August 25, 2010
Hot Spots: Outfield
Phenom Disappointment Syndrome: Don't let it get you. Cameron Maybin is a good ballplayer. In 2009, he hit .319/.399/.463 in 343 PA at AAA. In 2010, he hit .338/.407/.508 in 147 PA at AAA. He's 23 years old (and won't be 24 until April). His TAv in the PCL this year came out (through the magic of Davenport Translations) to .297, or a .323/.379/.489 translated stat line. Like Felix Pie, his speed seems to have deserted him, but he has also proven that his high-whiff days are behind him. For early-season analysis on him – these are the links:
Obviously, with his injury and his struggles to hit big-league pitching, there is a lot more risk with Maybin now than there appeared to be in late April. It's certainly possible that 2010 isn't his year to hit MLB pitching. But keep in mind that he has the entire kit full of tools, and his ability to dismantle AAA pitching is a strong indicator that he could be about ready to turn “Disappointment” into “Delmon”, perhaps immediately.
Roger Bernadina: It's not entirely clear why PECOTA was so pessimistic about Roger Bernadina that even the 70th percentile rate stats were a measly .253/.327/.376. The obvious answer is that his comparables list read: Jerry Salzano, Andy Fox, Tommy Dunbar, Juan Sosa, Terry Shumpert, Matthew Sfarrazza, etc. Not exactly Bonds, Ruth, Williams there. But Bernadina actually hit the last year he was healthy, in 2008. His AA/AAA composite line read: 518 PA, .335/.400/.490, with 41 SB. There's nothing fluky about his speed, either. He stole 40 bases in 2007 in just 468 PA with a .338 OBP. The real question is how he got lumped in with those comparables
The book summary captured some of the concerns with Bernadina, while explaining his 2009 woes:
A broken ankle put Bernadina on the shelf for most of 2009, though he’s scheduled to attend the Nationals’ reserve outfielder casting call this spring. He has speed to burn but an inconsistent bat, with his lone productive minor league season (2008) built on the fault-line of a BABIP over .400. His wheels makes him look like a solid outfielder, but he’s been stretched as a center fielder, and while some in the organization have highlighted Bernadina as a breakout candidate, Justin Maxwell is a more useful player and is (or should be) a better bet to go north with the big club.
The astute reader is wondering why this guy is being recommended here, as Bernadina seems like every bit the reserve outfielder people thought he was. The two most obvious reasons are that Josh Willingham is injured and Bernadina steals bases. And for teams not needing steals, moving on to the next suspect is recommended. Post-injury, he's not going the 40-steal burner he was before, either. But he has added enough power to his game to contribute in that category. And his .318 BABIP is exactly what could be expected of a player with his combination of moderate power, high groundball percentage (50% in his brief career, over 54% in his minor-league career before that), and good speed. Some estimations would suggest that it could be even higher without being “lucky”. He's being platooned, essentially, but that shouldn't matter much, as most SB come against righty pitchers, and he's generally shown a typical platoon preference for right-handed pitchers in the minors. The bigger point is that his season stats appear repeatable. And, oh, he's batting behind Ryan Zimmerman and Adam Dunn, so his RBI opportunities will be higher than a typical Nationals player.
Cain is Able (but is Macha Willing?): Lorenzo Cain only hit .222 this past week, but he has started six straight Brewers games in center field. And he scored four runs and stole two bases on the week. When told that Carlos Gomez said that he wants to be the starting center fielder again, manager Ken Macha's non-reply was, “I'll just say: That's interesting.” He later went on to say that playing time would go to whoever is playing best. Since Braun and Hart are fixtures, that really ups the ante on Cain's need to perform well, but it does sound like Cain will continue to play if he hits. If he doesn't hit, he's not much use to a fantasy roster, anyway; his real-life benching will just make him easier to cut.
Pie For Everyone: Jay and Pie may have been “meh” last time, but both shone this week. Pie lit it up at a rate of .429/.429/.476. Felix Pie is a good fantasy contributor. He may always have trouble staying healthy, but during those times when he is healthy, he'll contribute in all 5 categories - something like a 15/15 HR/SB pace, with plus batting average, and runs and RBIs as expected.
Enough's Enough: Okay, time to kick Jay out of the nest and bump David Murphy off, as well. Jay hit almost .400 for the week (what's new?) and even stole a base without getting caught. He's clearly not a .361-level hitter (the .417 BABIP attests to that), but he's certainly doing his best Chris Coghlan impersonation in making a run at the Rookie of the Year award (Coghlan hit .372/.423/.543 in the 2nd half of 2009). David Murphy didn't have a great week, and saying that he's “graduating” from this list is more like the getaway car speeding away than a commencement ceremony. He's owned in a lot of leagues, but there are probably better options starting Monday.