Time for another weekly MLB Blog Poll. This week, we evaluated the MVP, CY Young, and Rookie of the Year candidates in the AL (if the season were to end today). You can find the entire results at Baseball Happenings or directly here.
Thursday, April 24, 2008
Wednesday, April 23, 2008
Today I bring you part two of our weekly Prospect Watch series, this time focusing on some of the top pitching prospects in the minors.
-Kershaw continues to pitch well, although he still doesn't have a win on the season
-Homer Bailey has been pitching extremely well, showing good control although not striking out as many as he has in the past; has he finally matured as a pitcher?
-David Price has yet to pitch in a game this season, although he is starting to throw bullpen sessions
-Max Scherzer - Wow. That's really all there is to say. His performance thus far in this young season compares well with some of the best minor league pitching numbers we've seen in recent years, including those from Tim Lincecum, Cole Hamels, and Francisco Liriano. Will he be in the majors soon? If so, will his success continue (like those mentioned)? Only time will tell, but stay tuned.
Yahoo has posted their 2008 season-to-date sabermetric stats, updating the 2007 season ending totals which you can view here. This includes many sabermetric stats for MLB hitters & pitchers thus far this season.
This tool includes stats such as contact %, HR rate, BB rate, K rate, and others for hitters (9 total cats) & BB/9, K/9, BABIP, FB %, GB%, and others for pitchers (17 total cats).
The direct links are below:
This is good stuff, and if you're a stat geek (like me), it will keep you busy for quite some time looking through the details to try to figure out if a player who has started the year hot or cold will keep it up at his current pace.
Sunday, April 20, 2008
This is the second edition of our Prospect Watch. This gives you an idea of how some of the top hitting prospects in the minors are doing so far this season.
-Longoria was already called up by the Rays & signed to a long term deal (amazing how much can change in a week!)
-Heyward already has 7 steals on the season & hasn't been caught yet
-Rasmus is off to a rough start
-Maybin has cooled off some from his fast start, and has an alarming 25 K's in only 54 official plate appearances
The pitching report will be posted soon.
Thursday, April 17, 2008
Roto Advice is privileged to be taking part in a weekly blog poll, thought up by David at Baseball Happenings. Each week, 27 blog writers each select the MVP, CY Young, and Rookie of the year winners if the season were to end today. We alternate on what league we vote on each week, and this week it was the NL's turn.
Tuesday, April 15, 2008
It's official - Joe Borowski was just placed on the 15 day DL with what the club is calling "a strained triceps" (grammatically, shouldn't that be a "strained tricep"? whatever). He's been mostly ineffective this year, so hopefully it was the injury that lead to this ineffectiveness (and not his general mediocrity).
But realistically, he's 36 & has been a so-so closer for a number of years now. Now might not be a bad time for the Indians to go to a new, full time closer. Below is ESPN's take:
"This will open the door for Rafael Betancourt's long-awaited ascension to ninth-inning duties. Betancourt is merely the leading candidate among a handful of potential bullpen aces, including Rafael Perez and Jensen Lewis. However, Betancourt certainly deserves the first opportunity. During a 2007 that was one of the best seasons ever for a setup man, his strikeout-to-walk ratio was almost nine, an inhuman figure that more than supported his 1.47 ERA and 0.76 WHIP."Time will tell who gets the ball first, but our money is on Betancourt (who had the lowest ERA in the majors last year for any pitcher with 75 + IP). Ironically, in last night's game against the Red Sox, the ESPN announcers pointed out during the 7th inning (when Betancourt was getting out of a jam by striking out Big Papi & Manny) that Betancourt has the demeanor of a closer - specifically that he was very slow & decisive with his prep before his windup (which I guess can intimidate batters), and he has a quirky Mariano Rivera-type leg wiggle just before he comes set.
Betancourt should succeed while Borowski is out, and keep the job the remainder of the year (I'd say there is a 75% likelihood of this). This also increases the value of Rafael Perez & my dark horse candidate for saves, Masa Kobayashi, who saved something like a billion games while playing in Japan.
By the way, Greener on the Other side is betting on Kobayashi, but they do seem to have an unusual interest in the Japanese pitcher (check out their blog's URL:)). For the time being, trust me & go with Betancourt.
