Tag Archives: jed lowrie

Fantasy Mustache: Second Base

Genuine Tip for a Better Career and Life: Jemile Weeks

I like the Weeks brothers a whole bunch. I’m not entirely sure where this bias comes from(part of it is the sheer joy of screaming RIIIIICK-AYYYYY when you own R. Weeks on a fantasy team.), but I wish the best for both brothers, despite the elder Weeks brother’s implications in a PED scandal.

 

image

Jemile was supposed to be locking down his role at 2B around now. Instead, the A’s have added Jed Lowrie into a crowded infield, leaving Weeks fighting for at bats (no move to the OF, Oakland has 4 very solid ones). Here’s Weeks and his uninspiring projections for 2013;

 

Bill James (only 377 AB!!!): .265 AVG / .337 OBP  / 16 2B / 5 3B /2 HR / 44 R / 28 RBI / 14 SB

 

Let’s be fair, given his unsure spot those numbers are relatively solid.  And shoot Jemile, you’re one step away from a lifestyle of badassery – forget baseball for a second. You’ve got some awesome hair and a wise little patch on your chin, you look like a cool dude. But that cool dude has yet to be the major leaguer once expected. It’s time to grow up and be a man.  Forget solid.  Solid is boring.  You know what’s not boring?

image

THIS.

Damn. That’s a fine mustache. That’s an extra-base hits mustache. That’s a soulful tenor sax solo mustache. A double digit steals mustache. A smooth double play mustache. Dare I say a fedora-worthy mustache (sadly the Mustache Projection Wizard 5000™ does not possess fedora capabilities, so use your imagination).

As always, the numbers don’t lie:

 

Mustache Projection Wizard 5000™ (NOW WITH 545 AB!!!): .299 AVG / .366 OBP  / 33 2B / 15 3B / 9 HR / 88 R / 57 RBI / 33 SB

 

With that mustache, Weeks can become the solid everyday Second Baseman we’ve all expected.  Scott Sizemore can’t grow lip fur like that, I assure you.

The A’s embrace and thrive on personality, even bizarre ones (see: Josh ‘Caveman Lawyer‘ Reddick). Weeks need only a mustache grooming kit to start being another beloved oddity, become Oakland’s starting 2B, rise as a valuable fantasy commodity, and a jumpstart a fine saxaphoning career.

Behold the fuzzy power.

Stay groomed,

-V

 

I’m not doing another Second Base installment, so here, as a special Valentine’s Day gift, here is Dustin Pedroia:

Rest in Piece, Rod Beck

Rest in Piece, Rod Beck

 

 

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Filed under Baseball, Fantasy Baseball, MLB, second base, Sleepers

Baseball Babblings


I love this movie and this scene.  There is an excellent website called movieclips.com where you can find all sorts of your favorite film blurbs and snippets.  It’s a cool idea.
Rirruto?
Lots of wheelings and dealings already in the baseball offseason, so here are some thoughts about what’s going on while I prep the preseason fantasy rankings no one is waiting for…

Reds Acquire Latos for Volquez, Yonder Alonso et al.

