Yesterday, the Twins traded Aaron Hicks to the Yankees for serial-killer-in-name-only, John Ryan Murphy.  Here’s what I said earlier this year, “When Hicks first came up, people thought he was going to be better than that Pollock fella.  No, not a stereotypical dumb person, but as in A.J. Pollock.  In Double-A, Hicks had 12 homers, 32 steals and a .285 average.  Then strikeouts enveloped his game in the majors and he hit .192 with a 27% K-rate in 2013, and hit .215 with a 25% K-rate in 2014, but this year, .277 and a 17% K-rate!  That’s a huge improvement.  That’s what she said!  What?” And that’s me quoting me!  On a side note, am I the only that sees K-rate and then tries to chop in half a wooden block while screaming hi-ya?  “Today, Daniel-san, we will talk about K-rate.”  No?  Okay, maybe it’s just me.  *Grey does a flying crane kick*  “Oh, he’s been practicing his K-rate.”  Still nothing?  Okay, I’m moving on.  One more Pollock comparison that is likely coincidental but I’m gonna throw it out there.  Pollock didn’t break out until his age-27 season and Hicks is only 26.  Okay, one more Pollock comparison, Pollock never stole 39 bases in the minors leagues, but just did it in the majors.  Hicks never stole more than the aforementioned 32 bases, but that means nothing.  Okay, fine, one more Pollock comparison!  Pollock never hit more than ten homers in the minors and he just hit 20 homers in the majors.  So who cares Hicks never hit more than 13 homers in the minors.  That’s still above anything Pollock did.  Okay, and I really mean it this time, one more comparison to Pollock.  The excitement I had last year for A.J. Pollock when I called him a sleeper is nearly identical to the excitement I have right now for Hicks.  Okay, okay, one final thing on Pollock!  The mistake I made last year when I didn’t draft him after flagging him as a breakout won’t be repeated with Hicks.  Let’s go over quickly what Hicks did last year, he hit 11 homers with a 11% home run to fly ball ratio, which is completely repeatable, so last year in 155 games he would’ve had 18 homers.  He also had 13 steals and four steals in September.  If he stole 4 bags every month, he’d have 24 steals.  Last year, he had a .256 batting average with a .285 BABIP, which is low for him.  He’s got some speed and a .310 BABIP isn’t out of the question (he had years of a .340+ BABIP in the minors).  If he gets to a .310 BABIP, he’s going to hit .270.  Really, that’s not a stretch, which is also a nickname no one ever called Altuve.  18 HRs, 24 steals with a .270 average on the year?  If he would’ve done that, I’m not sure we’d even be talking about Hicks as a sleeper, but rather as a top 20 outfielder.  And this isn’t me fighting hard to get him to these numbers.  Like a migrant worker, I’m cherrypicking a little with the steals by saying he’s going to get four a month because he did that in September, except (!) he’s likely closer to a guy that could take six bags per month.  When Steamer projects Hicks for 10 HRs and 11 steals with a .256 in 2016, it doesn’t worry me.  It actually makes me more excited because that means most people aren’t going to be excited about him.  Steamer is very conservative and doesn’t flag breakouts; that’s my job.  For 2016, I’ll give Hicks the projections of 82/15/52/.274/26, assuming the Yankees find a way to get him a starting job this offseason, which seems all but assured.  So, my question for you is, who’s the Pollock now?  Anyway, here’s what else I saw this offseason for 2016 fantasy baseball:

Greg BirdYanks GM Cashman said that unless there’s an injury to Teixeira or A-Rod, Bird will start the year in the minors.  Then an A-Rod voodoo doll fell out of Cashman’s pocket, then as he bent over to pick it up, he ‘accidentally’ tossed the voodoo doll in front of an 18-wheeler.

