Out Of Work Former Big Leaguers Auditioning in the Caribbean Winter Leagues
There are several former big leaguers playing ball in the Caribbean Winter Leagues -- some who have had just a short stint or two in the big leagues, some former All-Stars -- as they try and prove that they still have something left in the tank in order to earn at least a minor league deal with some team. Here are a few that could garner interest over the next several weeks as teams finalize their rosters before Spring Training.
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A look at Wilton Lopez and why he could be an unheralded source of saves in fantasy leagues.
This past weekend, I had the pleasure of hosting a BP Ballpark Event with my podcast co-host Paul Sporer and fellow BPer Jason Parks in Houston. Attendees peppered us with questions for 45 minutes before we gave way to the honored guests of the day: former Baseball Prospectus writer Mike Fast and Astros General Manager Jeff Luhnow. I have known Fast for a long time, dating back to our days conversing at RotoJunkie.com (now rjbullpen.com), but it was my first interaction with Luhnow. As a child that grew up in Houston, I still follow the team from my Florida home, and it was enjoyable to listen to a strong communicator like Luhnow talk about both the process and the vision that he is cultivating for his organization right now. I left the room truly feeling that the downtrodden franchise was headed in the right direction and things were not as bad as they seem in the midst of a 4-34 stretch.
Things may indeed seem bad in Houston these days, but Jose Altuve is not the only fantasy asset worth owning in Houston. Even though the team does not win many games, their newly anointed closer Wilton Lopez is definitely one to watch as you keep one eye on the final weeks of the 2012 season and the other on your 2013 draft prep.
Tim Raines has his case re-examined, and the remainder of the Hall ballot gets a look.
We all have our pet projects. With the graduations of Bert Blyleven and Ron Santo to the Hall of Fame, mine is now Tim Raines. During his 23-year major-league career, Raines combined the virtues of a keen batting eye, dazzling speed, and all-around athleticism with a cerebral approach that made him an electrifying performer and a dangerous offensive weapon. Yet in four years on the ballot, he's reached just 37.5 percent of the vote, exactly half of what he needs to reach Cooperstown.
Brandon Belt and Andrew Oliver get second shots at launching their MLB careers, Jordan Lyles arrives ahead of schedule, and Chris Stewart and Brandon Crawford become the latest Giants offensive filler.
Do early-season phenoms fade once the rest of the league learns to stop giving them pitches to hit?
Believe it or not, most of our writers didn't enter the world sporting an @baseballprospectus.com address; with a few exceptions, they started out somewhere else. In an effort to up your reading pleasure while tipping our caps to some of the most illuminating work being done elsewhere on the internet, we'll be yielding the stage once a week to the best and brightest baseball writers, researchers and thinkers from outside of the BP umbrella. If you'd like to nominate a guest contributor (including yourself), please drop us a line.
The Team Injury Projections are here, driven by our brand new injury forecasting system, the Comprehensive Health Index [of] Pitchers [and] Players [with] Evaluative Results—or, more succinctly, CHIPPER. Thanks to work by Colin Wyers and Dan Turkenkopf and a database loaded with injuries dating back to the 2002 season—that's nearly 4,600 players and well over 400,000 days lost to injury—we now have a system that produces injury-risk assessments to three different degrees. CHIPPER projects ratings for players based on their injury history—these ratings measure the probability of a player missing one or more games, 15 or more games, or 30 or more games. CHIPPER will have additional features added to it throughout the spring and early season that will enhance the accuracy of our injury coverage.
These ratings are also available in the Player Forecast Manager (pfm.baseballprospectus.com), where they'll be sortable by league or position—you won’t have to wait for us to finish writing this series in order to see the health ratings for all of the players.
Some hitters are just begging for pitchers to take the bat out of their hands, yet somehow those hackers occasionally find themselves trotting toward first base.
Certain questions can pound away at a curious baseball fan’s mind at bedtime, keeping the frazzled fan up until—where has the time gone?—it’s time to go to work or school. Arguably the most prominent of these questions is whether Babe Ruth really called his shot, but the new age thought might be where the Yankees’ farm system would rank if they had signed Gerrit Cole and held onto Arodys Vizcaino. However, one question that doesn’t get asked until there are no games on slate is “Who walks the unwalkable?” A player like Yuniesky Betancourt, who at times shares the capacity of a jellyfish to flop to first base, still averages about 20 bases on balls per season.
While most of the pitching population enables these batters without walk genes, a select few put their foot down—or, in this case, their pitches—wide of the mark. Who are these folks? To find the answer, let’s examine the five batters with the lowest walk rates during the 2010 season: Jose Lopez, John Buck, Josh Wilson, Pedro Feliz, and A.J. Pierzynski. Simply naming the pitchers may humble and embarrass those involved, but doing so leaves other questions unanswered, like the length of the struggle and the intent behind the pitches thrown.