Friday, April 11, 2008
It's not always an easy decision to drop a player from your team, especially if he was someone you hand selected in the draft. But as a season goes on, there are any number of reasons you might make moves:
Clay Buchholz (P)
Ian Kennedy (P)
Ian Kennedy is in the Yankees rotation, and has shown excellent control in his career (he's not an overpowering pitcher like Joba, but he can regularly break 90 mph with his fastball). He's had a rough start to the season, and with Joba waiting in the wings, I'm unsure if Kennedy will hold on to his starting gig all season.
"For those who missed out on Johnny Cueto, Eveland is a fine alternative. It wouldn’t surprise me one bit, if Eveland ends up out producing Cueto this season."Since David really knows his stuff, I wouldn't completely ignore the advice. Keep an eye on Eveland as the season progresses, but he's young & still has upside, so if he's available, I would look to grab him now (especially if you have any of the above "dropped" pitchers to waive).
You might also want to check out Tim Dierkes' take on Eveland (from the excellent Roto Authority); Tim proposes taking a little more cautious approach with Eveland, although he admits that by the time Dana proves himself to be the real deal (assuming he does), he'll be long gone from the wire.
Adam Jones - Orioles - 4 votes or 13%
Let's start with Maybin - obviously he's now in AA, although he's hitting the crap out of the ball. He is certainly the CF of the future for the Marlins (maybe as soon as this season), but he won't get enough time in the majors this season to outproduce the other guys on this list.
Adam Jones, the jewel of the Eric Bedard trade, is the current starting CF for the Orioles. His talent made the team say goodbye to the talented but inconsistent Corey Patterson (who is doing quite well for the Reds thus far). Jones still hasn't shown consistent power yet in the majors, but he hit 25 HR last season in AAA (in only 420 AB) at the tender age of 21, so be patient. He will likely put up double digit steals this season, to go along with about 10-15 HR. Watch out for a big season from him in 2-3 years.
Justin Upton of the Diamondbacks is off to a huge start in 2008; hitting near .400 with 3 HR already. He is currently the youngest player in the majors, more than one year younger than the second youngest, Phil Hughes. He is immensely talented, and some would argue that he has more potential & upside than his older brother (who is already a star), BJ Upton. Be aware that he'll have ups and downs this season, but the RF spot is all his, and he's a stud who has the potential to have an incredible career. I don't think a 25-25 season this year is out of the question, but I'm going to stay conservative & predict 21 HR & 25 Steals.
And now we come to Fukudome, the 30 year old rookie from Japan. He has started on fire for the Cubs this season, putting up a line of .371 Avg/1 HR/6 RBI/2 SB. He's hitting in the heart of the Cubs lineup, and he's showing a great eye at the plate along with some consistency early on. I still can't say he'll outproduce Upton this season, but Kosuke should have a solid year & he likely won't hurt you anywhere. Keep in mind (especially if you're in a keeper league) that Upton's upside is much higher, even if Fukudome ends up outproducing him this season.
Thanks again for your participation in our first poll of the year! The newest poll is now posted (to the right); What pitcher will end up having the most productive season?
These guys all have their question marks, but I'm curious to get the popular vote on who the masses think will be the best; especially after Cueto's incredible start to the season (13.1 IP/3 ER/6 H/0 BB/18K). Could he have the type of impact this season that Francisco Liriano had two years ago? Only time will tell.
Thursday, April 10, 2008
I now present the second part of week one of our Prospect Watch; this time we'll focus on some of the best pitchers in the minors.
Please note - depending upon the size of your browser window, you might be able to scroll the stats down & to the right; let me know if you like us incorporating stats in this format. This probably works great for a regular PC browser but it doesn't look so great on a Blackberry or other portable Internet device...
Our Prospect Watch will highlight how some of the top minor league talent is doing on the year. This first installment focus on some of the top minor league hitters.
Please comment on others you'd like to see monitored as the season progresses (along with any other statistical categories that you'd like to see tracked).
The first pitcher report will be posted within the next day, so stay tuned. Enjoy!
