Justin and Trevor are joined this week by Jeff Erickson from RotoWire.com. They discuss Bryan LaHair, Albert Pujols, Carlos Marmol, Tim Lincecum, punting categories, third base worries and who to possibly add (Ian Stewart, Jed Lowrie, Pedro Alvarez, Chris Davis, Chris Johnson) and much more.
For the last few years I’ve been fortunate enough to be invited to participate an experts league with the crew from KFFL.com. The league, called K-BAD (KFFL’s Baseball Analysis Draft), pits 12 experts against one another in a 12 team mixed league draft with 28 man rosters. For a breakdown of who is in the league and how everything shakes out, not to mention who I drafted in rounds 1-14 see K-BAD: Experts Draft, Part I.
In what follows I’ll list my thoughts about my selections from pick 15-28. I’ll then give a quick run down of my squad.
Round 15: Dexter Fowler
He gained some muscle this offseason, and he flat out exploded in the second half of the season: .288 with a .880 OPS, 51 runs, 10 steals in 68 games.
Round 16: Wandy Rodriguez
This is a solid skill set hurler who gets no love because he’s on the Astros. As a 5th starter on my team he’s slotted in the right spot.
Round 17: Kurt Suzuki
I wanted to wait another go round for a backstop, I’d prefer to take a closer here, but I just didn’t have much faith in the remaining backstops.
Round 18: Frank Francisco
Great arm will be given an opportunity to close with Mets. Could have gone OF here, but I really needed to get that second closer arm.
Round 19: Brennan Boesch
It was Boesch, Joyce or Vernon Wells for my 5th outfielder. Couldn’t see any of them being around the next time I made a pick.
Round 20: Vernon Wells
Well color me surprised. Wells was indeed available after I considered taking him in the last round. He makes a solid UT option this late.
Round 21: Ryan Doumit
Of all the remaining backstops Doumit is the one I can see going .275-15-70 if he can stay healthy. Per 450 at-bats in his career: .271-15-61-54-2.
Round 22: Scott Baker
I’ve been staring at Baker for two rounds now. If healthy, there’s little reason to think he won’t be a top-50 hurler at worst, so this is good value this late.
Round 23: Rafael Furcal
I wanted to go with another starting pitcher here, but I looked at the remaining options for my backup at short and Furcal appeared to be well ahead of the remaining options.
Round 24: Ricky Nolasco
Once more into the breach… one of these years it’s going to happen. I’m convinced. I feel like Ahab from Moby Dick chasing my White Whale.
Round 25: Daniel Murphy
To get a guy who could hit .300 while qualifying at first, second and third… sign me up. Big fan of a reserve pick who covers so many positions.
Round 26: Chris Davis
It’s like when you walk into a car dealership intending to buy a sedan and walk out with a sports car. The lure of Davis and his power is too strong for me to break.
Round 27: Sergio Romo
(1) I could use solid ratios with a shot at a few saves. (2) With a short bench of only five guys I felt I needed a hurler over another bat.
Round 28: David Robertson
Went with this great bullpen arm instead of starters Homer Bailey, Aaron Harang, A.J. Burnett and Ryan Vogelsong, Obviously there will be plenty of arms left on the waiver-wire.
C: Kurt Suzuki, Ryan Doumit
1B: Miguel Cabrera
2B: Howie Kendrick
3B: Kevin Youkilis
SS: Derek Jeter
MI: Dustin Ackley
CI: Mark Reynolds
OF: Matt Holliday, B.J. Upton, Shane Victorino, Dexter Fowler, Brennan Boesch
UT: Vernon Wells
Pitchers: Felix Hernandez, Ricky Romero, Josh Beckett, Brandon Morrow, Wandy Rodriguez, Scott Baker, Ricky Nolasco, Sergio Santos, Frank Francisco
Bench: Rafael Furcal, Daniel Murphy, Chris Davis, Sergio Romo, David Robertson
I’ve got a lot of flexibility with the club as Cabrera, Kendrick, Reynolds, Davis and Murphy are all going to be multi position guys. I could be a bit light on steals, but I should still finish middle of the pack there. I like the late add of Daniel Murphy to help offset a guy like Reynolds in the batting average category. On the hill, I think I again showed that you can wait on hurlers and still assemble a strong staff. My top-5 arms could all give me 175 Ks, and Baker/Nolasco could both be near elite if healthy and lucky (that obviously has not been the case the past few years though). I might be light on saves but with this draft happening so early in the year, before training camp even started, I didn’t feel the need to reach on bullpen arms when so many situations are still unsettled.
