BP.com's original column launched in 1996, TA has been where Christina Kahrl ponders the implications of recent roster moves, their impact on managerial tactics or how they reflect organizational behavior. Plus a few too many references to things that have nothing to do with baseball.
Why opt for drama when dramatic fixes might produce a right-now contender?
After losing a taut pitcher's duel to the Yankees on Friday night, the Mets salvaged some dignity by taking two out of three to claim the upper hand in the CitiField segment of this season's Subway Series. The wins push them a step or two beyond last week's multiple crises, buying embattled manager Jerry Manuel a bit more time to turn his ballclub around, though he's hardly out of the woods. With the ravenous New York media momentarily quieted, it's a fine time to inventory what's gone right and wrong for the club thus far, and what solutions are available.
In this week's analysis of undervalued corner infielders and DHs, Michael Street discusses the unlikely fantasy additions Andruw Jones and Brandon Inge.
Several Value Picks continued to shine this week, but two are worthy of replacement: Brandon Wood and Fernando Tatis. Wood has continued to struggle, shortening his leash considerably with the last-place Angels, though he’s still someone to follow in case he can turn it around. Fernando Tatis went 1-12 on the week, an admittedly small sample, but there are also rumors the Mets will call up 1B prospect Ike Davis, buzz lent credence by their designation of Mike Jacobs for assignment. A struggling part-timer whose replacement is looming, Tatis can’t be called a value pick anymore.
Andruw Jones, however, has worked his way into more playing time—and my Value Picks—with his hot bat, driving up his ownership in some leagues, though he still remains available in 97 percent of ESPN and 77 percent of CBS leagues. Jones seemed poised for a rebound in his first year in the AL, when he hit .231/.332/.538 in the first half with the 2009 Rangers. But then a hamstring strain shut him down in August, a month where he’d hit just .167/.259/.208, raising doubts about whether his comeback was for real.
Michael Street covers some undervalued players, including the Marlins' Gaby Sanchez, the Angels' Brandon Wood, and the Cardinals' David Freese.
Fantasy owners can find roster value in overlooked younger players and continuing position battles, and this week’s Portfolio shows a little of both. I covered Daric Barton (less than 1% ownership in ESPN leagues) a few weeks back and, despite his line thus far, he doesn’t have a first baseman’s pop. If you’ve got power elsewhere, however, his BA value and lack of competition make him a good mixed-league CIF play and a decent AL-only 1B play.
Gaby Sanchez (owned in 3% of ESPN leagues), on the other hand, brings both patience and power, and he has a chance to cement himself in the bigs as Logan Morrison continues developing in AAA. Sanchez had a 14% strikeout rate and 12% walk rate in the minors, while averaging 12 HRs and 25 doubles to produce a tidy .485 SLG. He needs to reach his 80thPECOTA percentile to deliver good power for his position, but his BA brings value in just his 60th percentile. He’s been hitting lower in the Marlins’ order, suppressing his counting numbers, but continued production will certainly move Sanchez up.
Some of the choices involved are generating noise, while others are merely noisome.
It's now time to turn to the National League's camp battles-and to perhaps also turn a Nelsonian blind eye to a good argument for why some of these combats are less significant than others-starting with the NL East. What's really at stake as opposed to effectively already set in stone?
All we are say-ing, give these guys a chance... and reap the benefits in the fantasy realm as well as in real life.
Just because a player spends most of his time on the bench does not mean that he lacks the skills to start. Some players ride the pine solely because there is already someone with the same skill set-or an unwieldy contract-on the team, which can dictate how roster spots are used and playing time gets handed out. For those players that could perform if they were given the chance, they are just one injury or a starter's extended slump away from getting more playing time-it's already happened on plenty of major league rosters this season, and as we will see a little later, it happened again this weekend. Recognizing in advance which bench players you should target for your roster in these scenarios can give you a leg up on your competition.
Looking for help at one of the strongest positions?
Left field is up this week in our mid-season reports, and the position has had no shortage of quality bats available to help out your team this season. Left fielders have a collectiveEqA of .272 this year, a mark second only to first basemen, and they are also the position with the third-most stolen bases. Chances are good that you ended up with a left fielder who is one of the better players on your team, given that there are 11 with at least 20 VORP (and a few, like Alfonso Soriano and Josh Willingham, who are short of that only because of injuries). Not everyone is that lucky, though, so today we'll look at some of the players that owners may have questions about.