Author Archive

2016 First Base Tiers: August

Previous Rankings

Preseason

May

June

July

As many of the other positional rankings were impacted rather significantly by the trade deadline, the first basemen stayed in place with the exception of Steve Pearce. I am sticking with having lesser tiers, but making them larger. Especially since nobody complained last week, which is mostly my gauge when evaluating my rankings. So thank you for that.

Per usual, these rankings are reflective of 5×5 batting average leagues, even though there may be times that I am over/under-rating a player based on my inclination to play in more OBP leagues. Eligibility is increasing like wild flower, so I apologize in advance if I missed any eligible first basemen.

I really love cereal and I am trying to go on a diet that would essentially eliminate cereal from my life for the time being. In honor of my love of cereal, I have named my tiers after my favorite cereal. And no, these choices are not subjective. These are objectively my favorite cereals and should be yours as well if you are able to appreciate the finest in sugared breakfast foods. Read the rest of this entry »


Bullpen Report: July 30, 2016

As expected, the Nationals acquired a big arm for their pen by trading for Mark Melancon. The Nationals traded lefties Felipe Rivero and Taylor Hearn to the Pirates for Melancon, which shakes up two bullpens. Melancon will be the closer in Washington, and Jonathan Papelbon has reportedly handled the news well. Papelbon has struggled in his last three appearances giving up a total of 7 earned runs in 1 inning pitched. August Fagerstrom goes in depth about Melancon, who has been one of the best closers in baseball with a 1.51 ERA (2.66 FIP). The BB% (5.5) is the highest for Melancon since 2012 and Fagerstrom points out it is because hitters are laying off his curveball. Nothing to be of real concern just yet, but might be something to monitor down the road. The grid has Papelbon next in line despite Shawn Kelley having a better year, so that could change as we see more late inning situations. The Pirates will now turn to Tony Watson to close games out, who has also been good this year posting a 2.66 ERA (3.71 FIP). Some areas to look out for are his homeruns are slightly up (0.82 HR/9), and his BB% (8.6) is the highest it has been since 2012. The two years prior he has been elite and outside of a three game stretch in June, has not given up runs in back-to-back games. Neftali Feliz is now next in line for saves, followed by the newly acquired Felipe Rivero. Feliz has the better K rate (29.4%) and BB rate (7.2%) than Watson, but those HR/9 (1.37) are concerning. I’m tempted to keep Pittsburgh at green, but it’s a new closer so we’ll start off a little conservative with yellow. Read the rest of this entry »


The Replacements: July 1B Edition

This week I wanted to check on three teams with injuries at first base and what timetables those teams are looking at for returns, along with analysis of their replacements. I skipped the Cardinals in this write-up because most fans should be rather familiar with Matt Adams and Jedd Gyorko is being picked up like crazy in most leagues, so his availability has started to get limited in deeper leagues.

Read the rest of this entry »


Bullpen Report: July 23, 2016

Washington is said to be looking to make a move for another major bullpen arm. Wade Davis is one name they are looking at, and Aroldis Chapman is another guy they have inquired about. No deal is imminent at this point, but you may need to start thinking about and potentially acting on the implications of one of these guys going to Washington. Would the Nationals move Papelbon out of the closer’s role? Even though he has posted a 2.64 ERA and 2.94 FIP, it’s hard to argue he deserves a higher leverage role than a Davis or Chapman. Papelbon has a lower HR/FB% (5.3%) and GB% (36.8%) than his career norms, which would concern me as a Papelbon owner. Papelbon is also known to be territorial about his closer’s role, so that is also a scenario to monitor if the Nationals do acquire a big arm for the bullpen. Trading Chapman would move Andrew Miller into the closer’s role, who should be owned in most leagues, whereas Davis’ trade would give Kelvin Herrera a nice hold on the job, especially after Joakim Soria had another rough outing tonight.
Read the rest of this entry »


Fun with Blind Comps at 1B: July 22, 2016

I wanted to try something I have never done before, but always enjoy reading when others do it. I’m referring to blind comparisons, where you compare two or more players’ statistics without saying who they are. When Paul Sporer and I went to an HQ seminar, the presenters did this a lot. Sporer was pretty good, where I think I said Adam Eaton for every player with a low ADP and a decent amount of stolen bases. Like I said, this is my first shot at this so I doubt I will come up with any crazy pairings just yet, and I limited this article to first basemen so the sampling is a bit smaller than if I did the whole league. In the words of Ghostface Killah, “Be Easy.”

