Mining the News (11/15/19)

I’ve been slow at combing trough and reporting on any actionable fantasy news. I had to draw a line today since I had dozens of additional articles to go through. Here is some useful information with more to come Monday.

• The Reds are mudding up their playing time situation by trading for Travis Jankowski and picking up Freddy Galvis’s 2020 option.

Aaron Hicks eventually had Tommy John surgery and will miss a few months to start next season.

New York Yankees outfielder Aaron Hicks underwent successful Tommy John surgery Wednesday, the team announced.

Yankees general manager Brian Cashman told reporters there is an eight-to-10-month timeframe for Hicks’ recovery.

This makes him pretty much unknowable except in leagues with unlimited DL slots.

• Early World Series odds are starting to come out. While I’d prefer over/under win totals, the odds paint a picture of who is and isn’t contenders coming into the 2020 season. Players on those contenders are likely to accumulate more counting stats.

• Ryosuke Kikuchi is being posted by the Hiroshima Carp. This description sums him up.

The 29-year-old Kikuchi doesn’t carry eye-popping offensive totals throughout his career. He’s a lifetime .271/.315/.391 hitter, including .261/.313/.406 in 619 plate appearances in 2019.

Where Kikuchi shines, however, is with the glove. He’s regarded as one of Japan’s best defensive players and has won a Golden Glove honor in each of the past seven years.

Chase Anderson is working on engineering a new curveball.

But after tweaking his grip to get a better break on the pitch, Anderson plans to work on his curveball this winter so that he’s comfortable with it by the time pitchers and catchers report next February.

• A Shohei Ohtani update.

Ohtani remains on track to finish his throwing program in mid-December, but the Angels haven’t said whether he’ll be ready to start the season.

Eppler also wouldn’t commit to the Angels using a six-man rotation with Ohtani, although it appears likely they would need spot starters at the very least with Ohtani expected to pitch roughly once a week and serve as the designated hitter three to four times a week.

The new data point is that he’s still throwing until sometime in December. If a starter was still throwing games into December, his team may give him more rest to start the season. I could see that extra rest leak into the season’s start.

Salvador Perez is on schedule to return from Tommy John surgery.

Julio Urías has already been penciled into the Dodgers rotation.

Nick Senzel was a mess last season with several injuries and a mid-season swing adjustment.

During the second half, while working with then-hitting coach Turner Ward and assistant hitting coach Donnie Ecker, Senzel overhauled his hitting approach even though he was producing. He switched to an open stance, stood taller and added a leg kick as he started his swing. It helped him see the ball better, but it hurt his numbers in a big way.

Between the ankle injury before the start of the season and the shoulder injury that ended it, Senzel was banged up too often. He fouled a ball on top of his right eye and sprained his right ankle a second time. There were also migraine headaches and allergies that caused him to miss some time. All of that came after he was limited to 44 games in 2018 with Triple-A Louisville because of vertigo and a fractured right index finger.

His range of outcomes is all over the place going into 2020 but the random headaches (possibly concussion related) worrying me the most. I need to come up with a price point I can be happy with and it’s not going to be very high.

Max Muncy’s late-season struggles may be related to rushing back from his fractured wrist.

Justin Upton’s knee was never healthy last season.

Upton was slowed in Spring Training by right knee soreness and once he finally played, he was injured in an exhibition game against the Dodgers at Angel Stadium, running into the left-field wall and sustaining a turf toe injury that kept him out of action until mid-June. His right knee continued to bother him in September and he was ultimately shut down on Sept. 10 with right knee patellar tendonitis.

A normal spring training workload (no off days) would go a long way to determining his health.

• Lance McCullers has finished his Tommy John surgery recovery and should have no limits in 2020.

Charlie Blackmon could sit more next season to keep him fresh

Black has identified Blackmon as one of the regulars who will get more days off in hopes that younger depth has developed. Of course, the IL stint was part of it, but Blackmon also rested during the latter stages of the season and finished with 140 games played — his fewest since becoming a regular in 2014.

I’m going to need to keep his playing time projections in check.

• Prospect Evan White may take over the Mariners first base job this season instead of Daniel Vogelbach and Austin Nola


Banished to the Pen ranked various projection systems ranked at projecting Wins and Losses. While projecting final season standings has little to do with fantasy baseball, the placement of the composite near the top makes me want to continue to average several projections. I accept one or two projections systems will outperform the composite during any season, but a composite ranking will outperform most of the crowd year after year.

Jeff, one of the authors of the fantasy baseball guide,The Process, writes for RotoGraphs, The Hardball Times, Rotowire, Baseball America, and BaseballHQ. He has been nominated for two SABR Analytics Research Award for Contemporary Analysis and won it in 2013 in tandem with Bill Petti. He has won four FSWA Awards including on for his Mining the News series. He's won Tout Wars three times, LABR once, and got his first NFBC Main Event win in 2021. Follow him on Twitter @jeffwzimmerman.

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2 years ago

These are awesome, and super useful. Thank you Jeff!

2 years ago
Reply to  steve8818


Can be a ton of work putting posts like this together. Information highlight synthesis is an underrated skill. Great content!