Tag Archives: shortstop

Fantasy Mustache: Shortstop

Loyalty, Above All Else: Sean Rodriguez

I cannot tell you exactly why there are so many articles and mentions of Sean Rodriguez on this silly little site.  I think some time after he broke into the league my buddy Dave and I decided he was primed to break out, given our expert opinions.  He plays multiple positions, a favorite fantasy attribute of mine, and fit the ‘Swiss Army’ profile both Dave and I enjoy so thoroughly it inspired a series of posts.  Rodriguez did not break out.  What he did was become a useful glue player, playing solid defense at 2B, SS and 3B capable of hitting an occasional XBH and stealing a few bases.  He does nothing. spectacular, despite the wishes of many here at DotP.

Bill James is so un-enthused with Rodriguez’s mediocrity that he has chopped the guy’s plate appearances to a mere 256 in 2013:

14 2B / 1 3B / 8 HR / 37 R / 32 RBI / 6 SB / .246 AVG / .328 OBP / .730 OPS

According to James, Sean Rodriguez is on a hill, and he will continue to tumble down.  These projections are one big MEH-fest.  I refuse to hear that.  Not our guy.  Not Sean Rodriguez.  The Rays are a likable team and Rodriguez is a likable guy.  And that’s the problem, clearly.  Studies have shown that nice guys, in fact, finish last (Dr. B. Armstrong et al).  Or at the very least don’t bring home that World Series Trophy.  To save his career, Rodriguez must top being nice and start getting…. evil.  Or real, I guess.  Point being, the man’s getting a villain-esque makeover

evilseanrodriguez

Evil Sean Rodriguez: Part Terminator, part Captain Hook, ALL hitting machine.  This is no mere mustache awakening, this is a hostile position takeover.  Note the glare.  The sinister eyebrows.  The dastardly twirl of his facial hairs.  This is a man fed up with being told by Bill James he will be below average.  This is a man who is going to make sure Elliot Johnson doesn’t take another ground ball at SS.  Evil Sean Rodriguez will seize the position.  He will bat 568 times.  He will prove his doubters wrong.  Haters will perish under his lazereyed gaze.  Observe the Mustache-bot 2000’s calculations:

37 2B / 9 3B / 19 HR / 73 R / 81 RBI / 33 SB / .301 AVG / .398 OBP / .963 OPS

We can rebuild him. We have the technology. We have the capability to create a new Sean Rodriguez.  Better than he was before. Better, stronger, faster.  MANIACAL LAUGH…. MANIACAL LAUGH… MANIACAL LAUGH!

But seriously, Sean Rodriguez.  Grow a mustache.  Play better.  Or I’m going to have to stop writing about you.

Stay groomed,

-V

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Filed under Baseball, Fantasy Baseball, MLB, shortstop, Sleepers

Fantasy Mustache: Shortstop

Babyfaced Shortstop pf the Future: Didi Gregorius

i (1)

There is a bit of pressure on Didi Gregorius.  Not so much due to the Diamondbacks’ need for him to be a superstar – Gregorius is NOT that – but due to the fact that he is stellar in an otherwise unspectacular position (side note: remember the late 90’s when there was that crazy boom of SS who were just all out nasty?  How much  of that was steroid related, huh?  Sorry for any childhoods ruined.  Damn you, Nomar).  Bauer might be good, for sure, but Gregorius plays a position where few organizations have any sort of competent depth.  As other-worldly prospect hunter Mike Newman put it over at Fangraphs, “In Gregorius, the Diamondbacks found a cost controlled shortstop of the future when their best internal option was suspect prospect Chris Owings.”  And no, Chris Owings is not Micah Owings batswinging alter-ego.  I don’t know who Chris Owings is either.

Gregorius may very well spend much of 2013 in the minors.  A recent elbow injury assures he will be slow out of the gate.  Hence, the Fangraphs Steamer projections:

13 2B / 5 3B / 4 HR / 30 R /32 RBI / 4 SB / .234 AVG / .277 OBP    (in 346 PA)

Womp womp.  That’s lame.  That is not gonna cut it.  Those aren’t franchise stalwart numbers – I don’t care if you’re 23. I love Willie Bloomquist and all, really I do, but the D-backs need Gregorius to be an MLB shortstop sooner rather than later.  You know what the glue of franchises has resting oh-so-manly on their upper lips?  What his (former franchise glue) manager Kirk Gibson once ROCKED?  What his hitting coach (and former franchise glue) STILL ROCKS?

Have you guessed?