These are numbers I compiled Thursday morning, so if anything big happened yesterday, I would’ve missed it. Though one game shouldn’t skew these numbers that much, obviously. Also, for ADP, I went to FantasyPros who compiled the ADP from NFBC, CBS, Yahoo, ESPN, and RTS, then averaged those numbers. Let’s get started.

Blind Comparison 1
G PA HR R RBI SB AVG OBP SLG wOBA wRC+ wRC ADP
Player A 92 386 10 46 47 0 0.285 0.389 0.491 0.375 142 63 136.4
Player B 83 304 10 42 40 0 0.289 0.368 0.467 0.361 129 46   N/A

Read the rest of this entry »


Bullpen Report: July 17, 2016

Arodys Vizcaino was placed on the 15-day DL with a right oblique injury, bringing us to a familiar name in Jim Johnson. Vizcaino had been struggling lately allowing runs in four of his last five appearances, which mostly took place before he sat out with an infection in his right elbow. Jim Johnson came into a tied game in the 9th tonight and gave up a run after throwing two wild pitches along with a walk and two hits. Johnson’s fastball average is the lowest it’s been since 2007 (92.7 MPH), but his strikeout rate is 20% which is a career high. His FIP (3.54) suggests he may be a good stopgap until Vizcaino comes back, but may have a few opportunities usurped. The article linked in the beginning notes that Mauricio Cabrera may get some opportunities, who is a 22 year old with a fastball averaging 100 MPH. The highest level he played prior to this was AA, where he had strong K numbers keeping his K% over 20 for the past couple of seasons, but also had higher walk rates. So far, in his small sample, he has pitched to more contact. Definitely has future closer potential and has two saves already, so watch him closely particularly if Johnson falters.

Read the rest of this entry »


Paul Kastava’s 2016 10 Bold Predictions (Mid-Year Review)

My colleagues have been reviewing their Bold Predictions this week, so I figured I would follow suit. Here is the link to my original Bold Predictions piece. I am going to take a slightly different approach when reviewing them, however, since most of mine turned out to be pretty brutal. If I were to give legitimate odds on most of these, giving them a 1% chance of working out would be rather optimistic. So I decided to break down each prediction three-fold:

What works with this prediction?

What doesn’t work with this prediction?

What would be the more reasonable prediction at this point?

Read the rest of this entry »


Bullpen Report: July 9, 2016

Couple of injuries and movement of closers have shaken up the grid over the past few days, so let’s look and see how those situations are going to work out.

Read the rest of this entry »


First Base Rankings: July

Previous Rankings

Preseason 

May

June

It’s been interesting to watch the path of first basemen this season, as some of the big names started off relatively slow. I probably had too many tiers since guys were all over the place and I was still getting my feet wet with this process. I was now able to cut it down to five tiers and I am feeling more comfortable with these evaluations than past ones mainly because the numbers are starting to normalize well.

Alex Chamberlain brought up an interesting question in his rankings, regarding what people are looking for. Should these be rest of the season rankings? End of season? Where players currently stand? I definitely don’t want this to purely be a ranking of what players have done so far, since you can go to other websites and they can quantify that. As I mentioned in my other rankings, these are more predicative, though admittedly, I weighed current season performance more than I have in my other rankings. Although the Jose Abreus, Adrian Gonzalez‘, and Mark Teixeiras gave me some trouble when trying to rank since there should be some bounceback, but their performance so far has not shown much of it (at least in terms of fantasy value).

John Coltrane died on July 17, 1967. In honor of his music, I have decided to set up the tiers by my favorite Coltrane albums. This list can change frequently, and I left off the live performances because that is a whole other world that I may not have been able to escape. However, if you’re new to jazz and want to explore Coltrane, these albums are excellent starting points. I love his later stuff, but that can get a little too crazy for somebody not very familiar with jazz.

Tier 1: A Love Supreme

Paul Goldschmidt

Anthony Rizzo

Miguel Cabrera

Rizzo had not been placed in the first tier previously because of his low batting average, but the counting stats were certainly there. Now that his batting average is finally where it should be (.281), I can’t see any reason not to include him in this tier. There wasn’t too much of a doubt he could get to this point, especially with his previously low BABIP, so it’s good to see he was able to get that BA up in such a short amount of time.

