Showing posts with label San Diego Padres. Show all posts
Showing posts with label San Diego Padres. Show all posts

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Hot Stove Junkie: The Late Edition

Finally, we are up to date with the Winter Transactions. You should see a post every Sunday regarding the week's transactions and their impact on our fantasy game. As the transactions slow, Sundays will feature articles on strategy, mock draft results and expert league draft results. In January  you should see the first of a series of team previews for every team, I already have the skeleton for most of these done. The plan is to release one every other day for the following ten weeks or so with player features on alternate days. This would take us through the third week of March and finish just in time for most draft days.

See you in the comments section.


The Braves Trade Evan Gattis to the Astros

I honestly did not think the Braves would trade Evan Gattis despite all the rumors to the contrary. I knew the Braves were re-building but I thought the opportunity to get Gattis full time at-bats in left field would actually be appealing to the Braves. Now I am forced to believe they did not ever intend to keep Gattis when they could trade him for a package of prospects while his value to another team was still high due to his years of control and massive power potential.

There is a tendency among the sabermetric crowd to look down on players that do not draw walks and produce high on-base percentages. But Gattis was about average at getting on base in 2014 and when he finds a regular role in the Astros lineup and receives everyday at-bats his on-base percentage is likely to rise based on his extreme power and the tendency of most pitchers to avoid it. In a full season with say 550 at-bats, Gattis could easily hit 30-plus homeruns. Left field in Minute Maid Park is not huge and probably the perfect place for the kind of outfielder Gattis is (a bat without a position). He could also see time at first base assuming the Astros send Singleton back to the minors. Whatever spot he lands in I expect to see him in the lineup everyday. Gattis is a 20 dollar player for me and probably gets a few dollars more than that in most leagues since El Oso Blanco is both popular and powerful.

In return for Gattis the Braves receive three prospects.

The Tampa Bay Rays Trade Ben Zobrist to the Oakland Athletics

The Rays, Athletics and Braves have all made lots of similar deals this season - trading away some of their best and most popular players for greater depth at both the major league and minor league level. And yet all three teams have held on to very good and deep rotations and seem to plan on fielding competitive teams.

At this point Ben Zobrist looks like the starting second baseman for the A's. This could obviously change as GM Billy Beane has made move after move in a record-setting offseason of transactions(nine trades, 27 players and counting). Zobrist should have an above average batting average with 10-plus homers and 10-plus stolen bases. He had a short run of 20-plus homer seasons but those days seem to be past. I expect that no matter what his position he will bat near the top of the A's lineup and score a ton of runs. Zobrist is a 20 dollar player the last few seasons and I think he has another few seasons at that level.

The Rays Side of the Deal

The Rays received catcher/designated hitter John Jaso (who they developed and traded not so long ago), the A's number one prospect - shortstop Daniel Robertson, and center field prospect Boog Powell. Jaso is recovering from a spat of injuries in 2014 including a concussion. He is a decent hitter when healthy but not a impact player for fantasy purposes. Robertson is the real target of the trade from the Rays perspective, he should be an above average hitter at shortstop with decent power and a few stolen bases. Powell gets on base but that is probably his only real skill.

Jaso is probably worth a buck or two in an only league. The concussion problems make him a risk I would rather avoid. The Rays will probably use him mostly as a DH and very rarely behind the plate. I would definitely use a minor league pick on Robertson but while he is a nice prospect he is not a stud, sure-thing type. Powell I would not bother with unless it was a deep Dynasty League and there was just no one with speed or power left to draft.

The Rays recently signed Asdrubal Cabrera which confused many watchers since the Rays did in fact have Zobrist, Escobar and Nick Franklin in their middle infield competition. It makes a lot more sense now. The Rays have confirmed that Cabrera will be their starting shortstop and Nick Franklin the second baseman. I would definitely invest a few bucks in Nick Franklin. 

Did the Nationals Add a Second Baseman or a Shortstop?

The A's were forced to take Yunel Escobar in the Zobrist deal and the A's immediately traded him to the Washington Nationals for top tier set-up man Tyler Clippard. The Nationals can use Escobar at second base which has been a problem for them. But Escobar was not good last season and I feel certain that the Nats will allow Dan Uggla (now recovered from his oculomotor dysfunction) and Dan Espinosa to compete for the job.There were some hints that Escobar dogged it on defense but there is no real way to substantiate those kind of claims but it is telling that one of the better defense shortstops rated as one of the worst in 2014. The Nationals own his rights for the next three seasons and rumors of Ian Desmond being on his way out of town are rampant. I seriously doubt that Washington would move Desmond as long as they are contending but I was wrong about Gattis, so... I would probably spend in the high single digits for Escobar's bat if I missed out on the higher ceiling options. 

The Athletics Bullpen Looks Really Good

Tyler Clippard is one of my favorite players and I've owned him almost every season of his career. He gets an elite level of innings and strikeouts for a reliever. His durability is a major part of his value. He allows a ton of fly balls, a good percentage of them are of the infield variety but playing in the Oakland football stadium with their great defensive outfielders could allow Clippard to be at his very best. Clippard has been worth 10-12 dollars even without getting more than the occasional save.

The San Francisco Giants Signed OF Nori Aoki 

Nori Aoki is a quality player. He gets on base, he plays good defense, he contributes on the bases and he hits for average. Fantasy owners will not like the lack of power but just like the San Francisco Giants, you take your production where you can get it. Aoki has been a 20 dollar player the last few years and I see no reason that would not continue in San Francisco.

The Giants are More Saber-Savy Than They Let On

The Padres Jose Valverde to Minor League Deal

Jose Valverde throws the ball hard but has not been a very good closer. He pitched for the Mets in 2014 but was not very good and was eventually released. I assume he is just depth for the Padres bullpen which is already pretty good. Not worth an investment for fantasy purposes. 