Byung-ho Park – The Twins posted the money to talk to Park, and I’m assuming they’re gonna sign him.  True story, I went to a Korean baseball database to find Byung-ho Park’s stats, but first I wanted to see again what Jung-ho Kang had done in Korea, so I typed into the search field “Kang.” There were two pages of results.  A Dong Woo Kang, a Sung Woo, a Sang Soo, a Jang Ho, the Jung Ho and, the lesser known to you, Han Wool.  That reminds me, when I was younger, I used to wear Han Wool while I got a Dong Woo.  Any hoo!  (Or maybe that’s Any Ho!)  I found the info I was looking for (Kang hit 40 homers in his last season in Korea.)  Another tidbit I came across was ex-major leaguer Eric Thames hit 47 homers in Korea this past year.  He’s 28 years old.  Know who else is 28 years old?  Byung-ho Park, and he hit 53 homers last year in Korea.  Another major league washout, Yamaico Navarro hit 48 homers last year in Korea in his age 27 season.  Yamaico’s claim to fame was Brad Ausmus trying to put him on his head for Jewish ceremonies, and hitting two homers in 79 games in the majors.  Thames did better in the majors, but still not great, which is why he’s in Korea.  Kang didn’t do poorly last year in his initial MLB season (15 HRs, .287), but he obviously didn’t have the same level of success as in Korea.  Since every player is different, I’m not saying Byung-ho will come here and put up a 15-18 HR season while hitting .280, but Korea to the U.S. is a difficult transition, so I also wouldn’t expect much more.  For 2016, I’d expect Eric Hosmer at the top end and Adam Lind at the low end.  I’ll give Park the projections of 72/20/79/.272/2 if the Twins sign him.

Brad Miller – Acquired by the Rays with Logan Morrison and Danny Farquhar back in early November.  A trade in early November?  I feel like Fetty Wap when he accidentally puts a pirate eye patch on the wrong eye.  I can’t be seeing this right.  But that’s what the news outlets are telling me.  I actually print out news articles and then paste them around my house on top of electrical outlets, because I’m carrying on for Big Pun.  Miller gets a small boost getting out of Seattle, because A) The Mariners never felt fully committed to him.  B) Safeco.  C) There’s no C.  Tropicana isn’t exactly Coors and the Rays don’t commit to anyone at any position either, so Miller is likely still going to Tokyo Drift around the field.  For 2016, I’ll give Miller the projections of 54/14/60/.261/12 in 450 ABs.

Nate Karns – Sent the other way in the Rays/Mariners trade.  Also going to the Mariners was C.J. Riefenhauser and Boog Powell.  Great pickup with Boog; now Safeco will be the best place to get legit BBQ in the Pacific Northwest.  Nobody does barbecue like Boog Powell!  As for Karns, he was a streamer in 12-team and shallower leagues last year, and I still see that likely happening.  He does get Safeco now, though, so there’s a chance he goes from streamer in April to being ownable in all leagues by May.  For 2016, I’ll give him the projections of 11-8/3.77/1.25/162 in 170 innings.

Josh Hamilton – Underwent another procedure on his knee because it had been almost a month since his last one.  Gotta fill up that stamp card!

Dylan Bundy – Shut down in the AFL after a setback.  If setbacks are a category in your league, I’d take a long look at Bundy.

Stephen Strasburg – Had a non-cancerous growth removed from his back about a month ago.  The technical term for that is mela-no-more.

Albert Pujols – Had foot surgery for his plantar fasciitis that was about five years overdue.  Typical recovery time is four and half months.  *counts down months with fingers, lowers one finger with December, lowers 2nd finger for January, lowers 3rd finger for February, lowers 4th finger for March, chops fifth finger in half*  That takes us to around March/April.  Wouldn’t shock me to hear all during spring training about how Pujols will miss the first month of the season, then around Opening Day we’ll hear how he’s due back the first week of the season.

Michael Brantley – Underwent shoulder surgery and will miss five to six months.  *tries to tape together fifth finger, it falls off*  Okay, I’m gonna go out on a limb without the use of my fingers to help me count and say Brantley will be back some time around the end of April.  Perhaps even earlier.

Alex Reyes – Suspended for 50 games for marijuana.  If he’d been on 40-man roster, he wouldn’t even be tested, except when he got to the “snack cabinet” and Matt Adams saw him.

