What does college poetry have to do with Stan Javier? Everything.
It’s late. Outside my window, across the valley, porch lights twinkle; behind me, my wife watches a documentary about German expatriates in the Galapagos. There is, yet again, no baseball. I have spent half an hour reading poetry I wrote in college. I should be writing about the Hall of Fame. I do not want to write about the Hall of Fame. I want to write about Stan Javier.
Sometimes we are deep and sometimes we are not deep, and sometimes we just want to feel deep, that warm comfortable blanket of wisdom in seeing something and understanding it, having words for it. This is one of those times and I am sorry. I am sorry that I have chosen this, if in fact I have.
Last month, the Padres made headlines with their Rule 5 draft maneuvers. They landed three players who will have to stick on their 25-man roster in order to be kept and none of the three have played above the lowest level of full-season ball
Miguel Diaz is an ambitious choice, a starting prospect who will probably spend the season in long relief in San Diego, but players like him have been chosen before. The Cubs tried this with Lendy Castillo several years ago and the Brewers did it with Wei-Chung Wang. Luis Torrens only spent half the season in the South Atlantic League last year, but there have been other catchers whom teams plucked out of deep obscurity and stashed on the bench (like Adrian Nieto of the White Sox and Oscar Hernandez of the Diamondbacks). Allen Cordoba, however, is a shortstop prospect from the Cardinals system and a player whose highest level of stateside professional competition to date was the Appalachian League.
Stacking up the players at this position by fantasy-value-based bins.
Welcome back to our fantasy positional ratings series at Baseball Prospectus. Things can only get better from here on out, as we move from the not-so-fun duties of ranking catchers to the much more fun assignment of ranking first basemen. Once again, I rated the players at the position and then received the feedback of our crack team of fantasy writers in order to bring you a mix of my ratings at the position along with a reality check from the rest of our staff if I was too low or high on a specific player. Let’s get right to it.
Five-star players are the studs at their position. In general, they are the players who will be nabbed in the first couple of rounds of the draft, and will fetch mixed-league auction bids over $30. Four-star players are a cut below the studs at the position. They will also be early-round selections, and they are projected to be worth more than $20 in most cases. Three-star players are the last tier in which players are projected to provide double-digit dollar value in auctions, and two-star players are projected to earn single digits in dollar value in auctions. One-star players are late-round sleepers and roster placeholders. The positional tiers aren't simply a regurgitation of last year's values but rather offer insight into what we expect will happen in 2017.
A look at how first-sackers fare based on the handedness of the opposing pitcher and other contextual factors.
Last week, I introduced a few different splits fantasy owners can use in both seasonal and daily leagues, and focused on catchers. For more detail on those splits, see the link above. We transition to first base this week.
Have we been too quick to dismiss the value of batter vs. pitcher histories?
Because it’s Hall of Fame week, there have been plenty of Edgar Martinez partisans out there making the case for the former Mariners third baseman/designated hitter. Martinez’s case is dulled somewhat by the fact that he spent so much of his career designated to hit, and perhaps more damning that he didn’t reach 3,000 hits nor 500 home runs (nor 50 stolen bases) for his career.
The Cardinals gear up for their first arbitration hearing in years, Craig Breslow schedules a pitching showcase, and Carl Crawford contemplates retirement (maybe).
Cardinals anticipate first arbitration hearing since 1999
Cardinals general manager John Mozeliak is test-driving a new strategy with his arbitration-eligible players. According to his comments made at the annual Cardinals Care Winter Warm-Up event over the weekend, those who did not settle with the team prior to the Friday deadline will go to an arbitration hearing. It’s a relatively common tact that the front office has considered for a few years now, and Mozeliak claimed that the hard-nosed approach was intended to encourage players to work through salary negotiations by Friday’s deadline.
The staff identifies possible value plays at this position for the coming season.
Joey Votto, Cincinnati Reds
Maybe all those years of the Cincinnati front office and local media riding him for walking too much has seeped into the general fantasy-playing population at large after all, because Votto continues to be an underrated mixed-league target at the top of his position. In 2015, granted at 31 and coming off an injury season, he was taken 71st overall on average – around 12th among first basemen depending on who you count out of the position-eligible pool. He produced $30 in standard mixed-league value, good for the second-best return at the position. Last year he went off the board seventh among first basemen, 36th overall on average; he earned $29 mixed-league dollars, again the second-most of any first baseman. We’ve got him ranked second at the position this season in acknowledgement of recent evidence, and yet… he’s currently going off the board sixth among first basemen, around the 28th overall pick. Huh?
At 33 there are certainly age-related concerns to be peddled, particularly given the history with his legs. But he was thoroughly destructive in the second half last season, the ballpark remains a perfect fit for his batted ball distribution, and he managed a tick under 200 R+RBI last year in spite of a bottom-third supporting cast. And while his value increases exponentially in OBP leagues, he’s a career .313 hitter (.320 over the last two seasons). A whopping six first basemen managed to crack .290 last year, so the advantage of a locked-in asset in AVG shouldn’t be understated, either. At 28 overall, Votto has the look of an absolutely lethal snake-draft target for the turn in 14- to 16-team redrafts, or a lethal second pick for anyone stuck navigating the late first-round muddle in a straight draft. —Wilson Karaman
A look at where the first-sackers have been selected in the first batch of drafts this year.
Welcome to first base week, where we’ll have everything you need to know about the position over the next five days. In this space, you can find the second edition of this year’s average ADP analysis series. As I explained in last week’s catcher edition, these ADP numbers come from the NFBC data, and the average round is assuming a 15-team league. Now, with all of that out of the way, let’s get to the good stuff.
Why the multitude of first-base options can result in suboptimal decisions, and how to avoid falling into the trap.
Good Monday and, more importantly, good Martin Luther King Day to everyone.
Unrelatedly, we go from the catcher position, the least productive offensive position (likely a result of all the ways catchers can impact the game defensively), to first base, one of the most productive offensive positions, likely a result of the limits on the way a first baseman can impact the game defensively. Talk about pointing out contrast because I didn’t know how to get rolling on this article.