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June 4, 2014 6:00 am

What You Need to Know: A Modern-Day Greg Maddux?

5

Chris Mosch

Henderson Alvarez emulates the Braves great for his third shutout of 2014 and Jason Lane returns as a pitcher, plus more from Tuesday and previews for Wednesday.

The Tuesday Takeaway
Don’t look now, but Henderson Alvarez is your 2014 league leader in shutouts.


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January 23, 2014 6:00 am

Fantasy Players to Target: First Basemen

7

BP Fantasy Staff

Our fantasy crew's favorite value picks at a spot where elite production is critical.

First base is a position that harbors many good fantasy players. These are some the aforementioned good players who we feel are comparatively more good than their peers.

Brandon Belt, Giants
Heading into 2013 there were legitimate concerns about Belt’s power and by extension his viability as an everyday major-league 1B. Belt answered those concerns with a strong season, complete with 60 extra-base hits, a solid walk percentage (9.1) and a pretty damn good 139 wRC+. Belt plays in extreme parks the majority of the season—AT&T and PETCO strongly favor pitchers, Coors and Chase Fields both favor hitters, and LA falls somewhere in the middle, depending on what time the game starts. He hit well on the road in 2013 and his production didn’t nosedive at home. Belt will be undervalued this year, and while he isn’t an elite-level 1B, he provides enough production to warrant being a starter in standard fantasy formats. —Mauricio Rubio


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December 18, 2013 6:40 am

More Moneyball

35

Andrew Koo

In addition to exploiting lefty-righty matchups, the A's also have a significant edge in the air.

The Oakland Athletics finished 2013 with baseball's fourth-lowest payroll, fourth-best offense, and best clubhouse chemistry. Debate has centered on whether the latter two are related. There’s nothing objectionable about “good guy” genes—it’s a solid organizational goal to have. But chemistry alone doesn’t put runs on the board, and if a team is missing the talent, they better find the runs elsewhere. The 2002 Athletics discovered them in walk deities and college arms; once those methods pervaded front offices, the A’s slipped back into losing. Was chemistry the only undervalued commodity of their recent resurgence?

As the baseball community obtains more knowledge, roster construction strategies evolve. Previously undervalued talents like walks and defense are now accepted constructs. The A’s are Hollywood-infamous for adopting them before their competitors while prices were low. After a 74-win 2011, they cheaply signed Brandon Inge and Jonny Gomes, who Brandon McCarthy claimed bolstered the clubhouse DNA to the tune of 20 wins. But Inge and Gomes were two of several players who also bolstered a less-visible statistic: fly ball-to-ground ball ratio.

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November 14, 2013 6:04 am

Fantasy Team Preview: Oakland Athletics

4

Ben Carsley

A power-packed middle of the order and a postseason darling on the mound are among the players who ought to pique your interest in Bob Melvin's bunch.

The Athletics were the surprise winners of the AL West last year, relying on a power-heavy offense and good, young pitching to conquer preseason favorites in Texas and Los Angeles (of Anaheim).

Fantasy owners who took gambles on some Athletics players last year were largely rewarded, as some oft-injured contributors stayed healthy, while some relative unknowns emerged as reliable fantasy assets. Were said performances sustainable, or should fantasy players stay away from the offense-suppressing environment in Oakland? We take a look in this early preview.

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September 3, 2013 12:00 am

The Call-Up: Michael Choice

3

Jason Cole and Bret Sayre

The A's bring up a power-hitting outfielder, though his window to contribute meaningfully may not open until next year.

The Situation: After posting a strong .302/.390/.445 slash line in 132 games at Triple-A Sacramento, Choice has received his first call to Oakland. It’s a true September call-up, as Choice isn’t being brought up with the expectation that he’ll receive regular at-bats in the club’s chase for a postseason berth. As reported by A’s beat writer Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle, Choice’s call “is a reward for a solid season by a high-profile prospect.”

That doesn’t necessarily mean Choice can’t make an impact or work his way into some playing time. Oakland’s outfield situation is tenuous at present, with Chris Young and Seth Smith underperforming while Josh Reddick is on the shelf for at least another week. As a result, regular first baseman Brandon Moss has taken over in right field––filling in for Reddick––with Daric Barton and Nate Freiman working the first-base platoon. While the unstable situation could yield a slight window of opportunity for Choice, it’s more likely that his first serious look comes next spring.

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March 8, 2013 11:40 am

Overthinking It: Ready For Their Close-Ups?

2

Ben Lindbergh

Looking at some first-time starters in 2013 to see which ones will stick.

For every top talent like Bryce Harper or Manny Machado who claims a regular role from the moment he makes the majors, there’s a veteran who bounces around for years while he waits his turn for a chance to start somewhere. The following 10 players are looking to make the leap to full-time starter status this season. But do they have what it takes to succeed in their expanded roles, or will they be busted back to the bench?

Brandon Moss, Athletics, 1B
Moss’ power output was impressive last season, but it was partially a product of aggressive platooning by Bob Melvin, who limited him to only 62 PA against lefties. Chris Carter’s departure opens a path to more playing time for Moss (and speaks to Oakland’s confidence that he can repeat his success), but it will also make it more difficult to protect him against southpaws.
Can he stick? No. A’s batting coach Chili Davis worked closely with Moss to get him to embrace his pull power, so it’s possible that his pre-2012 stats are deceptive. But the 29-year-old’s projection isn’t pretty: .238/.301/.421 with subpar secondary skills, which wouldn’t come close to cutting it at first base.



