Tag Archives: Angels

Can’t Be Worse in 2013… Right?

This picture made me very happy but has little to do with the article. Fair warning.

This time of year presents some of my favorite baseball writing. Beat writers struggling to make PFP drills and AAAA scrimmages as exciting as the real thing, often with weird and hilarious results. Authors rating the “best” offseason, analyzing rookies and naming sleepers. These are all fun, but one of my favorite types of articles is the “bounceback” story. Call me a sucker for redemption.

I read dozens of these every spring, yet it has only now occurred to me the amusing subtext in many of these pieces. Sugarcoat it all you want, throw in fancy words and compliments both back and front-handed, many baseball “bounceback” stories boil down to a most basic human sense of dread – it can’t get much worse.

So without dancing around the issue, here are the guys who can’t get much worse in 2013. Seriously.  If they did it might break math or something:

Michael Young

static lip reading: “shooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooot”

Maybe Michael Young got old (let’s be clear: he’s 36, so in real-people years his life is just kicking into full-on grown up gear – but in baseball years…).  I doubt that has to do with his crappy 2012.  If indeed he did get old…. damn did it happen fast.  Bizarrely so.  No, I imagine such suckitude was an anomaly.  Young has long been compared to Paul Molitor (or at least I always have), another guy who played wherever he was asked to, DH’ed a bit, and always went bout his business – the business of hitting.  Young had 9 straight years of 170+ hits, and that is with a 2009 season cut short with a hammy injury.  He had been a model of consistency.  So just how bad was he?  Let’s look at some numbers!  Hooray numbers!

Young had a negative WAR, -1.4.  You need to know very little about numbers and even less about WAR to know that a negative stat is probably bad.  In this case, that number signifies that a replacement player would have been a BETTER OPTION THAN MIKE YOUNG.  Yikes (For those of you unfamiliar with this and any following statistics, I refer you here, to Fangraphs’ Glossary, where much smarter people have explained them in much more intelligent ways).

Wanna know who had a better WAR than Young, just for kicks? Carlos Pena did, and he hit below .200.  Jemile Weeks did, and his WAR was zero – they could’ve put any schmo in the minors in his spot, right statistics?  Both Juan Uribe AND Juan Pierre had a better WAR’s and they’re, well, Juan Pierre and Juan Uribe.

WAR is not the be all, end all – just ask Mike Trout – but it is a useful measure in comparing players against the league norms.  Maybe you don’t like WAR.  Maybe you like ‘old school’ ideas and stats.  Sabermetricians and old fogie scouts can all agree that a great measure of a player (given enough At Bats or sample size, depending on your era) is OBP.  If a guy gets on base, whether you see it in numbers on paper or with yuor own fading eyesight, he’s generally a useful player, as Mike Young had once been.  In 2012, Young had an OBP of .312.  Which is gross. Howie Kendrick was 20 points better, and he swings at everything (154 BB career).  Hunter Pence’s OBP was higher and if he doesn’t swing 48% of the time the bomb in his bat detonates (Hunter Pence is a big, big Keanu Reeves fan).

Toss aside numbers for a moment, though.  If you had the misfortune of rooting for Mr. Young last year, whether it be for your fantasy team (me) or your real team (Rangers) or both (sorry, friends), you could see he looked plain bad.  Some skills fade with age, sure.  Young won’t be stealing double digit bases again.  But his hand eye and batting eye have simply not fallen off the map.  With an ADP well over 200 (230 at the time of this article), I assure you Young is worth taking a flyer on in Fantasy Baseball.  As for the real thing?  The Phillies also took a flyer, betting that Young will hit until he quits ( Molitor had 225 hits when he was 39 years old).  After all, it can’t get much worse.

Thanks, Vin! You’re welcome, Mike.

Eric Hosmer

shucks.

Pairing Hosmer and Young together in this list seemed… poetic.  Young is riding out his last few years in the league, striving to be productive.  Hosmer is the cornerstone of what is a recurrently ‘up-and-coming’ franchise.  We all assume he is really, really good.  He demolished each minor league level, then stepped up into the bigs and had a damn fine rookie year.  Dare I say sophomore slump?  Sophomore slump.  Yes, I dared, it’s right there in the previous sentence.  I even remembered that stupid ‘O’ in ‘sophomore.’  Pay attention.

