There's a lot riding on comebacks by Michael Brantley, Kyle Schwarber, and A.J. Pollock.
Michael Brantley was one of baseball’s best all-around outfielders in 2014 and 2015, hitting a combined .319/.382/.494 with 35 homers, an MLB-high 90 doubles, 38 steals, and more walks (112) than strikeouts (107) in 293 games. He easily led Indians position players in WARP during that two-year span and placed third in the AL MVP voting in 2014. And then he missed nearly the entire 2016 season following offseason shoulder surgery, appearing in just 11 games and seeing zero action after mid-May.
Which of these players should you choose for your fantasy outfield in drafts and auctions this spring?
Styles make fights, and Michael Brantley and Jose Bautista play the game in *extremely* different ways, making them a perfect Tale of the Tape matchup. If you were choosing between these guys in a vacuum, would you go with the fragile all-around stud in his prime, or the reliable, almost universally despised aging moonshot specialist? It’s not so easy to pick, but I’m here to help, should you need it.
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These players vastly outperformed their draft position, making them the best fantasy values of the past season.
Trying to determine any Fantasy Baseball MVP is inherently difficult because the notion of what is the “most valuable” depends on the specific league settings, the makeup of individual teams, and even the type of draft. However, we can certainly highlight some of the players who carried significant surplus value by comparing the preseason average draft position (ADP) of a player and his end-of-season ranking. Those players, we can reasonably assume, impacted the overall success rate of fantasy teams more than other picks.
Is J.P. buying the Cleveland outfielder's breakout?
With the summer trading season in full swing, the letters “PTBNL” are about to become quite familiar. However, while many trade deadline deals include that mysterious Player To Be Named Later, recent history has taught baseball fans to disregard any such player, as they usually turn out to be inconsequential.
Speedsters are the theme of this week's outfield VP with Revere and Brantley joining the crew.
Despite booting Dayan Viciedo and his .381 week with two home runs, the Value Picks outfielders hit a composite .295/.390/.477 this past week with five home runs and five stolen bases. With the three leadoff hitters combining for two runs batted in (neither Jarrod Dyson nor Denard Span had any), the group still managed 18 RBI while scoring 28 runs. Obviously, results may vary from week to week, but this is the sort of “found money” that can be realized when Value Picks work out.
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.
Marte is a former top prospect trying to hang on; Brantley has a much brighter future.
Andy Marte is a forgotten man at 26. Just a few years ago, Marte was a darling of the prospect hounds, including Baseball Prospectus. He was compared favorably to players like Adrian Beltre (at his best) and Miguel Cabrera. He posted mouth-watering power numbers at precocious ages in his respective leagues. He even displayed improving strike-zone command, with gradually rising walk rates and gradually decreasing strikeout totals. There was nothing not to like.
In 2005, BP declared Marte the top prospect in the game, after ranking him third in 2004. The praise wasn't the lone voice in the prospect-rating wilderness. Baseball America rated him as the Braves' top prospect in 2004 and as Boston's great minor-league hope in 2006. (The rankings were put together before Marte was flipped to Cleveland.) He was BA's ninth-ranked overall prospect in 2005. Even after Marte was traded twice in a 45-day span in late 2005 and early 2006, he seemed like as sure of a bet to become a big-league fixture as a young player possibly can be.