Over the next few months, both here and on various other Internet Web Sites around the Internet, you’re going to read a lot about prospects.
Prospects are sexy. It’s easy to gloss over their flaws, because those flaws are just projections. Sure, Bubba Starling might strike out 30% of the time, but he could go for 30/30. Yes, Carlos Martinez is short, but what if he can stay on the mound. It’s the “can” that we fall in l0ve with, and that’s perhaps especially true when evaluating prospects for fantasy purposes.
What tends to get lost in all of the annual prospect hype is the “post-prospects” who’ve lost that shiny rookie eligibility but can still help or hurt your team. No one wants to talk about these players anymore because our preconceived notions of what they could be are already tarnished or affirmed. Continue reading →
As with most Cuban imports, there is a lot that we don’t know about Alexander Guerrero. With the unknown comes additional risk – which of course provides risk takers with the opportunity to make a ton on their investment. There’s no clearer example of this than those who were willing to go all-in on Dodgers’ outfield sensation Yasiel Puig. As much of a mystery as Puig was, he did have 23 games of minor league experience under his belt entering the 2012-13 offseason, giving prospective fantasy owners at least something tangible to base their dreams off of. There’s even less information out there on Guerrero, though to his benefit there is probably less misinformation too. Reports on Puig’s conditioning and attitude colored people’s opinions and while he certainly does have an attitude, it wasn’t the type to impede him from developing into a real-life and fantasy stud.
When the Twins announced that Joe Mauer would move to first base on a permanent basis a few weeks back, fantasy owners around the world cringed. Mauer will be an excellent hitter no matter where he plays, but the thought of losing yet another impact fantasy catcher is unpleasant: after all, Victor Martinez and Mike Napoli will lose eligibility this offseason, and Wilin Rosario could follow in Mauer’s path and lose eligibility before 2015.
Younger players like Devin Mesoraco, Travis d’Arnaud, Yasmani Grandal and Mike Zunino will do their parts to help ease the sting of losing stalwart fantasy catchers, but they don’t possess the same upside as many of the players listed above. It’s difficult to project anything on such a macro level, but it appears as though the market for elite catchers could become even more competitive over the next two-or-so seasons.
Yet way up north in Minnesota, on a team with relatively few enticing fantasy options, live three potential Top 20 fantasy backstops for 2014. Despite the power-suppressing tendencies of Target Field, a weak lineup and concerns over playing time, the Twins could prove a savior of sorts for those in AL-only or two-catcher leagues this season.
When I get bored, I like to look through the rosters and transaction logs of the teams that won some of my leagues. I found a common name this year in Brandon Phillips, whose 103 runs batted in surely helped a lot of teams even with the dropoff in steals. He went pretty high in redraft leagues, so it’s not like he was a steal or anything, it’s just that 100+ RBI from a middle infielder isn’t really par for the course and probably gave a lot of owners a nice little boost. Amid all of the recent talk of the Reds shopping Phillips hard this offseason, I couldn’t help but wonder what I would do with the 32-year-old second baseman if he was on my fantasy dynasty league roster. Despite the great season in 2013, and all of the consistently good numbers over the last few years with the Reds, I read this in the little ESPN player blurb about Phillips:
“This is bad news for those who own Phillips in dynasty leagues, as his value would drop significantly in a less potent lineup.”
I’m not sure it’s just the lineup that is going to hurt him if (or when) he gets moved. But I also think there is no reason to throw the baby out with the bathwater. Over the last 5 years, he’s been one of the top 5 or 6 second basemen in every standard roto category with the exception of batting average. Continue reading →
I’ve written about some of my current fantasy leagues/teams in this space before, though I’ve yet to discuss the league I’m about to. For a primer on that, check out what I wrote for Fake Teams a while back, because this will be very much the same exercise. Here are the basics:
25 man rosters
4 DL spots
15 man minor league system
C, 1B, 2B, 3B, SS, LF, CF, RF, Util, Util lineup
SP, SP, RP, RP, P, P, P, P rotation
Because of the deep rosters, multiple DL slots and the fact that you can keep anyone on your farm team as long as they’re below rookie limits or are currently in the minor leagues, the league plays extremely deep. There is a three round minor league draft held in February, followed by a three round major league draft. Most roster turnover comes in the form of trades. I thought it might be instructive for some to see the thought process that I go through in terms of building my team. For disclosure’s sake, Bret joined this league this offseason. I had a good team and made moves, some good, some bad. I did reach the playoffs though I lost in the first round. Oh yeah, and I’m the LA Dodgers. Here goes nothing:
Wil Myers took home the American League Rookie of the Year award in predictable fashion, giving the Tampa Bay Rays three ROYs in the past six years. Evan Longoria won the award in 2008, and Jeremy Hellickson followed suit in 2011.
Hellickson went 13-10 in 29 starts that season, posting a 2.95 ERA and 1.15 WHIP with 117 strikeouts and 72 walks in 189 innings. But since winning the award, Hellickson has been a peanut butter without the jelly sandwich, posting a 4.13 ERA and 1.30 WHIP with 259 strikeouts and 109 walks in 351 innings.
Out of 74 qualified starters since 2012, Hellickson’s 17.5-percent strikeout rate is 18th lowest (so not quite Kevin Correia bad), and he also holds the seventh-highest FIP alongside Joe Saunders, at 4.41, according to FanGraphs. Continue reading →
It’s not often that a first round pick can be labeled a sleeper, or fail to receive a ton of attention. Even rarer when that prospect has put up good numbers throughout his career. Yet that’s exactly where we stand with Tampa Bay Rays prospect Jeff Ames. Selected with the 42nd overall pick in 2011, Ames was a supplemental first rounder and has been somewhat lost in the slew of early picks Tampa Bay has made in the last few years. Despite striking out over 26% of batters at each of his first two stops, and posting an ERA under 3.00 in his most recent two stops, Ames has flown under the radar.