Wednesday, April 9, 2008
One new regular weekly feature on Roto Advice will be our Prospect Watch. One of the difficult parts of finding the next Tim Lincecum or Johnny Cueto is keeping track of who's doing well in the minors; all the players at all of the levels can be overwhelming. What we'll be doing is starting with a list of some of the top prospects in baseball (not all of whom are close to the majors, such as Angel Villolona of the Giants) & provide their YTD stats at each level.
I understand that stats aren't the only sign of success, but stats can go a long way towards telling us whether players are continuing to succeed (like Andrew McCutchen's 2 HR thus far on the season) or making progress in areas of weakness (such as Brandon Wood's K rate, which is currently at 12 K's in 26 AB's, with only 1 BB - ouch; no progress there yet).
The list will probably morph into something different as the season progresses, but hopefully this will help some fantasy managers, especially those who have minor league roster spots or those in deep leagues. Other blogs already have some great variations of this feature available, such as Fantasy Gameday's prospect watch or one of Brock for Broglio's daily prospect reports, but this should also be a useful tool to help supplement those items, especially since it will focus on the player's YTD performance.
Some of the prospects who will be featured in our first installment this week include:
...and many more!
Please supply feedback of others you'd like me to track, but keep in mind that this list has to provide the biggest bang for the buck - meaning it can't grow to 300 names by the end of the season. What I'll likely do as well is sort them in some logical manner, such as Baseball America's top 100, ESPN's top prospects, etc. This way, it just won't be a random list of names, but you'll be able to easily see the "top prospects" vs. some of the longer term lower level minor league prospects.
Before the end of the week, I'll also be:
-Providing some feedback on my first week performances in my two most competitive leagues, the Fantasy Gameday Keeper league & the Fantasy Baseball Expert League hosted by Greener on the Other Side
-Analyzing the minor league draft thus far in the Fantasy Gameday Keeper League (we're in round 3 of 6 & I'm the Splitting Headaches)
-Reviewing who I voted for & why in the first weekly installment of the Baseball Happenings MLB Blog Poll; this week, we voted on AL CY Young, MVP, and Rookie of the Year
Please feel free to supply any feedback or suggestions under comments for this post or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. Until next time...
Sunday, April 6, 2008
Some fantasy owners have a bad habit of panicking & making drastic moves too early in the season - whether it be making a trade that's not in their favor or balanced, picking up so so players who start the season hot, or worst of all, dropping good contributors who start the season ice cold.
Today, I'm going to take a look at some of the top drafted players who are off to cold starts & let you know whether you should worry or wait it out. I'm going to give one of the three following suggestions - 1) No need to worry (meaning the player will still put up top #s, 2) Hold (meaning just that, don't drop the player yet, but keep an eye on their performance), and 3) Run! (meaning it's probably time start thinking about an out plan).
Matt Holliday - .182 Avg/1 HR, 1 RBI, 1 R, SB
No need to worry
Holliday always puts up better numbers at home than on the road, and his first three games of the season were on the road against the Cardinals; last season, Holiday put up a .376 Avg at home & a .301 Avg on the road. Don't worry about Matt's slow start; he'll still finishing the year with top-10 #'s.
Alfonso Soriano - .077 Avg /1 HR/3 RBI/2 R/1 SB
No need to worry
Soriano started slow last season as well, hitting .205 in the first half of April. He ended up with only 1 RBI in 74 April AB's in 2007, so he's actually ahead of last year's numbers.
What's worth keeping an eye on is his recent time at 2B, which would really increase his value in fantasy baseball. Don't panic yet, but his value is likely to increase if he adds 2B eligibility.
David Ortiz - .091 Avg/4 R/1 HR/2 RBI
No need to worry
Big Papi was only hitting .217 at this point last season, so no worries. Expect another big season from Ortiz.
Robinson Cano - .105 Avg/0 HR/0 RBI/0 R/0 SB
No need to worry
Cano has proven to be an excellent major league hitter after his first few seasons in the big leagues. He's off to a rough start, but he's hitting high in a great lineup, so expect him to end up having a great season.
