Tag: Partners Fantasy

Will Alex Gordon Be Fantasy Baseball-Relevant in 2010?

Is Alex Gordon earning the label of Quadruple-A player?

Once considered one of the elite players in the game, Gordon has never posted respectable numbers in the major leagues.

He’s gotten a total of 1,231 ABs since making his debut in 2007 and compiled a .249 average to go along with 38 HR.

Simply put, he’s been bad. There’s just no other way to describe it.

Now back at Triple-A, it’s like night and day. Just look at his line:

85 At-Bats
.376 Batting Average (32 Hits)
Seven Home Runs
19 RBI
23 Runs
Three Stolen Bases
.518 On-Base Percentage
.718 Slugging Percentage
.446 Batting Average on Balls in Play

We all know the BABIP is not a believable number, so take the average with a grain of salt. He’s not going to hit at that type of level in the major leagues, and we all know it.

The thing is, the underlying numbers are extremely similar to what he had been doing in the major leagues:

  • He has a 19.8 percent walk rate vs. 18.4 percent in the major leagues in ‘10.
  • He has a 25.9 percent strikeout rate vs. 25.8 percent in the major leagues in ‘10.

The fact of the matter is he was plagued by tremendous bad luck over his 38 ABs earlier this season (.227 BABIP). That’s right—that’s all the time the Royals gave him before banishing him to Triple-A. It shouldn’t be a big surprise that he turned things around and hit a hot streak; it’s just too bad the Royals didn’t stick with him long enough to enjoy any of it.

The home run total is slightly deceiving, considering he’s been playing in the Pacific Coast League. Through his first 74 ABs, his fly-ball rate was actually just 27.8 percent, not a number conducive to significant home run totals.

There’s no reason for concern, however, with a 47.2 percent minor league career mark and a 44.9 percent major league mark. He has the potential to produce some decent power numbers; he just needs to get an extended look.

The Royals are a team that are consistently rebuilding, so it would be shocking for them not to give Gordon a second look in 2010. However, it likely won’t come at 3B, especially with Mike Moustakas raking in the minor leagues.

The team has been using him in the outfield since his demotion, and the reports have been good. Rusty Kuntz was quoted in The Kansas City Star as saying (click here for the full article):

“Put Eric Byrnes in Alex Gordon’s body, and that’s how he plays the outfield. He’s flying all over the place, and diving for every ball he think he has a chance to get.”

The article talks about how hard he works and his desire to improve his play.

Working on a new position is going to delay his return to the majors. The Royals are not going to rush him, wanting him to be able to excel at the position and not flounder.

There’s no doubt that he’s going to return this season, but you can’t just look at his offensive output and expect him to be up sooner rather then later. However, once he returns, he’ll have that much more value, with eligibility at both 3B and OF.

At this point it’s impossible to know exactly how the bat is going to translate, but with his minor league production he’s certainly worth the gamble. If you are in a deeper format, I’d stash him away and wait to reap some benefits.

What about you? Is Gordon someone you would stash? Why or why not?


Read more MLB news on BleacherReport.com

Options for Fantasy Baseball Owners Replacing Jorge Posda in Two-Catcher Formats

When you play in a two-catcher league, finding a suitable replacement should there be an injury (or lack of playing time) is a difficult feat.  Sometimes you get lucky, stumbling upon a Miguel Montero, but that is rarely the case.

If you play in a two-catcher format, it’s likely that Carlos Santana and Buster Posey are already stashed away, owners anxiously awaiting their arrival.  Chris Iannetta is also likely owned, with his Triple-A success likely bringing him close to a return (for more on him, click here ).

Now, with Jorge Posada out for possibly more than a month with a broken foot where else do you turn?  Francisco Cervelli is an obvious choice.  He’s proven he can produce, and the Yankees have shown no inclination to bring Jesus Montero into the mix.

Of course, he’s got little power and his average has been buoyed by a .417 BABIP.  Yes, playing in the Yankees lineup helps, but there have to be a few other usable options out there, isn’t there? 

Here are a few options who are owned in less than 10 percent of both ESPN and CBS leagues (remember, the majority of leagues are one-catcher formats, so even someone who is owned in 50 percent of formats are likely owned in two-catcher leagues) who have a chance to become must owned options before long:


Alex AvilaDetroit Tigers

He has struggled mightily this season, hitting .140 with 2 HR, 2 RBI and 5 R.  His home runs actually came in the same game on May 5, the last hits he has had. He’s 0-17 since, striking out nine times.

