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May 26, 2010

Fantasy Beat

Hot Spots: Outfield

by Rob McQuown

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Value Picks 2010 PECOTA Games '10 Scoresheet
Outfield Team PA HR R RBI SB BA OBP SLG BA OBP SLG LF CF RF vRH vLH Rng
Tyler Colvin CHN 75 4 16 11 1 .308 .365 .600 .246 .297 .412 23 5 10 +20 –71 2.12
Fred Lewis TOR 155 3 23 15 3 .283 .316 .469 .271 .349 .427 26 5 4 +28 –90 2.09
Nate Schierholtz SF 116 1 17 7 4 .298 .365 .423 .273 .326 .437 0 0 35 +5 –15 2.07
Mike Stanton FLA 193 17 32 44 1 .318 .451 .734 .238 .307 .482 3 0 36 –16 +40 2.10
Drew Stubbs CIN 170 5 22 18 11 .213 .300 .373 .247 .321 .375 0 41 0 –18 +43 2.17
Ryan Sweeney OAK 177 1 18 21 0 .307 .350 .387 .290 .355 .424 0 0 42 +29 –88 2.14
Marcus Thames NYA 72 2 7 10 0 .357 .472 .536 .249 .315 .495 13 0 4 –23 +48 2.06
Andres Torres SF 127 2 14 12 6 .299 .395 .486 .240 .306 .406 13 13 10 –24 +56 2.12
Delmon Young MIN 141 4 17 21 2 .264 .319 .440 .280 .324 .425 35 0 0 –25 +57 2.04
Subscribe to Heater: Avg for Left Field .274 .342 .440   vRH = OPS v RH
Heater Magazine Avg for Center Field .269 .338 .424   vLH = OPS v LH
  Avg for Right Field .275 .348 .449   Rng = Range
  Avg for All Outfield .273 .343 .438  

Alumni Update: Several ex-Value Picks again appear to be value picks, for the same reasons given originally. If the players listed here aren't available or don't fit a specific need, consider Mike Cameron, Carlos Guillen (whose value should shoot up even more when he qualifies as a second baseman), Will Venable (his elite speed should really shine now that the rough pitching matchups are behind the Padres), and even Carlos Gomez (who may continue to face playing time threats all season, but has the stolen base potential to keep him on the radar).

Status Quo: The Cubs have a “good problem”, with seemingly everyone on their roster hitting the cover off the ball, aside from the two guys who seemed the safest bets to do so before the season began. This results in nonsense like Jeff Baker getting a start in right field, and Xavier Nady getting increased playing time, including a start against righty Colby Lewis while Tyler Colvin waited on the bench to have a late-inning clutch double. With the starting three locked in place through 2011 (and that suddenly appears to be a very positive thing), Colvin will probably end up playing first base next year, when Derrek Lee is allowed to walk. In the meantime, the Cubs are likely trying to showcase Nady for a potential trade. It's all very frustrating for Tyler Colvin owners in fantasy baseball, but keep in mind that Lou Piniella is a notorious “hot hand” manager, and also that Alfonso Soriano hasn't had the best health record in recent seasons.  Meanwhile, iIt was a big RBI week for Delmon Young. It should be noted, that – while it doesn't help him in fantasy baseball directly – he already has 12 walks in 2010, equally his 2009 total (posted in 416 PA).

Mike Stanton's presence here is more of a Chris Coghlan “Flop Watch”. The 2009 Rookie of the Year had an exciting 12-game stretch from May 9 to May 20, where he hit .333 with 2 home runs and 2 stolen bases. He followed that with an 0-for-16 series, including 0-for-6 on a day when his teammates tallied 13 runs. Owner Jeffrey Loria may talk about a “foundation for success” being critical to determining when to bring up Stanton, but with 2 more homers this past week, it's difficult to believe that the team will delay much beyond the early June time frame required to avoid eventual “Super 2” status for their young slugger. Also, without much fanfare, he's started 3 of the last 4 games in left field for the Suns, his first 3 games at the position all year.

Departures: Just when it seems like every avenue of twisted logic from a ballclub has been heard, the Giants “explain” how playing Aubrey Huff in left field to allow all of Edgar Renteria, Freddy Sanchez, and Juan Uribe to get into the lineup improves their offense. See the table for their career stats, none of which should be expected from them anymore, as they are all on the down slope of the age curve.

