back to proving himself one of the best players in the National League. He should hit for a great batting average and very nice power. His owners should not hesitate to activate him. If for some reason he is available in your league grabbing him should be your number one priority.

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Saturday, May 30, 2009

Jake Fox May Solve Your Joey Votto Problems

The Cincinnati Reds star first baseman, Joey Votto, has been placed on the disabled list with "Stress Problems" which we're left to assume are the result of his inner ear problem. Why the Reds are calling this stress is a mystery to me. But the Reds do a lot of things I don't understand. Why was Joey Votto continuing to fly around the country with an ear infection anyway? They made a serious problem even worse by not simply putting him on the DL when they discovered the problem. They've also hesitated to disable their other injured players. Brandon Phillips is now playing with a fracture in his thumb. If he keeps batting, it will only get worse.

Mark Sheldon of
Dizziness from the inner ear infection that's been dogging Reds first baseman Joey Votto struck again Friday night. The club has avoided putting Votto on the disabled list for more than two weeks but that could change soon.

Votto, the team's best hitter, started against the Brewers but came out of the game before the Reds took the field for the bottom of the second inning. Catcher Ramon Hernandez moved to first base and Ryan Hanigan took over behind the plate.

After the game in the manager's office, a 40-minute closed-door meeting was held with Reds manager Dusty Baker, general manager Walt Jocketty, head trainer Mark Mann and Votto.

No roster move was announced once the door opened, but Baker said that Votto would not play on Saturday.

Votto emerged from the meeting and appeared to be in a good mood but declined to comment to reporters.

"Not right now," Votto said.

Baker was asked if Votto was OK.

"No , not really," a somber Baker responded. "He felt similar symptoms that he's been feeling in the past and just came out."

It was the third time since May 11 that dizzy spells have forced Votto out of a game. On May 21 after a battery of tests, the inner ear infection was revealed.

The conditions of the inner ear infection can be exasperated by flying, which Votto did with the club on Thursday during the off-day. Unlike with the previous incidents that happened on the West Coast following flights, the trip to Milwaukee is a relatively short one.

Replacing Votto, especially in NL-only leagues is going to be difficult. But if you're in a weekly transaction league or just a league with some owners who are slow on the draw there may be an option for you. The Chicago Cubs recently called up slugger Jake Fox. Fox is a former catcher who has struggled to find a position. He has spent most of his time recently at outfield and first base but has also spent time at third base. The guys at the Fake Teams Blog have posted an informative article that may discourage you from picking him up.

But after you're done being discouraged note Fox's slash line of .423/.503/.886 that's insanely good. I don't care how bad his defense is or what league he's been playing in or what he's been injecting (that's just a joke I haven't heard a thing). Fox is blocked by Derek Lee at first base but the Cubs could squeeze him into the outfield to fire up the offense. Fox is also a prime candidate to DH in inter-league games. I haven't checked the schedule for the Cub's AL games (okay I did, six games against the White Sox and Tigers to end June) but I'm trying to be optimistic here. Fox was leading the minors with 17 homeruns at the time he was called up. If there is a manager on the planet I trust to fit to fit a bat like this into the lineup it is Lou Pinella. I won the FAAB Bidding in my primary NL-only league with a $32 bid. Even if he doesn't play much it can't be much worse than collecting awful at-bats from the scrubs likely to be on the waiver wire at this point in the season.

Jake Fox Statistics Courtesy of

2006 Cubs (A+) 9.80% 19.70% 0.383 0.574 0.261 0.337 55.8 21.7 0.421
2006 Cubs (AA) 4.50% 22.80% 0.304 0.435 0.166 0.326 24.2 2.6 0.336
2007 Cubs (AA) 4.50% 20.10% 0.327 0.504 0.220 0.312 57.2 11 0.367
2007 Cubs (AAA) 4.80% 23.20% 0.343 0.535 0.253 0.314 17.8 3.5 0.381
2007 Cubs 6.70% 14.30% 0.200 0.286 0.143 0.167 0.4 -1.5 0.214
2008 Cubs (AA) 10.60% 18.80% 0.397 0.580 0.273 0.324 89.3 32.8 0.428
2008 Cubs (AAA) 1.70% 26.50% 0.242 0.479 0.256 0.25 11.9 -4.4 0.305
2009 Cubs (AAA) 10.20% 18.80% 0.503 0.886 0.463 0.442 57.3 34.7 0.574
2009 Cubs 0.00% 25.00% 0.750 1.000 0.250 1 1.9 1.4 0.764

