CSS Button No Image Css3Menu.com

Baseball Prospectus home
Click here to log in Click here for forgotten password Click here to subscribe
<< Previous Article
Premium Article Expanded Horizons: Rel... (04/15)
No Previous Column
Next Column >>
Fantasy Article Don't Believe the Hype... (04/22)
Next Article >>
Premium Article On the Beat: The Forgo... (04/15)

April 15, 2011

Don't Believe the Hype

Buyer Beware

by Marc Normandin

the archives are now free.

All Baseball Prospectus Premium and Fantasy articles more than a year old are now free as a thank you to the entire Internet for making our work possible.

Not a subscriber? Get exclusive content like this delivered hot to your inbox every weekday. Click here for more information on Baseball Prospectus subscriptions or use the buttons to the right to subscribe and get instant access to the best baseball content on the web.

Subscribe for $4.95 per month
Recurring subscription - cancel anytime.

a 33% savings over the monthly price!

Purchase a $39.95 gift subscription
a 33% savings over the monthly price!

Already a subscriber? Click here and use the blue login bar to log in.

We are hitting the point in the season where some drops are starting to come in large doses: Manny Ramirez's retirement caused him to be dropped in 66 percent of leagues (though, for some reason, 13 percent of leagues still have him), Rafael Furcal's injury forced 22 percent of owners to make a cut, and Daisuke Matsuzaka, despite still having a job, was cut by 17 percent of owners who are as tired of watching him pitch as I am. I can't argue with any of those moves, so let's once again focus on the happier side of things and talk about the most-added players.

Chris Narveson, Milwaukee Brewers (68 percent owned, +48 percent)

This starting pitcher has just 13 innings and a pair of starts on the year, but he has made the most of that time, striking out 14 hitters against just four walks while allowing a big fat zero in the runs column. Narveson was solid in 2010 outside of his ERA, thanks to a 2.3 K/BB ratio and 37 appearances, 28 of them starts.

Narveson's 4.13 SIERA in 2010 gave us reason to think he would be better than his 4.99 ERA, though PECOTA was not as optimistic (4.69 ERA, 1.44 WHIP). You can blame the Milwaukee defense for a portion of that, of course—the Brewers ranked #29 in Defensive Efficiency in 2010, and none of their offseason moves were made with improvement in that area in mind.

Because of that defense—and Narveson's history—you shouldn't run out to get him, as so many owners have. Still, he is a good depth pick in mixed leagues, and a risk worth taking in deeper ones.

Willie Bloomquist, Arizona Diamondbacks (55 percent owned, +42 percent)


…okay, fine. Less succinctly, Bloomquist is temporary in many ways. His production is temporary, and his playing time is also temporary. (Stephen Drew returned from his injury last week.) Do I really need to write this? It's Willie Bloomquist, people!

If you're in an NL-only league, I understand, but I have to ask you mixed league guys what you are doing. Just a friendly reminder: Bloomquist has hit .268/.322/.346 over the last three years.

Justin Masterson, Cleveland Indians (56 percent owned, +32 percent)

Masterson has traditionally struggled against left-handed hitters (.291/.379/.432 in his career), and as a groundball pitcher who rarely plays in front of quality defenses, he hasn't even been able to get all of the outs he should. This year, Masterson is playing in front of Jack Hannahan at third, Asdrubal Cabrera at short, and Orlando Cabrera at second—that is not half-bad, and should help tighten up the holes many grounders escaped through in the past.

The lefty problem has not been discarded as easily, though, and Masterson doesn't strike out nearly enough hitters to make up for the damage they will do to his rate stats. In his career, spanning over 400 innings, Masterson has struck out 7.4 per nine while handing out free passes to 3.9 per nine, for a K/BB of 1.9 and a WHIP of 1.41. He has picked up two wins with the Indians off to a good start, but that, like Masterson's 1.35 ERA, will not last.

As Bill Baer says today, Masterson could be a decent gamble in AL-only leagues, but this new ownership rate in mixed leagues is perplexing.

