Tag Archives: prospects

Fantasy Mustache: Catchers

Sleeper Mustache Candidates

#1 Travis D’Arnaud

image

That is a stare that says, “I’m ready to bludgeon some baseballs, and maybe some kittens.”

image

But wait through the magic of technology, add a Buford Tannen mustache and POW! It works.

It is difficult to project rookies, especially talented ones on bad teams.  Issues from playing time to (more practically) service time add a complex variable to when a rook will play, how much they’ll play and therefore if and when they’ll get comfortable.  That said, D’Arnaud has been projected to be a solid MLB starting catcher for several years now, so it is no stretch to give him a solid, if ordinary projection line pre-mustache.  With the mad dog mustache power added to his already steely glare, D’Arnaud figures to be a force to be reckoned with once the Metropolitans call him up to be their non-John Buck catcher (think sooner rather than later.  MUCH sooner with that ‘stache).

Pre-Mustache: .260 AVG// 16 2B // 45 R // 13 HR // 50 RBI

Post-Mustache: ..301 AVG // 25 2B // 66 R // 20 HR // 80 RBI

Again, the numbers don’t lie – the mustache variable cannot be discounted.

#2 Devin Mesoraco

Oh, hey there. Just thinkin’ bout baseball n’ stuff

Oh, hey there.  Just thinkin' bout what kind of eggs you'll want in the mornin'

Oh, hey there. Just thinkin’ bout what kind of eggs you’ll want in the mornin’

With experience comes confidence.  Even if that ‘experience’ is fabricated.  Trust me, I was a middle school boy once.  It will be no surprise, then, when Mr. Mesoraco takes a big leap in not only playing time, but also production, with the addition of those ladykiller whiskers.

Bill James Projections (Pre-Mustache): .255 AVG // 29 2B // 2 3B // 16 HR // 56 R // 59 RBI //

Mathematical Mustache Magic Practical Prognostication Algorithm (TM): .315 AVG // 39 2B // 4 3B // 22 HR // 70 R // 70 RBI //

Devin’s new stat projections reflect what his ‘stache is telling you – I’ll take more, but only if you ask me to, toots.

#3 Jeff Mathis

mathis

I have no projections to give.  Mathis is merely a terrible, horrible, no-good, very bad bad hitter.  At this point, why not try a mustache, man?

Stay groomed, First Basemen coming soon.

-v

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Filed under catchers, Fantasy Baseball, GOOSE, MLB, offseason, Random Thoughts, Sleepers

2011 Favorites: Outfielders

The outfield is a wonderful place.  Playing center most of my <ahem> illustrious career, I have an appreciation to the boredom coupled with rapid excitement that comes from playing in the space past the infield diamond.  But before I start digressing about outfield arms and covering ground, let’s talk fantasy.  No one cares about outfield defense in fantasy, we want power.  Or speed.  Or power AND speed.  The fantasy outfield landscape is vast and varied.  So let’s jump on in…

 

YOUNG STUDS

 

Mike Stanton

Mike Stanton can MASH.  That’s actually the scientific term used by physicists when describing his swing.  He hit a homer every 18 times he stepped up to the plate and had a stellar .248 ISO.  He hit 21 homers in AA then then jumped and hit 22 more in the majors.  The kid’s got serious power.  CAIRO, for some reason, has him down for abbreviated AB and only 21 homers.  This is still a good ratio considering they have him down for only 418 AB.  Slightly more realistically, RotoChamp has him hitting 34 in 562 AB and GUESS WHAT?  The usually stingy Bill James has Stanton hitting a whoppin’ 38 homers in 2011 (and an improved ISO of .288).  Sure, he’s going to strike out a ton but how many young studs are out there?  Actually quite a few, but not many who are very very likely to hit 35+ homers and doubles and knock in near 100 runs.  He’s not going to hit .300 next year, but with 40 bombs and 100 RBI, you better be able to stomach a .270 average.  Stanton is a stud, and is here to stay.  Get him.

