Posts tagged ‘Jayson Werth’

Monday: 02.11.2013

Countdown to Spring Training: 11 Days – Denard Span

Only 11 days until live game action…

DENARD SPAN

It isn’t too difficult to be excited about the Denard Span move to Washington. He was traded there this offseason for prospect Alex Meyer. Here is big reason why the Nationals were high enough on Span to trade their 2012 #6 prospect who now becomes Minnesota’s 2013 #4:

spandefense

His sparkling defense is ever-present and adds a lot to his value. He gives the Nats the true centerfielder they’ve been after for years. Bryce Harper and Roger Bernadina turned a strong combined effort last year, but the five years before were mediocre or worse:

span1

Compare that with Span producing fWAR totals of 3.1, 4.1, 2.6, 2.2, and 3.9 from 2008 through last year with the 3.1, 2.2, and 3.9 coming in 94, 70, and 128 games, respectively. The primary challenge will be staying healthy enough to give the Nats a full season so he can return to his 4-win levels. While he gets plenty of value from his defense in center, he also has a solid bat, especially for a leadoff man. His walk rate started at 11 percent over his first two seasons before dipping a bit, but it has held steady in the eights every year since with last year’s 8.3 still holding above the 8.0 league average.

Span isn’t special in either of the flashy offensive categories in fantasy: homers or steals, but he has a chance to deliver big value in the two overlooked categories: batting average and runs scored, especially the later. He is a career .284 hitter and he hit .283 a year ago, but his line drive rate is on the rise moving from 18 percent in 2010 to 21.3 percent a year ago and he is speedster with a heavy groundball lean posting a career high of 54.4 percent last year (compared to 53.8 for his career) so he has the makings of a greater than .300 average. Last year he was just 10 hits from a .302 average. It’s not a stretch to see him hitting or exceeding .300 as soon as 2013.

He could be ready for his first 100-run season in 2013, too. His career-best was 97 back in 2009 in just 145 games. Last year, the Nationals leadoff spot scored 96 runs which were right about league average ranking 14th in baseball despite the fact that only Jayson Werth carried an OBP over .312 in that role. This bodes well for Span.

(Courtesy of ESPN)

(Courtesy of ESPN)

Even at his worst, Span carried a .328 OBP (2011) and the heart of the Nats order is stacked this year. Even if you factor in some regression for Adam LaRoche on the heels of his second-best season, it is offset by a full seasons of Harper and Ryan Zimmerman. Harper started 2012 in the minors while Zimm started 2012 like he was in the minors carrying a sub-700 OPS into the All-Star break, though he eventually finished with a strong 824. Now batting fifth again, it wouldn’t be surprising to see Werth focus on bringing the power aspect back into his game in full force. It all adds up to one of the deepest groups of 2-5 hitters in the league.

A healthy Span – and he seems to have finally put the frightening concussions issues behind him – is looking at a .300-100-7-55-15 season with the high-powered Nats.

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Friday: 01.25.2013

Top 10 Rightfielders Right Now

Tonight MLB Network will continue the 2013 iteration of their “Top 10 Right Now” series at each position capped off with a “Top 100 Overall”. They will air both the left and right field shows on Friday evening. I always enjoy this series and generally look forward to it after the New Year since I eat up just about any fresh baseball content I can as we wait for pitchers & catchers to report. Instead of putting up my lists after they air their selections, I’ll post mine ahead of time and then compare notes after the shows air.

This is not a fantasy list!!

I felt I was getting a little verbose on these lists given that they’re really just about having some off-season fun, so I’ve cut the explanations down a bit on these.

HONORABLE MENTIONS

My first HM was 11th on my list and I’m fairly certain he will be on every list during the RF episode. He is just too big of a name and I think his bat will carry the day with the MLBN folks. Andre Ethier just missed for me. While not a premium defensive position, it’s an important one and quality defense can have a big impact so he came up just short despite a great bat.

I really wanted to find a way to get Norichika Aoki into my list, but it just wasn’t feasible. His MLB debut was a bit under the radar, but it was quite strong as he displayed bits of all five tools, the speed perhaps being the most surprising as he’d notched just eight stolen bases in Japan in 2011.

THE LIST

10. Jayson Werth (WAS) – I saw enough from Werth in 2012 in his half season that I would take him over Ethier right now. It won’t be a popular opinion, but he looked great after returning from his broken wrist and I expect the power to tick back up after an offseason rest and shift back into the heart of the order where he can sell out for it a bit more.

9. Torii Hunter (DET) – The power dipped from a consistent low-20s homer total to just 16 last year, but he shifted his value distribution to batting average by hitting .313. If his plan is to have another .389 BABIP en route to a big offensive season, he’ll want to reassess. His defense remains excellent so he can afford some regression at the dish and remain a force in rightfield.

