The senior-circuit bats might provide nice value on draft day.
Anthony Rizzo – Chicago Cubs
Rizzo’s 2013 season boils down to a lack of singles. He notched 65 extra-base hits and generated a healthy 11 percent walk rate, but those types of things get mitigated in a big way fantasy-wise when you hit .233. His ADP is typically in the 100 range, and I think he can outperform that position this year. He has his issues with left-handed pitchers, but he also posted a .258 BABIP, which I think points to at least a bit of bad luck. If he gets the average in the .260 range, he makes a big jump in value considering the power potential. I think it’s a jump he can make considering the plate discipline and manageable 18.4 percent strikeout rate.
Rizzo is being judged off of what can only be described as a disappointing 2013, and that’s fair. But that assessment also creates an attractive value pick in the middle rounds of drafts.
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Bret recaps the selections that he and Mike Gianella made in a mock draft held last week.
Last Tuesday night, Mike Gianella and I participated in the first prominent experts league draft of the season, the LABR (League of Alternative Baseball Reality) mixed league. For background, this is a 15-team snake draft and a standard 5x5 rotisserie format with two catchers and the standard roster designations everywhere else. Mike and I had many conversations about this draft leading up to Tuesday night, and what made this both comforting and easy was that we were very much in sync with our strategy and a lot of our valuations—making for a stress-free (at least between each other) evening.
If you want to see the full draft board for all participants, that is available here. We had the seventh pick in the draft, which had its benefits and its issues. In the first round, we did not think it was optimal, as there was a pretty clear top four and the next 10 picks or so really came down to preference. However, my view is that it’s always beneficial to be in the middle of the round so you don’t have to wait so long between picks in case the draft shifts on you quickly. There were a couple of times at which we may have been out of luck if we were positioned on an end (especially in the early going with starting pitching and the middle rounds with closers), but we used the spot to our advantage.
These players excelled from July through the end of the regular season, but does that mean great things are in store in 2014?
It’s relatively easy to tell when a player has a full-on breakout. Matt Carpenter and Paul Goldschmidt both had easily the strongest seasons of their respective careers in 2013—it doesn’t take a baseball genius to figure that out. However, every pre-season, there is always be a lot of talk about how a player had a “breakout second half,” leading to talk that they will be able to build off that experience in the following season. At face value, that makes sense. But at face value, we’re also clearly dealing with sample size issues. For every Jose Bautista and Josh Donaldson, who hinted at their offensive explosions towards the end of the prior season, there are many more who never capitalize on said promise.
For the purposes of this exercise, we’re going to be looking at hitters with a .900+ OPS during the second half of the previous season in at least 100 plate appearances. But before we dig into the 2013 members of this group, we’re going to take it one step further and look back at the last couple of seasons to see exactly how this control group fared.
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.
A lackluster series gets serious in the span of one (very long) at-bat.
Game Four between the Cardinals and Nationals gave the people what they wanted: a lengthy, dramatic, Hollywood-inspired at-bat that ended a postseason game with an exclamation point. Earlier in the day, Jay Bruce delivered the first half late in the Giants-Reds series, but failed to punctuate. Walk-off home runs are exciting regardless of the at-bat length; however, there’s just something magical about seeing a pitcher and hitter going at it for 10, 11, 12 pitches before reaching a conclusion. Jayson Werth and Lance Lynn did one better: they dueled for 13 pitches.
Given their overturned offense, will the 2012 Giants be able to improve their won-loss record from 2011?
Not long ago, while discussing the anemic offense of last year's Mariners, we noted that 10 MLB teams scored fewer than four runs per game in 2011. Only two of those teams finished with a winning record. The San Francisco Giants represented the most extreme case; they won 86 games despite having the National League's worst offense.
That got me to thinking: How often has the team with the NL's worst offense finished with a winning record? The answer may come as a surprise.
The Phillies must determine if Jayson Werth is worth keeping and how to free up money to do so.
When the Philadelphia Phillies acquired Jayson Werth prior to the 2007 season, few seemed to notice. The former first-round pick had displayed all the makings of a solid performer, but injuries had kept Werth shelved for several seasons. In fact, it’s safe to say that a good portion of Phillies fans had never heard of Werth and thought the acquisition to be as meaningless as a Greg Golson-for-John Mayberry, Jr trade. Fast forward to the present and the impending departure of the All-Star has made a fan base rather nervous. Over the course of this article, the three of us will dissect the Phillies' financial situation now and into the future, the production components of the key players in this saga, and the economics of the matter, referring to what Werth will cost to retain and how the Phillies can pull it off.