Tag Archives: gonzalez

The all-contract year team

Every year there are a few guys who are in a contract year that put up crazy numbers that land them a large contract (Adrian Beltre and Richie Sexson come to mind). Sometimes, they are just guys who already produce while others are coming off poor seasons (or careers) and need to rebound (badly). But no matter what they did last year, everything they do this year will be watched and scrutinized, giving them extra incentive to have a huge year. Keep an eye out for these guys:

C: Dionar Navarro

Once the one of the top prospects in the Yankees system, Navarro has fallen on hard times and had a terrible season in 2010. However, he is poised to become the Dodgers starting catcher and may finally tap his talent to prove he can stay in LA for the long haul. He is playing for his major league life and might respond well to the pressure.

1B: Prince Fielder

This is an obvious choice in early rounds but he could put up even bigger numbers this year than he did last year. He has a lot of pressure on him after signing a record arbitration contract, but also has a lot to prove. He is out to prove that he is not an after thought in the 2012 first baseman free agent class which could include Albert Pujols and Adrian Gonzalez. Pujols and A-Gon are primed for huge seasons (and contracts) no matter what but Fielder is the real wildcard. He needs to show constant improvement especially after his down year last year in order to get the 7-10 year deal Scott Boras will be looking for.

2B: Rickie Weeks

Looking to build on his solid fantasy season last year, Weeks is in a great position to land a pretty big contract in the offseason. Weeks needs to prove that last year wasn’t a fluke and that he can be an elite second baseman in the league. He played more games that he has in any other season with the Brewers and his durability will be a factor. Rickie will want to put to bed any doubt that he is a soft player who can put up mediocre stats. If last year is any indication, he will rise to the occasion.

SS: Jose Reyes

Remember when this guy was a one of the top players in all of fantasy? I do too and it wasn’t that long ago. Like Weeks, Reyes put up solid fantasy numbers after a year plagued by injuries. At 27, Reyes is entering his “prime” and will want a contract that will reflect that. Look for him to be a bright spot on an otherwise pretty bad Mets team.

3B: Aramis Ramirez

Yes, he is 32. Yes, he had a bad year last year. But the contract he signs next offseason could be his last professional contract and he will want to make it count. The Cubs should be improved this year which will help him, and the addition of Carlos Pena to the line up will also do wonders. I am not saying you should draft him early (or at all), but look for him to put together a streaky season and pick him up while he is on a hot-streak. As I said before, he is 32 and he knows he has an expiration date, he needs to show teams he hasn’t already past his. This should motivate him to a better season than last year.

OF: Jose Bautista

Another guy who will go early in drafts but also another guy who has a lot to prove. Can he put up the same numbers he did last year or will come back down to earth. (Also, just a note, he is recovering form offseason hernia surgery so keep an eye out for his recovery from that.)

OF: Grady Sizemore

The Indians have an option for Sizemore for $8.5 million or a buyout of $500,000 in 2012. Sizemore needs to prove his worth to the Indians or he might be facing free agency a year early. Especially after two down seasons (including one almost completely lost last year) Sizemore has to come up big. He was once the next can’t-miss superstar, but now he is looking like almost the exact opposite of that. This is a make or break year for him, and he knows it.

OF: Josh Willingham

This should be an interesting season for Willingham who will have to adjust to a new league and a new coast. Other than Navarro, he has to most to lose this season. If he puts up big numbers, he will get a large contract. A real boom-bust guy.

SP: Edwin Jackson

Another guy who is entering his “prime” Jackson has a lot more questions than answers. He can throw the ball nice and fast but can he improve his ERA and WHIP?  There have been other pitchers who had control problems who put together a solid contract year season (see Wright, Jaret) and Jackson could be poised to do just that.

CL: Jonathan Papelbon

Talk about a guy who is pitching with a chip on his shoulder. Pap has more than enough motivation to rebound after last season’s subpar performance and especially after it was reported he would have been non-tendered had the Red Sox signed Mariano Rivera this off-season. This guy is really pitching for his contract because it looks like Daniel Bard (or Bobby Jenks) is poised to take over the Sox  closer role after next season. Paps will come out on fire and put together an extremely impressive fantasy season.