As good as Hosmer’s 2011 was, so too was his 2012 not (good, that is).  Sentence structure aside, many were left disappointed by the young slugger’s campaign.  He declined in every important offensive category, save for steals.  So at least he was trying.  When you dive into the numbers, his season is just plain yucky.  

Here’s another fun statistical measure: wRC+ (ahem, Fangraphs).  Here’s what you need to know about Weighted Runs Created (wRC):  it’s an improved version of Bill James’ Runs Created (RC) statistic, which attempted to quantify a player’s total offensive value and measure it by runs.  Cool right?  That James guy is a superweirdo, but he’s wicked smaht.  The stat itself makes sense in a very basic way, right?  Well Hosmer sucked at it.  Technically, he was ‘above average’ with his wRC+ of 81 (80 is above average, in general), but when looked at a comparative, larger context, we see the idea of ‘above average,’ measured statistically or not, is subjective.  Here are four players (minimum 400 PA, which Hosmer had easily) with better wRC+ than Hosmer.  Tell me if any of them are guys you MUST have on a team in a non-ironic way:

Andres Torres (87) // Omar Infante (92) // Rajai Davis (86) // Justin Smoak (85)

None of these guys are genuinely BAD players, but Hosmer is a Franchise player and once played like one.  Skate Play better, man.  Not to pick on Carlos Pena, but damn, Hosmer, even HE had better value metrics.  Speaking of sexy new player-value statistics, Hosmer also clocked in under zero at a robust -1.1 WAR  (RAR, Runs Above Replacement, is not only hilarious thing cats say, but also a negative measure of Hosmer badness (-10.4)).

Tired of these WAR’s and LOL-ing and RAWR’s and tweetsnapping?  Forget the new statistical measures, his basic numbers stunk too, from BA to RBI.  Check his splits.  He stunk prior to the AS break.  He stunk after.  He had a decent month of August… and that’s about it.  LHP/RHP splits – both bad.  I could go on.  He stunk.  On top of all that, anecdotally, you will not find a person who said he looked good last year not named Hosmer (and his Mom even admitted he ‘probably could have been better against off speed pitches’).  The best news?  You can draft him in fantasy at a bargain price.  The further good news?  Sophomore slumps only apply to Sophomores and Freshmen who decide to go to private school and get held back a  year so they can still somehow be ‘Freshmen.’  Also?  He can’t get much worse.

right back at you, dawg

Honorable Mention: Carlos Pena, who might actually get worse than his sub-.200 batting average.  Sorry Carlos.

he seems okay with it.

Ricky (retch noise) Romero

(sobbing)

Where to start with Ricky?  As someone who is unfortunately a Red Sox fan, I witnessed the abomination that was 2012 Ricky Romero several times closely.  As someone who drafted him in fantasy baseball 2012, I said horrible, horrible things about Romero regularly.  He made the 2012 Valensox look like sluggers and in several games I streamed on MLB.tv looked like he was throwing a damaged wiffle ball, having no idea where his (hopefully) better thought out pitches were going to end up.  I know, I know – cool story, bro.

More numbers?  More numbers.

FIP/xFIP or (Expected) Fielding Independent Pitching are really cool measures, far more relevant as they attempt to look deeper and normalize (in statistical, not Stepford, terminology) the crude measure of ERA and how good/bad a pitcher was.    As a general (ahem, Fangraphs) rule, an FIP/xFIP of 4 is average and an FIP/xFIP of 5 is AWFUL (Their word).  Romero’s line?  FIP: 5.14   xFIP: 4.86

Whether you want an expected or calculated measure (a difference of how HR rates are calculated), Romero was about as bad as it gets.  To pile on the crappy numbers, his K rate, usually a high point, fell to just over 6 (mediocre).  His BB/9 inning rate was an absurd 5.22.  His swinging strike rate dropped a full percentage point – it’s easy not to swing and miss when the guy has to groove it over the plate in desperate need of a pitch in the strike zone.  The best thing you can say about his 0.5 WAR season? He pitched.  In an injury plagued year for Toronto pitchers, Romero started 32 games.  So… good job, good effort.  He didn’t even have a better year than the internet’s favorite SP (starting punching-bag), Bruce Chen (more wins, higher K/9, 1.4 WAR on and on…).  The good news for Toronto?  They made a few move this offseason, I think.  As for Romero?  It cannot get much worse.

it’s good to have hobbies.