Russell Martin - .053 Avg/0 HR/2 RBI/1 SB
Martin has started this year quite cold, and was recently dropped from 2nd to 6th in the batting order. Don't panic and make any irrational moves with Martin, but keep any eye on his performance. Given where he was drafted in many leagues (round 3-6), his performance will have to be extremely good this season to justify his average draft position.
Jason Bay - .167 Avg/4 R/1 SB
This is supposed to be a bounce back season for Bay, although he's off to a slow start. Don't panic yet, but monitor the situation closely. This might be a good time to trade for Bay at a lower than market value; I have confidence he'll finish the year with very good numbers.
Andruw Jones - .167 Avg/1 RBI
Ouch, this probably isn't the start the Dodgers were hoping for when they signed Jones to a big free agent contract in the off season. Jones still has power, and he's likely to finish the year with his 30+ HR & 100+ RBI; just make sure you're expectations are in line with the reality that he likely won't hit .270 or above.
Matt Kemp - .133 Avg/1 R/1 RBI
This one is the biggest surprise to me. I have very lofty expectations for Kemp this season (20+ HR/SB), but this is a rough way to get things going, especially with Juan Pierre sitting on the bench waiting for playing time. I don't think this slow start will have a major impact on the potential impact Kemp will make this year, but it will allow the Dodgers to give Pierre some playing time in Kemp's place over the short term. I anticipate Kemp to finish the year with 500+ AB & excellent numbers, but let's just hope the slump doesn't continue for too long.
Gary Sheffield - .143 Avg/1 RBI
Sheffield could possibly have another great season like he did in 2007, but given his age & recent injury, I'd be very afraid. Considering he's turning 40 later this year, he's still an excellent player; but at some point, his age is going to make it tougher & tougher to bounce back from injuries...although Julio Franco has proven that it's possible to play until you're ??, so who knows.
Soon, I'll be taking a look at some of the fastest starters to the year & their long term value (hint - don't drop Swisher for Nady).
Until next time...
Tuesday, April 1, 2008
ESPN does a nice little summary of the daily leaders which you can find here.
Here's an overview of some of the top performers from games played on Monday, March 31st:
1) X Nady (OF - Pit) - 4-7/2 HR/4 RBI/4 R
I know everyone is probably running out to the waiver wire to pick up Mr. Nady, but remember, it was only one game.
2) J Thome (DH - CWS) - 2-5/2 HR/4 RBI/2 R
3) N McLouth (OF - Pit) - 3-5/1 HR/4 RBI/2 R/1 BB
This might be a breakout year for McLouth. After putting up 13 HR & 22 SB (with only 1 CS) in only 329 ab last season, he now has the CF job all to himself for 2008. He's a great power / speed sleeper, and he was voted as the Pirates breakout player this season in a pre-season poll in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. If he's available on your waiver wire, you might want to pick him up, especially if you have any open roster spots due to players on the DL or if you are in a non-keeper league & are holding the Jay Bruce types waiting for a call-up. Get McLouth now, before it's too late.
T4) F Gutierrez (OF - Cle) - 3-3/1 HR/3 RBI/2 R/1 BB
Another sleeper to keep an eye on this season. The RF job is all his, and he had an awesome spring. He might surprise some by putting up a 20+ HR/SB season, but he's very talented & he's part of a very good Indians lineup. If you have room on your roster, see if he's available.
T4) K Fukudome (OF - CHC) - 3-3/1 HR/3 RBI/1 R/1 BB
Not bad for a 30 year old rookie. Actually, it's one of the best first game performances in Cubs history.
1) B Sheets (SP - Mil) - 6.1 IP/2 H/2 BB/7K/o ER
Excellent first start for Sheets, especially considering he didn't have a great spring (again - spring stats don't matter...most of the time).
T2) C Zambrano (SP - CHC) - 6.2 IP/3 H/1 BB/5 K/0 ER
What I like most about this performance from Carlos was the single walk.
T2) J Peavy (SP - SD) - 7 IP/3 H/3 BB/4 K/0 ER
4) J Santana (SP - NYM) - 7 IP/3 H/2 BB/8K/2 ER
Excellent first start from Santana in a Mets uniform; the best is yet to come.
5) B Penny (SP - LAD) - 6.2 IP/4 H/2 BB/3 K/0 ER