Fantasy baseball podcast second base preview 2012. Top 10 second basemen, sleeper picks at second base, keystone rookies and feedback.
Monday, 30 January 2012
Saturday, 28 January 2012
The recent trade of Michael Pineda from the Seattle Mariners to the New York Yankees has created a lot of buzz, both in baseball circles and fantasy baseball debates. In regard to fantasy value, many people have stated that Pineda’s value immediately increases with his trade from the lowly Mariners to the mighty Bronx Bombers. Why is this? Simply because he will win more games. Or so the theory goes.
It got me thinking. Since Wins are an entire category in most fantasy baseball leagues, there is always the chance that pitchers will get over-valued simply because they play for good teams (and thus should have the opportunity to win more games). I don’t like chasing Wins. Never have. Never will. The deciding factors which come into play when determining if a starting pitcher will be awarded a Win are far too diverse and reliant upon external factors to ever be predicted accurately.
A talented pitcher may throw for seven solid innings, surrendering only one earned run but if his team’s offense scores no runs, that pitcher is faced with a loss. Conversely, a pitcher may go six innings and give up seven earned runs but if his offense comes up big with eight runs of their own, that pitcher gets a cheap +1 in the Win category.
So, what’s the bottom line? It is simply too unpredictable to go chasing Wins in fantasy baseball. By looking at other factors, you will be much better served.
Going back to the example of Pineda, he is moving from one of baseball’s worst teams to one of the best. As such, it makes sense to predict that he will naturally be in line to see an increase in his Win total and as such, his fantasy value is on the rise. However, pitching in the American League East is much more treacherous than pitching in the American League West so Pineda may be in line to see some regression in his outlying statistics such as ERA and WHIP. Is this risk worth the chance of an extra Win or two over the course of 30 starts? Toronto, Tampa Bay and Boston all scored significantly more runs than the L.A. Angels or Oakland Athletics in 2011.
A better strategy would be to draft and fill your fantasy baseball roster with pitchers who display extraordinary skills, regardless of the uniform they wear. Pitchers like Madison Bumgarner (SF), Cory Luebke (SD), Brandon McCarthy (OAK) and Scott Baker (MIN) all have shown talent and promising peripheral statistics but are often undervalued by your fellow fantasy owners because the teams they play for don’t pile up the wins.
By choosing pitchers from winning teams, you may give yourself an opportunity to be in a position to pick up a few extra Wins. However, by focusing on one category too strongly, you may just overlook pitchers who can help you in several other categories.
In fantasy baseball, the only Wins you should be chasing are those against your league opponents.
* Michael Pineda photo by Keith Allison [CC-BY-SA-2.0 (www.creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons
* Scott Baker photo by User Keith Allison on Flickr (Originally posted to Flickr as "0923 028c") [CC-BY-SA-2.0 (www.creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons
Monday, 23 January 2012
Tuesday, 17 January 2012
One look at the field of fantasy third basemen for 2012 and you will see there are a few elite players at the top before things start to get pretty thin, talent-wise. Grabbing one of these top flight picks early is not the only strategy, however. Don’t fret if you don’t walk away with Jose Bautista, Evan Longoria or Adrian Beltre. There are several players who turn out to be great sleeper picks at third base in 2012. Here are some of the third basemen of note:
Casey McGehee (PIT) –
This is a player to watch in spring training. He had a disastrous season in 2011 and should evade your fellow fantasy owners come draft day. Pedro Alvarez should get the nod at third base but he has struggled against lefties, whereas McGehee has had more success against them in the past. As a result, Casey could see some AB at third base spelling Alvarez against LHP. In addition, Pittsburgh’s situation at first base is murky so he may see time there as well. Only 2 years removed from a 23 HR, 104 RBI season, the new Pirate may regain some of the pop he showed in 2010.
Ian Stewart (CHC) –
On the surface it is easy to write off Stewart entirely. After all, if a player doesn’t produce at Coors Field, how can he be expected to put up numbers anywhere else, right? However, it is not quite that simple. Stewart’s undoing is his propensity to strike out, which wore thin with the Rockies brass last season, leading to a minor league demotion and eventually to a trade to the Cubs. Stewart has 20-25 HR power and Chicago has a hole in their line up to fill with Aramis Ramirez moving north to Milwaukee. As long as you have batting average help elsewhere on your roster, you can settle for the power numbers he’ll bring.
