First off, I would like to say Eric Sogard should be the Face of the MLB; that vote was rigged in David Wright’s favor. Baseball needs more nerdy-looking, glasses-touting, Bernie-leanin’, jive-walking players. But without further ado, here is the AL West Spring Training Showdown. (You can check out the AL Central Spring Training Preview here and NL East Spring Training Preview here.)Please, blog, may I have some more?
I just went over the top 10 for 2014 fantasy baseball and the top 20 for 2014 fantasy baseball. Most of you know how I feel about catchers. If you draft a catcher any time before the first 100 picks, you don’t know how I feel about catchers. Let me freshen up your cocktail with a splash of insight. I don’t draft top catchers in one catcher leagues. I Reggie Roby them. Last year, Napoli was the top ranked catcher at the end of year. He was the 11th best 1st baseman. The best catcher can’t spray aerosol deodorant on the top guy for another position. Everyone was crazy about Buster Posey last year (everyone except me). Buster Posey did about as much as Kendrys Morales. Lowercase yay. In the top five catchers last year were Lucroy, V-Mart, Rosario and Molina. One guy was drafted in the top 100, and that was barely. No one should draft a top catcher because there are no top catchers. They’re all hot garbage with a side order of stank. Catchers are unreliable to stay healthy; the job is grueling and takes its toll on offensive stats. There’s not much difference between, say, the tenth best catcher and nothingness. Jarrod Saltymochachino, Jason Castro and Salvador Perez were the 8th, 9th and 10th best catchers last year. All of them were on waivers in shallower leagues as late as July. Only the depth of 2nd basemen is worst, and I say punt them too. Yes, I am saying punt the positions that are most scarce. Finally, a reason that is new to this current crop of catchers — they’re actually deep in mediocrity. You can draft the fifth best catcher or the 12th best and they’re tomato-tomato said with a different emphasis. Because I ignore the top catchers doesn’t mean I’m starting the top 20 catcher list at number twenty-one; some of you might want to know the top catchers. You can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make them draft Devin Mesoraco. In two catcher leagues, catchers are a little more valuable, but I’d still prefer to avoid them. You can see other top 20 lists for 2014 fantasy baseball under 2014 fantasy baseball rankings. Listed along with these catchers are my 2014 projections for each player and where the tiers begin and end. Anyway, here’s the top 20 catchers for 2014 fantasy baseball:Please, blog, may I have some more?
Maybe it’s the rush of the holiday season with two kids or the fact that some major cash is flowing in free agency, but I feel like this year’s offseason is just whizzing by. This will be the last sort of “stat review” for SAGNOF before I head into the territory of value plays for steals in 2014. This post will lay out some of the best and worst catchers in terms of their caught stealing percentages (CS%). Keep in mind that pitchers have a lot to do with holding baserunners as well, and you can find my previous post on the best and worst pitchers against the stolen base here at Razzball. A quick note on the catcher tables – I sorted them by qualified and non-qualified catchers. “Qualified” catchers played more than 1/2 of their team’s games, while “non-qualified” catchers played less than that. Catchers who split times between two teams, like Kurt Suzuki, also end up on the “non-qualified” list. The league average caught stealing percentage in 2013 was 28%, and that hasn’t really changed much over the last 3 years (27% in 2012, 28% in 2011). Last but not least, consider that playing time situations can fluctuate with free agent signings and trades, creating new opportunities for previously non-qualified catchers as the offseason transactions continue. Green columns indicate guys that are easy to run against, and red columns designate the toughest to run against:Please, blog, may I have some more?
Sean Connery enjoyed the landing of B-Weezy.
So it’s official. Just in time for your playoffs or late-season run for a title, Matt Cain has joined Jason Heyward and Rafael Betancourt, all recent casualties, on the DL. Even though the X-ray’s came back negative after Cain got hit by a line-drive on Thursday, Bruce Bochy said it was too soon to say whether or not he would make his next start. A mere seven hours later, which I guess was not too soon anymore, it was decided that Cain would not only miss his next start, but at least three. You’d figure with such a big head, Bochy would have a better grasp of time. And, you know, bullpen usage. Granted, this season wasn’t shaping up to be Cain’s finest and was pretty up-and-down (more down) in general. But his second-half ERA of 2.84 and improved walk rate were representing an expected regression. So the timing couldn’t be worse, especially since the Giants are not postseason bound and really have no reason to rush a recovery. Relevant. Here’s what else I noticed yesterday…Please, blog, may I have some more?
Like Billy Joel, Alfonso Soriano is washed up and in a New York state of mind. Don’t tell A-Rod, Christie Brinkley is his type of gal. Soriano getting traded to the Yankees is the best news for him in some time. That’s the magical elixir calling to fantasy baseballers (<–my mom’s term!). Soriano will now revert back to his younger self — when he was still in his forties — and start mashing the ball, stealing bases and doing an extra springy hop when he catches fly balls. Playing for the Yankees is a youth tonic made of juniper berries and grounded-up mints Steinbrenner hoarded from restaurants. There’s just an air about playing with other guys in their fifties that brings everything to life. It’s a real life Cocoon in the Bronx. Don Ameche will be played by Vernon Wells, Wilford Brimley will be played by Travis Hafner and Alfonso Soriano is Steve Guttenberg! Girardi might be the third youngest guy on the bench. Birth certificates are inconclusive. Or! Soriano is who he is at this point. This second scenario seems more likely. It’s not like Wrigley is a bad hitters’ park. Nothing’s gonna change for him in Yankee Stadium. He could hit a few homers, give you a .260 average and throw out his hip at a moment’s notice. Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:Please, blog, may I have some more?
