The tater trots for August 5: two slow trots in one game, Miguel Cabrera's walkoff, and an inside-the-parker from Friday,
Another weekend of baseball in the books. With the Olympics going on, Fox elected not to broadcast any games on Saturday. For those of us who aren't fans of national blackouts, this was a very nice surprise. Hopefully we'll get more Saturdays like that in the future. Also, it may be shocking to realize that there are now less than two months left in the season. When did August happen again?
The Reds might be making a mistake by not starting Chris Heisey.
When the Reds let Jonny Gomes walk in free agency this past winter, it seemed Chris Heisey might finally get a chance to show that he could stick as the team’s everyday left fielder. The 27-year-old Heisey hit .254/.309/.487 last season, with an impressive 18 home runs in 308 plate appearances. His plate discipline left much to be desired, but his minor-league track record suggested that an uptick in walks and a decrease in strikeouts could be forthcoming.
On January 17, though, the Reds inked Ryan Ludwick to a one-year, $2.5 million deal, threatening the expected increase in Heisey’s playing time. The fit was odd, to say the least. Ludwick—coming off a .237/.310/.363 campaign split between the Padres and Pirates—did not offer much that Heisey wasn’t already providing. Both are right-handed hitters. Both have reverse platoon splits (although Heisey’s may be the product of a small sample size). Both produce the bulk of their value in the batter’s box.
Several overqualified players might be riding the pine while a pricier, less productive veteran hogs their position on Opening Day, but they deserve to be starting.
Every year, major-league teams spend millions on evaluating and acquiring players from outside their organizations, whether they’re amateurs eligible for the draft, professionals in another system, or foreign or domestic free agents available to the highest bidder. Sometimes, though, a potential source of improvement is already in house and in uniform, overlooked in favor of a more experienced or higher-paid player who’s no longer the best man for the job.
Sixteen years ago, Brian Giles was one such player. Giles was blocked by Albert Belle and Manny Ramirez at the outfield corners in Cleveland, but at designated hitter, only an aging Eddie Murray barred his way. The 40-year-old future Hall of Famer had been productive a season before, but by ’96 he was a year away from retirement and had little left. Giles was ready to replace him. At age 25, he was beyond the age at which most promising players get a long major-league look, but he had only a September cup of coffee to show for his two successful seasons in Triple-A.
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What are the fantasy implications of some of the recent trades and signings?
Marco Scutaro | Colorado Rockies | SS/2B | Acquired via Trade
After spending all of 2011 struggling to find someone capable of handling second base adequately, the Rockies have finally found someone. Scutaro is far from a sexy player, and the move to Coors Field won’t help him as much as it will a guy like Michael Cuddyer, who has actual power, but Scutaro should still receive a moderate benefit from the park and league change. But the biggest benefit might come from where he’ll bat in the order. If the Rockies decide to bat Scutaro second, as they did many of their second basemen in 2011, he would see a big increase in runs from batting eighth or ninth for the Red Sox. In NL-only leagues, Scutaro could be a very nice, under-the-radar pickup.
The move severely hurts the value of Chris Nelson, Jonathan Herrera, and D.J. LeMahieu, who were set to battle it out for the starting spot prior to Scutaro’s arrival. In Boston, the move opens up shortstop for a potential Mike Aviles/Nick Punto platoon. Whether that’s a strict platoon will have a large effect on each player’s value. Aviles is the better fantasy option, but he’s right-handed, so it’s possible he only faces lefties. If the split is more 50-50, or if Aviles gets the majority of starts, we’d need to remember that we’re just one year removed from a lot of analysts calling this guy a fantasy sleeper. He had an up-and-down 2011, but he still has some potential across-the-board skills that could be useful to an AL-only owner. Value Change: Gain for Marco Scutaro; Loss for Chris Nelson, Jonathan Herrera, and D.J. LeMahieu; Gain for Mike Aviles; Gain for Nick Punto
Chicago corner outfielders Viciedo and De Aza headline this weeks Keeper Reaper, joined by Coco Crisp and Chris Heisey
Do you keep the (other) American League stolen base leader, Coco Crisp? Do you keep guys filling voids created by trades of Yonder Alonso and Carlos Quentin? And if you don't care about the White Sox, feel free to submit your own players for review and keeper consideration. All format questions are welcomed, not just the ones we usually profile here.
Chris Heisey | Cincinnati Reds (ADP 213)
Shallow (30 keepers): NO
Medium (60 keepers): NO
Deep (90 keepers): NO
NL-only (60 keepers): BORDERLINE
Super Deep (200 keepers): YES
Berkman, Ichiro, Duda, Heisey, Rajai, and Dirks make the Keeper Reaper's list this week
For a baseball season which threatened to have about as little drama as an episode of Emeril Live until the final week, the high drama continues in a hotly contested World Series. For some leagues, keeper decisions need to be made by the time dessert is finished in the season, and so the other 28 teams get some attention before trading begins in earnest. Whether a deadline looms or not, keeper advice can help make a team into a dynasty.
The tater trots for September 10: a pair of walkoff home runs and two great trots from Chris Heisey.
Well, it looks like the Rockies and Reds saw my jokes about the dearth of home runs these last few days. The two clubs combined on Saturday for nine home runs in the same game. In the remaining 14 games, there were 26 more home runs hit, meaning the game in Colorado was responsible for a quarter of the league's home runs. It was quite the slugfest at Coors Field.
The tater trots for July 15: a special trot from Brandon Phillips and three ultra-quick trots from Chris Heisey and Ben Zobrist.
The first full day of games of the second half gave us a good range of home runs, from grand slams and walkoffs to a two home run game from trot-extraordinaire Chris Heisey. Not a bad re-introduction to the season.