Rob McQuown covers six of the best values among outfielders who are available in most leagues.
Living in the Past: Cameron Maybin has been 6-for-19 since getting his Value Pick “yellow card” (or font) last week - responding better than his teammate to a benching. He tallied a startling total of 9 RBI, hitting his 2nd home run of the season yesterday. And, since the Austin Jackson comparison was used last week, it will be noted that Austin has been 4-for-25 (with 0 HR or SB). These are all tiny sample sizes, of course, but at least keep Cameron Maybin on your scope for a future pickup. The team from Miami may not get much publicity other than when Hanley Ramirez is feuding with Fredi Gonzalez, but both Mike Stanton (for whom the Value Pick list will be expanded by an extra slot for the time being) and Cam Maybin have very good fantasy upside. Another ex-VP placeholder in the news is Carlos Guillen. The announced move to second base sounds like the Tigers want to see him on the DL again soon, but as soon as he qualifies for second base, he becomes one of the 2nd-tier players at a position which doesn't have many (and which lost one to Asdrubal Cabrera's injury)... as long as he's healthy.
Recap: The Cubs outfielders haven't cooled off, so Tyler Colvin only got 10 plate appearances last week, but he used them well - collecting 3 runs, an RBI, his first steal, and raising his batting average to .300 on the season. It was a rough week for Nate Schierholtz, as his team was pwn'd by the Padres (as usual) until yesterday, when he was removed as part of a double switch which helped his team come back for their first win against the Friars this season. Fortunately for both the Giants and Schierholtz, they won't see the Padres again until August.
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Rob McQuown looks at Value Pick outfielders with 3 newcomers this week replacing a graduation and two disappointments.
Welcome to the List: Not to say that drawing the Outfielders straw in this “Hot Spots” series is limiting, but in there are exactly 11 players rated in the outfield who have between 5% and 20% ownership in ESPN leagues. And it's sort of an odd situation, since CBS Sportsline shows players who are no-brainers at this point like Brett Gardner [ed - a reader pointed out a typo here] and Josh Willingham and Andruw Jones, as being owned in 80% or less of leagues. Just a heads up that there are likely to be more situational plays amongst Outfielders than for other positions, so reading the “fine print” is indicated.
Taking a cue from the Sportsline owners, AA slugger Mike Stanton joins the Value List this week. Obviously, if you don't have bench spots, he's not much use, but he seems to have compensated adequately for the high strikeout rate, and while reading Kevin Goldstein's take is indicated for more in-depth analysis, suffice it to say that he's going to hit homers at any level in any park. He's here in large part due to the struggles of the other Florida outfielders:
Rob McQuown breaks down the Value Picks, including newbies J.D. Drew and Nate Schierholtz.
Recap: It's somewhat amazing just how fast season stat lines can change this early in the season. Josh Willingham hit a bomb, but otherwise took a huge step backward, making his stat line look a lot more like his PECOTA than it did last week. On the plus side, Delmon Young's big game pushed his OBP and SLG above PECOTA levels. Cameron Maybin continues to score runs and little else. He's an even better “Value” pick now. Though with Mike Stanton knocking the stuffing out of the ball in the minors, his margin for error is much lower. Will Venable had a 2-SB week, salvaging fantasy value from a poor offensive showing, and Jeremy Hermida had a brush with “The Curse of the Value Picks”, as his hammy was injured almost as soon as "Publish" was clicked. Fortunately for him, it wasn't bad enough to land him on the DL, and he's back in the lineup.
Departures: Fave Josh Willingham will be reluctantly replaced on this list, for much the same reasons that Mike Street used for his replacements—it's more of a “graduation” than a dismissal... public opinion has nearly caught up to his true value. Kyle Blanks, on the other hand and while still possessing jaw-dropping power, gets at least a “time out”. The next couple weeks don't look good for him on the schedule, with only the games at Houston being favorable, and there are three Astros righties on the billet for those, including Roy Oswalt. It's always problematic to try to time a player like this because he could easily have a multi-homer game at any time, but until he shows some more stats, he's outside looking in.
The positions and the players who did the most to take the life out of their team's lineups.
In a playoff hunt, every edge matters, yet all too often, for reasons rooted in issues beyond a player's statistics, managers and GMs fail to make the moves that could help their teams, allowing subpar production to fester until it kills a club's post-season hopes. Back in 2007, I wrote a chapter for our pennant race book, It Ain't Over 'Til It's Over, in which I compiled a historical all-star squad of ignominy, identifying players at each position whose performances had dragged their teams down in tight races: the Replacement-Level Killers. It's a concept that's been revisited here at Baseball Prospectus, both by myself and my colleagues, usually in-season, with an eye towards what a team can do to solve such potentially fatal problems.
Drafting the young arm with the best pure stuff in the 2006 draft was a good start. Add an intriguing sign out of the Dominican Republic, and the Giants have the makings of a farm system.
1. Tim Lincecum, rhp Very Good Prospects
2. Angel Villalona, 3b
3. Jonathan Sanchez, lhp Good Prospects
4. Emmanuel Burriss, ss Average Prospects
5. Eddy Martinez-Estevee, lf
6. Sharlon Schoop, ss
7. Fred Lewis, lf/cf
8. Nate Schierholtz, lf
9. Billy Sadler, rhp
10. Mike McBryde, cf