  • Guess we’re starting with the most recent.  This deal is chock-full of intriguing story threads, as the MLB offseason has been in general.  I like how Dave Cameron of U.S.S. Mariner and Fangraphs said it best: “The Cincinnati Reds had an abundance of redundant prospects and a big need to upgrade their starting rotation…(link)”  Something about that phrasing ‘abundance of redundant prospects’ tickled me just so for its combination of clever turn of phrase and truth.  The Reds are stubbornly holding on to the notion that they’re going to re-sign Joey Votto and not completely throw their payroll out of whack (note: don’t hold your breath on that one).  The deal made a whole lot of sense.  The Reds legitimately have an overload of offensive talent.  Yonder Alonso is a serious prospect (he MAULED at the end of 2011) but he is blocked by the likes of Joey Bats, and the other good prospect in the deal, Yasmani Grandal, was blocked by Alonso, Votto, and Devin Mesoraco and any other young’n who might slip into the left field/1st base/3rd base equation (I know he’s a catcher but that’s where he’d get at-bats).  The Padres get two really good young bats.  The Padres really need some good young bats.  They also get an excellent contender for the Petco-factor in Edinson Volquez, whose inconsistencies and high fly ball rate should benefit greatly from the measurable difference that park brings.  On second thought, his fly ball is pretty standard- it’s the staggering number of walks that is the real problem (over 5 per 9 the last two years).  Petco seemingly would have no effect on the walks, based on statistical analysis.  However, if you’ve ever watched Volquez pitch, it is abundantly clear that he walks so many because he does not attack hitters with his secondary pitches the same way he does with his fastball.  This is a similar issue his former partner in crime Johnny Cueto had before taking ‘that next step.’  Point being, in spacious Petco Park, perhaps Volquez will be more aggressive in the strike zone as he knows he won’t give up nearly the amount of homers he did in Cincy.  I’m planning on drafting Volquez when I get the chance in fantasy and I’m fairly sure he’s going to see better numbers in sunny San Diego.  Not sure what can be said about Latos, he’s an excellent pitcher, it just seems talent evaluators question his maturity.  A lot.  Dude seems to be lotta tats, little brain.  He’s still a damn fine pitcher and fits in nicely with the other power arms the Reds have.  This appears to be one of those elusive win-win deals, in my book at least.  The Padres, despite the presence of former Red Sox great Anthony Rizzo, need some spice, some pop in that lineup.  Alonso alone provides that.  The fact that the Friars also got a huge potential starter in Volquez and a good hitting catcher in Grandal (not to mention guy who I’ve read several places has ‘closer stuff’ in this Brad Boxberger character) means they both addressed a need and found an immediate, if temporary, stopgap for the talent they just shipped off.  The Reds get a top-of-the-line starter to accompany Cueto and their other promising young arms (including, apparently, Aroldis Chapman), and hung on to Mesoraco and their young arms.  I’ll be watching how these players adjust to their new surroundings to see how things shake down, I advise you do the same (especially once fantasy drafts REALLY start up).

    the Rockies signed Cuddyer to such a big deal because they’re hoping he can be their #5 starter as well

Rox sign Cuddyer to 3-year $31.5 Million deal

  • Keith Law wrote an Insider piece discussing how the Rockies overpaid to get Mike Cuddyer and I tend to agree with him.  But I thought on the deal some more and have reconsidered my stance.  I was, as I usually am, looking through the glass of fantasy baseball as I looked at Cuddyer.  On the surface, and in fantasy, players like Cuddyer are anything but rare.  You can pull a 1B/OF from just about anywhere during the season, from the real waiver wire to the one online.  However Cuddyer brings more to the table.  There is the obvious intangible, but still highly valuable, ‘character guy’ aspect of the former Twinkie, which cannot be denied.  Every account you read and all the reactions of former teammates point to the fact that Mike Cuddyer is a vital and well-respected part of a clubhouse culture.  People like him.  If I’ve learned anything about baseball, it’s that clubhouse culture means a lot more than other sports – 162 games plus spring training is a LOOOOOONG time to be stuck with the same 25(ish) guys.  More important to both your fantasy team and your team-team, though, is Cuddyer’s versatility.  He can hit, and that’s important in Colorado.  But he can also play multiple infield AND outfield positions, giving the Rox lineup flexibility.  I’m all about flexibility.  I’m winking at you right now through the interweb as you read that.
  • Speaking of versatility, the Indians signed Jose Lopez.  This may seem like a non-story, but Lopez could be a sneaky source of power if he gets at bats around the infield.  Nick Punto signed with the Red Sox and will be the balancing not sneaky anti-power.  Even in baseball every action must have an equal and opposite reaction.

    that’s gonna be one hell of a face touch

– Dodgers sign Juan Rivera and Chris Capuano

  • Let’s be honest.  As this month turns, the new year brings on a new baseball season and overall awesomeness.  The months leading up to spring training are delightfully full of movement- to those who are paying attention.  Sure something boisterous will happen, Papelbon signing with the Phillies, the Marlins spending millions, a monkey riding a dog.  But look back over baseball history (more importantly FANTASY baseball history).  Sometimes the tiny actions have the largest reactions.  As a Red Sox fan, it is easy to forget David Ortiz was brought in to split time with… Jeremy Giambi.  Yes, Jeremy Giambi.

