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
Pebble Hunting: The Sa... (01/04)
<< Previous Column
Fantasy Article The Keeper Reaper: Out... (01/04)
Next Column >>
Fantasy Article The Keeper Reaper: Sta... (01/07)
Next Article >>
Fantasy Article The Keeper Reaper: Sta... (01/07)

January 7, 2013

The Keeper Reaper

Second, Short, and Catcher for 1/7/13

by Josh Shepardson

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.

Brian McCann | Atlanta Braves
Shallow (30 Keepers): No
Medium (60 Keepers): No
Deep (90 Keepers): Fringe
NL-only (60 Keepers): Fringe
Super Deep (200 Keepers): Yes

McCann had a down year in 2012 but still managed to reach 20 home runs for the fifth straight season. He retained his plate discipline but finished with an ugly .230 average. His BABIP was well below his career mark, yet his batted ball data fell right in line with his norms. This would seem to indicate he was unlucky last year and should rebound this year, but it isn't that cut and dry.

McCann played through a frayed labrum and cyst last year and received multiple cortisone shots to stay on the field. He underwent surgery on October 16 for which there is a four-to-six month recovery timetable. In late October, shortly after McCann's surgery, Braves general manager Frank Wren said he was hopeful he'd miss only the first few weeks of the season. Even if he is able to fulfill Wren's hopes, it's unclear how long he'll need to round into previous form or if he'll be able to return to his previous level of play at all. McCann's keeper worthiness varies greatly from team-to-team and is largely dependent on the number of health risks already being kept.

Ian Desmond | Washington Nationals
Shallow (30 Keepers):
No
Medium (60 Keepers): Fringe
Deep (90 Keepers): Yes
NL-only (60 Keepers): Yes
Super Deep (200 Keepers): Yes

Desmond enjoyed a breakout season last year, finishing in the top 50 in player rankings and fifth at the shortstop position. He blended power (25 home runs) and speed (21 stolen bases) with a career-high .292 average, offering a bit of everything to his fantasy owners. He was very efficient in his base-stealing, getting caught just six times in 27 attempts (77.8 percent success rate). It's likely that he'll eclipse 20 stolen bases once again this year, but I'm less bullish on his home run and batting average output in 2013.

The 25 home runs he hit in 547 plate appearances last year were three more than he hit in his first 1,302 plate appearances in the majors. Desmond is approaching his peak power years, so some gains last year were to be expected, but the leap his HR/FB rate took looks fluky to me. I'd expect a few more of his flies to stay in the yard this year, and that will have a trickledown effect on his batting average if those fly balls find gloves.

In addition to the uptick in his HR/FB rate, Desmond also enjoyed a few of his groundballs turning into line drives last year. His 19.5 percent line drive rate was a career best, but line drive rate can fluctuate wildly from year-to-year, and a few line drives reverting back into worm-burners would have a negative impact on his average.

Further hurting Desmond's chances of retaining a batting average north of .290 are his plate discipline numbers. Desmond is a free-swinger. Amongst batters that saw at least 1,000 pitches last year, he ranked ninth in swing rate behind noted hackers Josh Hamilton, Delmon Young, and Pablo Sandoval. He doesn't have the pop that Hamilton has or the ability to barrel up balls like Sandoval does, so this approach is a dangerous and volatile one for him to take. All of his swinging came with a career-worst swinging strike rate and a career low contact rate, and if he doesn't reverse course, he'll probably finish 2013 with an average closer to the .270s than the .290s.

I've clearly stated that I expect regression for Desmond this year, but that doesn't mean I dislike him. He's a shortstop that can hit for power, steal bags, and, even with a drop in average, not be a total drag on the category. When compiling my shortstop ranks recently, I slotted Desmond seventh, so look for him to continue on as a top 10 option at the position.  

