Author Archive

Marcell Ozuna: Better?

It’s time we talked about Marcell Ozuna. This is partly because of what he did to Stephen Strasburg last night and because I wanted everyone to start their Friday with some gratuitous baseball porn. But it is also because Ozuna represents an intriguing breakout candidate this season, and we may be witnessing his development before our very eyes.


(GIF by David Temple, who rules. Full video here. Also let’s not kid ourselves I mostly just wanted to post that GIF.)

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Surprise! It’s Jesse Chavez!

In the course of human events, there aren’t many things worse than late spring training injuries.

Wars? Pandemics? Human-enslaving robots? Broken hearts? Male bike shorts? People who microwave fish at work? These things are all very bad, but they are not worse than late spring training injuries. So it has been a tough couple of weeks in baseball, as fans and fantasy owners have watched pitcher after pitcher go down. Good ones, too. Kris Medlen and Brandon Beachy and Patrick Corbin and Jarrod Parker and Aroldis Chapman and Josh Johnson. Now even Yu Darvish and Clayton Kershaw and Doug Fister. Some of these are worse than others, and certainly Chapman’s was more jarring than your run-of-the-mill Tommy John surgery, but they are all significant blows on the eve of the season nonetheless.

We can wallow in our collective self pity, or we can attempt to pick up the pieces and move on. This is where Jesse Chavez comes in. Kind of. Maybe.

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Jack Weiland’s 10 Bold Predictions

Dear Reader, I have heard your (kind of unruly) demands for bolder Bold Predictions and I come to you today bearing two pieces of good news.

First, it’s Friday. Congrats, you made it. Time to coast on in to the weekend. Second (most importantly) I am committed to throwing stuff at the wall here pleasing your discerning Bold Prediction palates today with ten things that I think technically have a nonzero chance of happening, but are pretty out there.

So let’s take a ride on the Crazy Train, shall we?
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Spring Training Stock Watch: Ross and Ramirez

Spring training is fun. It is simultaneously the best of times (your favorite team doesn’t stink yet) and the worst of times (that player you were excited to watch this season is already out for the year). Every spring we see former stars trying to hang on to what once was (Johan Santana), and youngsters on the verge of their own meteoric rise (Javier Baez).

While it is exceedingly true that spring training stats don’t matter much, it is not true that spring training itself does not matter. It does matter. Quite a lot. What matter most are the storylines (scouting reports, projected playing time changes, etc). It’s still very early in the spring, and everything is subject to change, but with that in mind let’s look at two players whose stock may rise this month.

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Talking About Early NL Outfield Tiers

“It’s easy to sum it up when you’re just talking about tiers. We’re sitting in here, and I’m supposed to be the franchise player, and we in here talking about tiers. I mean, listen, we’re talking about tiers. Not a game, not a game, not a game, we talking about tiers. Not a game. Not, not … not the game that I go out there and die for and play every game like it’s my last. Not the game, but we’re talking about tiers, man. I mean, how silly is that? … And we talking about tiers. I know I supposed to be there. I know I’m supposed to lead by example … I know that … And I’m not … I’m not shoving it aside, you know, like it don’t mean anything. I know it’s important, I do. I honestly do … But we’re talking about tiers, man. What are we talking about? Tiers? We’re talking about tiers, man. [laughter from the media crowd] We’re talking about tiers. We’re talking about tiers. We ain’t talking about the game. [more laughter] We’re talking about tiers, man. When you come to the arena, and you see me play, you see me play don’t you? You’ve seen me give everything I’ve got, right? But we’re talking about tiers right now. We talking about ti- [interrupted].” – Allen Iverson, noted rotisserie enthusiast.

Ahem, yeah. It’s that time again — the time to take great, big, giant lists of baseball players at different positions and pare them down to smaller, more manageable groupings. Yes, we’re talking about tiers! National League outfield tiers, to be specific. (Not the game, to be clear, in case there was confusion there, but tiers.)

These are derived largely from projection systems, including Steamer, ZiPS, Fans, Marcel and the author’s whimbrain. They serve mostly as a conversation starter, so let’s treat them as such and chime in either below or on twitter: @jackweiland.

As is custom around these parts, we’ll name tiers in this episode after something fun: some of the most rantful sports rants that ever ranted. Ready? Let’s go!

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The Red Sox Infield: What’s Up, Stephen Drew?

When Boston won the 2013 World Series (spoiler alert!), many pundits anticipated the reality that the team would look very different in 2014. Expiring deals for key cogs like Jacoby Ellsbury, Mike Napoli, Stephen Drew and Jarrod Saltalamacchia made that the case. And yet, on the verge of the 2014 season, the Red Sox infield has many familiar faces.

Except, of course, at shortstop. The Red Sox don’t seem to have a concrete plan there, which is a strange position for a defending champ to be in during spring training. How this all shakes out will matter a great deal to fantasy owners, so it bears watching. Read the rest of this entry »

The Mets Outfield: Damn the Torpedos?

Now would be a good time to talk about the Mets outfield, both because spring training convened in full this week, and because manager Terry Collins made comments last Friday that may throw a wrench into otherwise well-laid plans.

A week ago, before the team made any concrete decisions regarding 2014, the most sensible solution looked to be defensive whiz Juan Lagares in center field, big ticket free agent signing Curtis Granderson in one of the corner spots, Chris Young in the other, and some combination of Eric Young, Jr. and Lucas Duda serving as reserves or injury replacements. That was before Collins met with the media Friday afternoon and offered this:

So where does that leave things as we head into spring training, and what does that mean for fantasy owners?

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The White Sox Rotation: Saleing Through Another Season*

There’s no sense beating around the bush here: the 2014 White Sox don’t look like they’ll be very good. In fact, they figure to be downright unwatchable most of the time. That is, except for roughly 30 games.

The ones Chris Sale starts, specifically.

Chicago finished last season with the second worst record in the American League, ahead of only the lowly Astros. The team’s record (63-99) was barely worse than its Pythagorean record (67-95). It has also recently concluded an offseason in which its big acquisitions were Jose Abreu (a slugging Cuban import who may or may not be awesome) and Adam Eaton (a solid outfield prospect who has played exactly 88 games in the major leagues, for which he has accrued exactly 0.2 wins above replacement).

So, yeah, Chris Sale. Let’s start with him as we consider expectations for the White Sox rotation in 2014.

*I swear this will be the only terrible Sale-related pun in this post. Honest.

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The Pirates Are Good, But Is Their Infield?

So, the Pirates are good now, you guys. It’s going to take some getting used to, probably, but the 2013 Pittsburgh Pirates were really quite good at baseball. They won 94 games and made the playoffs for the first time in approximately 800 years. With that success, however, it’s important to take note of the areas in which they excelled and the areas in which the they struggled. In other words: Pittsburgh had the third best ERA in baseball last season, but was 16th in wOBA. It was an elite pitching team, but an average offensive one.

The team was successful, and it’s still good, but that doesn’t mean much to fantasy owners. And so we come to the Pirates infield, and the cast of characters there for 2014 who may (or may not) be of use to fantasy owners.

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Cubs Bullpen: Not A Joke (Technically)

The following is a post about the 2014 Chicago Cubs bullpen, and specifically the usefulness of players from that bullpen in a fantasy sense. It assumes (of course) that the 2014 Chicago Cubs will win a game or two, which they will (probably). It also assumes that the 2014 Chicago Cubs will have enough leads to hold and save that the members of this bullpen might provide some (any?) value for fantasy owners.

No, this post is not intended as a joke. This is a real thing.

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