We at Razzball realize that exporting our views across the country has damaging consequences on the blogosphere. To help make amends, we are reaching out to leading team blogs and featuring their locally blogged answers to pressing 2013 fantasy baseball questions regarding their team. We feel this approach will be fresher, more sustainable, and require less energy consumption (for us anyway). The 2013 Diamondbacks Fantasy Baseball Preview comes courtesy Jim McLennan from AZ Snakepit.
1) With a trade that seemingly only Kevin Towers gets, the D-backs traded Justin Upton and Chris Johnson for Martin Prado and Randall Delgado. Ignoring the real baseball perspective on this trade, what is your evaluation from a fantasy perspective? Does Prado’s value go up, down or stay neutral with this trade and where would you be targeting him in fantasy drafts this year?
I think Prado will be a little more valuable from a fantasy perspective. He is expected to play most of the time at 3B this year for Arizona, but as he had 25 appearances there for Atlanta, he probably won’t be adding any positional eligibility as a result. The question is, can he be expected to repeat his impressive 2012 performance, where he hit .301, stole 17 bases and had a career-high in RBI. I think the results there will be mixed. He should be helped by a move to Chase Field, which is one of the most hitter-friendly parks in baseball, and he will probably get to spend some time, at least, lower in the order. He started 140 games at second for the Braves, but Kirk Gibson likes to ring the changes in the line-up, and I can see Prado also hitting anywhere from third to fifth, which should help his RBI tallies. In a 12-team mixed league, around the ninth round seems about right.
2) After finishing 4th in the balloting for the Cy Young award in 2011, Ian Kennedy fell back to Earth in 2012 with a 4.02 ERA and a 1.30 WHIP. So who is the real Ian Kennedy? His 2011 version, his 2012 version or something in the middle and would you draft him in 2013?
Kennedy’s 2012 was definitely disappointing; as in most cases, I suspect the reality is somewhere between there and the 2011 version, probably closer to 2012. I don’t think Kennedy strikes out enough people to be considered a “true” fantasy ace, but the main problem last year was a sharp spike in his home-run rate, to 1.21 per nine IP. Given a career average of 1.04, that should regress, and help his ERA improve somewhat, but I would be expecting something around 3.60 as an ERA, personally. It’s the opposite scenario for him, with Chase inflating the numbers a bit: for fantasy purposes, that rarely matters of course. He’ll certainly be draftworthy, but I wouldn’t even consider him in the first six or seven rounds.
3) Aaron Hill had a very strong campaign in 2012, hitting 26 HRs while stealing 14 bases and hitting .302. With the new contract and his roller-coaster career track record, is there any concern that Hill will struggle and where would you rank him amongst 2Bs for 2013?
Hill loves hitting in Chase, and has done nothing but that since coming from Toronto: he has batted .304 with Arizona, and that’s now 189 games and over 800 PAs, so I tend to think he is fairly legit. There wouldn’t be many better if he can sustain that: Robinson Cano, Dustin Pedroia and Ian Kinsler are probably the only ones who are clearly superior. I put Hill in the next tier, alongside Brandon Phillips and Jason Kipnis. His power makes him especially valuable, given a position where there are not very many on whom you can probably rely for twenty home-runs.
4) The 5th spot in the rotation is open to the D-Backs pitching public. Who do you think wins that spot in the rotation and will that pitcher be fantasy relevant for 2013?
The fifth spot was originally looking like a three-way dance, between Patrick Corbin, Tyler Skaggs and Randall Delgado, but the latter two have struggled badly in spring, while Corbin has yet to allow an earned run. Now, we’re talking a small sample size – five innings, in fact – but it seems that Corbin now has the spot to lose, and if he remains healthy, will likely be the occupant on Opening Day. Like Kennedy, he will largely be defined by his ability to keep the ball in the park: Corbin wasn’t too successful in doing that during his starts last year, but his BABIP of .319 was also higher than one would expect. I don’t think he’ll be troubling most draft owners this season, at least until he has proved himself a bit better.
5) It’s late July and the Dbacks look revitalized and are in the thick of the NL West hunt. What’s the biggest story that’s guiding them there?
A) Cody Ross starts striking out too much so they bench him in favor of Willie Bloomquist who goes on to lead the league in steals and grittiness
B) Brandon McCarthy is on pace to pitch 200 innings for the first time in his career.
C) Adam Eaton finally starts getting all the paychecks that had been going to the older Adam Eaton and goes on an offensive tear
D) Goldschmidt is putting on a show and is on pace for a 30 HR, 15 SB season.
E) Tony ‘The Squirrel’ Campana begins nesting in Kubel’s beard. This really has nothing to do with anything, I just wanted to put that image in your head.
That would be C), Adam Eaton, who has the potential to be a Rookie of the Year, in a class without any obvious standouts, unlike last season. He has done nothing but hit in the minors, with a career average there of .355. Now, those are definitely inflated by batting .381 last season in Reno, which is close to a mile high and doesn’t have a humidor. But, if you’re looking for good average and stolen bases, then he’s an excellent sleeper pick. McCarthy’s health is definitely a factor: if he can avoid the DL stints that have plagued him for one reason or another, the contract signed with the D-backs could be a real bargain for the team. But the key word there is definitely “if”, and that’s by no means a given. As for beards, I’ll have you know Jason Kubel has been supplanted by Josh Collmenter:
Never mind Tony Campana, I think Wrigley Stadium is in there somewhere…