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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.

 

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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?

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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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2nd Basemen ADP: While You Were Sleeping…

He's actually throwing her in front of that train. Real twisted film, that one.

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.  Second Base, for a while, was exceedingly top-heavy position to draft.  Then slowly (see what I did there? Those words don’t go together!), the bottom rose up.  There is value to be had at second throughout the draft, so be alert.  You don’t want a bargain to pass you by… while you were sleeping… (boom, nailed it.)

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

2ND BASEMEN

Second Base may not wow you for fantasy purposes.  Sure there is some elite talent in the likes of Cano, Kinsler and Pedroia, but after that you’re worried about Utley’s health, Rickie Week’s health, or, sigh, Dan Uggla.  But have faith, there are a unique combination of rising young talents and forgotten veterans just waiting to contribute to your team.  Admittedly, some of the second basemen lower in drafts do not offer the same impact across the board as, say, Cano, but if you miss out on the top there are a slew of guys who can contribute to a variety of categories for you.  If you’re looking for some pop from your second baseman and are thinking of taking Dan Uggla, wait a tic, there’s value to come (like Danny Espinosa or Jason Kipnis).

Jemile Weeks (OAK)- ADP 150.55

The younger Weeks is sandwiched in-between two other high-value picks, the aforementioned Espinosa (ADP 147) and Kipnis (ADP 165).  I’ll delve into them briefly.  They’re hot sleepers for most prognosticators  and deservedly so.  Espinosa is an awesome snag for 20-20 in 2012 (he came close in 2011), but he still has some holes in his swing and shouldn’t be trusted to hit above .250.  Kipnis, on the other hand, also has solid 15-20 homer potential with less speed but a higher average.

Weeks is a very different type of player.  Sometimes I think my judgement is skewed on the entire Weeks family due to our buddy Tim’s infatuation with both brothers (it’s intense.).  But I’ve seen Jemile with my own two, borderline superhuman, eyes, in addition to sorting through both his minor league and 2011 numbers, and he’s a unique talent for fantasy, especially in leagues where people are reaching for Ackley or are inexplicably drafting Neil Walker (ADP – 141 – I just don’t get it).  He’s a solid hitter and runs extremely well.  He was impressive if unspectacular in 2011, but imagine these hypothetical numbers: 30 doubles, 10 triples, 30 steals and an average around .300.  Add on his solid eye and manageable K rate and you’re looking at a very productive player at a very reasonable price.  If, by some miracle, the Oakland offense outperforms your local little league team, Weeks could also be a real quiet source of runs.  Even if the A’s stink (likely), Weeks’ ‘individual’ stats, so to speak – triples, steals – will be high production at a low slot.  Orlando Hudson was a pretty valuable chip in fantasy for a while back in the day, and Weeks could put up comparable, solid numbers with a lot more speed. Keep an eye on Jemile and for the love of OshKoshBaGosh don’t draft Neil Walker.

Marco Scutaro (COL) – ADP 253.7

I know, I know, he’s listed as a SS all over, but it is both documented and common sense that he’ll slide over to second in Colorado.  Unless you thought he was unseating Tulo after the deal.  Silly Goose.  You may be reading some of the names on these lists thinking, what the hell kind of league is he in to be looking at Marco Scutaro?  It happens, people.  Our Ducks on the Pond League has 16 people in it, and when you get that large, you need to find production at value.  Scutaro is an excellent example.  Sure his numbers with Boston were fairly tame by fantasy standards but this is an issue of both value and situation.  Scutaro won’t win any foot races or batting titles but he hits productively and gets on base.  Given the proper at bats, he has shown excellent doubles power and in a good lineup, always seems to score runs.  He hits line drives and doesn’t strike out often.  And now he’s in Colorado.

The days of guys suddenly adding 25 homers at Coors are gone (Sorry, Vinny Castilla), but that doesn’t change the park dimensions.  With his solid eye and those gaps, it’s not unreasonable to think Scutaro could push 40 doubles if he stays healthy.  He’ll probably hit somewhere around .275 and have an OBP around the .340-.350 range.  And Colorado has a good lineup, one which he figures to be a sparkplug for (hitting second, according to RotoChamp).  I don’t care what a projection says, if that lineup hits and he’s in that spot, he’ll score 85+ runs.  With double digit-ish homers (in the 7-12 range), isn’t he a steal over a guy like Cliff Pennington in a similar rank (ADP 252)?  Isn’t a safer value pick than Allan Craig (ADP 239), a sleeper for many, but who’s a guy that has struggled to find his way into the lineup?  Maybe that was LaRussa’s doing, but for my money, Scutaro is worth taking a look at as your draft winds down.  Or in a larger league, as you scramble in the teens to find a MI.