He hasn’t been completely forgotten, however, thanks to Gerald Laird’s offensive struggles of his own (.153, 1 HR, 5 RBI).  All it’ll take is one hot stretch and Avila will have the opportunity to grab hold of regular playing time.  While he is striking out way too much (31.6%), he’s also been plagued by poor luck with a .162 BABIP.

It’s certainly not a given that he turns things around, but he has the opportunity to earn playing time, has realistic power, and should start to hit for a better average. In a deep, two-catcher format, how much more can you ask for?


John JasoTampa Bay Rays

Entering the season the Rays had Dioner Navarro and Kelly Shoppach behind the dish, so why would anyone even consider Jaso making a fantasy impact?  Of course that means he’s going to hit .302 with 1 HR, 12 RBI and 8 R through his first 53 AB after Shoppach goes down to injury.

Don’t think his success has come courtesy of luck, either. His BABIP is at .319. His strikeout rate is at 11.3 percent, which is a little low, but he’s proven that he has a tremendous eye at the plate. He’s currently sporting a 16.7 percent walk rate. For his minor league career he had a strikeout rate of 14.1 percent and a walk rate of 12.1 percent. Yes, he may regress, but he’s got the chance for success.

He’s not going to hit for much power, with 57 HR in 2,155 career minor league AB, but he can hit and in the Rays lineup, that should lead to production.


Tyler FlowersChicago White Sox

We all know his name, but rumors of a potential A.J. Pierzynski trade would open up an opportunity for regular at bats. I have huge concerns, especially with his ability to hit for a high average. In the minor leagues he’s posted a strikeout of nearly 25 percent, meaning a mark over 30 percent could be extremely realistic.

I know, that’s what Avila has right now and I’m not voicing concerns about his average.  Trust me, it’s there as well, but I actually feel like Flowers has a little less power. He’s never hit more than 17 HR in a season, and has a career minor league fly ball rate of 36.8 percent.

In two-catcher formats he’s going to have value with regular at bats, but think Mike Napoli with a little less power. Just keep that in mind if he should get called up in the near future.



So, clearly there isn’t much sleeper depth at the catching position, huh?  I’d love to say that one of the Rangers catchers could step up and make an impact, but with the number of options who knows who is going to get an AB, and for how long (throw in the additional trade rumors to cloud things up even more).  All three of these players have the potential to be usable, but none are likely to be anything more than borderline options. 

Do you like any of them?  If you have lost out on Posada, who are you eying in your league off the waiver wire?


Read more MLB news on BleacherReport.com

Fantasy Baseball Buy-Low Candidates: The MLB’s 10 Worst BABIPs (Hitters Edition)

Last week we took a look at pitchers who were lucky (click here) and unlucky (click here) based on BABIP.

Today, let’s take a look at the 10 hitters who have had terrible luck and determine if they could be good buy-low options (all statistics from earlier in the week):


1. Carlos Quentin—Chicago White Sox: .160 BABIP

I was a big believer in Quentin heading into the season, and my opinion on him hasn’t changed from a bad five weeks. I know he’s never had the best BABIP (.221 last season, .248 for his career), but he’s just not as bad as he’s been (.172 BABIP in 2010).

Since he hasn’t shown tremendous power (four home runs), is coming off a down year (.236 average), and has been extremely unlucky, he certainly is a player that some owners may be prepared to cut bait on. If that were the case, I would be buying in a heartbeat.


2. Aramis Ramirez—Chicago Cubs: .170 BABIP

Is it really worth me spending the time telling everyone why we need not worry about Aramis Ramirez? I know there are concerns about him coming off last season’s injury, but that’s more toward his power than anything.

While the HR/FB rate is way down (5.5 percent after being between 11.6 percent and 18.7 percent from 2003 to 2009), the average should still be able to come back. It’s a shallow position, so if someone is selling, I’m buying.


3. Paul Konerko—Chicago White Sox: .192 BABIP

It may come as a surprise that he’s on this list, given his .284 average, but he clearly has benefited from a 30.2 percent HR/FB rate.

We all know the power is going to regress, but when it does the luck on balls put in play should improve (his career BABIP is .280). This easily could be a big season for Konerko, rewarding those who took the gamble on him late in their drafts.