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June 21, 2012 5:00 am

On the Beat: Who Wants to be the Next Skipper?

10

John Perrotto

A look at 10 new managerial candidates, and a conversation with Mets manager Terry Collins.

The All-Star break is coming into view, yet no managers have been fired this season. In fact, there have been only a few reports of any of the 30 major-league skippers even possibly being in trouble. But it will eventually happen. Some owner will finally get fed up, drop the axe, and his club will begin a managerial search.

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August 2, 2008 12:00 am

Fantasy Focus: Fantasy Fallout from the Deadline Deals

0

Jeff Erickson

But what's it all MEAN? I mean for my TEAM.

Though we had fewer trades this week than we've had in recent years, we did have more big-ticket trades, beginning with the CC Sabathia-to-Milwaukee deal, and culminating in the Manny Ramirez blockbuster trade to the Dodgers. This was overall a fairly satisfying trade period, even if there were more fizzles than trades on deadline day Thursday. When evaluating these deals from a fantasy perspective, often it's the ancillary effects that are the most interesting. After all, there's not much to analyze in terms of what Ramirez, Mark Teixeira, Jason Bay, or even Casey Kotchman might do. We'll instead train the vast majority of our focus on how the rest of the dominoes fall, starting with the two major deals on Saturday.

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February 22, 2006 12:00 am

Lies, Damned Lies: PECOTA Takes On Prospects, Part Three

0

Nate Silver

PECOTA now turns its attention to the best infield prospects in the game.

Player WARP Upside Comb 1. Joel Guzman, SS, LAN (21) 19.9 175.6 374.3 2. Eric Aybar, SS, LAA (22) 20.8 161.2 369.2 3. Brandon Wood, SS, LAA (21) 18.7 161.2 347.8 4. Eduardo Nunez, SS, NYA (19) 16.4 181.6 345.7 5. Adam Jones, SS, SEA (20) 16.5 130.2 295.4 6. Hanley Ramirez, SS, FLO (22) 14.6 100.3 246.7 7. Stephen Drew, SS, ARI (23) 13.4 103.8 237.8 8. Chin-Lung Hu, SS, LAN (22) 14.4 48.6 192.4 9. Yunel Escobar, SS, ATL (23) 13.1 59.5 190.9 10. Anderson Hernandez, SS, NYN (23) 14.0 47.2 187.0 11. Marcus Sanders, SS, SFN (20) 13.6 49.6 185.4 12. Tony Giarratano, SS, DET (23) 13.1 52.7 184.0 13. Joaquin Arias, SS, TEX (21) 13.3 50.0 183.1 14. Sean Rodriguez, SS, LAA (21) 13.9 38.9 177.4 15. Josh Wilson, SS, COL (25) 12.7 44.9 171.7 16. Bradley Harman, SS, PHI (20) 10.7 60.1 167.5 17. Welinson Baez, SS, PHI (21) 9.5 66.2 161.2 18. Rob Valido, SS, CHA (21) 12.3 36.8 159.9 19. Mike Aviles, SS, KCA (25) 11.0 48.7 158.5 20. Donald Kelly, SS, DET (26) 12.0 36.6 156.3 21. Sergio Santos, SS, TOR (22) 8.1 72.4 153.7 22. J.J. Furmaniak, SS, PIT (26) 10.9 40.9 150.2 23. Christopher McConnell, SS, KCA (20)8.8 56.7 145.0 24. Reid Brignac, SS, TBA (20) 9.6 45.0 140.7 25. Javier Guzman, SS, PIT (22) 10.7 30.2 137.1 26. Alcides Escobar, SS, MIL (19) 12.4 11.9 135.9 27. Asdrubal Cabrera, SS, SEA (20) 9.3 33.3 126.0 28. Brendan Ryan, SS, SLN (24) 9.9 26.1 125.4 29. Danny Sandoval, SS, PHI (27) 9.7 24.1 120.8 30. Clifton Pennington, SS, OAK (22) 8.9 31.4 120.3 31. Jerry Gil, SS, ARI (23) 7.5 40.9 116.3 32. Matt Tuiasosopo, SS, SEA (20) 6.5 50.0 115.4 33. John Nelson, SS, SLN (27) 8.9 25.8 114.7 34. Michael Rouse, SS, OAK (26) 8.3 29.5 112.3 35. Ian Desmond, SS, WAS (20) 8.3 25.5 109.0 36. Matthew Macri, SS, COL (24) 7.6 33.0 108.5 37. Brandon Fahey, SS, BAL (25) 9.4 11.9 106.3 Back in September, when I first started looking over year-end minor league statistics in some detail, I was ready to bring the guns out in defense of Brandon Wood as our #1 guy, knowing full well that every other publication on the planet would have that chair reserved for Delmon Young. Instead, he slipped to #6 on our Top 50 list, and he would rank slightly lower than that--10th or 11th--on a pure PECOTA list. What happened?

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August 1, 2003 12:00 am

Transaction Analysis: July 30-31

0

Christina Kahrl

Transactions galore: the Yankees practice running in place; the Red Sox beef up their bullpen; the Giants aquire a starter for the postseason; the A's add a little power to their outfield; and the Reds throw up the white flag, but get some pretty good arms in return. All this and much more news from around the league in your post-Trading Deadline edition of Transaction Analysis.

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