There can be hidden value at the top of the lineup.
The importance of batting order position is often overstated, especially in shallow or medium depth mixed leagues. In deeper and mono contexts, where plate appearances come at a premium, a slot in the upper third of the lineup can make a difference. The same goes for formats that allow daily lineup changes, as the leadoff spot can be a popular place for hitters with a pronounced split. Provided you have a bench with a little depth, you can often build an excellent platoon on the cheap by leveraging these roles. With that in mind, here are five players whose Opening Day stock is up because of unexpected opportunity at the top of their clubs’ lineups.
What if a hitter swung at literally every pitch he saw?
No batter should swing at every pitch they see. That would be preposterous. Relatively few batters should swing even half the time. For most guys, patience and plate discipline are hard-won, valuable skills, the backbone of a successful approach. It would be so cool, though, if we could find a player who should swing at everything.
Imagine such a player. He’d have to be so prone to strikeouts that he could trade any chance of walks for the extra hacks and chances to make contact. He’d also need to have good power, to make up for his inevitably tepid on-base percentage. He’d also have to be unbelievably good at hitting pitchers’ pitches, even ones pretty far outside the strike zone, and hitting them hard—or at least, he’d need to be close to as good at that as he was at hitting pitches within the traditional hitting zone.
The Rockies outfielder is enjoying a breakout year, and Craig believes it's no fluke.
You may have noticed the absurd year that Corey Dickerson is putting up in Colorado, or you might not have. He’s having the year Charlie Blackmon was supposed to have after his incredible April, and he’s part of a plethora of outfielders the Rockies have that each have some value. Drew Stubbs is hitting .296 with a .195 ISO in partial playing time. Blackmon might be the worst offensive player of the bunch, given other options are Carlos Gonzalez and Michael Cuddyer. But back to Dickerson, who might be the best of the bunch, if we consider the existence of the tentacled fatty mass on CarGo’s finger his biggest contribution of the season.
Of his 378 plate-appearances, Dickerson has faced a right-handed pitcher 308 times, and has slashed .326/.377/.609 (!), against them. While you might think he’s just a strong-side platoon guy, Dickerson has managed a .281/.343/.469 slash line against southpaws, which might earn him a stretch of full-time play in the future. Given the 70 plate appearances that line came in, small sample size warnings do apply, but it’s worth noting he’s had some success against them in his career.
As the offseason winds down, Bret shares some of his late-draft sleepers for various league sizes and formats.
With spring training reaching peak twilight and the biggest drafting weekend of the year approaching, it’s time for my final marker post column of the preseason.
We’ve been doing rankings and analysis here for the last three months and hopefully they’ve been helpful to you as you sort through all of the information that lead to your most important draft decisions. And to top it off, as we get to the endgame of draft season, it seems only natural to focus on the endgame of drafts. It’s the most interesting, and often most important segment of your draft. Sure, if you miss on your first round pick or get $5 in value from your $25 player, you’re in a hole that can be very difficult to climb out of. As I’ve said many times, closing out your draft strong is a must if you want to win your league.
In advance of his foray into Tout Wars, Mike explains how he'd adjust his values for OBP leagues and unveils this week's update.
In eight days, I’ll be participating in my fifth Tout Wars expert league auction (on the National League side of the fence). However, this will be the first year we will be using on-base percentage—instead of batting average—as a category.
The attached spreadsheet offers my adjusted bid values for on base percentage leagues. More than the changes, what will probably jump out to readers is how few players’ values changed in both leagues. Forty-five NL hitters saw a change in value, while 38 AL hitters were moved up or down. Given that 125 AL hitters and 118 NL hitters saw a value change of $1 or more in 2013, shouldn’t there be more fluctuation in my bid limits for OBP?
Notes from around the AFL and Caribbean Winter Leagues.
There was a full slate of action in the Dominican Winter League, although not one player did anything interesting enough to make my list. Not that there wasn't anything interesting going on. For instance, thirty-seven year-old Vladimir Guerrero, a career .318 hitter with 449 HR in 16 big league seasons, went 2-for-4 for the Tigres del Licey. And then there was Manny being Manny, playing for Aguilas Cibaenas. The 40 year-old, who is stuck at 555 career HR, homered in his DWL debut off the first pitch he saw from former big leaguer Daniel Cabrera, who ended up pitching seven strong innings and only allowing a pair of solo homers to Ramirez and former NL Rookie of the Year Chris Coghlan, who was celebrating after I recently moved him into my Marlins' projected lineup after a certain blockbuster trade. See, I told you there were some good times being had in the Dominican Republic on Wednesday.
Jason Martinez of MLBDepthCharts makes his Minor League Update debut ...
I'm new here, so let me introduce myself. My name is Jason, and I'm kind of obsessed with baseball, especially when it comes to prospects and how they fit into an organization's depth chart. If you're familiar with MLBDepthCharts.com, you know what I mean. I'll be doing these updates regularly, so you're stuck with me for awhile. Be sure to leave feedback in the comments section and let me know your preferences for this feature. You can also find me on Twitter @mlbdepthcharts.
Hey, Kevin, when is so-and-so going to get called up? Huh? Huh?
We still don't know when Player X is going to get called up, as injuries and ineffectiveness at the big league level, as well as the constant spectre of service time calculations, can play a far larger role than simply looking at minor league performance. We can, however, get some clues from the flurry of minor league promotions that come at mid-season. Here are ten recently promoted players, and what we can learn from them.
Mitchell is not the best prospect on the Yankees Triple-A staff, but don't be surprised if he's the first to the majors. Scouts think he could be effective as either a back-end starter or middle reliever, as while he's on the small side, he's ultra-athletic and features a fastball that has slightly above-average velocity and plenty of movement. He's not going to be a star, but he should have big league value, even on a championship-level roster.
Everyone is preparing for the celebration of Strasmus, while a first-round pick from 2010 shows he's more than just a California League mirage.
Xander Bogaerts, SS, Red Sox (Low-A Greenville) With his late-season run, Bogaerts has gone from good story to one of the biggest in the Sally League. He generated plenty of buzz in the Dominican Summer League last year, and was expected to follow a more standard developmental path this year with a Gulf Coast Least assignment. Instead, he was placed in the South Atlantic League on June 9, and with home runs on Friday and Saturday, he's now hitting .253/.321/.515 with 15 bombs in 66 games. Bogaerts, who is only 18 years old, might not be hitting for much average, and there is no way he's a shortstop down the road, but he's also hit more home runs in fewer at-bats then Bryce Harper did at the same level at the same age, and that alone deserves note.