As it is with my other love, movies, sometimes the blockbuster loses out to the small indie with a strong cast.  The analogy just got confusing but you get the picture.

The winter meetings have come and gone.  Some big (if not the BIGGEST) names have moved and I’m sure we will be seeing the more traditional big deals soon, with the aforementioned Reds-Pads trade as proof. But there have already been some moves to be aware of.  Small but deadly, like a honeybadger.  Or Oddjob.  Or Jigglypuff.  
Juan Rivera is an interesting case.  A career .277 hitter, he has twice hit 20+ homers and generally hits lefties very well.  He also has a track record for hitting better as the season wears on.  This track record is certainly skewed by the fact that this gentleman seems to have trouble staying healthy for more than 120 games.  I’d imagine that the sometimes punchless Dodger offense could use some help, any help, so Rivera should get ample opportunity.  Playing his games in the NL West should be interesting as Dodger Stadium, Chase Field and, obviously, Coors Field all are good environments for right-handed power hitters (The porch at Dodger Stadium is literally short.  Average in distance and shorter than mini-me). 

Chris Capuano will also benefit from pitching in the NL West, one would think.  No team in that division is particularly known for their offensive consistency.  Granted, they’re not the hapless saps they once were, but again, still inconsistent.  Coming back from injury, Capuano has proven to be a solid back-end starter.  The past 2 seasons have seen strong finishes from Capuano, who has had several very solid months (August of 2011, for example, he had a 1.17 WHIP and 38 K’s in 37.2 innings.).  Though it seems undoubtedly crazy, I am thinking ahead and Capuano is high atop my list of pitchers to pay attention to when I’m looking to stream a start.  Something to consider.

BUNT!

This is a very interesting deal.  The Royals have quietly built up a staff of power arms… and Bruce Chen.  Soria, the newly acquired Broxton, and Tim Collins can get swings and misses in the bullpen.  Sanchez, Danny Duffy, and Felipe Paulino.   And Bruce Chen, who is the baseball equivalent of a ‘game-manager’ in football.  Making fun of Brucey aside, the Royals would appear to be heading in the right direction with a promising young pitching staff and an intriguing mix of young talent (Gordon, Hosmer) and prospects on the way (Lorenzo Cain, Wil Myers).  They could be on the up and up, especially if they got the Jonathan Sanchez of the second halves (go ahead, click that link, he’s had a few very, very good post-All Star performances).  Sanchez will always be a risk to walk 8, but the fact that he’ll play the Twins a bunch will help his stats, as will his move to the American League.  DOUBLE TAKE.  What did I just type?  No you read it right, so hear me out – yes, the AL, with it’s DH’s and better offensive numbers, would seem like a pitcher’s worst nightmare, but the move might actually help a power guy like Sanchez, sort of.  I don’t doubt he’ll walk a bunch, but his stuff is very good and there are also many more swingers and miss-ers in the AL than the NL.  It’s one of those backwards sort of logic theories that makes baseball work.  Or it does in my head. So there.

