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December 2, 2011 9:00 am

The Great Debaters: Ike Davis vs. James Loney


Derek Carty and Jason Collette

Which first baseman makes the better fantasy option for the 2012 season?

In Favor of James Loney by Jason Collette
Ike Davis versus James Loney. This should be an easy decision on catchphrases alone. “I Like Ike” versus... umm... “I’m Looney for Loney”? One plays in a park being reconfigured for hitters after being a hindrance to power hitters the past few years while the other plays in a division with impossible pitching and a home ballpark that has never been terribly kind to power hitters. Career-wise, Davis owns a .271/.357/.460 slash line in his first 750 plate appearances while Loney is at .288/.346/.432 over 3018 plate appearances. Davis hit 19 home runs in the old Citi Field configuration in his full season of play in 2010, while Loney has never hit more than 15 home runs in any season for the Dodgers. The decision is easy: give me Loney.

This is not a knock on Davis, however, as there is little not to like about him. He turns 25 just before the season starts and has showed above-average power in his major league career thus far, which he pairs with a great aptitude for taking walks. My qualm with him is he has struck out in 23 percent of his plate appearances and swings and misses above the league average. Given that he is never going to help in stolen bases, the contact issues limit his batting average upside as it did in 2010 when he hit .264 over the course of a full season. Last season’s .302 average was a bonus, but it also came in just 129 plate appearances along with a BABIP that's 23 points above where it was in a full 2010 season.

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November 18, 2011 6:01 pm

The Great Debaters: Ricky Nolasco


Derek Carty and Jason Collette

A look at whether Ricky Nolasco should be expected to play up to his peripherals or if he's destined to be a perennial underachiever

The Anti-Nolasco Case by Derek Carty
Ricky Nolasco is a player I—like many fantasy owners familiar with DIPS—have targeted in fantasy drafts over the past few years. I owned him in both Tout Wars and Yahoo! Friends & Family last season, which, as others who owned him know, did not turn out very well.

While I still like Nolasco and am, in part, just playing devil’s advocate here, there are some very real warning signs that we need to take into account with the Marlins hurler. The most obvious one is the drop-off in his strikeout rate; it has fallen from over 20 percent from 2008-2010 to 16.6 percent in 2011, coinciding with a drop in fastball velocity of one mph since 2009. But while that’s concerning, it’s not the main reason to be worried about Nolasco. Even if his strikeout rate hadn’t fallen off this season, there would still be one very convincing reason to discount Nolasco’s FIP.

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