|Maybe not anymore, but Jeremy Bonderman has to be one of the most overrated players in baseball. Sure, his stuff is very good, but he’s yet to translate that into being an effective pitcher over the course of a year. During five seasons, he’s never had an ERA less than 4.00 or a WHIP less than 1.30. Because he throws so many sliders, he’s also a major injury risk. He’s dominated for stretches, has solid strikeout potential and last year’s soaring ERA can at least partially be explained by an abnormally high BABIP (.329), but he better come at a major discount at this point. His career K:B ratio of 2.56:1 is good, not great.
I really wish Adrian Gonzalez could somehow escape Petco Park. I still like him for fantasy purposes, but a would-be superstar is merely very good because of where he calls home. He still strikes out too much, but if he switched places with Todd Helton, he’d be a first round fantasy pick.
If you prorated Chase Utley’s stats from last year over the course of a full season, here’s what you’d get: 27 HR, 11 SB, 126 RBI, 128 Runs, .332 BA. He’s increased his batting average every season he’s played during his career, has three straight 100-RBI campaigns and is a very effective base stealer (84 percent success rate). He can handle southpaws, and with that lineup and ballpark, he simply can’t fall out of the top-5 of your fantasy draft.
If Joe Torre benches Andy LaRoche in favor of Nomar Garciaparra’s corpse and bats Matt Kemp at the bottom of the order I’m going to flip my lid. I’m convinced there’s a conspiracy why managers consistently go with veterans over younger, better talent. This would never happen in any other profession. Why does it in a billion dollar industry?
This is a good year to target Rafael Furcal, who is both coming off a miserable campaign and entering a contract year. An ankle injury can be partially blamed for his lackluster 2007, but if you compare his 2006 season with Jimmy Rollins’, you’ll find two very similar players. Rollins has improved since then, and I’m certainly not suggesting Furcal will be the better player in 2008, but I am cautioning you not to chase last year’s stats.
Nick Markakis is anything but under the radar these days, but that doesn’t mean he’s still not being undervalued in drafts. Prorate his numbers after the All-Star break last year over the course of a full season, and you get: 31 HR, 20 SB, 135 RBI, 113 Runs, .325 BA. He’s 24 years old. Prediction: Markakis has a better fantasy season than Vladimir Guerrero or Carlos Beltran.
Posted by Dalton Del Don at 2/28/2008 6:52:00 PM
|Dusty Baker's at it already
|Poor Reds' fans having to live with stuff like this (from the team's official website):
On Saturday: "Majewski is throwing the ball well too," opined Baker, who said the common mispronunciation of the right-hander's name as Ma-joo-ski rather than Muh-jesky. "He's in better shape than I heard he was last year. Things are stronger."
On Wednesday: Majewski allows six runs in 1/3 of an inning.
On his ideal leadoff hitter: "I'm big on driving in runs and scoring runs," Baker said. "Guys in the middle should score about close to equal to what they drive in. On-base percentage, that's fine and dandy. But a lot of times guys get so much into on-base percentage that they cease to swing. It's becoming a little bit out of control."
Yeah wouldn't want those leadoff hitters getting on base too much, and taking a few walks is pretty much the same as "ceasing" to swing.
On a positive note, at least Baker seems open to the idea of Joey Votto as his first baseman. Probably because Scott Hatteberg's OBP would be too high.
Posted by regan at 2/28/2008 3:57:00 PM
|Kazmir injury, Rays rotation impact
With Scott Kazmir (elbow inflammation, mild strain) out of action for two
weeks, and likely unable to make his scheduled Opening Day start, the question
has come up on whether this opens
up an opportunity for other competitors for berths in the Rays' rotation.
Here's the latest:
- Kazmir was due to start the Rays' opener on March 31 at Baltimore. James
Shields will now get that start. The Rays then have an off day on April 1, so
the Rays can delay Kazmir's season debut all the way to April 5 (at New York)
and not require a sixth starter at all. (FYI, that would now give Shields
two-start status for Week 1 of the regular season.)
- If the Rays really do hold back Kazmir for about two weeks, and he has a
normal recovery from that point, the Rays can bring Kazmir back as late as
April 10 (home against Seattle) and get away with requiring just one spot
starter, likely on April 5. As of now, that's the most probable scenario, and
that probably requires the Rays placing Kazmir on the 15-day DL on or about
March 24 to free up roster space for that spot starter.
- Getting perhaps just one extra start from someone shouldn't drive a
decision on whether or not to add someone to your roster. And, since that spot
start likely comes in Yankee Stadium, it might not even help you in a tactical
decision of whom to activate in Week 1 in AL-only leagues. However ...
- Kazmir's extended spring absence will give additional spring innings to
all of the candidates for the last two spots in the Rays' rotation. Those
candidates include Edwin Jackson, Andrew Sonnanstine, Jason Hammel, J.P.
Howell and Jeff Niemann; since Niemann has yet to pitch in the majors, the
extra spring exposure might shrink the odds of him making the roster.