I’ll keep you posted throughout the year on how the club is doing.
Finally, here is my roster, along with all the others from the K-BAD Draft.
By Ray Flowers
Marlon Byrd is batting .226 over his last 93 at-bats with just a single homer as he continues to have one of the most unique seasons in baseball this year. The recent slump has dropped Byrd’s average down down to a still respectable .284, but it’s his run production that is so fascinating. Byrd has a mere 28 RBI in 387 at-bats this season, a pace that would equate to 40 RBI over 550 at-bats. If that sounds awful it is, but it’s even more distressing when you realize that Byrd has spent 30 percent of his season batting third for the Cubs and another 34 percent batting fifth. How is it possible to spend 64 percent of your seasonal at-bats in the third and fifth holes in the lineup and still be on a pace for mere 40 RBI in 550 at-bats? That’s just shocking.
Asdrubal Cabrera has had a remarkable season. It doesn’t look like he is going to get to 20/20, he has 16 steals and last stole a base back on August 13th (yikes), but still, it’s been a rather remarkable season. Coming into the year he had hit 18 homers. He has 22 this season. He came into the year with career bests of 68 RBI and 81 runs. He has 82 RBI and is just two runs off that career best mark with three weeks left in the regular season. If you’ve have Cabrera on your roster all season long you cannot be upset at his performance, not in the least. However, that doesn’t mean you can’t be disappointed by his work over the past month. Cabrera is hitting a sickly .185 over his last 95 at-bats, and though he has knocked in 16 runs, the guy has scored only five times. He isn’t producing hits, isn’t scoring runs, and has stopped stealing bases. Do you dare go in another direction for the final three weeks of the regular season?
Chris Davis has long been my white whale. I look at the prodigious power and his outright domination of Triple-A (.340-38-146 over his last 591 at-bats), not to mention his previous success in the big leagues (38 homers, 114 RBI in his first 686 big league at-bats), and think this guy is a potential 30 homer bat. He still might be that, but he’s looking an awful lot like Carlos Pena with those 21 Ks in 50 at-bats with the Orioles. I think it might be time for me to face facts. Davis might just be a AAAA player (too good for the minors but not good enough to have success in the big leagues).
Adam Lind will be shut down for a few days with a wrist issue. He should have been left out of your fantasy lineup for a long while however. Over the last month Lind has hit five homers while knocking in 18 runs so you might be thinking ‘what the hell are you talking about Ray?’ You wanna know what I’m talking about? How about that .178 average and .575 OPS over the past month. In fact, it’s even worse than that as he has hit .186 with a .562 OPS over his last 46 games. That’s a high price to pay for a few homers.
Martin Prado just cannot get it going. He’s hitting, if you can call it that, .181 with no homers and six runs scored over his last 94 at-bats.
Pablo Sandoval is hitting a mere .247 over his last 81 at-bats to drop his season long average to .297. That’s pretty impressive given his failures last season (.268), and 18 homers in just 371 at-bats is a pretty solid number as well, but he needs to start rapping out hits to help out your fantasy squad down the stretch. OK, the truth is I’m just down on the Giants and not necessarily Sandoval. Where did it all go wrong for the club? It all went wrong when the front office thought the club had enough offense to compete. What a waste of a pitching staff.
Chris Young is hitting, sit down if you missed it, .147 over 156 at-bats since the All-Star break. He has a sprained ligament in his thumb that is the main culprit for the downturn in his production. At this point it’s almost impossible to suggest leaving him in your starting lineup unless you are in a deep NL-only league.