The Pittsburgh Pirates Close to Agreement with Korean SS Jung-ho Kang

This is an interesting move for the Pirates. We have very little idea what we can expect from Jung-ho Kang in MLB. The KBO is definitely a hitter's league. Some compare it to the California League. Still, Kang's numbers are far above the league's average level and that does bode well for his statistics in MLB. My hunch is he would be a slightly above average major league hitter. If he can stay at shortstop that is a fantasy asset if he gets the at-bats, which is another big question. It looks like he will begin the season as a utility player getting frequent at-bats at multiple positions. Neal Huntington specifically mentioned third base which has to make you worry about Josh Harrison a bit. Still the supposed bench role should keep his price low. I'd gamble a few bucks on him.

The Angels and Braves Swap Prospects 

The Angels acquired third base prospect Kyle Kubitza as depth at third base to protect them from David Freese's impending free agency and their lack of a reasonable option in the farm system. In return the Braves get 17-year old Ricardo Sanchez. Sanchez has a lot of upside potential but is probably several years from having a major league impact. I would not go out of my way to acquire either player at this point but both are probably worth minor league picks.

The White Sox Sign Emilio Bonafacio

Emilio Bonafacio was signed to act as a super utility player. He should get something close to regular starter at-bats but will play multiple positions over the course of the season. Carlos Sanchez and Micah Johnson will still battle for the second base job. As the article linked suggests their leash just got a bit shorter. Bonafacio should receive in the neighborhood of 400 at-bats and hit for an average batting average (.250-.260) with 25-30 stolen bases. The power will not make much impact, though he does have some pop in his bat. He is a 10-15 dollar player most seasons and that is a safe place to draft him.

The Reds Acquire Marlon Byrd 

The Cincinnati Reds completed the last trade of the 2014 season when they sent minor league starter Ben Lively to the Philadelphia Phillies for veteran outfielder Marlon Byrd and half of his 2015 salary. Marlon Byrd took a losing time to become a productive major leaguer and never actually became the big star he was once projected to be. But Byrd kept working at it and has been a solid role player for several teams and even earned full-time at-bats the last few years.

Great American Ball Park is a good hitting environment for right-handed power just not as good as Citizens Bank Park according to park factors. However, if Joey Votto, Jay Bruce and Brandon Phillips are healthy and Devin Mesoraco continues his development at the plate, the Reds have the far superior lineup.  Byrd's primary selling point is 20-homer power. His speed has evaporated and while he is not a disaster at the bat, his batting average is not likely to be a major asset, expect something around the major league average or slightly better and you won't go wrong. Byrd has been a 20 dollar player in three of the last five seasons. I think he has another good year in him playing for the Reds. He is 37-years old so a decline can be expected but his work ethic and conditioning are at such a high level that I do not expect a sudden cliff this coming season. I would feel comfortable bidding in the 15-20 area.

It has little relevancy to fantasy baseball but I thought this quote from Reds manager Bryan Price said a lot about the Reds and how their management team thinks: (From Mark Sheldon)
“It’s one of those things that just stand out,” Price said. “What the intangibles are beyond the productivity in a particular role. Those to me are always on display for guys who never shut it down. There are a lot of guys that can play hard when things are going well and swinging the bat well or pitching well. There’s a certain energy that emanates from that player. The guys that stand out as true professionals are the guys that continue to play at that high of a level of intensity and aggressiveness and effort when they’re not playing well or their team is not winning consistently. I always noticed that about Marlon that it didn’t matter the circumstances. He played the game hard and he played it the right way.”
This move pretty much guarantees that the Reds top prospect Jesse Winker will spend most of 2015 in the minors. It could even delay his full season debut until 2017 if Byrd has enough at-bats to earn the one-year vesting option on his contract.

What Happened to Joey Votto's Power?

The Philadelphia Phillies add another advanced pitching prospect. Ben Lively pitched at Double-A in 2014 and could impact the Phillies at some point in 2015. He uses four solid slightly above average pitches headlined by the fastball and the slider. He complements his deep arsenal of pitches with very good control. He has a deceptive delivery that allowed him to finish this season second in the minor leagues in strikeouts with 171 in just 151 innings pitched. Scouts label him a mid-rotation starter but he may beat that projection. In his pro career Lively has thrown 192 innings with a 2.58 ERA and 227 strikeouts. He is more finesse than power but I really like this kid. I would invest a minor league pick on him. He reminds me of Doug Fister in a way.

The Phillies have been slow to part with their pricey veterans but they have done a very good job getting back quality prospects that should be able to help them sooner than later.If they manage to get similar returns for Cliff Lee and Ryan Howard (I don't see either moving until close to the trade deadline, as they need to build up some faith in their remaining skills) Ben Revere and closer Jon Papelbon, you can make a case for holding onto Cole Hamels.

In a couple of years without guessing on the return for their other players, this could look like the core of a team close to contention again:

SS J.P. Crawford
3B Maikel Franco
LF Domonic Brown
CF Roman Quinn
SP Cole Hamels
SP Aaron Nola
SP Ben Lively
SP Tom Windle
RP Joely Rodriguez
RP Ben Giles

The Phillies just need to draft better and maybe make better contract decisions. Johnny Almaraz, the new scouting director who did similar work for the Braves and Rangers should help with the draft aspect of the re-build. The Phillies have enough financial resources that there is no reason they can't rebuild in a fashion similar to the Boston Red Sox who have gone through a rebuilding of sorts over the last few years without ever completely giving up on playing competitive baseball.

Pat Gillick as the interim CEO should (and I believe already does) have an impact on many of GM Ruben Amaro's decisions. I do not believe the Phillies would be committing to the re-build without Gillick's influence.For a few years at least the Phillies need to concentrate on players they can acquire without sacrificing picks or financial flexibility. They should spend as much as possible on international amateur talent - acquiring prospects in bulk rather than going too nuts on any prospect in particular. They should only lay out major cash for players that are going to be part of their long term plans.

But the Phillies should also use some of that financial advantage to sign as many veteran major leaguers as possible to one or two year deals. Then take a page from the Cubs book and trade those veterans at the trade deadline if they are not in spitting distance of a playoff spot. This has the dual benefit of putting at least an interesting team on the field to keep attendance and television ratings from plummeting while also giving them players they can continue to move to build young minor league depth.  Even now they could sign players such as Emilio Bonafacio, Everth Cabrera, Wandy Rodriguez, Chris Young, Brian Wilson or Joe Thatcher. Any of these guys could be had on a relatively cheap one-year contract and have value to a contender at the deadline. Add the possible return for their remaining veterans to this idea and the Phillies minor league depth could explode very quickly.

