Draft Scripts: Using NFBC ADP’s to evaluate Corner Infield

Miggy's health will go a long way to determining his value in 2015.
Miggy’s health will go a long way in determining his 2015 value

Early average draft position results are not the bible, but in the midst of preseason rankings it helps to see where players are being selected. There is controversy every year, whether it be concerns over “fat” Mike Trout, where Kershaw will go or Miguel Cabrera’s health. Things have been quiet in Detroit and if the Tigers are indeed going for it this year, Cabrera will play. He proved that by playing hurt throughout September while putting up an epic stat line for the month:

Miguel Cabrera September 2014: 19 R, 8 HR, 18 RBI, .379/.409/.709, 1.118 OPS, 214 wRC+

The concern with Cabrera has gone from whether he should be the top pick to how far he falls in mocks. Early indications seem to suggest it is not as far as I would like, but I have seen him go in mocks as far back as number 8. Is there risk involved? Of course, but if he is on the field for the whole season he’ll be more than fine. Outside of Cabrera, a healthy Paul Goldschmidt and the return of old favorites Prince Fielder and Joey Votto make the position deep once again. In fact, it looks like power at the position can be had throughout. Anthony Rizzo seems primed to take another step forward and is climbing up rankings and draft lists. First base is making a comeback as a position of elite fantasy production.

On the other end of the spectrum is third base. With the loss of Miguel Cabrera and the lack of production top to bottom along with the volatility of the players at the position, it will be a tough sea to navigate this year. In looking at early data, it seems like you’ll have to take a third baseman in the top-100. Otherwise, just fill the position late and hope it pans out. In dealing with corner infielders, it appears most teams will be grabbing from the first base pool but there could be an advantage gained by grabbing two strong third baseman early and thinning the pool for your competitors if you can grab a Josh Donaldson and a Kyle Seager. This means another guy in your league may be forced to roster a Mike Moustakas at third, yuck. Have a plan and if you can force a run, it opens opportunity for you to get what you want. For starters, here are the first baseman taken in the top 200 in money NFBC drafts thus far:

1B NFBC ADP

There has never been a time to get such value on players like Prince Fielder and Joey Votto, but do you want to? If you could see their credentials without the names attached, would that change your mind? With credit to Matthew Berry of ESPN, I love his use of blind analysis to take the name value out of the equation and simply focus on the numbers. I will use Steamer projections as a guide for this exercise:

Player A: 79 R, 20 HR, 71 RBI, 4 SB, .280/.409/.473
Player B: 77 R, 23 HR, 73 RBI, 6 SB, .270/.349/.464

Sure, you are giving up some OBP and a pittance in slugging percentage but are the numbers really that different? Drafters say yes since player A is being drafted on average at pick number 79.85 while player B is outside of the top 200. One more:

Player C: 73 R, 20 HR, 79 RBI, 2 SB, .295/.353/.484
Player D: 81 R, 24 HR, 86 RBI, 1 SB, .282/.380/.483

Player D is going at pick number 69 and player C is being selected on average at pick 166.69, I cannot make this up. I sort of played my hand in the intro to this exercise but here are the players:

Player A: Joey Votto
Player B: Steve Pearce
Player C: Justin Morneau
Player D: Prince Fielder

See what I am saying? If I put those names in front of you without the numbers are you changing how you look at them? Something to think about. Just like with Miguel Cabrera, until he comes out and says he is hampered by the injury and may miss time, I am taking him. If he is there at pick 8, I will be ecstatic. I do like Freddie Freeman and he had an impressive 2014 but have you looked at the lineup surrounding him? There are several other players I like more than most, too. Carlos Santana is one of them. If left alone to play first base after the failed move to third should bounce back this year. He’ll be third base eligible in 2015 too! Adam LaRoche is a forgotten entity as well. He’s in Chicago now, hitting after Jose Abreu and will hit 30 home runs this year. I’ll pass on Joey Votto and Prince Fielder. Let them be someone else’s problem, I just can’t trust either slugger. Here are the top 20 first baseman taken in the first 200 with their Steamer projections included. I highlighted the leaders in the four counting statistical categories as well:

1B Steamer Projections

While first base is getting deeper, third base is as murky as the situation in New York. With the pending return of Alex Rodriguez and his albatross of a contract, the Yankees signed Chase Headley to a four-year pact. If you want to take a chance on A-Rod being a fantasy asset in 2015, be my guest, but I will be watching from afar. Anthony Rendon was a favorite target of mine in 2014 due to his value in drafts but the gig is up. Rendon is going at pick number 14 in the drafts used for this article and that may be too steep a price. Like Carlos Santana, Rendon does have dual eligibility along with Todd Frazier but people may be pushing them up too far. Don’t get me wrong, Rendon has the talent and lineup to be successful but there are warning signs about taking him too soon. He hit 21 home runs in 2014 but 12 of them are rated “just enough” and of those 12, 3 more had “lucky” attached as well. I am not saying he will regress but to plan on more than 18 home runs may be aggressive.

Donaldson and his fantasy value head north with his trade to Toronto.
Donaldson and his fantasy value head north with his trade to Toronto

I think Josh Donaldson’s move to Toronto should allow him to thrive and finish as fantasy’s top third baseman in 2015. However, he is being taken at the end of the second or beginning of the third in NFBC money drafts. This number may climb but if it does not, pounce. Here are what the ADP’s for third baseman look like so far:

3B NFBC ADP

It seems that Evan Longoria is finally being valued correctly, but look at the precipitous drop for David Wright. He is teetering at the edge of the top 100 which means he is finally a value pick. But is this name value again? He is an injury risk but the Mets should have a chance to at least compete for a wild card spot with the pitching depth they have. How about another blind comparison?

