Michael Street looks at the 1B battles in Boston and Atlanta, as well as the 3B situation in Florida.
Adrian Beltre will hold down Boston’s hot corner in 2010, replacing the aging, increasingly fragile Mike Lowell, whose offseason thumb surgery prevented an offseason trade and scared Boston enough to acquire Bill Hall. Heater’s Evan Brunell says Lowell should get as much playing time as his health allows to showcase him for a trade, and he could miss the start of the season after fouling a ball off his knee. Brunell points out that Lowell’s offense hasn’t suffered from his increasing immobility, and PECOTA agrees that he’ll have very little ratio dropoff from 2009.
Whatever PT Lowell gets won’t be at third, where the Red Sox have utilityman Hall, whose offense is barely acceptable at MIF and not at all at third base. Hall’s high K% explains his weak BA, and his SLG has plummeted from a .437 EqSLG in 2007 to last year’s .350 EqSLG. With plenty of position qualifications, Hall is an acceptable MIF option in a deep AL-only league, but not anywhere else.
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The positions and the players who did the most to take the life out of their team's lineups.
In a playoff hunt, every edge matters, yet all too often, for reasons rooted in issues beyond a player's statistics, managers and GMs fail to make the moves that could help their teams, allowing subpar production to fester until it kills a club's post-season hopes. Back in 2007, I wrote a chapter for our pennant race book, It Ain't Over 'Til It's Over, in which I compiled a historical all-star squad of ignominy, identifying players at each position whose performances had dragged their teams down in tight races: the Replacement-Level Killers. It's a concept that's been revisited here at Baseball Prospectus, both by myself and my colleagues, usually in-season, with an eye towards what a team can do to solve such potentially fatal problems.
A few well-placed bunts in game-same situations produce another "never seen before" event.
One of the well-worn tropes of baseball is that, at any game, you'll see something that you've never seen before. In going to the ballpark, there's so much you can look for and see in any one ballgame-a pitcher's mechanics, a hitter's swing, a manager's player usage patterns. Heading to Wrigley Field for last night's game, however, I went with one mission in mind, something I want to explore as I spend this spring and summer going to ballparks across the country: did I see something new?
The Cubs were limping back into town after a disheartening 2-4 road trip through St. Louis and Phoenix, while the Marlins have been inching back to the pack after racing out to a hot start, diving into a seven-game losing streak after winning seven straight, but winging to Wrigley after winning their last two against the Mets. With two injury-depleted offenses-no HanRam, no A-Ram, and no Geovany Soto in tonight's starting lineups-and with an April night game, the chances for a low-scoring affair seemed pretty good. However, with Milton Bradley back in action for Chicago, I arrived at the park musing that there's always going to be the chance that you'll see something incredible-some feat of skill and strength from the switch-hitter, perhaps also some bit of unhappiness afield, or perhaps another embroglio inspired by his striving bleeding over into strife. Maybe in Milton the Cubs have somebody who might appeal to the NASCAR demographic, where people show up to watch for all the wrong reasons?
Ramon Vazquez? Jorge Cantu? What's going on at third base this year? Can these guys really help your team?
Last week we started to look at some first basemen who are over- or underachieving, and the utility they held for your fantasy team for the second half of the year. This week we will continue that trend, moving on to the hot corner, which has been one of the deepest positions this season.