Ervin Santana

keep askin’

You may be saying, “gosh, Romero was bad, but is there a guy who threw a random 1-hitter in June yet somehow managed even worse numbers?”  IF you are saying that, I’m guessing you were an Ervin Santana owner in 2012.  He gave up 39 homers.  Honestly, I thought about ending the paragraph right there.  That’s really bad.  I’ll add a few more.  He had a -0.9 WAR, a 5.63 FIP (jeebus christ!), and had a HR/Fly Ball rate of 18.9%, which is simply bananas.  I will not pile on Santana, as his issue was more inconsistency (numbers were FAR better second half of the year).  However, his numbers were not good, and given his up and down nature, I assure you – it can’t get much worse actually, he might get worse. Heads up.

Honorable Mentions/Tie: Heath Bell / John Axford / Alfredo Aceves

An he held his arm there for 4 days, but no one would give him that pound

Aceves blew at least 8 games in spectacular fashion for a 2012 team that captured awfulness in spectacular fashion.  He was inconsistent on the field, unhappy off the field and was (well, is, I guess) a weirdo overall.  Just when you though it was safe to own him in fantasy baseball or root for him in real baseball, he would walk 4 guys in an inning and look wholly uninterested.  He had an unseemly 5.36 ERA but that was helped by a few decent spurts.  Even when he was pitching “well,” he would walk a batter for every strikeout.  The numbers fib, in this case.  As someone who watched more of the turd stain that was the Boston Red Sox 2012 season, I can attest to the fact that Aceves, save for perhaps one 15 day stretch in the spring, was a bad guy to have on any team, in any sense.  Plus, his disgusting sweatiness made me uncomfortable watching games and must be very difficult on the hardworking laundry staff at Yawkey Way.

His FIP was a poor 4.33.  He pitched worse as the god-awful season went on.  He blew saves and holds. He had a BB/9 inning of 3.33.  But most important of all, when he came into a game, there was an audible groan in the Northeast.  This guy made an awful season worse.

Axford blew 9 saves and forced the Brew Crew to realign their bullpen.  Bell blew 8 saves and was the first domino to fall (2nd game of the year) in a disastrous Marlins season.  Bell looked old and lost, regaining and losing his job and looking like a man who lost his mojo.  Axford, on the other hand had enough sense to regain his gnarly facial construction when chopping it off caused catastrophe.  I include Axford because he led the league in blown saves and did so in a short period of time in mesmerizing fashion (his June-beginning of August was BRUTAL).  For Axford, it can’t get much worse.  As for Bell and Aceves… Relievers are notoriously up-and-down, so one would assume they’ve already bottomed out.  I’ll say it – they can’t get much worse, either.

distracting.

There you have it, the players who scraped the bottom of the barrel in 2012.  Here’s to new beginnings and sneaky ADP’s going forward.

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Filed under Baseball, Closers, Fantasy Baseball, first base, GOOSE, JUAN URIBE, MLB, Pickups, pitchers, Posted, Sleepers

Spring Training 2013: Non-Roster Invitees With Great Names

Spring Training is upon us, thank goodness, and there is baseball to be seen.  MLB.tv is in full swing and might be the greatest technological advancement of all time until Google starts augmenting reality and we begin living in a real-life science fiction movie (happening).  Anyone can see any team from anywhere.  It’s wonderful to see live baseball, poorly timed swings, and poorly chosen facial hair (here, for example).  The real fun comes in the sheer NUMBER of players involved in this magical time of year.  Sure, the games are therefore often mismatched in terms of competition and sure, some games end in ties (which is gross, but understandable).  But as someone who prides myself on having a widespread knowledge of the most intimately useless knowledge of baseball, Spring Training always serves as a magical time to discover some truly obscure players and some stupendous names.  You might not have had the time to look over the spring training rosters, so I did (thanks, wikipedia!) and culled the best and oddest names I came across, limiting the search for Non-Roster invitees only for the sake of rarity.  Sorry L.J. Hoes – you have my favorite name of the spring, but you’re a 40-man roster man.  Without further ado, some of the most interesting non-roster invitees of the spring:

Gary Sánchez   C   NYY

Though NOT affiliated with Will Ferrell and Adam McKay in ANY way, the name warranted inclusion.  He’s actually a solid prospect.

Slade Heathcott   OF   NYY

Do you know any non-fictional person named Slade?  Exactly.

Matt Buschmann   SP   TB

I’m more of a Coors man, myself.

Brock Bond   IF   SF

Simply an awesome baseball name.  Sounds like one a video game would generate.