Some of the other players outside of the first tier may have better counting stats than Goldschmidt and Cabrera, but you are not going to find many players more consistent than these guys. Goldschmidt gets the top ranking because he adds value with the stolen base as he has 11 right now.

 

Tier 2: Giant Steps

Edwin Encarnacion

Wil Myers

Chris Davis

Brandon Belt

Eric Hosmer

Joey Votto

Carlos Santana

Mark Trumbo

Freddie Freeman

I should’ve had Wil Myers higher earlier, but his low BB% really concerned me. He has improved that as he is very close to 10% (9.6), and outside of batting average, outdoes Goldy in every fantasy category. Based on performance so far, he has been the number one fantasy first baseman. Again, though, this list accounts for what will happen and I still think Myers will do very well, but the HR/FB is a bit high to sustain (20.4%) so there will probably be some regression. Not enough to sell him, but enough to say by the end of the season he is not in the top tier.

Overall, this is an excellent tier, especially with Freeman and Votto performing at the levels we generally expect from them. All these guys can help you in 3-4 categories, and are weak in at least one. Some because of environment (Belt’s low HRs), some because of situation (Freeman’s low RBIs), or others because that is who they are (Santana’s low BA).

 

Tier 3: Lush Life

Chris Carter

Albert Pujols

Mike Napoli

Adrian Gonzalez

Jose Abreu

Hanley Ramirez

Travis Shaw

C.J. Cron

Mark Reynolds

David Freese

Now we’re entering the tier where you only getting about 2-3 categories of strength which each player. This is also a pretty old group so age and health are definitely concerns for these guys. Adrian Gonzalez has not done much in fantasy with only 6 HRs, so he could be a good buy-low candidate. Then again, according to Jeff Sullivan, maybe the lack of power is real. The BA is strong as are the RBIs, and nothing really jumps out with his numbers that indicate that this lack of power was expected.

David Freese has played very well for the Pirates this season, and is seemingly outperforming his platoon partner (John Jaso) at first. Freese has value because of the super utility role he has, so he gets a nice amount of playing time. If Jaso continues to struggle, Pirates may consider calling up Josh Bell, which would take some 1B time away from Freese, though not totally stunting his playing time.

Tier 4: Ballads

Matt Adams

James Loney

Dae-Ho Lee

Logan Forsythe

Joe Mauer

Mark Teixeira

Matt Adams will probably see a lot more playing time now that Brandon Moss and Matt Carpenter are on the DL. Always a nice power source and could get some nice RBI opportunities, so he may be worth riding the wave especially if he gets hot.

I wasn’t a huge Loney fan when the Mets initially picked him up, and I wrote about his highs and lows here. Then the power has seemed to come back (.165 ISO), which now makes him a very intriguing player. Could be chalked to small sample size, but may also be because of Kevin Long, as noted on Mets Merized Online. Similarly to Daniel Murphy, Kevin Long has worked on Loney’s stance and approach to hit for more power. Seemingly, it has worked so far and has certainly worked for Murphy since the end of last season.

Mark Teixeira has had a tough season and based on what he has done this year, he should be in a lower tier. I can’t give up on his past years just yet and don’t want to miss out on that potential power surge, hence putting him in the fourth tier. I have nothing more substantial than that.

 

Tier 5: Blue Train

A.J. Reed

Ryan Zimmerman

Logan Morrison

John Jaso

Tommy Joseph

Byung-Ho Park

Mitch Moreland

Rob Refsnyder

Billy Butler

Yonder Alonso

Chris Johnson

Marwin Gonzalez

I’ve been surprised Reed has struggled the way he has so far. Didn’t think he’d set the world on fire like Tyler White did when he first came up, but thought he would hit better than .138. Out of this group, he has the most upside and would be the most likely guy I would invest in if these were my only options. Zimmerman has been a surprise in that he has been healthy and pretty brutal. Probably unfair I stuck him in the 5th tier and didn’t do the same to Teixeira, but I just don’t see much upside to Zimmerman anymore.

 

Disabled List (Tiers based upon return)

Matt Carpenter (Tier 2)

Brandon Moss (Tier 3)

Justin Bour (Tier 3)

Lucas Duda (Tier 3)

Steve Pearce (Tier 4)

 


Bullpen Report: July 2-3, 2016

Good morning! Sorry I missed you all this weekend, so let’s get caught up on what went down. I won’t cover every save this weekend, but just the situations worth monitoring moving forward since there were a lot of saves.

Read the rest of this entry »