8. Nick Swisher (CLE) – Mr. Consistent hasn’t veered from his stretch of excellent seasons but once back in 2008 when he was with the Chicago White Sox. Of course we all thought his power would explode moving from Oakland’s cavern to Chicago’s bandbox and instead he was just a bust with them. That’s well in the past and he’s been great ever since. He’s leaving the friendly confines of Yankee Stadium, but his splits show that his power plays everywhere.

7. Josh Reddick (OAK) – Rarely does a guy breakout offensively with a big 32-home run season and end getting more pub for his defense, but that was Reddick’s 2012. He tied Jeff Francoeur for the major league lead with 10 kills including three dummies who thought it’d be a good idea to run on him from second on a flyout with fewer than two outs. Idiots. If he can improve his offensive profile and add to the home runs, he will shoot up this list next year.

6. Carlos Beltran (StL) – His career hasn’t been appreciated nearly enough. Thankfully it’s not over and he remains one of the best in the game at his position even at 36 years old. He is still a multi-faceted threat with only batting average lacking from the five tool profile, and even that was present in 2011 when he hit .300 on the button for 142 games. Such an amazing player.

5. Jay Bruce (CIN) – I still don’t think we’ve seen the best of Bruce, but it’s coming. He still has 40+ homer potential and at 26, he is just entering his physical prime. He also plays a pretty rightfield, especially in the throwing game.

4. Jose Bautista (TOR) – He was just hitting his groove when he got injured for the remainder of the season. He had a 14 homer June putting his season back on track poised for a huge summer, but he’d only play 14 more games the rest of the way. By the way, this is the injury concern built into his ranking. He’d probably be a slot or two higher if he’d play 150 in 2012.

3. Josh Hamilton (LAA) – Since I only honorably mentioned him in the centerfield list, I decided to include him here on the rightfield list. I’ve written plenty about him this offseason both after he signed in LA and in the aforementioned CF list.

2. Jason Heyward (ATL) – There are a lot of “J” named rightfielders. He’ll probably take the top spot on a lot of lists tonight which I can’t really argue with, but I prefer someone else (obviously). Remember when everyone (hyperbole) gave up on Heyward in 2011 labeling his 2010 a fluke and his prospect status busted? Cool brains. He was 21. He could reasonably have another down in the next year or two before settling at an elite level. As I’ve said a million times here, prospects don’t grow in a linear fashion. For the record, I don’t think he’ll have that lull in 2013. I think he’s a borderline late-first round pick in anything bigger than 10 teams.

1. Giancarlo Stanton (MIA) – 23 year old with 80 grade power + 80 arm = baseball porn. Oh, and this:

giancurtis

Monday: 07.4.2011

Hail Mary Team, Part 3

Yikes, let’s get the rest of this Hail Mary Team out so you can go trade for the guys.  The first parts have unleashed a Midas touch on some of these guys and may have taken them out of contention for a discount.  Mark Reynolds and Hanley Ramirez both had multi-home run games after being mentioned (not implying causation… merely a coincidence) and Reynolds actually hit three over the weekend.

One of the outfielders I had slated for the team has also gone off as Nelson Cruz blasted home runs on Friday and Sunday.  His Friday performance also included six RBIs.  Perhaps his team manager will focus less on that mini-hot streak and more on the .245 batting average and sub-.300 on-base percentage and not charge you the full price for his services.

Catchers, First Basemen & Second Basemen

Shortstops & Third Basemen

Let’s see what else the outfield offers the Hail Mary Team.

OUTFIELD:

Cruz (TEX) – He is on pace for 38 home runs now so he isn’t exactly tanking his manager’s team, nor was he before his recent little outburst, but the 95 RBI pace and aforementioned weak batting average & on-base percentage totals might allow you to squeeze him out in a trade for less than full value.  As I have mentioned in earlier parts of this series, with guys like this it isn’t necessarily that I think you can get them dirt cheap rather you can trade your prime asset for him AND someone else which results in a net gain for your team.  So please don’t see Cruz or Martin Prado included on these lists and think that I value them the same as Adam Dunn and Dan Uggla. 

Carl Crawford (BOS) – He was just getting going when he hit the disabled list.  I cannot imagine how frustrating that must be for him after signing the massive contract and joining the Red Sox this offseason.  He went on the DL on June 17th, the previous month he was hitting .298 with five home runs and 21 RBIs.  The speed was still noticeably absent (just 2 SBs in that hot stretch), but the four category production made it easier to forget the lack of speed.

There is almost always at least some type of discount when trading for guys on the DL so strike as soon as possible with Crawford.  When he was hitting like trash in April and May, no one was selling low on him because he was still playing daily and everyone believed he would come out of it (and he was starting to), but when a guy is no longer putting up daily numbers (even if they are below expectations) prices tend to drop.

