The Cubs call up another of the most exciting prospects in the minors, as Jorge Soler takes his place in front of Wrigley's ivy.
The situation: The rebuilding Cubs find themselves in need of an outfielder as Justin Ruggiano is likely headed to the disabled list. Top prospect Jorge Soler has been mashing at Double- and Triple-A and has earned a callup that will likely last the rest of the year.
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The Indians righty caught J.P.'s attention last week, and now might be the time to pounce.
Spring training in Arizona is close to perfection for me. I adore the various unique ballparks that only fill to half of their capacity, the infectious optimism that surrounds every team, the pristine weather, and the opportunity to submerge myself in nothing but baseball. Most of all, I enjoy the action on the backfields. There’s something great about watching dozens of young players playing a wonderful game, wearing jerseys without their names on the backs, and honing their craft in relative obscurity.
The real thrill, though, comes when some no-name guy jacks one 450 feet to straightaway center. Or when a random pitcher catches your eye because he’s popping triple digits with ease. It’s that moment in which you mutter, “Wow. Who the f--- is this guy?” and quickly start scribbling notes.
J.P. wasn't expecting much from the Brewers righty, but he's been pleasantly surprised.
Admittedly, this article stems from a recent article by our own Craig Goldstein and an ongoing series by Jason Parks. It revolves around the idea of making preseason projections and ultimately being wrong. Goldstein took the high road in his article last week and explained that baseball analysts can occasionally hide behind process as a way of lessening the impact of making an incorrect prediction. He writes:
I often think my reasons at the time were justified, and that just because it didn’t break my way, doesn’t mean I was wrong, just that it turned out differently. This is hiding behind “the process.” I was wrong, and good reasoning at the time or not, that needs to be owned.
The Brewers backstop has emerged as a darkhorse MVP candidate, but his is improvement at the plate sustainable?
Approach at the plate has been on my mind in recent weeks. I’ve been specifically ruminating on the learned aspect of plate discipline; for example, how gifted 20-something hitters who have otherworldly hand-eye coordination can learn to eschew a simple bat-to-ball approach and focus on quality pitches to hit. That is to say, how can hitters develop the inner filter to discern between pitches they can hit and pitches they should hit, or which pitches they can merely hit and which pitches they can drive.
Obviously, such a development would be desirable for any player, and it can happen for many different reasons. Maybe it’s a maturation process. Maybe it’s a new pitching coach who presents the information in a different way. Maybe it’s trial and error. Maybe it’s studying the numbers. But I’ve been more convinced that most big-league hitters are only able to carve out sustained success over multiple seasons if they can adjust and refine their approach at the plate, at least to some degree.
Reevaluating the fantasy value of two elite hitters you may have been nervous to draft this spring.
“He’s just a name-brand at this point. He’s not as good as people think. At this point, people are blinded by previous performance, rather than current or future performance.”
My buddy, Drew, leaned forward and smiled as he crossed off Tom Brady’s name from our pre-draft ranking sheet. Drew and I have co-owned a fantasy football team for years. He’s the brains of the operation. I’m along for the ride because it makes me more interested in the NFL than I otherwise would be, but Drew spent the better part of two months preaching to me that Tom Brady was no longer the quarterback everyone had grown accustomed to over the past decade. We had him as the no. 8 QB in our pre-draft rankings and it’s not difficult to imagine the smug look on our faces as we watched Brady go as the third-overall QB in the second round.
The Pirates utility man has outperformed expectations to date, but is there reason to believe he can stay hot?
As experienced fantasy owners, we’re all accustomed to surprise performers early in the season. We all react to differently. Some owners pepper the waiver wire with claims, hoping to ride the wave of success, while other owners wait for the wheat to separate from the chaff, if you will, before jumping on individual bandwagons.
Personally, I try to pick-and-choose my spots. I don’t prefer the claim-and-drop strategy that many owners employ, in which they claim hot-starters and quickly release them once their performance expectedly drops. I claim guys I plan to retain for a good portion of the season, investing in breakout performances I believe in. It perhaps takes a bit longer to make those decisions—and thus I can miss my chance to acquire those players—but it’s a bit more sustainable in the long term.
The Mets slugger is thumping like Chris Davis in 2013, but does that mean you should invest in his services?
Every fantasy owner has a handful of players who have repeatedly burned them. Like the sleeper picks who don’t pan out, yet leave you undaunted and going back to the well next season for another bucket of water, only to find out it’s still polluted, pungent, and undrinkable.
Brandon Morrow was one of those guys for me. I felt a brief sense of vindication when he dominated with a 2.96 ERA over 21 starts in 2012, only to suffer extreme heartbreak when he plummeted into the abyss the following year. Luckily, that next season, I shied away from him in general and only resented my impetuousness in a single league. Progress, right?