Trevor Ray & Justin Fensterman discuss some waiver wire guys that have been on Justin’s mind. They will also breakdown their thoughts on how to rebound in a category if you have fallen behind early and deal with how to spend your FAAB money.
Elvis Andrus is a somewhat polarizing player in fantasy baseball. Some people love his speed. Others think there isn’t much to separate him from Alcides Escobar. Others think the Rangers might be better off trading him and letting Jurickson Profar have at it (as of now it appears that Profar will begin the year in the minors with Andrus playing shortstop and Ian Kinsler holding down the fort at second base). In what follows I’ll given the pro’s and con’s with Andrus as we try to ferret out what his true value should be heading into 2013.
Andrus has been a very durable player. During his four year big league career he’s played at least 145 games every season and has hit 150 games played the last two years.
Andrus has hit .275 for his career. That’s not a huge number by any means, but it’s about .020 points better than the league average so there needn’t be any worry about him in this measure. It should also be pointed out that he’s seen his average climb from .265 to .279 to .286 the past three years. Also, he’s been extremely consistent in the BABIP category. For his career his BABIP is .317. The last three seasons that mark has been .317, .312 and .332. Again, consistency which I really like to see. For his young career his line drive rate is 21.6 percent. In three of his four years the mark has been at least 21.9 percent (the only year it was below that was 2010 when it was still at the big league average at 19.3 percent). Andrus is also a rock star at knowing what he is good at and sticking with it. What he does well is keep the ball out of the air. For his career his ground ball rate is 57.4 percent. In his four seasons that mark has been between 55.8 and 61.1 percent. Again, consistency. As a result his 2.72 career GB-rate, a total he exactly matched last season by the way.
Andrus has speed. Some will points out that he stole “only” 21 bases last year, and for a guy who swiped 33, 32 and 37 his first three years that is disappointing. But is there anyone out there who legitimately thinks he couldn’t steal 30 bases again this season? Come on now. How about these facts? His total of 123 steals the past four years is the most in baseball for a shortstop (three more than the oft injured Jose Reyes). Andrus is one of 17 men in baseball who has stolen at least 20 bases in each of the past four years. He’s also the only shortstop in baseball who belongs in that club.
Andrus scored 72 runs his first season, but over the past three seasons he has scored 88, 96 and 85 runs. The last three seasons he is one of 10 men who have scored at least 85 runs in each season. He is the only shortstop that can make that claim. Over the last four years only one shortstop has scored more runs – Derek Jeter (401 to 341). Andrus is third in runs scored the past three seasons at the position – Jeter (294), Reyes (270) and Andrus (269).
He’s yet to hit .290 in a season.
He’s never hit seven homers in a season. In fact, he’s gone deep just 14 times in four seasons. He’s completely deficient in the homer category and that isn’t going to change.
He’s never been an RBI machine. In his first two seasons he knocked in a total of 75 runners. The last two seasons he’s at least improved a little bit up to 60 and 62 RBIs. Still, that’s just not a number anyone wants to see from their starting fantasy shortstop.
He only stole 21 bases last year after 3-straight years of 30 steals.
Don’t know about you, but doesn’t the “pro” section look to be a lot more substantial than the “con” section with Andrus? There are some players, think Juan Pierre/Ben Revere/ Brett Gardner etc., that are extremely talented in one respect or another, but totally disappointing in another faze of the game. It’s just how it works folks. Instead of bashing Andrus for his lack of power, a completely fair point to bring up by the way, why don’t we celebrate what he is – a durable, young player who steals bases and scores runs with the best at his position. Andrus has also been an extremely reliable/steady player from year to year without the wild swings that some players throw out there. Andrus also owns a skill set that says his career .275 batting average is totally legit while there might still be a .300 season in his bat and legs. Is he an extremely different player than Alcides Escobar who I referenced at the top of this piece? No he isn’t. Can you get Escobar at a cheaper cost on draft day? You certainly can if you judge the answer by the NFBC ADP information. However, remember this. Personally, I don’t mind paying a little bit extra for stability/predictability. It’s possible that the better play in ’13 will end up being Escobar, but as I noted in his Player Profile there are more questions with Escobar than Andrus. For me, I’ll take a shot on Andrus, especially if he falls a bit on draft day, because I get the felling that there just might be a pretty impressive season in the cards for the Rangers’ starter at shortstop.
* Don’t forget to pick up your copy of the 2013 BaseballGuys Fantasy Baseball Draft Guide which is now available. Nearly 150 pages of insight to help you dominate the competition in 2013.
By Ray Flowers
The fellas over over at KFFL.com have a fantasy baseball league nicknamed K-BAD, for Baseball Analysis Draft, and for the 5th straight year I’m honored to have been asked to participate (the proceeding link takes you to an analysis by every participant on the league). In Part III of this three part review I’ll break down how my squad turned out.
