Age 27 is often thought of as the time when players peak, but sometimes it's just the opposite.
Eight months ago, I wrote about the saddest age-27 seasons in recent history, the idea being that age-27 is, if not the panacea that turns every player into his best self, at least the last year that we pay attention to post-hype sleepers. Or, as I wrote,“It’s the year when, if you hit .253/.289/.418 in the PCL, smart people will probably quit writing spring training love letters calling you the comeback kid.” That was about Brandon Wood, who ended up hitting .259/.313/.409 in the PCL. I can’t tell you how happy I am that nobody has identified a year of my life when I’m supposed to stop feeling good about myself.
But if baseball's age 27 lasts just one season for each player, it lasts forever for us—we get older, but 27-year-olds stay the same age—and so this year there was a whole new group of age-27s. Here are 10 potential nails in coffins, ranked by dispiritability.
Michael looks at Value Picks to be found in the first-base battles in Cleveland and Pittsburgh
Part of the excitement of Spring Training is watching Opening Day rosters take shape—usually, this involves whether a top prospect will start the year in the minors or which utility man grabs the final bench spot. Less often, we get to watch two players compete for the right to start, an especially important choice at the power position of first base. While both Cleveland and Pittsburgh seems to have made their choices at the cold corner, there are still some other options that could rise to the challenge and bring value to their fantasy owners.
It's too early to panic, but Michael points out a few players you may want to consider cutting bait on in the future.
The Hitchhiker’s Guide’s sage advice applies equally in the opening weeks of the fantasy season. Not all of last week’s Value Picks have performed well, but one week is too small a sample space to cause panic. This week’s changes aren’t an overreaction to cold (or hot) starts, but an opportunity for you to plug lineup holes or satisfy early-season speculative urges. In the spirit of marginal production, this week’s column pays tribute to the new-wave band The Cars.
Do early-season phenoms fade once the rest of the league learns to stop giving them pitches to hit?
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As spring training winds down, Michael looks at some valuable players who are being overlooked in drafts.
Spring training position battles are wrapping up, so I’m shifting my attention towards underdrafted players (according to mockdraftcentral.com). Some of these will be familiar to my readers from last season, but all of them are far more valuable than fantasy owners are acknowledging.
Jason took part in a slow mock draft with other fantasy experts and is now here to share what he learned from the experience.
I recently had the pleasure of doing a slow—and I mean slow—mock draft over the past four weeks with a few of my friends and colleagues in the fantasy baseball industry. That group included most of the mlb.com folks, Fernando DiFino, and the legendary Joe Sheehan. The draft started on February 17 and survived a few lost weekends, DiFino’s nuptials (congrats!) and several copy and paste issues from some of us that are still using not-so-smartphones.
The Value Picks list drops back to its usual six candidates, while Michael Street continues to look at players On The Bubble.
We trim the fat this week, cutting back the extra man after a continuing slump from one Value Pick and a failure to launch from another. Matt LaPorta’s spiraled downward since July 22, hitting .179/.259/.284. A strong 9.4% walk rate and 83% contact rate in that time indicate that his batting eye is fine, while his .195 BABIP points to either bad luck or poor execution. Both of these are correctable, but there are better VP options while LaPorta works towards his potential.
The same can be said of Brett Wallace, who has hit .071/.133/.071 over his last 30 PAs after hitting .333/.448/.417 in his first 32. Those are small slices, but he hasn’t walked in his last 41 PAs, while whiffing 14 times. He's one to watch for the future, but as with LaPorta, there’s too much available talent to wait for him to find his stroke.