Tag Archives: freddie freeman

Fantasy Mustache: First Base

Follicular Follies of Youth: Freddie Freeman & Eric Hosmer

With age comes wisdom and nothing says wisdom like a big furry lip caterpillar.  I think that’s how the saying goes.  Both Freeman and Hosmer are phenomenal young first basemen.  Their facial hair choices, however, demonstrate their overall lack of experience.

Observe;

image

Guys, you forgot the most important facial hair feature!  Clearly, both are intelligent enough players to understand the power of some face fuzz.  Their lack of attention to the most mystical portion of facial grooming, while easy to explain as youthful ignorance, speaks to a need for additional seasoning.

Both players have excellent foundations to build on.  Yet the projected numbers, while solid, were clearly hurt by their inattention and inversion of proper facial attire:

(courtesy of Bill James/Fangraphs)

Hosmer: 29 2B / 79 R / 20 HR / 79 RBI / .276 AVG / .342 OBP / 784 OPS

Freeman: 36 2B / 85 R /24 HR / 95 RBI /  .282 AVG / .358 OBP / .839 OPS

 

Pretty good, right? But now, let’s add some flavor.

image

image

BAM! As a certain loud cook might say.

Different methods, but same result. Hosmer fitted with the apt Selleck mustache, looks the part of stud first baseman to build you (both fantasy and real life) team around. He looks ready to mash. Freeman, on the other hand, is a more wily of sorts, and needs the mustache to fit it. That’s the mustache of a man who’s going to smack extra base hits and play some slick D.  That’s the mustache of your everyday 5-hitter.

Their numbers reflect the increased production with properly groomed facial hair. CUE UP THE MUSTACHE PROJECTION WIZARD 7000!

 

Hosmer:  38 2B / 98 R / 31 HR / 99 RBI / .296 AVG / .390 OBP / .905 OPS

Freeman: 46 2B / 100 R /30 HR / 109 RBI /  .308 AVG / .387 OBP / .915 OPS

 

Look at those numbers!  Clearly all that separates both Hosmer and Freeman from jumping from good young player to team cornerstone is some follicular guidance. The chinstrap look works for bouncers and bass players, folks, gentlemen are mustachioed.

 

THIS is a gentleman.

BONUS: Selleck’s line if he really played in his 80’s heyday – Mr. Baseball, while amazing, does not count:

45 2B / 112 R / 50 HR / 166 RBI / .321 AVG / .409 OBP / 1.012 OPS

 

Soon to come: Second Basemen, so you know there is a good chance of a mustache lasershow.

Stay groomed,

-V

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Filed under Baseball, Fantasy Baseball, first base, GOOSE, MLB, Opinion, Random Thoughts

1st Base ADP: Chasing What You Can’t Have

Chasing Amy (1997), folks, get with my 1990’s program.

great movie.

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.  It’s crazy to think everyone can get a superstud to start at first,it’s a matter of numbers- everyone can’t have Pujols or Votto – just as it’s crazy chasing Amy– it’s just a matter of statistics (and gender preference, but I mean, just watch the movie.  C’mon.).  We don’t all get what we want, just ask the Rolling Stones, but sometimes, just sometimes, we get what we need.  And what you need is good value.  And to watch Chasing Amy.  Don’t try to attain the un-attainable, you low pickers, you.  You’re chasing the unnecessary.  Settle.  So go.  Go now, and be ready for the alternative to fall into your lap.

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

1ST BASEMEN

First Base is a solid, deep position in fantasy this year.  4 of the top ten players in fantasy are first basemen, with Prince Fielder just outside the top ten list.  That’s a strong showing.  There is a lull, then another cluster of really solid options with upside in the mid-rounds (helllllllo Ike Davis ADP 175).  This is a position that even a fantasy noob can pick.  ‘Names’ like Carlos Pena and Aubrey Huff, Todd Helton and Derek Lee litter the later rounds- all known entities in various stages of decline.  Though you may miss the big guns through either draft position or human error (Egads! You passed on Paul Konerko?  For shame, sir or madame), there are a bevvy of players to put your faith behind, for a variety of reasons.  Some are older guys coming off down years, some are coming off injury, some are simply too boring to really stand out- there are lots of first basemen to have faith in in 2012, depending on your rationale.  I’m here to remind you of a few guys you already knew about, because they’re simply going to outperform their draft slots.

Freddie Freeman (ATL) – ADP 122

looks like he's 15

The thing with first base, as I said, is that it is loaded with draftable players.  Therefore, this game of value is more comparison shopping than dumpster diving.  Freeman is an excellent example.  Mike Morse (ADP 77) and his tantalizing power is being drafted several rounds earlier than the young Bravo, yet there is an argument to be made that Freeman is the more desirable player (in keeper leagues, this is a common sense, as Freeman is 7 years younger).