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Filed under catchers, Closers, Fantasy Baseball, first base, MLB, offseason, Opinion, outfield, Pickups, second base, shortstop, third base

COMING SOON:

or, HOW I LEARNED TO STOP WORRYING AND TRUST MR. BEANE

COMING SOON!

-W

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Floppy, Floppy, Floppy Llama: Second Half Letdown (Pau Gasol’s XXX Name)

NOM NOM NOM

Since there is no accurate yang to the ying that is Adam Laroche’s second half yang-ing (the Alex Gonzalez All-Stars doesn’t have the same ring), I have taken the opportunity to make fun of Pau ” no-I-did-not-forget-the-‘L’ ” Gasol, who I could only like less if he were a Yankee.

But seriously, folks, enough tomfoolery.  There is fantasy BASEBALL to be discussed.  Coupled with the studs going forward in the second half, there are the unfortunate duds.  As I articulated in our post about guys to pick up (like, say Aramis Ramirez, who homered THREE TIMES LAST NIGHT!!!), no matter the statistics, no matter the human element of the game, baseball is a long season and therefore a game of averages.  This is also true for that guy on your team tearing it up right now, even though you were skeptical in May.  If a guy is a .200 career hitter and he’s hitting .300, you better believe those stats are going to be somewhere in the middle at season’s end.  With a newfound statistical friend in FANGRAPHS, I present to you some guys headed for various levels of downturn, to look out for, to sell high.  Without further pomp and a significan lack of circumstance, I present to you the Alex Gonzalez All-Stars (still doesn’t do it for me):

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Brett Gardner

Brett Gardner is the 50th ranked player in Yahoo leagues.  As in, ‘Brett Gardner is a top 50 fantasy player.’  If you said this to begin the fantasy season, congratulations, the men in the white coats are here to help you.  I do not mean this as a knock against Gardner, I swear.  He is the type of gritty, hard-working player I want on my team (think the anti-J.D. Drew).  However, he is not a top 50 fantasy player.  Gardner clearly has made an adjustment to the pitching in the majors and kudos to him for doing so.  He has proven he is a major league hitter.  He is also very, very fast.  Both of these positives are turning, though.  He still has issues with lefties (.258 average) and is batting .208 in July.  Pitchers learn too.  Of more concern fantasy-wise, Gardner’s steals (his most useful contribution) have consistently tailed off month to month (10,8,6,2 this month).  Gardner boasts a .351 BABIP,  far exceeding what anyone would expect from him and hits a TON  of  ground balls (51% of the time).  You can see all these stats on the aforementioned Fangraphs.  All of these factors, and the fact that he is not used to being such an everyday player, leads me to believe Gardner is bound to tail off this second half.  I’m not boisterous enough to say he won’t be a top 100 player to end the season, but I certainly can’t see him being a top-50 player going forward.

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Adam Dunn

Disclaimer: I would still and always do want Adam Dunn on my fantasy team.

Adam Dunn is hitting .283.  Read that again.  If you follow baseball, this should seem off.  Adam Dunn is an excellent player, but batting over .265 is generally unheard of.  Looking deeper, you can see that Dunn’s raised average is largely due to his staggering .363 BABIP.  This is a great number, but not Adam Dunn.  He generally is  closer to the .280-.300 BABIP range (career .279), meaning his average is bound to see a drop off soon.  Forget the peripherals and just think for a minute.  Adam Dunn has been in the league for a while.  So when I tell you that in 10 seasons, his 162 game average is as follows: .252 BA, 40 homers and 98 RBIs.  Look at his stats.  He more often than not arrives at these numbers for a season.  My point is, Adam Dunn is what he is.  Dunn will hit 40 homers and drive in 100. He will walk 100 times (ish) and strikeout about 100-200 times.  But he will likely not hit above .280.  A cold streak is in order.  And if you have the opportunity to trade him for superior value (as in, some less aware fantasy owner thinks he will be getting a .285 hitter), do it.  Adam Dunn’s stats will regress to the mean, to get all mathematical on ya’ll.  I by no means am advocating getting rid of Dunn, just highlighting an opportunity.

