Author Archive

Albert Pujols: Fighting Father Time

It’s quite possible Albert Pujols’s obituary was written a little too soon. I wrote him off; not entirely, but basically. Projection systems liked him fairly well early on; I didn’t, mainly due to injury concerns. Perhaps, that’s indicative of the leagues I play in, and their setup – OBP leagues mostly, where he hasn’t been quite as valuable lately. Either way, I didn’t want much to do with King Albert this season. I owned him in one league – an Ottoneu points league, purchased for $23 ($400 budget). I wish I had owned him in more. Read the rest of this entry »

Ryan Howard Flips and, Kind of, Flops

Contrary to what the headline says: I have no footage of Ryan Howard actually doing a flip. If you do, though, that’d be cool.

But in all seriousness Howard isn’t what he used to be. We all know that. He’s only posted a wRC+ mark over 100 once in in the past three seasons. And, thanks to injuries, coupled with his dwindling production, he’s only surpassed the 20-homer mark once during the same span. But, despite his middling output, Howard’s still been useful versus right handed pitching – meaning he’s been useful in a fantasy platoon, something that was noted in his Fangraphs+ profile. [Shameless plug, sign up for it next year. It’s cheap, and awesome.]

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Return to Being Useful: Justin Morneau

Justin Morneau’s place on the Colorado Rockies didn’t make much sense when the deal was announced. It was written about here, by Paul Swydan, and pretty much everywhere else. And Swydan was right, in my opinion: the Rockies did have a better player sitting there in Corey Dickerson (who ended up playing a ton anyways, thanks to injuries). All it would have taken was moving Michael Cuddyer to first to hand Dickerson the right field job. Well, Cuddyer got hurt, along with Carlos Gonzalez and Troy Tulowitzki (shocker). And Morneau – his production, anyways – ended up having a place after all, even if the process that got him there wasn’t prudent in its nature.

Morneau has done a ton of good with the plate appearances he’s taken this season, posting a .371 wOBA (120 wRC+), and performing as a top-15 fantasy option at first base in standard leagues. Interestingly enough, though, he can’t really thank a power rebound: his .175 ISO is better than last season’s mark of .152, but is still well below his career average. Morneau’s value has almost solely come from his ability to hit for average, something his new home park undoubtedly helps with.

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Kennys Vargas is Walking a Fine Line

I was searching through depth charts the other day, trying to find an interesting tidbit or interesting name. I stumbled upon Kennys Vargas. He was covered here by Scott Strandberg upon his arrival. Of note in that piece: he’s a large human with large power; also there’s a Big Papi reference, which was purported by others. And then he was covered by Mike Podhorzer in a searching for power piece.

It’s been a little over a month since those pieces. Vargas has accumulated nearly 200 plate appearances; not a huge amount, but a substantial one upon which to at least look at what’s taken place. He’s still huge. And his power, evidenced by his ISO, is also pretty damn large-and-in charge, too. Also of note, though: a huge swing rate; a pretty large strikeout rate, and a miniscule, nearly unidentifiable, walk rate.

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Paul Goldschmidt: Same As He Ever Was, Kind Of

Not too long ago Paul Goldschmidt’s season ended. The event that caused it resulted in a little retaliation, that may or may not have taken Andrew McCutchen out for a little while. In the aftermath of the McCutchen injury – and the Diamondbacks’ overall bad year – Goldschmidt’s season sort of became lost, carried away in the tide of Tony La Russa’s press conference, and the Pirates’ anger and sadness over losing their best player in the midst of a push for October. We aren’t here to debate unwritten rules and the policing of the game, though. It’s become a cumbersome topic that I don’t really care enough about to debate, but we needed some background, and my lede writing is below replacement level.

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Has Freddie Freeman Been Worth His Cost?

Note: All stats are as of August 31, 2014; Labor Day stats are not included. Although, considering the Braves were collectively no-hit by the Phillies, there wouldn’t be much to change, anyways. 

Let’s back up a few months: In March, Freddie Freeman was a borderline third round pick, according to ESPN’s draft data. He was coming off a fantastic season, in which he set career highs in batting average, on base percentage, and RBI, while tying his career high in home runs by swatting 23 home runs. Freeman’s power ceiling was in question: How many home runs is a reasonable expectation? Can he possibly get near 30? His contact ability wasn’t, though. The latter has been fine; the former, not as much. But maybe that’s alright.

In Freeman’s first 114 plate appearances – taken from March 31 through April 30 – he hit six home runs, posting a .416 wOBA. In the 492 plate appearances since May 1st he’s left the yard only 11 times, posting a .370 wOBA. Make no mistake about it, Freeman has still been good. But his power – which was already in question compared to his peers – has taken a step back. So, the question is: What should we do regarding Freeman next year? Read the rest of this entry »

Anthony Rizzo’s Answered Your (My) Questions

It’s probably safe to say Anthony Rizzo has silenced skeptics this season. After showing tremendous amounts of promise upon receiving a call up in 2012, he struggled in 2013, but the sky didn’t fall; his peripherals were still good, even improving a little. Still, questions remained, and they were fair. The two largest questions, to me, were: could he hit fastballs? and can he perform versus lefties? Read the rest of this entry »

2014 First Base Tier Rankings: August

Since I took over the first base beat a few weeks ago, I haven’t done rankings. Today, though, I’m going to attempt to do so.

First base has been a weird position this year: Paul Goldschmidt was awesome – less power than last year, but still awesome – and then he got hurt. Miguel Cabrera has looked more human than years past. Chris Davis has returned to being who we thought he was before he became an animal, I guess? Anthony Rizzo has been awesome, though, so that’s fun!

The last updated consensus rankings done by the team can be found here. Admittedly, I play solely in OBP leagues, so I’m going to do my best to strip out my thoughts on that because I know most of you probably play with batting average. I won’t be including guys like Todd Frazier, Jose Bautista, and Buster Posey, because you’re probably playing them elsewhere. I’ll use tiers. The names within them are pretty interchangeable, in my opinion. Read the rest of this entry »

All Aboard The Duda Wagon

Notes: All stats below don’t include yesterday’s games.

Nick Swisher is done helping you. Lucas Duda might be the heir to his…throne, though. It’s probably more of a nicely upholstered chair that you’d find at a restoration shop where you know what it’s worth, but the person selling it does not. Enough with poorly thought out metaphors, though. To the stats!

Nick Swisher (2009 – 2012) 83 26 87 0.268 0.367 0.483 0.370
Lucas Duda (2014 + Steamer ROS) 68 27 83 0.255 0.350 0.476 0.360

The resemblance is startling. You could even make the case that Duda’s a little undersold going forward, considering how different his approach has been this season. (more on that in a bit) It’s usually best to trust the projections, but I’m expecting a better line going forward than the one Steamer projects (.334 wOBA). Basically, I’m not taking my own advice, because Duda. That’s why. Read the rest of this entry »

The Daily Grind: 8-10-2014 — Presented by FanDuel


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