Sanchez might not be the first name that comes to mind when thinking about lefty-mashers, but he has hit southpaws quite well in his career. He has 465 plate appearances against left-handed pitchers, and in them, he has a triple -slash line of .295/.388/.505. His ability to hit lefties fits well on the Pirates roster, as manager Clint Hurdle routinely wisely sits Garrett Jones against left-handed pitching. Sanchez is making the most of his playing time against southpaws this year, and has already smacked two doubles and three homers in 25 plate appearances against them.
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Maldonado is a catcher that has value in leagues in which any catcher with a pulse and playing time is rosterable. Injuries have hit the Brewers’ corner infield hard, prompting them to carry three catchers and start Maldonado at first base from time to time. He hasn't exactly made the most of the opportunity, but he has enough power to reach the seats on occasion. From 2010-2012, Maldonado hit 22 home runs in 863 plate appearances at Double-A and Triple-A combined. In his first exposure to regular playing time in the majors last season, he popped eight homers in 256 plate appearances. His batting average is likely to fall short of his .266 mark in the majors last year, but it should come in a small enough volume that it won't hurt fantasy teams too much.
The Winter Meetings start next week, 139 minor leaguers were added to 40-man rosters prior to last Tuesday's deadline, and several players currently on 40-man rosters will not be tendered contracts by their respective team and become free agents before Friday's deadline. So there's a lot going on in the world of baseball, including some exciting game action in Australia, the Dominican Republic, Mexico, Puerto Rico, and Venezuela. Here's some player notes from the past five days ...
With Carlos Quentin booked for surgery, who should the Padres turn to?
The Padres’ marquee big-league addition this offseason was outfielder Carlos Quentin, who was expected to add thump to the offense in his final year before free agency. Some thought the deal with the White Sox on December 31 was odd, considering that San Diego is likely to be a fourth-place team in the NL West this season, Quentin is an iffy defensive outfielder, and his arbitration salary was projected to be in the $6-8 million range (he settled for $7.025 million). But he only cost two middling pitching prospects—Simon Castro and Pedro Hernandez—so general manager Josh Byrnes saw little risk and pulled the trigger.
Unfortunately, among Quentin’s many flaws, proneness to injuries may be the greatest. He has never played more than 131 games in a season, has landed on the disabled list four times since his 2006 debut, and has had surgeries on his elbow, shoulder, and wrist. On Sunday, we learned that his right knee is next in line, and the recovery will likely cost Quentin at least the first month of the season.
How have recent deals and signing affected players' fantasy values?
Carlos Quentin | San Diego Padres | OF | Acquired via Trade Quentin was acquired earlier this week for minor-league talent and will slot into the middle of the order for San Diego. Unfortunately, while the Padres didn’t give up a whole lot to acquire him, he is a poor fit for the team, and his fantasy owners will not be made happy about the move. Going from one of the most favorable hitter’s parks in baseball to one of the least will destroy much of Quentin’s value. Because he hasn’t posted a batting average about .254 since 2008 (when he hit a healthy .288), power is all he has to offer, and now that may become scarce—think maybe 15 home runs this year, possibly 20 if he can manage to play an entire season healthily.
Perhaps more than anything else, though, this gives Kyle Blanks and Jesus Guzman an automatic “Go to bench, do not pass Go, do not collect $200” card. They’ll no longer be vying for playing time in left field in 2012, and right field is expected to be occupied by a Will Venable/Chris Denorfia platoon. That throws Blanks and Guzman back into the first-base mix. Yonder Alonso still has to be considered the favorite there, but this deal certainly doesn’t do him any favors either between Blanks, Guzman, and Anthony Rizzo nipping at his heels. The only guys actually gaining in all of this are the Padres number two and three hitters (Cameron Maybin? Chase Headley? Orlando Hudson?), who figure to score a few more runs with Quentin behind them.
The speedy Ben Revere and much-hyped Brandon Belt return to VP this week.
Last week's choice of players spurred some interesting discussion in the comments about Casper Wells, with a smart reader looking even smarter now, as Wells has posted a nice .308/.400/.538 batting line this week. However, the Mariners seem to agree with this author's opinion that he's nothing more than a fourth outfielder, limiting him to just 15 plate appearances. He's someone to keep an eye on, to be sure. Meanwhile, owners who were able to find space for AL-only multi-position pick Trevor Plouffe were rewarded with a fine .308/.357/.500 batting line and 28 plate appearances. Meanwhile, former NL-only VPTrent Oeltjen had a nice eight (8) plate appearances, hitting .429/.500/.857 and stealing a base, raising his season line to .250/.387/.438. Of course, as Derek Carty points out, he's started only one game in the past (nearly) two months, so he's purely deep-league filler. Onward to more significant players...
Though it looks like a two-horse race in the NL West, even those players on losing clubs have something to play for.
In Phoenix, the Diamondbacks have skidded into a five-game losing streak after riding the heroics of a succession of first basemen (Brandon Allen, Paul Goldschmidt, Lyle Overbay... perhaps it is time to put in a call for Travis Lee?). In San Francisco, the Giants struggle to stay healthy, a problem that dogs all old people, not just those who play baseball for Brian Sabean's geriatric club.
An enigmatic new Mariner and a serious power bat finally get shots in the majors and on VP this week.
There was little value to be had this past week as the seven players on the Value Picks List hit a combined .192/.261/.256, but Dexter Fowler and Josh Reddick had good weeks, and there's reason for hope with some others. As always, some players won't last on the list, while new faces come along to help out fantasy teams in need.
The tater trots for August 6: two notable first career home runs from Trayvon Robinson and Yonder Alonso.
A day after one of the scariest moments I've seen on a baseball diamond, Saturday was able to bring us some entertainment in the form of a few monster blasts, a pitcher's home run, and two entertaining first-career home runs. Thoughts are definitely with Juan Nicasio, but it's nice to have something fun to take our minds off of it as well.
Brian Bogusevic, Alex White, and two Giants infielders make the most of other people's injuries, the Dodgers swap backup catchers, the Snakes switch futilitymen, and the Padres ponder their first base future.
Staying healthier helped the Padres achieve their surprising success in 2010, but will they fall back into old habits this season?
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.