4. Casey Kotchman—Seattle Mariners: .198 BABIP

Yeah, he’s struggled and has been unlucky, but does anyone really care? First base is an extremely deep position, and Kotchman offers little to no upside in the power department.

Yeah, he’ll likely get hot at some point and post an average that makes him worth using for a few weeks, but that’s about it. Leave him on the waiver wire, and if he’s showing signs, use him as a short-term fill-in. That’s his only real value.


5. A.J. Pierzynski—Chicago White Sox: .202 BABIP

As a catcher, he’s always had value, especially in two-catcher formats. He has moderate power (11 to 18 home runs from 2003 to 2009) and generally posts a usable average (.284 for his career).

Amazingly, he’s striking out a career-low 5.5 percent (his career mark is 12.4 percent), so even while his luck improves, his strikeouts will likely increase, offsetting things some. Throw in the fear that the team turns to Tyler Flowers at some point in 2010, and you get an option that likely isn’t worth acquiring.


6. Nick Johnson—New York Yankees: .214 BABIP

He’s now on the DL with a wrist injury, hurting his potential as a buy-low candidate. Talk is that he will miss “several weeks,” so the only people who can even take a chance on him are those who play in formats with larger benches, because he otherwise may not be worth the roster spot. 

However, when he does return, it’s a good bet that he’ll be in line for a bit of a hot streak. He’s never been a player to strike out an obscene amount, yet he had a 31.9 percent strikeout rate in the early going. He also was putting the ball in the air more, at 40.8 percent (since 2002 he had only once been above 35.6 percent). I’d expect him to right the ship, making him a great sleeper for the second half.


7. Melky Cabrera—Atlanta Braves: .220 BABIP

Who really cares, honestly? The only fantasy owners who should be interested in him are those in NL-only leagues or those in the absolute deepest of mixed leagues. He really is a fourth outfielder on a good team, and while he’s had some bad luck, there just isn’t much upside to speak of.


8. Carlos Pena—Tampa Bay Rays: .221 BABIP

He’s never been one to post a great average, thanks to his inability to lower his strikeout totals. While his .189 average is extreme, he has been at .247 and .227 the prior two years, so the upside may not really be too high. If you’re buying Pena, it’s for power only, so whoever has him is likely not growing frustrated due to this type of start.


9. Akinori Iwamura—Pittsburgh Pirates: .222 BABIP

He’s a better hitter than this (.194), and at second base, with some upside, there may be some value.

I know, he has little speed or power, but when you are in a deep league that requires a middle infielder, if you can hit for average and score some runs, you are usable in the short term. There are a lot of people in search of help thanks to the rash of injuries (especially among shortstops), so this is a name that I’d keep a close eye on.


10. Mark DeRosa—San Francisco Giants: .224 BABIP

He’s had some poor luck and hasn’t hit many home runs (3.6 percent HR/FB rate), which helps explain his .194 average. He’s hit over 20 home runs each of the past two seasons, so he should improve there.

He also should start hitting to some better luck, meaning he’s a good bet for an all-around breakout sooner rather than later. Given the positional flexibility he likely offers, you need to just be patient and wait for him to get healthy and to turn things around.


What are your thoughts on these players? Who do you think is a good buy-low candidate? Who are you looking to avoid?


Read more MLB news on BleacherReport.com

Bullpen Coach: Top 50 Relief Pitcher Rankings

For the original article check out Baseball Professor .

Fantasy owners got some good news on Friday. Cleveland Indians closer Kerry Wood has been activated from the 15-day disabled list. Prior to the activation Wood made two polar opposite appearances for Double-A Akron. In the first game, Wood let up six runs in two-thirds of an inning. However, in his second and final appearance he pitched a scoreless inning. More importantly, Wood said he feels fine.  Look for him to regain the closers job almost immediately from Chris Perez who did not impress as Wood’s replacement.

In other injury related news, Brad Lidge appears poised to regain the closers role. After a poor first appearance after being activated from the DL, Lidge has thrown two consecutive scoreless innings. Lidge also claims that he is fully healthy and that he feels his slider is better this year. Look for him to get the next save opportunity with Jose Contreras sliding over to the set-up role. 