Yup.  A kick. Ass. Mustache.

oh my oh my we have a new silent assassin, Mr. Bloomquist

oh my oh my we have a new silent assassin, Mr. Bloomquist

Sure, Didi (is he in the running for silliest first name for a professional athlete?) will start the season slow with a bum elbow but while rehabbing that, let us assume he also rehabs his naked lip.  Then take a look at the numbers he puts up.   Fire up the Mustache Predictorator 4000!

20 2B / 9 3B / 6 HR / 55 R /40 RBI /15 SB / .279 AVG / .312 OBP  (now with 460 PA)

That’s how you start a very solid, shortstop-of-the-future career.  These numbers are not so far off from Elvis Andrus’ and he ain’t half bad.  With excellent defense and these mustache-enhanced numbers, Gregorius is ready to roll.  Those numbers could shoot up with better health and some confidence from his manager (leading to more AB).  And hey, Kirk Gibson knows the power of the ‘stache:

fear. my. facial. follicles.

fear. my. facial. follicles.

stay groomed,

-V

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Filed under Baseball, Fantasy Baseball, MLB, Posted, shortstop, Sleepers

Shortstop ADP: The Position You Hate to Love

my favorite non-Batman movie of all time.

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.

There are 3 Shortstops worth actively seeking in a draft, and one of them is going to play Third Base (whoops, didn’t really mention Hanley “Wah-Wah’ Ramirez in my 3B post…).  After that, there are a series of relatively boring guys who fill a position you need (Starlin Castro, Asdrubal Cabrera, Alexi Ramirez all fit the ‘usable-but-unspectacular’ mold in declining amounts of value), aging players not worth the draft position based on the past (Rollins, Jeter), and a bunch of one-trick ponies (Elvis Andrus, Dee Gordon come to mind).  For most people’s teams, shortstop is going to be a drain, plain and simple, compared to other positions.  I’m no Nostradamus, but I’m betting Asdrubal Cabrera doesn’t hit above 20 homers (there is no reason in his past to expect that).  Nor do I think Jhonny Peralta will sniff batting .300 again.  Shortstop is the best exercise in finding value.  In larger leagues, you’d consider yourself lucky to wind up with J.J. Hardy or Stephen Drew.  But really, do either of those players excite you?  And they’re already going pretty late in drafts.  When it gets down to the rinds, why take Jason Bartlett when you could roll the dice?  Shortstop’s your chance to take a, well… chance.  It’s not like most of the guys you’d draft are going to wow you anyway- you won’t be overwhelmed, you might not even be underwhelmed.  Maybe you’ll just be whelmed.

Bam. Streak alive.  You know you hate how much you love this movie.

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

SHORTSTOPS

Shortstop is a funny position.  Since Cal Ripken Jr., there has been a revolution of middle-of-the-order hitters playing the position.  In fantasy terms, there are shortstops now who provide just as much value as, say, a top outfielder.  There was Nomar-Jeter-A-Rod.  Now there’s Tulo-Reyes- and, until recently, Hanley Ramirez.  But shortstop is also one of the most important defensive positions on the field (the other two being Catcher and Centerfield, in my opinion), so a guy like Omar Vizquel can be equally valuable to a team in terms of the runs they save.  Sadly, most leagues don’t have a ‘Web Gems’ category, otherwise Rey Ordonez would have been an absolute stud.  So we have a mix in fantasy.  At the top, there are the studs, in the middle some very solid all-around players and towards the bottom?  Defensive specialists and young, unproven talent.  When is that next trio of top-tier talent arriving?  Again, I’m no Nostradamus.  So while we wait for the next big thing, here are some stopgaps.  Who knows?  Maybe someone will surprise you.  LIKE HEATH LEDGER DID IN THE MOVIE!!! It all comes full circle, folks!

P.S. I’m perfectly comfortable admitting that scene is my favorite.

Ian Desmond (WAS) -ADP 253

#awesomesauce

I guess I have a man-crush on Ian Desmond, for fantasy purposes.  I snagged him in countless mock drafts and several of my leagues.  On the face of it, he is not really worthy of such fascination.  However, consider the rising Nationals and the power of good vibes.  Over the past two years, Desmond has demonstrated that he is very capable of hitting double digit homers and 20+ steals.  What kills Desmond’s value is the holes in his swing.  His poor OBP, high K rates, and overall lack of discipline hurt what appears to be an untapped fantasy talent.  He hits doubles, with speed for triples.  His minor league numbers suggest his untrained eye is a function of his adjustment to major league pitching (very high OBP in AA and AAA).  There is a seriously good feeling going into the 2012 Nationals.  Ryan Zimmerman will be back healthy.  Jayson Werth has to be better, it’s a borderline statistical fact.  And, of course, the inevitable coming of Bryce Harper, prospect extraordinaire.  It is not unreasonable to think the Nats offense is bound to improve, and I think Desmond is going to be part of that.  At base level, without any improvement, Desmond gives similar production to Stephen Drew (who is going over 100 spots earlier) without the injury risk.  Given an improvement, Desmond could jump up a level in fantasy shortstop value.  Part hatred for the Drew clan, part unabashed drinking of the Washington Nationals Kool-Aid, but Ian Desmond has my Fantasy Spidey senses tingling this year.  Wait around folks, don’t sell yourself short and draft J.J. Hardy.  There are more valuable players to snag while you wait for shortstop.  Either you get one early or you don’t.  Wait for Desmond, and enjoy his breakout 2012 campaign.  Mistress Cleo told me so.

