Showing posts with label player rankings. Show all posts
Showing posts with label player rankings. Show all posts

Sunday, March 17, 2013

The 2013 Fantasy Baseball Shortstop Tiers

No fancy intro this time nor is there a featured player. But the player comments are longer than usual.

Tier One Shortstops

Jose Reyes, Toronto Blue Jays - Many of you will be surprised to see Reyes ranked first. Reyes hits for average and is an excellent leadoff hitter.He also has better power than is apparent by his homerun totals. He has averaged just under ten homers the last three seasons but has a career high of 19 homers hit back in old Shea Stadium. He now moves into the newly stacked Toronto Blue Jays lineup and they play in Toronto's Skydome which is easily the most favorable hitters park Reyes has ever enjoyed. A possible 20 homer season with his usual stolen base totals makes Reyes number one.

Troy Tulowitzki, Colorado Rockies - He has averaged 103 games played over the last three seasons. Yet he remains the top choice at shortstop for most fantasy owners and analysts. This is partially based on his superior talent but also an indication of just how this this position has become. If he is healthy for close to a full season he is the best at the position. I am not willing to bet he plays an entire season but he has had at least 470 at-bats in three of the last four seasons.

Starlin Castro, Chicago Cubs - At just 22-years old Castro has three years of experience as a Major League shortstop. On the surface it does not appear that he has improved much from his rookie season. His power has improved seeing his ISO improve from .108 in 2010 to .147 last season. He is not patient but makes excellent contact despite swinging at too many pitches out of the strike zone. He has excellent speed and has begun to be more aggressive on the bases but Castro is not a very skilled base stealer. He has received a lot of attention from the Cubs coaching staff with the goal of improving his baseball skills. His placement in the top tier has as much to do with his incredible ceiling as a player as with his above average production as a shortstop. There is a breakout coming.

Tier Two Shortstops

Hanley Ramirez, Los Angeles Dodgers - Ramirez is a player that has proved capable of batting .300 or better, hitting 30-plus homeruns, and stealing 50 bases. Hanley Ramirez has been an excellent contact hitter in the past but in the last three seasons has begun to swing at more pitches out of the strike zone. Maybe because of his success with that approach in 2010 he has continued with that approach. He it could also be that he became bored playing for the Marlins, a team that never truly seems to be committed to putting and keeping a true contending team on the field. In any case he seems rejuvenated this spring playing in Spring Training and the World Baseball Classic. The Dodgers have certainly made an effort to make Hanley happy and his team has a ton of talent. We could see him bounce back to a higher level of performance. He is capable of being the best player on this list.

Ben Zobrist, Tampa Bay Rays - The Rays refuse to leave him at one position. He began the offseason as the starting shortstop but was moved back to second when they acquired Yunel Escobar. Then he was placed back in the outfield when the Rays acquired Kelly Johnson. He hits for average and is usually good for close to 20 homers and 20 steals.

Jimmy Rollins, Philadelphia Phillies - He is getting older but he still performs at a high level especially relative to his position. He is unlikely to bat for average but he should hit 10-15 homeruns and steal 30-plus bases. Rollins has been incredibly consistent. He may not be a top tier choice but he is easily one of the safer ones.

Derek Jeter, New York Yankees - Jeter will hit for a high batting average with a high on-base percentage and 10-15 homeruns with a similar number of stolen bases. The Yankees are beginning the season with more injuries than usual so his Runs and RBI rates could start slow, at least until Curtis Granderson and Mark Teixeira are back in the lineup.

Ian Desmond, Washington Nationals - If you have been cruising various fantasy baseball sites looking for information on Ian Desmond's breakout season you have probably seen similar reports. They celebrate his great season and predict that there will be some regression to both his power and batting average. While that is a solid approach there are some signs that his develop was more real than fluke. He has shown impressive power in small samples in the minors but he has been such an undisciplined hitter that he usually missed the opportunity to achieve better homerun numbers. Last season he started to take a more all-fields approach to hitting. He was no more patient and still swung at everything but learned how to better handle pitches on the outer edges of the strikezone. He sits in the middle of the second tier because he needs a lengthier track record to rank higher. But if he does indeed repeat, and I believe he has solid chance of doing just that, he will belong in the top tier of shortstops.

Asdrubal Cabrera, Cleveland Indians - Some owners were disappointed that Cabrera did not match the 25 homers he slammed during the 2011 season. His 2011 power was fueled by an uptick to his flyball rate and a surge in his HR/FB rate. In 2012 his flyball rate regressed closer to his typical levels and he had a HR/FB rate closer to the league average. Cabrera is a solid offensive catcher and should be good for at least a .270 batting average, 15-20 homeruns and 10-15 steals. He does have the potential for greater numbers. Perhaps the new coaching staff can help him reach it.