The Rockies Sign Catcher Nick Hundley

Michael McKendry can hit a little and if he ever earned even half of a starting role he would qualify as a sleeper in my book. He is strong in traditional catcher defense but he is a below average pitch framer.I have no interest in Nick Hundley for fantasy purposes but you can probably do worse as a one dollar catcher...probably.

10 Questions for the Colorado Rockies

OLD NEWS: the rest of this is mostly links to coverage of stuff so old I no loner feel like writing about it and some writing about the Padres. Most of this will be covered in the team previews I have been working on and which should debut soon. 

The Yankees Trade Veterans Prado and Phelps for Youth

Thinking Positive On Nathan Eovaldi

The Yankees Trade Manny Banuelos to the Braves

How Chasen Shreve Got His Groove Back

Who is Chasen Shreve?

The Yankees Also Traded Shawn Kelley to the Padres

The Yankees Unusual Off-Season

The Cubs Sign Chris Denorfia

The Dodgers Sign Starter Brett Anderson

The Royals Sign Edison Volquez

The Marlins Trade Casey McGehee to the Giants

The Royals Trade Johnny Giavotella to the Los Angeles Angels

I have always liked Johnny Giavotella and felt he never received a real opportunity to show what he could do in the majors. Stupid Ned Yost... (/Homer Voice)

Gavin Floyd Signs With the Cleveland Indians

After Tommy John Surgery robbed him of his 2013 season Gavin Floyd came back very successfully with the Atlanta Braves in 2014. He looks like a clear member of the rotation to me. His potential 10 million dollar deal has six million in incentives added to a four million dollar base. For the Indians this is a lot of money. They obviously liked what they saw from him in Atlanta, a lot, since they already had 6-7 intriguing rotation candidates. He looked like a slightly better than average starting pitcher in nine 2014 starts, inducing ground balls at a nice rate with a decent strikeout rate. Yep, he was doing well until breaking a bone in his elbow and validating his injury prone label. Surgery was performed soon after and most reports indicate he should have a normal offseason and come into Spring Training like everyone else. He will be worth more in a AL-only league but he still smells like an endgame buy to me. Even if you think he came back from TJS better than ever, the consistent injury history should reduce his price to the 1-5 dollar area. If he manages to stay healthy there is potential profit at that price range.

The Pirates Sign Corey Hart 

Hart has been an excellent player when healthy but he has not been healthy the last couple of seasons. The Pirates are making a good buy-low decision while adding insurance at first base should Pedro Alvarez prove less than worthy of full-time at-bats. Hart should play against most lefty starters in any case. 

The San Diego Padres

The Padres Acquire 2013 ROY Wil Myers 

The Tampa Bay Rays received catcher Rene Rivera, right-hander Burch Smith and first base prospect Jake Bauers from San Diego and outfielder Steven Souza Jr. and minor league left-hander Travis Ott from Washington in return for Myers, catcher Ryan Hanigan and minor league pitchers Jose Castillo and Gerardo Reyes.The Nationals received pitcher Joe Ross and a player to be named later, widely believed to be shortstop Trea Turner, the Padres’ first pick in last June’s draft.

The Padres GM A.J. Preller is taking a page out of Fantasy Baseball for Sharks and zigging when they zag.With so many teams looking at the Royals pitching and defense as the model for the new low offense era, Preller is sacrificing defense in the name of brutal, overwhelming amounts of power and hopefully that leads to a ton of runs scored. That said, I think the talk of how awful the Padres defense will be is being overstated.

Matt Kemp is not a good center fielder but he has had seasons where he appeared to be at least tolerable. He had one year where by the numbers he was actually a fair center fielder. In right field, where he is projected to play for the Padres, Kemp has been a tolerable outfielder. I think with time he will actually be a good right fielder. I think you have to give Kemp the benefit of the doubt for his defense in 2014 (which was rated as truly horrid) as he was clearly getting his legs under him after knocking off a couple of years of rust. If you check out the link on his name above you'll see that he was horrible in center, bad in left field and not great in right field. But if you think about it this mirrors his progression throughout the season with the bat as well. He finished the season as almost passable in right field as his bat was cranking as you would expect from the former MVP. With another normal offseason I think the bat will justify the slightly below average  or better defense.

Will Myers came through the minors as first a catcher and then transitioned to outfielder to rush his bat to the major leagues. In his short career so far he has been just okay in the outfield, mostly in right field. He has the youngest and freshest leagues so it makes some sense that he would be the one to move to center field. He is excited by it judging by interviews I've seen since the trade. I would love to see the Padres move him to first base and let one of the real center fielders man the position but they do not listen to me. But for fantasy owners the big question is about the bat. The wrist injury pretty clearly had an impact and those types of injuries can impact a player's hitting even after being judged healthy. I happen to think he will bounce back just fine. In the minors he showed he could make adjustments and hit for average and power. I do not think we have seen the best of Myers just yet. That said, he does hit too many ground balls to expect a big power surge and moving to Petco Park is not going to help. He is still quite young and I would bid cautiously in the 15-18 dollar area, maybe a few bucks more in a keeper league.

The Padres Also Trade Prospects For Atlanta's Justin Upton

In return the Braves receive a haul of prospects: left-handed starting pitcher Max Fried, infielders Jace Peterson and Dustin Peterson (no relation), and outfielder Mallex Smith. The Braves also send minor league pitcher Aaron Northcraft to the Padres, and receive an international bonus slot, valued at $182,300, from San Diego. The Padres get another power hitter in Upton.

Justin Upton increased his hard contact last season and looks like he could mash 30-plus homers easily in most parks That seems tough to do in Petco but I still think he will hit 25-plus homers. He has been a mid-20's player in dollar value. I like him in that area again. I think it is risky to bid 30-plus when he is moving to Petco park this season.

The Braves Trade and Receive a Younger Version of Anthony Varvaro

The Padres Also Acquire All-Star Catcher Derrek Norris

Who is Josh Phegley?