C: Yadier Molina (7th round), Jarrod Saltalamacchia (21)
1B: Kevin Youkilis (18), Mark Reynolds (23)
2B: Dustin Ackley (19)
3B: Miguel Cabrera (1), Martin Prado (6)
SS: Hanley Ramirez (2), Starlin Castro (3)
OF: Austin Jackson (4), Shin-Soo Choo (5), Nick Markakis (10), Mark Trumbo (11), Dexter Fowler (12), Ben Revere (13), Michael Brantley (25), Domonic Brown (26)
For a review of my selections in rounds 1-14.
For a review of my selections in rounds 15-28.
My team is too outfield heavy. There’s just no reason why, especially with a short bench of five players, that I should have added so many outfielders. So why did I? I was sucked into the value the players represented. The problem wouldn’t have been as acute as it is if I hadn’t gone with Brantley and then Brown back-to-back in the 25th and 26th rounds. I took Brantley who I think has the makings of a strong 5th outfielder but I was really tempted to take a shot on Brown’s talent at the same time. When it came around to me again and Brown was still there, I just said what the heck and took Brown too. There’s trading in this league which will help me to move a piece or two, and a handful of outfielders will certainly get hurt before Opening Day (see Curtis Granderson).
My other mistake in this league also revolved around the outfield (maybe subconsciously I was trying to make up for it late in the draft?). I took Ben Revere in the 13th round. I commented at the time I made the selection, and you can read that comment in Part I (linked to above), that I was likely taking Revere too early given how “like” players were often slipping in drafts. I should have listened to my gut. Instead of Revere in the 13th I could have had Coco Crisp in the 18th or Juan Pierre in the 18th round. Learn from my misstep – speed can be had late in drafts this season.
PLAYERS I MISSED OUT ON BY ONE PICK
I have never, not once in a my life, had more players that I was ready to roster taken one pick ahead of me than this draft. In 28 rounds there were eight instances where “my guy” was taken the pick directly ahead of me. Is that some kind of record? Here’s the list of players I missed out on.
Dustin Pedroia, B.J. Upton, Madison Bumgarner, Corey Hart, Neil Walker, Russell Martin, Tyler Colvin, Erasmo Ramirez
I can therefore say one of two things. If I win this league perhaps my initial thoughts on players were wrong since I ended up going with my “backup” plan so often. If I finish in 10th place I’m going to blame others for taking “my guys.” A built in excuse already. Honestly, I can’t remember this happening to me so much. It should be noted as well that this was a “slow” draft conducted over days. It’s one thing to want a player in the heat of battle where there are seven minutes between selections. It’s totally another when you have seven hours between your picks to plan your strategy and then you lose the guy you were targeting. Getting snaked in this set up hurts even worse.
Just for the heck of it – beautiful women.
As I noted in my initial pick-by-pick review, this team started out nails in the average column. After seven offensive selections my team could legitimately be looked at as a club that could hit .300. That cushion in the average category allowed me to take shots on guys like Saltalamacchia, Trumbo and Reynolds who aren’t going to do anything for me in the average department. However, that Trio of batters could go deep 80+ times fairly easily with health. That power allowed me to feel fine about guys like Revere, Fowler and Markakis being part of my club. I’m a big fan of the mix I’ve got on offense. The key for the squad will be how Youkilis/Reynolds and Ackley perform. If the two corner guys return to “normal” and Ackley shows just a little improvement, this offense is going to impress.
On the hill there are questions. Shields/Gallardo are an impressive top-2 (even if many would disagree). Lester/Haren/Marcum are a trio of risky selections cause of health and down performances last season, but that’s a lot of talent. I defy anyone to tell me that Shields/Gallardo/Lester/Haren couldn’t all be 180 strikeout guys, and let’s not forget about McDonald who could get there too. As I’ve noted many times as well, Marcum never gets the respect he should because of his constant time in the doctor’s office. Liriano’s DL stint at the start of the season will also allow me to add another hurler as soon as he is officially place on the disabled list, so I’ll get to add another potential hurler at that time (Joe Blanton, Kyle Lohse, Bud Norris, Clayton Richard are all on my radar). As for the bullpen, I really like the skills there. Cishek is my only true “closer” to start the year, but as we saw last year when literally two-thirds of clubs ended up changing their 9th inning arms, it’s unwise to read too much into relievers roles at this point. Remember, do what I always preach – target the skills and not the roles. To that end Cishek, Jansen, Parnell and Robertson have elite skills. Elite. I’ll work the wire hard early in the year when the inevitable bullpen shenanigan’s start.
We’ll see how things go, but overall I’m a fan of how this team turned out, even if so many of the guys I had targeted ended up on other clubs.
Thanks to KFFL.com for the invite yet again.
For a PDF copy of the entire K-BAD-Results, click on the link.