Player A: 69 R, 17 HR, 68 RBI, 6 SB, .257/.343/.413
Player B: 67 R, 16 HR, 66 RBI, 9 SB, .275/.347/.432

Not too far apart on value but player B is on the outside of the top 200 even after Martin Prado while player A is David Wright. Player B is his New York counterpart. Yes, Chase Headley. Here are the Steamer projections for the third baseman drafted in the top 200:
3B Steamer Projections

Navigating third base will be interesting but while some values exist, people will be reaching for name value like Evan Longoria and Chris Carpenter. One surprise is Kris Bryant going at pick number 105 without yet being named the starting third baseman for the Cubs. Could he return a profit at this spot? Yes, but that is a fine line to walk. I like Nolan Arenado to take a step forward this year but so does everyone else. Kyle Seager should thrive in the improved Seattle lineup and he was already profiled here. If healthy, Manny Machado is a steal at 148.69. Players outside of the top 200 that I like include Nick Castellanos, Aramis Ramirez and Jake Lamb.

Corner infield is setting itself up for a bounce back in 2015 but there are as many questions as there are locks. Good luck avoiding the land mines. Throw name value out the window and try to see a player for who he really is using the numbers.

Statistical credits: Baseball-Reference.com, Fangraphs.com, NFBC.com
Photo cred: http://goo.gl/VEC1jj (Cabrera), http://goo.gl/IBmCX9 (Donaldson)

Check out FantasyRundown.com for all of our latest articles and other great fantasy content.

Greg Jewett is The Sports Script’s senior fantasy baseball writer. Follow him on Twitter @gjewett9!

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The Sports Script Fan Duel MLB Lineup for 04/17 (Early)

Who is excited baseball is back????? I know I am which also means that Daily Fantasy Baseball is back as well. I really enjoy DFS Baseball as it keeps you even more involved and keeps you up to date with guys you normally wouldn’t care about.

Another solid day over at Fan Duel, I hope you have followed along and been making some $$$.

Well everything I am going to bring you my lineup in which I am playing over at FanDuel.com – Which if you haven’t joined just click this link here: http://partners.fanduel.com/processing/clickthrgh.asp?btag=a_3360b_2

I am going to bring you the lineup I feel is the best for you to bring home some $$$ for the day. Early on we are fighting the guessing game but riding some of the guys hot bats to start the season.

The Sports Script Fan Duel MLB Lineup for 04/17 (EARLY MATCHUPS)

This is a lineup I like for just the early matches, check back later today for a late game matchup lineup.

lineup

Here are a few reasons why I like these matchups.

R.A. Dickey vs. Minnesota Twins – Dickey has a good history on the road over the past 3 seasons. For the value this is my favorite matchup of the early slate.

Michael Brantley vs. Justin Verlander – hitting .395 (15/38) with a 2B, a 3B, 6 RBIs & 3 BBs

Robinson Cano vs. Tanner Scheppers – Scheppers is struggling against lefties this year and that’s why I love Cano today.

Don’t forget to tune into the Fantasy Forecaster each and every Wednesday at 9 PM EST here: http://www.blogtalkradio.com/foryourconsideration or download the show on iTunes by clicking the link here. https://itunes.apple.com/podcast/the-sports-script/id850876078?mt=2

5 Questions Surrounding Fantasy Baseball 1st Baseman

The MLB season is upon us which means it is time for the Fantasy Baseball season. We here at the Sports Script want to do everything possible in setting you up for draft day and helping you throughout the season to win a Fantasy Baseball Championship. We are gathering a team of Sports Script writers as well as some special guest to answer 5 key questions about each position for the upcoming 2014 Fantasy Baseball Season. Today we have gathered me (Ricky Valero), Matt Wincherauk, Matt Bell and special guest Ricky Sanders (@RsandersFR) from Fakeroundball.com ( @FakeRoundball) as we are going to take a look at the 1st base.

5 Questions surrounding Fantasy 1st Baseman

1 – Which player or players are you targeting?

R. Sanders – Early in the draft, I love Cabrera and Goldschmidt, but think Encarnacion comes at a much better value with an ADP of 14 picks later. I rank Encarnacion in my top 8 overall. However, the player I’m targeting the most at the first base position is Matt Adams. With a full-time gig locked up, I expect huge numbers in his second season. Others I like at their ADP: Adrian Gonzalez, Mark Trumbo, Jose Abreu and Napoli.

Ricky – Of course if you have the likes of Paul Goldschmidt (my 3rd overall player) or Chris Davis, you’d be set at the position. But one guy I am targeting is Prince Fielder. He moves to hitter friendly park in Texas and he will have Beltre hitting behind him as well. Fielder will have a monster season.

Matt Wincherauk – I want Prince Fielder. The power hitting big man should benefit greatly from moving to Arlington, a place that he probably should’ve gone to in the first place. The Rangers offense looks to poised to rip through the entire AL and Prince will be one of the big catalysts.

Matt Bell – I think you have to say everyone is going to be looking at Paul Goldschmidt as their top 1B this year in fantasy, but for me if I can’t snag him early it’s going to be Prince Fielder. I think his value has dropped a little after a down year for him. He’s going to be playing in Arlington now and that is a hitter’s park, so I expect his homerun numbers to go up this year. If I can get Fielder a couple of rounds after Goldy goes I’ll be a very happy fantasy player.

2 – Which player are you staying away from?

R. Sanders – Pujols’ bad foot has me worried about his prospects once again this season. He’s no longer the .300/30/100 guarantee he was at the beginning of his career. I’d rather take Allen Craig and Adrian Gonzalez who are going later.

