Value Picks 2010 PECOTA Games '10 Scoresheet
Kyle Blanks SD 84 3 12 11 0 .194 .310 .417 .247 .337 .435 21 0 0 –8 +20 2.07
J.D. Drew BOS 107 5 15 17 0 .258 .336 .484 .251 .356 .457 0 0 26 +19 –60 2.07
Jeremy Hermida BOS 60 3 8 13 1 .255 .317 .491 .258 .332 .443 18 0 1 +24 –73 2.09
Cameron Maybin FLA 112 1 22 4 3 .245 .313 .324 .259 .334 .409 0 24 0 –9 +20 2.17
Nate Schierholtz SF 69 0 11 4 2 .350 .426 .517 .273 .326 .437 0 0 20 +5 –15 2.07
Will Venable SD 91 4 15 12 7 .246 .303 .522 .236 .305 .397 0 3 23 +31 –89 2.12
Josh Willingham WAS 106 4 15 14 4 .265 .415 .458 .257 .359 .451 26 0 0 –17 +47 2.07
Delmon Young MIN 83 3 11 11 2 .274 .337 .452 .280 .324 .425 21 0 0 –25 +57 2.04
Subscribe to Heater: Avg for Left Field .274 .342 .440   vRH = OPS v RH
Heater Magazine Avg for Center Field .269 .338 .424   vLH = OPS v LH
  Avg for Right Field .275 .348 .449   Rng = Range
  Avg for All Outfield .273 .343 .438  

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.

Arrivals: Sabermetric whipping boy Nate Schierholtz steps up this week. Drafted during Brian Sabean's long tenure as Giants GM, walking just over once per 20 PA in the minors, and possessing “doubles power” (read: never more than 18 homers in the minors), he was doomed to be hated by most analysts from the start. His minor-league stats have always evoked Garrett Anderson, though, with a useful .308/.355/.516 batting line in his minor-league career. In 2006, he appeared to fail to make the transition to AA, having a “clunker” of a season at Connecticut (.270/.325/.443), but that's a very difficult ballpark for hitting. He was promoted to the friendlier PCL in 2007, where he raked to the tune of .333/.365/.560. He essentially duplicated those stats in 2008 before falling flat in San Francisco in 2009, hitting just .267/.302/.400 in 308 PA.

When Schierholtz had a terrible Spring Training, he was beaten out by John Bowker, who continued his torrid hitting from 2009 into the spring and looked poised to become a full-time player. But Bowker (.192/.246/.288, and a lesser defender) has given the job back to Schierholtz, and Nate will keep it even when everyone is healthy.  He isn't a typical platoon-split lefty, as he's shown a virtually “flat” platoon differential between the high minors and MLB results (he's actually mashed lefties to the tune of .389/.422/.583 in the bigs, but that's just 117 PA, so assuming he'll continue to be highly “reverse” isn't indicated). The facts that he plays on a team which won't score bushels of runs and that he's yet to homer are suppressing his value in many leagues, making him a great “value” despite the gaudy batting average. But he's a full-time player, and he slugged .560 and .590 in 2007-2008 in AAA, so there's no doubt that the power will come. The lack of walks may hurt his run-scoring chances but will also – as with Garrett Anderson in his heyday – provide more RBI than a more passive hitter.

Another week, another Red Sock. There's really not a lot to be added about J.D. Drew, honestly. His profile is like that of Carlos Guillen, in that you can count on him to hit when healthy. He's been an even better hitter—amassing a career line of .283/.391/.503 and plays in a better park with better-hitting teammates (presumably). His walks will limit his value in non-OBP leagues, but this guy has hit a combined .279/.399/.521 the past two years in 995 PA. The low RBI totals should be completely ignored (somehow, he amassed just 132 in that span) because he's shown almost no “situational bias” to his splits in his career (.285/.387/.509 career with bases empty, .279/.396/.496 with runners on, for example). Expect him to be an outstanding source of runs and RBI and to provide some homers with a neutral batting average.

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One guy's observation --- Guillen, before DL-ing, was swinging beautifully. Noticeably sharper than in the past two injury-laden years. He looked five years younger.
Well, I hope he hurries back... I have him in the AL Expert League, and I don't want Normandin beating me down when his army of injured guys rejoin the battle!
One other thing --- Austin Kearns? Owned in less than 1% of ESPN leagues, last I looked.
Good question on Kearns. I will start off by admitting that last year, I was still writing about how bad of a pickup Garrett Jones would be after he'd been raking for 2 months, so I'm slower than most fantasy players to believe in a fluky advance in skills. The difference with Kearns, of course, is that when he was much younger, he showed a lot more promise than Jones, who was a sort of fringy prospect even back in his youth. As far as 2010 Kearns, I think this is a case where there's a stronger-than-usual likelihood that the old cliche about the league "catching up to him" is going to happen. He's new to the AL, and while there may be a "book" on how to get him out that has worked well for several years now in the NL, he also obviously has the natural skills to punish pitchers who make mistakes. So, his .447 BABIP is going to drop, likely all the way down to his career norm of about .300. He's not hitting for power or stealing bases. So, I certainly wouldn't invest anything long-term into him. On the plus side, the Indians lineup leans to the left, and while Kearns has a less pronounced platoon split than I'd remembered from his Strat cards, the fact still remains that he has only been effective against righties a couple times in his career, while having several good seasons against lefties. So, having teammates who inspire opponents to use their less-good lefty pitchers more often should help him somewhat - assuming he's lodged between a Branyan and a Valbuena or some such. And his good glove - I haven't watched him much in the past couple years, but he used to be a great defender - should keep him in the lineup even if his bat fizzles somewhat. I guess it makes him non-newsworthy in my book, since he'd probably cost too much in an AL-only context now, and for shallow mixed leagues, he'd only be the sort of guy I'd pick up for road trips to hitter-happy parks like Chicago or Texas, when those teams had 2 lefties on the agenda.