This last one is going to make you wonder what I’m on but…..

Freddy Sanchez (SF) – ADP doesn’t even really count but: 445.65!!!!!!!!!

Seriously!  Where’s the love!  Sure lately the man has been more delicate than a house of cards but he’s a very good hitter when healthy (‘professional hitter’ is the term many people with real blogs use).  So let us assume he stays healthy enough for 450-500 AB, which isn’t outside the range of projections (except for RotoChamp, those Debbie Downers).  Given that amount of time, he has demonstrated the ability to hit for a good average with a bunch of doubles.  If you can take a guy who could hit .300 with 30 doubles with the last pick of your draft, wouldn’t you?  More importantly, people based on ADP at Mock Draft Central are taking Brett Hayes and Jamey Carroll ahead of Sanchez.  Take the flier to fill that MI position.  Seriously, Jamey Carroll?

Second Base provides more interesting options than I can remember in years past.  Though it might seem like a Giants bias, discussing Aubrey Huff in the 1B ADP post and Sanchez here is more due to my surprise at their ADP’s than any affinity towards San Francisco.  Not everyone winds up with Cano.  In deeper leagues, you often need to backup your backup.  There are sleepers and there are fillers, second base can provide you with both.  There’s a crop of youngn’s in Espinosa, Weeks, and Kipnis who could soon be considered top-tier.  There are also some old stalwarts who are probably worth a flier in the latter rounds.  Sure someone like Scutaro might be boring.  But sometimes boring helps you win.  Otherwise, Placido Polanco would have been out of a job a long time ago.

But if you want some excitement, there’s always Juan Uribe…

this is in the middle of the 4th inning. He got tired after running down a pop-up. Cuz that's how Juan Uribe rolls. Know about it.

-w

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OFFSEASON OUTLOOK: Oakland A’s

 

none of the A's are this attractive. not even Kurt Suzuki

 

 

Ah the A’s.  Billy Beane is a smart man, he has Brad Pitt playing him in the movie version of Moneyball (you can hear him here in A’s After Dark podcast) and figures to have figured into yet another strong group of arms.  The question, as it always seems to be with Oakland, then seems to be- will they hit enough?  We’ve already seen that a strong staff and timely hitters can win the World Series, thanks to Oakland’s cross bay partners so winning probably will still stick around the Bay.  Fantasy options though, for hitters?  Not so much.  With the rapid decline of Eric Chavez and some good young talent still being maybe a year away, the A’s don’t look like much of an offensive powerhouse.  The staff, on the other hand, should be carefully inspected… or at least read about in the following paragraphs.  Enjoy, sorry if it’s roughshod…

 

Will The A’s Bring in a Big Hitter as a Free Agent?

Adam Dunn has been mentioned as someone who could go to Oaktown, but If the A’s arg ne going to put some money out for a player to hit bombs, I think they would be more likely to go after Carlos Pena, who will be cheaper, a better defender, and cheaper.  Did I mention Pena would be cheaper?  An interesting note I stumbled across on MLBTR, as the A’s made a “strong push” for Japanese pitcher Hisashi Iwakuma, Ken Rosenthal notes that the A’s and Brewers match up nicely for a trade, as the Brewers could move someone like Casey McGehee for a good young pitcher.  This type of scenario will likely play out as the offseason progresses and more players move around (teams are just starting to pull in players), but I found the idea fascinating.  On the one hand, the idea is innocent enough- young hitter for young pitcher.  But what if we go all ‘mad scientist’ with the idea?  Could the A’s make a swing for the big Prince?  Can you imagine?  Suddenly the A’s have Fielder, a young masher in Chris Carter (more on him later), a second-baseman-of-the-future in Jemile Weeks, and a damn fine Shortstop prospect in Grant Green.  Not to mention Mark Ellis and Kurt Suzuki, both solid hitters in their own right.  The face of this fantasy offense would completely change.  And it could happen.  It will not… but it could.  And that’s the fun of internet speculation, folks!