Jayson Werth (WAS) – Many people believed that Washington would regret the seven year deal to Werth at some point, no one thought that point would be year 1.  The fact that they have been poking around .500 despite their $100-million-dollar-man carrying a .709 OPS is quite impressive.  In the last three years when he emerged as a big time player that allowed him to get such a contract, he was always good throughout the year essentially putting up balanced halves.  In other words, he doesn’t wear down so hopefully the Nats start to see some dividends returned on that hefty contract with a big second half out of Werth.

He is on pace for his third 20 HR-20 SB season in his last four (27 HR, but only 13 SB last year) so he hasn’t been a complete shlub despite what the batting average might tell you.  A complete reversal in groundball-flyball distribution and a 10% rise of infield flyballs have been the culprits in his .223 average & .265 BABIP.  Add in that he has hit .155 with just 6 RBIs in the last month and there is no way a fantasy manager can realistically ask for anything near full price halfway through the season.  At least not with a straight face.

Jason Heyward (ATL) – Skip this one in keeper leagues, he could be hitting .051 and I don’t think a keeper league manager would bail on him.  He gets a small pass for some time missed, but a .228 batting average and just 20 RBIs & 30 runs scored in the 62 games he has played has to be leaving his managers wanting more.  His scant track record isn’t enough to blindly believe he will have a big second half, perhaps it is simply a sophomore slump for the 21 year old, but if you can get a talent like him at a significant discount, it is worth taking a shot on especially in what is an otherwise lost season for your ballclub.

Corey Hart (MIL) – Hart can catch fire and stay hot for a while as he has posted halves of 21 and 15 home runs within the last three years.  The big reason he has been kind of “blah” so far this year is that his groundball-flyball profiles have flipped much like Werth’s.  He is a career 41% flyball hitter down at 35% this year meanwhile he’s a career 40% groundball hitter who was at 38% last year, but has rocketed up to 47% this year.  If he can get that figured out, he can have a huge second half with a mid-teens home run total if not something pushing 20.

Alex Rios (CWS) – He was quite overrated coming into this year when consider that his 2010 season was essentially a blistering hot May and five mediocre months during which he topped .760 OPS just once (April) and slid from month-over-month from that .760 “perch” in June down to .645 by September after the hot May.  Essentially to buy in on Rios is to bet that one of his summer months will match or at least approach his eight home run, 1.106 OPS May from last year.  Of course the way he is going this year, he would kill for a .700-something OPS month as his high for 2011 is .685 in June.

Magglio Ordonez (DET) – He finally looks healthy again after the nasty ankle injury last July and what that means is a .300+ batting average with plenty of runs driven in.  He won’t be a huge power source, but at 37 you aren’t expecting him to at this point.  I have been really impressed watching him the last few days and I feel confident that he is ready to contribute to the middle of that strong Detroit lineup.  He should be on the waiver wire of more than a few leagues and I would consider rostering him and getting in now before he is mid-hot streak.

Tuesday: 05.12.2009

Running Wild

Teams across the league are stealing bases as a rapid pace (pun completely intended) as compared to last year. On average, teams have swiped 20 bags apiece paced by Tampa Bay’s 53, who are of course paced by Carl Crawford and his 22 steals. Teams are on pace for a 101 average after 93 in 2008.

Meanwhile, Crawford’s stolen base total is better than 20 other teams!!! Crawford really caught everyone’s eye when he abused Jason Varitek to the tune of six stolen bases. This was after rookie Rockie Dexter Fowler burst onto the scene with five against the notoriously slow delivery of Chris Young. And now tonight, Jayson Werth grabbed four off of the Dodgers.

One of the vagaries of the game is that catchers take the full brunt of the blame when players run wild even though the pitcher is at least as culpable if not more so in many instances. That said, any pitcher is only starting every five days so any catcher that finds himself atop the stolen bases allowed list isn’t blameless. So who are the stolen base sieves behind the dish? It’s no surprise that the two guys victimized by Crawford and Fowler are the top two in SBA:

C SBA

But it’s actually another guy who has the worst caught stealing percentage:

C CS%

A.J. Pierzynski is allowing a stolen base per game! Meanwhile, Jarrod Saltalamacchia is ensuring he stays out of a full timeshare with Taylor Teagarden by adding value behind the dish. Of course Teagarden is only hitting .219 right now, so it hasn’t been hard for Salty to set himself apart. Get your basestealers in against Chicago (A), San Diego, Boston and Baltimore. But if you have a stolen base guy on your bench that you rotate in, you might want to choose the other option, whether it’s an AVG or HR-RBI option ahead of the SB guy when playing Texas, Colorado, St. Louis, Los Angeles (N), Washington, Houston and Detroit. And I’m talking more of the marginal basestealers like a Shin-Soo Choo, Kaz Matsui or Ryan Spilborghs, not Crawford, Jacoby Ellsbury, Willy Taveras, etc…