Kevin Quackenbush   P   SD

You are welcome.

J. B. Shuck   OF   LAA

Oddly, speaks fluent jive

Kyle Knudson & Dan Rohlfing   C   MIN

twins

Great names.  More to the point, great MLB catcher names.

Adam Weisenburger   C    MIL

wesienmil

Made me think of this (one of my favorite scenes ever).

Nick Struck   P   CHC

I await the day where we can see N. Struck and J. Outman in a boxscore.

Wirfin Obispo   P   ATL

Considering naming my first-born Wirfin.

Yangervis Solarte   IF   TEX

From the club that gives you Elvis…

Sugar Ray Marimon   P   KC

Can’t decide between jokes here.  I just wanna fly?  Something about frosted tips?

BAKER’S DOZEN DOUBLE BONUS!!!

Josh Booty (yes, him)   Knuckleballer   ARZ

Josh Booty

Heh, booty.  Booty-Booty-Booty-Booty Kunckin’ everywhere?  Anyone?

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Filed under Baseball, catchers, Closers, Fantasy Baseball, first base, JUAN URIBE, MLB, Posted, Rookies, second base, shortstop, Sleepers, Spring Training, third base

Winnie the Pujols…Been Poopoo

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Catcher ADP: Hiding Beauty Like a Pair of Glasses in a Rom-Com

She’s All That (1999), but you already got that reference.

yeah, like we didn't know she was cute. C'MON. the glasses work for me. sigh. I miss the 90's sometimes. but only sometimes.

ADP is a beautiful, terrible thing.  We as humans love to rank things and it can cloud our judgement to see an arbitrary list.  ADP is an incredibly useful tool, as it pools and averages where others are taking players you might be thinking of taking.  You know and I know that just because everyone is doing it, doesn’t make it right.  ADP is a barometer, not law.  You know this, I know this… but that doesn’t mean every jabroney in your league knows that.  There’s at least one in every draft.  Someone who takes Chone Figgins in the 4th round.  Who asks if Martin Russell is still available.  Who tries to draft a retired player.  Even the smartest fantasy owners fall victim to ADP (Hand raised.  That sentence makes it sound like a virus).  Between the bimbos and the braniacs drafting with you, you’re all going to at one point rely on ADP as some kind of deciding/tie-breaking factor.  So here are some players not to forget about in 2012, as I’m betting they outperform their average draft positions.  Here’s to hoping ya’ll find your Rachel Leigh Cooks, you Freddie Prinze Jr.’s, you.

As always, much love to Mock Draft Central, where you can get all kinds of ADP reports by signing up.

CATCHER

Catcher is a tough position to read into ADP-wise.  Mock drafts reflect real leagues and they can have multiple catcher positions.  There’s a reason back-up catchers are back-ups- there’s a dropoff in quality in both  fantasy and reality when you get past your starting catcher.  That being said, ADP still reflects how people value a player, so it’s worthwhile to compare.  Buster Posey (59.7ADP) and Joe Mauer (79.9 ADP) might be the ‘names,’ but they’re injury risks, to say the least.  Wait a few rounds and grab Matt Wieters (97.8).  Better yet, wait an additional round and take Alex Avila (108.5).

Avila is a really good hitter.  He has an excellent Line Drive rate (21.7%).  He has a solid K:BB ratio (131:73), especially for a catcher.  And he has good “gap power”/ is a good “doubles hitter” – I’ll let you choose the saying you’re more comfortable with, they both mean the same thing to me.  He’s everything you should look for in a fantasy catcher – be reasonable, folks, don’t ask for more.  He’s also the last catcher I’d draft in the first 15 rounds.  Honestly.  The position is such a mix of uncertainty, over-rated-ness, and mediocrity that my feeling is if I don’t get a select few catchers in the first half of the draft at a value pick (meaning a round I feel comfortable in – I’m not taking Napoli in the 4th round, despite my affection for him).  Knowing that, there are plenty of players to target as you get down to you final picks who could yield  a big return as your starter.  Here’s a few I’d target as the draft(s) dwindle on…

Chris Iannetta (ANA)- ADP 238

having a large head also helps as a catcher

I don’t have any reason to always think on the upside of Ianetta.  Maybe it was those years of the Red Sox pursuing him.  Who knows.  Year after year though, I consider him (quietly) a sleeper.  His power is legitimate.  He’s a pretty good receiver and Mike Scioscia always gets good production from his catcher rotation (what Jeff Mathis? oh, shut up Jeff Mathis you’re bringing us all down.).  Kidding aside, Scioscia does understand the ins and outs of catching.  The question is whether Scioscia or the potential of a great lineup the Angels could trot out helps him more.  He has a good eye, has demonstrated power at every level and has never really had the opportunity to shine.  In the last few rounds, I’m giving him a shot.