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Josh Hamilton

It’s tough to write up a ‘he’s-going-to-fall-off’ piece on a guy when he’s hitting .400 for a month and a half, but that’s exactly the point.  Josh Hamilton is not, I repeat NOT, going to continue to hit .400 on a month to month basis.  First, due to past history.  Look at his 2008 season. As I said with Gardner, pitchers make adjustments and guys get tired.  Even if Hamilton is a good hitter, something we can all agree on, we still don’t expect him to hit .400, or even .380.  He’s a power hitter, he’s good hitting around .300!

Which leads me to that nifty stat, BABIP.  Hamilton trails only Austin Jackson (a fantasy ticking time bomb) in  BABIP, with an average of .397 currently.  That is high for anyone. Hamilton should be closer to .300, meaning these statistics should correct themselves one way or another.  He is the definition of a trade-high candidate, as the stats and history all point to a drop off from his absurd production right now.

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Corey Hart

whoops, wrong guy.

Having been thrice scorned, I must remind you, Corey Hart is still Corey Hart.  Even if he’s not that Corey Hart.  He streaks more than a drunken exhibitionist.

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Jaime Garcia

No matter how many times you call him ‘Jamie,’ Garcia has been extremely effective for the Cards…. somehow.  He has a 2.27 ERA.  This is an undeniable stat.  Only relievers can truly fool you with their effectiveness via ERAs.  The man isn’t allowing a lot of runs.  But let us look at some other numbers.  Garcia has a 1.301 WHIP.  This is mediocre at best.  Going deeper, you will find he has allowed a .301 BABIP.  SO HOW IS GARCIA KEPT MEN FROM SCORING?  Well he has a good K/9 rate despite not having dominant stuff (7.3 K/9) and plays in the National League.  In my town the pre-little league league is called ‘the National League.’  I’ll leave it at that.  Garcia also benefits from being a newcomer.  In today’s game, so many players are students of video, they’re like walking encyclopedia’s of guys’ stuff.  So when a control pitcher comes up, they often experience immediate success as the hitters in both leagues adjust to them.  The learning curve seems poised to smack Garcia right in the head.

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Phil Hughes

Hughes has recieved an AVERAGE of 8.07 runs scored per 9 innings in his starts.  That is a full run better than the next guy on the list.  That is a lot of runs.  Look at his splits, he has gotten worse every month.  He has a 46% fly ball rate and pitches in a banbox called Newyankee Stadium (right?  that’s what they’re calling it?).  Seriously, it’s approximately 285 feet down the right field line (give or take…).  Hughes is a young guy and a new starter, he looks as though he is getting tired-and fast.  Last night he got shelled by the Angels, continuing his spiral towards a DL stint with something like ‘shoulder fatigue.’  Or maybe he can sneeze and hurt himself too, like Mat Latos.  Hughes is slipping and will likely need to rest soon.  He can still be a valuable asset, but for the time being he scares the crap out of me, fantasy-wise.

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Tim Hudson

Tim Hudson has been great this year.  He’s also getting older.  Hudson has a crazy .232 BABIP against him this year.  He also has pitched to an insane 66.7% ground ball rate.  Look over his career stats and you see that the ground ball rate is slightly elevated from his normal averages, but fairly consistent.  The BABIP is out of control, though. His career BABIP is .286 and in more recent years, it has hovered around .300.  Some statistical correction is due and that never bodes well for older guys.  Hudson is one of my favorite players, but a drop off is coming.

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Ubaldo Jimenez

OK, OK, calm down.  I’m not saying he’s going to be bad (though his last starts haven’t been ‘good’  by any means.).  I am merely saying that he is leaving a lot of men on base (80% strand rate), and I don’t think he’s going to post a sub-2 ERA in the second half.  Relax.  But he is an excellent sell-high candidate going foward, especially as the fantasy trade deadline comes nearer.

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So there you have it, guys I did some reading up on.  I was right, oh so right, about my pal Aramis, so hopefully I’ll catch lightening in a bottle twice with one of these fellas.  Until next time, enjoy this outstanding throw by Melky Cabrera

-w

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Update 2.0: Hanley to Apologize

God, I feel like I’m reporting for US Weekly.