Then the Padres Flipped Ryan Hannigan to Boston for Will Middlebrooks

The Red Sox Trade Their Top Prospects A Lot

The Padres Trade Seth Smith to the Mariners

Spin Rates Indicate Sleeper Value for Maurer

But David Ross Decided on the Cubs

Other Articles of Interest to Fantasy Owners

Building A New Starting Pitcher Ranking Stat

A Follow-up Post on Arsenal Score

Three Things The Red Sox Will Do For Rick Porcello

10 Breakout Pitcher Picks

10 Breakout Hitter Picks 

Jon Niese Changing It Up 

The 2016 HOF Class Features "The Kid"

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

How Chase Headley Became a Fantasy Baseball Stud

As intelligent fantasy owners most of us were aware that Chase Headley was a talented player working in a ballpark that was not an ideal hitting environment. His 2012 season totals were a little shocking. I have heard many reasons for his new found power, some more reasonable than others.

  1. The natural development of a talented player with an improved approach.
  2. The perfect storm of atmospheric conditions that resulted in the wind blowing out of Petco Park the last two months of the season.
  3. Luck, just a hot streak with amazing results.
  4. Drugs.
  5. All of the above.
I have listed the above theories in order of my willingness to believe them.

His homeruns were headed towards a career high even before the big boost. He had 12 homers at the end of July which was just one short of his former career high. But nothing appeared to be drastically different until August when he hit ten homers and he followed that with nine more in September/October. Before August his high month of the season was just four homeruns.

For the season Headley hit more groundballs than in seasons past and fewer flyballs. But in July, August and September/October his flyball rate saw a significant jump from the high 20s to the low to mid-30s. Could he have changed his swing? Did he make an adjustment that did not start to click until the second part of the season? It would explain his rather poor start to the season (in all but homeruns). Well according to an article in Sports Illustrated that is exactly what happened.

That plan to inflict damage on a baseball and an opponent drove Headley's approach last year, aided by a refinement to his switch-hitting swing paths to produce more backspin on the ball. Headley has always been a patient hitter, who in the previous year concentrated too much on swatting pitches to the opposite field. In learning to be more aggressive early in the count and adjusting the mechanics of his swing, he saw a power explosion from four home runs in 2011 to 31 in 2012, the most by any National League third baseman.

"My job is to drive in runs and to do damage, not to see pitches," Headley said in camp last week. "The year before I worked so hard on hitting the ball the other way that I was pretty good at that, but then I'd get a pitch that I could handle and I couldn't take the right swing to it. I was getting a pitch that I could drive, and I'd topspin it because I was pulling off the ball a little bit on the pitch in.

"I had four home runs the year before and had three opposite-field home runs. I just couldn't pull the ball in the air. It was about getting back to a swing that would allow me to put the ball in the air to the pull side." 
What can we expect from Headley in 2013? It is important to note that the Padres have decided to move in their outfield fences in hopes of becoming a less extreme pitchers park. We can probably expect something less than 31 homers from Chase as the August through October numbers still seem a bit crazy. I think a projection along the lines of .285/.375/.480 with around 25 homers and 15 stolen bases is fair. That makes him an excellent selection at third base in mixed leagues and arguably the best choice for NL-only leagues.

Tier One Third Basemen

Miguel Cabrera, Detroit Tigers - It would be easy to make a case for Cabrera being in a class by himself. But whatever the tier it is clear Cabrera is the best hitter at his position. Now, the glove...

Adrian Beltre, Texas Rangers - Beltre is the best he has ever been. A true professional hitter with serious power playing a major role in a great lineup in a favorable hitting environment. The distance in skill between he and Cabrera is probably not as much as you think.

Tier Two Third Basemen

Evan Longoria, Tampa Bay Rays - Longoria has it in him to be at the top of this list. The primary obstacle between Longoria and a tier one ranking is durability. The rate of production is top notch he just needs to have better luck with injuries.

Chase Headley, San Diego Padres - A player in the prime of his career playing in a park that has stolen some of his glory. But his improved swing mechanics and the changes to Petco promise a run of nice power numbers.

Ryan Zimmerman, Washington Nationals - Zimmerman is solid in every aspect of the game and he is presently hitting in the middle of one of the better lineups in the game behind a player being compared to Mickey freakin' Mantle. Expect those RBI totals to take a big jump up.

Aramis Ramirez, Milwaukee Brewers - At his age the risk of decline is rather high. He looks like a second half player these days - if you believe in that sorta thing. The production has been very good overall.

David Wright, New York Mets - The ballpark and his approach to it has stolen some of the homeruns from his game. But he is a great hitter who could win a batting title in any given season. He has solid power and steals more bases than most at the position.

David Freese, St. Louis Cardinals - Freese hits for average (a disappearing skill) and has 20-plus homerun power in the middle of a great lineup. His problem in the past has been with injuries but his 567 plate appearances in 2012 is a positive sign.

Tier Three Third Basemen

Pablo Sandoval, San Francisco Giants - His production has been as inconsistent as his commitment to conditioning. He can hit and he has nice power but until he learns to own a consistent focus on improving his game he won't be the player he could be.

Brett Lawrie, Toronto Blue Jays - Some were disappointed with his full season debut but those folks were expecting too much. He proved to be the type willing to run through walls and his manager and fantasy owners wish he would stop. A season with 20 homeruns / 20 stolen bases with a decent batting average could be in his near future.

Mike Moustakas, Kansas City Royals - Injuries slowed him a bit but he flashed that big time power potential. The hopes of the Kansas City fan base have created high expectations for Moustakas and the other young Royals. This could be their year.

Kyle Seager, Seattle Mariners - His 20 homeruns and 13 stolen bases surprised a lot of people. The walls are coming in Seattle so there is hope that Seager has even more to offer in a more neutral hitting environment.

Todd Frazier, Cincinnati Reds - He showed nice power hitting 19 homeruns in just 465 at-bats. He should start from wire to wire this season in a great lineup. He still has some power upside.

Pedro Alvarez, Pittsburgh Pirates - By becoming more aggressive at the plate Alvarez put his power on display. His HR/FB may come down a bit but the power is real. Even with high BABIPs you should not expect to see much of a batting average.