Devin Mesoraco (CIN) – ADP 243.4

WHOAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA. WHOOOOAAAAAAAAAA. WHOOAAAAAAAAAA. FAAAAACE.

There is a reason he was not part of that Latos deal (and another prospect, Grandal, was)- the Reds think they have the real deal with Mesoraco (so does Keith Law).  He has what scouts like to toss around as an ‘advanced approach’ at the plate.  He has a strong arm.  In 5 minor league seasons he has demonstrated the ability to hit for a good combination of average and power.  Everything in the minors points to him being a starting catcher capable of hitting around .300 with 20 homers.  Toss into that mix that good eye and the ability to run a little bit (leading to doubles, not singles) and Mesoraco should be able to have a .850+ OPS.  In a good lineup, scoring a bunch of runs, that sounds like a very draftable catcher.  If you’d rather take Ryan Doumit (235), by all means do, I’ll be happy to snag Mesoraco as the draft closes and laugh when you are in that wonderful situation where Doumit is playing drop-ably bad and you have no viable alternative.  Just sayin’.

Ryan Lavarnway (BOS) – ADP 344.3  (listed as a DH on MDC)

20 bombs.

You may say I’m being a homer with this one.  You’re only partially right.  Jarrod Saltalamacchia actually showed a lot of promise for the Red Sox last year.  He posted a .215 ISO (measure of power, read about it) and seemed to grow a bit more comfortable as the season progressed.  That being said, he didn’t put up particularly exciting numbers, save for the power.  Lavarnway can match that power by every account.  He showed excellent power throughout the minors and looked powerful in his 43 AB for the Red Sox in 2011.  OK, that was a reach.  Hyperbole aside, Lavarnway seems to project as a similar type of player to Saltalamacchia in the worst case scenario.  Throw in Kelly Shoppach (hah.) and Jason Varitek (double hah.) and the question with the Red Sox becomes a matter of playing time.  If Lavarnway gets 350-400 AB, it is now unreasonable to see him hitting 15-18 homers, conservatively, with a better average than Salty (.235).  He’s worth a flier as a last pick of the draft in my book.

There you are, some ideas for Costco-priced catchers.  I did the thinking for you, all you have to do is remember.  Catchers are like relievers when it comes to drafting in my book – if you don’t get a sure thing early, move on and look for talent elsewhere.  It’s not worth extending yourself out of desperation to fill the catcher position on your roster just because you already have someone at another spot.  So hunt the bargain bin, look like a genius, and remember to tell your friends who told you to draft and start Lavarnway this year.

-w


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Well, That Was Fast…

 

BUY BUY BUY SELL SELL SELL

Just a day after completing a deal for the arbitration eligible Mike Napoli, the Blue Jays have turned around and dealt the squat C/1B to the Rangers for the expendable Frank Francisco.

This deal has several implications. Firstly, it means the Rangers have no intention of moving Neftali Feliz to the rotation, a move that would have had startling fantasy meaning (would’ve been like the Sox moving Paps to the rotation back in the day). Sticking with the closer talk, the move is very interesting for those of us looking to scrape up some saves off the trash heap, as there are two intriguing candidates now in Toronto in Francisco and the newly acquired Octavio Dotel. Not being an ‘expert’ on handicapping saves, my best guess is that Francisco emerges as the Jays’ closer, as he has had success there in the past and isn’t as volatile as Dotel. But what do I know, Dotel has outstanding K potential and both are likely usable in all formats, regardless of who wins out in the closer competition, if there is one.

As for the deal’s implications in Texas, Napoli creates a sort of ripple effect. The deal all but takes the Rangers out of contention for Vlad the Impaler. The deal also makes for an interesting C/1B situation. Mitch Mooreland, playoff hero, figures to lose at bats, which is sad because I was curious to see what he could do with ample AB’s. Alas, he will likely have his plate appearances restricted as he learns the league. Of much less fantasy importance, save for position eligibility, Yorvit Torrealba figures to lose time behind the dish.  Either position, the move is excellent for Napoli’s already good hitting numbers.  Check out his career numbers at Rangers Ballpark… I’ll wait.  Do those numbers look good?  How bout for a catcher?  Napoli’s value is sky high in terms of fantasy right now and he may be well worth an overdraft if you miss out on the big name catchers.  He could be in for a monster season in a monster lineup.