Elvis Andrus, Texas Rangers - Owners will not get much power out of Elvis (I like calling him Elvis) but he is a near lock for 30 stolen bases. He does have some power potential but he will never achieve it as long as he hits 60 percent of his batted balls on the ground. Most of his flyballs are mistakes but he does hit the ball hard. He is still very young and not yet in his prime. His very high potential is still available should he commit to being the best player he can be. Things like the tattoo incident this spring are an indication of his continuing immaturity.

Erick Aybar, Los Angeles Angels - Aybar is an aggressive swinger who makes excellent contact albeit with  little power. He usually manages to hit for a solid to very good batting average with the odd homer here and there. He is usually good for 20-plus stolen bases. This year he could see a boost to his Run and RBI totals based simply on the depth of talent in the Angels lineup.

Tier Three Shortstops

Josh Rutledge, Colorado Rockies - Everyone loves a Colorado shortstop who can hit. His debut with the Rockies went very well in 2012 until a hamstring issue slowed him down from August onward. His minor league track record (short as it is) seems to support his 2012 performance. He makes excellent contact but tends to swing at anything he can reach. He has 20-plus homerun power and the more speed than was evident by his 2012 stolen base total. He seems to have the speed and skill to steal 15-20 bases or more with an aggressive manager. He is not likely to be a draft day bargain but looks like a good bet to equal or better his current market price.

Alcides Escobar, Kansas City Royals - The only thing that changed between 2011 and 2012 was his batted ball rates. He hit fewer flyballs and hit more ground balls and line drives. The LD rate of 23 percent drove the increased BABIP which drove the increased batting average which drove the better on-base percentage which led to the increase in stolen base opportunities. If he he can maintain the same batted ball rates he should repeat. Better to bet that he regresses a bit towards his career averages. The stolen bases make him worth the risk.

Marco Scutaro, San Francisco Giants - Scutaro has the patience to draw walks and usually has a solid on-base percentage. Since becoming a regular starter his ability to hit for average has improved and has been above .275 the last four seasons. He does not have much power or speed but will hit 8-10 homers and steal 5-10 bases in a good season. At most positions the lack of power and speed would hurt your fantasy team. But the over a full season the average shortstop hits just ten homers and steals around 15 bases. Scutaro will approach those numbers while pumping up your team batting average. As I keep repeating, hitting for average is a fading skill in Major League you can make up the few homers and stolen bases if you are unable to acquire one of the top two tier shortstops. 
Alexei Ramirez, Chicago White Sox - He seems to be fading. His power numbers have gone down the last two seasons. His stolen bases rebounded a bit last season but that may have been the result of manager Robin Ventura's commitment to an aggressive running game. This is not to say that he will not steal 20 bases again but rather to emphasize that his base skills are fading.

J.J. Hardy, Baltimore Orioles - Hardy is a solid defensive shortstop. He has a solid contact rate and excellent power but is an impatient and undisciplined hitter. He is unlikely to hit for a great average but 20 homers are usually in the cards with a middling batting average.

 Zach Cozart, Cincinnati Reds -  He enjoyed a solid full season debut batting .246/.288/.399 with 15 homeruns and four stolen bases. His .282 BABIP seems rather low but we do not have much track record to go on. His combination of power and speed leads me to believe he can do much better. There is definitely some stolen base upside as well. He is no speed demon but he did steal 30 bases his first season at Triple-A. If you find yourself digging for a shortstop or middle infielder this far down the list at least Cozart still has some upside potential.

Tier Four Shortstops

Hiroyuki Nakajima - There are not many scouting reports (that I can actually read) on Hiro as he likes to be called. I expect him to hit for a solid average a steal a few bases. He should get on base at a decent rate and score a bunch of runs in the Athletics lineup.

Cliff Pennington, Arizona Diamondbacks - Simply moving from Oakland Coliseum to Chase Field should improve Pennington's fantasy stock. Oakland Coliseum tends to reduce offense in almost every category. It shrinks left-handed power by around 18 percent! Chase Field, the home park of the Diamondbacks, has the nearly opposite effect on hitters. Boosting offense in almost every category. With better BABIP luck and the change in ballparks, Pennington should hit for a much better batting average. He is not a great hitter but neither is he as bad as he looked in 2012. He has patience at the plate and will take a walk and has average plate discipline. He has a little pop that might allow him to hit around 10 homers in his new home park. He has the speed to steal 30-plus bases if he gets on base enough to make the attempts and the Diamondbacks love to run. It also does not hurt that he and hitting coach Don Baylor are working on shortening his swing this spring. Pennington is a decent late round choice.