By Ray Flowers
For the fifth straight year I was invited to play in an expert’s league by the folks over at KFFL.com (you can click on the link to see how everyone else in the draft evaluated their own selections). Nicknamed K-BAD, for Baseball Analysis Draft, the league pits 11 of the top minds in the game against one flunky (that would be your truly). I thought I would give my analysis of the team I was able to roster in the 12-team, 5×5 mixed league with 28 rounds (I had the third overall pick in the draft which was completed just wrapped up as the month of February came to a conclusion).
A little bit about the league and what to expect in the three part piece.
I’ll break down my draft, pick-by-pick. Part I will be a review of selections 1-14. In Part II I’ll review selections 15-28. Finally, in Part III, I’ll give an overview of the draft and share how my team worked out, where I missed out on players, and let you know if The Oracle made any mistakes (shockingly he made one glaring mistake).
12 teams, 28 rounds
14 hitters: C, C, 1B, 2B, 3B, SS, CI, MI, OF, OF, OF, OF, OF, UT
9 pitchers: P, P, P, P, P, P, P, P, P
Bench: five spots
Round 1: Ray Flowers, BaseballGuys.com
Player: Miguel Cabrera, 3B
The most consistent hitter in the game. He lacks the speed of others taken at the top of most drafts, but he makes up for it with unmatched consistent excellence. I would never have taken Mike Trout here, so I was very pleased when this future HOFamer fell to me.
Round 2: Ray Flowers, BaseballGuys.com
Player: Hanley Ramirez, 3B/SS
If a down year is 20/20, and that player qualifies at two positions, sign me up. HanRam has been a .250 hitter the past two years, and that’s obviously a significant issue, but his ability to contribute across the board while giving me flexibility is well worth drafting at this spot, though I was secretly pining for Dustin Pedroia who went one spot ahead of me.
Round 3: Ray Flowers, BaseballGuys.com
Player: Starlin Castro
I really wanted to take David Wright here. However, with a 3B (Cabrera) and another 3B eligible player (Hanley) already on my roster with my first two picks, I couldn’t justify locking up my corner infield spot this early with a third 3B eligible player.
Round 4: Ray Flowers, BaseballGuys.com
Player: Austin Jackson, OF
For the second time in three rounds the guy I wanted was taken one spot ahead of me (this time it was B.J. Upton who I also considered in the third round). At this point of the draft I wanted to get an athletic outfielder which I was able to accomplish.
Round 5: Ray Flowers, BaseballGuys.com
Player: Shin-Soo Choo, OF
I could have gone the route of Michael Bourn here, but there seem to be players falling much later with similar skills (Pierre, Revere types). In the 5th I went with another across the board talent in Choo who should thrive hitting in Great American Ballpark.
Round 6: Ray Flowers, BaseballGuys.com
Player: Martin Prado, 3B/OF
As I continue to pile up offense, I targeted a versatile hitter who qualifies at two spots. Prado’s a nice little hitter, and I know Howard Bender wanted him badly so why not take him. A .300 season with 10/15 and 100 runs seems possible.
Round 7: Ray Flowers, BaseballGuys.com
Player: Yadier Molina, C
You can make a legitimate case that my team, after seven picks, has to be looked at as a club that could hit .300. It’s not often you can say that. However, Molina was my third choice as the two players I had teed up – Hill and Bumgarner – went with the two selections before my spot came up.
Round 8: Ray Flowers, BaseballGuys.com
Player: James Shields, SP
Others might be nervous with Shields as their top arm. I’m not. He’s about as stable as they come on the hill, get’s a lot of punchouts (8.82 per nine last year), and combines that skill with an increasing ground ball rate (52 percent in ’12).
Round 9: Ray Flowers, BaseballGuys.com
Player: Yovani Gallardo, SP
I was faced with a real toss up between the power arm and consistency of Gallardo, and the likely better ratios but less dominating arm that Johnny Cueto brings. Since Cueto is coming back from an injury, I went with Gallardo.
Round 10: Ray Flowers, BaseballGuys.com
Player: Nick Markakis, OF
Markakis is exactly the type of player I like to target. He’s consistently solid across the board, is a veteran, and his value is depressed since he’s coming off an injury plagued season. Many don’t know that per 162 games his 5×5 line is .295-18-85-89-9. I’ll gladly take that.
Round 11: Ray Flowers, BaseballGuys.com
Player: Mark Trumbo, OF/1B
He was amazing in the first half, then he was awful in the second. All told he hit 32 homers with 95 RBIs while batting .268. I’ll gladly take a repeat at this point of the draft from the dual position threat.
Round 12: Ray Flowers, BaseballGuys.com
Player: Dexter Fowler
Will he ever learn to hit on the road? His BABIP was league leading last year so the average might fall a tad from .300, but I think there could be a 20/20 season here.
Round 13: Ray Flowers, BaseballGuys.com
Player: Ben Revere, OF
Smart to take him with Juan Pierre and Coco Crisp still on the board? Probably not, but I’m a big fan of Revere’s speed game (turns out I was right and should have waited to draft Pierre rounds later).
