What are the fantasy implications of some of the recent trades and signings?
Marco Scutaro | Colorado Rockies | SS/2B | Acquired via Trade
After spending all of 2011 struggling to find someone capable of handling second base adequately, the Rockies have finally found someone. Scutaro is far from a sexy player, and the move to Coors Field won’t help him as much as it will a guy like Michael Cuddyer, who has actual power, but Scutaro should still receive a moderate benefit from the park and league change. But the biggest benefit might come from where he’ll bat in the order. If the Rockies decide to bat Scutaro second, as they did many of their second basemen in 2011, he would see a big increase in runs from batting eighth or ninth for the Red Sox. In NL-only leagues, Scutaro could be a very nice, under-the-radar pickup.
The move severely hurts the value of Chris Nelson, Jonathan Herrera, and D.J. LeMahieu, who were set to battle it out for the starting spot prior to Scutaro’s arrival. In Boston, the move opens up shortstop for a potential Mike Aviles/Nick Punto platoon. Whether that’s a strict platoon will have a large effect on each player’s value. Aviles is the better fantasy option, but he’s right-handed, so it’s possible he only faces lefties. If the split is more 50-50, or if Aviles gets the majority of starts, we’d need to remember that we’re just one year removed from a lot of analysts calling this guy a fantasy sleeper. He had an up-and-down 2011, but he still has some potential across-the-board skills that could be useful to an AL-only owner. Value Change: Gain for Marco Scutaro; Loss for Chris Nelson, Jonathan Herrera, and D.J. LeMahieu; Gain for Mike Aviles; Gain for Nick Punto
Four suggestions for improving Dusty Baker's lineup.
The Cincinnati Reds should feature a productive offense and a strong defense in 2011, but will Dusty Baker’s lineup construction optimize either asset? Looking at recent history, which includes poor OBP at the top of the order and his best defensive shortstop on the bench, that may not happen without a few helpful suggestions. So Dusty, If you’re reading this,here are four moves to help improve your run production and run prevention alike.
Earlier this week, Colin Wyers and I wrote about some of the qualities that make Ichiro so unusual, enabling him to flummox projection systems and opposing defenses alike. Chief among them was his proclivity for infield hitting. As we mentioned, Ichiro has led the majors in infield hit percentage, as defined by FanGraphs (IFH/GB), for five straight seasons. It’s clear that infield hitting is a skill; Matt Swartznoted that a similar statistic of his own creation, “Infield Reach Percentage” (essentially, times on base/IFGB, excluding fielder’s choices) has a .55 year-to-year correlation, indicating that the players who rack up infield hits one year tend to rack them up the next (and vice versa). That’s not only true, but intuitive: it stands to reason that speedy players with quick first steps (especially those who have the added advantage of batting from the left side) would show some ability to amass high infield-hit rates, whether or not they can actually control the trajectory of the balls they put in play.