The Mets' injury parade drags on, while the Brew Crew might lose an important hitter for the start of the season.
Ike Davis, New York Mets (Valley Fever)
Davis, who is on the mend from a 2011 ankle injury, has been diagnosed with “likely” having valley fever. Valley fever is a soil-dwelling fungus typically found in southwestern United States and northern Mexico, and it grows during rainy periods. The spores can break off and be inhaled whenever the soil is disrupted. Valley fever is generally benign, but more severe cases can include pneumonia, lung nodules, or the fungus spreading to other parts of the body. In severe cases, oral antifungal medications are used.
Davis underwent a routine chest x-ray during his spring physical, but the results were determined to be abnormal. After consulting multiple pulmonary and infectious disease specialists, he was diagnosed with a mild form of valley fever. He is not on any medications, but he must try to avoid extreme fatigue. Conor Jackson also had valley fever, but Davis is expected to make a full recovery without missing any time.
The rest of this article is restricted to Baseball Prospectus Subscribers.
Not a subscriber?
Click here for more information on Baseball Prospectus subscriptions or use the buttons to the right to subscribe and get access to the best baseball content on the web.
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.
After a busy trade deadline, which players were the biggest winners and losers in fantasy value?
This weekend saw an absolute flurry of trades made around baseball as the Major League Baseball trading deadline came and went. While BP was around all weekend covering the trades from the team standpoint, I thought I’d run down some of the players dealt and how their new environments should affect their fantasy value.
The outfielder list is blown up due to production and injuries, but Mike has a slew of newbies for you to focus on
I’m filling in for Rob again this week, and since I have the rare opportunity to talk about bats rather than arms, I’m going to take advantage of this captive audience to point out that in my main league, I came out of the draft with an offense featuring Josh Hamilton, Jason Heyward, Carl Crawford, Adam Dunn, and Rafael Furcal. At the time, I was pretty thrilled with that. At the moment, I’m in dead last. Fantasy baseball sucks sometimes.
How the arrival of Conor Jackson impacts the Oakland outfield.
The A’s have started eight different players in left field this year, but they appear to have ended the revolving door with the acquisition of Conor Jackson. Jackson has struggled to bounce back from his lost 2009 season where he missed time with Valley Fever and pneumonia. Toss in a hamstring injury and Jackson has struggled mightily with a .241 TAv and a -0.3 WARP.
When healthy, Jackson’s calling card is his ability to get on base. From 2006 through 2008, he had a .371 OBP powered by a 10% walk rate and a .292 batting average. This year he’s struggling to reach, posting a meager .324 OBP despite walking a career high 11.6% of the time. That’s a number that should rise given he’s raking line drives at a 25% clip, yet owns a .261 BABIP. Since he is making the move from the desert and a ballpark that favors hitters to the spacious yard in Oakland, Jackson rated a yellow in the latest Hot Spot. He's been slow to recover his power - he owns a .092 ISO - which is also a concern.
Rob McQuown tells you why Mike Stanton only makes a whistle stop on the List. Meanwhile, Conor Jackson and Eric Hinske join the party, and the "regulars" get some more analysis, too.
What Have You Done For Me Lately? Mike Stanton's stay on the “Value Picks” list will be the shortest possible, getting the boot the day after his first game in the majors. His debut wasn't as ballyhooed as that guy who was protecting our nation's capitol from Pirates yesterday, but he not only had a good line score but belied most of the scouting reports by “staying within himself” in a key final at-bat against Brad Lidge, taking two sliders for balls and then hitting a “single” (aided by a questionable call, but the process was good, regardless of the result) up the middle. That sort of game-aware situational approach could serve him well, though it's obviously the smallest possible sample size. Maybe he'll go back to swinging from his heels most of the time, but showing that sort of discipline in his first game is a good sign. Anyway, the quandary with Stanton from a fantasy perspective is whether the power helps a team more than the batting average hit will hurt. For example, in yours truly's daily-move shallow mixed league, there are 5 standings points (out of 10 possible) available with just .005 more points of batting average. Playing Stanton full-time would make those much more difficult to attain, though the flip side is that the team is sitting at 2 batting average points now, and is at 7/7 (standings points) in HR/RBI, and just 7 HR and 49 RBI behind (Granderson, Reyes, A.Hill in rounds 6-8 haven't worked out quite as well as hoped). For most leagues, the time to grab Stanton was weeks ago. If he's still there, it's probably due to the league being shallow, and while he's still a good source of power, be aware of the batting average risk.
In a first for this column, Fred Lewis is being removed, neither for good play (which results in too many owners owning him to be relevant), or bad play. He's a victim of the brutal upcoming schedule which was forewarned about when he was first added to the list. Check back on him after the All-Star game, however, as the Jays will be facing Baltimore, Kansas City, Detroit, Baltimore again, then Cleveland to round out July. August doesn't look very friendly, but a lot can happen between now and then.
Rob McQuown updates Value Picks, as 2 players end up on the shelf and get replaced by Cam Maybin and the "other" Guillen.
Exiting “stage left” this week are Conor Jackson and Mike Cameron. Cameron is still a guy to get after he returns to duty in a month or so, but the injury takes him off the radar for now. Conor Jackson was already on a short leash before going on the DL as a guy without much power or speed. His injury gives Gerardo Parra short-term value with a chance to stick if he hits well again. Carlos Gomez is being edged out of playing time by Jim Edmonds and is now a huge risk, but the speed potential is so great that he stays on for at least another week.
In Delmon Young-style, Cameron Maybin went from 2 straight years of top-10 (overall) status on Kevin Goldstein's top 101 list (and 3 straight years in the top 10 at Baseball America) to undrafted in most shallow mixed roto leagues. This is in spite of hitting .319/.399/.463 last year, as a 22-year-old at AAA(!) The problems are multiple and are summed up by his tepid PECOTA projection:
Everyone wants value, and Value Picks abound in the outfield, and Rob McQuown sorts through six of them this week.
Probably as an offshoot of so many teams being drafted and run in absentia, the ownership percentages of outfielders at ESPN.com have a sort of “cliff”, going from 84.4% ownership on Brett Gardner immediately to 68.4% ownership of Nick Swisher. The top 4 guys after this “cliff” are all must-own in any league larger than 10 teams: Swisher, Chris Young, Corey Hart, and J.D. Drew. They are good situational players, even in 10-team leagues with daily moves (and daily tips for good match-ups can be found at baseballdailydigest.com, though the site is currently being moved so there may be hiccups for a day or two). That makes the next batch of players good candidates for “Value Picks”, and many of them indeed are, especially in daily-move leagues where the park and pitcher matchups can be exploited.
Kyle Blanks can mash. If he didn't play his home games in Petco, he'd be a coveted young star, taken in the mid rounds by shrewd owners. But he does, and while the left field line looks inviting (and has even been shown to have a positive home run park factor in previous years by Greg Rybarczyk of hittrackeronline.com), other right-handed power hitters have seen their batting stats destroyed by the expanses in the alleys and center field. Khalil Greene has a career .477 slugging percentage in road games, while Kevin Kouzmanoff's mark in such situations is .480. Blanks, however, is a towering physical presence (for perspective, an announcer described an Everth Cabrera/Kyle Blanks collision as a “bug hitting a windshield”), and when he connects, the distance he generates is indicative of this fact. All but two of his homers in 2009 went over 400'. The bad news with Blanks is that he struck out about 130 times per full season in the minors, doesn't walk like Adam Dunn to make up for it, and while he's fast for his size, trains don't accelerate like sports cars and any steals he gets will be incidental. For teams that didn't draft enough power, Blanks could be an answer – just don't expect much more than the homers.