The Melkman really broke out last year.  He is a talented player and I would bet he continues with numbers more similar to last year than his time with the Braves, though it would be unreasonable to expect him to match all his stats from 2011.  His speed, however, will translate.  He hit 44 doubles and stole 20 bases in 2011 (throw in the 5 triples, too).  These are both reachable numbers for 2012.  In fact, given the spacious parks in the NL West and the difference in style-of-play in the NL, I think Cabrera should be in line for a very good (and fantasy-useful) season full of extra base hits.  44 doubles, 18 homers and 5 triples in 2011?  While those homers will easily drop, is 50 doubles out of the question?  Melky should be a good addition to the top of that lineup and could be in line for scoring close to 100 runs if Posey comes back and some of the pieces the Gents have click.  Both the Melkman and Angel Pagan are good fits for the big AT&T park defensively and offensively.  Both are also great late(ish)-round plays in your fantasy drafts…. which are coming… soon…

  • I WAITED AS LONG AS I COULD.  THE DARK KNIGHT RISES 2ND TRAILER IS OUT.  I REPEAT; THE 2ND TRAILER FOR THE DARK KNIGHT RISES IS OUT.  WATCH IT UNTIL YOU BEGIN WEEPING, AS I DID.  GO.
I am quite literally shaking with excitement.  I have been watching and re-watching this all day.  Holy crap.
It will be good to see what Jed Lowrie can produce given a new situation.  He’s able to play all over the infield and is a good guy, by all accounts.   Here’s to hoping he stays healthy and has a chance to flourish.  Reviews are mixed on Weiland but based on what I’ve seen, he has good enough stuff to be an effective back of the rotation starter, especially in the National League (or, more specifically, pitching ANYWHERE besides the AL East).  What is really interesting about the deal is the dominoes it knocks over.  The acquisition gives the Red Sox confidence to move both Daniel Bard and possibly Alfredo Aceves to the starting corps.  Both are pitchers to watch as either could turn out to be extremely effective in a new role.  These movements also alter the remaining closer landscape.  Where will Madson go now?  How about Cordero?  The Red Sox had been obvious choices for some remaining Closers.  They still could sign one, but the field is more interesting now.  Do the Red Sox bring Jose Iglesias on in some sort of reserve role if Mike Aviles struggles?  He exceeded any and all expectations in his time with the Sox and can play the outfield, so he’d have to play very, very poorly – but still, it could happen.
Not that it has anything to do with this deal, but who else is excited about a Nick Punto-Dustin Pedroia double play?  Awesome sauce.
There you have it, some thoughts on baseball’s movings and shakings.  I’m sure there will be more to come (maybe the Phillies will make a run at Jermaine Dye?), so stay tuned.
-w
oh and WATCH THIS SOME MORE:

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Filed under Baseball, Fantasy Baseball, MLB, offseason, Opinion, Sleepers, video

2011 Favorites: Shortstop

 

Shortstop is a tough fantasy position.  While the guys at the top are top notch (Tulo, Han-Ram), the guys in the middle leave lots of questions (I mean, have you ever drafted Jimmy Rollins?  Immensely frustrating), and the guys at the bottom leave much to be desired (think Felipe Lopez).  So while every kid dreams of being a SS and many play the position, few make it to be of fantasy relevance.  That’s where I come in.  With my silly knowledge of all things baseball, here I provide you with a cheat sheet of guys to look out for in the middle-to-late rounds when you don’t get Troy Tulowitzki.  Notice Jed Lowrie, though he is in the above video, is not mentioned.  This is because I am fighting my extreme Red Sox bias.  Lowrie belongs in the ‘Inception play’ category and could be a late round steal if you like him.  Anyway, enough chit chat.  Swing it round the horn and here we go, shortstops I like going into 2011:

 

 

Young Studs

kid just looks like a ballplayer

Starlin Castro

What a guy.  My team was abysmal last year, but one of the bright spots was my genius pickup of Castro when he first started getting playing time.  A good hitter right off the bat, one could worry about a sophomore slump for Starlin.  Not me.  And not Bill James, who’s a heckuva lot smarter than I.  Castro proved to be a great gap hitter, smashing 31 doubles and 5 triples in just 125 games (506 plate appearances).  Both Mr. James and I think he will maintain that type of hitting this upcoming year.  James has him as a .310 hitter, which I could see as being a bit high, with 39 doubles and 8 triples.  Couple that with a decent BB:K ratio (he does neither particularly often), and Castro should prove to be a very useful fantasy player at a position owners are generally stretched pretty thin for.  For both a starting SS and a MI position, you should be able to grab Castro much later than some of the bigger names and lose very little in production.

