Injury disappointments Jacoby Ellsbury and Jayson Werth highlight this week's Reaper.
Jacoby Ellsbury| Boston Red Sox
Shallow (30 Keepers): Fringe Medium (60 Keepers): Yes Deep (90 Keepers): Yes AL-only (60 Keepers): Yes Super Deep (200 Keepers): Yes
Ellsbury followed up his monstrous 2011 season with a shoulder-subluxed and ineffective 2012 that burned those expecting a repeat. All told, he played 74 games, batted .271, hit four homers, and stole 14 bags. Now that the price has come way down, a healthy Ellsbury is an intriguing asset for 2013.
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What turned Drew Stubbs from the player he was to the player he is?
Casting Drew Stubbs as a bench player a few years ago seemed delusional. Nowadays, it makes more sense. Performances trending the wrong way have transformed Stubbs from one of the game’s exciting, well-rounded talents into a frustrating enigma. Reds general manager Walt Jocketty—having strengthened his outfield already by re-signing Ryan Ludwick and transitioning Billy Hamilton to center—kept looking for additional support by eyeing Colorado’s Dexter Fowler and Cleveland’s Shin-Soo Choo. Jocketty pulled the trigger last night, landing Choo and sending Stubbs to Cleveland in a three-way trade. Stubbs’ downfall in Cincinnati merits the question—how did things get so bad, so quickly?
The Reds drafted Stubbs with the no. 8 pick in the 2006 draft, one pick behind Clayton Kershaw and two picks ahead of Tim Lincecum. The University of Texas product shot through the minors. He reached Triple-A in his second professional season, and the majors in his third. Although Stubbs’ official rookie season encompassed 42 games, he managed to smack eight home runs and steal 10 bases during the cameo. By the end of his unofficial rookie season, Stubbs had 30 home runs and 40 steals (on 50 tries) in 779 trips to the plate. Add in stellar defensive play and stardom seemed like a given.
Ten players who took the long route from top prospect to major-league contributor this year.
With over a month remaining in the regular season, Mike Trout’s campaign already looks like it might be remembered as the best ever recorded by a rookie. But Trout’s 2012 may have another lasting legacy: spoiling future rookie seasons for the rest of us. While watching Trout run roughshod over opposing AL pitchers, it’s easy to forget how rare it is for first-year players to be stars, let alone leading MVP candidates. However, it takes time for most young players (including Trout himself last season) to find their footing: only one other rookie, 26-year-old Yoenis Cespedes, has amassed even a third of the value of the Angels’ outfielder this year.
Even highly rated rookies usually struggle in their initial exposure to big-league pitching, and those who find success at first often suffer in their second trips around the league or in their sophomore seasons, as opponents start to exploit their weaknesses. Some of them recover quickly from these setbacks. Others take years to adjust, and many never put together the production that was expected of them.
What is Dexter Fowler doing this season to achieve sustained big-league success?
I stare at Dexter Fowler in search of inspiration. Not at the actual man, of course—that would be awkward and inappropriate—but at his statistical record. What do the numbers say about him? Again, not the actual man, but the player. More specifically, the hitter.
The lanky 26-year-old center fielder is playing his fourth more-or-less full big-league season and, despite a recent slump, enjoying unprecedented success at the plate. After being sent down to Triple-A Colorado Springs for brief “refresher courses” in each of the previous two seasons, Fowler seems to have figured out how to avoid repeat visits.
It's early, but as a group, Derek's value picks have picked up value.
I received an e-mail earlier this week from a Baseball Prospectus reader congratulating me on the early-season success of my value picks from my Fantasy Tier Rankings. While celebrating the success of these players in April is akin to celebrating a new American Pie movie before experiencing the disappointment of actually seeing it (read: premature… see what I did there), it’s still kind of fun. And hey, combined, my value picks have accrued 669 plate appearances—roughly a full season’s worth of at-bats. So today, I’m going to take a (very early) look at which of my picks are panning out and which aren’t.
I’m going to ignore the Four- and Five-Star Value Picks because, well, most of them weren’t really values. Everyone knows that Albert Pujols is a good player, so I’m not going to bother going over him. Instead, I’ll focus on the one-, two-, and three-star guys that you likely acquired on the cheap. These are going to be the moneymakers of a fantasy team, the guys that you’re hoping to make big profits on.