Tag Archives: Alex Gordon

2012 Fantasy Baseball Prospect Preview: Part 1

Well, its March, so time to start rolling out my 2012 top prospect list. Every year, highly regarded rookies with little to no previous MLB exposure are looked to as possible fantasy contributors for the upcoming season. It may not surprise anyone that, for the most part, first year players struggle to live up to expectations for a myriad of reasons: inexperience against MLB-type opponents, lack of roster space/position blocking, fatigue, regression at the high A level, team control issues, etc. But this doesn’t stop us in the fantasy world from dreaming that we will draft the next Jason Heyward or Ryan Braun or pick up the next Mike Stanton, Kevin Maas or Shane Spencer off of waivers (Go Yankees!) – and hopefully avoid the next Alex Gordon (pre-2011) or Brandon Wood.

I will go through my top 20 ‘impact prospects’ for the 2012 fantasy season in two installments. Obviously ‘impact’ is an amorphous term, and nothing is more debatable than a list of players who have little to no big league experience.  However, I will use some definitions to try to make ‘impact’ more concrete. For hitters: ‘impact’ means at least 130-150 ABs and production at or above a .330 wOBA, or weighted on base average (check out http://www.fangraphs.com for more on this and FIP, used below for pitchers). Why .330 wOBA? Given that .330 is around league average from year to year, if a rookie can produce at or above that number, we will consider them to be more or less helping your fantasy team, at least on a back up level. Around that number, a guy should be giving you decent counting stats. For pitchers, it gets a little more complicated.  For starters we will use: at least 80 IP, a mid 4 ERA, and a low 4 FIP, or Fielding Independent Pitching, which tries to take out some of the random outcomes out of a pitcher’s control once the ball leaves their hands.  For relievers: 25 IP, mid 3 era and FIP to match.  Now, I know most fantasy formats do not use wOBA or FIP as categories; they are still too exotic for most and fantasy games are more about counting stats anyway.  However, you can rest assured that a good wOBA/good FIP usually is a good indication of solid fantasy production. For the definition of prospect, we will hover around the standard rookie eligibility definition: around 130 or less at bats, or 50 innings or less pitched at the big league level.  Some of these guys have their names all but penciled in on big league rosters, some are just complete crapshoots; some are not as talented as others, but have a much better opportunity to play everyday; most of you will disagree with me, and probably half of these guys will end up having well below league average numbers (50% was my success rate from 2011).  Anyway, on to the list with #20-11; 10-1 will follow next week:

20. Wilin rosario, COL, C – Given that the Rockies signed Ramon Hernandez this off-season, it looks like Rosario is probably another year away from being the everyday catcher in Denver. However, Hernandez is 36, and he may break down behind the plate sooner rather than later, and most definitely will need a lot of rest. If Rosario puts up solid power numbers in the minors as expected, he could get the call and provide great power from the catcher slot (combined 40 HR in a little over 700 PA the last two years in AA) as a back up/utility player. He probably won’t help average-wise – most catchers don’t – but he makes for an intriguing monitoring situation for later in the year when you make your playoff run, or when you are thinking about stocking up on young talent in keepers.

19. Tyler Skaggs, ARI, SP – Skaggs has ripped through A and AA the past two years, and his K rate, ERA, and FIP have all gotten better each year. His walk rate has held steady in the mid to high 2’s/9, a nice bonus for such a young arm, and he’s left-handed to boot. He will probably start in AAA if he holds his own in ST, and looks to be a notch below fellow prospect teammate Trevor Bauer. If he dominates the minors again, I can see him cracking the rotation during the summer, or at least making some useful spot starts. I highly doubt Joe Saunders, Josh Collmenter, and/or Trevor Cahill will all last a full season with the D’backs.

18. Shelby Miller, STL, SP – Miller’s upside screams ace, but not in 2012. I just don’t see the Cards rushing their best prospect to the majors, even though he probably could do as well or better than Kyle McClellan, Kyle Lohse, or Jake Westbrook. Be that as it may, given his prowess in A-AA the past two years (sub 3 ERA/FIP, over 10 K/9, around 3 BB/9), I would not be surprised if he is a late season call-up to bolster the back of the rotation if St. Lou is making a playoff run. His rank is only this low due to lack of opportunity.