Career: AVG OBP SLG
Renteria .288 .345 .401
Uribe .257 .300 .430
Sanchez .298 .334 .416
Average .281 .326 .416

Needless to say, fantasy sports is all about pragmatism, and if the team thinks that those guys can hit Livan Hernandez better than Schierholtz can, there's really no point in having Schierholtz on a fantasy roster, so he's being dropped as a Value Pick also.

Doing a very quick U-turn from last week is Marcus Thames. Obviously, there's nothing to this “Curse of the Value Picks”, but sometimes it's hard to know. For example, the very day Thames was added last week, rotoworld.com reported, “Marcus Thames was lifted from Wednesday's game with a sprained left ankle. Thames appeared to slip on his own bat while running down the first base line.” [relaying a Mark Feinsand Tweet] While there's virtually no reason to expect mediocrity Juan Miranda to keep hitting, there's a lot of “inertia” involved in playing time decisions, and until his stats (.261/.370/.652) return to earth, he's in line for the big side of a straight L/R platoon at DH, with the menace of Thames' power giving Joe Girardi a potent late-game option on the bench in games started by righties. Good for Joe, bad for fantasy owners.

Arrivals: Dusty Baker has always had a strange set of “labels” attached to him. One such “label” Dusty has is not caring about fundamentals. This is poppycock, and probably just commentary on the fact that he's not a screamer. Dusty has shown a career-long tendency to preference defense over offense - up the middle, at least. Enter Drew Stubbs. Stubbs is about as unlikely to fall out of favor with Dusty as Corey Patterson was. His exciting blend of speed and great ballhawking skills in center field lock him into the lineup almost every day. (The traditional scouting reports seem much more trustworthy at this point than the -15 UZR/150 he's posted in 2010 so far, at least until UZR comes equipped with a “show worst plays” link to video lowlights so people can see why he's rated so badly – seriously, it can't be far off for MLB.com to offer this functionality, can it? Anyway, for fantasy purposes, it doesn't matter what UZR says, only what's in Dusty's mind, and he believes Stubbs can “go get it”.) From an offensive standpoint, Stubbs really benefits from Dusty's belief in stealing bases, and should blow away the PECOTA projection of just 23 in 506 PA (he stole 56 between AAA and MLB in 2009). In many ways, he's similar to Carlos Gomez (PECOTA of .257/.309/.387) with more patience compensating for a lower batting average. He also showed indications in 2009 that he might have some serious untapped power potential, as he blasted 8 home runs in just 195 plate appearances in Cincinnati, after just 3 in 462 for Louisville. If the power is maintained, expect an almost unique blend of stats from Stubbs – the low batting average is very likely to persist (he has 95 strikeouts in just 363 career PA), but he could still reach 20 HR and 40 SB. That's an upside, but 15/30 would shock nobody.

Who is Andres Torres? From the 2010 Annual: “A bum hamstring kept Torres shelved for most of the first half, but in the second, finally given his first real opportunity to play in the majors since his participation on the 119-loss Tigers of 2003, he shined as a bench bat. Mostly, he put the hurt on lefties, rapping out 13 extra-base hits in 78 PA against them (including six triples, four homers, making for a hell of a Strat card) while spot-starting at all three positions. He won't slug .500 again, but because he can run and he's always been able to handle center, he may finally settle in as a useful bench weapon.” A lot of that still makes sense, but he's hit righties much harder in 2010 (.557 slugging, as opposed to .333 slugging against lefties), flattening out his 2-year stats somewhat. He's also shown himself to be an above-average fielder in center, and a great side outfielder, consistent with UZR's in 2009-2010 (+14.8 fielding runs in 297 PA). Also very noteworthy is that his walk rate made a huge increases in 2008, working with Von Joshua while Torres was a member of the Iowa Cubs. Joshua has had some success in helping players realize later-career breakouts, and suddenly, it's difficult to find a reason to write off Torres as a fluke. His strikeouts-per-PA percentage has come down from 29.6% in 2009 to 19.6% in 2010, while his walk rate is a very nice 12.6% this year. His BABIP of .357 is unsustainable, but as a fast player with “extra-base power” who doesn't bat right-handed exclusively, a .330+ BABIP wouldn't be outrageous. And fast, senor Torres is. He won't ever steal 67 bases like he did back in '00 (in A ball), but he's 12-3 in stolen-base attempts with the Giants, in just 293 plate appearances. And the improvement in his walk rate only helps him, so dreaming on 25 steals isn't delusional, though perhaps optimistic. His biggest worry at this point is the fact that all of DeRosa, Schierholtz, and Bowker have decent skills, so he needs to out-play two of them to keep a starting role.