Jean Segura, Milwaukee Brewers - He has become the favorite sleeper of many owners thus ensuring he will not be much of a bargain for those of us with late drafts this year. He has fantastic speed and will steal bases with every opportunity. He does have some power potential that seems unlikely to be reached any time soon. He currently slaps most balls down into the ground, he had a 65.6 percent groundball rate in 2012 and just a 19.2 percent flyball rate. Draft him for the stolen bases at this point and do not pay for anything else.

Jed Lowrie, Oakland Athletics - Injuries took a large toll on Lowrie's career. He might have been established as a star at the position if he could have stayed healthy. He has better power than most at the position and he had a great opportunity to establish himself with the Astros but he failed to stay healthy once again in 2012. The Astros traded him for a handful of players this spring including Chris Carter and Brad Peacock. Lowrie will be a full-time utility player playing often but without a position of his own.

Andrelton Simmons, Atlanta Braves - The Braves young shortstop has great speed and a great glove. Some question his bat but he seems to have some patience at the plate and makes excellent contact. He hit the ball fairly hard judging by his 17 percent line drive rate. His short minor league track record suggests he will hit for a solid batting average. He has been a dynamo during the World Baseball Classic. I think ten homers and 20-plus stolen bases with a solid batting average is a decent bet.

Dee Gordon, Los Angeles Dodgers -In re-draft leagues you can ignore him but in keeper leagues you have a few things to consider. First, the 25-year old was very good in each and every season in the minors. No, he does not have much power. However, Gordon has always made excellent contact and has shown solid patience at the plate. He has crazy, mad, ludicrous speed. In a full season given a decent OBP he would easily steal 50-plus bases. This spring manager Don Mattingly has insisted that Gordon work on his on-base percentage and defense. As of this writing he has a .400 on-base percentage. I have a hunch he'll make the team. He has nothing to prove in the minors and he is more talented than the players manning two of the three spots he could theoretically handle. Even off the bench he could steal 25-plus bases.

Stephen Drew, Boston Red Sox - Like his brother J.D. Drew, Stephen Drew cannot stay healthy. He should be able to hit .20 or better with 15-20 homeruns but that would be in an uninterrupted season. He's already struggling with injuries this spring in case you were wondering.

Jhonny Peralta, Detroit Tigers - The Tigers always seem to be searching for Peralta's replacement. Fantasy owners might agree due to his wildly inconsistent performance with the bat. But the Tigers are probably more concerned about how his lousy defense impacts their pitching staff. He should hit 15-20 homeruns but his batting average could be anything from .230 to .300 making him a difficult player to forecast.

Jurickson Profar, Texas Rangers - He is the best prospect in the game by most accounts and the Texas Rangers do not have a spot for him. He has a good glove, solid power and the speed to steal 20-plus bases. He isn't even 20-years old so another year spent mostly in the minors is not the end of the world for his development.

Tier Five Shortstops

Ruben Tejada, New York Mets - I have seen him get lots of love from fantasy owners but I really do not get it. He hits the ball hard as evidenced by his career LD rate of 27 percent. That alone drives his decent batting averages that last two seasons. He has a swing at everything approach but does not strikeout much. He does not hit homeruns or steal bases in any significant numbers. He ranks here based on BA potential alone.

Yunel Escobar, Tampa Bay Rays - His personality quirks and despicable attitude have resulted in him being a member of four teams in the last two years. He has some talent and could make some valuable improvements if he could  just shut up and listen to the coaches and players that try to help him.

Luis Cruz, Los Angeles Dodgers - Thanks to a very productive 296 at-bats Cruz is a near lock to start the season as the Dodgers starting third baseman. Even the Dodgers seem to realize that Cruz is not a long term starter. They tried to convince Scott Rolen to come out of retirement and take the job but they could not work it out with him. I think he is probably a fair hitter at this point in his career. Older players are still capable of developing new skills and improving their production at the plate. But the Dodgers are still likely to replace him the first chance they get.

Everth Cabrera, San Diego Padres - I hate to mention it but Cabrera was one of the players revealed in the Biogenesis mess. So there is some risk of suspension. Cabrera has little power and slaps everything on the ground which is not a horrible strategy for a player with his speed and lack of homerun power. He has improved his strikeout rate a bit but still strikes out nearly 25 percent of the time. If you draft him it is in hopes that you will receive 40-plus stolen bases on the cheap.

Alex Gonzalez, Milwaukee Brewers - He has good power for a shortstop and has a solid opportunity to receive at-bats with the Brewers. The Brewers have a rookie shortstop and an injured first baseman. Gonzalez is expected to fill in at first until Corey Hart returns. He does not walk much and swings at everything. He does make lots of contact but has little clue what to do with a pitch he can not knock out of the park.