very artsy shot here

Desmond Jennings

Jennings is one of the many young players I could have thrown into this space.  However, he distinguishes himself in one of my favorite areas: speed.  While there are questions about his power developing immediately, his speed is the real deal.  Call him Crawford 2.0.  He tore up the bases in the minors, stealing 45, 37 twice and 32 in rookie ball.  No one seems to think that will change in the majors.  CAIRO and RotoChamp seem to fear that he will lose AB’s to Damon and Manny, keeping him under 400 AB, yet both have him stealing 20+ bases.  Now it gets interesting.  Bill James, notorious for conservatism about rookies has him down for FIFTY-FOUR STEALS!  That’s instant stud-dom!  Jennings has always had a pretty good eye, but you gotta figure that, as a rookie, it is unreasonable to expect a .300 average.  Look for .275 and be thrilled when he does better.  As I said, his power is still (allegedly) developing, so don’t expect more than 10 homers.  But 10 homers, 20+ doubles, 5 triples and FIFTY-FOUR STEALS sounds like a pretty good ‘low’ expectation to me.  Jennings has enormous (read: the next Crawford) ceiling, but temper your expectations- he is a rookie, after all.

Domonic Brown

Great name, right?  And we all know that’s the first step towards stardom.  And the general consensus is just that – Browns headed to stardom.  He looks like a player, standing (or towering) at a lanky 6’5” 200, he projects to hit for nice power but is also fleet of foot.  He’s the whole package, basically.  Now in my thinking about his 2011 season, I figured a safe starting bet was numbers similar to Jason Heyward’s 2010 campaign… good, very good even, but really just a teaser for the NEXT season.  Again, I’m no expert, but this seemed reasonable.  So imagine my surprise when I got to Domonic Brown’s Fangraphs page and saw Bill James’ projections.  Apparently he likes the kid – 26 homers, 33 doubles, 4 triples, 94 RBI, 84 runs (breath), a .288 AVG AND 28 steals?!?  Bill James gone wild!  Ew.  Gross.  Seriously, though, is that a projection or what?  Even if he doesn’t reach James’ lofty projections – and I expect he will not – somewhere between the low end (my theory) and the astronomical (James’) is a happy medium.  20+ homers and 20+ steals is ownable right there, throw in some other stats and it’s all gravy, baby.  Tasty, tasty gravy.

 

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DON’T FORGET ABOUT THESE GUYS

Shane Victorino

I should admit that I’ve always been partial to the Flyin’ Hawaiian.  I admire the speed in which he plays the game and the hustle he shows.  That said, he was a major disappointment last year… or was he?  Yes, his average slipped all the way down to .259 but the dude still swiped 34 bags and hit 18 homers!   He is more than capable of producing a 15 homer, 35 steal, 100 run, 10+ triple season, making him at the very least interesting.  But what do I know?  Let’s see what the projectors say… just as I thought.  CAIRO, RotoChamp, and Bill James all have similar numbers: .280 average, 90-100 runs, 15-ish homers, 30-ish steals… and that wonderful threat of the triple.  I’m not saying go out and reach for Victorino in drafts – quite the opposite.  I’m suggesting that when he drops (and he WILL drop), be mindful of letting him by in the later rounds.

Grady Sizemore

How’re you gonna forget a face like that?

Easily, actually.  Sizemore is a serious red-flag injury risk at this point.  But for the bold, all signs seem go.  Bill James seems to think he can play 150+ games but RotoChamp and CAIRO have him at limited (mid 400’s) at bats.  It’s really a matter of how much faith you have in his health.  I happen to think he’ll break down again, others are very optimistic.  James has him for 23 homers, 105 runs, 81 RBI, and 23 steals in roughly a full season, hitting .265.  Given a full year, this seems about right to me.  There comes a time in every draft you take a player you’re scared of, and I’ll say that when you get to it, you might as well take a flier on a healthy Grady Sizemore.  You remember healthy Grady Sizemore… right?  He was a fantasy dreamboat.  Good luck if you snag him, and I hope he does well – he seems like a good dude.