I’ll continue my review in my next column by looking at selections from rounds 15-28.
- Don’t forget to pick up your copy of the 2013 BaseballGuys Fantasy Baseball Draft Guide which is now available. Nearly 150 pages of insight to help you dominate the competition in 2013.
By Ray Flowers
Why do we need an I.D. to buy a pack of cigarettes but I don’t need one to vote?
Why hasn’t a big league team asked me to work for them?
Why complain about $4 a gallon gas when you pay $4 for a 16 oz coffee?
Why don’t hot women love me? I mean, come one now, I’m The Oracle.
Why do people think that Zack Cozart is an impressive offensive player?
You’re probably only actually concerned with the last question.
Somehow people seem to think that Cozart is some sort of offensive dynamo, a notion which the data simply turns its nose up at. Strap in. Here we go.
During a five year run in the minors, 506 games worth of action, Cozart hit .270. Yippee. Cozart got on base at a .332 clip. Wowzahs. Cozart had a SLG of .421. Wow, I’m about to fall off my chair since that number is so impressive. Nothing, n-o-t-h-i-n-g, in that line should make anyone excited. The fact is the bat he flashed in the minors was the average man’s average. Yes he did bat .310 as a 25 year old at Triple-A over 77 games in 2011, but that was the first time he showed anything significant as a hitter.
How did Cozart perform last year with the Reds? Stop me if you’ve just read this, but he was average. In fact, a strong argument can be put forward that he wasn’t average – he was actually worse than that.
Cozart hit .246 in ’12 and owns a .251 career batting average. Last season baseball as a whole hit .255. He’s below “average” in the average category. He did post a league average line drive rate of 20 percent, and his BABIP was just a smidge below that league average at .282. He deserved that batting average, especially when you look over at the BB/K column and see a mark of 0.27, two tenths below the league average. Face it, he wasn’t, nor is he likely to be in 2013, a batting average booster.
Cozart hit 15 homers, and for a shortstop that is a solid total, one that was bettered by only seven shortstop eligible players (Ian Desmond led the way with 25). Still, I’m calling average here yet again. Cozart had a 38 percent fly ball rate and an 8.8 HR/F ratio. The big league averagesa are usually about 36 and nine. Cozart did hit 33 doubles, a solid total, but his SLG was still .399, a terrible number that was once again below the big league average of .405. Not much to see here again.
Cozart drove in 35 runs. Thirty-five. That’s one less than Yuniesky Betancourt who appeared in 57 games and two less than Josh Rutledge who took the field 73 times. To compare, Cozart appeared in 138 games, eight more than the total of the other two players combined. Cozart and Ben Revere were the only two players in baseball with 500 at-bats and 35 or fewer RBIs (Revere had 32 RBIs in 511 at-bats).
Cozart scored 72 times, a fairly impressive numbers for a guy with a pathetic .288 OBP (a number that a professional baseball player should be embarrassed to have on the back of his ball card. The major league average was .319 last season). The run total was 10th among shortstops qualifiers in the fantasy game. Blame the lack of RBIs on the fact that he appeared 102 times as a leadoff hitter and 27 times out of the #2 hole. Conversely, the reason he scored so many runs was merely because of his spot in the batting order. There are many reasons to be worried about Dusty Baker if you are a Reds fan, and this is one of the best examples. Your manager hit a guy with a .288 OBP first or second in your order 129 times. That’s unacceptable. It’s also embarrassing. How someone could rise to the level of manager and have no concept of how to put together a batting order is truly shocking. Best case Cozart should have been hitting 7th, but ideally he’d be the 8th place hitter with the effort he put up there last season. You can’t even defend the decision by saying Cozart’s speed causes problem for defenses. It doesn’t. He stole only four bags in 2012.
Nothing Cozart does stands out. Zack Cozart has only 149 games of big league experience, but he’s already 27 years old. He showed little with the bat in the minor leagues, and he continued to perform along those same lines last season. He was also exceedingly fortunate to have a manager with no understanding of how the game of baseball should be played. Barring Dusty Baker again being moronic and slotting Cozart at the top of the Reds’ order, there simply isn’t anything I can hang my hat on here as a reason that Cozart should be targeted on draft day 2013.
By Ray Flowers
There were plenty of big names thrown around town, chief among them Josh Hamilton and Zack Greinke, but in the end there were no earth shattering moves at the Baseball Winter Meetings. There were a handful of moves involving useful players however, so let’s take a moment to wrap up the meetings, and the week, by looking at some of that movement.
Joe Blanton, who I’ll have a write up on in the coming days, signed a two year, $15 million deal with the Angels. He’s no Zack Greinke but he’s a solid hurler, durable, and the terms of the deal certainly aren’t prohibitive by any means. Many think this is a bad deal based on his 4.71 ERA last season but I’m telling you his ERA should have been a run lower last season than it was. Solid.
