Happy Thanksgiving! Regularly Scheduled Articles Will Resume Monday, December 1
September 27, 2011
Value Picks is such a mixed bag, especially before NL-only and AL-only players were separated out. Sometimes, a “Value Pick” is a player the authors think should be owned in every league, even shallow mixed leagues, because they're just that good. Other players are more appropriate for deeper mixed leagues or shallow single-league leagues. And, of course, some players are total bottom-of-the-barrel shots in the dark (here's looking at you, Trent Oeltjen!)
Preseason Good and Bad Picks
Not that yours truly is following Mike Petriello around, but an addendum to his commentary[ed-where he notes that Morse has “huge upside”]on Michael Morse is that with Tony Plush going to Milwaukee, he's much more secure in receiving starter's playing time. Morse is a career .291/.353/.456 hitter (.287 TAv), making him one of the harder-hitting players likely to be available later in drafts.
I doubt that anyone really expected a .304-29-91 season from Mr. Morse, but this is the sort of pick which wins leagues.
As far as why Francoeur and Joyce made for good picks, the reasons are almost exactly opposite. Joyce is a good hitter, but concerns about his playing time caused his value to be depressed before the season in most leagues. Logging just 511 plate appearances, these concerns seem somewhat valid, though he produced .277-18-72-13 with 68 runs in that time.
Francoeur, on the other hand, entered the season with a .268/.310/.425 batting line—worse, it should be noted, than Ben Francisco's. But quantity has a quality of its own in fantasy baseball, and he is well-loved by Dayton Moore and was unlikely to lose playing time, even if slumping. A slump never came, though, and as of this writing, he leads the league in doubles, and if he steals one more base, he'll have equaled his career total entering 2011 (he has 22 this season and had 23 through 2010). He's also blasted 20 home runs and is hitting .285, for good measure. The old “age 27 with experience” adage would seem to have yet another data point to suggest that great things can happen, but yours truly confesses that anything above his pedestrian career stats that Francoeur provided is being credited to “pure luck”.
Mid-and-Late season Good and Bad Picks
All things considered, Reimold could end up playing almost full-time the rest of the way, and his power potential suggests that seven homers are to be expected with double-digits far from being outrageous.
...and added to the Value Picks list, not just the AL-only list. While he hasn't set the world on fire, he's hit .265/.339/.469 since then with—you guessed it—seven home runs. Toss in a startling six stolen bases (another thing we won't take credit for foreseeing), 27 runs, and 25 RBI, and it's been a nice couple months for Reimold owners.
Sometimes, the “good” comes from warning owners away from players in a hot streak. While not quite as harsh as it could have been, this cautionary comment about Roger Bernadina—“Not likely to make much impact in standard leagues, he could be a decent option in deeper leagues and NL-only leagues” —hopefully kept most owners away from a mistake. Of course, warning owners away from Casper Wells worked out well, though that was also unlucky, as he's nowhere near as bad as his .216/.310/.431 batting line with Seattle would suggest.
Alex Presley would seem like much more of a “good” pick if he hadn't been injured so soon after being added. With just one game in the majors, he was boldly placed on the Value Picks list (on June 29), and he hit .286/.327/.442 this season with eight steals in just 206 plate appearances. For a player with 1% ownership in Yahoo leagues, 0% in ESPN leagues, and 6% in CBS leagues, he was quite a find… when healthy.
In general, looking at the list of players-by-dates (see chart at bottom of article), most of the additions to the list contributed to teams for a while: Josh Reddick, Eric Thames, Kyle Blanks, etc. Some of the younger players were added with plenty of warnings given: Trayvon Robinson, Dayan Viciedo, etc. More may have been expected from players such as Dexter Fowler, Cameron Maybin, J.D. Martinez, and Thames, but they still contributed.
It's hard to get too self-critical over picking Brandon Belt on July 20 and again on August 24. Everything suggests that he'll be a Grade-A hitter in time. But, as with Sands, the opportunity wasn't there for him to withstand an early failure. If he'd stayed hot, he would have held a job, but when he got cold, the team had another, more highly-paid option for each of his positions.
Jason Bourgeois was a disaster of a pick. Even the analysis when adding him pointed out that he's always hit lefties only and has padded his stolen base totals by pinch-running. To assume he'd hit righties enough to stay in the lineup was analysis based solely on opportunity; the Astros appeared to have no other options. Still, he should have done better than he did: .233/.275/.252 from August 3 onward with just nine steals to his credit.
The What You See Is What You Get
Here's hoping that owners found the Value Picks to be helpful and informative, and everyone will be uncorking the fantasy champagne (does anyone still use Yoo-Hoo?) Here's the list of all players added to Value Picks by this author from March 30 through last week:
Complete List of 2011 Outfield Value Picks