If you’re squeamish, don’t watch the video of Tim Hudson getting hurt. That’s what they say. This is like saying, “Your Christmas (Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, Festivus) presents are under the tree (Star of David, Star Jones, pole) and they’re unwrapped, but don’t look at them.” Is there anyone in the history of mankind who’s ever heard the phrase “don’t watch this because it’s too gruesome” and has actually stopped watching it. That sentence is brain crack! It’s like your brain neurons suddenly start moving around like a Roomba in a closet, bumping into the sides, trying to get out. So, with that said, I wouldn’t watch it. Hudson will need surgery and is out for the year. Well, if Eric Young was gonna step on his foot like THAT I wouldn’t have been speculating for two months who was going to get bumped for Brandon Beachy. I’ve been saying for the last two months that I don’t own Beachy. I think he’s going to give a lot less than what you’re expecting. Tommy John surgery causes most pitchers to lose control when they first return, and Beachy has a 5+ BB/9 in the minors. That would be near the worst in the major leagues. Edinson Volquez looks at that walk rate and says, “Whoa, pardner.” You know the guy from Shadesville at the horse track who goes around picking up discarded race tickets hoping to find a winner, if you pick up Beachy, you might resemble that guy. Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:Please, blog, may I have some more?
The love has been sucked out of the room for Justin Upton. His fantasy value went skydiving. After it went Rocky Mountain climbing. He went from totally chic to totally geek in 2.7 seconds on the back of a bull named “You, Man, Are Phooey.” (Where I grew up bulls had thoroughbred-like horse names.) If we can all remember back to April, with her freckles– Oh, wait, was thinking of the wrong April. I meant the month. *embarrassed Lisa Simpson giggle* In April, Upton look the world by the nuts and put a roof over every homeless person’s head. Turned out that those roofs were just sheets of matzoh and they got soggy during a rain-out in May. May you’re supposed to bring flowers! Upton’s HR/FB in April wasn’t maintainable (38.7%) and his badonkadonks flattened. He’s also not a 1 homer per month guy. On our last 30-day Player Rater, he has a -$7 value. That’s the same as Sugar Shane Robinson and Pedro Flori-none and Lyle Overbite. That’s not even near Upton’s value. His owners are panicked. Was Upton a one month guy? If he’s healthy, he’s not. He’s just slumping. This is a guy that regularly touched .800 OPS and is now barely cracking .550. I see no reason why he can’t be a 5-homer, .280 hitter every month for the rest of the year with a handful of steals. If someone has him and is sick from his roller coaster ride, I’d strap myself in sans barf bag and trade for him. Anyway, here’s some more players to Buy or Sell this week in fantasy baseball:Please, blog, may I have some more?
The afternoon started with Matt Harvey. He pitched a stellar 7 innings with 13 Ks, but Terry Collins sent him out there in the 8th after throwing 110 pitches, which lead to two singles and a walk, three runners that the bullpen let in. After the game, Collins said, “I felt bad for Duda (who blew a chance for a Harvey no-hitter by not covering first base on Heyward’s infield single). I couldn’t let Duda make the only Metsake of the game. I was going to keep pitching Harvey until he screwed up. He’d have started the nightcap, if necessary.” Fortch, it wasn’t necessary, as the nightcap brought on Zack Wheeler‘s debut with a line of 6 IP, 0 ER, 9 baserunners (5 BBs), 7 Ks. To summarize, it was shaky as all get-out at first. He looked like he couldn’t hit the broadside of Precious. Then he either calmed, or realized something — if he could locate, no one could hit him. He can easily be as good as Harvey, but I’m guessing it won’t be until next year. Last night was the best you could’ve hoped for. To summarize that summary, he was shaky, then solid. To summarize the summary’s summary, Zack good. Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:Please, blog, may I have some more?
I have to admit that I am completely tired of talking about all the Nick Green‘s and Hector Jimenez‘s of the fantasy baseball world. I could use a one-week recharge from rummaging through the free agency trash heap of our deep leagues, which means you do to. I’m the driver, so you never really had a choice anyways. That being said, today’s subject might be useful as you begin to get a feel for what your team is and what it needs. Whether or not you are thinking about buying for a run at the championship, or already day-dreaming about drowning your team in a fire-sale, I’d like to tackle some players you should be asking for as throw-ins. And by throw-ins, I’m talking about prospects outside of the Top-100 that you should ask for in every trade proposal. My goal is to name names that aren’t expensive, don’t move the dynamic of your proposal, but could pay dividends a couple years down the road. Remember, there were 1,026 players taken in the 1988 draft before Mike Piazza. Let’s find ours.Please, blog, may I have some more?
Scenario: Jim Leyland has been a part of a clinical trial to prove cigarettes cause mental illness. On off days, Leyland sits in a hotel room with a monkey and a scientist and they all smoke Camels. All three of them wear nothing but tighty-whiteys and they order out to Papa John’s, which always takes longer than anticipated because they have the pizza man put the pie in a mailbox, so no one knows where they are. After a few hours, Leyland is presented with a few different ink blotches that are clearly just innocuous butterflies. The monkey tries to correctly identify the ink blotches, but the scientist shushes the monkey and waits for Leyland. Inevitably, Leyland always says each ink blotch is Jose Valverde. Second scenario: The closer, who was ineffective last year, is given the closer job again because he’s the best arm in the bullpen. Okay, which scenario seems more likely to you? Agreed, Leyland has officially lost his crackers. “Okay, I know I put some Saltines down on the bench. Where are THEY?!” That’s Leyland after losing his crackers. Either way, Valverde will be joining the Tigers this week and Leyland says he’s the Tigers closer. “Are those cracker crumbs on your jersey, Don Kelly?!” When Leyland walks to the mound to change pitchers, he should just signal to the bullpen by twirling his finger by his ear — the universal sign for he’s crazy. Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:Please, blog, may I have some more?