Ricky – Joey Votto – While the runs and hits were nice he had a huge dip in his ISO, BABIP, OBP and SLG which all are cause for concern. While he has potential to be a solid Fantasy contributor I for one am staying away this season.

Matt Wincherauk – Adrian Gonzalez is who I’m going to be avoiding for the most part. He’s experienced big time drop offs in his power in the past few years, ironically ever since he left Petco Park and went to Fenway. He’ll give a good average, but I want more out of a higher pick.

Matt Bell – I don’t care where the value is in Albert Pujols, but I’m staying as far away from him as possibly this year. He’s been awful for the most part since leaving St. Louis and I’m just not willing to take a chance on him this year. He’s going to have to stay healthy before I’ll consider him in future fantasy drafts.

3 – Who is the biggest sleeper heading into 2014?

R. Sanders – The biggest sleeper, like I mentioned in the opening, is Matt Adams. If you already drafted Adams and wanted another shot in the dark, I’d recommend Brandon Belt. This year, he should surpass his career high 509 AB from last year which could result in a .285+ BA/20+ HR/10+ STL type season. His current ADP is 137.

Ricky – Jose Abreu – While a ton of people won’t know who he is entering draft day, they really should. This guy can hit the ball and will do so this season. During the 2010-11 Cuban National Series He hit .453 with 79 runs, 93 RBI and 33 home runs in only 66 games. I like him to have a 20-25 HR season and finish among the top 1st baseman in 2014.

Matt Wincherauk – Jose Abreu is a popular choice, and for good reason. He may be unproven, but he’s got all the tools that made a guy like Yasiel Puig a megastar in an instant.

Matt Bell – The biggest sleeper this year is going to be Matt Adams as we saw some small flashes of what he could do last year when given playing time. The Cardinals have made room for him to be an everyday player now which makes him someone I will be very high on this year at the 1B position.

4 – Which player will be a bust for Fantasy owners?

R Sanders – Besides Pujols, I think taking Chris Davis inside the top 10 could result in a big fantasy bust. 53 HR could very easily end up being a career high for Davis. I don’t like taking a player who most likely won’t produce élite batting average, steals or runs scored numbers that early. If his HR/RBI numbers drop to around 35/100, he wasn’t worth the price. I feel more comfortable taking him in the second round.

Ricky – Chris Davis – People will draft him off what he did last year and rightfully so but I think he sees a decline in the numbers but still has a solid season. But he just doesn’t match his number to justify a 1st round selection.

Matt Wincherauk – Mark Trumbo is my choice here. He’s been on the decline for a few years here in terms of his plate discipline and his average as well. He’s not someone who I’m going to trust, and looks prime to be a bust.

Matt Bell – The player I’m fully expecting to be a bust this year will be Chris Davis. He will still have a good year I believe, but nowhere near the type of season he had last year. I’ve saw him going in the 1st round of some mock drafts and he will not live up to that position. I won’t be surprised to see him struggle to hit 40 home runs next year.

5 – Give a bold prediction for one player.

R Sanders – My bold prediction is for Matt Adams. With a full season of playing time, I think he could go .285, 30, 100 RBI with around 85 runs. I rank him inside my top 10 at first base even though 14 are being drafted before him at the position.

Ricky – Albert Pujols will hit 34 HRs this season. I think he still has a few good seasons left in him and coming off an injury/disappointing season, he should bounce back well.

Matt Wincherauk – Paul Goldschmidt will lead the NL in both homeruns, and RBIs and will fall short of the triple crown only in the average area. That is arguably the next best all-around hitter besides Miguel Cabrera.

Matt Bell – The bold prediction for the 1B position is that Anthony Rizzo will bounce back in a huge way this year hitting over 30 home runs and have an average of around .290 on the year.

If you have any questions about the upcoming Fantasy Baseball season make sure to hope on over to twitter and ask. You can follow me @rickygangster @mattbell211 & @TheMattyWin and we will answer any and all questions.

Want to help support the Sports Script? You ever buy anything from Amazon? Just use our link and we get a little kick back to support the site! Sports Script Amazon Link

2014 Fantasy Baseball 1st Base Rankings

MLB season is upon us and Fantasy Baseball is back and better than ever! Over the next few weeks we are planning on getting you ready for any of the upcoming Fantasy drafts that you have. This week we are sending out our initial 2014 rankings that we will updated as Spring Training progresses. The week after we are going to answer 5 questions about each position as well as giving you some insight into some players that we like as well. Matt Bell joins me today as we unveil our 1st base rankings as well as take a look at one guy we like higher than his ADP and one we have lower than his ADP.

2014 Fantasy Baseball 1st Base rankings (as of 02/18/14)

Ricky Valero Matt Bell
Rank Player  Player
1 Paul Goldschmidt
Paul Goldschmidt
2 Chris Davis  Prince Fielder
3 Prince Fielder Joey Votto
4 Edwin Encarnacion Freddie Freeman
5 Joey Votto Allen Craig
6 Freddie Freeman Chris Davis
7 Adrian Gonzalez Edwin Encarnacion 
8 Eric Hosmer Eric Hosmer
9 Albert Pujols Adrian Gonzalez
10 Buster Posey Buster Posey
11 Allen Craig Mark Trumbo
12 Brandon Belt Anthony Rizzo
13 Carlos Santana Brandon Belt
14 Mark Trumbo Carlos Santana
15 Jose Abreau Ryan Howard
16 Mark Teixeira Albert Pujols
17 Anthony Rizzo Matt Adams
18 Brandon Moss Mark Teixeira
19 Matt Adams Mike Napoli
20 Kendrys Morales Brandon Moss
21 James Loney James Loney
22 Mike Napoli Jose Abreu
23 Adam Lind Justin Morneau
24 Justin Morneau Kendry Morales
25 Ryan Howard Adam Lind
26 Yonder Alonso Yonder Alonso
27 Corey Hart Chris Carter
28 Adam LaRoche Adam LaRoche
29 Ike Davis Cory Hart
30 Chris Carter Ike Davis

Why I ranked (blank) higher than his Current ADP (ADP average comes from the rankings at Fantasypros.com)

Ricky – Adrian Gonzalez – He has an ADP of 11th overall at 1st base and I have him sitting at #7. Gonzalez has been very consistent fantasy option over the last 3 seasons averaging .310, 190 hits, 22 HRs, 108 RBIs and 84 runs. While he doesn’t show the power he once had, he is in a very potent offense in which he is batting cleanup in and he should easily see his numbers duplicate what they were a year ago.