Mike Aviles (BOS) – ADP 244

no one sits by Mike when he doesn't change his 'lucky' socks...

I’m going to keep this one brief because I don’t want to waste space when Bobby Valentine inevitably pushes Jose Iglesias into the shortstop void in Boston.  That’s an entirely different story, and my personal feelings are that Jose should get one more (partial, maybe) year to refine his offense before being unleashed on the big-league diamond.  The kid was imitating MLB players’ swings for chrissake!

Anyhoo… Mike Aviles was impressive in limited time with the Sox in 2011.  Defensively, he doesn’t hold a candle to Iglesias.  Offensively, he strikes me as a good line-drive pull hitter who could benefit ENORMOUSLY from batting towards the bottom of a potent Boston lineup.  Will he hit .325 as he did in his rookie year, 2008?  No.  But given the time (with utility-wunderkid Nick Punto) in a good lineup, it seems like Aviles could be a sneaky source of a .280-ish average with 80 runs (and double digit steals).  Saltalamacchia scored 53 runs in 386 PA last year and he hit .235!  Aviles, as is the case with the following players, will be on a sliding scale of value in 2012 based on playing time.  His versatility adds value, the opportunity adds numbers.  He’s definitely one to track through spring training to see if Valentine loves or sours on him.

Forgive the ADP disparity but these two are in very similar situations…

Eduardo Nunez (NYY) – ADP 309.17  &  Sean Rodriguez (TB)- ADP 261.46

both of the baseball players are pretty ugly. real weasel faces. so here's a dramatic picture of the awesome Craig Ferguson, on weeknights @ 1235 on CBS

Both of the men mentioned above have value in versatility.  The could get time at second, short and third (in addition to the outfield), depending on team needs.  But they’re elligible at SS and that’s what matters for our purposes.  Where they play for their ‘real’ team is not nearly as important as where you can plug them into your virtual lineup.  Well, that’s not entirely true.  Where they play on their real team does matter, and here’s why; the Yankees are old and the Rays’ alternatives are underwhelming (what a useful word).

Nunez gets to play the ‘super-utility’ role on a New York team that has A-Rod and Derek Jeter.  Both need rest.  On top of that, at their age, and with A-Rod’s history, it is highly likely that either one or both is shut down for a period of time due to injury.  Enter Mr. Nunez.  Now you may be saying, ‘that already sort of happened last year, why’s he of value?’  The man stole 22 bases in only 338 plate appearances and only got caught 6 times.  That’s nice.  In the dwindling rounds of a draft, Nunez could be an absolute steal (pun intended), especially if due to circumstance he gets 400+ at bats.

Sean Rodriguez is a favorite of Dave’s, which makes me dislike him as a player.  But I am putting my bias aside for your benefit.  Rodriguez demonstrated excellent power as a prospect for the Angels but has not seen the same production in the bigs.  I’d blame a lot of that on his inconsistent playing time, as he has had strings of games where he has contributed as a useful power/speed combo.  So what’s holding back Rodriguez this year?  Defense, I guess.  Who is he competing for playing time with in 2012?  Reid Brignac and Elliot Johnson?  Rodriguez might be the perfect storm of sleeper for 2012 (unlike, say, the premature sleeper in past years…).  He’s turning the magical age of 27, has crappy competition at the position for now, plays all over the field and is in his 3rd year of any semblance of regular playing time.  It makes a lot of sense that things could click for him in 2012.  And at his ADP and with multiple elligibilty, a guy who could hit 15 homers with 15 steals sounds like a good grab for your hole at short (WORDPLAY!)

Yup.  That’s all I’ve got.  Shortstop can be a very frustrating position folks.  That’s an understatement.  But I think I’ve laid out several players above who could greatly outperform their ADP at the position, if not break out.  And honestly, unless you have Reyes or Tulo, you may be forced with that kind of compromise.  Or there’s always Willie Bloomquist…

Always, awlays, beware the Bloomquist.

-w

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Filed under Baseball, MLB, Opinion, Posted, shortstop, 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