Edwin Encarnacion (TOR) –
One of the things that make Encarnacion such a sleeper for 2012 is that your fellow fantasy owners should pass on him due to the fact that Toronto is crowded at third base (Brett Lawrie) as well as at first (Adam Lind). Encarnacion has been playing some left field in winter ball and may see some AB there (as long as Eric Thames continues to struggle against LHP). Also, EE may see the lion’s share of at bats from the DH slot in 2012 giving him some fantasy upside. Health is a concern, however.
Scott Sizemore (OAK) –
The Tigers gave up on Sizemore after he struggled to hit big league hitting during brief stints in both 2010 and 2011, shipping him to Oakland. As an Athletic, he started to show both patience and power. A full season with his new club may yield some decent numbers. Keep in mind he is expected to hit in the bottom third of a weak offense so as long as you temper your expectations for big run producing numbers, Sizemore should be a pleasant surprise in 2012.
Don’t fret if you miss out on the big names at third base for 2012. You may just find a diamond in the rough hiding at the hot corner.
* Casey McGehee photo by Spaluch1 [CC-BY-SA-3.0 (www.creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0) or GFDL (www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html)], via Wikimedia Commons* Edwin Encarnacion photo by Keith Allison (Flickr: Edwin Encarnacion) [CC-BY-SA-2.0 (www.creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons
Saturday, 7 January 2012
Second base is an interesting position for fantasy baseball owners to be sure. There are very few elite players at the position (Robinson Cano and Dustin Pedroia), so it is often a position that is left until the later rounds to be filled on most fantasy squads. As a result, finding a fantasy sleeper pick at second base can go a long way to success in the middle infield on a fantasy roster. Here are some potential fantasy sleepers at second base for 2012:
Jason Kipnis (CLE) –
A converted center fielder, Kipnis made some noise at second base for the Indians last season before being shelved with a strained hamstring. Although he can’t be expected to keep up the power pace he was on prior to the injury, 15 HR are likely. In addition, expect around 75 RBI hitting in the middle of a pretty decent Cleveland line up. Not too bad for a middle infielder.
Jemile Weeks (OAK) –
The younger brother of Milwaukee’s Rickie, Weeks showed some surprising speed atop the Athletics batting order in limited action in 2011. The surprising part was due to the fact that Weeks only stole a total of 41 bases in 4 minor league seasons. The downside is he doesn’t walk nearly enough (4.8 BB%) and the Oakland offense won’t be driving him home enough to score a lot of runs. The upside? 30+ SB and a .300 average, which is a great deal in the later rounds of your draft.
Jose Altuve (HOU) –
Altuve made the jump to the majors right from Double-A in 2011 and played pretty well considering the pressure of hitting out of the number 2 hole in the Astros batting order. He makes good contact and could reach 25 SB in 2012. At a mere 21 years old, we may yet see a slight uptick in his power numbers as well.
Neil Walker (PIT) –
There were many who felt Walker was primed for a big breakout in 2011. Although he played in 49 more games, he couldn’t top the 12 HR he put up in 2010. However, he did deliver 83 RBI last season. Even more impressive was the fact that he drove in runs regardless of where he hit in the line up, and the Pirates bounced him around often. If he settles into the middle of the order on a consistent basis in 2012, 100+ RBI are within reach. Also, a bump to 20 HR in his third season is not out of the question.
Johnny Giavotella (KC) –
After starting out hot with the Royals, Giavotella slumped and ended up having surgery to repair a torn hip labrum in the off season. However, he is expected to be ready for the start of spring training and has some potential for 2012. He will be out to prove he deserves to play (at least until prospect Christian Colon is ready) so he may just surprise in 2012.
Kelly Johnson (TOR) –
In 2010, Johnson put up a stat line of .284/.370/.496 while with the Diamondbacks. With some time to get used to the American League, he should get back close to those numbers. If the Jays continue to hit him near the cleanup spot in their batting order as they did in September, Johnson should be a nice sleeper pick.