Matt Bell – Allen Craig is a guy I’m higher on that most people as he’s 5th in my ranking while carrying an ADP of 11th among 1B. Craig missed some time due to injury, but if he can stay healthy at his age I think he can carry your fantasy team. He’s hit for an average of .306 in his career and could go over 100 RBI’s this year in the Cardinals Line up.

Why I ranked (blank) lower than his current ADP.

Ricky – Anthony Rizzo – Current ADP is 15th and I have him ranked 17th. It’s really not that much of difference but he has a big upside to him if he lowers his strike outs. I don’t see that happening. In his 1st full season he struck out far too much for my likening and honestly would rather have a guy like Jose Abreu or Brandon Belt who are being drafted 2-3 round later.

Matt Bell – Albert Pujols has a ADP of place 7 while in my rankings you will find him ranked 16th. I’m not high on Pujols at all this year as he’s battled injuries the last year and is only getting older. I firmly believe there is something wrong with him that will keep him from ever performing at the high levels he use to. Is Albert Pujols going to be a terrible player this year? No, probably not, but he’s going to hit .300 and justify a top 5 round pick in my book.

Yesterday I started with my Catchers and you can check them out here:  http://wp.me/p2MUTr-BY

If you have any questions about the upcoming Fantasy Baseball season make sure to hope on over to twitter and ask. You can follow me @rickygangster  and Matt Bell @Mattbell211 and we will answer any and all questions.

Want to help support the Sports Script? You ever buy anything from Amazon? Just use our link and we get a little kick back to support the site! Sports Script Amazon Link

The Sports Script MLB Offseason Blog by @mattbell211

The MLB off-season is in full swing right now with teams preparing for spring training! I personally can’t wait till February 25th when players must report to spring training, but now is the time for teams to make moves to prepare for a World Series run. The goal of this blog is to simply break down each move that takes place either via trade or free agent signing with a short one to two sentence explanation of how it impacts the upcoming MLB season.

Note: I will only list a signing or trade after it’s been made official with MLB

Note 12/23: The blog has been updated if I’m missing something and you are reading please contact me at my twitter. I apologize for the delay in between updates this time.

Note 1/11: The blog is up to date, but not a log going on.

TRADES

11/21/13 – Detroit Tigers traded 1B Prince Fielder to Texas Rangers for 2B Ian Kinsler

This trade is basically about dumping some money off the books for the Tigers as they also send $30 million to the Rangers with Fielder. The Tigers lose some power in the line up but the money frees them up to sign guys like Max and Miggy in the future which to me is more important. Kinsler is no slouch either and will offer some power in the line up and can play a solid 2nd base. I’m very excited as a baseball fan to see what Fielder can do in Texas at Arlington Stadium which is a hitters park.

Trade Winner: Tigers

11/23/13 – St. Louis Cardinals traded 3B David Freese and RHP Fernando Salas to Los Angeles Angels for CF Peter Bourjos and RF Randal Grichuk.

David Freese was a hometown hero during the 2011 World Series for the Cardinals, but since then he’s done nothing to prove he’s more than an average 3b. He hit just .262 with 9 home runs last year and the Cardinals needed the outfield depth that Bourjos will provide them. The Cardinals now have a solid center fielder in Bourjos who can cover a ton of ground. The Angels hope that last year was just a down year and that they can get the 2011 world series version of David Freese.

Trade Winner: Cardinals

12/2/13 – Detroit Tigers traded RHP Doug Fister to Washington Nationals for LHP Ian Krol, 2B Steve Lombardozzi and LHP Robbie Ray.

I wish I knew what Detroit was thinking here, but I sure don’t! Doug Fister was a solid starter this year for the Tigers earning 14 wins on the years. He’s going to fill in nicely for a Nationals pitching staff that could use some help towards the 4 and 5 starters spots.

Trade Winner: Nationals

12/3/13 – Baltimore Orioles traded RHP Jim Johnson to Oakland Athletics for Player To Be Named Later and 2B Jemile Weeks.

The Orioles could use the second baseman that they got in Weeks, but the whole point of the trade was about saving money. The Orioles would have had to pay a huge amount of money in arbitration and they avoided that by trading him. The Oakland Athletics get a solid closer who had the most saves  over the last two seasons.

Trade Winner: Athletics

12/3/13 – Texas Rangers traded CF Craig Gentry and RHP Josh Lindblom to Oakland Athletics for RF Michael Choice and 2B Chris Bostick.

There is not a lot to say about this trade, but I do like what the Athletics did here. Gentry can be a solid outfielder in the major leagues I believe.

Trade Winner: Athletics

12/3/13 – Colorado Rockies traded Player To Be Named Later and CF Dexter Fowler to Houston Astros for CF Brandon Barnes and RHP Jordan Lyles.

Houston gets a good ball player in Fowler who I don’t think ever got the credit he deserved in Houston. The Rockies pick up a couple nice young ball players in Barnes and Lyles, but they sure are giving up a good one in Fowler.

