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Earlier this week, I played guarantee fairy by marking guys likely to rebound or drop-off based on their BABIP differentials (actual vs. expected). Justin Morneau was a red flag because his expected BABIP is 34+ points lower than his actual BABIP, however this is the case for other Rockies, Brandon Barnes and Troy Tulowitzki even more-so. Charlie Blackmon and Nolan Arenado are just behind Morneau as well. What I’m saying is that it’s a generalizable (Colorado) effect, and isn’t too much of a concern in Morneau’s case. The lineup stack probably exacerbates the effect as well.

On the other hand, while Prince Fielder is likely to rebound based on expected BABIP, the ground ball increase and hitting into the defensive shift is really hurting him, meaning I think his issues will somewhat sustain all year.

For this post (using this same matrix), let’s look at some MLB catchers and corner infielders to replace Matt Wieters and Brandon Belt long-term, and who should rebound at least from an expected BABIP perspective (<10% ownership on ESPN as of 5/12). Here is how I have them ranked:

Catchers:

1 – Josmil Pinto (1.4%)

2 – Yasmani Grandal (.6%)

3 – Mike Zunino (4.7%)

4 – Dioner Navarro (6.2%)

5 – Travis d’Arnaud (1%)

Corner Infielders:

1 – Ike Davis (1.2%)

2 – Mitch Moreland (1.2%)

3 – Cody Asche (.8%)

4 – Mike Olt (3%)

5 – Mark Reynolds (7.9%)

6 – Matt Dominguez (2.4%)

7 – Mike Moustakas (7.6%)

Catchers:

Lost Matt Wieters? Whatevs…

You have a sundry of solid options: d’Arnaud, Zunino, Grandal, Navarro and Pinto. If I had to pick one for a 5×5 league, I would still have to go with Josmil Pinto or Yasmani Grandal. I wish d’Arnaud made believe he was hitting in the Pacific Coast League again. Or as I did in my Razzball Commenter League (RCL): Trade your catcher that you drafted i.e. Wilin Rosario + another asset or two for top-5 talent and then pick-up Grandal/Pinto or Zunino. Thanks for Paul Goldschmidt ‘Minnesota Mice’.

Grandal is the most likely to increase his discipline from here-on-out, and he’s shown impressive power (3 HR since 4/30), however I think Josmil Pinto is about to break out…again. He has 6 hits in his last 3 games, has the 42nd best walk to strikeout ratio in the bigs this year (it’s only his 2nd season) plus after Zunino, he has the best raw power from this group. The pop-up rate and line drive rates should come back to earth, which would both increase his value. If you’re in an OBP league, he could be a monster for you moving forward this year and I think he should be more of a .255+ AVG here-on-out too.

Navarro has an elite contact/swinging-strike rate this year, if you want a .285 catcher without the counting stats.

Corner Infielders:

Sorry, but don’t bother with Mike Moustakas

I had to remove C.J. Cron from my list as he’s approaching >10% quickly which is sure to rise with two homeruns in his last two games.

What about Mike Moustakas? First, let’s look at the good: Clearly, we should figure Moustakas’ .141 BABIP should approach his expected BABIP of .264 and while his K-rate jumped a little, he’s actually making more contact and whiffing less. The pop-up rate keeps decreasing too and the related flyball and homerun average distance shot up 15 feet from last year. However, he’s visually pressing, getting platooned and hitting into the shift. The shift effect in conjunction with his lack of speed and hard-hit% will continue to kill his BABIP.

No other CI on this list is effected the same way as Moustakas is from a defensive shift perspective. As of May 9th, per Jeff Zimmerman’s ‘Players Shifted Compared to Last Year’ list, only 24 big leaguers have been shifted against more than Mike Moustakas. HE HAS LESS HITS INTO THE SHIFT THAN ALL 24 OF THEM.

As the air heats up and the balls start flying (gosh I wish I owned the entire Colorado stack), keep an eye on Ike Davis who is showing solid discipline and heating up again; Cody Asche who is getting more at-bats even against lefties now and Mitch Moreland whose actually batting .301 (thanks to an elevated 31% line drive rate). I’d use all three in very deep 5×5 leagues as my utility guy unless I solely need homeruns where I naturally go with Mike Olt.