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Top First Basemen Ranked By wOBA

Albert Pujols 0.357 0.462 0.653 0.346 0.458
Lance Berkman 0.312 0.42 0.567 0.345 0.419
Mark Teixeira 0.308 0.41 0.552 0.321 0.41
Kevin Youkilis 0.312 0.39 0.569 0.347 0.402
Jason Giambi 0.247 0.373 0.502 0.257 0.377
Miguel Cabrera 0.292 0.349 0.537 0.316 0.376
Carlos Pena 0.247 0.377 0.494 0.307 0.374
Nick Johnson 0.22 0.415 0.431 0.241 0.374
Joey Votto 0.297 0.368 0.506 0.33 0.373
Christopher Davis 0.285 0.331 0.549 0.353 0.371
Prince Fielder 0.276 0.372 0.507 0.305 0.37
Ronnie Belliard 0.287 0.372 0.473 0.326 0.369
Justin Morneau 0.3 0.374 0.499 0.318 0.369
Adrian Gonzalez 0.279 0.361 0.51 0.311 0.368
Martin Prado 0.32 0.377 0.461 0.36 0.367
Ryan Howard 0.251 0.339 0.543 0.289 0.366
Carlos Delgado 0.271 0.353 0.518 0.284 0.364
Conor Jackson 0.3 0.376 0.446 0.321 0.364
Pablo Sandoval 0.345 0.357 0.49 0.367 0.361
Hank Blalock 0.287 0.338 0.508 0.301 0.361
Derrek Lee 0.291 0.361 0.462 0.333 0.36
Adam LaRoche 0.27 0.341 0.5 0.313 0.357
Dmitri Young 0.28 0.394 0.4 0.322 0.352
Todd Helton 0.264 0.391 0.388 0.298 0.347
Jorge Cantu 0.277 0.327 0.481 0.297 0.346
Sean Casey 0.322 0.381 0.392 0.368 0.344
Paul Konerko 0.24 0.344 0.438 0.247 0.343
Lyle Overbay 0.27 0.358 0.419 0.32 0.342
Jeff Baker 0.268 0.322 0.468 0.337 0.34
Mike Jacobs 0.247 0.299 0.514 0.264 0.338
Garrett Atkins 0.286 0.328 0.452 0.314 0.337
Doug Mientkiewicz 0.277 0.374 0.379 0.302 0.337
Travis Ishikawa 0.274 0.337 0.432 0.354 0.337
James Loney 0.289 0.338 0.434 0.32 0.333
Ryan Garko 0.273 0.346 0.404 0.306 0.333
Frank Catalanotto 0.274 0.342 0.399 0.304 0.329
Javier Valentin 0.256 0.326 0.411 0.296 0.325
Nick Swisher 0.219 0.332 0.41 0.251 0.325
Rich Aurilia 0.283 0.332 0.413 0.308 0.324
Casey Kotchman 0.272 0.328 0.41 0.273 0.322
Mike Sweeney 0.286 0.331 0.397 0.288 0.322
Billy Butler 0.275 0.324 0.4 0.296 0.318
Chris Duncan 0.248 0.346 0.365 0.299 0.318
Kevin Millar 0.234 0.323 0.394 0.249 0.315
Richie Sexson 0.221 0.321 0.382 0.275 0.314
Tony Clark 0.225 0.359 0.318 0.333 0.314
Chad Tracy 0.267 0.308 0.414 0.301 0.313
Daryle Ward 0.216 0.319 0.402 0.243 0.309
Chris Shelton 0.216 0.333 0.33 0.306 0.308
Wilson Betemit 0.265 0.289 0.429 0.346 0.308
John Bowker 0.255 0.3 0.408 0.302 0.307
Daric Barton 0.226 0.327 0.348 0.272 0.302
Aaron Boone 0.241 0.299 0.384 0.287 0.297
Jeffrey Larish 0.26 0.306 0.375 0.368 0.297
Miguel Cairo 0.249 0.316 0.33 0.291 0.293
Bryan Lahair 0.25 0.315 0.346 0.333 0.292
Robb Quinlan 0.262 0.326 0.311 0.311 0.291
Ross Gload 0.273 0.317 0.348 0.298 0.29
Wes Helms 0.243 0.299 0.347 0.309 0.287
Paul Lo Duca 0.243 0.321 0.295 0.259 0.287
Kory Casto 0.215 0.297 0.313 0.264 0.277
Mark Sweeney 0.13 0.25 0.163 0.188 0.208

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