Trade Winner: Astros

12/5/13 –Milwaukee Brewers traded RF Norichika Aoki to Kansas City Royals for LHP Will Smith.

This is kind of under the radar trade that most people wont care about, but it could be a nice get for the Royals. Aoki is a very solid outfielder hitting .286 with 20 stolen bases last year.

Trade Winner: Royals

12/10/13 – Arizona Diamondbacks traded LF Adam Eaton to Chicago White Sox for LHP Hector Santiago and Player To Be Named Later.Los Angeles Angels traded RF Mark Trumbo and Player To Be Named Later to Arizona Diamondbacks for LHP Hector Santiago and LHP Tyler Skaggs.

(Trumbo goes to Diamondbacks, Santiago and Skaggs to the Angels, and Eaton to the White Sox)

The Diamondbacks get a power bat they’ve been looking for. I know Trumbo has a terrible on base percentage, but he does hit 30 to 40 home runs a year. The Diamondbacks are going to have Goldy and Trumbo hitting back to back which will produce a lot of home runs in that park. The Angels get a couple of young arms to try build a solid pitching staff around. I like what each team did in this trade, but my clear-cut winner is the Diamondbacks.

Trade Winner: Diamondbacks

12/10/13 – Oakland Athletics traded LHP Brett Anderson and cash to Colorado Rockies for LHP Drew Pomeranz and RHPChris Jensen.

Brett Anderson has been a disappointing player because of injuries over his career, but he’s got a ton of upside. The Rockies are hoping he can be the front end starter they need in the rotation and stay healthy. The Athletics clear a spot in their rotation they need after signing Kazmir and acquire some young talent that hopefully help the club in the future.

Trade Winner: Athletics

12/13/13 – Seattle Mariners traded RHP Carter Capps to Miami Marlins for 1B Logan Morrison.

Logan Morrison is the name to know here as he can hit the ball really well at times but is a very streaky hitter. Morrison has some power, but he’s not going to do much other than hold down a outfield spot for the Mariners. The Marlins grab Capps in an effort to boost their rotation with young pitching.

Trade Winner: Mariners

12/16/13 – Chicago White Sox traded RHP Addison Reed to Arizona Diamondbacks  for 3B Matt Davidson

The average fan of baseball probably hasn’t heard much about either of these guys, but they are both solid baseball players. I really like the potential in both guys, but I think the White Sox get a future star in Davidson.

Trade Winner: White Sox

FREE AGENT SIGNINGS

11/12/13 – Philadelphia Phillies signed free agent RF Marlon Byrd.

Byrd adds some power to a Phillies team that could for sure use some help in the lineup. I like the signing for the Phillies, but he’s got to hit like last year for it to be a successful one.

11/13/13 – Oakland Athletics signed free agent SS Nick Punto.

Punto is very solid defensively and adds a nice glove to the infield to help the Athletics out.

11/21/13 – Kansas City Royals signed free agent LHP Jason Vargas.

Vargas just adds to the Royals rotation a veteran pitcher, that really doesn’t help or hurt them.

11/22/13 – Colorado Rockies signed free agent RHP LaTroy Hawkins.

This has home runs written all over it. Hawkins will struggle in Colorado with the  long balls.

11/24/13 – St. Louis Cardinals sign Jhonny Peralta 

I’ll be called a homer here, but I don’t care! I love the signing of Peralta as it gives the Cardinals a power bat from the shortstop position that they have not had in years.

11/25/13 – Cleveland Indians signed free agent OF David Murphy.

Murphy is coming off a down year where only hit for an average of .220 obviously the Indians are hoping they get much better production.

11/26/13 – Cincinnati Reds signed free agent 2B Skip Schumaker

Skip is simply a utility baseball player that will fill in for the Reds at multiple positions through out the year. He’s a decent hitter as well hitting .285 for his career.

11/29/13 – San Fransico Giants agreed to terms with P Ryan Vogelsong

Vogelsong is coming off a year where he had a 5.73 ERA on the year. There is not much to say about a guy coming off that kind of season, but I believe the Giants think he can turn it around and become a solid starting pitcher.

12/3/13 – New York Yankees signed free agent C Brian McCann.

This is a very nice additions for the Yankees, while I still think they over paid for McCann they get a nice left-handed bat. The left-handed power hitting catcher will play nicely with the short porch in right field at Yankee Stadium.

12/3/13 – Minnesota Twins signed free agent RHP Ricky Nolasco.

Nolasco is an average pitcher, but he will help a Twins staff that was not very good last year. It’s a good fit for both the team and Nolasco.

12/5/13 – Minnesota Twins signed free agent RHP Phil Hughes.

The Twins are picking up pitchers to fill out the rotation and Hughes is another solid additions. He’s not an ace, but he should make for a decent starter for the Twins.

12/6/13 – Miami Marlins signed free agent C Jarrod Saltalamacchia.

Salty is a pretty good catcher and hitter as well. The Marlins need solid baseball players after a horrible year last year and Salty brings a World Series ring with him that could provide leadership to the young guys in Miami.

12/6/13 – Miami Marlins signed free agent SS Rafael Furcal.

Furcal didn’t play last year with injury, but when healthy he’s a pretty good shortstop. He’s not going to provide much pop to the Marlins line up, but he will hold down the SS position with some solid defense.

12/7/13 – New York Yankees signed free agent CF Jacoby Ellsbury.

To date this is the biggest signing to take place as Ellsbury leaves the world champion Red Sox to go to the hated Yankees. Ellsbury is a great ball player when healthy, but the key is when healthy he’s injury prone and the Yankees gave way to much for him to be hurt.