17. Trevor Bauer, ARI, SP – Bauer has made only 7 professional starts, across high A and AA in 2011, but that was because he spent 09-most of 11 at UCLA, where he K’ed 203 in 136 innings his last year there. In the small sample size he has in the pros, he dazzled with a 17 and 14 K/9 in A and AA respectively, though he did have control issues, with above a 4 BB/9. Still, this guy can pitch, and the D’Backs look like they will give him a shot in the spring. Even if he gets some polish in AAA as expected, Bauer has the upside to make an impact in 2012.

16. Brett Jackson, CHC, OF – Jackson turns 24 this summer, and looks to have made progress every year in the minors, culminating in a .297/.388/.551 line in 48 games in AAA in 2011. He can run (20 SBs in 115 games in 2011), he has patience at the plate (13% walk rate), and flashes some pop (20 HR). More importantly, given the Cubs’ lack of OF talent and likelihood of being in rebuilding mode, Jackson should get a good amount of reps and have himself a solid rookie campaign on the North Side.

15. Zack Cozart, CIN, SS – Cozart is a bit old for a prospect, clocking in at 26, but he only just had his first cup of coffee last fall, where he performed amazingly for a SS, albeit in just 38 PAs (.324/.324/.486). Cozart looks like the lead pony to grab the starting SS job in Cincy in 2012, and could be a great late round speculative pick, possibly good for a 70/10/60/10 .270 season. You definitely could do worse picking much earlier at this thin position.

14. Julio Teheran, ATL, SP – Though he didn’t light up the majors in his 19 IP last year, Teheran remains a top-notch pitching prospect, one who could crack Atlanta’s rotation out of ST due to Tim Hudson’s injury and an open competition for spots 4 and 5; I don’t think it will happen though, as Atlanta has other, older options in Brandon Beachy, Randall Delgado and Mike Minor, and will want to be extra careful with their future ace. Teheran had a very good 2011 otherwise (7.6 K/9, 3 BB/9, 2.55 ERA, 3.06 FIP), and could have a productive 2012 fantasy season as a summer add-on/spot starter.

13. Jarrod Parker, OAK, SP – Once the Diamondbacks top pitching prospect, and now a member of the A’s, Parker should finally arrive in the majors full-time after he proved in 2011 that he was fully recovered from Tommy John Surgery which cost him all of 2010. Parker pre-surgery showed very good strike out abilities (9 K/9), but has often struggled with control (around 3.5-4 BB/9). With the A’s 3-5 spots wide open due to injuries to Dallas Braden and Brett Anderson (and Bartolo Colon the #2 at this point), Parker could see some substantial work in the majors this year right off the bat. His pedigree suggests that work will produce a decent output.

12. Jacob Turner, DET, SP – Turner impressed Detroit so much in his three AAA starts in 2011 (10 K/9, 1.5 BB/9) that he got the call when they needed some starts in September. Alas, he did not fare well during his call-up, but I’ll chalk that up to the usual rookie shock, as I feel Turner has the skill set, home park, and offensive backing to give you some solid counting stats. Turner should have a legit shot to compete for the 4-5 spots out of ST, if the Tigers feel like giving up a year of team control. If not, look for him to join the team during the summer when Detroit should be tired of looking to Rick Porcello, Phil Coke, and a cast of also-rans to fill out the rotation. I give him the edge over Teheran because of better opportunity, and over Parker because of health.

11. Addison Reed, CWS, RP – Our first – and only – rookie reliever featured, Reed  exploded onto the scene in 2011, going from A, A+, AA, AAA to the majors all in one year. Along the way, his K/9 never fell below around 12, his BB/9 never rose above around 2.5, and his highest ERA was in his 7.1 IP in Chicago (3.68), mainly due to a crazy high BABIP of .474. Reed is big, throws hard, and has the classic closer make-up. Just don’t draft him expecting a 2012 version of Craig Kimbrel (you really shouldn’t draft any closer expecting Kimbrel-like numbers, the dude had a ridiculous 2011).