Lance Lynn – Underwent Tommy John surgery and will be sidelined all of the 2016 season.  In related news, Dr. James Andrews just bought a Ferrari to take him from his front door, down his driveway to the door of his Lamborghini.

Carlos Quentin – Announced that he is going to attempt a comeback.  I suggest he read Don Rickles’s autobiography.  Announcing you’re going to try a comeback sorta takes the zing out of it.

Yasiel PuigDodgers said they asked Puig to get leaner.  Yasiel asked if he could just “change my name to Sizzlean Puig.”

  1. Gray's Sports Almanac says:
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    I’m excited for Carlos Quentin in 2016 like I am for Rex Manning’s follow up single to “Say No More, Mon Amour”!

      • Gray's Sports Almanac says:
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        @J-FOH: you are right jack, we should ask sky when Rex Manning day on RB should be

        • Sky

          Sky says:
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          @Gray’s Sports Almanac: My bros, it’s April 8th. The director used the date to recognize the day they found Kurt Cobain’s body. There’s some symbolism behind that, y’all can figure it out.

          • Grey

            Grey says:
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            I had no idea it was so deep

            • Sky

              Sky says:
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              The movie was actually supposed to have a more serious tone. Studios made them reshoot almost everything to make it more campy but obviously there was enough there to make it a cult classic.

              • Grey

                Grey says:
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                Do you have the Empire Records Criterion Collection DVD?

                • Sky

                  Sky says:
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                  Why own something you can just recite by memory?

                  • Grey

                    Grey says:
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                    That’s how I feel about Michael J. Fox’s autobigraphy

                    • Sky

                      Sky says:
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                      How do you recite squiggly marks?

                  • Grey

                    Grey says:
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                    @Sky: haha, ouch

                    • Sky

                      Sky says:
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                      Hey, you have shown to me that MS Fox jokes are kosher around here. I learned it by watching you!

                    • Grey

                      Grey says:
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                      I can because I’m his biggest fan

          • J-FOH says:
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            @Sky: Sky, our man on the streets

      • seph meier says:
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        @Grey:

        When you get time watch empire records!

        • Grey

          Grey says:
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          The movie with Stephen Tyler’s daughter?

          • J-FOH says:
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            @Grey: you should know this. Empire Records is like Sky’s Shawshank

            • Grey

              Grey says:
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              Really? Don’t know anything about it other than Liv Tyler being in it… Thought it was a ripoff of that other record company movie…

              • J-FOH says:
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                @Grey: its a record store

                • Grey

                  Grey says:
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                  Was that Ethan Embry I saw? Without looking, alive or dead?

                  • Gray's Sports Almanac says:
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                    @Grey: it’s actually a pretty good movie (kind of a guilty pleasure movie), similar to my secret love of milli vanilli

                    • Grey

                      Grey says:
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                      Comparative to Milli Vanilli? Well, why didn’t you say so!

                  • J-FOH says:
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                    @Grey: alive! I saw him on the walking dead a few weeks ago

                    • Grey

                      Grey says:
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                      Ah, I don’t watch TWD, any good?

                    • J-FOH says:
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                      It’s my shameless guilty pleasure. Season one is great. After that you’re on your own own.

                    • Grey

                      Grey says:
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                      Yeah that’s the problem with TWD, I know if I start it I’ll want to continue and I haven’t heard great things about the seasons after the first

                    • J-FOH says:
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                      It all depends what takes you away from a show. If you were watching season two in real time then I could get some peoples argument. But I power watched it knowing better things were coming and season two introduced some of the better characters. It’s not a overly deep show, just surviving the zombie apocalypse by any means necessary and the tough decisions you have to make to survive. Just watch season one and go from there

                    • Grey

                      Grey says:
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                      Yeah, I don’t see it happening… It’s not my COT

                    • J-FOH says:
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                      thats good, I prefer having something to myself that I dont have to share with you

                    • Grey

                      Grey says:
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                      Right

      • Sky

        Sky says:
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        @Grey: Crawl back into your bunker, you old, scruffy goat

        • Grey

          Grey says:
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          That’s G.O.A.T. Nah’mean?