Brian Dozier, Minnesota Twins - He has few exceptional tools. By few I mean none. Scouts like his approach and he is one of those guys that makes the most of his limited tools. He has pretty decent speed. He looks like someone that can hit for a decent average thanks to decent patience and contact skills. You could do worse as a one dollar MI in an AL-only.

Tier Six Shortstops

Mike Aviles, Cleveland Indians - He has decent power and the speed to steal 15-plus bases and despite some lousy BABIP luck the last two seasons should hit for a solid batting average. He doesn't have much patience at the plate but makes solid contact. He has been a beast during the World Baseball Classic and you may someone to overpay based on that. He is coming off the bench for the Indians but the Indians have an inexperienced third baseman and second baseman so he could find a decent number of at-bats. The new Cleveland manager is Terry Francona who is definitely a fan of Aviles.

Eduardo Nunez, New York Yankees - Despite all the Yankees' injuries and departures this season Nunez still does not have a starting role. He does not have a great glove but has a decent bat. He won't really hit for a high batting average but it should be a solid one. He can take a walk though it obviously is not his favorite thing to do. His best fantasy asset is speed. In a full season of at-bats he could steal 30-plus bases. He needs an opening at shortstop or third base to get a real opportunity to play.

Jamey Carroll, Minnesota Twins - A skilled hitter without any power, Carroll was usually good for a high batting average and around ten stolen bases. This year it appears he will lose his starting role and come off the Twins bench.

Tyler Pastornicky, Atlanta Braves - He is less tool laden than Andrelton Simmons and his glove is inferior and that was enough to push him to the bench. He is probably a more skilled hitter but unless there is an injury he is not likely to get the chance to prove it.

Tier Seven Shortstops

Clint Barmes, Pittsburgh Pirates - Boy this guy sucks. He is still living off his years with the Rockies. He has a good glove but nothing to offer a fantasy team.

Brendan Ryan, Seattle Mariners - Another all glove guy. He has a bunch of young talented shortstops eying him from the Mariners minor league system.

Brandon Crawford, San Francisco Giants - Proof that you can get to the major leagues with just a good glove, cuz this guy cannot hit.

Rafael Furcal, St. Louis Cardinals - He is out for the season after deciding to have TJS surgery this spring.

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?

Wednesday, March 06, 2013

Is Chase Utley a Safe 2013 Fantasy Baseball Pick?

That an aging and increasingly brittle second baseman such as Chase Utley must still be considered one of the best available at the position is both an acknowledgement of his talent and of the lack of offensive ability at the middle infield positions. Once past the third tier (all of my second base tiers are listed below) the talent drops off into the undesirable range very quickly. There is some promising talent on the way but until it becomes proven they won't be of much use in shallower mixed leagues. Jedd Gyorko of the Padres, Kolten Wong of the Cardinals, Delino Deshields of the Astros, Jonathan Schoop of the Orioles and Brock Holt of the Red Sox are some of the talents closet to contributing to fantasy teams.

Gyorko and Wong could start the season in the major leagues. I think Gyorko could be a major rookie of the year candidate and he is one of my favorite deep NL-only picks this year. I am not as big on Wong. Wong has skills that are improving but gets a lot of value from defense and intangibles which will not be an asset to most fantasy teams.

What are we looking for from our second basemen? It used to be that if he hit for a decent average and stole a few bases fantasy owners would be happy. But times changed and power became a more frequent requirement from the position. Stolen bases are almost a given these days but the power we enjoyed last decade is fading fast. These days we'll take batting average, decent power and a smattering of stolen bases and not complain too much.

Utley of course was once a lock to be one of the top two or three at the position. He hit for average, got on base, hit for power, stole bases and played excellent defense. He still does all of those things but has become very injury prone - mostly his bad knees. He has changed his workout routines in an effort to be better prepared for the season but I would hesitate to count on him for more than 400 at-bats and it could be less than that. Last season in 301 at-bats (362 plate appearances) Utley delivered a .256/.365/429 batting line with 48 runs, 45 RBI, 11 homeruns and 11 stolen bases. That is not so terrible when batting average has become less of a priority to major league hitters but it is far from what Utley could once provide.

What those numbers tell us is that Utley can indeed be productive for as long as he is on the field. Certainly on an at-bat to at-bat basis Utley is better than most at the position. Fantasy Owners can feel secure selecting Utley as long as they do not pay for more than 400 at-bats and have a plan to cover his almost inevitable time on the disabled list.

Tier One Second Basemen

Robinson Cano, New York Yankees - Cano is the best bat at the position by far. He hits like a potential batting champ and is a near lock to provide around 30 homeruns. Typically his Yankees lineups are so good that 100 runs and 100 RBI are always in range. With the deluge of injuries and the lack of established replacements the run and RBI totals are not as certain.