50 spots later is a lot.  I will admit to two things; 1) I distrust Mike Morse.  It might be his late breakthrough, I may just have a healthy skepticism of late-onset power hitters maintaining a high average.  2) The sophomore slump is very real and very relevant.  It happens.  The fear with Freeman is that his production will take that all-too-familiar sophomore stink.  Here’s where the projections get helpful/interesting. Bill James, Rotochamp, and ZiPS all foresee Freeman maintaining a similar level of production.  This rarely happens, in my experience.  Clearly, the prognosticators believe in his consistency.  The three options, to get obvious, for Freeman’s 2012 season are to regress, remain close to the same, or improve.  Overly simple, sure, but true.  He could regress- but the experts don’t seem to be worried about that.  He might remain neutral, which is what the projections point to.  Or he may improve, as good young players often do.

So here’s how I see it- normally, I would be more concerned with a rookie’s second season.  Even the best players experience those year two blues.  The experts (much more intelligent and invested in projecting in both James’ and Szymborski’s case) seem confident in his ability to maintain that 20 homer – 80 RBI – .285-ish average.  So there’s our baseline.  Given that, and playing the hypothetical that Morse’s power drops slightly, an owner could get an equally valuable player 50 slots later.  Not bad, in my book, and that’s assuming Freeman remains as-is, not taking that next step towards his potential (.300 average, 20-25 homers, 80-90 RBI, .375+ OBP) his minor league numbers suggest.

Gaby Sanchez (MIA)- ADP 198

Sanchez is a classic example of the fantasy/reality divide.  A manager would greatly his durable, if unexhilarating numbers.  Who wouldn’t want a guy who will play 150-160 games, hit 20-ish homers, knock in 70-80 runs, and hit around .275?  The fact that these numbers come from relatively uneven monthly splits and he plays solid defense mean absolutely nothing to us in fantasy baseball.  Wait, scratch that.  Have you looked at the splits?  His months jump all over the place!  No wonder he’s not consistently owned!  Thinking back on the Marlins teams for the last two years, however, that’s not entirely his fault- the team itself was up and down offensively.  So the new-look team in Miami could be the best thing that happened to Sanchez since his parents gave him an ambiguous name.  Jose Reyes completely alters the dynamics of that offense.  Hitting behind Reyes, Han-Ram, and Mike Stanton (throw in Emilio Bonifacio and Logan Morrison too), with proven 20 homer power, Sanchez is bound  to fall into ample RBI opportunities and that team will put up more than a few crooked numbers on the board.

Everything about Sanchez is solid.  Solid can be boring in fantasy baseball.  But you need solid players to build a championship team (both in reality and fantasy) and it takes relatively minor improvements to go from solid to game-changer.  For example, let us say the Miami Marlins turn out to be an improved offense, as many predict.  Even if Sanchez treads water in his development, he’s hit 19 HR and scored 72 runs (that is weirdly consistent, right?) the past two years, so pencil him for about the same numbers there.  In a better offense, it follows he’d score more runs AND with more men on base, see more pitchers from the stretch i.e. not at their best.  Given his solid plate discipline, you would expect either more walks or a few more RBI.  But be honest, you don’t want to hear about the boring.  So let’s give him some minor, realistic improvements based on an improved lineup with improved consistency.  His BABIP has been .299 & .287 in 2010 & 2011, respectively and his batting average was .273 and .266 those same years.  Based off his minor league numbers, an uptick in BABIP of very reasonable proportions (say a shade over .300) could point Sanchez towards being a .300 hitter rather than a .270 one.  That’s a start.  His already excellent batting eye means he’ll walk, have a good OBP and generally swings at good pitches.  Think about his line with minor improvements or, at the very least, improved consistency – 30-ish doubles, 20+ homers, 80-90 RBI, 80-ish runs, an OBP around .375 and a .290 average – none of these are ridiculous numbers.  Doesn’t that sound like a pretty worthwhile player to own?

People are drafting Mark Trumbo, Paul Goldschmidt, and Ike Davis well ahead of Sanchez.  I like Davis as a sleeper a bunch for 2012 and Trumbo/Goldschmidt have undeniable power upside.  But when it comes to drafting this type of player, I like to think about both the basement and the ceiling.  At best?  You get an absolute steal of a first basemen at nearly pick 200.  At worst?  You have a guy on you bench who is going to have 2 or 3 hot months and likely end up with 17-20 HR, 70-80 RBI and a solid OBP.  The risk is minimal, the reward is there.  There’s little danger of Sanchez suddenly dropping off in a category or two making him a detriment to your team, but if you want to roll the dice and see Trumbo or Goldschmidt hit .211 with 20 homers and 200 K’s, by all means, ignore me.  It’s all about being realistic, folks.

Aubrey Huff (SF) – ADP 256

heh.