If you are like many fantasy owners and wait until the later rounds, especially in deep leagues, these fantasy second basemen sleepers might be just what the doctor ordered to solidify the keystone slot on your team.
..* Jemile Weeks photo by Keith Allison on Flickr (Originally posted to Flickr as "Jemile Weeks") [CC-BY-SA-2.0 (www.creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons
* Neil Walker photo by dbking on Flickr (Original version) UCinternational (Crop) [CC-BY-2.0 (www.creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons
* Kelly Johnson photo by Keith Allison (Flickr: Kelly Johnson) [CC-BY-SA-2.0 (www.creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons
Friday, 6 January 2012
Wednesday, 4 January 2012
Many fantasy baseball owners will scoop up first basemen early in their draft and with good reason. First base is a position which traditionally will provide you with a big bat in your line up and is often a premier source of power, average, run production or all three. As a result, many owners will try to make sure they get a first baseman early in the draft or spend a good chunk of their budget bidding on a top tier first sacker for their roster.
However, some owners like to take a different approach to fantasy baseball first basemen and wait until the later rounds in the hopes of trying to snag a bargain, or fantasy baseball sleeper, as they are known. If you are looking for a fantasy sleeper for your first base roster position or simply are looking for a sleeper pick to add to your bench, these are some players worth considering:
Paul Goldschmidt (ARI) –
I’m usually averse to high strikeout hitters as the hemorrhaging batting average can cripple a fantasy team. However, 25-30 HR power is there and double digit stolen base numbers are not out of the question either. If you’ve got some strong batting average help in other areas, Goldschmidt may be a late-round bargain to boost your power numbers.
Gaby Sanchez (MIA) –
His 2011 season was a virtual carbon copy of his 2010 rookie campaign. That being said, players often experience a bump in their third season in the big leagues and Sanchez is already 28 years old. He projects to hit 6th in a pretty potent Miami line up and may just provide some nice numbers as a late round pick up.
Freddie Freeman (ATL) –
Many observers felt Freeman was capable of around 15 HR in his rookie season of 2011. He delivered a nice surprise by swatting 21 HR last year. As he starts to leverage his big frame (6’5”, 225 lbs), he may approach 25 HR in 2012. He has also shown the ability to hit for average and with no first basemen in the organization even close to challenging him for playing time, he should receive plenty of AB in 2012.
Kendrys Morales (LAA) –
Last time we heard from Morales, he was a solid .300/30/100 hitter and went by the name Kendry. A freak ankle injury has robbed him of the past season and a half. He has resumed hitting and jogging but his status for spring training is in question. With a stacked line up in Anaheim, there is a chance Morales could be traded. Wherever he ends up, Morales is nothing more than a late round gamble at this point. In other words, he’s got sleeper written all over him.
Ike Davis (NYM) –
The Mets are bringing in the fences for 2012 and Davis projects to hit cleanup. A season of 25 HR and 80-90 RBI is a real possibility. Throw in a solid batting average and you’ve got yourself a late round gem. There have been rumors of a possible trade but Davis’ ability to deliver power, run production and average will make his bat a valuable one regardless of where he plays. Watch him closely in spring training for any ill effects of last season’s injury. If all is well, consider him a bona fide sleeper.
Eric Hosmer (KC) –
Don’t be surprised if Hosmer hits 30 HR, 100 RBI with 15 SB in 2012. That puts him near the top 5 of the position. However, sophomores are almost always risky business in fantasy baseball so you might want to temper those expectations a little. He’ll hit out of the cleanup spot again in 2012, so if Hosmer is available in the mid rounds, grab him. He’s worth the gamble.
If you are one of those fantasy baseball owners who likes to wait until the later rounds looking for a fantasy sleeper pick, these first basemen may just give your roster the boost it needs to succeed in 2012. Good luck!