As an interesting aside, the deal shows an interesting strategy on the Rangers part that I have been utilizing in fantasy for years: flexibility. With Mike Young and Napoli, the Rangers have players capable of playing multiple positions as well as DH. This is obviously a movement away from the big slugger-type DH’s in favor of having moveable parts. It works in football, we’ll see what the Rangers do with the flexibility in 2011.  Hopefully Napoli stays put now because, while I like the guy in fantasy, three articles in 2 days would be pushing it.

 

-w

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Filed under catchers, Closers, Fantasy Baseball, first base, MLB, offseason, Opinion, pitchers, Posted

So What’s the Deal With the Vernon Wells-Mike Napoli Deal?

Mike Napoli________+_________ Juan Rivera                           = Vernon Wells

Vernon Wells is going to the Los Angeles near Anaheim within the State of California Angels.  Mike Napoli and Juan Rivera are headed to Toronto.  If you follow baseball, you know what this means for the teams.  Toronto is thrilled to be rid of Wells’ contract as they attempt to rebuild, and picked up two great pieces in the process.  Anaheim missed out on the big names this offseason (unless you count Scott Downs…), so they’re happy to add a big name bat in the middle of their lineup (Vernon Wells bounced back in a big way last year if you don’t buy that- look it up).  This is all well and good, two teams likely very happy with an  trade- but what does this mean for fantasy?  Quite a lot actually.  The move means Bobby Abreu is likely a full time DH, which means Vlad the Impaler is not coming back to LAA-LAA land.  It means Peter Bourjos will not be manning center field in 2011.  Nor will Torii Hunter.  The trade means Juan Rivera is still not going to get enough AB’s to be a full time outfielder.  It also means Napoli will take time from both J.P. Arencibia (who I wrote up here) and likely Adam Lind.  But don’t get me wrong- Napoli is a great fit in that lineup/ballpark.  Clearly, the fantasy implications are plentiful, so let us take a look at a few of the moving parts.

The Angels Lineup

The Angels have a nifty 3-4-5 now, assuming Vernon Wells continues to progress on the comeback trail.  A projected lineup with Abreu at 2 and Kendrick at 6 or 7 is formidable in my book.  The slide to DH should be great for Abreu and his aging body, so I would imagine his ailing numbers from last year would bump up.  Assuming Morales comes back healthy and Torii Hunter plays his usual ball, Wells should have ample opportunities, that is to say more than in Toronto, to drive in runs.  Those 31 homers and 88 RBI in a weaker Toronto lineup could suddenly be 35 and 115 in a stronger Angels squad, so draft Vernon accordingly now in his new digs.  However, this is not all roses, as Peter Bourjos (who I wrote up here) could end up losing time if Abreu doesn’t get relegated to a strictly DH role.  Also worth noting- the Angels have some good catchers.  From Jeff Mathis to Hank Conger to Bobby Wilson, all are Major League viable and Conger is supposed to be a powerful backstop (fangraphs here, hardball times here).  If you’re in a 2 catcher league, Conger could be an interesting late round grab.

The Blue Jays Lineup

The Jays like to mash.  They hit an astounding 257 homers (and whiffed hundreds and hundreds of times) so Napoli should fit right in with his swing-mash-whiff mentality in a swing-whiff-mash lineup.  He had a career year, smushing 26 homers in just 510 plate appearances, but only amassing 68 RBI.  While I cannot guarantee an upturn in either of those numbers, I can certainly tell you Napoli should have no problem replicating them.  Also, there is the possibility of him moving around to 1B and DH, getting more at bats, which should, inevitably, lead to more homers.  Juan Rivera is interesting here too.  Should they decide to give him regular playing time, that slides Jose Bautista and his bazooka arm to third (useful) and gets Rivera regular AB (very useful).  The last time Rivera got regular AB (572 PA), in 2009, he was more than a capable fantasy resource, posting a .287 AVG, whacking 25 homers, and driving in 88 runs.  In a retooled Toronto lineup, Rivera could be batting 6th/7th so the RBI’s might not be there, but my goodness could the power show up.  I’d watch him to start the year as the Jays figure out who they’re going to play where.  Speaking of playing time, an astute fantasy owner has a red flag go up from this deal – what is going to happen to J.P. Arencibia?  He is of a similar profile to Napoli with worse plate discipline, so perhaps the deal is the best thing for the rookie, as he will not have to shoulder all the catching duties as Lind, Arencibia, and Napoli rotate through the 1B/C/DH carousel.  Given this assumption, Arencibia should still put up useful rookie numbers because, as we know, catching can be a fantasy black hole at times.