Will Middlebrooks, Boston Red Sox - This ranking probably gives him a little too much credit for a solid half season of production. He swings at too many outside pitches. His k-rate has always been high and I'm actually a little surprised it was not higher in 2012. His 2012 HR/FB of 21.4 percent seems kind of high but he doesn't have much track record to go by either way. Bid cautiously as you could own him during an adjustment period this season.

Manny Machado, Baltimore Orioles - Every baseball fan who knows who Machado is also knows that he was rushed to the majors last season. He did well under difficult circumstances and his ceiling is very high, especially if he finds his way back to shortstop. Expect some some struggles as he adjusts to the Major Leagues.

Tier Four Third Basemen

Trevor Plouff, Minnesota Twins - All the flyballs drive his average down but there is some potential for a decent batting average. The power was nice but could have been a bit over his head. He seems destined for full-time at-bats this season as the regular third baseman so the playing time could help him repeat or even slightly better the power numbers.

Alex Rodriguez, New York Yankees - I have seen A-Rod go for single digits in AL-only auctions this season. It could be that owners in general are afraid that Rodriguez will not return this season. He has several years left on his contract and is still productive when healthy (I know that is becoming rarer) so keeper league owners should scoop him up at single digit prices and find a replacement in the deep third base pool.

Kevin Youkilis, New York Yankees - When a player has a poor season blaming it on the manager is pretty stupid. When every key player on the team has an off season blaming it on the manager becomes something closer to understandable. Youkilis still has the great patience, plate discipline, strong contact rate (even with the slowly rising K-rate) and solid power. A bounce back to 2011 levels is a reasonable expectation with some upside if he can stay healthy.

Michael Young, Philadelphia Phillies - In 2011 Young had one of his better seasons with a line of .338/.380/.474 and by far his worst in 2012 by batting just .277/.312/.370 with just 8 homeruns. If you read a lot of advanced statistical articles on sites like you are probably very well scared off of Young forever. But for fantasy purposes Young's 2012 line was just disappointing. We don't much care that his lousy defense resulted in a negative WAR. He had lousy BABIP luck relative to his career levels (.334) and his O-swing was the worst of his career. He is aging and slowing but I expect his bat to come back. If it helps, Young says he identified a flaw in his swing over the offseason.

Tier Five Third Basemen

Lonnie Chisenhall, Cleveland Indians - This former top prospect did not post any mind blowing numbers in the minors but proved to be patient at the plate with strong contact skills and some nice power potential. Some fantasy analysts think they have him pegged based on his less than a half season combined in the Majors but I doubt they do. Expect a solid batting average (.270-plus) with 15-20 homeruns (maybe even more) if he gets to play the full season at third base.

Chris Johnson, Atlanta Braves - We have not seen Chris Johnson produce for a full season but we have seen some impressive streaks of production. He does not walk enough, strikes out a little too much - mostly the result at swinging at tons of pitches out of the zone. He does have good power but his poor approach limits the results. The Braves have been good at fixing swing flaws in the past, maybe they can do something for Johnson.

Matt Dominguez, Houston Astros - Dominguez has made quite a few improvements with his swing over the last year. He has eliminated a lot of movement and changed the position of his hands to create a shorter swing path. Of the players in this tier he is my favorite for a big move upward.

Josh Donaldson, Oakland Athletics - He finished the 2012 season well and his minor league statistics suggest it was not a fluke. He has had some BABIP issues that made him look worse than he really is. The potential is there for a strong season. A solid batting average with 15 or so homers and 5-10 stolen bases is not out of the question.

Placido Polanco, Miami Marlins - He is becoming old and brittle and signed with the lowly Miami Marlins hoping to rejuvenate his career. At his best he hits for average but without the power of even the average third baseman.

Tier Six Third Basemen

Wilson Betemit, Baltimore Orioles - If we knew he would play every day Betemit might qualify as a sleeper of sorts. But he has a ton of competition for at-bats as the designated hitter and he has very little chance of taking over at first or third where Chris Davis and Manny Machado are quite secure.

Alberto Callaspo, Los Angeles Angels - Frankly, I am a little shocked that he somehow still the Angels third baseman. He only ranks this high because he a starter in a loaded lineup and should get runs and RBI even with his poor production.

Macier Izturis, Toronto Blue Jays - Izturis is batting for the starting job at second and I hope he doesn't get it. He is not much better than Callaspo as a fantasy option and he would be putting better players on Toronto's bench.

Jerry Hairston, Los Angeles Dodgers - He never has a starting job these days but he seems to find at-bats anyway. The Dodgers have what appear to be holes at second and third base. Mark Ellis is in there for defense and Luis Cruz is living off a strong finish to the 2012 season. Hairston should find at-bats again, he's an excellent guy for your bench.

Eric Chavez, Arizona Diamondbacks - Eric Chavez produced like his old self for the Yankees last season. Why the Yankees chose not to re-sign him will remain a mystery that only Brian Cashman can solve. The Diamondbacks were smart enough to sign him but then blocked him with the Martin Prado acquisition (some call it the Upton Trade but I prefer the Prado Acquisition).

Luis Valbuena, Chicago Cubs - Frankly, Valbuena is probably a better hitter than Stewart at this point but the power pedigree dies really hard and the solid all around skills guy is quickly forgotten. 

Ian Stewart, Chicago Cubs - I think it is safe to call Stewart a bust. He still has great power but could not hit his way out of a wet paper bag.

Brent Morel, Chicago White Sox - He seems to be the forgotten man on the South Side. He is young enough that it is worth keeping him in the back of your mind. This is especially true if you do something like draft Jeff Keppinger as your starting third baseman.

Tier Seven Third Basemen

Chone Figgins, FA - He went from a fantasy favorite to irrelevant with the lightning speed he used to show on the bases. Still, I bet someone picks him up.

Kevin Kouzmanoff, Miami Marlins- I finally learned to spell his name and he became irrelevant.

Ryan Roberts, Tampa Bay Rays - I will be shocked if the Rays give him any significant at-bats.