Tier Two Second Basemen

Dustin Pedroia, Boston Red Sox - Only the occasional injury and last year's slump keep him from joining Cano in the first tier of the position. He provides average, some power and stolen bases and bats near the top of an excellent lineup. 

Ian Kinsler, Texas Rangers - He has been a bit inconsistent but Kinsler can do it all. He is a solid bet for an annual 20/20 season and 30-plus homers are very possible.

Ben Zobrist, Tampa Bay Rays - The Rays refuse to leave him at one position. He began the offseason as the starting shortstop but was moved back to second when they acquired Yunel Escobar. Then he was placed back in the outfield when the Rays acquired Kelly Johnson. He hits for average and is usually good for close to 20 homers and 20 steals.

Jason Kipnis, Cleveland Indians - Kipnis ran into some growing pains in the second half of the 2012 season but still put up great overall numbers. He has 30 homer potential and should steal at least 20 bases if not the 31 he totaled in 2012.

Aaron Hill, Arizona Diamondbacks - Consistency is not his bag but he is usually good for 20-plus homers and a double-digit smattering of stolen bases. The Diamondbacks love to run so he could steal 20-plus bases again.

Tier Three Second Basemen

Jose Altuve, Houston Astros - A lack of power and a lousy lineup are keeping him from ranking better. But we will take the 30-plus stolen bases all day. He actually does have a little pop for a little guy but that is not his game and expecting more than a few homers would be to court disappointment.

Rickie Weeks, Milwaukee Brewers - A massive slump through the first half the 2012 season has eroded his fantasy value a bit. He was pretty much his old self in the second half. There were actually signs of him becoming a better, more patient hitter.

Brandon Phillips, Cincinnati Reds - Is Phillips the coolest guy in the game? He's good for close to 20/20 every season and should have a big year in the souped up Reds lineup.

Chase Utley, Philadelphia Phillies - Talented but injury prone.

Dan Uggla, Atlanta Braves - Usually one of the positions's better power options, he slumped badly in 2012. He seemed to start pressing to break the slump which only made it worse. He is the type of player that can fade quickly so be cautious selecting him.

Tier Four Second Basemen

Howie Kendrick, Los Angeles Angels - He has never seemed to reach his full potential as a possible batting average star with some power and speed. But he is an excellent pick this season if for nothing but his place in the middle of the Angels lineup.

Neil Walker, Pittsburgh Pirates - He should hit for a decent batting average with a dozen or so homers and a few stolen bases. He no longer has the talented Brock Holt keeping an eye on his job.

Kelly Johnson, Tampa Bay Rays - His batting average will be lousy but he has 20/20 potential. It appears the Rays will start him at second base but back him up well.

Danny Espinosa, Washington Nationals - A shoulder injury that he chose to rehab without surgery has some analysts worried. It has the potential to impact his power numbers. Steve Lombardozzi is ready to pounce on his job.

Jeff Keppinger, Chicago White Sox - He hits for average with a few homers and steals. He qualifies all over the infield and could change positions depending on the production of players like Brent Morel and Gordon Beckham. Carlos Sanchez is almost ready for a shot at the majors and he has big stolen base potential.

Dustin Ackley, Seattle Mariners - He was a big disappointment in 2012. He is expected to hit for average with some power and some stolen bases. Some people expect that anyway.

Brian Roberts, Baltimore Orioles - He looks healthy this spring but we've seen this before. I would not count on him to play the entire season. If healthy he should steal some bases assuming his legs are still good.

Tier Five Second Basemen

Eric Young Jr., Colorado Rockies - New Rockies manager Walt Weiss seems determined to create more of a role for the talented and versatile Young. If he gets at-bats he should steal a ton of bases. It would not take too much imagination to see him starting at second base or in the outfield at some point this season.

Omar Infante, Detroit Tigers - This is probably the last player on the list that I would want to draft. Everyone below this would make me just a little sick. He has some power and will steal some bases. He could have a really good season in Detroit.

Gordon Beckham, Chicago White Sox - After a fast start to his career Beckham has done nothing but disappoint. He has some power and can steal bases but he is not a disciplined enough hitter to deliver for fantasy owners.

Daniel Murphy, New York Mets - He does not hit for much power or steal many bases but he does hit for a decent batting average. He is probably a bit underrated due to the Mets lousy lineup.

Marco Scutaro, San Francisco Giants - An excellent contact hitter with some on-base skill. He hits a few homers and steals a few bases. His teams always seem to be searching for his replacement. Your fantasy team will not be any different.

Maicer Izturis, Toronto Blue Jays - Battling Emilio Bonafacio for the role of starting second baseman. He is better suited a bench role and that is likely his destiny.

Tier Six Second Basemen

Tyler Greene, Houston Astros - He is only a decent hitter but he has the power and speed to provide fantasy owners with double digit homers and steals. He is projected as the starting shortstop for the Astros.