Otherwise, this window of opportunity gives each of these pitchers extra
innings to perhaps recover from a slow start early in the spring
- The Rays had been thinking they might place at least one of the three
eventual non-starters in the bullpen in a long relief role; the Kazmir injury
probably makes that a reality for at least one bullpen spot. This might help
Jackson's and/or Hammel's chances of making the roster, since both are out of
The biggest news, however, is that Kazmir's injury does not appear all that
serious, and likely just costs him no more than two starts, one of which is a
road start against the Yankees. Not much harm done here for Kazmir owners.
Posted by Gus Papadopoulos at 2/28/2008 9:47:00 AM
|Fantasy Focus Thursday: Lawr Michaels
|Lawr Michaels from CreativeSports.com joins us and brings his zen-like focus to the show. We'll likely hit on what the Bay Area teams are doing, and talk up some Strat-o-matic talk as well.
Posted by Jeff Erickson at 2/27/2008 10:14:00 AM
|There’s been a good debate on whom you’d rather own between Tim Lincecum and Yovani Gallardo. Well, Gallardo’s recent knee surgery is a good reminder of how unpredictable injuries can be, as most pointed to Lincecum as more likely to go down. I’m not saying he still won’t, and I fully agree that health is a skill, but I caution predicting such events based on our perception of things like mechanics. That said, Gallardo seems to be coming at quite a discount after suffering an injury not related to his arm. He’s still fine to pursue.
B.J. Upton’s ADP of 23 seems low. Sure, his poor contact rate suggests a pretty decent decline in BA is in store, but the fact remains he approached a 30/30 season with an .894 OPS as a 22-year-old. He can take a walk and should be MI eligible for one more season. I can’t see why he’d make it out of the first round in fantasy drafts.
Derrek Lee’s ADP of 39, in contrast, seems high. Some power returned after the All-Star break last year, so the wrist injury may finally be behind him, but the 2005 season needs to be viewed as a gigantic outlier. He’s a nice player, but first base is an extremely deep position, and Lou Piniella flat-out doesn’t let him run, so he’s not someone you should be targeting in the third round.
Last Saturday’s Klitschko versus Ibragimov fight was a snooze fest. Congratulations Klitschko, you’re the best heavyweight in the world, and it’s still unclear if you have a right hand. Any form of MMA is eminently more watchable than boxing these days.
Being a Giants fan is a thankless job right now. I’m almost positive there are lineups in Triple-A that are capable of scoring more runs than San Francisco’s. The Giants haven't sent a homegrown position player to the All-Star Game since Matt Williams in 1996. Hard to believe, but Williams is also the last Giants farm product to hit at least 25 home runs in a season. Their current cleanup hitter had a .298 OBP last season.
I worry about Brett Myers switching roles so much, but he’s someone to target this season nevertheless. He’s not going to be as dominant as he was in the closer’s role now back in the rotation, but don’t forget, he posted a 1.17 WHIP and a 107:26 K:BB ratio over 100 innings during the second half of his last season as a starter. Some consistency and maturation would be nice, but hopefully that will come with age, as Myers is still just 27 years old. Philadelphia certainly shouldn’t struggle with run support, either.
My over/under for Rocco Baldelli’s days spent on the DL this season is 60 (-140).
Normally I shy away from pitchers who call the AL East home, but Dustin McGowan offers too much upside to pass on. The former top prospect took a little longer to blossom than most anticipated, but make no mistake, he’s the next big thing. After the All-Star break last year, he posted a 1.14 WHIP, .217 BAA and fanned 87 batters over 98 innings. His ERC of 3.10 suggests his 4.08 ERA on the year was a fluke and due to crash in 2008. Forget the declining Roy Halladay and the injury-prone AJ Burnett – McGowan will be the most valuable starting pitcher for the Blue Jays this season.
In honor of last Sunday’s Oscars, here are my 10 favorite films of 2007: 1. No Country For Old Men 2. There Will Be Blood 3. Juno 4. The King of Kong: A Fist Full of Quarters 5. Zodiac 6. Knocked Up 7. Superbad 8. Atonement 9. In The Valley of Elah 10. Eastern Promises
Grady Sizemore is my No. 2 ranked outfielder. It’s somewhat worrisome how much his running curtailed after the All-Star break last year, and I always prefer to see progress rather than regression, but his first half was quite amazing (15 HRs, 24 SBs), and this is a guy who had 92 extra base hits as a 23-year-old. Still just 25, there’s plenty of room for continued growth, and the 101 walks last season showed as much. He can handle southpaws, and if Travis Hafner bounces back, he should contend for the league-lead in runs scored. Remember folks, Sizemore matters.
Posted by Dalton Del Don at 2/26/2008 3:59:00 PM
|Fantasy Focus Wednesday: Joe Sheehan
|I hadn't blogged the last two shows, but we've had Will Carroll and Josh Levin (from Slate.com) on the last two days. Joe will be on to promote the release of Baseball Prospectus 2008, among other things.
Posted by Jeff Erickson at 2/26/2008 12:20:00 PM