* Paul Goldschmidt photo by Mwinog2777 (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-3.0 (www.creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0) or GFDL (www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html)], via Wikimedia Commons* Freddie Freeman photo by dbking on Flickr (Original version) UCinternational (Crop) [CC-BY-2.0 (www.creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons
* Eric Hosmer photo by Keith Allison on Flickr [CC-BY-SA-2.0 (www.creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons
Monday, 2 January 2012
The position of catcher is often a tricky one for fantasy baseball owners. Often, the position is left until the later rounds in the fantasy draft and owners hope to simply pick up a catcher who will not hurt their fantasy roster too badly. One thing that can easily make or break your team is picking up a fantasy baseball sleeper for your catcher. When waiting until the later rounds in your draft, you will be hoping to nab yourself a sleeper pick, essentially a player who will provide better statistics relative to those players selected ahead of him. The key is to find players who slip past the other owners in your league and fall right into your hands, helping to deliver you a fantasy baseball victory.
Some catchers to consider as potential sleepers for the 2012 season:
Nick Hundley (SD) –
Hundley has settled into a pattern of amassing less than 300AB, under 10 HR and 40 or less RBI. Things most likely will not change in 2012. However, multiple injuries to his wrist, hand and elbow have essentially taken the bat out of his hands the past 4 seasons. He surged in August and September last year and leaves hope that he can produce over a full healthy season. He has 20 HR power and may challenge that benchmark in 2012.
Chris Iannetta (LAA) –
I know what you are thinking...if a hitter doesn’t produce in Coors Field, what can we expect from him now that he no longer calls that park home? With a trade to the Angels, Iannetta should finally get a shot at more playing time in 2012. Hitting in one of the better line ups in the AL won’t hurt either. Any offense featuring Pujols is a potentially explosive one. Add to this the fact that Iannetta replaces one of the lightest-hitting catchers (Jeff Mathis) in all MLB, and Iannetta is primed to get a good opportunity to shine with his new club.
Ramon Hernandez (COL) –
It’s been awhile since Hernandez had any fantasy clout (the 2006 season, to be exact) but with a move to Coors Field, anything is possible. He hasn’t cracked the 315 AB mark in 3 straight seasons but with the change of scenery, if he gets to 400+AB, he could net 15+ HR and 60+ RBI. That may put him ahead of several other late-round catchers and giving him some sleeper potential to boot.
Buster Posey (SF) –
When a player starts his season a third of the way into the campaign, wins the Rookie of the Year Award and hits cleanup for the World Series champion, he is something special. When that player is a catcher, he’s even better. A collision at the plate caused him to miss the majority of 2011 due to injury. That may just keep enough owners away from drafting him early and let him slip right into your hands. A healthy Posey gives you a good batting average and the potential to hit 20 HR.
Kurt Suzuki (OAK) –
Suzuki’s fantasy value stemmed largely from his ability to deliver RBI while hitting in the middle of the Athletics batting order. In 2011, he was dropped down in the line up and saw his RBI total drop from 71 in 2010 to 44 last season. Hideki Matsui and Josh Willingham saw the lion’s share of the time hitting in the middle of the order in 2011. With both no longer in Oakland, Suzuki projects as the team’s cleanup hitter once again. Expect a nice rise in RBI if this happens.
Geovany Soto (CHC) –
Soto hit the same number of HR (17) last season as he did in 2010, however it took him 100 more AB to do it. He also saw his BA plummet to a fantasy roster-killing .228. He seems to have fallen into the pattern of alternating good and bad statistical seasons. Hope for the trend to continue and for Soto to rebound in 2012.
Salvador Perez (KC) -
An imposing figure both behind the plate and at it (6’3”, 230lbs), Perez has shown some pop in his bat in the minor leagues, including opposite field power. While no one expects him to sustain the .362 BaBIP of 2011 (in a small sample size of 148 AB), he showed the ability to hit the ball with some authority for the Royals last season. Although a bit of a free swinger, Perez is still figuring out his game at 21 years of age and may surprise a few people in 2012.
Remember, it’s not where you draft your fantasy baseball catcher in 2012, it’s how well he performs relative to his draft position. If you nab yourself a gem in the late rounds who puts up first round numbers, you have what it takes to start winning your league. Good luck in 2012!
..* Nick Hundley photo by SD Dirk on Flickr (Originally posted to Flickr as "Nick Hundley") [CC-BY-2.0 (www.creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons
* Ramon Hernandez photo by Keith Allison on Flickr [CC-BY-SA-2.0 (www.creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons
* Geovany Soto photo by Jauerback (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-3.0 (www.creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0) or GFDL (www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html)], via Wikimedia Commons