Rob McQuown is an author of Baseball Prospectus Fantasy Beat, Baseball Daily Digest, and the team expert for both Chicago teams in Heater. You can click here to see Previous Fantasy Beat articles or click here to see his entries at BDD (including daily fantasy advice).

 

Rob McQuown is an author of Baseball Prospectus. 
Click here to see Rob's other articles. You can contact Rob by clicking here

Related Content:  Andres Torres,  Drew Stubbs

16 comments have been left for this article. (Click to hide comments)

BP Comment Quick Links

R.A.Wagman

I had heard the Nate Schierholtz had hurt his shoulder which was affecting his swing, making him more of a defensive replacement for the time being.

May 26, 2010 06:20 AM
rating: 0
 
BP staff member Rob McQuown
BP staff

Yeah, I read that, but I tend to be pretty skeptical with commentary like that from any team. If he's hurt so badly that he can't hit, to the extent that they are trying Huff in the outfield, you'd think he'd go on the DL. Joe Borchard has gotten plenty of chances, so it's unlikely he'd hit, either, but he's tearing up AAA, and would reduce the redundancies of having all three of Huff, Schierholtz, and Bowker being lefty batters playing left field.

Probably the biggest problem is that the DeRosa injury provided a real window in which Schierholtz had a chance to prove that he was indispensable. Unfortunately for him, Torres has gone a lot further toward doing that, instead. Be may never be loved by Sabermetricians, but I maintain that he'll hit enough to be valuable when he's healthy and given a chance. So, do keep an eye on the entire SF outfield as the season progresses. Sadly for SF fans, the two guys who might most deserve to be backups are the two who are most likely to get spots when everyone is healthy - Rowand and DeRosa. But I do feel good about Torres, mostly from the perspective of: "This team really needs him, even if his OBP drops all the way to the .340-.350 range."

May 26, 2010 08:08 AM
 
OTSgamer

I drafted Sizemore in the fourth round of our draft, thinking I had gotten a major steal, but you know how that has worked out.

I don't want to drop Sizemore because of his great potential when healthy, but with his early struggles and the latest by Will Carroll regarding possible microfracture surgery on his knee, is it just time to cut bait with him and get one of the value picks?

May 26, 2010 06:40 AM
rating: 2
 
BP staff member Rob McQuown
BP staff

Tell you what, I'll circulate this around the other "Hot Spots" writers, in case they aren't checking here. This is the million-dollar question, isn't it? :(

FWIW, the answers may depend on league configurations. I'd think that in a shallow league like Yahoo or ESPN, where you either have 9 active players (Yahoo standard league), or very few bench spots (ESPN standard league), it borders on impossible to keep a guy who isn't producing. I know that Jose Reyes has been killing my ESPN team, and Sizemore/Reyes almost did me in last year. Also, looking at it strategically, you might want to make sure that a certain key competitor or two don't get him, which may involve trading him for nothing (i.e. someone you plan to cut anyway) to a team you aren't worried as much about.

May 26, 2010 08:16 AM
 
CRP13

How about for keeper leagues?

May 26, 2010 08:51 AM
rating: 0
 
OTSgamer

Playoffs start in my league in September so as long as Sizemore is back and playing well then, I really don't have an issue keeping him. It's hurting to keep him on right now because our league has two DL spots and I currently have Beckett and Happ there, but when Beckett gets back next week or so that shouldn't be an issue. Besides, honestly there really isn't another outfielder that I could pick up that would give me great production anyway.