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08.24.11 Box Score Breakdown: Fantasy MLB News and Notes

My team went on a rampage tonight and hit 8 HR. Tomorrow they will hit zero.

Onto it!

4th and Home Player of the Day: Joey Votto – 5/7, 2 R, HR, 4 RBI…All in a day’s work.

The Bats:
Willy Mo Pena – 3/3, 2 R, HR, 4 RBI…The village bicycle finds a home in SafeCo (sort of) and provides enough offense for 4 King Felix starts.

Nick Swisher – 2/3, 2 R, 2 HR, 3 RBI…Not enough gusto to get pasto the A’s. Next stop? Afghanistan!

Coco Crisp – 4/4, 2 R, 2 HR, 5 RBI…Coco went yardo like he was the Great Bambino.

Carl Crawford – 2/3, R, HR, 5 RBI…Could you imagine what the Sawx would be like if Crawford didn’t play like he cared?

Jacoby Ellsbury – 3/5, 3 R, HR, 2 RBI, SB…This is getting ridiculous. He must have 10 BSFUs this year.

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Weekly Minor League Recap

After a two week hiatus, minor league recap is back. Note: Baseball America updated their prospect rankings, but I am just going to stay with the ones from the beginning of the year.

AAA:

Jesus Montero, NYY, C, Scranton Wilkes-Barre Yankees (#3): Montero was starting to heat up at the end of June/beginning of July, going 8 for 26 with 2 HRs and 7 RBIs from June 28-July 3, but then he got placed on the 7 day DL with an injury. It isn’t major, so he should be back shortly. Would sure be nice if he keeps up that mini power surge when he does return. Unless the Yanks find an everyday spot for him, it doesn’t look like a call up is imminent, even with the rash of injuries to the big club. However, with A-rod now out for a month +, I wouldn’t put it past the Bombers to call up Montero to be the regular DH/back up catcher.

Adrian Cardenas, OAK, DH, Sacramento River Cats (unranked): Cardenas is hitting .263 in his last ten, with 4 walks and 4 Ks. Slugging is an abysmal .368 over that same period.

Brandon Guyer, TB, OF, Durham Bulls (unranked): Guyer got called up for a couple of games, but went 0 for 3 in his one appearance. He was sent back down after Sunday’s tilt against the Yankees.  He was hitting very well at Durham prior to that: .351/.429/.432, with 6 RBIs, 5 BBs, 2 SBs, and 8 Ks in his last ten.

-Yonder Alonso, CIN, OF, Louisville Bats (#73): Alonso slashed .263/.378/.526 in his last ten, with 2 HRs, 6 RBIs, 7 BBs and 8 Ks.

Jason Kipnis, CLE, 2b, Columbus Clippers (#54): Kipnis got hot again over his last ten, hitting .351 with 3 HRs and 8 RBIs, an OBP of .429 and Slugging of .622.  With Chisenhall now up, Kipnis stands a good chance of joining the Indians shortly as well.

-Desmond Jennings, TB, OF, Durham Bulls (#22): Jennings is still at Durham, for whatever reason.* Newsflash Tampa: Sam Fuld is not that great, legends and myths notwithstanding. He hit 2 HRs and stole two bases in his last ten, but hit .235/.350/.441. Stay tuned, you never know if/when the Rays will pull the trigger. *Apparently he actually fractured a finger, so he is out of commission for a couple of weeks at least. Oh well…

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Weekly Minor League Recap

AAA:

Jesus Montero, NYY, C, Scranton Wilkes-Barre Yankees (#3): Montero was injured for a couple of days (eye infection) last week and only played 1 game.  It seems to be a lingering issue, so stay tuned.

Brett Lawrie, TOR, 2b/3b, Vegas 51s (#40): The Lawrie call up will now be delayed for a couple of weeks, as the wrist injury is more than minor; he broke a bone in his left hand.  He still should get to Toronto once he heals up, as he was just days away from a call up pre-injury.