 

 

It’s a good deal for both squads and it’s a good deal for fantasy.  Sort of came out of nowhere, but man it has some implications going into 2011 for those of us monitoring such guys as backup catchers and fourth outfielders.  Hope no one’s snowed in, and thanks for the comments we’ve been getting, we love the feedback.  Stay warm.

 

-w

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Filed under Cajones, Fantasy Baseball, first base, MLB, offseason, Opinion, outfield, Posted, Rookies, Sleepers

DID YOU KNOW THAT?

-> Aramis Ramirez has the highest Fly Ball percentage in the majors at 56.8%.  Thats a lot of warning track power.

-> Matt Garza leads AL pitchers in fly outs induced, with 224 .  Unsurprising to most, he also has surrendered 21 homers.

-> Derek Jeter and Elvis Andrus both have GB/FB ratios over 3.  That is, for every 1 ball they hit in the air, they hit 3 on the ground.  Both are hitting around .275.  Just sayin,’  get it up.

-> Alex Gonzalez leads all shortstops with a .219 Isolated slugging percentage (SLG-AVG).  Just to point out, Hanley Ramirez plays SS too.  He has a .167 ISO.  Juan Uribe is ahead of him.

-> Lance Berkman walks 16.2% of the time.  At first I was thinking this number and the other leaders was not much.  Then I realized just how high a percentage that is over a 162 game season.  Yikes.

-> Adam Wainwright, spot starter?  He is 6-7 away from Busch and 11-1, yes 11-1,  with excellent peripherals at home.  I’m obviously kidding.  Wainwright still boasts a .215-ish BAA both home and away.

-> Brett Myers has gone 6 IP in every start this year.  Read that again.  I’m not lying.

-> The Angels are batting .297 with runners in scoring position.

-> They are also tied with Toronto for the fewest deals done since 2000 (11).  Guess the farm teaches you how to knock ’em in in LA LA land… (courtesy Nick Cafardo, Boston Globe)

-> Brandon Morrow hasn’t lost in Toronto since April 14th and is 5-0 since the Break.  Watch him next year.

-> Dallas Braden is averaging 7 IP with a .211 BAA since his return from the DL (5-2 record).  When he hits spots, he makes people hit the ball wrong, simple as that.

-> Desmond Jennings has 35 steals and 4 CS in the minors this year.  Are you ready for him next year?  Are you?  You better get ready.

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Still reeling from Dan <bleepin’> Johnson’s homer last night, enjoy the Black Keys

hoochie coo

-w

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Filed under DID YOU KNOW THAT?, Opinion, Pickups, Posted, Random Thoughts

Random Thoughts for the Week Ahead: 7/26

Here’s some stuff kickin’ around our brains we thought we’d share with ya’ll.  Our pleasure to drop such exquisite and random knowledge on the loyal population of readers, even if it is only 3 of you.

–> Carl Crawford suffered one of the strangest sports injuries we’ve ever seen.  It got me thinking about where it ranks with some of the odd injuries that have befallen baseball players (like, say, holding back a sneeze or carrying meat from the hunt).  And I have to tell you, that is one hell of a cup-check there, Jake Arrietta.  And what a break in the bro-code by Wiggington, you gotta stop that baseball, man!  Baseball injuries rank atop my list, followed by football, because the way  Belichick revolutionized the vagueness of the injury report leads to endless amusement from pretty much the entire league.

NOT the right Wade Davis.

–> I know I hyped (excessively) his would-be replacement, but Wade Davis has been really solid recently. Whether he goes to another team or stays with the Rays, he looks like he has worked out some kinks going back through the league.  Watch him at the deadline, as his moving or not moving has serious, legitimate, playoff-for-fantasy altering ramifications (as well as the less-important-but-nationally-relevant real life baseball ones).

–> This is frankly an astonishing story that Dave found (ny times) from 2008.  What an ingenious player, Mr. Newsom.  I’m surprised something like this hasn’t taken off yet.  It’s a pretty great idea.  I wish I had thought of it.  Are you teased enough? Read the damn article!  He has since retired, but good for a Northeast fella for making a name with not only baseball but being clever (how’s that working out for you?  being clever?)