          • Sky

            Sky says:
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            Yeah, you’re the goat alright:

            • Grey

              Grey says:
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              Damn, I thought that was going to Jim Breuer

              • Sky

                Sky says:
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                Haha, Breuer…that man did a great AC/DC impersonation!

                • Grey

                  Grey says:
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                  He is underrated, should’ve had a bigger career

                  • Sky

                    Sky says:
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                    You know he starred in Half Baked, right? You were part of the problem!

                    • Grey

                      Grey says:
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                      Yeah, I did know, that movie was part of the problem

                    • Sky

                      Sky says:
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                      Just go watch The Bridges of Madison County and leave the rest of us cool kids alone

                    • J-FOH says:
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                      @Sky: I thought Yentil was Grey’s Half Baked

                    • Sky

                      Sky says:
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                      I’m not sure, all I know is his first attempts at a rap career were a little saddening:

                    • Grey

                      Grey says:
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                      Streep is a tour de force!

                    • J-FOH says:
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                      @Sky: if Grey would just watch Half Baked

                    • Sky

                      Sky says:
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                      Grey doesn’t like to be culturally aware. It happens when you get old, you just stop caring about those things.

                    • Grey

                      Grey says:
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                      Grey is culturally aware, leave Grey alone!

                    • Sky

                      Sky says:
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                      Grey doesn’t know what ‘they killed Killer, B’ means because of his bad taste in movies!

                    • Grey

                      Grey says:
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                      Grey doesn’t want to know!

                    • Sky

                      Sky says:
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                      We’ll get off your lawn!

                    • Grey

                      Grey says:
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                      I just planted fertilizer, is all.

                    • J-FOH says:
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                      @Sky: Grey was old in 1998?

                    • Grey

                      Grey says:
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                      No, Grey was not, get out of here!

                    • J-FOH says:
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                      sky said you were old, I just asked, stop going all get off my lawn on me old man

                    • Grey

                      Grey says:
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                      Haha…I’m like cheap wine, I never get old

                    • J-FOH says:
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                      if you’re like cheap wine then that means you take a virginity every day

                    • Grey

                      Grey says:
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                      Or cause people to spew hot vomit… BTW, I’m addicted to changing the cotton… Now I change it like every day… It’s the best!

                    • J-FOH says:
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                      Im glad that two years later you took my advice

                    • Grey

                      Grey says:
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                      Can’t wait to watch Walking Dead in 2018!

                    • J-FOH says:
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                      here is one of the best deaths of the show

                    • Grey

                      Grey says:
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                      I’m not gonna watch that in case I want to watch the show some day

                    • J-FOH says:
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                      I figured you never would. Good for you showing restraint

                    • Grey

                      Grey says:
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                      I’m the Karma Sutra of YouTube clips

                    • J-FOH says:
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                      that’s funny because Sky is the Ganesh of all clips

                    • J-FOH says:
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                      dah, that was suppose to say the ganesh of gifs

              • J-FOH says:
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                @Grey: why did I know he would post that video….bacuse he goated me when we shared that hotel room *shudders*

                • Grey

                  Grey says:
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                  @J-FOH: *shudders*

  2. PK says:
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    Even if the Yanks don’t move one of Gardner/Ellsbury/Beltran, playing time certainly looks plentify, given the injury history of the latter two. Unless Cashman stockpiles more redundant outfielders, which is always a possibility…

    Conversation from last offseason:
    Exec: “Brian, we really need to address our middle infield.”
    Cashman: “Who is our fifth outfielder again? I feel like we should focus on that department.”
    Exec: “Sigh. I guess I’ll go see if Stephen Drew is available. Again.”

    • Grey

      Grey says:
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      Ha! Well played… I don’t think Gardner is long for the Yanks and Beltran will be put to asleep this spring

  3. Halp

    Mike HC says:
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    Funny stuff on Pujols and Reyes.