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THE INCEPTION PLAY(s)

Matt Joyce

Do you know Matt Joyce’s ISO off the top of your head?  That’d be incredible, rain man, but let me just tell you – it was .227.  He hit 10 homers and 15 doubles (3 triples too, woot.) in just 261 plate appearances.  That’s good for an extra base hit every 9.32 AB, a delightfully high rate for a guy who just needs a chance to play.  Joyce has real pop – it’s just a matter of whether the Rays will let him use it.  He figures to split time on the corners, so I’d hope for 500 AB and be happy with 400.  Why?  Well, let’s once again go to the projectors:  RotoChamp has him at 21 homers in 444 at bats, an amazing amount and Bill James thinks 18 in 388 AB (with 28 doubles to boot).  Point is, his power projects.  Now if only it would come out on a regular basis… put him on your watch list or stash him while you monitor his playing time.

Travis Snider

So, first off, yes I’m including him because I want him to follow us on twitter (@duckfromthepond).  But more than that, this is the year for Snider, who is only 21 (actually his birthday is coming up so 22), to make a big step in his progression.  With an improved batting eye, Snider could be a late-round power bargain.  He put up two very promising months, May and September, which are hopefully indicators of what might be.  Now the 24:2 K:BB ratio isn’t going to cut it, but that’s easily improved marginally.  What sticks out in those months are his 6 homers in September and .543 SLG.  Bill James doesn’t seem to think he will get regular PT, so I’m ignoring his projections (16 homers in 311 AB).  CAIRO and RotoChamp, however, have him at 19 homers in 466 AB and 23 homers in 521 AB, respectively.  These numbers are a better base if you look back at Snider’s power potential from the minors.  Plus, the dude just looks like he can swing the lumber (link evidence of a BOMB).  Snider is a great guy to take a flier on this year at the end of a draft, as, once again, he’s only 21.  He’s improving every year and could pop off at any time.  He was a major prospect who has since cooled in the majors so grab him before he heats up again.  And see if he’ll follow us on twitter, damnit.

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There we go, the outfielders to keep an eye on this year in drafts.  With the exception of Sizemore, I would readily own them all (and I’d take Grady, just knowing that the injury bug could burn me).  Outfield is a funny position in fantasy, as you can play it fast and loose with guys like Juan Pierre and Raja Davis, you can go for boppers like Snider, or you can play it safe with guys who emerge like Pagan or Torres.  Only the season will tell, and it is fast approaching!  Two weeks til Spring Training starts, so get ready.  DotP is taking off so be prepared – fantasy baseball excellence is at the tip of your finger.

Later, ducks, and happy drafting.

-w

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Filed under Fantasy Baseball, MLB, offseason, Opinion, outfield, Pickups, Posted, Sleepers

MLB.com Posts Top 50 Prospects

In one of my favorite moves of the offseason, MLB has released its top 50 prospects list, to be discussed tonight on MLB Network by its excellent, goofball hosts.

Here are the positional breakdowns for all you prospect junkies, hoping for that next big thing.

Enjoy!

Catcher

First Base

Second Base

Third Base

Shortstop

Outfield

Left-Hand Pitchers

Right-Hand Pitchers

I love lists like this.  Be sure to check out the discussion at 9 tonight on MLB Network and the Chat on MLB.com on Wednesday.  And for all 4 of our loyal readers, let us know what YOUR thoughts on the prospects for 2011 in the comments (Trevor has lots of opinions)!

 

-w

 

UPDATE: Here’s the list, an article breaking it down a bit, and VIDEO!

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Filed under catchers, Fantasy Baseball, first base, MLB, offseason, outfield, pitchers, Posted, Rookies, second base, shortstop, Sleepers, third base

Put up or Shut up: Jarrod Saltalamacchia

looks like a catcher

I like to think that the people who run baseball organizations are all smarter than me.  This idea gives me comfort when it comes to prospects and moves and whatnot – the higher ups, scouts, and people in the know are just better informed.  So when I look at Jarrod Saltalamacchia, I am perplexed.  On the one hand, my Red Sox bias begins to take over: “sure he’ll hit, there’s a reason the Bravos were so high on him,” I tell myself.  On another hand, he will share time with Jason Varitek.  On yet another hand, presumably someone else’s (don’t get any ideas), he hasn’t hit above .270 in the majors.  All this weighs heavy on my considerable brain.  But as TO might say, if it looks like a catcher and smells like a catcher, by golly, it’s a catcher.