Jason Kipnis | Cleveland Indians
Shallow (30 Keepers):
No
Medium (60 Keepers): Yes
Deep (90 Keepers): Yes
AL-only (60 Keepers): Yes
Super Deep (200 Keepers): Yes

Kipnis's 2012 season was a tale of two halves. Prior to the All-Star break he was the toast of the fantasy town, scoring 53 runs with 11 home runs, 49 RBI, 20 stolen bases, and a .277 average. Following the All-Star break he scored just 33 runs with three home runs, 27 RBI, 11 stolen bases, and a .233 average. He's not as good as his pre-break numbers suggest, nor as bad as his post-break numbers indicate. Because his struggles came at the end of the year, there may be a discount buying period on a talented young keystoner.

Kipnis is a patient hitter that packs some punch and doesn't often offer at many pitches out of the strike zone. He rarely pops out and rattles off line drives often. He had an ugly .215 average against southpaws last year, but his minor league track record suggests there is little to worry about. Perhaps more importantly, his walk, strikeout, and batted ball rates weren't out of line with what he posted against right-handed pitchers. Kipnis has enough thunder in his stick to reach the teens in home runs, and this go-round I expect him to do so with a higher average.

The biggest surprise in Kipnis's stat line last year was his 31 stolen bases. He's not a burner, but he's a smart base stealer that was successful 82 percent of the time last season. The volume of stolen bases was new to his game, but the efficiency wasn't. In 2011, between Triple-A and the majors, he stole 17 bases in 18 chances (94.4 percent stolen base success rate). New Indians manager Terry Francona isn't opposed to sending base runners, and that bodes well for Kipnis stealing over 25 bases again this season. Kipnis offers the total package and is a top five player at second base.

4 comments have been left for this article.

<< Previous Article
Pebble Hunting: The Sa... (01/04)
<< Previous Column
Fantasy Article The Keeper Reaper: Out... (01/04)
Next Column >>
Fantasy Article The Keeper Reaper: Sta... (01/07)
Next Article >>
Fantasy Article The Keeper Reaper: Sta... (01/07)

RECENTLY AT BASEBALL PROSPECTUS
Premium Article Transaction Analysis: Live That Fantasy
Premium Article Pitching Backward: Brandon McCarthy and the ...
Premium Article Transaction Analysis: Bringing the Band Back...
Premium Article Raising Aces: Best and Worst Mechanics: NL W...
Premium Article Transaction Analysis: Catchin' Relief
Premium Article Transaction Analysis: Martin in Miami, Nate ...
Premium Article Transaction Analysis: Padres Wish Upton a St...

MORE FROM JANUARY 7, 2013
Premium Article Prospects Will Break Your Heart: Arizona Dia...
Baseball Therapy: What Really Happens When a...
Premium Article Pebble Hunting: Adventures in Intentional Ba...
Premium Article Rumor Roundup: Monday, January 7
The Week in Quotes: December 31-January 6
Fantasy Article Resident Fantasy Genius: Fantasy Value Round...
Fantasy Article The Keeper Reaper: Starting Pitchers for 1/7...

MORE BY JOSH SHEPARDSON
2013-02-04 - Fantasy Article The Keeper Reaper: Second, Short, and Catche...
2013-01-28 - Fantasy Article The Keeper Reaper: Second, Short, and Catche...
2013-01-14 - Fantasy Article The Keeper Reaper: Second, Short, and Catche...
2013-01-07 - Fantasy Article The Keeper Reaper: Second, Short, and Catche...
2012-12-17 - Fantasy Article The Keeper Reaper: Second, Short, and Catche...
2012-12-11 - Fantasy Article The Keeper Reaper: Second, Short, and Catche...
2012-09-24 - Fantasy Article Value Picks: Second, Short, and Catcher Revi...
More...

MORE THE KEEPER REAPER
2013-01-09 - Fantasy Article The Keeper Reaper: Relievers for 1/9/13
2013-01-08 - Fantasy Article The Keeper Reaper: First, Third, and DH for ...
2013-01-07 - Fantasy Article The Keeper Reaper: Starting Pitchers for 1/7...
2013-01-07 - Fantasy Article The Keeper Reaper: Second, Short, and Catche...
2013-01-04 - Fantasy Article The Keeper Reaper: Outfielders for 1/4/13
2013-01-03 - Fantasy Article The Keeper Reaper: First, Third, and DH for ...
2013-01-02 - Fantasy Article The Keeper Reaper: Relievers for 1/2/13
More...