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.
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Michael Street looks at the 1B battles in Boston and Atlanta, as well as the 3B situation in Florida.
Adrian Beltre will hold down Boston’s hot corner in 2010, replacing the aging, increasingly fragile Mike Lowell, whose offseason thumb surgery prevented an offseason trade and scared Boston enough to acquire Bill Hall. Heater’s Evan Brunell says Lowell should get as much playing time as his health allows to showcase him for a trade, and he could miss the start of the season after fouling a ball off his knee. Brunell points out that Lowell’s offense hasn’t suffered from his increasing immobility, and PECOTA agrees that he’ll have very little ratio dropoff from 2009.
Whatever PT Lowell gets won’t be at third, where the Red Sox have utilityman Hall, whose offense is barely acceptable at MIF and not at all at third base. Hall’s high K% explains his weak BA, and his SLG has plummeted from a .437 EqSLG in 2007 to last year’s .350 EqSLG. With plenty of position qualifications, Hall is an acceptable MIF option in a deep AL-only league, but not anywhere else.
Agreed to terms with LF-RConor Jackson on a one-year, $3.1 million contract, avoiding arbitration. [1/14]
Signed 1B-LAdam LaRoche to a one-year, $4.5 million contract, with a $7.5 millon mutual option for 2011 ($1.5 million club buyout); designated OF-REric Byrnes for assignment. [1/15]
A closer look at how each of the four LCS teams were put together kicks off with Boston's ballclub.
With the postseason underway, now is a good time to look at the final four participants and talk about where these players came from on a scouting and player development level. Sometimes we can learn quite a bit about how a team was built, and sometimes all we have are good stories. Since rosters are not due to MLB until the morning before a series' first game, we'll go off each team's divisional series roster, and start with the Red Sox.
The Red Sox were swept out of the AL East race on merit, by a team that is just better than them right now.
The Yankees' brutal, and at times ugly, dispatch of the Red Sox over 75 or so hours was perhaps the biggest surprise of the 2006 baseball season. As disparate as the two teams' fortunes had been since the All-Star break, their recent history of playing each other to essentially a draw seemed to mandate a split, a 3-2 series that would leave the AL East race largely unchanged heading into the season's final six weeks.
Joe Sheehan examines the right and wrong players for long-term, arbitration-nixing contracts, via the New York Sun.
These contracts shift risk, as teams assume some risk that the player will not develop, while saving money if he does become a star. The player locks up millions of guaranteed dollars that might not be available to him if he doesn't perform well through his third season, the first point at which he has negotiating leverage.
For a young pitcher like Harden, the risk of arm injury is never far enough away--just ask the Cubs' Mark Prior. Locking up $9 million, while forgoing a chance to make a big score in arbitration after 2007 or 2008, is a reasonable decision.
After two seasons as a minor league player, J.P. Ricciardi became a coach in the Yankees' system at age 23. He joined the A's organization, climbing the ranks from minor league instructor, through multiple scouting positions, to director of player personnel under Billy Beane. Hired by the Blue Jays to be the team's new general manager in November 2001, he's now in the midst of a five-year contract extension that takes him through the 2007 season, after being offered the Red Sox job before Theo Epstein took over. Now in his third season with the Jays, Ricciardi has encountered both success (86-76 in '03) and disappointment (last in the division this year). Ricciardi recently chatted with Baseball Prospectus about expectations for young players, picking the right manager, and more.
Baseball Prospectus: Like TheoEpstein in Boston (and KevinTowers in San Diego), you're a general manager with a significant scouting background who's also known as being statistically-oriented. What elements of your scouting background serve you best in your everyday operations as GM?