Jason Kipnis, Carlos Santana, and Danny Salazar headline a roster whose complementary players could be appealing in deeper formats.
Coming off their first playoff appearance since blowing a 3-1 lead in the 2007 ALCS, the Indians will look to get back to the Promised Land (if you can call a one-game playoff the Promised Land). And they’ll have to do it with two of their three best pitchers from last season, Ubaldo Jimenez and Scott Kazmir, potentially departing. The lineup remains intact, though they have added underrated outfielder David Murphy so that they don’t have to give nearly 500 plate appearances to Drew Stubbs again.
Yes, the Indians are a better franchise now than they were 25 years ago when they had Ricky Vaughn and Jake Taylor in uniform, but that element that causes us not to take them seriously as a World Series contender still exists. They have a couple of strong, underrated players about to enter their primes in Jason Kipnis and Carlos Santana, but they’ll need others to step up and join them on that stage to make a deep playoff push. With the Tigers improving their roster (and flexibility) by trading for Ian Kinsler and the Royals possibly on the rise, the Indians will have their hands full in the AL Central.
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Newcomer Jason Vargas is just "a guy" in fantasy leagues, but the Royals boast several returning players who are worthy of your attention.
One of the songs of summer, if not the song of summer was Daft Punk’s Get Lucky. The electronic music duo’s smash hit also serves as the overriding factor of what determines fantasy champions over the course of a grueling baseball season. Call it chance, call it fortune, call it what you want to call it (wait, that’s a different song), luck is unavoidable. Either good or bad rolls of the dice affect all of us as we try to navigate our way through the labyrinth that is living vicariously through the accomplishment of others. But, as summer gave way to fall and fantasy playoffs ended, Get Lucky has given way to another pop hit… Royals by Lorde.
“And baby I'll rule, I'll rule, I'll rule, I'll rule / Let me live that fantasy.”
The Pale Hose might not contend in 2014, but that doesn't mean they won't have useful fantasy contributors.
When I think of the White Sox fantasy landscape, I tend to think more of The Badlands than I do the Fertile Crescent (Mesopotamia, children). Fear not though; there’s reason for hope on the South Side. Thanks mainly to Cuban import Jose Dariel Abreu, the Pale Hose have a little extra thump, and could see even more added if Paul Konerko returns. Free agency could well play a part in this too, as some have hinted that Abreu isn’t the only big-ticket item that Chicago will buy, but until we know how that shakes out, this is what the team looks like:
We wrap up the series with a look at each of the teams in the NL East. This was the most painful division for me, as I think most of the teams are where they are, with the Braves and Nationals at the top and the Mets and Marlins at the bottom, and the Phillies planted firmly in 2008. The only obvious move to me was the one suggested for the Nationals, so if you can come up with something better for any team involved, let us know in the comments. I thoroughly enjoyed the debate on the last article.
With a vacant closer gig, an infield glut, and the possibility of a free-agent splash, there is ample fantasy intrigue in Arlington.
Texas once again was full of fantasy goodies for fantasy owners, both with the bats and on the mound. Another solid year with the bat from Adrian Beltre anchored a team that helped fantasy owners in power, but also in stolen bases with Leonys Martin joining Elvis Andrus in the 30-plus-steal department. The pitching staff was, of course, anchored by Yu Darvish, who solidified himself as a fantasy ace, if not a real-life one (yes, he’s a real life ace, too). Behind him, Matt Harrison (when healthy), Derek Holland, and Martin Perez (when healthy) filled in as viable fantasy options, with Holland coming through with a very strong first half setting up a solid full season. In the bullpen we saw Joe Nathan with a dominant season, and he’ll join those who depart the team via free agency as he declined a player option already. As we look toward 2014, we see a very different Rangers lineup (pre-free agency) with former stalwart Nelson Cruz testing the free agent waters. With him will go catcher A.J. Pierzynski and outfielder David Murphy. As a reminder, we’ve limited ourselves to filling holes in the lineup and pitching staff with internal options only. With that in mind, here is what we can expect from Texas heading in 2014, as currently constructed.
A look at what the Cardinals could do to stay on top, and what their division rivals could do to catch them.
This is the fourth installment in the One Move series. If you'd like to check out any of the previous editions in this series, you can find them here: AL Central, NL West, AL East.