Adrian Cardenas, OAK, DH, Sacramento River Cats (unranked): Cardenas hit .290 in his last ten and only K’ed three times.  Since Jemille Weeks got the call up over him last week, not sure if there is any room for him in Oakland; then again, it is looking more and more like a lost season for the A’s, so no harm in giving Cardenas some MLB experience.

Jemille Weeks, OAK, 2b, Sacramento River Cats (unranked): Weeks got called up last week, and is hitting .333 with two RBIs, 1 K, and three runs scored.  He should stick around for a while, given Mark Ellis is on the DL.

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2011 MLB Spring Training Review: Week of March 27th

SPRING TRAINING QUICK HITS

Nyjer Morgan was traded to the Brewers. How do you get cut by the Nationals? That is pretty bad. In Milwaukee, Nyjer will be bottling beer with Laverne and Shirley and hope to share playing time with Carlos Gomez, to form the *biting palm* Lenny and Squiggy Duo Part Deux. Avoid.

Here’s what else happened this week…

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2011 Fantasy Baseball Prospect Preview: Part 1

8 home runs in a month? Coming right up (AP Photo/John Dunn)

Every year, highly regarded prospects with little to no previous MLB exposure are hyped as possible fantasy studs for the upcoming season.  It may not surprise anyone that, for the most part, first year players struggle to live up to expectations for a myriad of reasons: injury, lack of roster space/position blocking, regression at the high A level, financial reasons (read: arbitration eligibility deferral).  But this doesn’t stop us in the fantasy world from dreaming that we will draft the next Jason Heyward or Ryan Braun or pick up the next Mike Stanton, Kevin Maas or Shane Spencer off of waivers (Yes, I am a Yankee fan; I am enlightened) – and hopefully avoid the next Alex Gordon or Brandon Wood.

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2011 American League Central Previews- Royals

Today’s Focus: Kansas City Royals

The biggest news for the Royals this offseason is the loss of Zack Greinke. In return the Royals received Alcides Escobar, Lorenzo Cain and Jeremy Jeffress. Alcides Escobar is not only a HUGE defensive upgrade, he can also be a terror on the base paths and is a good contact hitter. Don’t let the 14 SB over the past two years fool you, anyone would have trouble stealing a base from the 8th spot in a National League lineup. He may be their top candidate for leadoff even though he can’t draw a walk. Lorenzo Cain also brings speed to the lineup but his Major League sample size is too small for us to make any solid predictions. Jeremy Jeffress looks to make an immediate impact in the bullpen while hitting 100 mph on the radar gun.

Billy Butler locked in at the 3 spot in the order. It will be interesting to see how the Royals handle the Eric Hosmer call up. The team would not have room for Hosmer, Butler and Kila Ka’aihue. Spring training will have to play out before we decide the odd man out in the 2B/3B situation. I would start Mike Aviles at 2B and Wilson Betemit at 3B until Mike Moustakas is ready, leaving Chris Getz the odd man out. Jeff Francoeur, Alex Gordon and a combination of Lorenzo Cain/Melky Cabrera will man the outfield.

The starting rotation for the Royals are nothing more than place-holders for the prospects waiting to arrive. Luke Hochevar is the staff ace (Hochevar a former #1 pick himself), followed by Jeff Francis, Bruce Chen, Kyle Davies and probably Vin Mazzaro. The bullpen is pretty right-handed unless Tim Collins makes the team. Robinson Tejeda is still the set-up man for Joakim Soria.

Notable Pick Ups: Alcides Escobar, Lorenzo Cain, Jeff Francoeur, Jeremy Jeffress, Vin Mazzaro, Melky Cabrera, Jeff Francis

Notable Losses: Zack Greinke, David DeJesus, Yuniesky Betancourt, Brian Bannister, Gill Meche

Look for the Royals and their revitalized lineup to pass the Cleveland Indians for 4th place in the A.L. Central in 2011.