My concern is really that he is probably too big of a name player for people to just pass on him altogether. If I thought he could clear waivers and sit as an FA for a couple of weeks, I'd gladly do it. My thinking, though, is that someone will take a chance on him, and for whatever reason no one seems to want to trade anyone in my league, so that's not really a viable option right now.

May 26, 2010 08:59 AM
rating: 0
 
BP staff member Rob McQuown
BP staff

Hope these help - seems like a pretty consistent perspective of not jumping to conclusions, but not getting your hopes too high, at least for the immediate future.

Mike Petriello wrote:
Sizemore's on the DL, right? If it was me, I'd just stash him there rather than dump him completely. Actually, if I saw he was dropped in one of my leagues, I'd probably pick him up immediately just to put him on the DL.

Marc Normandin wrote:
Depends on the context, too. If it's keeper, how many, etc. I would caution he waits until we know exactly what he's doing, rehab or surgery. It's too late to trade him for anything worthwhile, so he has to either hold him and hope he plays in 2010 or drop him when we know more.

Michael Street wrote:
The other concern is whether his league has a DL slot, or whether he's got a higher value player stashed there already. IMO, if this owner could have stashed him on the DL, he probably wouldn't be asking whether to cut him or not, but that assumes this reader is a rational actor :)

Still, Marc's advice is good: never overreact to bad news until the extent of it is clear. With all of us fantasy writers out there, a tempest can sometimes be created in a teacup, esp. with a higher profile player like Sizemore.

I'm somewhat familiar with microfracture surgery, living in Portland (Greg Oden underwent the procedure), and there's a good track record among NBA players--basketball being a more impact-intensive sport, I'd imagine that Sizemore would recover well, though this would put him out for the season. Anyway, this all to say that Will is reading a lot of tea leaves in his commentary, and he could be overreacting.

May 26, 2010 14:45 PM
 
OTSgamer

Yep, confirmed again... BP is still awesome.

My gut instinct for the past few days has been that I might as well keep him for a couple of weeks longer because I really don't have any great alternatives to replace him. I'll have a DL spot open for him when Beckett / Happ get back, so I shouldn't have to wait too much longer to bury him there (even if the diagnosis remains undetermined in the weeks ahead).

One final question... I drafted Nate McLouth (I know, right?) but he has had a terrible year and is now struggling just to stay in the starting lineup. PECOTA was high on him before the season, but now he has dropped a long ways. There are definitely better players out there in my league that I can get (assuming McLouth doesn't have a breakout). Is it time to cut bait?

May 26, 2010 20:18 PM
rating: 0
 
cbirkemeier

No comments about Fred Lewis?

May 26, 2010 08:07 AM
rating: 0
 
BP staff member Rob McQuown
BP staff

Heh, I thought I worked him over last week, was giving him a break... watch out for that upcoming gauntlet of rough pitching, though.

May 26, 2010 08:10 AM
 
xavier

Do you really think Stanton replaces Coghlan, and not the equally struggling Maybin?

May 26, 2010 08:21 AM
rating: 0
 
BP staff member Michael Jong
BP staff

xavier,

As a Fish fan, I can say with decent assurance that Maybin will be the one that gets sent down, with Cody Ross moving to center field. I don't how much you can expect from Stanton. A bit better than league average would be my best-case guess. Home runs will be solid, batting average will not be. He'll also likely bat 7th or 8th if he ends up starting. Hope that helps.

May 27, 2010 08:25 AM
 
OTSgamer

Any thoughts on Juan Rivera?

May 26, 2010 09:00 AM
rating: 0
 
BP staff member Rob McQuown
BP staff

His Weighted Means PECOTA is .293/.344/.506. I think that's optimistic, but I'd really need to dig into his stats to see whether there's any reason to worry. I know he went on a mini-tear recently, which is cause to think he'll come out of his "prolonged slump", but then again, he's always been a power/contact guy and his strikeouts are way up this year, suggesting that there may be reason to be worried.

In the context of the guys covered as "Value Picks", he's probably still a cut above.

May 26, 2010 09:18 AM
 
mdupske

I guess I missed it so could someone explain the yellow and green system? Thanks!

May 26, 2010 18:44 PM
rating: 0
 
BP staff member Rob McQuown
BP staff

Green are the new additions this week. Yellow are being removed after this week.

May 26, 2010 22:36 PM
 
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