Which NL starters are off to a worse start than the Angels' not-yet-sluggy first baseman?
On Wednesday, I examined a half-dozen American League hitters who are off to chillier starts than even Albert Pujols in an attempt to shine a light on a handful of developing stories centered around underperforming players. Of course, none of those hitters has the track record or the job security of the Angels' newest marquee attraction; neither do seven billion other people on Earth. In other words, they're a wee bit more likely to find themselves riding the pine or worse if they continue to flounder, and at the very least, their small-sample struggles—and for this the threshold is 70 plate appearances, not long enough for any key hitter statistic to stabilize—are worth your attention.
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The Mets' injury parade drags on, while the Brew Crew might lose an important hitter for the start of the season.
Ike Davis, New York Mets (Valley Fever)
Davis, who is on the mend from a 2011 ankle injury, has been diagnosed with “likely” having valley fever. Valley fever is a soil-dwelling fungus typically found in southwestern United States and northern Mexico, and it grows during rainy periods. The spores can break off and be inhaled whenever the soil is disrupted. Valley fever is generally benign, but more severe cases can include pneumonia, lung nodules, or the fungus spreading to other parts of the body. In severe cases, oral antifungal medications are used.
Davis underwent a routine chest x-ray during his spring physical, but the results were determined to be abnormal. After consulting multiple pulmonary and infectious disease specialists, he was diagnosed with a mild form of valley fever. He is not on any medications, but he must try to avoid extreme fatigue. Conor Jackson also had valley fever, but Davis is expected to make a full recovery without missing any time.
Which first baseman makes the better fantasy option for the 2012 season?
In Favor of James Loneyby Jason Collette Ike Davis versus James Loney. This should be an easy decision on catchphrases alone. “I Like Ike” versus... umm... “I’m Looney for Loney”? One plays in a park being reconfigured for hitters after being a hindrance to power hitters the past few years while the other plays in a division with impossible pitching and a home ballpark that has never been terribly kind to power hitters. Career-wise, Davis owns a .271/.357/.460 slash line in his first 750 plate appearances while Loney is at .288/.346/.432 over 3018 plate appearances. Davis hit 19 home runs in the old Citi Field configuration in his full season of play in 2010, while Loney has never hit more than 15 home runs in any season for the Dodgers. The decision is easy: give me Loney.
This is not a knock on Davis, however, as there is little not to like about him. He turns 25 just before the season starts and has showed above-average power in his major league career thus far, which he pairs with a great aptitude for taking walks. My qualm with him is he has struck out in 23 percent of his plate appearances and swings and misses above the league average. Given that he is never going to help in stolen bases, the contact issues limit his batting average upside as it did in 2010 when he hit .264 over the course of a full season. Last season’s .302 average was a bonus, but it also came in just 129 plate appearances along with a BABIP that's 23 points above where it was in a full 2010 season.
Re-signing Reyes a priority, but health still a concern for lineup, rotation
Kiss 'Em Goodbye is a series focusing on MLB teams as their postseason dreams fade—whether in September (or before), the League Division Series, League Championship Series or World Series. It combines a broad overview from Baseball Prospectus, a front-office take from former MLB GM Jim Bowden, a best- and worst-case scenario ZiPS projection for 2012 from Dan Szymborski and Kevin Goldstein's farm system overview.
Injuries to David Wright and Ike Davis start a Mets infield shuffle, the Red Sox rotation gets rejiggered, the curse of the Rangers outfield continues, Aroldis Chapman exeunt, and familiar faces resurface in the Cubs rotation and Braves bullpen.
Michael Street looks at the continued strong production from the Value Picks list.
The Value Picks list had a good week, so there's only one change needed, although Ike Davis makes up for it with the odd distinction of deserving a cut on two different fronts. We at BP and VP keep you ahead of the curve, and fantasy owners have yet to respond to Ike Davis' declining production. His ownership has actually grown to almost 22%, despite his .260/.297/.385 line over the past four weeks (and .182/.250/.182 in the past week). As if breaking the 20% ownership threshold wasn't enough, Davis has also shown a combination of strikeouts and plate impatience that's deadly for a light-hitting first baseman.
He struck out at a 24% rate last month while walking at a paltry 5% clip, results that tend to produce a .265 batting average, right about where it is now. His .319 BABIP and elevated 14.3% HR/FB for the month shows bad luck or excellent fielding hasn't hurt him. If anything, he's overperforming expectations, as shown in his .313 xBABIP for the year. And he'll lose his only real bonus-hitting cleanup-when Carlos Beltran returns shortly after the All-Star break.
Some things you need to know about the Mets' new first baseman.
Smart people with lives went out on Saturday night, but plenty of dorky baseball folks couldn't leave their couch, entranced by the marathon of comedic incompetence that was the Mets/Cardinals game. Twitter was, well... atwitter with writers both at the game and watching elsewhere cracking jokes.
The Mets first baseman shows how far he has come as a hitter in his first major-league game.
If the Mets' marketing people are smart, "I Like Ike" T-shirts will be on sale tonight at the Citi Field souvenir stands. The Mets might as well capitalize on one of the few bits of good news they have had in recent seasons.
Looking into the crystal ball to see who drops where.
With 24 hours to go before the selections begin, the draft remains a muddled mess, making the process of doing a mock a series of hedged wagers. "This is easily one of the most unpredictable first rounds I've ever seen," said one team official. Basically, the draft pool has two clumps of players, one made up of the top ten, followed by a larger group of up to 40 players. With even the first overall pick still up in the air, any one last-minute flip could change the board dramatically.