Author Archive

Does Tony La Russa Hate Stolen Bases?

Hate is a strong term, but I already broke the ice last season with “Does Mike Matheny Hate Stolen Bases?”. I’m here to put some facts behind any narratives about Tony La Russa’s stolen base philosophy now that he’s the White Sox manager. The Sox have three (Luis Robert, Nick Madrigal, and Tim Anderson) of the 28 players projected for 17 or more steals this season, so La Russa’s philosophy could have a major impact. With stolen bases becoming scarcer, the following is a stab to determine the White Sox’s baserunning plan.

First, I needed to find an ideal time frame since La Russa started managing in 1979. The game has changed over those years, so I used the last ten seasons (2002 to 2011) of him managing the Cardinals. I would have liked to use a smaller date range, but the resulting player sample was too small.
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Mining the News (1/20/21)

Free Agents

Yadier Molina and …

Molina, 38, has made clear his preference to return to the Cardinals, and the Cards have expressed their interest in re-signing him. He’s seeking a two-year contract, but in a recent interview with Cardinals broadcaster Polo Ascencio for La Vida Baseball, Molina acknowledged that if an appealing offer isn’t there, he’ll consider retirement.

“I’m preparing hard. When God says — if He wants, if it’s His will that I can come back, I’ll come back,” Molina said in Spanish. “And if not, I’ll retire happy and with my head held high.”

Masahiro Tanaka might not sign with an MLB team.

Per SNY TV’s Andy Martino, “there continues to be informed speculation in the industry” that Tanaka will return to his home country of Japan to continue his professional career.

Tanaka, who has spent all seven seasons of his MLB career with the New York Yankees, appeared on a radio show in Japan last week and said there was a “not zero” chance that he would return to the Tohoku Rakuten Golden Eagles, where he played before joining MLB in 2013 (h/t Mike Rosenstein of NJ.com).

Fantasy managers just need to understand that one or both might be a big zero in 2021 and plan accordingly in leagues with no waiver wire.
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Late-Round Evaluations: Pivetta, Bubic, Gomber, & Others

I’m continuing my attention on fringe starters. They are the starters who once the season starts, managers are going to have to make a quick decision on adding or dropping. These pitchers will be in play all season. I’m using NFBC’s ADP and starting at the bottom and selecting any starter drafted by half the teams.

Here is an evaluation of eight more starters. You can find the other editions here:

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Late-Round Evaluations: Mills, Wacha, Wilson, and More

I’m continuing my attention on fringe starters. They are the starters who once the season starts, managers are going to have to make a quick decision on adding or dropping. These pitchers will be in play all season. I’m using NFBC’s ADP and starting at the bottom and selecting any starter drafted by half the teams. Here is an evaluation of eight more starters (Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, Part 5, Part 6, Part 7, Part 8).

#523 Bryse Wilson

I’m a little surprised Wilson is being drafted this high (i.e. at all). In 42 career innings over three seasons, he has a 5.91 ERA supported by a 5.3 BB/9. He has been unplayable. I could just go through the plethora of negatives, but instead, I’ll state the few positives (career numbers).

  1. He was decent in AAA in 2019 with a 3.42 ERA and 1.21 WHIP over 121 innings.
  2. A 94-mph four-seamer with a 10% SwStr% and a popup inducing 32% GB%.
  3. A 93-mph sinker with a 11% SwStr% and 73% GB%.
  4. And what looks like an average changeup (12% SwStr%).

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Fantasy Baseball Chat With Jeff Zimmerman

11:02
Jeff Zimmerman: Hi everyone.

11:03
Jeff Zimmerman: Just a heads up, I might have to immediately leave during the chat for a family situation. We should be fine, but it could be a possibility.

11:03
TJ: How many SP, CL, and high skill RP would you take in a 50 player D&H?

11:04
11:05
Michael Waldo: Mountcastle a viable mlb regular?  Jared Walsh?  Thanks much.

11:05
Jeff Zimmerman: Yes for both, but I’m worried some about Walsh getting full time at bats

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Mining the News (1/11/21)

American League

Mariners

Dylan Moore should get some playing time at second base.

Dylan Moore’s 2020 breakout has warranted more playing time, Mariners manager Scott Servais said recently. And the clearest spot for the third-year utility man — who played every position except catcher from ’19-20 — is at second, where he played mostly after Shed Long Jr. was shut down on Sept. 12 with a shin injury.

“As we look forward, Dylan Moore had an outstanding offensive season. He really did,” Servais said. “And he plays all over the field. It’s a great strength of his and one that’s nice to have as a manager, where you can plug that guy in anywhere. I don’t want to take that away from Dylan. … We’ll just have to wait and see how it plays out, but Dylan has earned the right to get more regular time at second base.”

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Late-Round Evaluations: Wood, Dobnack, Kelly, Archer, & More

I’m continuing my attention on fringe starters. They are the starters who once the season starts, managers are going to have to make a quick decision on adding or dropping. These pitchers will be in play all season. I’m using NFBC’s ADP and starting at the bottom and selecting any starter drafted by half the teams. Here is an evaluation of eight more starters (Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, Part 5, Part 6, Part 7).
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Mining the News (1/5/21)

American League

Angels

• Signs continue to point to Jared Walsh being the full-time first baseman.

Albert Pujols is entering the final season of his 10-year contract signed before the 2011 season, but he’s likely to spend it in a backup role. Jared Walsh had a breakout rookie season in 2020, batting .293/.324/.646 with nine homers and 26 RBIs in 32 games. He will head into Spring Training as the favorite to be the club’s regular first baseman, but he’ll have to earn the job, especially considering the small sample size in 2020. But Walsh appears likely to be the regular at first base with Pujols serving as a backup and occasional DH when Ohtani isn’t available. Matt Thaiss could also see some action at the position, but Walsh has moved ahead of Thaiss on the organization’s depth chart.

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Fantasy Baseball Chat With Jeff Zimmerman

11:00
Kyle Escobar: Dom Smith or Matt Olson in a dynasty league?  Thanks much.

11:01
Jeff Zimmerman: Olson right now. I’m really worried about Smith’s playing time over the next few years.

11:01
Rob: Jeff, what is your outlook for Jonathan Villar?  Assuming he signs with a team, do you envision him as a utility bench player or a starter that could reward those that draft him?

11:02
Jeff Zimmerman: He’s undraftable for me until he signs. No one can guess his role, so until it is known, assume the worst.

11:02
Ando: Who are some of the later “closers” that are being drafted that you have some faith in drafting?

11:03
Jeff Zimmerman: Martin with the Braves.

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Mining the News (12/24/20)

Jayson Stark asked several people in MLB about when next season will start and most think it will be delayed.

But in 2021, owners appear ready to dig in. If they can’t open ticket offices and play baseball games in front of real human beings who purchase real tickets, they’re likely to push to delay the season until they can.

“The belief is, we can’t have games without fans anymore,” said one NL club official. “And we understand that in certain parts of the country, it’s going to be impossible to have fans in April.”

So if it’s impossible to have fans in April, they’d prefer to wait until May. If it’s impossible to have fans in May, they’d prefer to wait until June. But even if they’re wrong and fans are permitted as soon as early April, their question is: How many fans?

First, don’t get too excited about any preset fantasy draft dates. There is a good chance the start of the season will be pushed back so everyone in a draft must know that possibility.

Second, players may have to go through the ramp-up and down and back up procedure again. The season could be a huge mess again with delays and an unknown start date.
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