On teaching patience, a nice old lady and a hilarious inning to a near-gem.
CHICAGO—One-four-four-five-four-one. No, that's not a Tommy Tutone update, it's the game-by-game run totals for the Cubs in their first six outings of the season. They broke out with eight runs off Milwaukee ace Zack Greinke on Thursday, but questions still abound about Chicago's offense.
Pinpointing the positions with the worst projections on this season's likely contending clubs.
Every year, several teams finish out of the playoffs by a handful of games, close enough to taste October but just as ineligible for post-season play as the lowliest of last-place finishers. Last season, the Red Sox and Braves were both eliminated on the season’s final day after watching what had seemed to be safe leads evaporate. Since a one-game swing for either team would have meant a much different outcome, it was tempting to look back and wonder where in the lineup they could have eked out an extra victory.
As Jay Jaffenoted in January, right field proved to be a particular weak point for both teams. Braves right fielder Jason Heyward slumped to a .254 True Average (TAv) in an injury-plagued sophomore season, and his replacements—primarily Eric Hinske, Joe Mather, and Jose Constanza—hit only .252/.294/.346 in his absence. In Boston, J.D. Drew added a 60-day DL stint for a left shoulder impingement to his lengthy injury history and hit just .222/.315/.302 when active. His replacements—mainly Josh Reddick, Darnell McDonald, and Mike Cameron—made Heyward’s look good, mustering only a .234/.282/.377 line. As a result, Braves right fielders accumulated 0.6 WARP, and Red Sox right fielders checked in at 1.3 WARP. It’s reasonable to wonder whether both teams would have made the playoffs with even average (roughly 2.0 WARP) production in right.
In this week’s Value Picks, Michael shows you how to love the players that other owners hate, including Carlos Pena, James Loney, Mat Gamel, Brent Morel, and Chase Headley.
Over the last twoweeks, I’ve looked at several players that are easy to love based on their history and PECOTA’s projection for a resurgent season. As a result, for many of those players—such as Albert Pujols, Joey Votto, and David Wright—their ADPs tended to closely match their PECOTA rankings. What about the players you (or opposing owners) love to hate? These guys have an ADP below their PECOTA rankings because they’ve disappointed in the past or are just misunderstood by most fantasy owners.
So this week, we get into the real Value Picks—those players outside the Usual Suspects which you can squeeze some value out of. Just like bad medicine, you may find some of this hard to swallow come Draft Day, but it’ll be good for your fantasy team if taken in the right doses. Let’s face it: sometimes it’s good to be hated.
The Indians summon another prospect to prop up their flagging pennant hopes, the Cardinals recover a pair of walking wounded, the Brewers gamble on Mat Gamel, and the potential next Sam Fuld makes his play with the Pirates.
The Brewers' stars stayed on the field in 2010, but will their luck hold after they upped the ante in the NL Central this winter?
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.
It's a make-or-break spring for members of each NL Central squad in this latest of our new series focused on MLB's far-flung divisions.
Fans aren't the only ones who suffer through the long, baseball-less winter, wishing for spring to return. Ballplayers themselves are forced to bide their time pretending to care about football as they count down the days until spring training. Some established stars might see the offseason as a chance to relax and get away from the sport, but not everyone has that luxury. For players who are scrambling to scale the minor-league mountain or those looking to solidify their toe-hold in the majors with a starting job, the winter is both an opportunity to prepare for the effort ahead and a frustrating impediment to further progress.
Mat Gamel of the Brewers is one such trekker. This spring will be his fourth with the club since he first came up in 2008 as its seventh-best prospect. Each year seems to be the one in which management and fans alike think Gamel will break out and force himself into Milwaukee's plans, but it hasn't happened yet.
In the first week of September, a look at potential keeper VPs in the NL.
As September makes the waiver wire less important for the 2010 season, Value Picks looks at good keeper-league pickups for 2011, beginning with the NL. All but one is available in more than 99% of ESPN leagues, with the lone exception being former VPPedro Alvarez.
Rob McQuown tracks the shifting outfielders of the Cubs, Brewers, and Indians.
The big news in the Cubs outfield this spring isn't on the radar (or Heater's Radar Tracker) yet, and that's because former first-round pick Tyler Colvin is still a longshot to make the opening-day roster. PECOTA forecasts him hitting .231/.289/.400 if given playing time, which seems somewhat pessimistic, given his .300/.334/.524 performance at AA last year with a reasonable .328 BABIP. Manager Lou Piniella is tempted, however, since Xavier Nady won't be able to throw well enough to play the outfield until June.
That turns the outfield spotlight on Sam Fuld. Fuld is a good defensive centerfielder. He bats lefty with enough of a platoon advantage that he could probably survive as a platoon leadoff hitter (his career minor-league OBP is .370 and he's hit righties with a typical platoon split) and could almost certainly play frequently as fourth outfielder for a team overloaded with righty bats. Despite his age, he's risen through the minors at a good pace after making his professional debut in 2006 at high-A ball. Obviously, hitting .150 in spring training so far is undermining his chances to grab the available playing time.