Sean Burnett received a two year deal for $8 million from the Angels who are amassing one hell of a bullpen. Not just that, but I don’t know how the Angels convinced him to take so little after Jeremy Affeldt received 3/$18 million from the Giants. Burnett struck out 57 batters in 56.2 innings with an impressive 4.75 K/BB ratio, not to mention a superb 2.51 GB/FB ratio, for the Nationals last season.
Andrew Cashner failed to be the breakout candidate many hoped for last season as injuries limited him to a mere 46.1 innings. Still, he punched out 52 batters in 46.1 innings, and there is a lot of excitement about him starting for the Padres in 2013. Unfortunately, he’s unlikely to be ready for spring after a hunting accident. Apparently a friend slipped on the trip, fell, and sliced the thumb of Cashner with his knife necessitating surgery that will likely keep Andrew out of action for about three months. I’m not going to say it serves him right, but honestly, I just don’t get hunting, at all. If you need to eat that’s one thing, but what is the sport in shooting an animal that is just standing there? Sorry, just don’t get it.
Ben Revere was dealt from the Twins to the Phillies in exchange for Vance Worley and minor leaguer Trevor May. It seems very odd to me that the Twins would deal Denard Span and Revere within a week of one another (for more on Span see his Player Profile). Clearly, the Twins have no intention of competing in 2013 and are desperate for starting pitching. Revere, looking pretty much like a direct Juan Pierre clone, hit .294 with 40 steals in 124 games last season. He’ll never hit for power and may never get on base at a rate much better than the league average, but his speed makes him a superb play in the fantasy game. As for the Twins, their outfield is in shambles. It’s looking like Josh Willingham, Trevor Plouffe and… Brandon Hicks? GM Terry Ryan also stated that Darin Mastroianni and Joe Benson will battle for a starting spot with Hicks, but that doesn’t really help matters much now does it. Can feel the excitement? The Twins, they receive May who has struck out more than 11 batters per nine innings in the minors, and if everything breaks right could be a #3 starter in the bigs. The Twins are hoping that Vance Worley is the real deal. Worley is coming back from elbow surgery in September as he had some loose bodies and a bone spur removed. Everyone is confident he will be healthy by spring. Worley owns some solid numbers – 7.71 K/9, 2.45 K/BB, 1.28 GB/FB ratio – even if nothing really stands out. Best case he’ll be a weak SP2, but more than likely the Twins would be happy if he emerged as solid third starter for them.
Nate Schierholtz signed a one year deal with the Cubs for a reported $2.25 million ($500,000 in incentives). Having watched him play for years that’s a strong signing by the Cubs. Nate is an elite defender who is a solid hitter with a bit of speed. He’s not an exciting fantasy option, but he’s an ideal 4th outfielder in the real world who could be quite effective if given consistent work. Speaking of the Cubs. Brett Jackson, another outfielder, has revamped his swing this offseason in an attempt to cut down his massive K-rate. He’s a 20/20 talent, especially if he puts the ball in play more effectively. Finally, the Cubs gave a 1-year, $2 million deal to former power hitter Ian Stewart (it looks like he will battle Luis Valbuena for the starting job). Only in America could a guy hit .183 withfive homers an a .561 OPS over 301 at-bats the last two years and get two million dollars.
Koji Uehara received a little over $4 million to ink a one year deal with the Red Sox. Born on the same day as my brother (04-03-1975), Koji is coming off a season in which he was limited to 36 innings because of injury. However, he was as good as ever when on the bump with a 10.75 K/9 mark and just three walks on the season leading to a 14.33 K/BB ratio. That 14.33 mark was the third best mark since 1885 in a season of 35 innings pitched (only Dennis Eckersley bettered it at 18.33 and 18.25 in 1989-90). Uehara also owns the all-time big league record with a 7.70 K/BB ratio (minimum 200 innings pitched). A strong signing if he can stay healthy.
Also… some links to my recent Player Profiles of a handful of players who have switched teams in the past week (those who deserve a bit more than the passing glance most of the players in this article received).
By Ray Flowers
(1) Ben Revere has a 20 game hitting streak. Stealing bases like crazy.
(2) Justin Morneau – is he back to being a force?
(3) Ryan Doumit getting it done at the plate.
(4) Eric Young Jr., stolen base demon. Could playing time follow?
(5) Mike Trout = amazing. What else can I say?
(6) Buster Posey best hitter on planet?
(7) Ben Sheets thinks it’s 2007. Over at Fleaflicker though, people are still wary.
By Ray Flowers
Each week I’ll be answering questions that have been sent to me at the BaseballGuys’ Twitter account in my never ending attempt to replace myself by explaining to everyone how I evaluate players thereby making myself obsolete.
Should I trade Matt Kemp for CC Sabathia and Aroldis Chapman?
