A low payroll and thin farm system do not bode well for the opening of a new ballpark
Kiss 'Em Goodbye is a series focusing on MLB teams as their postseason dreams fade -- whether in September (or before), the League Division Series, League Championship Series or World Series. It combines a broad overview from Baseball Prospectus, a front-office take from former MLB GM Jim Bowden, a best- and worst-case scenario ZiPS projection for 2012 from Dan Szymborski and Kevin Goldstein's farm system overview.
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Logan Morrison, FLO (Lisfranc sprain left foot)
Logan Morrison can feel Barry Zito's pain. While we are not quite sure exactly which ligaments were damaged in Zito's foot, we do know at least one spot that Morrison injured. Lisfranc injuries occur in the midfoot, where several bones meet to help support the body's weight during activities (especially when going up on the toes).
Despite facing divisional heavyweights in the Phillies and the Braves, the Marlins might have what it takes to play in October.
In the world of fantasy baseball, stars and scrubs is a viable fantasy strategy in auction leagues. Take a large chunk of the dollars you have and allocate them toward the league’s finest, then use the remainder of your cash to fill out your roster as best as possible. In real baseball, this strategy falls apart. There has to be some level of complementary talents for the team to win. The most recent example might be the Mariners, who had Ichiro and Felix Hernandez, but finished with the league’s second-worst record in 2010.
The Marlins certainly have the star portion down. Hanley Ramirez is arguably the best shortstop in baseball and one of the game’s best players overall. Josh Johnson shares a similar distinction for starting pitchers. It’s hard to find too many teams who have better one-two punches in star and performance value than the group assembled in South Florida. Where the Fish stood to improve heading into the offseason was the rest of their roster, and despite trading Dan Uggla, they did just that.
Rob McQuown gives bonus coverage this week, expanding the value picks list to nine outfielders
Returning: Rick Ankiel's RBI possibilities should get a boost with the shift in leagues, even if manager Bobby Cox keeps batting him behind Alex Gonzalez, since the players batting in front of Gonzalez have some of the better on-base percentages in the National League. Brian McCann is 7th, with a .388 OBP and Chipper Jones (.373) and Troy Glaus ( .355) are also among the top 31 qualifiers. He started against Johan Santana, but Johan has historically been tough on right-handed hitters, and it remains to be seen whether Ankiel will start against lefties who are tough against left-handed hitters. Given Cox's history, it seems most likely that Ankiel will start as often as he's physically able to play.
Hitters generally don't improve their walk rates dramatically, but maybe there's something about right field in Wrigley, as Sammy Sosa did so, and Tyler Colvin is now coming off of a 5-walk week, and is up to 22 in his 278 PA. For a player whose minor-league walk rates could best be called “Francoeurian” (as in 105 walks in 1868 PA), this is cause for guarded optimism in Chicago. There wasn't much other good news for the week with Colvin, but he's become a safe enough fantasy option for the rest of the season – he'll play every day, and his power will continue to make up for his low batting average. His L/R splits are catching up with expectations, and even if Lou Piniella starts him against lefties, this practice should be avoided wherever possible in fantasy leagues.
Rob McQuown discusses the OF Value Picks, and who might surge if trades happen.
A Royal Pain: In a foreshadowing of the events to soon take place, a reader asked about the Royals situation last week. Since the Royals most-frequent DH is Jose Guillen, who can also play the outfield, this opened up discussions of several positions. Little could anyone have known that within a few hours, two of the candidates for playing time would be gone – Alberto Callaspo to Los Angeles, and David Dejesus to the disabled list. The Royals wasted no time installing Rick Ankiel back in center field, with Alex Gordon patrolling right field. For now, consider Ankiel recommended, based on his huge power potential. In many ways, Rick Ankiel is much like Tyler Colvin as a hitter, now that Colvin is walking a little more than he did in the minors. Ankiel's career ISO is over .200, even including his years as a pitcher. And against righties, he's hit .255/.321/.471 for his career – and he has played his home games in two parks which suppress power. Keep an eye on Alex Gordon, but just not on your roster (yet).
A Failed Experiment: Michael Brantley should have a future as a major-league player, but its resumption will be sometime in the future as well; he was demoted after a week in which he went 1-for-10 with 3 walks. By comparison, Trevor Crowe is hitting .256/.314/.356, with 10 SB in 250 AB. Grady Sizemore will be a welcome sight in Cleveland next year.
Activated OF-LNate McLouth from the 15-day DL; optioned OF-S Gregor Blanco to Gwinnett (Triple-A). [7/21]
Optioned OF-L Nate McLouth to Gwinnett; activated OF-RBrent Clevlen from the 15-day DL; signed C-R Dave Ross to a two-year, $3.25 million contract extension through 2012. [7/27]
A look back and a look ahead to who could the top prosects in the senior circuit next year.
One of the most frequent questions I get, be it via e-mail, chats, or the comment sections in the articles, is which player on (insert team here) has the best shot at moving into the Top 101. That's a much different question from who is the best prospect not in the Top 101, as the focus need to move solely to growth potential. Building on last year's "Future Top Dogs" series, let's keep that category in this year's version, while also taking an honest look at last year's prognostications.