12/7/13 – Boston Red Sox signed free agent RHP Edward Mujica.

Mujica was great for the Cardinals last year to start the year, then it all feel apart for him. I’m not sure how the Red Sox will use him, but i’m sure he will come out of the bullpen as some sort of set up man.

12/7/13 – Los Angeles Dodgers signed free agent RHP Brian Wilson.

THE BEARD IS BACK! The question now is can the beard stay healthy?

12/9/13 – New York Mets signed free agent CF Curtis Granderson.

The Mets make a splash in free agency this year signing one of the best outfielders our there. Granderson spent some time on the DL last year only playing 61 games for the Yankees and hitting .229 with 7 home runs during that time. The Mets are going to need more out of Granderson than 61 games if they are going to compete. 

12/10/13 – Texas Rangers signed free agent C J.P. Arencibia.

I like this signing for the Rangers as Arencibia will be able to back up Soto and can hit for power as well. He’s got the 4th most home runs among active catchers over the last 3 season and should be a decent addition for the Rangers next year.

12/10/13 – Miami Marlins signed free agent 1B Garrett Jones.

I’m a big fan of Garrett Jones and he’s always helped me at times in fantasy, but I’ve got to admit he never got it going last year. The Marlins aren’t a very good team thought, and I”m anxious to see what Jones can do given playing time daily. I’ll revisit this signing during the season and hope Jones is playing solid baseball.

12/11/13 – Detroit Tigers signed free agent LF Rajai Davis.

Rajai is almost an automatic stolen base when he gets on base that is! Davis will likely share time with Andy Dirks and be in the line up when the Tigers are facing a left-handed pitcher.

12/12/13 – Seattle Mariners signed free agent 2B Robinson Cano

Jay-Z done went and got Cano PAID! Cano gets a big deal as it’s not quite the 300 millions we all thought he wanted he still gets 10 years and around 240 million. Cano will struggle to hit home runs as the Safeco filed is not a hitters park. He’s still going to provide an all-star player in Seattle with plenty left in the bat. The Mariners have nothing to lose with this deal, but I still think by about year 6 of this 10 year deal they will regret it.

12/12/13 – Washington Nationals signed free agent LF Nate McLouth.

This signing provides the Nationals with a solid 4th outfielder. McLouth will give them depth at each spot in the outfield and will probably see more at bats than a typical 4th outfielder. The 32-year-old McLouth batted .258/.329/.399 with 12 homers and a career-best 30 stolen bases for the Orioles last season which for sure helps the Nationals.

12/13/13 – Seattle Mariners signed free agent 1B Corey Hart.

I actually like Hart as a solid underrated pick up for the Mariners. He spent much of last season on the DL with an injury but if he can return with a year like he had in 2012 he could be a very nice addition for the Mariners.

12/13/13 – Colorado Rockies signed free agent 1B Justin Morneau.

We know Morneau has some power, so going to Colorado we can expect a few more home runs. I think he’s a nice replacement at 1B for the Rockies and should provide some pop, but I don’t expect anything special.

12/13/13 – Pittsburgh Pirates signed free agent RHP Edinson Volquez.

Volquez is decent, but he’s also a very risky signing. The Pirates were able to turn some pitchers into studs this year thought, so who knows how to judge this signing.

12/14/13 – New York Mets signed free agent RHP Bartolo Colon.

Colon just got paid with this deal. The Mets fans have a had a rough couple of year, so I hope for their sake this works out, but I really think they overpaid for an old pitcher.

12/16/13 –St. Louis Cardinals signed free agent 2B Mark Ellis.

Ellis will play a utility role for the Cardinals this year and I have to say he’s a very solid utility guy. Ellis hit .270 last year for the Dodgers while playing in 126 games. The Cardinals just need him to give guys off throughout the year.

12/16/13 – Kansas City Royals signed free agent 2B Omar Infante.

The Royals probably overpaid for Infante, but to compete they have to overpay for guys. Infante hit .318 last year and will a key piece in the Royals 2014 season.

12/17/13 – San Francisco Giants signed free agent LF Michael Morse

Morse has to stay health for this signing to work out. Morse, if healthy will provide some power to a Giants line up that sure needed it.

12/27/13 – Texas Rangers signed free agent LF Shin-Soo Choo.

The Rangers are making an early push to become the winners of the offseason obviously. That line up in Texas is looking very dangerous and the decision to add Choo is going to add a nice pop. I think Choo can do big things next year in that line up and in the ball park.

A.L. All Star Game Lineup

All Star Game

The latest voting numbers for the MLB All Star Game were released over the weekend and the race in the American League is certainly heating up. Third baseman Miguel Cabrera of the Detroit Tigers is reigning supreme with 4,337,223 votes and on pace to set record numbers for overall votes. Currently Josh Hamilton holds the record for the most All Star votes received at 11,073,744 in the 2012 season. The Baltimore Orioles are making a splash with 4 position players occupying the lead in votes. In the outfield, the battle for the final spot is a close one.

1st Baseman:

Chris Davis of the Baltimore Orioles has a secure spot with 3,960,299 votes, the second most overall votes. Davis is having an impressive season leading the league with 27 homeruns, has 69 RBI’s and is batting a .336 average.  Prince Fielder of the Detroit Tigers follows Davis in votes with 2,579,031. Fielder has 12 homeruns, 55 RBI’s, and is batting .275.

2nd Baseman:

Robinson Cano of the New York Yankees is leading the voting with 3,032, 183 votes. Dustin Pedroia of the Boston Red Sox occupies the number 2 spot with 2,135,499. Cano and Pedroia have similar 2013 numbers, Cano with 44 RBI’s and a .278 average, Pedroia with 41 RBI’s and a .305 average, but the real difference comes in the power hitting. Cano has 16 homeruns on the season while Pedroia has 4. Traditionally power hitters draw the most interest from fans.

