Jason Heyward takes a step forward, while Mat Latos and Gio Gonzalez are looking to get the ball rolling with their new clubs.
The Wednesday Takeaway
The Braves are counting on bounce-back campaigns from their corner outfielders and contributions from their high-ceiling pitching prospects as they look to return to the top of the NL East standings for the first time since 2005. If Wednesday night’s 6-3 victory over the Astros is any indication, they may get them.
Starter Randall Delgado earned the win for Atlanta, tossing five innings of two-run ball and striking out six. But the bigger story was right fielder Jason Heyward, who made his presence felt throughout the game and might be ready to resume his rise to stardom.
A look at the fairly abstract concept of risk which informs our valuations on ballplayers but can often fool us
How do we arrive at an estimation of what a ballplayer is worth? It’s easy to say that we gather all the historical evidence, project our best estimate of what’s to come, and then sort. But obviously, it’s more complicated than that.
Time for a blind taste test. Here are two pitchers and PECOTA’s 2012 projection for each:
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What are the fantasy implications of the latest roster rumbles?
This past week has been very active in terms of free-agent signings and trades, and now that some of the bigger names on the market are starting to go, we’re likely to see the rest follow suit rather quickly.
Josh Willingham | Minnesota Twins | OF | Signed as free agent Willingham has remained on the outskirts of mainstream relevance for his entire career, beginning with the Marlins (before their ridiculous spending, media spotlight days), getting traded to the Nationals, then getting dealt to Oakland, and now finally signing with the Twins. For as little notoriety as he receives, he’s actually a pretty darn good player, both in the real world and fantasy. In fantasy, his biggest contribution is his power, despite playing most of his career in parks that have played toward pitchers or have been neutral. Target Field will continue that tradition, but because Willingham has been playing in similar parks, it won’t change his projections much; Oakland’s O.co Coliseum is actually slightly worse than Target.
Checking in on C.J. Wilson, David Ortiz, Mat Latos, and more
One of the most exciting parts of the fantasy offseason is the rumor mill, hearing about who could be headed where and trying to figure out the ramifications of the rumored moves. For those in keeper leagues who are trying to sort out who deserves a spot on their roster for next season, speculating on what will happen to players and how different scenarios could play out can be a valuable exercise, especially in leagues where keeper decisions are due before spring training begins.
To that end, inspired by reader sgtvane's comment on Michael Street's article on Friday, I thought I'd make a habit of examining various rumors each week and what they would mean for the fantasy value of the player in question, as well as for the players who would be indirectly impacted. While I won't be able to tackle every rumor that makes its way onto our radar, if there's a particular one you're interested in that I haven't taken note of, feel free to let me know. I'm always open to suggestions.
With minimal payroll flexibility, the Padres need young players to improve quickly.
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.
Mat Latos has been a stud, but he's about to get a lengthy rest.
Mat Latos has been a fantastic addition to fantasy staffs this year, but owners of him may need to formulate some kind of plan in the coming weeks to make up for his production. No, Latos isn't hurt, but he is 22-years old, and playoff race or not, is seen to be the most important pitcher in the San Diego Padres rotation for years to come. That's why general manager Jed Hoyer, in an interview with XX Sports Radio (via the ever-entertaining Gaslamp Ball) made a point of saying Latos would get an extended rest in 2010 in order to have him ready for September (and, as Padres fans are hoping, October baseball as well, though it's a bit early to start printing tickets for that).
Latos was one of our three-star pitchers heading into this year—the thinking was that he would be the ace of the Padres staff and come into his own in 2010, but he was a more important pitcher for 2011 and beyond, as far as being recognized as an ace across the league goes. While Latos struggled early thanks to giving up some home runs (he had a 6.20 ERA in April, with five homers allowed in 20 1/3 innings pitched) he has since pitched much better and, as anyone who has watched him pitch before and after can see, pitches with much more confidence in his secondary offerings now, one of the main reasons for his success. He throws offspeed and breaking pitches in fastball counts and keeps hitters off balance, and he's very efficient as well. Latos is averaging around 6 1/3 innings per start (despite 4 2/3 and 2 2/3 starts in April) and just over 98 pitches per game started.