    Not as confident that Hicks will truly be a full time starter next year, although there is no need to speculate because by the time the draft comes along we will have a much better idea.

    • Grey

      Grey says:
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      Yeah, agreed…But I’m guessing Hicks is the starter

  4. Dr. Kenneth Noisewater says:
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    Grey!

    Do these moves by the Twins make Sano an OF?

    • Grey

      Grey says:
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      Noisewater! That would be nice, but it’s too early to say, my guess is no

  5. JP says:
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    Grey-I own D’arnaud and the Hicks owner wants him. What are your thoughts on this? Should I be happy with this or perhaps ask for a farm guy as well? Thanks

    • Grey

      Grey says:
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      @JP: Thoughts on what? Hicks for Travis? I’d do it

      • JP says:
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        @Grey: Yes, sorry. The one for one is a fair deal? I figure even if they both get the same number of at bats in a 6×6 format hicks contributes in more catagories with less injury risk. Do you like Hicks better than K Davis? Thanks again

        • Grey

          Grey says:
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          @JP: I like Davis and Hicks about the same, Davis maybe a hair more, depends on playing time

  6. GhostTownSteve says:
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    I don’t like the profile being raised for Hicks moving to the Yanks. Kats outta the bag. He looked very good both qualitatively and quantitatively speaking after the break.

    One of the knocks on him was he was always too patient at the plate. His swing rates and K rates spiked second half but so did his slg his ISO, his HRs, his FB rate. He’s got split issues and the left hand side is his weaker. Does Yankee stadium help that? Maybe. He’s a guy that I have circled and circled again so far this off-season.

    • Grey

      Grey says:
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      @GhostTownSteve: you know I think Yankee hype might be overblown, name one Yankee recently that’s been overrated due to being a Yankee… Gardner routinely went later than he should’ve… I like Hicks a lot, and still think he’s gonna be a bargain…

      • GhostTownSteve says:
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        @Grey:

        goood call on the yankee hype overblown. I think Hicks could be one of those breakout guys we’ve been talking about.

        • Grey

          Grey says:
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          @GhostTownSteve: Agreed, and I’m gonna go hard after him

          • Sky

            Sky says:
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            Here’s to hoping he’s not just a younger Crispie Young.

            • GhostTownSteve says:
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              @Sky:

              I’d take 2010 Chris Young in a heartbeat. Hicks’ contact skills are better at this point than Young’s ever were.

              • Sky

                Sky says:
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                I’m referring to what Chris is now for NY: A lefty mashing specialist. Even in Young’s salad days, his prowess against righties left much to be desired. If Hick’s 2015 portends to his contact rates, I have no arguments there. Just not sure we can throw out the 22.2% K rate for his career based off it, which is in line with Chris Young’s career K%. 2010 was indeed Young’s best year. I’d be surprised if 2010 Chris is Aaron Hicks’ 2016; I’d believe you if you were referring to his 2011, though.

  7. dom says:
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    good write up

    the only thing I’d note is that if Lind was actually the floor for Park the bid would have been much higher. there’s a significant chance that it turns out he can’t hit major league pitching at all. doesn’t make it a bad move for the twins though, gotta acquire talent any way you can.

    • Grey

      Grey says:
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      I guess that’s true, but there’s a few Linds, there’s last year’s Lind and there’s the 6 homer in 96 games in 2014 Lind…

      • dom says:
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        @Grey: oh i see what you mean. I guess I’m thinking of Lind as a career 112wRC+ What do you think the odds Park is a 12% better than average hitter? Not great probably

  8. JP says:
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    Grey-I am considering making a run at Hicks if I ask you to look at a few guys as my last keeper spots would you mind assesing my final four or so spots and let me know if you would rather have Hicks? I won’t bore you with the obvious keepers like Trout and Machado etc..

