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.
Notes on prospects who stood out over the weekend, including Nationals righty Lucas Giolito and Astros outfielder Delino DeShields Jr.
Friday, May 9
Delino DeShields, OF, Astros (Corpus Christi, AA): 2-4, 2 R, 2 HR, K. By now, you’ve probably seen the photo of DeShields after he got hit in the jaw with a pitch. He returned to action on Friday in tremendous fashion with a pair of home runs, something he doesn’t normally contribute.
Jonathan Singleton's 50-game suspension will hold him back a bit, but he's still the top first-base prospect in the minors.
Prospect of the Day: Jonathan Singleton, 1B, Astros (expected to report to Triple-A Oklahoma City once reinstated) 2-3, 2 HR, 3 R, 3 RBI, BB. The centerpiece of the Hunter Pence trade between the Astros and Phillies, Singleton will have to serve a 50-game suspension to start the 2013 season. Singleton is the premier first-base prospect in the minors because of his near-elite raw power and solid-average hitting ability. He has been consistently making positive steps toward translating the raw pop into game power.
The Baseball Prospectus 2013 Top 101 Prospects, by Position, by Organization, and by Age
Yesterday, Jason Parks and the Baseball Prospectus prospect crew released our Top 101 Prospects of 2013, also newly available in printed form in the now-shipping Baseball Prospectus 2013 annual. The festivities were wild and raucous for all, perhaps tempered slightly for fans of the Chicago White Sox. Here is the Top 101 list displayed by position, by organization, and by prospect age. Enjoy!
Kevin fields a team of players who might not be polished now, but nevertheless have the potential to be great.
Recently, an editor at ESPN told me he was taking his kid to a minor league game and asked which players he should keep an eye on. As he was seeing the Rangers' Low-A Hickory affiliate, one of the first players that came to mind was outfielder Jordan Akins, and I added a comment amount him possibly having the widest gap between the player he is now and the player he has the potential to be. That led to greater discussions about players to dream on, so what follows here is the All-Dream team currently in the minors. All of these players have the potential to be high-impact players in the big leagues, but every one of them has a long way to go and a lot of work to do to get there.
With an abundance of trades over the winter, who is left to take over as the NL Central's top prospects?
Chicago Cubs How'd I do in 2010?: Of the five players given odds, three were not eligible for the this year's list; shortstop Starlin Castro (4-1) and right-hander Andrew Cashner (15-1) both saw their big-league timetables accelerated, while shortstop Hak-Ju Lee (10-1) went to the Rays in the Matt Garza deal. The eventual top prospect, outfielder Brett Jackson, got decent odds at (6-1), but the player with the best odds, third baseman Josh Vitters (3-1), saw his stock dip significantly.
After starting his baseball career as a beat writer, Fred Claire moved on to public relations with the Los Angeles Dodgers. He'd go on to spend 30 years in the Dodger organization, capped by his stint from 1987 to 1998 as general manager. Following 11 years as GM, including a 1988 World Series victory, newly-minted Fox ownership fired Claire soon after the landmark Mike Piazza trade of '98. Claire now works as a consultant for Performance Health Technologies of Boulder, Col., marketing a shoulder rehab device called SportsRac to pro athletes and weekend warriors. BP recently spoke to Claire about his career in Dodger Blue, the death of family ownership in the game, the Pedro Martinez trade, and the Dodger Way.
You can catch Fred Claire, along with BP's Joe Sheehan and Jonah Keri, and other guests, at the Barnes & Noble bookstore, 245 N. Glendale Ave. in Glendale, Calif., Thursday, April 1 at 7:30 p.m. We'll be talking baseball, Dodgers, Baseball Prospectus 2004 and Claire's new book, Fred Claire: My 30 Years in Dodger Blue, over pizza.
Baseball Weekly recently
ran a Bob Nightengale column
that focused on some of Scott Boras's ideas for improving competitive balance. Buried at
the end of the article was an interesting quote from a major-league general
manager that cited the most oft-repeated mantra of the small-marketeers.
Exhibition games begin today, and performances over the next four weeks
will go a long way towards determining who gets a chance at fame and
fortune and who gets six at-bats a week. In the AL East, there are a couple
of knock-down, drag-out job battles that will bear watching throughout March.
Delino DeShields vs. Jerry Hairstonfor the Orioles' second-base