Archive for October, 2014

David Freese Not As Totally Awful As He Probably Is

David Freese likes to keep you guessing. In 2011, he was a hero. From 2012 to 2013, he went from very good to very bad. This season he went from very bad to kinda alright, sort of. And I’m not altogether sure what to think of him for 2015. Allow me to explain.

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Here’s the Thing about Trevor Plouffe: He’s Pretty Good, Actually

Plouffe ranked 10th in Zach Sanders’ third base rankings.

A pleasant development in another otherwise-dreary Minnesota Twins season was the rounding into form of Trevor Plouffe. In fact, Plouffe’s +3.5 WAR this year isn’t only easily his finest season, it actually pushes him to just +3.1 for a career mark.

Or in other words, he was below zero prior to this season.

The funny thing is, without digging a bit deeper, Plouffe’s 2014 doesn’t look wildly different from what he has done before. Read the rest of this entry »

Nolan Arenado Defies the Easy Narrative

Nolan Arenado certainly proved a whole lot of people wrong this year. Just two years ago, Arenado’s media perception took an unreasonably large hit. A rumor floated around that he was unhappy about not being promoted, he put up a bad month, and suddenly he was labeled as a whiner. He now had “makeup issues.”

Even if it was fair to be asking questions about his character, Arenado’s fall from grace in the eyes of the baseball media was nothing short of amazing. dropped him from their top 50 list, ESPN dumped him from their top 100, Baseball Prospectus bumped him down a full 37 spots on their list, etc. The point here is not to single out any of these outlets. In fact, it’s quite the opposite. The point is to illustrate how pretty much everyone took the “makeup issues” narrative and ran with it.

One notable exception? Our own Marc Hulet, who kept a level head, writing in February 2013 that “questions have been raised about his maturity level, but most young men his age (21) have questionable behavior at times, so he probably deserves a mulligan.” This is exactly what I didn’t understand at the time. What 21-year-old doesn’t have some maturity issues? (For example, when I was 21, I still thought that mixing box wine with Mt. Dew was an acceptable practice.) Read the rest of this entry »

Fantasy Puzzle: What Will You Pay For Madison Bumgarner?

Madison Bumgarner has emerged as a reliable fantasy ace, one that nobody can ignore after a fantastic postseason. He practically won the World Series all by himself (more on that in this year’s THT Annual) with a 1.03 ERA, four wins, and a save over 52.2 October innings.
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RotoGraphs Audio: The Sleeper and the Bust 10/30/2014

Episode 176

The latest episode of “The Sleeper and the Bust” is live!

Eno Sarris and Nicholas Minnix discuss end-of-season third basemen rankings, which went up on Monday, as well as what they think of 2015 prospects for some of them, including: Anthony Rendon, Josh Donaldson, Todd Frazier, Trevor Plouffe, Nick Castellanos, and Brett Lawrie. The analysts also respond to a couple of holdover requests for some talk about Christian Yelich and Jorge Soler.

As usual, don’t hesitate to tweet us or comment with fantasy questions so that we may answer them in our next episode.

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Quick Looks at Heaney, Anderson, Pineda, Hale

David Hale

Why I watched: Picked up some early and late starts with OK numbers.

Game(s) Watched: 9/25/14 vs Pirates

Game Thoughts

• The 26-year-old right hander threw two fastballs, a two- and four-seamer. Starting with the 90-92 mph four-seamer. It is fairly straight pitch with a bit of glove side run. It is about the only pitch he can throw for strikes. Here are his 2014 Zone% values :

Pitch: Zone%
Four season: 57%
Two seam: 40%
Curve/Slider: 27%
Change: 34%

If he needs to throw a strike, it’s only the four-seamer. Some hitters seemed to be looking for it when they are ahead in count since his other pitches rarely go for strikes. While I didn’t notice it during the game, it does get an insane amount of goundballs (51% during the season).

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A Minor (League) Review of 2014: Giants, D-Backs, Dodgers

Welcome to the final instalment of the annual series: ‘A Minor (League) Review of 20__.” This series is a great way to receive a quick recap of the 2014 minor league season for your favorite club(s), while also receiving a brief look toward the 2015 season and beyond. It can also be a handy feature for fantasy baseball players in keeper and Dynasty leagues.

Previous Pieces:
A Minor (League) Review of 2014: Yankees and Orioles
A Minor (League) Review of 2014: Red Sox, Blue Jays, Rays
A Minor (League) Review of 2014: Indians and Tigers
A Minor (League) Review of 2014: White Sox, Royals, Twins
A Minor (League) Review of 2014: Angels and A’s
A Minor (League) Review of 2014: Astros, Angels, Mariners

A Minor (League) Review of 2014: Braves and Phillies
A Minor (League) Review of 2014: Marlins, Mets, Nationals
A Minor (League) Review of 2014: Reds and Cubs
A Minor (League) Review of 2014: Cardinals, Pirates, Brewers
A Minor (League) Review of 2014: Rockies and Padres

A Minor Review of 2014: Giants

The Graduate: Joe Panik, IF: A 2011 first round pick, Panik produced modest results in the minor leagues, including a .680 OPS performance at the Double-A level in 2013. He rebounded this season at the Triple-A level and carried his hot streak into The Show. He’ll look to hold onto the starting second base gig for San Francisco in 2015 but he’ll have to fight off veteran Marco Scutaro, who missed most of the year with a back injury.

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Where Is Chase Headley Headed?

Fantasy baseball players can, at this point, feel pretty safe in making the judgment that the 2012 season represents an outlier in Chase Headley’s statistical ledger.

The switch hitter went yard 31 times and led the National League in RBIs with 115 that year. He tied a career best with 17 swipes, to boot. He also played in 161 games for the second time in his lifetime; that much playing time isn’t exactly baseline performance level, either, although it’s hardly the No. 1 factor in his limitations both before and after that career year. He posted extremely similar rates in each of the past two campaigns, and they aren’t much different from the three he produced before that legendary rotisserie line.

The object at RotoGraphs is to point out the obvious, so, case closed. Please surf the Interwebs safely. Don’t forget to tip your cloud.

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Kyle Seager: Just As Advertised

Entering the season, a typical projection for Kyle Seager was about 75 runs, 20 home runs, 75 RBI, 10 stolen bases, and a .260 average. What we got was slightly better – 71/25/96/7/.268. Headmaster Sanders pegged that line as worth $16, making him the fifth most valuable third baseman. FantasyPros had his average cost at $11 with a high of $16. Basically, you got what you paid for with Seager.

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Third Basemen of Past and Future

I find third base the most interesting position in terms of eligibility in fantasy. It seems to be the crossroads that connect all other positions. Shortstops with poor range often end up at third. Third basemen with poor arms often end up in the outfield. Carlos Santana tried some third this season to get him out from behind the plate, and many future first basemen try to survive at third so teams can add an extra power bat to their lineups.

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