 

Follow Dano on Twitter @Rotobanter

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  1. LarryA says:
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    When Belt eventually comes back, would you rather have Belt or Napoli? Hes a FA in my league now, but i dont know if its worth it to pick him up and occupy a bench spot while waiting, especially if I already have Napoli as my 1B

    • Dano

      Dano says:
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      @LarryA: close call – napoli is actually making a ton more contact/whiffing less —significantly but belt has the higher babip potential. in an obp league its a no brainer (napoli). I also think napolis hr/fb could go up while belts will go down so i guess belt unless you really need the 10+ point difference in average.

  2. TJ says:
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    I was able to snag Wilson Ramos off the waiver wire right before Wieters went down, so he is essentially my replacement. But man, he has been terrible since getting back. How long of a leash do I give him, when I have available options like Derek Norris, Kurt Suzuki, John Jaso, AJ Pierzsynki, or Carlos Ruiz?

    • Dano

      Dano says:
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      @TJ: i love ramos, but injury could be risky/effecting his power. I’d try to play norris out until he cools off.

  3. Matt says:
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    The forum says to not use any “vulgar” language and then you have segment called “Deep Impact”….that’s just Wong..hehe

    • Chicken Dinner says:
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      @Matt: You my friend R.A. Dickey. Getting sick of this sticky Seimen play time situation. If your staff isn’t getting the job done, how about Fister? I’d say just Dickerson but, wrong position. If you’ve got Furbush you’ve gotta trim that. Also, your gonna be hard pressed to convince me of the benefits of having Asdrubal in the 2 hole.

      • Matt says:
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        @Chicken Dinner: Just wanna make sure that when you say 2 hole you are talking Pujols, right?

        • Chicken Dinner says:
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          @Matt: Correct.

          • Chicken Dinner says:
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            @Chicken Dinner: I didn’t mention it early because I assume it’s obvious but, the Braves look castrated with Cox.

            • Dano

              Dano says:
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              @Chicken Dinner: haha – my least favorite atlanta outfielder: Felatio Upton…eh?! eh?! ;)

    • Dano

      Dano says:
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      @Matt: =) i mean B==D~ ? inapp.

  4. stonepie says:
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    thank you for that xbabip article, im spent (wasted?) so much time looking guys over on that. ive been using that to go with their batted ball distances/distribution and plate discipline to try and find some diamonds in the rough.

    chase headley was the #1 guy for me when adding all of these things together. he looks like he’s in 2012 form again- hitting the ball further and making MORE contact than his career year.

    • Dano

      Dano says:
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      @stonepie: yeah – better contact/whiff rates means K% could drop. Hr/FB might be a little inflated again BUT he is approaching the 2012 HR/FB average distance (296 feet/#41 overall right now). Only a unlucky babip is killing his value right now. Validating it’s an unlucky babip is that most of the effect is on his line drives which are more likely to fall for more hits.

      …i.e. I like him.

  5. Pete says:
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    Which of these CI guys could you see swapping for Matt Adams in an OBP league? He’s not doing anything and I’m about out of patience. You think Ike Davis’s discipline would make him a good add?

    • Dano

      Dano says:
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      @Pete: id prefer matt adams – i know it’s been rough, but the air will get warmer and those bats around him including him will heat up.

  6. Ryan says:
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    I have drafted jason heyward the past 2 seasons and have been dissapointed both years.

    Should I drop him for Brandon Moss or Jay Bruce?

    My bench is allready full with injured players( zimmerman, harper, kipnis, trumbo)

    • Dano

      Dano says:
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      @Ryan: then id prefer moss over the 3 although i believe bruce is back within 2-3 weeks.

      keeper league? id prefer bruce over trumbo – prob even this season and as a keeper. id certainly play moss over heyward.

  7. RapCity says:
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    Have only frequented Razzball for a year, just curious: do y’all cover the MLB draft at all?

    • Dano

      dano says:
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      @RapCity: good ? …are you on twitter? I suggest you asking @Razzball… I assume some. Of our prospect guys would.

  8. BOBBY says:
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    Dan:

    My OF consists of Alex Gordon, Pegan, Melky, Desmond Jennings and Heyward

    Assuming Calhoun and Hamilton get activated off my DL next week, which of the 5 should I keep moving forward?

    Also what are your thoughts on Bauer moving forward (I picked him up for your boy Salazar)

    Thanks,
    BOBBY

    • Dano

      dano says:
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      @BOBBY: I’d def roster Bauer. Any of those OF’S would be hard to drop. From a name value perspective I’d look to trade Gordon and heyward. Pair them for an upgrade maybe.

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