Juan Uribe, Los Angeles Dodgers - He lost something when he came to Los Angeles. Is it mean to suggest it was a PED connect?

Saturday, December 04, 2010

The Red Sox Go Crazy! Gonzalez Deal is Off, For Now...

There is a slight chance that you've already heard about Adrian Gonzalez coming to Boston. Well, there is a good chance the deal is off. It may or may not happen but it is probably is worth looking at. On Friday, the Red Sox and Padres agreed on a deal that would send three prospects and a PTBNL (Player To Be Named Later) to San Diego in exchange for first baseman Adrian Gonzalez and a small window to negotiate a contract extension with Gonzalez. The quality of the PTBNL is probably largely dependent on whether the Red Sox are able to sign Gonzalez within the window. However, there are conflicting reports about this and as of the negotiating deadline (2pm, Sunday) there was no extension agreement. It was originally believed that the Red Sox would take Gonzalez even without the extension but obviously that may not be the case.

The Red Sox are parting with at least three top ten prospects but this still looks like a great deal for the Boston Red Sox. The acquisition will move gold glove first baseman, Kevin Youkilis back to his old third base position. Youkilis was once a potential gold glove third baseman as well, but was moved to fit Mike Lowell into the lineup after the Red Sox received him in the Josh Beckett acquisition. Youkilis may not be quite the third baseman he was, but he should still be a solid defensive third baseman.

Gonzalez would be moving from Petco Park, one of the most extreme pitchers' parks into Fenway Park, one of the better parks for hitters. Fenway would provide a slight boost to Gonzalez's power numbers but it would do much more for his batting average. Gonzalez likes to send flyballs to the opposite field where they went to die in Petco, but would bounce off the Green Monster for singles and doubles.

Gonzalez is streaky but also a fairly disciplined hitter. He has a essentially equal distribution of flyballs and grounders, a consistent 20 percent of his batted balls are linedrives. He has a strong walk rate of 11.4 percent in his career and makes strong contact, especially for a power hitter. In Fenway Park I would confidently expect him to bat .300-plus with around 40 homeruns.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Remember Mark Prior? Don't Call It a Comeback.

Mark Prior was once the man. He was a stud starter for the Chicago Cubs and helped propel them to one of their best seasons in decades. He was coveted by fantasy owners everywhere. But Dusty Baker was his manager, thus his arm was destined to fall off, and it pretty much did.
From Fox Sports:
Right-handed pitcher Mark Prior, who came out of USC with a hype along the lines of Stephen Strasburg, is still trying to piece his injury-plagued career back together.

Prior, 29, will work out for major league clubs at USC on Wednesday. Prior, who has not pitched in the big leagues since going 1-6 in nine games with the Cubs in 2006, has been working with USC pitching coach Tom House, the former big-league pitching coach who has worked with Prior since his high school days in San Diego.

Most major league teams are expected to have a scout in attendance.
Prior was the second player selected in the 2001 draft, Minnesota opting for high school catcher Joe Mauer, and then Twins general manager Terry Ryan being criticized at the time for passing on a pitcher that many claimed was ready to step directly into a big-league rotation.

Prior did receive a then-record $10.5 million signing bonus, and appeared to validate the Cubs decision in 2003, his first full big-league season, when he was 18-6 with a 2.43 ERA. Prior, however, developed shoulder problems that required surgery after that season, and has made only 57 big league starts since.

— Tracy Ringolsby
Prior seems a long way from being an effective pitcher for fantasy owners. However, you never know. Stranger things have happened than a former stud pitcher regaining some semblance of effectiveness again. He is worth watching but don't act too rashly.

Friday, October 09, 2009

2009 Top Midwest League Prospects

The Midwest League rankings feature the up and coming Jaff Decker who will reach San Diego far too late to save Kevin Towers his job. I never had a huge problem with Towers. He was far more handicapped (and successful despite this) by his team's ownership and budget than a frequent complainer like J.P. Ricciardi and his $100 million dollar losing squads.

MLB Fantasy Prospects wrote a great piece on Jaff Decker that I may have mentioned previously, but if you missed it you should certainly check it out. the site is an excellent resource for the prospect crazy or just the committed Advanced Fantasy Baseball Shark in need of an edge.
The big boy was no slouch this year at Low-A hitting .299, with 16 HRs, a .442 OBP, and a .514 SLG. Decker has a phenomenal eye that is indicative of a future fantasy star. He had a 19.2% walk rate and .92 BB/K rate batting third in the Fort Wayne (Padres’ Low-A affiliate) batting order. Notably, Decker has had a fairly high Batting Average on Balls in Play [BABIP] (.364 at Low-A /.432 in the AZL). Usually, such a high BABIP suggests a lucky hitter. In this case, there’s no luck involved, as Decker’s BABIP is sky high because he hits the ball freakishly hard.
MLB Fantasy Prospects has recently reported on prospects like Derek Norris of the Washington Nationals, Hector Rondon of the Cleveland Indians, and Brian Matusz of the Baltimore Orioles.

Top 25 Midwest League Batters (minimum 50 at-bats)