 

How Will The Young Pitching Progress?

Funny you should ask, I wrote about that here.

The long and short of it?  The A’s are looking like they have a nifty staff for some years to come – with reinforcements on the way, too.

UPDATE: The A’s have won the bidding for Hisashi Iwakuma.  This gives them considerable pitching depth.  The thinking in many circles (such as MLBTR) is that the A’s will trade some of their surplus pitching for a hitter, making some of my points about a good young emerging offense all the more relevant (hellllooo Brewers, it’s the A’s- call me.)

 

How Will Their Positional Prospects Turn Out?

Here are some rankings on Oakland’s prospects.  Here are more. And More. Let’s break this one down into parts:

Chris Carter-> He put up some BIG power numbers in the minors and scouts see that translating into the majors.  He is a known commodity.  Here’s an USA article on him.  People think he’s going to be good.  The fact that he can play both Left Field and First Base is going to get hi playing time.  He is ready for his shot at the big time, with nothing left to prove in the minors (almost 150 homers in 6 minor league seasons since being taken out of high school is impressive) and the A’s have a slot for him.  He needs, like all young power hitters, to learn the strike zone and lower his K rate (lowered anywhere around 20% is an improvement from his near 30% previous.  20% is still a lot).  With an improved approach and a (maybe) improved Oakland lineup in 2011, look for Carter to be a rookie standout at least in the power categories.

Jemile Weeks-> Highly touted after being picked 12th by the A’s in the 2008 draft (he had been selected before by the Brewers in 2005 but returned to school), Weeks looks to be a similar type player to Rick-A but with more of a speed tilt.  Still needing to master AA, Weeks showed good gap power, hitting 14 doubles, 7 triples and 3 homers in AA in 312 plate appearances though he only hit .267.  He too must improve his BB:K rate to improve to be MLB ready.  No one questions the kid’s athleticism, only his discipline, so he might be a year away- but when he makes it look out, we could be sitting on a dynamic player, much like his brother.  He is going on my watch list and will sit there all year, if need be.  Be wary in deep leagues and keepers, as I bet he’ll make an impact in 2012 for sure.

Grant Green-> Shortstop prospects are everyone’s favorite, right?  They always pan out so well… Didn’t an A’s SS prospect join the priesthood? He did.  I’m just being rhetorical.  Green projects as a nifty hitter and good fielder.  Only drafted in 2009, he definitely will not make a major impact on the A’s offense this year but I’m all about long  term investing.  Green showed a great stroke in high A, hitting .318 with 20 dingers.  These numbers will likely see some correction as he progresses levels but the idea of a good hitter with good pop remains- Green will be a major player for the A’s, just not this year.  I’m offering some long-range Oakland Athletic fantasy advice, for those of us who need to plan these things a long time in advance.  Be ready for a fe more years of Mark Ellis before either Weeks or Green takes the hitting torch for the middle infield.  Hopefully the A’s will have an offense by then, Green should be a nice complement.

Will The A’s Get Someone to Hit?

To be fair, they have the players (Coco, Kurt Suzuki, Ellis) but nothing of fantasy relevance last year.  Coco Crisp put together some sweet months to end the season, putting up the combo power-speed-average he has flashed but never put up fully.  Suzuki is good, for a catcher, and Ellis is simply a solid middle infielder.   Crisp is the current A’s hitter I’d keep an eye on, as his August and September may have turned more than just my head.  Also, give some love to my man Ryan Sweeney in the drafts, I love the guy’s hustle and he seems like a Nick Markakis-lite just waiting to break out.  Coco also punished lefties last year, so keep him in mind late in drafts and in deeper leagues if you are picking that last OF and are grappling with some can’t-miss phenom (ahem ahem Mike Stanton) or rolling the dice with Crisp.  I think Crisp is poised to have another solid campaign and he is a category filler.  Just sayin’.

 

 

Well, that’s all on the A’s.  Watch them for their free agency activity, their Japanese import, and Coco Crisp.  Until then, enjoy some Black Keys and remember:  Harry Potter comes out soon, and so do the mock drafts.  Be ready and excited for both.  And yes I am a full fledged dork.  It’s ok, only 3 or 4 people read this anyway….

 

Be good,

 

 

-w

 

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