Do you need offense or pitching? If the goal is to improve your pitching staff, I don’t see how you could pass on dealing Kemp. I know he’s hitting .350 since the All-Star break, but let’s keep things in perspective. Kemp has twice injured his leg this season and that’s obviously one of the main reasons he’s stopped running. You have realized that he has fewer steals this year than Mark Trumbo (four to three), right? Without the steals he’s no longer an elite fantasy performer, he’s merely a great one.
Sabathia is about as boring as it gets, and that’s a compliment. Everyone on the hill struggles an is injured, and though CC hit the DL for a bit this year, he’s been the same horse he’s been for a decade now racking up a 10-3 record, 3.57 ERA, 1.25 WHIP and 123 Ks in 126 innings. Chapman had a rough two weeks to end June, but the guy has rebounded to the point that it could be argued, persuasively, that he is the best pitcher in baseball. Over his last 16 games he hasn’t allowed a run, not a one. His WHIP in that time is 0.61. His K/9 rate is 19.29 with 35 in 16.1 innings. My goodness, his K/BB ratio is 11.67 an about 99.5 percent of baseball would sell their in-laws to the devil for a K/9 rate that high, let alone a K/BB ratio like that. Still, the most amazing part might be that he has 15 saves in 17 appearances.
I’d trade Kemp to get that duo.
Drop Salvador Perez and pick up Carlos Santana? Is Carlos finding his stroke?
Last week I got a bunch of questions about Santana including one I tackled in the Mailbag. To reiterate my point from there; Santana can hit. No one should have given up on him, and he still owns the skills to be an elite hitter at the position, something I’ve steadfastly said for the entirety of the season even when he’s been struggling. The struggles are gone as he’s hitting .293 with five homers and 12 RBIs in 19 games since the All-Star break. He’s also getting on base at a .461 clip with a 1.116 OPS. He’s a top-5 catcher the rest of the way for me which means you have to choose him over Perez who has been great hitting .320 with five homers in 29 games, but here’s the issue. People’s expectations are totally, and I mean off the charts, out of control with Perez. He’s not a .327 hitter despite his career mark. He’s certainly not the type of hitting that’s going to hit 30 homers. Wipe that stuff out of your mind – it’s just not happening. At the same time, people seem to be moving on from Perez due to his recent struggles (.244, no homers, one RBI in 12 games) like they are fleeing the scene of a murder they committed behind a convenient store. As I always tell people – be realistic with your expectations. This isn’t fantasy football. You don’t want to bail on a guy, or add a guy off waivers, simply because they are hot/cold for 45 at-bats.
Is Ben Revere for Jonathan Papelbon a fair trade?
The obvious answer is not really. But that doesn’t mean the deal is a 100 percent turn down job if you own Papelbon either. In fact, it might be a good move.
We’re at the point of the season where you have to play the categories. It doesn’t matter if you win the steals category by two or 22, you still get the same amount of points in the roto game. Therefore, sometimes “lopsided” deals make sense, and this could be an example of that. If it’s draft day 2013, I can’t think there would be many people who would take Revere over Papelbon. Sure the Twins outfielder is hitting an impressive .319, and he has swiped 25 bags, but he has zero homers, has knocked in only 20 runs and he’s only scored 37 runs (a total you would assume would be much higher given all those thefts). He’s a huge boost in the average and steals category but he’s downright pathetic in homers and RBIs. Still, what if he were to hit .300 and steals 15 bases the rest of the way? Would that help boost your club in both of those categories to the point that you could gain multiple points in each category in the standings? It’s certainly possible.
Papelbon has hit a bit of a bump in the road the past couple of weeks, but overall he’s still sporting 23 saves, a 1.12 WHIP, 54 Ks in 43 innings an a 5.40 K/BB ratio. There is nothing wrong with that pitching line. After six straight years of at least 30-saves there’s no reason, none, to think he won’t get their for a seventh straight year and with all the craziness in bullpens this year how could anyone not want this guy on their staff.
Check out the standings. If it makes sense for to add the average and steals, deal for Revere. If it makes sense for you to hold on to Papelbon so that you don’t fall too far in the saves category, then hold on the righty reliever from Philly.
Ryan Ludwick or Josh Rutledge for my UTIL spot?
Ludwick is hitting like it’s 2008 when he blasted 37 homers with 113 RBIs for the Cards. He’s never been able to recapture that form in the intervening years, but right now he’s killing it for the Reds with 19 homers and 56 RBIs in just 80 games played. Even better, he’s murdering pitches with eight homers, 23 RBIs an a .354 batting average over his last 23 contests. In fact, the last four weeks he leads the NL in RBIs an is just one off the NL lead in homers (Brian McCann and Ike Davis each have nine). You can’t expect him to keep up this pace of course, but overall not much really stands out in his batting line as his season long numbers are nearly identical to his career averages in AVG/OBP, BB/K, BABIP, GB/FB etc. He has elevated his HR/F rate at 22 percent, well above his 13 percent career mark, but the rest is pretty standard Ludwick stuff.