Logan Forsythe, San Diego Padres - He had better hope that Jedd Gyorko struggles defensively this spring. Gyorko can hit circles around Forsythe. Forsythe has a tiny bit of power and some stolen base ability but is not much of a contributor to a fantasy team.

Darwin Barney, Chicago Cubs - A defensive whiz who has managed decent batting averages and some stolen bases. He is not worthless but his value is only the result of the starting role he has no real skills that a fantasy owner would covet.

Donovan Solano, Miami Marlins - He could be the starter for the Marlins now that the team has been decimated. If he is better than average at the position it would be a great season for Solano and still without much fantasy value.

Jamey Carroll, Minnesota Twins - He can hit for average but he may be coming off the ben ch this season as the young Brian Dozier is likely to win the starting shortstop job.

Mark Ellis, Los Angeles Dodgers - He gets on base but that is about it for fantasy owners. I fully expect Dee Gordon to take over at second base at some point this season. The sooner the better.

Alexi Casilla, Baltimore Orioles - The most likely candidate to replace an injured Brian Roberts. He can steal bases and some unrealized power potential.

Jemile Weeks, Oakland Athletics - Battling Scott Sizemore for the second base job after a disappointing season. But based on potential alone he should win the job.

Tier Seven Second Basemen

Steve Lombardozzi, Washington Nationals - Danny Espinosa's potential replacement. He's a gritty gamer type that the Diamondbacks would love.

Chris Getz, Kansas City Royals - He should be sitting on the Royals bench but because manager Ned Yost is in love with him he will continue to battle Giavotella for the starting second baseman job.

Johnny Giavotella, Kansas City Royals - He has the bat to move way up this list. He should hit for an excellent batting average with some power and stolen bases.

DJ LeMahieu, Colorado Rockies - He can hit. He has no power. He has some speed but nothing exciting. But he can hit.

Ryan Roberts, Tampa Bay Rays- He has some power and might be productive if the Rays give him a chance to play.

Ryan Raburn, Detroit Tigers - He looks like a bench player this season. That is probably for the best.

Freddy Sanchez, San Francisco Giants - To rank higher he would have to stay healthy for a few dozen at-bats per season.

Scott Sizemore, Oakland Athletics - Battling for the A's second base job. He has a little power and a some stolen base skills but nothing to get excited about.

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.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

2011 Best Reliever Performance (ranked by xFIP)

The best reliever performances of 2011. I love this list best of all. I find so many underrated gems on this list. You can find both future closers and potential rotation front starters.

