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Archive for the ‘Fantasy Baseball’ Category

Check out my article over at Razzball.
Hope you enjoy.

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This past Saturday, I had the opportunity to go watch my hometown Twins play the Houston Astros. With a match up of Brian Moehler and Scott Baker, I expected an easy win for the Twinkies. However, that was not the case as they lost 6-5.

What surprised me is that Brendan Harris led off the bottom of the 1st with a homer, and Delmon Young, yes that Delmon Young who can’t hit the broadside of the Metrodome, hit a homer in the second.

Whatever happened to Young’s potential? Scouts raved about him before the ’08 season, but since then everyone is claiming he’s a bust? Seriously, the Twins seem to have gotten fleeced this time in the trade for Young and Harris for Garza and Bartlett. About time that the Twins tasted their own medicine. However, I don’t think one can make an accurate claim quite yet that the Twins got the short end of the trade. Give it another year or so. For example, most thought the Twins got the shaft when they traded AJ Pierzynski to the Giants for Boof Bonser, Joe Nathan, and Francisco Liriano. Well, after a few years, we all know who got the better end of that deal.

Needless to say, trade evaluation is difficult to objectively accomplish until several years after the trade (think the Michael Vick conundrum in 2001 where the Chargers traded down to number 5 and got LaDainian Tomlinson and the Falcons chose Vick number 1). I would venture to say that the Chargers got the better end of that trade, especially since they drafted Drew Brees with their second round pick that they got for trading down.

See, it isn’t until emotions are removed that one can see what side of the trade is better after the seasons have been played. However, this Young+Harris+Pridie for Garza+Bartlett seems to be quite onesided, but let us have history make the correct call in several years.

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It feels like it has been, well, forever. After securing a weekly Scouting the Unknown for Razzball, I am hoping to ease myself back into some sort of fantasy blog again this summer. This may become increasingly difficult as the summer progresses as my grandfather is nearing the end of his mortal time line, along with a stressful summer job that pays expensive private college tuition. Needless to say, at least a weekly post should be doable. Enough with season introduction formalities.

This year, more than last, seems to be surrounded by extraordinary amounts of prospect hype ranging from Strasburg, to Hanson, to Maybin, to Andrus, to Wieters, etc. Seriously, when did baseball become like football? The NFL draft and rookies have so much expectations placed upon them. Deemed as the next best thing, or the savior of the franchise, or worst, the next _____!

In recent years, baseball has been surprisingly blessed with Ryan Braun and Evan Longoria. They rose to the occasion and have become amazing ball players. But for every Braun or Longoria we have players like Marty Cordova (who one the Rookie of the Year in 1995) who hasn’t done anything since. Tommy Hanson and Matt Wieters are being hyped beyond sane believes. Its great that they have amazing talent, but very few times does their talent pan out in their rookie seasons. Wieters is struggling mightily so far this year, and Hanson has a so-so first start.

Why so much pessimism? It’s not because I am bitter or even vengeful. Instead, its because I see ESPN at the root of the problem trying to create buzz and “insight” while they ignore the complexities of a players rookie year. For example, look at Stephen Strasburg. He is the “next best” pitcher to every hold a baseball. USA Today recently that talked about Ben McDonald, who in ’89 was considered everrything that Strasburg is. How did his career turn out? Well he had mild success posting 78 W, 70 L, 3.91 ERA and a 1.26 WHIP in a 7 year career marred by injuries.

The thing as will all rookies is you never know. You never know who they will react to the intensity of professional sports, the demand the media places upon the rookies, or if the scouts were right. There are so many variables that are often unaccounted for when talking about rookies/prospects that I want to vomit.

Enough for this rant. The following articles will provide more insight and quality. For now this is what it is.

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Omar Vizquel, the human vacuum has been signed by Texas displacing any possibility of Elvis Andrus having any fantasy value this year.  That is unless the “Hands of Silk” has a physical breakdown in his dinosaur years, which is likely.  However, the Rangers need a SS that will not punt the ball to the outfield grass 32 times like Mr. Andrus accomplished to do in 109 games; that is an error every 3 1/2 games.

This move obviously fills the time gap until Elvis matures into an everyday SS.  Moving Michael Young over to Third may have been a bit preemptive, though in the long run secures an opening for Andrus to fill in when need be.  I expect the Rangers to make the smart me (though that is not always the case) and start Elvis in the minors for at least the first two months of the season.  Elvis’ peripherals are not that amazing even considering his age.

To put his minor league totals in perspective with a major leaguer of equivalent age  in the minors we have to use Delmon Young (yes the Delmon Young who was suspended for 50 games).  Delmon Young’s slugging percentage was .880 (career minors, A,AA, and AAA) while Elvis Andrus’ slugging percentage is .707 (career minors, RK, A, and AA).  Delmon Young accomplished his numbers in 185 AB less, hit 44 more homers and stuckout less.  What Elvis strives at is stealing bases.  The only thing right now you can assume with Andrus is his stealing ability.  I would take Carlos Gomez before I would take Andrus, for sole fact that Gomez has an additional season of experience.  Buyers beware

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Each, and ever off-season a number of moves leave even Bill Bavasi scratching his head. large_yanks26Today is one of those days. Surprisingly, it was the Yankees, who have splashed and danced this winter into a hot fiesta. However, every party must include a foolish act by even the best behaved.