Chicago Cubs The Move: Trade for David Price
Originally, there was a detailed trade offer above. Upon further review, however, I don’t want this to be about whether the offer was good enough. The Cubs have the pieces to make the move, and while the Rays asking price might be too expensive for it to be a worthwhile move, there seems to be a middle ground that could work for both teams. I’m advising the Cubs to make this trade under the condition that it would fall in that middle ground. This means no, it will not consist of Kris Bryant, Javier Baez, and Albert Almora. It also means that, no, it will not consist of Christian Villanueva, Kyle Hendricks, and Mike Olt. Instead, imagine a scenario that makes it hard for either team to pull the trigger immediately but in the end makes both organizations better.
Craig looks at how the Dodgers can help their skipper and how the other teams in their division can try to dethrone them.
My colleague Ben Carsleyintroduced this series to you yesterday, with the moves he’d make for the AL East franchises, so today I give you what I’d do if given the chance to make one move for each NL West club. It’s a thought exercise, and isn’t limited to on-field transactions. It can be signing a player, making a trade (that’s feasible, we hope), or something more over-arching in regards to a club’s organizational tendencies.
We’re both well aware that we’ll likely get pilloried in the comments. In fact you probably hammered Ben pretty hard yesterday, but you wouldn’t play me like that would you? No matter, let us know what you think of our ideas in the comments or what ideas you have yourself, and remember, it’s supposed to be reasonable but in the end this was all about having some fun.
The fantasy team debuts a new series, with the Astros-focused first of 30 installments.
Here in the fantasy section at Baseball Prospectus, we are trying a few different things this year, as you may or may not have already noticed. Our newest addition is a team-centric fantasy preview that will be paired with the release of an organization’s Top 10 Prospects List. Yesterday, Jason Parks and company unveiled the first installment of their highly awaited product: the Houston Astros Top 10 Prospects.
Today, we follow suit with a look at the rest of the organization from a fantasy perspective. We’ll march through projected roster construction, including lineup, rotation and back end of the bullpen. We’ll also touch on positional battles to watch out for as we head into spring and the triumvirate of the fantasy world: a player to target, a player to avoid and a deep sleeper.
The big man's 2014 role is unclear, so Craig examines what that means from a fantasy perspective.
We’re not quite to the offseason yet, though we will be by the time my next article rolls around, which is why I wanted to continue my theme of touching on the fantasy value of players who are either in the news (Brandon Phillips) or in the World Series (Matt Carpenter). While each team certainly has their fair share of interesting candidates and question marks heading into 2014, one of the most interesting is what St. Louis will do at first base. Not because they’re losing anyone though. Quite the opposite. With Matt Adams establishing himself over the course of the season, the Cardinals once again find themselves in a situation where they have too much of a good thing, a problem most teams are unfamiliar with.
While he’s struggled in the NLCS and World Series, Adams was a valuable contributor in the early rounds of the playoffs and even more so, over the course of the regular season. While he did appear in 108 games (exactly two-thirds of the MLB season) he accrued only 319 plate appearances which is about half (or less) than one would expect a player to gather over the course of a full season. It’s easy enough to do, right? Let’s say we double his plate appearances to 638, which is just about a full season depending on where one hits in a lineup. It’s easy enough to double his counting stats in that situation, which would put him right at 34 home runs, 92 runs, 102 RBI, and well, stolen bases aren’t his game. Combine that with his .284 average and we’re talking about elite numbers from the first base position.
The Reds second baseman is on the big-league trade block, and a deal out of Cincinnati is likely to be bad news for his fantasy value.
“Next year” is a common refrain these days, especially amongst fans of the Los Angeles Dodgers and Detroit Tigers, though in reality, they’re just now joining the vast majority of fans in looking forward instead of at the here and now. There’s been plenty of coverage of the playoffs as their happening, recaps and previews dissecting the games and the decisions made therein. There’s even been the odd offseason splash with Jose Dariel Abreu signing with the White Sox, Alexander Guerrero’s expected signing with the Dodgers (third time’s the charm), and the inspiration for today’s article: Brandon Phillips’ placement on the trade block.
While he’s not the biggest name on said block (David Price), he might be the most likely to be moved given that it won’t require a king’s ransom in prospects to acquire him and the Reds may even be willing to eat some of the contract. The issue of course is what any team acquiring Brandon Phillips would actually be receiving. It’s likely at this point you’ve read about his overall decline in offense these past two seasons. It’s also likely that you know he’s a plus with the glove and that he’s what Vin Scully would call a “big butter and egg man” (he drives runners in). One of the pleasures I get in writing for BP is that it’s also likely that you (this specific audience) also know that RBI is a context-dependent statistic and that Phillips’ high totals in that category are inflated because he gets to hit behind two of the better on-base men in the business: Shin-Soo Choo and Joey Votto.