After sitting down with Freddi Gonzalez, Andre Dawson, and Tony Perez (YIKES- I’d pay to be a fly on the wall in that closed-door meeting), Hanley Ramirez has had the crap scared out of him (I expect) and those esteemed veterans seem to have gotten through to the shortstop, though barely, as he will be apologizing to his teammates (link)

Hanley still owes Freddi Gonzalez an apology, but I doubt that will ever happen.

but who knows?  maybe I’m just overreacting…

let’s test out a feature of WordPress for our fan(s)!


-w

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Update: Hanley Ramirez Just Doesn’t Get It

It was either this or a pic of HanRam with an emo haircut...

–> I know at least 2 people not related to any of us read this blog from time to time, PLEASE share your thoughts in the comments!  Am I the only one who is so perturbed by this situation!?

Herm Edwards said it on ESPN- you can have the talent, but you just gotta try (I’m paraphrasing).

Hanley came out and stated that since Freddi Gonzalez didn’t play in the big leagues, he doesn’t get it.

No Hanley, YOU don’t get it.  Even the veterens are not on your side, you arrogant ponce.

I hope he continues to ride the pine til he apologizes.  Or goes to the Dodgers so they can have the all-Ramirez-who-don’t-respect-this-game team…

Still fuming, though Herm Edwards’ RIDICULOUS getup on this morning’s Sportscenter made my day already

-w

-TEAM FREDDI

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Cajones of the Week: Freddi Gonzalez

one badass freddi fish

Yeah, I know the week just started but this is Award-worthy NOW.

If I may, I’d like to take a second and digress from the fantasy realm to larger love, the sport of baseball.

Good for you Freddi Gonzalez.

I have been watching baseball since I was 5 years old.  There is nothing I love more than shagging fly balls in the outfield.  I asked the baseball Gods over and over again to bless me with the 90 mph arm, the fast twitch muscles to wait on a curveball, beat out a grounder, any single skill set in the game.  Sadly, I was only left with a baseball brain.

We as fans don’t ask for much, really we don’t.  We allow players to bitch and moan about getting paid ‘only’ millions of dollars to play the game, forgive them for their (ahem) transgressions, and really deal with some bull$%*!.  If this was a relationship – that is if we as fans were the unfortunate significant other of the abusive boyfriend that is Major League Baseball – we would by all accounts be past the point of reconciliation.  But we’re all still here.  All we ask for, at the end of the day, is that the players try, look like they care even if it’s only a fraction of how much we care.  And managers rarely have the power to do anything when they don’t ( Manny Ramirez couldn’t be given away by the Sox years back, he’s the posterchild in my mind).

So I find it immensely refreshing to hear Freddi Gonzalez put himself on the line and call out his superstar Hanley Ramirez for THIS embarrassing lack of effort (Aaron Boone and Nomar on the ESPN broadcast were beyond baffled.  Quote, Nomar; “Did he think the play was over?  Was that the last play of the game?”  Easy, Nomie, don’t sound too giddy… but I do know you’d never do that).

What makes this especially egregious in my book is that his teammates Cameron Maybin and Cody Ross made absolute GEMS of catches in the same game. Seriously.  Ross’s was a nice sliding grab towards the right field foul line (oh, yeah, he played left the other night and had a nice grab there too…) but Maybin’s is something spectacular.  Honestly, that is one of the finest outfield plays I have seen all season.

So I’m glad Freddi told Han-Ram to nut up or shut up.  Someone needs to every once in a while.

Let’s just hope he keeps his job because of it.

SO, gold star for Freddi Gonzalez.  Lump of coal for Ramirez.

I know this has nothing to do with fantasy for most of you, but I like having players on my team I enjoy rooting for.  Guys I appreciate watching.  Hanley just lost serious points in my book.

Here’s to hoping he isn’t just another spoiled brat.

Whoops. Shut up Hanley.  You dogged it.  We all saw.  I’m sure your ankle hurt- but you looked fine in that initial sprint…

Always sprinting though the bag,

-w

and watch that Maybin catch again.  That’s ridiculous.

-and Ross is notoriously streaky and looking good at the plate… an interesting OF grab…

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