Sergio Romo Giants 3 1.50 65 1 1 48 13.13 0.94 0.38 0.71 0.83 1.49
Craig Kimbrel Braves 4 2.10 79 46 8 77 14.84 3.74 0.35 1.04 0.81 1.94
Kenley Jansen Dodgers 2 2.85 51 5 1 53.2 16.1 4.36 0.5 1.04 0.76 2.09
Jonathan Papelbon Red Sox 4 2.94 63 31 3 64.1 12.17 1.4 0.42 0.93 0.70 2.16
Koji Uehara - - - 2 2.35 65 0 1 65 11.77 1.25 1.52 0.72 0.95 2.33
David Robertson Yankees 4 1.08 70 1 3 66.2 13.5 4.73 0.14 1.13 0.90 2.46
Sean Marshall Cubs 6 2.26 78 5 4 75.2 9.4 2.02 0.12 1.10 0.77 2.50
Mariano Rivera Yankees 1 1.91 64 44 5 61.1 8.8 1.17 0.44 0.90 0.83 2.64
Rex Brothers Rockies 1 2.88 48 1 2 40.2 13.06 4.43 0.89 1.30 0.82 2.65
Rafael Betancourt Rockies 2 2.89 68 8 4 62.1 10.54 1.16 1.01 0.87 0.75 2.66
Greg Holland Royals 5 1.80 46 4 2 60 11.1 2.85 0.45 0.93 0.83 2.67
Sergio Santos White Sox 4 3.55 63 30 6 63.1 13.07 4.12 0.85 1.11 0.74 2.69
Al Alburquerque Tigers 6 1.87 41 0 0 43.1 13.92 6.02 0 1.15 0.83 2.78
Kameron Loe Brewers 4 3.50 72 1 7 72 7.63 2 0.5 1.13 0.69 2.78
Vinnie Pestano Indians 1 2.32 68 2 4 62 12.19 3.48 0.73 1.05 0.85 2.80
John Axford Brewers 2 1.95 74 46 2 73.2 10.51 3.05 0.49 1.14 0.83 2.85
Mike Adams - - - 5 1.47 76 2 3 73.2 9.04 1.71 0.61 0.79 0.88 2.87
Jonny Venters Braves 6 1.84 85 5 4 88 9.82 4.4 0.2 1.09 0.84 2.88
Glen Perkins Twins 4 2.48 65 2 3 61.2 9.49 3.06 0.29 1.23 0.78 2.92
Matt Thornton White Sox 2 3.32 62 3 4 59.2 9.5 3.17 0.45 1.36 0.61 2.94
Ryan Madson Phillies 4 2.37 62 32 2 60.2 9.2 2.37 0.3 1.15 0.81 2.94
Joel Hanrahan Pirates 1 1.83 70 40 4 68.2 8 2.1 0.13 1.05 0.78 2.98
Chris Sale White Sox 2 2.79 58 8 2 71 10.01 3.42 0.76 1.11 0.81 3.00
Cory Luebke Padres 1 3.23 29 0 0 39 9.92 3.46 0.23 1.00 0.64 3.00
Brad Ziegler - - - 3 2.16 66 1 1 58.1 6.79 2.93 0 1.23 0.71 3.04
Casey Janssen Blue Jays 6 2.26 55 2 2 55.2 8.57 2.26 0.32 1.10 0.81 3.04
Daniel Bard Red Sox 2 3.33 70 1 5 73 9.12 2.96 0.62 0.96 0.66 3.05
Eric O'Flaherty Braves 2 0.98 78 0 4 73.2 8.19 2.57 0.24 1.09 0.92 3.05
George Sherrill Braves 3 3.00 51 0 1 36 9.5 3 0.75 1.25 0.81 3.08
Francisco Rodriguez - - - 6 2.64 73 23 6 71.2 9.92 3.27 0.5 1.30 0.82 3.08
Brandon League Mariners 1 2.79 65 37 5 61.1 6.6 1.47 0.44 1.08 0.67 3.09
J.J. Putz Diamondbacks 2 2.17 60 45 4 58 9.47 1.86 0.62 0.91 0.81 3.10
Steve Cishek Marlins 2 2.63 45 3 0 54.2 9.05 3.13 0.16 1.17 0.75 3.12
Drew Storen Nationals 6 2.75 73 43 5 75.1 8.84 2.39 0.96 1.02 0.81 3.14
Huston Street Rockies 1 3.86 62 29 4 58.1 8.49 1.39 1.54 1.22 0.76 3.14
Mark Melancon Astros 8 2.78 71 20 5 74.1 7.99 3.15 0.61 1.22 0.76 3.14
Edward Mujica Marlins 9 2.96 67 0 3 76 7.46 1.66 0.83 1.03 0.76 3.17
Marc Rzepczynski - - - 2 3.34 71 0 4 62 8.85 3.77 0.44 1.23 0.70 3.18
Tyler Clippard Nationals 3 1.83 72 0 7 88.1 10.6 2.65 1.12 0.84 0.96 3.20
Kyle Farnsworth Rays 5 2.18 63 25 6 57.2 7.96 1.87 0.78 0.99 0.85 3.21
Phil Coke Tigers 2 3.71 34 1 1 34 8.47 2.65 0.79 1.38 0.74 3.24
Darren Oliver Rangers 5 2.29 61 2 4 51 7.76 1.94 0.53 1.14 0.77 3.24
Matt Belisle Rockies 10 3.25 74 0 7 72 7.25 1.75 0.63 1.26 0.71 3.25
Fautino De Los Santos Athletics 3 4.32 34 0 2 33.1 11.61 4.59 1.08 1.32 0.65 3.26
Joaquin Benoit Tigers 4 2.95 66 2 5 61 9.3 2.51 0.74 1.05 0.75 3.29
