Michael Jong covers the Angels' and Rays' catching tandems and the situation at shortstop for the Mets.
Any time Mike Napoli gets a bump in playing time in Los Angeles, it is a time for celebration for fantasy fans. Napoli is a good hitter in his own right (career TAv of .287 in 1294 PA), but he is even more highly considered given his status as a catcher. PECOTA is projecting similar rate stats to his career numbers (career slash line of .256/.358/.493), meaning once again that Napoli will be among the most wanted fantasy catchers in the game. With a projected BABIP in the .280-.290 range, Napoli will be only passable in batting average, though his ability to draw walks (career 12.3% and projected 10.7%) should make his OBP solid. Power is where his game shines; how many other catchers could give you an ISO above .230 and almost 33 HR/600 PA?
Of course, Napoli would never garner anything close to 600 PA. Angels manager Mike Scioscia, a former major league catcher, does not tolerate Napoli's sloppy defense and game-calling behind the plate. The concern is not without reason; BP's own FRAA measures Napoli as 17 runs below average in his career, and other measures are similarly unkind about his defense. As a a result, despite the fact that both Jeff Mathis and Napoli are right handed and show similar platoon splits, Mathis will still sap playing time from a superior hitter. However, with Napoli receiving some PA at DH as well as a 60% share at catcher, 460 PA seems very likely. At that PT, Napoli should still be an excellent option for both AL-only and mixed leagues. Mathis is the typical real-life backup catcher: good defensive reputation, but a black hole on offense that should be avoided by your fantasy team at all costs.
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Looking at one possible solution for the temporary loss of Jose Reyes.
People love ripping on the New York Mets these days, and let's face it, in some ways they've earned it with back-to-back September swoons in 2007 and 2008, and a 2009 season that was arguably baseball's biggest nightmare of the decade.
Day Three featured two lopsided victories. Live in Puerto Rico, Derek passes on what caught his attention.
It was a strange feeling being in Puerto Rico, watching baseball on Super Bowl Sunday. It felt like being a rebel leader in exile, biding my time, keeping the faith, and trying to secure foreign support while waiting for the current despots-the NFL-to slip up, so that the people can be liberated from football once and for all.
Until the glorious day the anti-football revolution comes, people in America will be unfamiliar with the workings of the Caribbean Series, and it will be incumbent upon us to educate them. Saturday's Day Two action left us with two undefeated teams, and two winless ones. The Dominicans pounded Mexico, 9-0, with Tony Batista again proving the offensive catalyst, adding two more homers to the one he hit in the opening game. In the nightcap, the home team beat the Venezuelans in a much closer match, 6-3. So on Sunday, the two winless teams played each other in the afternoon, leaving the two undefeateds to joust in the evening. In other words, after the day's action we would finally have a clear, unbeaten front-runner, as well as one 0-3 team that will be virtually out of contention for the crown.
The longest game in Caribbean Series history made for a very long day for one intrepid reporter.
There was a point in the first game of yesterday's Caribbean World Series doubleheader--men on second and third, two outs, 16th inning, Gregor Blanco swinging right out of his socks on the first pitch, and whiffing two pitches later--when I thought, this game will not die. It's like Dracula, the Wolfman, and John McLane, rolled up into one.
I'm getting ahead of myself. I arrived at Estadio Municipal Roberto Clemente Walker (as the stadium of the Carolina Giants is formally known) more than six hours prior to Blanco's strikeout. The mission was simple--pick up my press credential, get up to the press box, and dig in for a doubleheader. The first game was Venezuela against the Dominican Republic, or the Aragua Tigers against the Cibao Eagles. The second game--Puerto Rico (the aforementioned Giants) against Mexico (the Hermosillo Naranjeros)--was the main event of the first day, given the hometown crowd. However, DR/Venezuela was the highlight, the grudge match between last year's champion and runner-up, a confrontation anticipated even before the Caribbean Series schedule had been released.
Twelve BP authors kick off the new season with their 2005 AL predictions.
Our authors, august worthies every one, wrap up the offseason with their predictions for 2005. Come Sunday, we will no longer need the future tense, as we'll have actual baseball to discuss.
In part one of this two-part series, we focus on the American
League, concentrating on the division standings and the major
player awards (MVP, Cy Young, and Rookie of the Year). Tomorrow
we'll conclude with the National League predictions, along with
the staff picks for the World Series representatives.
The Snakes bury John Patterson, the Red Sox sort through a batch of soft tossers, the Marlins vie for a 25-catcher roster, and the Devil Rays solve all their problems by grabbing Al Martin and Damion Easley.