Justin Masterson makes a mid-game change, Jose Abreu returns, and an update on Charlie Morton's HBP pace, plus what to watch today.
The Monday Takeaway
The Red Sox lost 10 in a row. Then they won seven straight. On Monday, they had a chance to make it eight—but an old friend stood in the way. And Justin Masterson had no intention of letting his first professional employer earn its longest winning streak in two years.
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Scouts' takes on Xander Bogaerts, Masahiro Tanaka, Carlos Correa, Addison Russell, and other interesting players.
Many of our authors make a habit of speaking to scouts and other talent evaluators in order to bring you the best baseball information available. Not all of the tidbits gleaned from those conversations make it into our articles, but we don't want them to go to waste. Instead, we'll be collecting them in a regular feature called "What Scouts Are Saying," which will be open to participation from the entire BP staff and include quotes about minor leaguers and major leaguers alike.
A late start and slow fade kept Todd Frazier from doing better in the Rookie of the Year balloting, but the Reds’ third baseman still had a fine season, earning $13 in NL-only leagues and $2 in mixed leagues. From the start of May to the end of August, Frazier hit .290/.347/.540 with 18 homers in 369 plate appearances. Among players with at least 450 plate appearances for the season, his .225 overall ISO ranked him 27th overall and sixth among third base qualifiers.
The tater trots for May 2: a wild, wild night for all of baseball, with Chipper Jones' walkoff home run the most memorable of the night.
An absolutely wild day in baseball for home runs (and everything else, really). Not only did we have two home runs helping Jered Weaver take a big 9-0 lead en route to his first career no-hitter, we also had wackiness everywhere. Four different players hit two home runs last night, including Chris Johnson and Kyle Seager. Three different players hit walkoff home runs, including ancientold guys like Chipper Jones and Jason Giambi. And then there was the tenth-inning go-ahead homer by Giancarlo Stanton, the sixth home run of the year for Adam Dunn, Edwin Encarnacion's league-leading ninth home run...
The tater trots for April 12: Morneau and Mauer give Twins fans something to cheer about.
It was the first real partial slate of games on the young season. As a result, only eighteen teams suited up on Thursday. It was an abbreviated schedule, sure, but that doesn't explain the 11 home runs hit across the league. Maybe it was the weather. Maybe it was dominant pitching. Or maybe it was just getaway day excitement.
Several overqualified players might be riding the pine while a pricier, less productive veteran hogs their position on Opening Day, but they deserve to be starting.
Every year, major-league teams spend millions on evaluating and acquiring players from outside their organizations, whether they’re amateurs eligible for the draft, professionals in another system, or foreign or domestic free agents available to the highest bidder. Sometimes, though, a potential source of improvement is already in house and in uniform, overlooked in favor of a more experienced or higher-paid player who’s no longer the best man for the job.
Sixteen years ago, Brian Giles was one such player. Giles was blocked by Albert Belle and Manny Ramirez at the outfield corners in Cleveland, but at designated hitter, only an aging Eddie Murray barred his way. The 40-year-old future Hall of Famer had been productive a season before, but by ’96 he was a year away from retirement and had little left. Giles was ready to replace him. At age 25, he was beyond the age at which most promising players get a long major-league look, but he had only a September cup of coffee to show for his two successful seasons in Triple-A.
Which men of misery prevented their teams from escaping the murky waters of suckitude?
My semiannual Replacement-Level Killers series spotlights the worst holes in contenders' lineups, as well as the possible remedies they might take to avoid letting such subpar production destroy their post-season chances the next time around. I make no claims for this companion series being so noble in purpose. Because bad baseball so often makes for good copy, it's more fun to hunt the fish at the bottom of the major-league barrel to find the positions where players' contributions could be considered the worst in the majors. What follows is an "all-star" team of players who have produced tornado-level disasters amid their lineups, often at salaries that represented far more than just a soft breeze running through their team's bank account. Once again, I present the Vortices of Suck.
What to make of fantasy players shifting across the diamond? Michael looks at the fallout of the Fielder signing, plus potential position moves by Miguel Cabrera, Mark Trumbo, and the already-certain moves of Hanley Ramirez
For fantasy owners, the difference between first- and third-base eligibility is huge—at least in leagues that ignore defense. That defensive liability can still have repercussions in real-world baseball, however, which trickles down to fantasy if a player can’t stick at the hot corner. Last week’s news featured several players going from the right side of the diamond to the left, but not all of those moves may be permanent and not all may be beneficial.
In the final week of the season, Michael looks at near-term and long-term return for his Value Picks.
As the season (and Value Picks) draws to a close, I’ll look at what my VPs are likely to deliver in the next week, as well as their future for keeper leagues. Every year, one of my league championships has gone down to the final day, so there’s every reason to keep your roster current with fresh blood, even in redraft leagues. If you’re out of the money, keep the leaders honest by playing spoiler, scrapping for one more steal, one more homer, one more point of batting average. Because after Wednesday, it’s six months before fantasy baseball comes around again. Make this last week count!
Shifting to Friday, Michael makes up for the hiatus with several VP changes and a long turn at Playing Pepper, including a bunch of Brandons.
Now appearing on Fridays, I’m back to prepare you for your weekend fantasy games. Several developments have happened in the ten days since my last column, and I’m jumping to adjust the VP list accordingly. Fortunately, many hot corner infield commodities are available to help your fantasy squad.