With two hits in four at-bats, Doug Fister has the highest wOBA on the Tigers. Miguel Cabrera checks in second at a cool .466 mark. Third place on the list is occupied not by Prince Fielder, but rather by Tuaisosopo at .435 (Fielder has a .390 wOBA and ranks fourth). Sure, Tuiasososopo has done it in just 75 plate appearances but with production like that, one has to wonder if he will start to eat into Andy Dirks’ playing time in left. Dirks edges Tuiasosopo in defense, but the Tigers aren’t known as a team that will keep a producing bat off the field for the sake of defense. Tuiasosopo doesn’t have an impressive minor-league résumé, with an average under .250 the past two seasons in Triple-A. But he has shown decent power, reaching 14 and 12 homers in those two years. His playing time is still too limited for mixed leagues, but I’d kick the tires on Tuiasosopo in AL-only leagues hoping the ride continues.
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Simply put, Tyler Flowers isn’t doing a good job of filling the void left by A.J. Piersynzki’s departure from Chicago. In his first full season, the 27-year-old Flowers is triple-slashing a disappointing .198/.271/.339 at the plate. Sometimes a catcher can justify his playing time with stellar defensive play, but Flowers hasn’t been up to par behind the plate either.
Valencia has only been a productive major leaguer for half-a-season (in 2010), is now 28 years old, and doesn’t have a clear path to playing time. Sometimes, though, you just gotta take the chance on the guy who slugged his way to 11 home runs and 35 RBI in Triple-A regardless of age and situation. Right now Valencia, looks like he’s starting solely against lefties, limiting him to AL-only leagues. Perhaps he can convert his minor-league power into a few bombs in the big leagues and prove his AL-only worthiness.
Paul offers a few helpful tips for building your confidence when it comes to trading in your fantasy leagues.
If you’re anything like me, trading can sometimes be a scary proposition, especially if your team is shaping up to be a contender. Nothing is worse than an ill-advised trade initiating a team’s downward spiral when maintaining the status quo of players would have been the better option.
As unpleasant as the outcome of a trade can be, equally as displeasing is the feeling of discomfort during negotiations. I’m sure you’ve felt before the pressure to respond decisively to an offer and maybe even formulate a logical counter of your own when really you just want to avoid making any drastic decisions.
Although he’s still not an everyday player, Rosales is finding his way into the lineup and producing enough to warrant consideration at middle-infield spots in mixed leagues. In 50 at-bats, he’s slashing an impressive .313/.400/.458 with a home run. And, as you may know, his homer total should really be two, given he was the batter victimized by the Angel Hernandez blown video-review call. It’s worth noting that the glass-boned Jed Lowrie and the ineffective Eric Sogard are currently limiting his playing time, meaning Rosales’ role could easily be expanded in the future. Rosales is currently filling the MI slot on my Tout Wars squad, a 15-team mixer, and could be a decent option for yours as well.
The thickly bearded, rocket-armed Josh Reddick has hit the disabled list with a wrist injury, prompting the veteran Barton to be recalled to Oakland. Barton’s past experiences in the majors aren’t pleasant ones, with replacement-level play forcing his demotion in the first half of both 2011 and 2012. Thus far in 2013, he has been playing well at Triple-A, batting .287 with three homers, 21 RBI, and a typical 19 percent walk rate. Barton figures to see playing time at first base when the A’s are facing a righty, but only for the couple of weeks Coco Crisp and Reddick are out. If you are in an AL-only league that uses OBP, he can be mildly exciting. Otherwise, there’s nothing to see here.
The fantasy implications of these manager decisions.
Evaluating players based on lineup position is a tricky science. On one hand, it can have a dramatic impact on a player’s value. Take a guy batting eighth in an NL lineup, move him second, and it can be as much as a $5 boost. On the other hand, batting lineups are fickle constructs, so sometimes it is best not to put too much stock in where a player is hitting at the moment and focus on skills instead.
Lineup position also has an obvious compounding effect—that is, players who are already hitting well tend to be the ones who benefit from moving up in the order, and vice versa. Still, whether through injury or merit, when a player has moved into a more (or less) favorable hitting position, it’s worth reviewing who has seen their value affected thus far in 2013.
With Ivan Nova landing on the disabled list, Phelps gets his opportunity to prove his stuff can work from the rotation, too. So far, he’s been working out of the bullpen as a long reliever and done a good job of missing bats with 22 strikeouts in 17 innings. However, he’s also been quite hittable and fairly wild, allowing 17 hits and eight walks, which has led to an ERA above 5.00. Still, some of that can be attributed to poor luck, and historically he’s shown great control in the minors, so Phelps has the potential to be solid fourth starter. In AL-only and 14-plus-team mixed leagues, he’s certainly worth owning. In shallower formats, I’d at least start him for his first attempt against the Astros tomorrow and go from there.
The Rays lineup is chaotic right now, with few players holding steady, everyday roles. However, one thing that was steady in the recent, three-game sweep of the A’s was Roberts manning second base. The tatted fan-favorite played his role in the sweep, collecting four hits and driving in a couple of runs while batting second. And, as I’m writing this, he just hit his second home run off of CC Sabathia. Roberts is known for bursts of offensive production, and this week, with the Rays playing a full slate of games, he is a good bet to deliver solid stats. His playing time won’t be helped by the return of Luke Scott in a week or a possible call-up of Brandon Guyer or Wil Myers, so Roberts is just a one-week plug-and-play for anyone in need of a MI bat.
Two weeks into the year, managers are already shuffling their batting orders. Paul examines the fantasy impact of those shifts.
Evaluating players based on lineup position is a tricky science. On the one hand, moving up or down in the order can have a dramatic impact on a player’s value. For example: Take a guy batting eighth in a National League lineup, move him up to second, and the result could be as much as a $5 boost. On the other hand, batting lineups are fickle constructs, so sometimes it is best not to take too much stock in where a player is hitting at the moment and focus on his skills instead.
Lineup position also has an obvious compounding effect—that is, players who are already hitting well tend to be the ones that benefit from moving up in the order, and vice versa. Still, if, whether through injury or merit, a player has moved into a more (or less) favorable hitting position, it’s worth reviewing the effects of those changes.
Jose Reyes’ ankle injury is causing all sorts of shuffling in the Toronto lineup. One positive side effect is Jose Bautista potentially gaining third-base eligibility, with two starts at the hot corner over the weekend. The speedy Rajai Davis also figures to receive more starts in the outfield as a result. At first glance, you might think the injury also opens significant playing time for Izturis, but that might not be the case.
Paul examines how the first week-plus of action has changed the middle-infield tiers we released last month.
Although the season began a little over a week ago, for the purposes of this column, we’re going to pretend it starts today. Any stats a player has accumulated thus far are worthless to the extent that they don’t shift our perception of him going forward. This early in the season, that change shouldn’t be too large. But injuries, playing time shifts, and outlier performances should be considered, even as early as April 11. I give credit to Yahoo’s Scott Pianowski, whose excellent Shuffle Up series inspired much of the format of this piece.
Today, I’ll handle the middle infielders, and throughout the season I’ll cover all positions. To help both those in mixed and -only leagues, the distribution of dollar amounts will reflect AL and NL-only league settings. In this way, bunching around the $1 mark won’t occur, and marginal differences between lower-ranked players can be appreciated.