By Ray Flowers
John Axford is the Brewers closer. Period. I know everyone got all nervous when Francisco Rodriguez was brought into town, but the Brew Crew has done the right thing and left Axford alone as the arm working the 9th. K-Rod has done very well in a setup role with a 2.45 ERA and 15 Ks in 11 innings since joining the club, but it’s Axford who deserves all the accolades. Not only is he 33 for 35 in saves, the last time he blew a chance was April 18th as he’s racked up 64 Ks in 54.1 innings. He’s as good as there is at shutting down an opponent.
Chris Davis is one of my favorite late round gambles each year. To this point, he’s done little at the big league level to warrant the love, but perhaps things will change now that he is in Baltimore. Apparently over a scare with his shoulder, Davis appears slated to see daily playing time in the Orioles’ lineup. Davis hit .368 with 24 homers and 66 RBI in just 48 games at Triple-A this year, and though he would be lucky to get within a hundred points of that batting average, the power is legit. After all, he has averaged 24 homers per 500 at-bats during his big league career (43 homers in 903 at-bats).
Conor Jackson’s career was at a crossroads coming into this season. A first round pick in 2003, his last couple of seasons had been ruined by ill health. He started out slowly this year, and with the A’s logjam at first and in the outfield he just wasn’t seeing regular playing time. He’s slowly started to come around though as he hit .292 in July and .309 over his last 21 games. He still isn’t flashing much power with only four homers in 299 at-bats, but the sweet stroke is finally back.
Rich Harden is always one pitch, heck one step, from the trainer’s table. It took him forever to get on the field this year, but once out there he has performed very well. Harden may have an elevated 4.07 ERA for the Athletics but he has 45 Ks in 42 innings, is sporting a 3.00 K/BB ratio, and his WHIP (1.17) is a rather impressive total for a hurler in the AL. He’s only lasted more than six innings twice in seven outings, but he’s looked pretty much like his old self when on the bump.
Yonder Alonso – The guy has no position, he recently embarrassed himself in the outfield, and he’s not going to supplant Joey Votto at first base any time soon. Still, the kid can hit and he’s gone 8-for-17 (.471) this year to up his career mark to .304 in 46 at-bats in the bigs.
Desmond Jennings – He’s looked every bit the Carl Crawford clone in 17 games hitting .328 with 11 RBI, 11 runs scored and eight steals. He has been marvelous.
Mike Moustakas – He’s hitting .193 with one homer through 171 at-bats, and his OPS is .497. The poor average is a head scratchier but one homer in 171 at-bats? That’s just vexing.
By Ray Flowers
(1) Mark Ellis now a Rockie. How does that effect NL-only leagues?
(2) Ty Wigginton on fire for the Rockies.
(3) Josh Johnson shoulder update.
(4) Derek Jeter hopes to return Monday from calf injury.
(5) Erik Bedard to DL, Rich Harden off it.
(6) Chris Davis to get shot with Rangers?
PS – Congratulations to Crissy who won the DraftStreet.com competition last night.
By Ray Flowers
(1) Josh Hamilton to miss 6-8 weeks with fractured right humerus. Chris Davis called up, but David Murphy the only likely to play every day.
(2) Michael Cuddyer continues to see work at second base for Twins.
(3) Stephen Drew returns from injury. Looking sharp hitting cleanup.
(4) Brian Wilson is back to his dominating self. For more on his efforts see Giants Follow Familiar Formula.
(5) Dan Haren tossed 1-hitter for Angels.
(6) Angel Sanchez a fraud?
(7) Grady Sizemore close to return from knee injury.
(1) Rangers pick up Jorge Cantu.
(2) Padres bring in Miguel Tejada.
(3) Phillies officially get Roy Oswalt.
(4) Brett Wallace on the move – yet again.
(5) Kerry Wood likely back on Friday. Sorry Chris Perez owners.
(6) Andrew Bailey likely to DL. Michael Wuertz and Craig Breslow to fore?