Aubrey, Aubrey, Aubrey what are we going to do with you.?  If we follow his career, he’s due for a nice bounceback year.  His numbers since 2007, when he turned 30, yo-yo pretty reliably. For example, his HR totals from 2007 on?  15, 32, 15, 26, and a measly 12 last year (despite these ups and downs his 162-game average for homers is 24).  You cannot deny the pattern of up and down, resulting in 2012 being an up year.  As always, one must be reasonable about expectations.  Admittedly, Huff is old.   His numbers are not going to be what they once were and he will likely continue to lose at-bats to younger players (see; Belt, Brandon).  However, over these past 5 yo-yo years, his advanced stats do not differ wildly, leading me to believe he’s a decent player who has often rode the wave of statistical fluctuation.

That was a fun phrase to write but really means very little, so let’s be more simple.  I think Aubrey Huff is closer to a 20 homer guy than a 10 homer guy, closer to a .290 hitter than a .260 hitter.  Given the opportunity in 2012, you could do worse fishing for a first baseman at the bottom of a draft/ top of the waiver wire.  But OH, the at-bats.  Bill James projects him at 391 AB.  Rotochamp says 405  AB.  These are not unlikely numbers.  Huff is a guy to monitor in spring training, because if he genuinely looks old, those AB numbers may turn out to be overestimation.  My point in including him on this list is the converse.  If Huff has a solid, healthy camp and figures into a regular lineup rotation spot, he could end up with 450-500 AB very easily.  With that many at-bats, he could provide 20-ish homers, right?  Right?  If this were a telecast, the producer would now be cutting to a room full of Giants fans slowly shaking their heads.  Luckily, this is fantasy baseball, so the potential for snagging a 20-homer guy in the last round or off a waiver greatly outweighs the more realistic mindset of reality.  Again, a nonsense sentence that only holds significance if you play fantasy.

All this being said, if you’re going into a baseball season with Aubrey Huff as your starting first baseman, you are in serious trouble.  But it’s always nice to have a back up plan.

BONUS INJURY TWO-FER SPECIAL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Justin Morneau (MIN – ADP 161) and Kendrys Morales (ANA – ADP 215)

This is merely a public service announcement.  You all know Morneau and Morales were excellent, near-elite first basemen.  They are also both attempting to overcome uniquely challenging situations but appear right on schedule.  There is no game with their ADP, as caution is perfectly warranted.  Morales faces not only recovery from that crazy-horrific leg injury but a logjam of big ol’ power hitters in Anaheim.  Morneau has been battling concussion symptoms ever since he got his noodle rocked in 2010, in addition to the nagging injuries that have sprung up during his comeback(s).  Morales will eventually be back in the lineup, it is just a matter of time and his comfort level.  I will be watching closely and reading reports carefully as he makes his way back to the bigs, because he has serious pop in his bat, regardless of other categories.  Morneau is a scarier case, as he has faced numbness in his fingers and surgeries on important parts of his body (neck, wrist, knee).  I hope Morneau gets well, because he is not only a fantasy asset, but by all accounts a real good guy, but if I had to put money on who would have a more productive season, I’d pick Morales.  having Pujols in your corner as you try to regain your swing can only help.

First Base is both top-heavy and deep.  There are ample fill-ins, sleepers, and prospects who could step up big for whatever reason in 2012 (They always do.).  I highlighted names I kept coming up with in fantasy drafts, but know that this is a very narrow list.  Carlos Pena (ADP- 222) could hit you 30 bombs.  James Loney (ADP-240, and often overlooked) could turn a corner.  Anthony Rizzo (ADP – 330) could make Theo Epstein look like a genius for re-obtaining him.  Heck, Chris Davis (ADP-300) could make the leap to 40-homer superstar.  That last one will truly be the sign of the 2012 apocalypse and I’d love to see the Vegas odds, but you get my point; first base is crucial but also manageable.  You can’t be frustrated if you don’t get a top-tier guy.  You just have to dig a little deeper.  There’s no sense lamenting over something you could have never had in the first place.  Just ask Ben Affleck.  And for god’s sake, go watch Chasing Amy.

-w

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Filed under Baseball, Fantasy Baseball, first base, MLB, Opinion, Pickups, Posted

2011 Favorites: First Base

get it? first base?