 

high-flying stud.

Elvis Andrus

Hard to miss this guy.  I way overdrafted him in an early draft pretty much because I couldn’t believe how fast he was in watching the Playoffs this past season.  With some minor growing pains, Andrus put up good months and bad months, all leading to a respectable .265 average (.342 OBP).  Settling into his role this year, Bill James (whose word, if you haven’t guessed, I take as near-gospel) has Andrus with a .274 average and a .344 OBP.  As he is wont to do, this is a conservative estimate.  But even with those numbers, James has him (again, conservatively) swiping 34 bags.  He is easily capable of stealing more, and I think he will both find his way on base more often than James does and will therefore cause more havoc on the bases.  Either way, Andrus figures to be a contributor to some important fantasy categories (read: runs and steals) that are invaluable coming from the SS position.  With that lineup, James’ 82 run prediction is woefully low.  I think Andrus is poised to have a great year in a stellar lineup.  But even if Bill James’ line is closer to reality, he’s a SS you want on your team if you miss out on the likes of Tulo and Han-Ram.

Don’t-Forget-About-These Guys


Asdrubal Cabrera

Remember in 2009 when he had 42 doubles and 68 RBI?  I do, because he seriously helped my playoff push with a monster August, hitting .370 and being a general MI monster.  He was limited to 381 AB’s in 2010 with that freak leg injury so his numbers are kinda irrelevant to my discussion here.  Available at both 2B and SS, Asdrubal is useful player even on a bad Indians team.  He is more than capable of hitting .285-.300, with 35+ doubles, 50+ RBI, and a handful of steals (by that I mean around 10).  Does this not convince you?  Back to Lord James… who has Cabrera at a .292 average, .354 OBP, 33 doubles, 78 runs, 59 RBI, and 13 steals.  I’m not saying Asdrubal Cabrera is a fantasy superstar, but it is guys like him who are the difference between winning and losing a fantasy championship.  When you’re at the end of a draft and need a MI, or when you’ve punted SS in an effort to sure up other positions, you could do a hell of a lot worse than Asdrubal.

The Inception Play


Alcides Escobar

Oh to be young and in Kansas City… er… or something.  I would have included Alcides here regardless of what team he was playing for but on the young Royals, I now know he’ll get starter at bats, so it’s a no brainer.  Let’s just be clear: this is the ‘Inception play,’ the deep, deep, oh-crap-I-went-all-25-rounds-without-a-middle-infielder situation.  Alcides Escobar is not going to carry your team.  This is strictly a value proposition here- you can get him late, later than his production will be valued at when the year ends, says I.  He has 20+ steal potential, and any projection you look at has him around 20 steals- before he went to the lowly Royals, where he figures to be able to run freely.  James has him hitting .272- very nice.  If he hits around .275, he’ll hit around 20 doubles, and 5 triples, with those 20+ steals, don’t you think he’s worth a last round flyer?  I do.  He’s on my watch list in case he really starts running wild in KC, but I doubt he’ll be drafted in many leagues.  Keep him in mind if you’re stuck with a mediocre SS in your draft and are looking for a buy low candidate.

——————————————————————————

 

That’s it, my guys for 2011 who play the much coveted SS position.  As I said, I’m mancrushing on Andrus and drafted him waaaay early but I made this list so you don’t have to.  Be patient, let someone else take Jimmy Rollins and you’ll be just fine in your middle infield as long as you listen to this.  Again, watch out for super-sleeper-sub Lowrie, I’m done, enjoy the Tron Legacy soundtrack, it’s spectacular.

 

 

 

-w

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