Jordan Walden Angels 5 2.98 62 32 10 60.1 9.99 3.88 0.45 1.24 0.75 3.33
Aaron Crow Royals 4 2.76 57 0 7 62 9.44 4.5 1.16 1.39 0.88 3.34
Octavio Dotel - - - 5 3.50 65 3 0 54 10.33 2.83 1 0.98 0.69 3.34
Wilton Lopez Astros 2 2.79 73 0 6 71 7.1 2.28 0.76 1.27 0.79 3.36
Frank Francisco Blue Jays 1 3.55 54 17 4 50.2 9.41 3.2 1.24 1.32 0.80 3.36
Joakim Soria Royals 5 4.03 60 28 7 60.1 8.95 2.54 1.04 1.28 0.72 3.38
Yoshinori Tateyama Rangers 2 4.50 39 1 0 44 8.8 2.25 1.64 1.09 0.70 3.38
Jeremy Affeldt Giants 3 2.63 67 3 3 61.2 7.88 3.5 0.73 1.15 0.78 3.39
Tim Byrdak Mets 2 3.82 72 1 3 37.2 11.23 4.54 0.72 1.41 0.68 3.39
Jason Motte Cardinals 5 2.25 78 9 4 68 8.34 2.12 0.26 0.96 0.71 3.39
Scott Downs Angels 6 1.34 60 1 3 53.2 5.87 2.52 0.5 1.01 0.86 3.40
Sam LeCure Reds 2 3.32 39 0 0 57 8.53 2.53 0.95 0.95 0.74 3.41
Jim Johnson Orioles 6 2.67 69 9 5 91 5.74 2.08 0.49 1.11 0.76 3.42
LaTroy Hawkins Brewers 3 2.42 52 0 0 48.1 5.21 1.86 0.19 1.24 0.77 3.42
Boone Logan Yankees 5 3.46 64 0 2 41.2 9.94 2.81 0.86 1.34 0.74 3.43
Bobby Parnell Mets 4 3.64 60 6 6 59.1 9.71 4.1 0.61 1.47 0.72 3.46
Ramon Ramirez Giants 3 2.62 66 4 1 68.2 8.65 3.41 0.39 1.17 0.75 3.47
Aroldis Chapman Reds 4 3.60 54 1 2 50 12.78 7.38 0.36 1.30 0.72 3.47
Rich Thompson Angels 1 3.00 44 0 1 54 9.33 3.33 0.83 1.22 0.81 3.50
Andrew Bailey Athletics 0 3.24 42 24 2 41.2 8.86 2.59 0.65 1.10 0.67 3.52
Chris Resop Pirates 5 4.39 76 1 5 69.2 10.21 3.88 1.03 1.48 0.76 3.53
Luis Perez Blue Jays 2 4.27 33 0 2 46.1 7.58 3.11 1.17 1.47 0.74 3.54
Jason Grilli Pirates 2 2.48 28 1 0 32.2 10.19 4.13 0.55 1.19 0.82 3.54
Burke Badenhop Marlins 2 4.10 50 1 0 63.2 7.21 3.39 0.14 1.40 0.70 3.55
Antonio Bastardo Phillies 6 2.64 64 8 1 58 10.86 4.03 0.93 0.93 0.81 3.56
Grant Balfour Athletics 5 2.47 62 2 5 62 8.56 2.9 1.16 1.03 0.89 3.57
Joe Smith Indians 3 2.01 71 0 3 67 6.04 2.82 0.13 1.09 0.80 3.57
Cristhian Martinez Braves 1 3.36 46 0 0 77.2 6.72 2.2 0.93 0.97 0.72 3.59
Will Ohman White Sox 1 4.22 59 0 1 53.1 9.11 2.87 1.35 1.31 0.76 3.59
Manny Acosta Mets 4 3.45 44 4 3 47 8.81 2.87 1.15 1.38 0.79 3.60
Mark Lowe Rangers 2 3.80 52 1 2 45 8.4 3.8 1.2 1.44 0.69 3.60
Aaron Heilman Diamondbacks 4 6.88 32 0 1 35.1 8.41 2.8 2.04 1.67 0.66 3.60
Marco Estrada Brewers 1 4.38 36 0 3 51.1 9.64 3.33 1.05 1.31 0.67 3.61
Scott Elbert Dodgers 0 2.43 47 2 0 33.1 9.18 3.78 0.27 1.23 0.81 3.62
Fernando Salas Cardinals 5 2.28 68 24 6 75 9 2.52 0.84 0.95 0.84 3.62
Matt Reynolds Rockies 1 4.09 73 0 2 50.2 8.88 3.2 1.78 1.30 0.81 3.63
Guillermo Mota Giants 2 3.81 52 1 1 80.1 8.63 3.36 1.12 1.26 0.78 3.63
Blake Hawksworth Dodgers 2 4.08 49 0 1 53 7.3 2.89 1.02 1.17 0.62 3.64
David Hernandez Diamondbacks 5 3.38 74 11 3 69.1 10 3.89 0.52 1.14 0.72 3.66
Mitchell Boggs Cardinals 2 3.56 51 4 4 60.2 7.12 3.12 0.59 1.37 0.73 3.66
Heath Bell Padres 3 2.44 64 43 5 62.2 7.32 3.02 0.57 1.15 0.78 3.67
Dan Wheeler Red Sox 2 4.38 47 0 0 49.1 7.11 1.46 1.28 1.11 0.69 3.71
Chad Qualls Padres 6 3.51 77 0 5 74.1 5.21 2.42 0.85 1.25 0.76 3.72
Mike Gonzalez - - - 2 4.39 56 1 1 53.1 8.61 3.54 1.18 1.35 0.69 3.73
Nick Masset Reds 3 3.71 75 1 6 70.1 7.93 3.97 0.64 1.52 0.77 3.75