Matt Capps, Washington Nationals

We’re more than a month into the season and Capps is still leading the league with 11 saves. He has yet to blow a save and his ERA of 1.10 is less that half of his weight. Capps is also sporting the highest K rate of his career. However, he is also posting the highest walk rate of his career. If you could sell Capps as a top 10 closer I would certainly pull the trigger. Yes Washington is winning games but Tyler Clippard is pitching even better behind Capps. Also the Nationals second first round pick from last year, closer Drew Storen , looms in the minors and should be up not too long after Stephen Strasburg .

Kevin Gregg, Toronto Blue Jays

Like Capps, Gregg has yet to blow a save. He has eight on the season and his ERA and WHIP are both under one. He’s also enjoying a K/9 of 11.57, easily the highest of his career. But much like Capps, Gregg is an obvious sell high candidate. He always does well in the closer role initially, i.e. in Florida and in Chicago, but ends up losing the job. Not surprisingly, Gregg has a lower career ERA in April and May than in any other months. Add in the fact that Toronto has two other relief pitchers with closing experience (Jason Frasor and Scott Downs ) and I don’t expect Gregg to continue surging.

Alfredo Simon, Baltimore Orioles

What to make of Alfredo Simon. Baltimore’s current closer is three for three in save opportunities and has yet to allow a run on the season. However, he’s only pitched five innings and has already walked four batters. I have Simon in this space because he is currently saving games but I don’t expect him to hang onto this role for long. He once saved 19 games in the minors, but his ERA that year was 5.03. Having been in the minors for parts of nine seasons, Simon’s career minor league ERA is 4.44. With Michael Gonzalez roughly three to four weeks away from returning and Koji Uehara back from injury and a threat to close, Simon has a very short leash.


Trevor Hoffman, Milwaukee Brewers

Hoffman has as many blown saves, four, as he has saves. His ERA of 11.70 is even higher than his age. If not for being one of the best closers of all-time, Hoffman probably would have lost his job already. But luckily for him, manager Ken Macha appreciates the veterans on his team, i.e. playing Craig Counsell over Alcides Escobar . Milwaukee does have other closing options in Carlos Villanueva and Todd Coffey but Hoffman is more likely to go on DL than be supplanted as closer. Hoffman is still going to accumulate saves for your team, but at what cost?

Octavio Dotel, Pittsburgh Pirates

Dotel’s ERA and WHIP stand at 8.74 and 1.85 and opposing batters are hitting .313 against him. If you somehow felt comfortable with Dotel as your closer at the beginning of the season, there is no way you can have that same feeling now. With another rough outing, Dotel could be in danger of losing his job. The guy I would grab now is Evan Meek . Meek recorded a save on April 29, and his ERA now sits at 0.53 with 17 strikeouts in 17 innings.

Franklin Morales, Colorado Rockies

After losing the temporary closing job, Morales falls out of my top 50 rankings. Manager Jim Tracy recently confirmed that Morales will be replaced by Manuel Corpas as the Rockies’ fill-in closer until Huston Street returns. Morales did more harm than good so now you don’t have to feel bad about cutting him. Keep an eye on him in the future however, as his value will likely reside as a starting pitcher. Remember, he was once a top prospect of the Rockies.

On the Mend

Huston Street, Colorado Rockies

Street is expected to pitch in an extending spring camp game on May 7th. According to Jim Tracy, Street would then be sent on a Minor League assignment if he does not have a setback. Expect him to be activated in mid to late-May.

Michael Gonzalez, Baltimore Orioles

Gonzalez is steadily rehabbing and just recently began throwing from 60 feet on flat ground. As of right now, surgery is not needed for Gonzalez and he aims to be back by early June.

Read more MLB news on BleacherReport.com

Fantasy Baseball’s Top 10 Underachieving Hitters of 2010

We have nearly a month of baseball in the books and many hairs have turned gray (if they haven’t been pulled out) on fantasy owners of these 10.

These 10 are causing you to bite the bullet because they are undroppable, currently untradeable for the value they deserve, and yet simply incredibly bad at the moment.

The list does not include players who are hurting your team because of injury. Although I’m sure Ian Kinsler, Jimmy Rollins, Curtis Granderson, and Jacoby Ellsbury are hurting you on the DL, they weren’t bad when playing.

That is just plain bad luck. These players would be far less annoying if they were hurt. At least that would give you a reason to bench them.

I can only imagine how many times these names have been said before the phrase “you’re killing me.”

Here’s hoping for a turnaround…unless these players are playing me.

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