    • Grey

      Grey says:
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      Yeah, I don’t mind

      • JP says:
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        @Grey:
        I can keep up to 10 it is a 6×6 (13 team) roto OBP, AVG, R, RBI, HR, SB—-W, IP,S,WHIP,HOLDS, ERA (Dynasty). We play 2C, 3MI, 3CI, 5OF, U
        All AL Teams plus Atl, NY Mets, St. L, Mil, and Arizona
        definite keepers:Trout, Correa, Machado, Sano, Heyward (if he signs with qualifying team), Braun,
        Harvey.
        Other options D’arnaud, Olivera, K Davis, Tex, D Peralta, Boxberger, Queto, Doolittle, Kluber and D Salazar. Do you like Hicks better than any or most of these other option guys?
        Thank You very much.

        • Grey

          Grey says:
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          Better than Kluber, Salazar or Cueto? No

          • JP says:
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            @Grey: thanks Grey. By by the way I enjoyed the piece on Mazara the other day. I traded for him last year. I received he and Queto for my Adam Jones and some of my league mates thought I was crazy. Maybe I was but I think given it’s a dynasty league i will be happy to have Mazara and traded Jones while he was still valued highly.

            • Grey

              Grey says:
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              Seems like you paid full price, but you could be sitting pretty in about a year

  9. Running Frog says:
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    Grey, are there any AFL stats in particular that you pay attention to other than the obvious ones like “number of ligaments torn” and “number of limbs amputated”? Is it worth keeping an eye on AFL K-rate, etc when eyeing breakouts? Or is it too hard to get an apples-to-apples on the quality of competition for them to have predictive value?

    • Grey

      Grey says:
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      Not really, it’s such a small sample size in the big picture…

  10. Running Frog says:
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    Andrelton Simmons to the Angels??? Seriously?

    I guess that’s good news for Sean Newcombs’ future. But I’m surprised the Braves’ rebuild is including dumping young stars.

    • Grey

      Grey says:
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      I don’t think of Simmons as much of a star

      • Running Frog says:
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        @Grey: For fantasy I don’t either, unless you’re a degenerate who plays in a Defensive Runs Saved league. But for real life, he is probably one of the 4 best players on the team.

        But 25-30 DRS doesn’t make a big difference when you’re outscored by 187 runs.

        • Grey

          Grey says:
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          Oh, for real? Yeah, it’s Braves making weird decisions

  11. Cole says:
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    Rest in peace Hommey Tanson. Crazy right?

    • Grey

      Grey says:
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      Yeah, sad stuff

  12. Zeus says:
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    So Brad Miller. The Mariners organization seems to have a terrible time developing the high draft picks they have been getting from being bad for 15 years. Aside from King Felix who may have been too good to screw up their track record is terrible. This could be due to bad drafting, ie selecting the wrong players or it could be too horrible player development. Other organizations like the Cards are able to turn coal into diamonds and produce great major leaguers from those who were considered lesser talent.

    http://www.baseball-reference.com/draft/?query_type=franch_round&draft_type=junreg&team_ID=SEA&draft_round=1

    Their last draft pick to succeed was Adam Jones and he got traded to the O’s before he succeeded. Before that it was Varitek and Arod. I know I am getting old when I can remember a players entire history from draft to retirement but this isn’t a good indicator for the M’s farm system. There have been other useful MLers and fantasy contributors like Fister and Seager but the track record is slim.

    Miller was drafted in the second round so obviously he doesn’t fall into the above description but he was a medium level prospect coming out of college who did well in the minors after he was drafted. Will the Rays be able to get more out of him than the M’s ever did? They have taken failed prospects before like Carlos Pena and turned them into valuable major leaguers and viable fantasy options.

    Miller is still only 25 and can improve, the Rays are probably betting he can and he will most likely be used all over like a new age Ben Zobrist without a hot Jesus singing wife. With potential eligibility all over the diamond and an upgrade to AL East ballparks he can be valuable late in drafts as he obviously wont cost much. I think we could see an uptick in power as he ages and gets to play in NY, Bos, Tor and Bal. As for upside for next season, we could be looking at 70-15-70-15 270. Obviously a best case scenario but one that could be a great cog in winning fantasy lineup.

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