Wanna know how I got this sweet ass piiiiiiic?  Cuz I’m faaaasssst.  No intro this time, just hope you realize this is not meant to be a comprehensive list of First Basemen, one of those deeper positions in fantasy.  No, these are some guys I’m spotlighting because they fit into these categories I have created because I have created this blog.  So there.  Read on party people (all 13 of you) and remember- it’s time for Christmas music on the radio, that means mock drafts are coming soon…

Young Studs

Freddie Freeman

Derek Lee out, Freddie in?  With all the upside and hype this 2007 draft pick… wait no that was the first round pick Mr. Heyward.  Outside of baseball circles, Freeman did not receive the same kind of hype.  The Bravos love him.  Scouts love him.  Yo momma loves him.  Honestly, though, all reports indicate that Freeman has a sweet, smooth stroke and is ready for a shot at the big show.  The Braves are on the cusp (if not already firmly entrenched) of a serious youth movement and though Adrian Gonzalez might be a fit, well, I can’t say it any better than MLBTR : “The Braves are a logical landing spot for Adrian Gonzalez, but they’re also very high on first base prospect Freddie Freeman. The last time they traded for a first baseman with a year-plus left on his contract, they basically rebuilt the Texas Rangers.”

If that’s not reason enough to give Freeman a shot, I don’t know what is.  Freeman projects to have decent power and a good contact swing.  I’d wait to hear how the Braves’ offseason goes before you slot him into your draft board, but given the shot, he could be a 15-20 homer, 85 RBI, .300-ish average guy.  Like I said, he’s got a smooth swing.

Brett Wallace

 

He almost got slid down into the “remember me?” section.  It seems like Brett Wallace has been all over in the last two years, and he kind of has.  Firmly settled in what they’re trying to build in Houston, it is time for Wallace to shine and prove all the scouts, bloggers, and GMs right.  With short porches to both left and right (and that silly-ass mound in center), a good hitter to all fields like Wallace should adjust well to his home park, much like his predecessor Lance ‘Fat Elvis’ Berkman did before he became part of the Dark Side and got old.  Wallace has put up good numbers in THREE organizations’ AAA affiliates and has nothing left to prove on that stage.  His time is now and he is worth taking a shot on.

Brandon Allen

Given some playing time in the outfield, Allen played OK for the D-Backs (and made an all-season great catch).  But with the team not picking up Adam Laroche, Allen could see more time at first as well.  He’s been kicking around for a while but is still only 24 and has always projected to be a monster power threat (the dude is 6’2” 235!) and looks to be getting a shot to showcase some of that pop for the free-swinging Diamondbacks.  Allen will  be on my watch list to start the season, to see how he adjusts.  His K-rate could be a killer but if he settles  into a role for the D-Backs, he could be a valuable power pickup as the season progresses.

 

Don’t-Forget-About-These Guys

Gaby Sanchez

I don’t mean this to be mean or harsh, but did anyone realize how solid a year Gaby Sanchez had?  He trailed off in September as young players are wont to do.  Would anyone in fantasy complain about a first baseman who hit .270 with 15-20 homers and 80+ RBI?  You could do a LOT worse with your CI spot or backup first baseman (I’m looking at you Chris Davis).  Take this past season as a starting block, too.  The guys just a young fella!  Sort of.  But he’ll be 27 this year, and you know what that means… right?  It means he’ll be good, science proves it.  In fact scientists in China are working on a serum to make athletes 27 forever… probably.  I foresee Sanchez improving on his already solid year and putting together a season worth owning.  Plan accordingly in your draft strategy.

Garrett Jones

Garrett Jones did not have a 2010 fantasy season to take home to Mom.  It was more like a season you regret waking up to in your dorm room the next morning – that is, it was ugly, but had a few redeeming points.  For example, Jones still hit 21 homers, proving his breakout campaign’s power was no fluke.  Jones suffered for two reasons I see: a worse walk rate and a worse BABIP.  With a better walk rate, it ensures Jones isn’t striking out as much.  With his breakout year, his BABIP was almost 50 points better than his drunken mistake of a year in 2010.  His AAA numbers continue this story, making me think an improvement in BABIP and more patience at the plate, even slightly, will improve Jones’ year enough for him to be a late round steal for someone- make it you.

 

The Inception Play

Mitch Moreland

To be fair, I was rooting hard for the Rangers in the Playoffs and developed a playoff-crush on Moreland, who had a nifty playoffs, playing his way OUT of a platoon (Jorge Cantu, we hardly knew ye).  He was solid in the minors, has a great swing and has worked hard to be a good, smart hitter.  Moreland figures to have played well enough for the Rangers to not try Chris Davis again, so fantasy owners won’t have to play him either!  Unless Chris Davis has nekked pictures of Nolan Ryan or something.  Moreland will get lots of AB’s and I am very curious as to what he will do with them.  Maybe not draft-worthy, but who knows, stranger things have happened (like the Giants beating up Cliff Lee).

 

That’s all I’m giving you.  I know there are any number of options at first base, but these are the guys I’m thinking of for the upcoming draft season.  If you disagree, do it on the interweb!  I’d love to have a discussion about guys to watch in 2011 and I’m sure many of the 13 of you all have opinions!

 

I’m done, enjoy Vodka & Milk remixes

 

-w

 

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Filed under Fantasy Baseball, first base, MLB, offseason, Opinion, Pickups, Posted, Random Thoughts, Rookies, Sleepers