In my tedium of a life, with the fantasy baseball season has ended, I enjoy a few things; Madden Football, Pumpkin Bread, and thinking about the 2011 fantasy season. That is it. Imagine Russell Crowe in A Beautiful Mind only bored instead of nuts and instead of math problems and code scrawled everywhere, it’s projected lineups and sleepers. So I have lots of time to sit and ponder the upcoming season, long and short of it. And in my ponderance, which is a word, I believe, if you google it, I often make lists. Lists of players to take in my upcoming drafts players to avoid, and players to make fun of in the coming season. My drafts all take a similar shape in the later rounds as I collect these favorite players, for better or worse. And with that- good news for the 11 people who read this blog! I’m going to share some of my considerable knowledge with you lucky few.
There is no way I was going to fail to mention Arencibia in this lil’ excursion. Though he had a poor performance in the majors, I chalk that up to the small sample size (37 at bats) and as a result, a lack of time to adjust to major league off-speed stuff. You can look at his Swing Percentages at Fangraphs, but speaking as someone who watched him a bit, I can tell you anecdotally that he looked like he needed to be more comfortable at the plate which only time will bring. The reason I say I wouldn’t leave him off is, in case you missed it, the kid hit two bombs in his debut… and they were not cheapies. Arencibia projects as a serious hitter in the majors. Look at his AAA numbers. Do it. 32 Homers in 459 PA. 36 doubles. 38 walks. A .626 SLG percentage. Goodness I’m sweating just thinking about that translating to the Majors. Don’t judge. There is nothing left for Arencibia to prove in AAA and nowhere to go but up. I love rolling the die with catchers and he may just be a smart gamble in the mid to late rounds of a draft.
It’s pretty unbelievable the Nats got this guy for a Reliever Rental. The big knock on him is a lack of plate discipline, but he looks like a hitter to me. Scouts are all high on him, or were before the trade, and I am interested in watching how some of the young Nats develop (Desmond, Danny Espinosa), as that could be a good young lineup. Let’s remember, if everyone thinks you can hit, you probably can hit. I don’t always care what the numbers say. Let’s remember that Pudge Rodriguez doesn’t have particularly good walk numbers but can still hit. Just saying, he’s there to mentor and they kind of seem like similar players- to me- both agile backstops with good arms (Ramos threw out around 40% of would be basestealers in the minors, via). Here’s a blurb on him from Scout.com (from his Minny days). He’s a rung below Arencibia in my book, but still worth keeping track of through Spring Training.
One of my favorite type of plays is the one-year later play. Montero is the perfect candidate. High on many’s lists last year, Montero suffered a knee injury and never quite picked up where he left off, as he started hotter than hot. He had a forgettable year (.266 BA, 9 homers), but had a decent BABIP (.318) and shows good contact rates for a catcher with power. I was one of those people hyping Montero last year and was rewarded for that first less than a month (.500 BA in 12 AB) after drafting him in many a league. Then he got hurt and yadda yadda yadda came back and hit a bit and then was garbage. Now I am still of the belief that Montero is closer to the version 2009 Montero than that of 2010. He has good power (3o doubles in 2009) that cannot be made up. From the catcher position, you could do a lot worse than taking a flyer on Montero late when your league-mates forget about him in the late teens or early 20’s. Snag him and laugh all the way to the I-have-production-from-my-catcher bank (I was rejected from that bank this year…)…
This pick has a lot to do with my hope Ianetta gets traded, if not to the Red Sox (awesome) then to someone else (less awesome, still good), because he’s wasting away in the thin air of Colorado. Ianetta is certainly not going to hit .330 but he sure as heck isn’t a .200 hitter! His BABIP was very poor this past year (.212), so an improvement is coming there. He has legitimate power outside of Colorado. His 2008 numbers suggest a .270-ish hitter with 20 homer pop and a good OBP (.390 in 2008). That sounds pretty excellent for a catcher, doesn’t it? His 2009 numbers suggest that with unsure playing time, his productivity decreased. So we get to 2010, where his playing time was evaporated still, and the numbers showed as much. Add that to his relative UNluck with BABIP, and it was recipe for a .197 average. That’s bad. But given a fresh start somewhere, my hometown team or not, Ianetta will get the AB’s he deserves and put up numbers you will like. Forget his defensive liability, it’s fantasy, and draft him late.
P.S. here’s a great read on the Pros/Cons of Ianetta to Boston, thanks to Over the Monster
The Inception Play
(for those over-thinkers out there)
Allow me to make the case for Jake Fox. The guy smushes the ball. Kind of. Power and Versatility are Fox’s main attraction and his numbers weren’t great last year. But hear me out- he was a) adjusting to a new league and b) unlucky. He’s not a great hitter, but the drop from .259 to .212 in batting average is significant in a late power play. His BABIP dipped from .274 to .252. These two facts bring me to my point: If the stats somewhat correct themselves, Jake Fox will be about a .250 hitter with decent power and the positional versatility owners crave late in a draft. Power is something you want in fantasy. Power comes in bunches at the Fantasy Catcher position. If it comes to the end of the draft and you are without a catcher or a power hitter, you’re screwed. Hah. But seriously, you could grab some cheap power with Fox. It’s a great play in deeper leagues.
that is all,
enjoy Martin Solveig feat Dragonette
honestly, that song makes me want to ride a roller coaster.