Archive for December, 2011

Andrew Bailey: Boston’s New Closer

The Boston Red Sox picked up a Jonathan Papelbon replacement on Wednesday, acquiring Andrew Bailey (and Ryan Sweeney) from the Oakland A’s for Josh Reddick and prospects Raul Alcantara and Miles Head. The five-player swap has plenty of fantasy implications for both Boston and Oakland, so let’s briefly break down the big storylines.

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Jed Lowrie Heads West

Years of bad decisions by former ownership and upper management have left the Houston Astros as the worst franchise in the game. Their 56 wins were seven less than any other team. Thankfully for Astros fans Christmas came a bit early this year. Jim Crane bought the team from long time owner Drayton McLane and promptly fired General Manager, and serial screw up, Ed Wade, replacing him with Cardinals’ vice president Jeff Luhnow.

One of Luhnow’s first moves was trading reliever Mark Melancon to the Red Sox for shortstop Jed Lowrie and pitcher Kyle Weiland. The last thing a rebuilding team needs is relief pitching, so flipping Melancon for one, maybe two, useful pieces is smart. Getting Lowrie is smart considering the black hole the Astros had at shortstop. Last season two players, Clint Barmes and Angel Sanchez, saw time at short for Houston, with the former getting the bulk. Neither hit particularly well, Barmes’ double digit home runs the only saving grace. With Barmes gone to the Pirates the door was left open for an acquisition such as this. Lowrie is far from a sure thing, though.

The first thing that comes to mind when hearing, or reading, Lowrie’s name is ‘injury’. Here are the games missed due to injury by the soon to be 28-year-old over the past three seasons: 56, 94, 108. The number is getting smaller each season so maybe he’ll miss zero games in 2012…ok, maybe not. When he’s been on the field his production has been sporadic. Never playing more than 88 games in any of his four seasons, his wOBA totals are thus: .326, .212, .393, .297. If fully healthy he has double digit home run power and possesses a higher than average contact rate. His lack of steals hurt his value – he has only three in 256 games. He was a sleeper pick in last year’s drafts after ending 2010 with a .936 OPS over the last two months of the season. He continued that hot hitting into the beginning of 2011 with a .962 OPS in April, but fell off a cliff for the rest of the season, never finishing another month with an OPS above .700.

There’s little doubt, if healthy, he’ll emerge from spring training as the starting shortstop. If he manages to stay on the field for 120 or more games he’ll have a good chance at being an above average bat for the position. He’s not worth much of a look come draft day in standard mixed leagues, but in deeper formats, especially N.L. only leagues, a late round flyer should get the job done.

Why You Should Pass on Ackley and Wait for Kipnis

In the FanGraphs mock draft, the first three second basemen off the board were exactly who you would expect: Robinson Cano, Dustin Pedroia, and Ian Kinsler. The fourth was Dustin Ackley, the soon-to-be 24-year-old second basemen of the Seattle Mariners. Ackley was a top prospect prior to the 2011 season, and didn’t disappoint in his first taste of the big leagues, posting a .765 OPS with six home runs and six stolen bases in just 90 games.

Fast forward six rounds, and Jason Kipnis became the tenth 2B selected, grabbed with the second pick in the tenth round. Kipnis tore apart the American League in his first 36 games, posting an .840 OPS with seven home runs and five stolen bases. So why did he go 69 picks later than Ackley in the mock draft?

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Kicking Rocks: The Waiting Game

Let’s face it.  Fantasy football is for suckers.  You can have the worst draft in the world and still end up in your championship game just by being active and playing the waiver wire properly.    It is not nearly as complex nor as difficult to find success at as it is in fantasy baseball.   Still, it serves as a great distraction through the long, cold winter when all you have to keep you warm is the news from the Hot Stove League and the anticipation of your fantasy baseball draft.

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Early ADP Overvalued AL SPs

As some of the commenters pointed out in my first look at ADPs on Mock Draft Central, average draft position figures do have their flaws. However, just like any statistic that attempts to measure a certain aspect of a player’s game, or even his overall value, that doesn’t mean we should just ignore it if it isn’t 100% perfect. The information is still much better than nothing. So, that means you will be getting a lot more ADP analysis from me, whether you like it or not (you will LOVE IT)! I will continue on by looking at some of the American League starting pitchers I believe to be overvalued. I am only looking at them on a relative basis against other AL starters, rather than considering their draft round.

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Should a Top 20 Pick Only Be a Platoon Option?

Here are the 2011 triple slash lines for 4 outfielders and the career split for another player:


All the players are similar. The first player went 14th over all in a recent Fangraphs Dynasty league draft and the others were taken at the following picks: 112th, 234th, 163rd, 62nd.

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Where Should Fantasy Owners Hope Oswalt Lands?

Heading into the offseason, Roy Oswalt told teams he was looking for a multiyear contract, which severely limited the market for the 34-year-old. Now that he has relented on that demand, and has instead said that he’s looking for a one year deal to rebuild his value after an injury plagued 2011 campaign, he has teams beating a path to his agent’s office — or at least politely calling and leaving a message stating their interest in his client.

Money will of course be a factor in Oswalt’s final decision — money is always a factor in any decision regarding player movement — but it isn’t unthinkable that he might take less to play in a park that will make him a more attractive option this time next year. That said, he’s not passing up $5 million a year from the Mets to take $1.50 and a bus pass from the Cubs, so perhaps not all things are weighted equally. Read the rest of this entry »

Casey Blake Joins the Rockies

When the Colorado Rockies traded Ian Stewart to the Cubs two weeks ago, they not only conceded the fact that they were giving up on their attempts to develop him, but that they also had incredible faith in the fact that hot corner prospect Nolan Arenado’s time was going to be sooner rather than later.  However, since Arenado will be just 21 years old come the start of the season and hasn’t played a single game above the Class-A+ level, the team needed a bridge from now to the future.  They took a shot with Jordan Pacheco, a former catcher in the minors, when both Stewart and Kevin Kouzmanoff failed last year, but obviously they weren’t thrilled with the idea of him manning third base by himself in 2012.  So now, that bridge comes in the form of 38 year old Casey Blake whom the Rockies signed on Tuesday to a one year, $2M dollar contract.

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NL Outfielders in the Mock Dynasty Draft

For those of you stuck doing nothing at work, here’s a Christmas present. Rankings! Mock Draft! You’re welcome.

Then again, this is not really the mock, nor are they really rankings. So I’m kind of a dick. What we’ve done here is represent the National League outfielders that were taken in the RotoGraphs mock dynasty draft a few weeks back. We’ve got the round, pick, and overall pick number for each, and then we’ve broken them in some tiers for good measure.

In a pleasant surprise, it looks like our keeper tiers held up pretty good, with a few notable exceptions.

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Diamondbacks Decide They Gotta Have More Kubel

The exodus of former Twins players to the NL West continued on Monday with DH-cum-OF Jason Kubel eschewing the draw of Coors Field with teammates Kevin Slowey and Michael Cuddyer and heading for the warmer confines of Phoenix and the Arizona Diamondbacks. If you’re puzzled about how Kubel fits into Arizona’s plan, you aren’t the only one.

The good news for fantasy owners is that Kubel’s biggest deficiency is his defense, and it plum doesn’t matter unless you’re in the rare league that uses +/- or UZR as a category. It may cost him a few plate appearances at the end of games as the Diamondbacks bring in a defensive replacement for him, but he isn’t grievously terrible in the field and shouldn’t lose too much time. It isn’t as though his defensive prowess is a secret, chances are good that the Snakes are fully aware of his issues out there and have decided his bat is worth it. Read the rest of this entry »