Rutledge has killed it since Troy Tulowitzki went down, and he figures to slide over to second base when Tulo is back in action (oddly, only eight percent of players over at Fleaflicker have added him to their rosters). Hitting .382 with four homers in 68 at-bats, the question isn’t whether Josh will slow, it’s how much will be slow. A guy with a 50 percent ground ball rate shouldn’t also have a 24 percent HR/F mark, especially when that same player only hit 22 homers in 211 minor league games. Give his approach at the plate, chiefly never talking a walk, his BB/K mark is awful at 0.20. There are but a few players in baseball who can approach that number and hit .300. Even fewer can sustain the .400 BABIP he’s currently rocking (truthfully, no one sustains that pace).
Both players will slow but I’d take Ludwick who has produced at these levels before and figures to be a better bet to keep the power stroke flowing. Since we are talking about a utility player I’m not concerned with the obvious advantage that Rutledge brings because of the position he plays.
Ray Flowers can be heard daily on Sirius/XM Radio on The Fantasy Drive on Sirius 210 and XM 87 from 7-10 PM EDT, Monday through Friday.
It’s Friday, and that means a couple of things. One, it’s about time to cut loose and have some fun. Two, I’ll be giving some plays for Friday and Saturday that would seem to be in prime position to succeed. Third, at the bottom of this piece is a chance to partake in a FREE daily fantasy baseball game with a chance to play for $250 in prizes. Psst. I’m in the league too. Think you can best The Oracle?
HITTERS – FRIDAY
Adam Dunn vs. Clayton Kershaw: Up to 22 homers and 50 RBIs, Dunn has had a great bounce back season. However, why on earth would I suggest playing a guy who has hit .183 against lefties this season when that same player has hit .223 against port siders in his career? It’s only a handful of games mind you, but Dunn has annihilated Kershaw in 11 at-bats going deep three times, driving in seven runs and batting .636. That’s why.
Scott Podsednik vs. Ryan Dempster: Three times in his last four games Pods has produced two or more hits, and in 51 at-bats with the Red Sox this year he has hit .373 with four steals. Facing Dempster he’s also been a producer with seven hits in 18 at-bats (.389) and he’s also walked four times leading to a .500 OBP.
Ben Revere vs. Yovani Gallardo: The speedster with the Twins has a hit in nine of 10 games to raise his average up to .339 (he’s had two or more hits in six of those games). He’s also swiped six bags while scoring nine runs in those 10 outings. Give him a matchup with a pitcher that he’s produced four hits in 10 at-bats against and he would seem to be a borderline must start.
PITCHERS – FRIDAY
Ryan Dempster vs. Red Sox: Dempster has allowed one or zero runs in three of his last four outings. He’s also tossed 15 scoreless innings in his last two outings while walking a single batter to lower his ratios to Maddux-like levels (2.31 ERA, 1.03 WHIP). Current Sox batters are hitting only .246 against Dempster as well, so are you willing to take a shot on the righty in this matchup?
Kyle Lohse vs. Royals: Current Royals hitters have only 50 at-bats off Lohse, but to say they have lacked success would be a massive understatement. The club has hit .240 against him with a .615 OPS as they have failed to go deep, have drawn only one walk, and struck out seven times.
Ryan Vogelsong vs. Mariners: In 30 outings last season Vogelsong had a 2.71 ERA. In 11 starts this year that number is 2.26. Over his last eight starts six times he’s permitted one/zero earned runs, and the two times he didn’t he allowed a total of five runs over 13.1 innings.
HITTERS – SATURDAY
Rajai Davis vs. Cliff Lee: Davis has stolen four bags in his last seven games, and though he has only 99 at-bats on the year he’s swiped 14 bases. He’s also hit a fair clip over his last 31 games batting .278. There isn’t much to go on with this matchup but in 11 at-bats Davis has produced six hits (.545 average).
Brandon Phillips vs. Jonathon Niese: Brandon Phillips has five hits in 10 at-bats against Niese, and two of those hits have been big flies. Phillips has also really kicked his game into gear in June hitting .353 with three homers and 13 RBI in 12 games.
Gaby Sanchez vs. James Shields: If you want about the most random call you could possibly find, look no further. Sanchez has produced six hits, including a homer, and five RBI in 13 at-bats against Shields, good for a .462 average. Of course Sanchez is hitting, if you can call it that, .190 on the year and has only two hits in 15 at-bats since he was recalled from the minors.
PITCHERS – SATURDAY
Chad Billingsley vs. White Sox: Chad has allowed two runs over 14 inning in his last two starts leading to two victories. Billingsley has also struck out eight batters in three of his last four outings. The question is – which Billingsley will show up? The guy who throws strikes or the one who nibbles and walks four or five batters and gets into trouble?