James Darnell Padres 20.40% 23.00% 0.329 0.468 0.518 0.189 4 0.402 0.449
Brett Jackson Cubs 8.90% 28.60% 0.295 0.383 0.545 0.25 8.2 0.356 0.436
Jaff Decker Padres 19.20% 25.70% 0.299 0.442 0.514 0.215 4.8 0.364 0.434
Chris Dennis Brewers 12.60% 29.50% 0.318 0.409 0.538 0.22 4.2 0.427 0.432
Xavier Scruggs Cardinals 15.10% 33.30% 0.295 0.409 0.527 0.233 3.4 0.392 0.427
Jermaine Curtis Cardinals 14.50% 18.80% 0.304 0.426 0.438 0.134 5.3 0.367 0.417
Kyler Burke Cubs 14.40% 21.30% 0.303 0.405 0.505 0.202 5.8 0.359 0.417
Kyle Russell Dodgers 13.00% 37.40% 0.272 0.371 0.545 0.272 7.6 0.382 0.416
Joseph Becker Dodgers 10.60% 20.30% 0.339 0.403 0.492 0.153 3.9 0.413 0.407
Sawyer Carroll Padres 13.80% 22.80% 0.316 0.41 0.464 0.148 5.1 0.394 0.406
Josh Vitters Cubs 2.50% 15.60% 0.316 0.351 0.535 0.219 4.4 0.33 0.402
Conner Crumbliss Athletics 18.00% 18.00% 0.28 0.438 0.4 0.12 6.5 0.341 0.401
Kris Sanchez Mariners 13.60% 27.20% 0.291 0.391 0.496 0.205 1.7 0.366 0.401
Billy Nowlin Tigers 8.10% 16.00% 0.311 0.39 0.483 0.172 3.9 0.346 0.399
Chris Swauger Cardinals 7.30% 20.00% 0.296 0.357 0.522 0.226 6.7 0.341 0.397
Jerry Sands Dodgers 12.60% 30.80% 0.26 0.361 0.51 0.25 5.9 0.328 0.395
Grant Desme Athletics 7.50% 31.30% 0.274 0.334 0.49 0.216 8.4 0.359 0.394
Charles Cutler Cardinals 9.00% 10.30% 0.351 0.41 0.455 0.103 2.8 0.38 0.393
Byron Wiley Reds 16.60% 29.80% 0.275 0.395 0.461 0.186 5.4 0.363 0.392
Brian Van Kirk Blue Jays 14.00% 25.70% 0.278 0.389 0.451 0.173 4.1 0.344 0.392
Alexia Amarista Angels 9.50% 12.80% 0.319 0.39 0.468 0.149 7.8 0.359 0.391
Nick Van Stratten Royals 9.90% 12.50% 0.318 0.393 0.447 0.129 7.7 0.36 0.39
Blake Ochoa Mariners 7.50% 20.20% 0.318 0.379 0.48 0.162 3.6 0.376 0.387
Josh Harrison Cubs 5.00% 8.30% 0.337 0.377 0.479 0.142 7.3 0.358 0.386
Marc Krauss Diamondbacks 10.90% 18.30% 0.304 0.377 0.478 0.174 3.1 0.359 0.386
Luis Flores Cubs 20.00% 22.90% 0.208 0.387 0.458 0.25 1.9 0.229 0.385
Brendan Duffy Diamondbacks 11.10% 20.90% 0.308 0.414 0.393 0.085 7.7 0.39 0.384
Anthony Delmonico Dodgers 11.20% 23.60% 0.285 0.383 0.43 0.145 4.4 0.352 0.382
Andrew Cumberland Padres 12.10% 12.40% 0.293 0.386 0.41 0.117 7.9 0.329 0.382
Matt Carpenter Cardinals 13.90% 12.40% 0.295 0.405 0.39 0.095 4.6 0.337 0.381
Matt Clark Padres 11.60% 28.60% 0.266 0.352 0.484 0.218 1.6 0.331 0.381
Ramon Santana Twins 11.90% 25.30% 0.296 0.384 0.453 0.156 4 0.377 0.379
Anthony Hatch Dodgers 9.60% 14.60% 0.294 0.363 0.463 0.169 5.4 0.327 0.379
Jarrod Dyson Royals 6.90% 20.90% 0.343 0.397 0.403 0.06 8 0.434 0.377
Scott Savastano Mariners 11.90% 17.90% 0.3 0.39 0.404 0.104 6.1 0.354 0.377

Top 25 Midwest League Pitchers (minimum 50 IP)

Andrew Taylor Angels 14.55 3.33 0 0.94 0.32 85.40% 1.23 1.08
Brad Brach Padres 11.59 1.55 0.14 0.74 0.264 82.70% 1.27 1.54
Cheyne Hann Mariners 9.75 1.05 0.26 0.82 0.279 83.30% 1.32 1.85
Chris Huseby Cubs 12.17 1.67 0.5 0.98 0.335 86.90% 1.83 1.94
Vladimir Veras Angels 9.83 3 0 1.13 0.316 68.30% 3 2.13
Matt Daly Blue Jays 9.59 3.55 0 1.09 0.283 76.80% 1.95 2.31
Bryan Woodall Diamondbacks 9.86 2.3 0.27 1.35 0.382 68.00% 3.24 2.34
Blaine Hardy Royals 9.16 1.66 0.29 0.95 0.29 76.00% 2.05 2.37
Zachary Herr Padres 12.71 3.18 0.64 1.24 0.366 62.70% 4.13 2.41
Bayron Zepeda Diamondbacks 7.3 2.04 0 1.43 0.375 62.00% 4.58 2.43
Henderson Alvarez Blue Jays 6.66 1.38 0.07 1.13 0.317 63.60% 3.47 2.43
Nick Schmidt Padres 10.28 4.01 0 1.18 0.305 67.70% 2.79 2.48
Nick Schumacher Padres 8.74 2.22 0.16 1.08 0.305 88.20% 1.11 2.49
Barry Bowden Royals 11.22 3.86 0.35 1.01 0.257 75.70% 2.28 2.56
Ezequiel Infante Reds 7.91 1.55 0.34 1.15 0.325 69.30% 3.44 2.57
Robert Boothe Dodgers 12.46 4.63 0.32 1.49 0.396 62.20% 4.95 2.65
Kenn Kasparek Mariners 8.51 2.03 0.32 1.12 0.313 73.50% 2.41 2.68
Liam Hendriks Twins 8.37 2.03 0.41 1.32 0.357 65.30% 3.51 2.69
Ryan Buchter Cubs 11.66 5.02 0.15 1.15 0.273 77.10% 1.33 2.69
Jamie Richmond Athletics 7.2 0.9 0.54 1.06 0.308 74.30% 2.7 2.74
Tyler Stohr Tigers 8.11 2.36 0.3 1.23 0.328 69.20% 3.54 2.76
Casey Crosby Tigers 10.06 4.13 0.26 1.13 0.273 72.80% 2.41 2.8
Tyler Conn Tigers 7.97 2.31 0.39 1.19 0.314 72.70% 3.21 2.8
Simon Castro Padres 10.07 2.37 0.58 1.1 0.313 68.20% 3.33 2.8
Anthony Shawler Tigers 8.19 2.59 0.33 1.23 0.321 66.50% 3.76 2.89
Daniel Merklinger Brewers 9 2.89 0.51 1.17 0.303 76.10% 2.55 2.9
Austin Bibens-Dirkx Cubs 6.37 1.15 0.51 0.91 0.255 77.10% 2.04 2.9
Brayan Villarreal Tigers 10.28 2.96 0.44 1.15 0.316 73.60% 2.87 2.91
Steven Blevins Twins 7.87 3.05 0.23 1.37 0.34 66.90% 3.52 2.97
Michael Montgomery Royals 8.07 3.72 0.16 1.14 0.269 73.60% 2.17 2.98
Geison Aguasviva Dodgers 6.61 2.87 0.14 1.16 0.285 80.20% 1.58 2.99
Wily Peralta Brewers 10.24 3.99 0.43 1.32 0.33 71.60% 3.47 3
Christopher Archer Cubs 9.83 5.45 0 1.32 0.293 72.90% 2.81 3.03
Ramon Delgado Cardinals 7.46 1.87 0.55 1.06 0.285 74.40% 2.41 3.03
Luke Putkonen Tigers 6.93 2.83 0.18 1.31 0.321 70.60% 3.13 3.05

