Michael graduates his first VP of the season, but he still points out plenty of undervalued corner infielders to be found on your league’s waiver wires.
For our nation’s scholars, graduation is just around the corner, but we start things early here at Value Picks, bidding adieu to our first departee. He leaves the list after quickly exceeding ownership thresholds, but I’ve got lots of other players ready to prove themselves to VP readers, including several bubble candidates in Playing Pepper.
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Michael looks at Value Picks to be found in the first-base battles in Cleveland and Pittsburgh
Part of the excitement of Spring Training is watching Opening Day rosters take shape—usually, this involves whether a top prospect will start the year in the minors or which utility man grabs the final bench spot. Less often, we get to watch two players compete for the right to start, an especially important choice at the power position of first base. While both Cleveland and Pittsburgh seems to have made their choices at the cold corner, there are still some other options that could rise to the challenge and bring value to their fantasy owners.
Which teams are likely to see significantly more production from their new players at positions in need of improvement?
Teams don’t always have to make a major move in order to improve over the winter. Sometimes merely subtracting someone who played poorly can affect our expectations for a club. Occasionally, a series of seemingly minor moves can make a major cumulative impact. And at other times, there’s an obvious in-house fix for a roster’s flaws in the form of a player returning from an injury, being promoted from the minors, or switching to a position where he’ll be of more use. The Rays went from last place in 2007 to first place in 2008 without acquiring an outside player more accomplished than Troy Percival. Some off-season overhauls don’t start making headlines until the regular season is well under way.
Still, the moves that make us dream about how good a given team can be when players report to spring training tend to be the ones involving established talents. When we’ve already seen what a player can do, it’s easy to picture him doing it again in a different uniform. Naturally, the more a team struggled at the new player’s position last year, the more exciting the upgrade. But it’s easy to get carried away and overstate the improvement. Assessing the impact of a high-profile player addition requires more than a little imagination and mental arithmetic.
Which men of misery prevented their teams from escaping the murky waters of suckitude?
My semiannual Replacement-Level Killers series spotlights the worst holes in contenders' lineups, as well as the possible remedies they might take to avoid letting such subpar production destroy their post-season chances the next time around. I make no claims for this companion series being so noble in purpose. Because bad baseball so often makes for good copy, it's more fun to hunt the fish at the bottom of the major-league barrel to find the positions where players' contributions could be considered the worst in the majors. What follows is an "all-star" team of players who have produced tornado-level disasters amid their lineups, often at salaries that represented far more than just a soft breeze running through their team's bank account. Once again, I present the Vortices of Suck.
Casey McGehee could prove to be a valuable pickup for the Pirates.
As spring training approaches, almost every player looking for a bounce-back season claims to be in the best shape of his life. Pirates infielder Casey McGehee is no exception; Pittsburgh Post-Gazette writer Bill Brink tweeted on Thursday that the first-year Bucco has lost nearly 25 pounds and “cut [his] body fat in half.” The premise may be as clichéd as any in baseball, but there is reason to believe that McGehee is not whistlin’ Dixie.
The 29-year-old McGehee will begin the 2012 season with his third NL Central organization in the last five years. A 10th-round pick of the Cubs in 2003, he was claimed off waivers by the Brewers after a cup of coffee in 2008, and unexpectedly took off when handed the keys to the third-base job midway through the next season. McGehee hit .301/.360/.499 in his first year with Milwaukee, then followed that up with a .285/.337/.464 campaign in 2010, contributing 2.0 and 2.6 WARP in those seasons, respectively. But the wheels came off last year, and he was traded to the Pirates for reliever Jose Veras in December.
This week's column looks at the biggest free-agent corner-infield signing not named Albert Pujols, as well as possible rebounds from once highly regarded players
As the post-Pujols dominoes begin falling—with more to come after Prince Fielder finds a home—two corner infielders found a home last week, further shifting the balance of power in the NL Central. And as the speculation-driven hot-stove season kicks into gear, I’ll also look at some standouts from the mock drafts at mockdraftcentral.com.
The return of Prince Fielder is crucial, since the Brewers don't have a rich farm system
Kiss 'Em Goodbye is a series focusing on MLB teams as their postseason dreams fade—whether in October (or before), the league division series, league championship series or World Series. It combines a broad overview from Baseball Prospectus, a front-office take from former MLB GM Jim Bowden, a best- and worst-case scenario ZiPS projection for 2012 from Dan Szymborski, and Kevin Goldstein's farm-system overview.
As Rob McQuown did, I’m taking my dollar values from lastplayerpicked.com, and we’ll all be adding the extra “Super Deep” category (20 teams with 10 keepers) for BP readers in the deepest of leagues. Think of it as an even deeper Keeper Reaper. If you missed it earlier this week, read the beginning of Rob's column for an introduction to what Keeper Reaper is all about. Remember, here are how league depths are determined:
The tater trots for August 3. Casey McGehee had a great day, in more ways than one.
Wednesday was yet another big afternoon for home runs, with 35 hit across the league. The dog days of August are already here (and it's only August 4!). There were only three multi-home run days on Wednesday, though one of them was a three homer day from Casey McGehee.