Ben Francisco, Philadelphia Phillies (70 percent owned, +31 percent)
Alexi Ogando, Texas Rangers (66 percent owned, +31 percent)

I've covered both Francisco and Ogando recently, and nothing has changed on either front. Francisco is solid, but not a game changer, and Ogando is useful as long as he has a gig.

Sam Fuld, Tampa Bay Rays (30 percent owned, +30 percent)

Fuld can do a little bit of everything, unless you want him to hit for power. He is six for six in stolen base opportunities so far, and with the way the Rays run, that pace shouldn't slow down anytime soon—Fuld stole more than 20 bases in each of the last two years at Triple-A, even before manager Joe Maddon could tell him how much he loves those extra bases.

Fuld shouldn't hurt (and may even help you) in batting average and, if he continues to draw plate appearances as Tampa Bay's leadoff hitter, will also score runs. That makes him a neat three-category player, assuming he continues to play.

Given his defensive ability, his baserunning skills, and the fact he can get on base, chances are good the Rays will keep giving Fuld playing time. He may not be the 2011 version of Brett Gardner, but he will surprise a lot of people the same way. Scoop him up in mixed league formats, and hope Desmond Jennings doesn't see the light of MLB anytime soon.

Travis Hafner, Cleveland Indians (44 percent owned, +29 percent)

Heading into last night, Hafner was hitting .282/.333/.462 over 42 plate appearances. For some reason, there is a lot of talk about whether he is "back," despite the fact that from 2007 through 2010 Hafner hit .261/.365/.438, a cumulative line that includes his injury-plagued 2008 where he hit just .197 over 198 plate appearances.

He is hitting like he has, when healthy, since the 2007 season (and, honestly, like he has his entire career excepting his 2004-2006 peak, which was exceptionally Pujolsian at .308/.419/.611). He is nice to have around and all, if you need some extra offense out of your utility spot in a mixed league or you're in an AL-only league, but if you weren't excited in any of the last four years, I'm puzzled as to why you would be excited now.

7 comments have been left for this article.

<< Previous Article
Premium Article Expanded Horizons: Rel... (04/15)
No Previous Column
Next Column >>
Fantasy Article Don't Believe the Hype... (04/22)
Next Article >>
Premium Article On the Beat: The Forgo... (04/15)

What You Need to Know: Engel in the Outfield
Short Relief: Underappreciated Player Week: ...
Premium Article Weekly Wrap: August 18, 2017
Premium Article Guarding The Lines: Here The Fastball Are No...
Banjo Hitter: The First 162: Alex Bregman
Cold Takes: Doomed and Determined
Circle Change: The Best Failure in Baseball

Premium Article On the Beat: The Forgotten Man
Premium Article Expanded Horizons: Relying on Relievers
Fantasy Article Fantasy Beat: Weekly Planner #4
Fantasy Article Fantasy Beat: Whither Napoli?
Fantasy Article Fantasy Beat: Value Picks in the Rotation
Fantasy Article Fantasy Beat: Scoresheet Supplemental Draft ...
Premium Article Prospectus Q&A: YOU Make the Call! Part IV

2011-04-18 - Collateral Damage: One Step Forward, Several...
2011-04-18 - Collateral Damage: DL-less Starting Pitchers
2011-04-15 - Collateral Damage: Mauer Outage
2011-04-15 - Fantasy Article Don't Believe the Hype: Buyer Beware
2011-04-13 - Premium Article Collateral Damage: Hamilton's Poor Sense of ...
2011-04-11 - Premium Article Collateral Damage: More on the Core
2011-04-11 - Fantasy Article Fantasy Focus: The NL's Rookie Outage

2011-05-06 - Don't Believe the Hype: Gaping Hole at Third...
2011-04-29 - Fantasy Article Don't Believe the Hype: Barney and Friends
2011-04-22 - Fantasy Article Don't Believe the Hype: Leaving on a Jed Pla...
2011-04-15 - Fantasy Article Don't Believe the Hype: Buyer Beware