Friday, June 19, 2009

Hot Prospect: Kyle Blanks

The Padres have announced the call up of their number one prospect, Kyle Blanks. Although his best position is first base, Blanks will start in the Padres outfield four or five days per week. He only qualifies at first base right now in most leagues. If you have seen Kyle Blanks in action you may wonder about the 6'6'', 250-plus pounder's ability to cover the huge territory of left field in Petco Park. However Blanks is every athletic and considers playing good defense a point of pride.

Blanks is a very talented hitter. Throughout his minor league career he has shown the ability to hit for a high batting average. This year, his first at triple-A has been a little different. He seems to have traded some contact for increased power. His 2009 K-rate was 27 percent, but he had 12 homeruns in 233 at-bats. He runs well and will steal the occasional base. He is a fly ball hitter who also hits a considerable number of line drives.

I love Blanks as a prospect but his contact rate this season concerns me. Blanks is at his best when he is making good contact and hitting line drives to all fields. My gut feeling is that he will do very well. But if he maintains his current contact rate he may not hit for much of an average. And we all know that power numbers are reduced at Petco. He should be useful in all NL-only leagues and deeper mixed leagues.

Statistics via

2006 Padres (A) 10.50% 25.60% 0.382 0.455 0.162 2.3 0.365 0.389
2007 Padres (A+) 8.60% 21.10% 0.380 0.540 0.239 6.3 0.338 0.403
2008 Padres (AA) 9.40% 18.30% 0.404 0.514 0.189 4.3 0.366 0.408
2009 Padres (AAA) 14.30% 27.00% 0.393 0.485 0.202 2.1 0.342 0.391

Apple iTunesApple iTunes

Thursday, May 21, 2009

TRADE: Jake Peavy to White Sox

Will Carroll has reported on Baseball and similar reports are flooding sports radio outlets that the San Diego Padres have traded All Star starting pitcher, Jake Peavy to the Chicago White Sox for a collection of players. The deal is apparently agreed to by both clubs but is awaiting the approval of Peavy who has a No-Trade clause in his contract.
The Padres and White Sox agreed to a trade centered on Jake Peavy moving from the Padres to the White Sox. Peavy has repeatedly stated that he wants to stay in the National League and a source close to Peavy re-iterated that in a call this morning. Peavy has a three year extension in place beginning in 2010, so there’s not much that the White Sox can do to give him more incentive. One of the main concerns, I was told, is that Peavy is unsure about playing for Ozzie Guillen. Peavy has until tomorrow to approve the deal. No “window” has been open or requested by either team.

The White Sox made an aggressive first offer of four players, including Aaron Poreda, Clayton Richard, and two other prospects. Gordon Beckham is thought to have been discussed, though it is unlikely the Sox would be willing to deal him, even for Peavy. He would have to be traded as a PTBNL, due to the Incaviglia rule. There’s been speculation that the Sox would deal Chris Getz, but again, the names included in the agreed deal have not been confirmed by any outlet at this time.
This is not a good trade for Peavy's fantasy owners (especially the ones in leagues that do not allow owners to keep players traded to the other league). Peavy has spent his MLB career in the best pitching environment in MLB - Petco Park. If he approves the deal he will be pitching in a homerun park that is likely to significantly errode Peavy's fantasy value. His HR/FB will take a huge jump based on just the change in home park alone. Peavy will also have to face the much stronger American League lineups that include designated hitters rather than his fellow pitchers.

Clayton Richard who has shown borderline LIMA skills and would look much better in the National League starting for the Padres. Aaron Poreda is a top pitching prospect but still has significant developing to do before he becomes a starting option. Gordon Beckham is an awesome hitter. If he were included this would have to be considered a very good deal for the Padres. Beckham would be listed as a PTBNL because players have to be with the teams that drafted them for at least a year before they can be dealt.

Season Team K/9 BB/9 K/BB HR/9 WHIP BABIP LOB% FIP
2002 Padres 8.29 3.04 2.73 1.01 1.42 0.339 0.70 3.69
2003 Padres 7.21 3.79 1.90 1.53 1.31 0.263 0.78 4.99
2004 Padres 9.36 2.87 3.26 0.70 1.20 0.310 0.84 3.14
2005 Padres 9.58 2.22 4.32 0.80 1.04 0.288 0.77 2.89
2005 Padres 6.23 6.23 1.00 4.15 2.54 0.394 0.37 9.71
2006 Padres 9.56 2.76 3.47 1.02 1.23 0.316 0.73 3.51
2006 Padres 3.38 1.69 2.00 1.69 2.25 0.434 0.66 5.40
2007 Padres 9.67 2.74 3.53 0.52 1.06 0.286 0.78 2.84
2008 Padres 8.60 3.06 2.81 0.88 1.18 0.285 0.82 3.60
2009 Padres 10.13 2.79 3.63 1.03 1.11 0.288 0.71 3.35