Shortstop:

While J. J. Hardy of the Baltimore Orioles still holds the lead in votes, Jhonny Peralta has moved ahead of Elvis Andrus in voting. The more deserving short stop is hard to decipher. Peralta has had a fantastic season thus far, batting .331 with 31 RBI’s and 6 HR’s, and only 4 errors on the year. Of Hardy and Andrus, he has the best fielding percentage. However, Hardy is a power-hitting short stop with 14 HR’s. He has 43 RBI’s and a .270 batting average. Hardy has been on a tear as of late and is the reigning Gold Glove winner. A case can be made for either. Currently, Hardy has 2,788,972 votes compared to Peralta’s 1,838,500.

3rd Baseman:

Miguel Cabrera has comfortably claimed a spot on the All Star team with Manny Machado second in voting with 2,097,804 votes. Cabrera is on pace for another career-defining season with 74 RBI’s, 20 HR’s and a .368 batting average. Machado is having a breakout year and may well be the best overall 3rd baseman in the league; however, he plays the same position as the best pure hitter in baseball. Machado has 64 RBI’s, 12 HR’s, and a .299 batting average in 2013.

Catcher:

Joe Mauer of the Minnesota Twins holds the starting spot at 2,788,972 votes. Matt Wieters of the Baltimore Orioles is second with 2,068, 032 votes. Mauer should get the spot as he is having a more consistent season at the plate. Wieters has had an under-performing year, hitting .233 with 37 RBI’s and 9 HR’s, but has thrown out 48% of attempted steals. Mauer is hitting .327 with 25 RBI’s and 8 HR’s, while throwing out 40% of attempted steals.

DH:

David Ortiz of the Boston Red Sox claims the DH spot with 3,247,462 votes (batting .309, 16 HR’s and 55 RBI’s). Lance Berkman of the Texas Rangers is far behind with 1,519, 503 votes. Third in voting is Edwin Encarnacion (1,091,593 votes) of the Toronto Blue Jays who may be more deserving of the spot. While Berkman is hitting .260 with 33 RBI’s and 6 HR’s, Encarnacion is hitting .269 with 59 RBI’s and an impressive 20 HR’s on the year.

Outfield:

With Adam Jones of the Baltimore Orioles and Mike Trout of the Los Angeles Angels looking secure in the first and second outfield spot, 3,571, 693 and 3,548,195 respectively, there is a 3-way battle for the final spot. Nick Markakis of the Baltimore Orioles holds a slim lead at 1,915,860 votes. Close behind him is Jose Bautista of the Toronto Blue Jays with 1,867,367, a lead of only 48,000 votes. This week’s voting update puts him ahead of Torii Hunter of the Detroit Tigers, who currently has 1,851,657 votes, only 16,000 behind Bautista. If Jones and Markakis both get a spot it will be the first time in Orioles franchise history that outfield teammates are selected and only the 17th time in MLB history.

Pitching:

Max Scherzer of the Detroit Tigers has a spotless record in the 2013 season at 11-0, an impressive stat even with the support of the Tigers’ strong offensive line-up. He has also struck out 6 or more batters in each of his 15 starts, the fourth longest consecutive streak. Holding batters to a .192 average, 122 strikeouts, and an ERA of 3.05, Scherzer is a worthy candidate for starting pitcher. Between Scherzer, Justin Verlander, Anibal Sanchez, and Doug Fister, of the Detroit Tigers, AL Manager Jim Leyland has a plethora of options on his own roster. Other candidates for the starting position include Yu Darvish of the Texas Rangers and Clay Buchholz of the Boston Red Sox. Darvish boasts an incredible 143 strikeouts, holds opponents to a .208 batting average, and has an ERA of 2.95. Buchholz has 81 strikeouts, holds opponents to a .195 batting average, with an ERA of 1.71. However, Buchholz is currently on the 15-day DL making his availability uncertain. In relief, Mariano Rivera of the New York Yankees should be an easy selection. Already with 26 saves in 2013, 43-year-old Rivera has 634 regular season saves as well as 4 All Star game saves. Rivera is set to retire after this season.

While securing a spot on the All Star roster is not necessarily an indication of stellar performance on the season (see Derek Jeter who managed to accumulate 819,175 votes) we are looking at a crop of the very best representing the American League.

Voting is open until July 4th. Visit MLB.com to cast your ballot.

Breaking Down The 2013 HR Derby

The All-Star break is right around the corner and will be hosted at Citi Field, home of the New York Mets. This week the captains were named for the 2013 HR Derby. They were David Wright for the NL and Robinson Cano for the AL. I believe it’s kind of funny that Cano is the captain considering he hit a big goose egg in last year’s competition. I suppose they wanted to do the whole New York vs. New York with picking these two.

This may be one of the least successful HR Derby’s to date. Citi Field is known as a pitchers ballpark and the stats really back it up since it open in 2009.

2009 – 158 HRs – 8th in MLB
2010 – 135 HRs – 6th in MLB
2011 – 147 HRs – 13th in MLB
2012 – 161 HRs – 13th in MLB
2013 – 59 HRs – 5th in the MLB(through 06/19)

So as you can see, it will be interesting how some of the players fare in this year’s derby. We might be in line for an uneventful derby if the stats hold true.

Now to get to whom I think Cano/Wright & the fans should pick for their teams.