Tim Lincecum vs. Mainers: Once more into the breach… this might be it. I might have to change my thoughts on Lincecum if he doesn’t come through with a strong outing. (1) His rotation spot is in danger (the Giants might move him to the bullpen to work on things). (2) He’s basically returning home to pitch in Seattle. (3) The Mariners have the 4th worst batting average (.234) and the second worst OBP (.297) in baseball. This is it Timmy – make it happen.
James Shields vs. Marlins: I know I just mentioned how Sanchez hits Shields hard, but that’s not something the rest of the Marlins can say. If we remove Sanchez work the Marlins club has hit .217 with a mere seven RBIs over 129 at-bats.
CONTEST – TAKE ON RAY FLOWERS
Daily Joust is offering you a chance to make some free money, and you get to also take me on in the process (if you beat me you get another $5 bonus).
BaseballGuys has partnered with DailyJoust.com to give everyone an opportunity to compete in Daily Fantasy games this baseball season. There is a $250 MLB Baseball Freeroll Tournament Friday June 15th starting at 7pm EST.
That’s right, it’s FREE to enter, and you get a chance to play for $250 in prizes (there is also a 40% deposit bonus up to $400).
Choose your roster with the following positional requirements: C, 1B/DH, 2B, 3B, SS, OF, OF, OF, SP.
1. To register at DailyJoust and make your selections for the contest click on the BBGuys Landing Page and sign up.
2. Watch the live scoring on DailyJoust to see how your team stacks up against the competition – and me.
Are you game?
By Ray Flowers
Jason Bay was finally hitting with a .317 mark, a .969 OPS and 13 RBI through 18 games in September. Of course, he’s now missed three games in a row with the flu. He’s no Justin Morneau, but it looks like Bay’s skills just disappeared, despite his nice three week run.
Lance Berkman has hit only seven homers with 28 RBI over his last 56 games, but on the year he is batting .300 with 31 homers, 91 RBI a .412 OBP and a .967 OPS, a rather phenomenal campaign from a guy who pretty much everyone thought was washed up. It’s being reported that he’s agreed to a one year deal worth $12 million to play with the Cardinals next season. I think it’s a fair deal for both sides, the Cardinals can’t risk losing Albert Pujols next year and not having someone who can hit in the middle of the lineup, but I think they’d be fooling themselves if their expectations were for Berkman to repeat this years effort next season.
Am I the only one that thinks that working a job that you can wear slippers to is about as good as it gets?
Vladimir Guerrero has long been on of my favorite players (perhaps it goes back to the days that he was on my minor league taxi squad). I even have a Vlad G. Montreal Expos jersey in my closet (you’re jealous aren’t you?). This season hasn’t gone as planned for Vlad, but that doesn’t mean that he is ready to hang up his cleats. In fact, he wants to play a couple of more seasons. “I feel I can play two or three more years,” he said. “And I just need to work a little harder this offseason when I go to the Dominican and see what happens.” Guerrero is three hits behind Julio Franco for the most hits every by a Dominican born player, he has 2,583. He’s also on quite a tear right now hitting .400 over his last 16 games to push his average up to .292. If he can get it to .300 it would be the 14th time in 15 seasons he hit that mark. However, with only 13 homers, this will be the first time in his career that he’s had 400 at-bats and failed to go deep 27 times.
The Marlins have placed closer Leo Nunez on the restricted list for “undisclosed reasons” (he has already headed back to the Dominican Republic, so his 2011 season is over). Nunez will finish the year with middling ratios (4.06 ERA, 1.21 WHIP), but he did produce 36 saves in 42 chances. Edward Mujica might get a look in the ninth, after all he’s been great this year with a 0.97 WHIP and 4.69 K/BB ratio, but I would pick up Steve Cishek if I was looking for a few cheap saves.
I was watching Supernatural the other night and I noticed that Genevieve Courtese had a recurring role (OK, I’m a bit behind with the series – I’m only working on season IV right now). I admit it, I’m such a sucker for brunettes.
Ben Revere is hitting .263, has no homer,s sports a terrible .310 OBP and has a sickly .297 SLG (how awful is that?). So why am I wasting any time writing about him? His recent play of course. Over the last eight games Ben has produced 15 hits, including one in each outing, while he’s also swiped seven bags. That’s the type of a waiver-wire pickup that can win you your league. Reverse certainly has a lot of limitations on offense, but his late season push will certainly have him in the mix for a substantial role with the Twins next season.
Iwasn’t a big believer when the Rangers decided to move C.J. Wilson from the pen to the rotation. Consider my opinion to be in error. Wilson went 15-8 with a 3.35 ERA last year, and he’s been slightly better this year going 16-7 with a 2.97 ERA. He’s also upped his K mark this season to 8.38 per nine which has resulted in 206 punchouts. That dude is gonna get straight paid in the free agent market this offseason.
By Ray Flowers