–>Dan Haren to the Angels.  Yawn.  This move bores me.  But it does allow me to discuss a highly sought after prospect who DIDN’T move, Mike Trout.  Here’s a scouting report with video linkage on the man, who’s really just a boy.  In addition to having a stupendous baseball name, Trout profiles as a speedy and dynamic (read: fantasy relevant) player who is on track to big league standout. He runs very well and hits for raw power.  We will be keeping tabs on him for you, but mostly for ourselves going forward.

Related to the deal, I like it for Joe Saunders‘ fantasy future.  Saunders gets to face the Gents, Dodgers, and Pads all the time now.  Even if the D-Backs aren’t great, those less-than-stellar offenses should do nothing but improve a solid AL pitcher into a very useful NL one.  Remember Clayton Richard?  Well Saunders is a better pitcher than him.  Think about it.  People own Richard.  You’ll like having Saunders.  This is all I’m saying.

–>  How great was that Fight Club clip?!  Here’s where I got it:  (via)

–> Some guys that need to move at the deadline to get us excited for them in fantasy:  Jose Guillen (Dejesus would follow, but the man just smashed himself into a wall); Ichiro.  Yup, we went there.  We come to take Ichi for granted in fantasy.  Imagine him in a playoff race on a good team?  My goodness I’m already drooling; Oswalt is an obvious name, but my god if he doesn’t need a change of scenery, I don’t know who does; JJ Putz– GET HIM SOMEWHERE WHERE HE IS THE CLOSER AGAIN ALREADY!  Yeeesh; Adam Dunn as a DH somewhere.  This would make his value skyrocket in the fantasy world.  Imagine him in Detroit behind Cabrera.  Go ahead, think about it.  Awesome;  Ty ‘Nutella’  Wigginton– on a better team with a good offense (read: the Yanks),  Wiggy is a super-utility fantasy stud;  Dan Johnson could use a move, so he could attempt to be good once again in the MAJOR leagues.  For now he will continue to rake for the Rays minor league team; Brad Hawpe needs to get out of Colorado; So does Iannetta (hellooooo Red Sox?  Please?); Aaron Harang should plead to move at the deadline- what happened to him????  The Phils could use an open OF spot (Raul Ibanez, Victorino, Francisco, are all part of this list) because the second coming of Eric Davis, aka Dom Brown is on the rise- look the ‘f’ out;  Doesn’t it seem like Ryan Dempster has been pitching for 100 years?  I know you said yes.  And that is reason enough for Dempster to go somewhere a little less… dysfunctional than Chicago.

–> Another Northeast guy is making waves in fantasy, as Chris Denorfia, the former Cincinatti great, is raking for the Friars in Petco.  I snagged him in a deep league because, well, he has an outstanding name and is a power/speed combo guy who is hot.  Do I really need more of a reason?  Look at his minor league stats.  Maybe he just needs the right role in the right place?

–> Look at Brandon League‘s pitching motion (in sweet, sweet superduper slo-mo).  He throws 99 MPH.  This blows my mind.

–> Final thought: the Reds can mash and are heading to Milwaukee this week.  I expect sparks to fly.  Go Gomes Go.

CONGRATS to Andre Dawson, great player who looked great in the old Montreal Uniforms.  Love the flow, Hawk.

-w

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Filed under MLB, Opinion, Posted, Random Thoughts, Weekend Hijinks

Slams & Slips

Kendry Morales sustained a freak injury Saturday night during his walk-off grand slam celebration.  We have seen some impressive jumps on home plate in the past, but Kendry was keeping it simple.  Of all the injuries one could expect from getting mobbed by a group of testosterone-pumped, overly-excited men, a lower leg fracture is not what first comes to mind. 

What now? Morales is scheduled to have surgery and will be placed on the 15 day DL. The move to place him on the 15 day DL is just to avoid the infamous “60 day” tag.  The Angels will be faced with a challenge to replace their slugger.  With Jeff Mathis returning from injury in the next few weeks, Mike Napoli will be freed up to both  DH and perhaps play 1B.  Robb Quinlan is next on the depth chart but I’m not too sure how long the Angels will want to stick with this… The way Napoli has been playing, I think he is the player that benefits the most from this freak injury.

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Filed under Fantasy Baseball, MLB