Here are the choices the fans have to choose from. (There is a write-in option as well)

AL – Bautista, Beltre, Cabrera, Cano, Dunn, Fielder, Hamilton, Jones, Longoria & Trout
NL – Beltran, Braun, Harper, Heyward, Kemp, McCutchen, Posey, Stanton, Votto & Wright

First off, whoever nominated these players should be fired. You’ve got guys on this list injured as well as guys who are playing just terrible this season. AND WHERE IS DOMONIC BROWN????? Well fans, look no further than my list of players below. You may have to write some of them in, but these are the guys that DESERVE to be playing in the HR Derby this year.

AL – Obvious choice for the team is Miguel Cabrera, who appeared for the Marlins in 2006 (finished 3rd) and in 2010 for the Tigers (finished 4th). I do not see him appearing for the AL this season though.

Then there is 2-time winner and reigning champ Prince Fielder, who I think is more likely to be on the team. This would be his 4th appearance and he currently has 12 HR’s & 54 RBI’s this season. Of course the champ has to defend his title!

The easiest choice of them all? Chris Davis, who is on an unbelievable tear that no one saw coming. Davis currently leads the majors with 25 HR’s, and is 2nd in RBI’s as well as 5th in BA. So Chris should be a sure fire pick to be on the team.

So far we have Cano, Fielder & Davis. My last pick would come between Blue Jay teammates Edwin Encarnacion or Jose Bautista. Baustista has appeared in the last 2 HR Derby’s, so I would think that he might get the edge. I want to see some fresh faces in the Derby though this year and who better than Encarnacion to have in it. He currently has 19 HR’s and has 21 more RBI’s than Bautista does.

So my AL roster would be Cano, Davis, Fielder & Encarnacion.

Now for my NL picks.

NL – The #1 pick of this team should be Domonic Brown. I am biased towards the guy because he plays for my Phillies, but there’s no one more deserving to be on this team than he. Domonic currently is 2nd in the NL with 19 HR’s and much like Davis, has been a very nice 1st half surprise.

My next pick would be Carlos Gonzalez, leads the NL with 20 HRs. He appeared in last years Derby, struggling with only 4 HR’s, and was knocked out in the 1st round. I would expect him to want to come out and show that last year was a fluke. (If he doesn’t participate, his teammate Troy Tulowitzki would be ideal as well.)

My 3rd pick would have to be Justin Upton. Even though he has struggled a lot in the month of June, he is still 4th in the NL in HR’s with 15. I think he would be a perfect choice to have in the Derby.

My 4th and final choice is Paul Goldschimidt, who is 3rd in voting right this second. This choice would have gone to Harper had he been healthy, but since he isn’t, Paul “My names is from Austin Powers” Goldschmidt, is the perfect choice for this team. He has 17 HRs which is more than Upton, leads the NL in RBI’s, and is currently hitting .304.

So my NL Picks are Brown, Wright, Gonzalez & Goldschimidt.

That’s all for now folks. Stay tuned for my 2013 AL/NL All-Star article coming soon.

Tell me whom you think should be in the Derby and who you don’t want in it.

Twitter: @RickyGangster

Can 2013 be a Triple Crown year?

miguel-cabrera-triple-crown-trophy-back

Last year Major League Baseball saw the first Triple Crown winner in 45 years. Miguel Cabrera, third baseman for the Detroit Tigers, clinched the title with an impressive 44 HR’s, 139’s RBI’s, and .330 batting average on the season. To say Cabrera is a gifted hitter, would be an understatement. In this day and age it’s rare to hit not only for average, but also for power. Throughout his stretch with Detroit, Cabrera has shown steady and consistent numbers with no sign of slowing down. But could a second Triple Crown title be within sight this season?

Only 2 players in MLB history have won a second Triple Crown (Roger Hornsby, ’22 and ’25 and Ted Williams, ’42 and ’47) and no one has claimed the Triple Crown in consecutive years. However Cabrera’s stats are making a case for a repeat performance. Currently Cabrera has 17 HR’s on the year, 67 RBI’s and is hitting a .363 average; he could easily finish with numbers similar to last season.

However, on his heels is an emerging star out of the AL East, first baseman Chris Davis of the Baltimore Orioles. Historically, Davis has lacked patience at the plate and struggled with pitch selection. Davis played impressively in the minors but saw little playing time with the Rangers. In a less than flashy trade, Baltimore’s Koji Uehara went to Texas for Tommy Hunter and Davis. What looked like a long-term gamble for the Orioles, is now paying dividends. Chris Davis has always had raw power but the difference this season is that he has become more selective at the plate. When given a spot in the daily lineup, Davis is proving what a lethal hitter he can be. Leading the majors in HR’s at 20, 52 RBI’s (second in the AL) and averaging .338 (tied for second in the AL), Davis is a viable threat to Cabrera.

There are several factors that could come into play as the race heats up this summer. Camden Yards is the more hitter-friendly ball park whereas Coamerica’s larger dimensions could stifle Cabrera’s long ball. With Cabrera batting third, as opposed to Davis’ 5th spot, he will see more at-bat’s, garnering more opportunities to pad his numbers. However, with Nate McLouth, Manny Machado, Nick Markakis, and Adam Jones batting above or near .300, this should translate into more RBI opportunities for Davis. Another consideration is Cabrera batting ahead of the prolific home run hitter, Prince Fielder. With Davis hitting ahead of an under-performing Matt Wieters, he will see more intentional walks. Davis’ will also face superior pitching in the AL East (the likes of Clay Buchholz, CC Sabathia, Matt Moore, David Price).

There is little doubt we are watching two talented hitters in their prime. Will Cabrera sustain his momentum, will Davis continue to surge? Will we see a Triple Crown winner for only the second time in 46 years? Or even more incredibly, consecutive titles for Cabrera? Let’s kick back and watch the season unfold.

Twitter: @MissMaria_88