Identifying the best late-round options for mixing and matching in your fantasy lineup.
One of the first articles I wrote here at Baseball Prospectus was a detailed look at how platoon splits, when deployed tactically and objectively, can create a surplus of value by taking two roster spots and turning them into one “super position player.” And the great thing about this concept is that you can keep using it from year to year, just with different names. There are always going to be players with flaws available later in the draft, but there’s a competitive advantage to being able to use certainly players in a way that optimizes their strengths and negates their weaknesses. Here’s what the original experiment looked like:
The exercises below show the benefits of using one of your bench spots specifically to platoon one of your final offensive players, using the 2012 season as the example. The guidelines of the exercises are simple. For each scenario, I took two players who were drafted outside the top 200 last pre-season and set a fixed schedule of when one would be in the lineup over the other—leaving no room for subjectivity. The only exceptions to this were when one of the players was not in the starting lineup (out) or one of the players was participating in a doubleheader (in). Then, I went back through the 2012 game logs to determine the actual statistics and value earned out of this “alternative arrangement.” But before we dive in, we have to set a baseline of value for the roster spots.
The Snakes feature a new closer and a power-hitting first baseman with a case to be the no. 3 pick in drafts this spring.
The Diamondbacks’ moves the last two years have been a bit peculiar and yet seemingly despite their best efforts, they still have a rather formidable team. They have established star talent, quality veteran talent, and emerging young talent. It’s far from a flawless team, but it has the makings of a contender. Additionally—and more importantly—it is ripe with fantasy goodness.
A look at some players who could bolster your fantasy team off the waiver wire, depending on the format of the league in which you play.
Zack Cozart, SS, Cincinnati Reds
Cozart is a subpar offensive option in real life but a solid option in fantasy leagues. Among shortstops, he is ninth in HR, eighth in RBI, and fifth in runs. Dusty Baker finally gave up on the idea of batting Cozart and his lousy .276 on-base percentage second, so Cozart takes a bit of a hit, but if you’re not particularly concerned about batting average, Cozart is a better play down the stretch than a number of mixed-league shortstops/middle infielders currently on active rosters. —Mike Gianella
Mike runs down 10 players who have hurt their fantasy owners in recent weeks and explains whether you should ride out their ruts or cut bait.
If you’re in an NL- or AL-only league, your bed is made with all of the big-ticket items on your roster. Starlin Castro might be a disappointment, but at this point he’s your disappointment. You’re not going to cut him for a back-up middle infielder in the free agent pool who is going to get three to five at-bats a week.
In mixed leagues, however, these are the types of players you have to make choices on down the stretch. A number of mixed leaguers have already cut the cord with Castro. However, there are other players who might be worthy of tossing off of your roster, or at least keeping on reserve for the time being. Below are a handful of players who are slumping yet mostly owned in mixed leagues. Should you hang on or try to find better stats elsewhere?
After taking a look at some lefty mashers last week, Paul brings you five players who could help your fantasy squad on the long side of a platoon.
Last week, I dove into the world of streaming hitters by way of platoon advantages, particularly with guys who excel against lefties. In part two, we will look at some righty mashers. With these guys being on plus side of the playing-time split, they won’t all be as readily available as the lefty guys should be in your 10- and 12-team mixers, but if you have one of these guys you might consider getting someone from the first piece to pair with them instead of starting these guys all the time.
Here are five guys making life extremely difficult for right-handed pitchers so far this season.
Why one of baseball's best young players doesn't get his due.
After nine games, Yasiel Puig’s video archive at MLB.com comes close to filling four pages, at 12 clips per page. Marcell Ozuna, another exciting 22-year-old right fielder who’s hit .324/.364/.462 since his arrival in April, is still stuck on page three. Almost every play Puig touches turns into a highlight. If he isn’t hitting homers, he’s recording outfield assists; if he’s not in the game, it’s because he’s just been ejected from a bench-clearing brawl. Whatever he does, it happens at the center of the spotlight. It took him one week to be named National League Player of the Week, and it took him four words to appear in this article, which isn’t even about him. More than the amateur draft, more than Biogenesis (fortunately), baseball in June has been about Yasiel Puig.
So when Puig was thrown out attempting to advance to third on a Jerry Hairston single on Monday, it wasn’t immediately clear who the star of the story was: Puig, or Gerardo Parra, the player who made the throw. It took another viewing to determine that Puig’s presence in yet another highlight was just a coincidence, that it was Parra who’d earned Puig some extra airtime on SportsCenter, not the other way around. The throw was perfect, an on-the-fly strike to Martin Prado that nailed the speedy Puig in plenty of time,
Gerardo Parra might be making a push for more playing time.
The Monday Takeaway
All Gerardo Parra’s pinch-hit home run in the seventh inning of last night’s game did was push the Diamondbacks’ lead from 4-1 to 5-1. But in the mind of manager Kirk Gibson, it might prove more significant than a meaningless insurance run in a relatively comfortable victory over the Pirates.
The homer was the first extra-base hit in 19 at-bats for Parra, who was relegated to a timeshare when general manager Kevin Towers inked Jason Kubel to a two-year, $15 million deal this past winter. That move was widely considered a surprise, mostly because Parra—a 24-year-old coming off a 3.5 WARP season—did plenty to endear himself to the organization and little to warrant a demotion.
Several overqualified players might be riding the pine while a pricier, less productive veteran hogs their position on Opening Day, but they deserve to be starting.
Every year, major-league teams spend millions on evaluating and acquiring players from outside their organizations, whether they’re amateurs eligible for the draft, professionals in another system, or foreign or domestic free agents available to the highest bidder. Sometimes, though, a potential source of improvement is already in house and in uniform, overlooked in favor of a more experienced or higher-paid player who’s no longer the best man for the job.
Sixteen years ago, Brian Giles was one such player. Giles was blocked by Albert Belle and Manny Ramirez at the outfield corners in Cleveland, but at designated hitter, only an aging Eddie Murray barred his way. The 40-year-old future Hall of Famer had been productive a season before, but by ’96 he was a year away from retirement and had little left. Giles was ready to replace him. At age 25, he was beyond the age at which most promising players get a long major-league look, but he had only a September cup of coffee to show for his two successful seasons in Triple-A.
The tater trots for September 13: all about Gerardo Parra's dust-up.
It was a pretty good night for home runs on Tuesday. Four different players had multiple home run days (including two in one game). There was a walkoff blast and an argument between teams about watching home runs. Not to mention Victor Martinez's typical trot or the interrupted trot out in Boston.