By Ray Flowers
(1) Jose Reyes injured in batting practice. Should be OK.
(2) Nate McLouth still having concussion related symptoms.
(3) Erik Bedard nearing a return to big leagues.
(4) Bengie Molina to be moved to the Rangers?
(5) Clayton Richard has 10 Ks vs. the Rockies.
(6) Mike Gonzalez might be out until All-Star break.
(7) B.J. Upton out with quad injury.
(8) Jair Jurrjens returns for the Braves.
By Ray Flowers
There’s no theme to my madness today. I’m just going with a stream of consciousness vibe here as I get ready to run around the block, lift some weights, and watch the Sharks hopefully move to a 3-0 lead over the Red Wings.
* Rick Ankiel was placed on the DL today, retroactive to May 3rd, with a strained right quadriceps muscle. He will be replaced on the active roster by Kila Ka’aihue. Of course, the Royals blew this one by giving Ankiel two pinch hitting at-bats on Saturday and Sunday after holding him out of the starting lineup since April 24th. This is yet another reason why the Royals fail to ever win (poor roster management). If you don’t know who KK is, he is a slugging first basemen who has an OPS over 1.000 this year in Triple-A. What position did the Royals just say they wanted Alex Gordon to learn? They also said they wanted Gordon to pick up an outfielder’s glove, so I won’t lambast them for that decision.
Since I’m on a role I might as well keep going with Royals talk. Mike Aviles has been called up from the minors and will start in place of Yuniesky Betancourt on Tuesday. Aviles hit .284 in some limited work at Triple-A this year, and the dude can flat out hit (he owns a .293 career mark in 540 at-bats with the Royals). Betancourt started out hot but he’s hit only .240 over his last 50 at-bats, and his defense has slipped in recent years as well. Aviles certainly could lock down the starting job at short if he starts out hot, so make sure he isn’t floating on waivers in your AL-only league.
* Kyle Blanks update: he still can’t hit. He has 18 strikeouts in his last 29 at-bats leading to an inconcionable K-rate of 44.4 percent on the year. He is so lost that it’s to the point that the team must send him to Triple-A since he is a walking disaster right now.
* Watching Tim Lincecum vs. the Marlins right now. He just struck out Cameron Maybin on a poor swing before getting Chris Coghlan to swing over a pitch by about 18 inches. He then gave up a hit to Hanley Ramirez before punching out Jorge Cantu for three Ks in the first inning. Dude is just amazing.
* Vin Mazzaro will replace Justin Duchscherer for one start. That is if you believe that Duke’s hip will respond quickly to the cortisone shot he just got. Don’t consider me to be one of those that believes that will happen. That means Mazzaro is a must add in AL-only leagues. He didn’t look great after a hot start last year, but a spot it the rotation is a spot in the rotation.
* Two pitchers going in opposite directions with health. Jair Jurrjens probably won’t make his start on Saturday because of a strained hamstring. He injured the hammy last Thursday and still isn’t ready to thrown in the pen (Kris Medlen could pick up the start). Carlos Silva, dealing with a wrist issue, didn’t need a cortisone shot in his wrist so he will make a start for the Cubs on Friday instead of needing another day of rest. I still want Jurrjens every time over Silva despite these health revelations – and I don’t even love Jurrjens which tells you all you need to know about my thoughts on Silva.
* Lincecum started the second inning punching out Dan Uggla on a 94 mph at the knees. He didn’t even get a swing off. Same thing just happened to John Baker.
For more of my thoughts on some things that shook out on Tuesday give Around the Horn a read where I discuss Jeff Clement, Austin Jackson, Chris Davis, Juan Pierre and the Phillies’ bullpen (Ryan Madson will miss at least eight weeks after having surgery to repair the toe he broke kicking a chair last week).
By Ray Flowers
Vladimir Guerrero has signed what appears to be a 1-year, $5-$6 million deal with the Texas Rangers (there is also said to be a mutual option for 2011). Was it a good move for the Rangers?
By Ray Flowers