Wilson Ramos had a career season this past year pretty much setting a personal career high value in all his offensive stats. Most of the changes were attributed to a LASIK surgery he had during the offseason. The surgery may have helped him quit swinging at pitches out of the strike zone (career low O-swing%) and making more contact with the pitches in the strike zone (career high Contact%). The surgery explains some of the change, I think a little bit of the change is from being a little lucky with his BABIP.
All of his stats happened before he tore his ACL in late September. The injury is going to cost him six to eight months. He will be deal with the injury at the same time as he is looking for a new team since he is a free agent. He knows his 2017 catching time will be limited, so he may be looking at a one-year deal with an AL club so he can DH.
I will go ahead and assume the longest time missed option to start estimating his 2017 value. With four months of playing time, I will put his 2017 stats at:
350 PA, 14 HR, 35 Runs, 45 RBI, 0 SB and a …… .270 AVG.
The more I think about it, I just don’t buy the 2016 .327 BABIP especially for a guy with no speed (zero career stolen bases). I will go with his career average .291 BABIP which has led to a .270 average. If he put up just these numbers, he would finish around the 15th to the 18th range for catchers. His projection isn’t done just yet.
With Ramos, we know he will need some replacement level production added since we know he will miss some time. Previously, I wrote on how to determine a hitter’s replacement production. The fantasy values I have been using are based off a 15-team league, so his replacement level catchers would be pretty bad with likes of Bobby Wilson, Mike Zunino, and Jarrod Saltalamacchia being his replacement while he is out. Following the above-linked replacement value procedure, here is his total projected 2017 stat line:
500 PA, 19 HR, 55 Runs, 78 RBI, 1 SB, .250 AVG.
With the changes, he moves into the 10 to 14 range for catchers. He won’t be the top five catcher he was this season, but he should have some nice value going forward. It will be interesting to see how he gets valued next season with the expected time missed. I could see an owner think his 2016 production is repeatable and he won’t miss much time thereby raising his value. I am a little more pessimistic and will probably not have him valued as highly as others.
• The Reds are trying to figure out what they will do with Raisel Iglesias and Michael Lorenzen. Reports say Iglesias wants to close and Lorenzen wants to start, but the team is looking at what might be their best roles.
“I prefer being a reliever,” Iglesias said via interpreter Julio Morillo. “I feel very comfortable right now. I’ve enjoyed pitching from the bullpen.”
Reds manager Bryan Price noted that Iglesias’ wishes may not factor into the final decision. Besides Iglesias, Michael Lorenzen is also a relief candidate. Both pitchers boosted a sagging bullpen upon their returns from injury in June. Lorenzen prefers to go back to starting.
“The decision we have to make is where are they best suited to perform?” Price said. “Because you don’t want to put a square peg in a round hole. You want to make sure you’ve got not just guys excited about the role they’re in, but they’re best suited to perform in those roles.”
I think Iglesias will have good value in either role so I don’t see his value changing much. Lorenzen is probably only suited for the bullpen, so he may be worth a late flier a possible closer.
• Lucas Giolito discussed his season with the Washington Post.
The 6-foot-6 Giolito, a 2012 first-round pick, arrived in Washington carrying a reputation as a hard thrower with electric stuff. But that was largely based on his two-inning appearance in the 2015 Futures Game when he threw 98 mph and complemented it with a knee-buckling curveball. The reality is his average fastball velocity averaged 94.7 mph in 21 appearances (19 starts) last season with Class A Potomac and Class AA Harrisburg, and it didn’t hamper his rise to top pitching prospect in baseball. Ultimately, inconsistent mechanics, not velocity, stained his first major league experience.
Mechanical issues produced constant trouble in commanding his off-speed pitches, which forced an unhealthy reliance on his fastball. His four-seam fastball averaged 94.23 mph and he threw it 69.85 percent of the time, according to Brooks Baseball. Batters hit .355 and slugged .742 against it. As a result, Giolito had trouble putting batters away; of his 398 pitches, batters swung through just 25. He found out firsthand that most major league hitters devour straight fastballs when they know they’re coming.
He claimed that none of the struggles were from an injury.
He didn’t miss a start in the minors – a significant step for a pitcher who underwent Tommy John surgery in 2012 – and said “it’s the healthiest” he’s ever felt. He said he plans on utilizing the same offseason workout regimen this winter with an additional focus on playing catch “athletically” and making sure he gets in the right positions.
A couple of items. First, Giolito has definitely lost some luster as a top prospect with all of his pitches not performing near his previous prospect reports. I think he can be a good pitcher, but my 2017 expectations are limited at this point.
I am completely blowing off any scouting report on a pitcher from the Future’s Game. These pitchers can go all out for one inning and really escalate their prospect status. The game should be used to evaluate these pitchers as closers and that is it.
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 three FSWA Awards including on for his MASH series. In his first two seasons in Tout Wars, he's won the H2H league and mixed auction league. Follow him on Twitter @jeffwzimmerman.