First things first:  there has to be something there.  Scouts from multiple organizations can’t be totally off on a guy, right?  Let’s talk about the minors – the pedigree is there… back in 2007.  A .309 ISO in AA????  WOW.  Scouts all saw/see Salty as a potential 20-30 homer guy.  Now we may have to concede at this point that he will not be a .300 hitter.  Not many catchers are.  The power is legit.  So is the fact that he swings the stick from both sides of the plate.  A catcher, with power, who also switch hits?  Sounds like a recipe for success to me.  Only it hasn’t quite worked out like that for Jarrod.

The situation for Salty is ripe for a comeback, though.  He’s playing in a great hitters’ park in Fenway.  He doesn’t have the same pressures he once did as a hyped rookie.  Heck, he won’t eve be asked to catch 150 games, Tek will likely get a lot of AB’s too.  So why Salty?  The power.  Bill James and I are on the same path with this one.  he has Jarrod hitting 12 homers in 110 games (371 PA).  That’s a good number of homers for infrequent at-bats.  I’ll argue that given those times in the box (and probably closer to 400 PA than 350 – V-Tek, sorry but you’re old), Salty can provide in the high teens for round-trippers.  Now tell me how many fantasy catchers are good for that?  How many that you can get in the last round?  I’ve been of the belief that there are maybe 3 catchers worth owning if you have to draft them above the 15th round.  5, now, because of Posey and Santana.  After that, you might as well wait until the end of a draft to snag someone.  I offer that it’s time for Salty to put up, and time for you to take one last flier on him.

 

 

Short and sweet, but that’s the point.  No numbers really, just time for Salty to put up or shut up.

 

-w

 

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Filed under catchers, Fantasy Baseball, MLB, Opinion, Pickups, Posted, Put Up or Shut Up, Sleepers

Smoak him if you got him

Here’s a clip of superstud v. superstud. Check out some of the related videos for more footage of Smoak, and be sure to check out that Youtube station, farmsystem, they have TONS of good clips.

With the arrival of Mr. Smoak, we can finally rest easy that this Chris Davis nightmare is over, praise the fantasy gods.  Players like Davis are the bane of optimistic fantasy players’ existences.

We’ve been waiting for Smoak to bring his sweet switch-hitting swing (say that five times fast) to the Banbox in Arlington.  Would you like to hear about Smoak’s pedigree?  Thought you might.  He is South Carolina’s home run king (not a shabby program to hold that title in!) with 62 and also is the career leader in RBI’s and walks…. so says Wikipedia…. and anyway, those are a few of my FAVORITE categories.  But they use metal in college, so who cares? What has he done in the minors?

(courtesy of baseball-reference.com)

Games PA Hits 2B HR RBI BB SO AVG OBP OPS
Minors (Rk-AAA) 135 599 144 30 17 68 96 99 .293 .411 .872

He was in Rookie, then AA ball.  Last year.  Suffice to say, the kid’s a fast upward mover.

Just take a look at those numbers.  He is 23 years old (and currently boasts a 3:1 BB:K ratio… in 5 ABs…).  Many compare him to similar switch hitters Larry Chipper Jones and Mark ‘Gonorrhea’ Texeria (ask him about it).  Admittedly, he does not have the same 40 homer upside Crash Davis may have provided, but as you know, I’ll take a bunch of doubles, walks and a huge OBP- all of which scouts believe Smoak can provide right now.  Also, let’s not sell the kid short, when scouts say he doesn’t have the power potential yet, they’re still seeing him as a 20-30 homer guy… Heck. CBS in their ‘accuscore’ predictor thing have him as a potential 20-80 guy, not bad for 23.

I’m practically foaming at the mouth looking at him on some other lucky b*$t&#!s’ team.

The kid can rake.  If he is somehow still on your wire  grab him.  If you missed him, nuts, maybe next time (We’re waiting, Mike Stanton…)

Smoak projects to be the type of First Baseman you want on a fantasy team.  At the very least, make a note somewhere reminding you to overdraft him next year.

Another bad reference, pick the kid up, he’s

SMOAKKKKKKKKKKINNNNNNNNN’

-Gooch

(yeah, I’m a Microsoft paint wizard)

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