The Yankees continue their off-season frenzy by signing Melky Cabrera and Xavier Nady each to one year deal today (1/21/2009). These signing make little sense unless they are planning to trade either Nick Swisher or Nady. Their outfield is loaded with Hideki Matsui (though a DH), Cabrera, Nady, Swisher (who will not play first because of the Teixeira signing), Johnny Damon, and Brett Gardner.

Matsui will clearly be a DH this year, leaving the other five outfields battling for playing time. Sure Spring Training tends of produce a few unwanted injuries, but there are still too many players for to few playing spot. The Yankee’s would benefit from a trade of Swisher or Nady because they would yield the most return. Instead of trading the future for the present, the Bronx Bombers would be wise to trade a part of the past for the future.

The wisest move to be made, though trades never look wise to begin with, (a la AJ Pierzynski (MN) to SF for Boof Bonser, Francisco Liriano, and Joe Nathan) may be to trade Swisher, unless of course you enjoy paying a part-time player full-time wage. Though trading Nady might have more return because of his value right now.  It is amazing what a career year has for players. Maybe I am wrong!?! Maybe I underestimate the powers of Brian Cashman’s level of genius. Yet, questioning the Yankees moves more often than not looks better than their post-season record this past decade.

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Back with the ever so thrilling Scouting the Unknown (or STU as I like to call it).  However, because it is the off-season there will be a few more ‘larger’ names thrown into the mix.  It will be more Scouting the Unknown about lower tier/overrated players.  Sure, its a cop out, but you tell me 3-4 new players that no one is looking at this off season… who was? … Fair enough and you thought I was crazy? Silly you!

Onto the plan…:

Mat Gamel (BREWERS)– Gamel has proven at each step he has taken he’s ready.  2008 was a brilliant year for this young slugger hitting .329 96/19/96  (Ave R/HR/RBI) in a little over 500 AB.  Not to shabby for a 22 year old in Double-A.  He did play in 5 AAA games with very little success, maybe it was his bum elbow.  Over at ScoutingBook.com they say he is, “A polished pro hitter, Gamel has all-fields line drive swing with developing power.”  Due to his defense, which is suspect to say the least, he may not be even in the mix for a while,  that is unless they want to see if he can hit like Braun and dismiss all defensive liabilities he will provide!  I would expect to see him during a late May–early June call up.

*For a wonderful article on Matt LaPorta, Mat Gamel, and Chris Davis here is an excellent article. ps- Matt LaPorta hit .167 in winter ball…

Blake DeWitt (LAD)– Sure he started all season, but why?  He only hit .268/.344/.383(Ave/OBP/SLG) with 45/9/52.  To put that into perspective, Carlos Gomez hit .258/.296/.360 with 79/7/59 plus 33 steals.  Sure Gomez was at that top of the order- for about 6 weeks.  Nevertheless, DeWitt should be inline for a DeMotion.  Those numbers, especially at 3B is pitiful, no horrendous is more like it.  If he was a catcher I would put up with it, but 3B? Are you kidding me? Are you… wait never mind.  His minor league numbers say it best- .280/.333/.446 and 277/61/270 in over 1900 AB.  That doesn’t look any better.  You are now looking at maybe a .012 improvement in his average, and at a season total of 60/16/65.  Nothing to look at here.

Cliff Lee (CLE)– I am sure you are wondering why Cliff Lee made this list…(refer up about, oh say 4 inches) OVER… RATED…!!! *chirping in the outfield, crickets whittling on their violins*  Easily a career year, 1.5 ERA less than his average, and .2 WHIP less than his career average too.  Sure he has always had a great winning percentage, but his numbers have never shown that he could dominate like he did last year.  Even his best year in the minors (2003) didn’t translate into big league success.  At age 30 he is past his prime (even for pitchers), and I would avoid him like the plague.  Just remember the year Bartolo Colon had after his CY Young…? Yea me either (he hasn’t had a full season since (2005)).  Don’t ever draft a historically late round pick… Yeah, I know, I am bitter because he should not have been so good last year.  It was a fluke beyond all flukes.  Like the Falcons beating the Vikings in ’98!

Hopefully this will tide you over for the next few days.

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It has been quite some time since my last post.  I am ashamed to say that school took more time out of my life then I anticipated.  Over the next few months I am hoping to continue the “Scouting the Unknown” segment of my blog, along with some random tidbits of baseball news.  As a full time college student time is scarce and sacred. However, as spring training nears, baseball becomes more of a priority.  Please mention any segment ideas, players to scout, or other critiques that you may see or want to address.  I am open to possible changes in writing styles, topics, etc.
Until later (the next week or so)…

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