Yu Darvish flirts with perfection again and Aroldis Chapman returns, plus more from a busy weekend and preview for Monday.
The Weekend Takeaway In his first start of the 2013 season, Yu Darvish set the tone for his stellar sophomore campaign with 8 2/3 flawless innings against the Astros. When the 27th batter, Marwin Gonzalez, hit a grounder that turned into a single, the Texas right-hander threw his hands up and couldn’t help but crack a smile.
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You might want to let someone else gamble on these players in your fantasy drafts and auctions this spring.
First base is a very deep position, which affords fantasy owners plenty of opportunities to pad every offensive stat save for steals through their use. It also means that plays who whiff on their first base picks are automatically in a hole, an must make up for that lost ground elsewhere. Making up ground stinks, so be wary of these eight players.
Jose Abreu White Sox
This comes with a caveat, I’m not saying Jose Abreu will be a bust, but at a position like 1B, you have to get the production levels right. We don’t know what Jose Abreu will be in 2014; all we have are some reports and memories of his performance in the 2013 World Baseball Classic. In deeper leagues he’s worth a shot, but in a standard 5x5 league, there’s too much risk here to pursue him aggressively. Sure, sometimes a gamble like this can pay off like Yoenis Cespedes did, but I would strongly advise against taking a huge gamble at a position that produces at the level 1B does. —Mauricio Rubio
Mike runs down the worst player pitfalls owners may have encountered in the past spring's drafts and auctions.
It is hard to believe, but we’re almost halfway through the regular season. For the most part, the caveats of small sample sizes and arbitrary endpoints can be tossed out the window and we can start looking at 2013 data and drawing definitive conclusions on what we have seen thus far.
Fantasy baseball is no exception. While there is still plenty of time for most of us to make up ground, by now we certainly know if we have a good chance, are fighting an uphill battle, or are hopelessly tilting at windmills.
Albert Pujols says he's not worried about his homerless streak because "home runs come in bunches." But is there any truth to the cliche?
If you’ve paid any attention to the 2012 season, you know that Albert Pujols has yet to hit a home run. The three-time MVP, fresh off the first homerless month of his career, is hitting just .208/.252/.287 with career-worst walk and strikeout rates. Jered Weaver’s no-hitter last night temporarily deflected some attention away from Albert’s struggles. But while Weaver mowed down Minnesota, Pujols’ homerless streak was extended to 107 plate appearances, ensuring that scrutiny of his every swing will only intensify once the no-hitter hubbub dies down.
Pujols averaged 39 home runs for the Cardinals over the past five seasons. After factoring in some age-related decline and the difficulty of hitting home runs from the right side in Angel Stadium, PECOTA projected him to hit 33 in 2012. The probability that a 33-home-run hitter would go homerless over 107 plate appearances by chance alone is just .3 percent. Either Pujols has been extremely unlucky, he’s declined more quickly than PECOTA expected, or he’s pressing at the plate.
Umpires shouldn't settle for "close enough" when it comes to perfection.
The Weekend Takeaway
Did he go? That was the question percolating through every baseball fan’s mind after the White Sox’ Philip Humber threw the 21st perfect game in major-league history against the Mariners on Saturday afternoon.
Brendan Ryan, who pinch-hit for Munenori Kawasaki, worked the count full, fouled off Humber’s first payoff pitch, and then either swung or did not swing at a slider that broke well off the plate outside. But did he go?
James Loney hasn't exactly set Hollywood ablaze with his hitting prowess; can he still cash in on his mediocrity?
For reasons I don't entirely comprehend, James Loney has been on my mind of late. His skill set is unusual for a first baseman, and although some players have parlayed similar skills into a successful big-league career, such players are few and far between.
In last week's light-hearted preview of the NL West, I quipped that Loney should star in a show called “Being Doug Mientkiewicz.” Marginally amusing one-liners aside, the truth is that Loney is a better hitter than Mientkiewicz, though this is hardly cause for celebration among Dodgers fans. Set the bar low enough and everything looks good.
BP's dirty dozen makes their prognostications to generate the wisdom of at least one small crowd.
Today we reveal the Baseball Prospectus staff predictions for the division standings and the major player awards (MVP, Cy Young, and Rookie of the Year) in the American and National Leagues. Each staff member's division standings predictions may be found later in the article. Here, we present a wisdom-of-the-crowds summary of the results. In each table you'll find the average rank of each team in their division with first-place votes in parentheses, plus the results of our pre-season MVP, Cy Young, and Rookie of the Year voting. Picking favorites for the Wild Card for the respective leagues initially might have seemed easy, since the selections universally favored the second-place team in the AL East, while all but two voters picked their second-place teams in the NL East to earn the non-division champ playoff team, but a tie in the rankings had to be broken in favor of the team named the Wild Card winner on the most individual ballots, which is sure to upset some people.
For the MVP voting, we've slightly amended the traditional points system in place that's been used elsewhere, dropping fourth- and fifth-place votes to make it 10-7-5 for the MVP Award, and the regular 5-3-1 for the Cy Young and Rookie of the Year Awards (that's 5 points for a first-place vote, 3 points for a second-place vote, etc.). Next to each of these selections we've listed the total number of ballots, followed by the total number of points, and then the number of first-place votes in parentheses, if any were received.
The view of Cooperstown from La Russa-ville, the Nationals go to Plan C or D or..., Randy wants another ring, and rumors and rumblings from around the major leagues.
The Hall of Fame voting deadline is fast approaching, as ten-year members of the Baseball Writers Association of America must submit their ballots by midnight on Wednesday. Candidates must be named on 75 percent of the ballots cast to gain induction into Cooperstown, with the voting results to be announced on January 12.
A lineup of the usual suspects, and a small-timer in the background who may be ready to make good.
Rafael Furcal. Mark Teixeira. Rafael Furcal. Mark Teixeira. Rafael Furcal. Mark Teixeira. Rafael Furcal. Mark Teixeira. Rafael Furcal. Mark Teixeira. Rafael Furcal. Mark Teixeira. Rafael Furcal. Mark Teixeira. Rafael Furcal. Mark Teixeira. Rafael Furcal. Mark Teixeira. Rafael Furcal. Mark Teixeira. Rafael Furcal. Mark Teixeira. Rafael Furcal. Mark Teixeira.