Posts tagged ‘Robinson Cano’

Thursday: 02.10.2011

Daily Dose – February 10th

You don’t have to read complaints about the weather today, let’s instead jump right into the Daily Dose:

The Los Angeles Angels beat writer for the LA Times, Bill Shaikin (@BillShaikin) quoted GM Tony Reagins on the likelihood of Mike Trout making it to Anaheim this year: “I would say it’s unlikely”, which is definitely the right thing to say right now.  There’s no reason to put undue pressure on the top prospect and get him worrying about playing up to a standard that will earn him a trip to the show.

Do not take Reagins’ comments as a definitive guarantee that Trout won’t be up all year, though, because things can and will change as the season evolves.  Looking at two of the best prospects to make their mark on the league last year, Jason Heyward and Buster Posey, they each elevated through minors pretty quickly.  Posey was a college star at Florida State, though, so he’s a bit different than Heyward and Trout so let’s just look at Heyward.

Trout and Heyward both signed early as mid-to-late first round picks, but Trout signed earlier got 32 more games in than Heyward.  Both sample sizes are too small to draw much from, but a nice taste for fans to see what their team’s first pick garnered.  Both exploded in their second season and became top five prospects across baseball (Heyward 5th, Trout 1st).  And that brings us to this year, Trout’s third.  In his third, Heyward, after crushing A-ball with a taste in High-A, went back to High-A for 49 games and acquitted himself quite well.  Trout crushed A-ball last year, too, but 50 of his 131 games were at High-A unlike Heyward who only had seven in his first go-round.

Is Trout ready to make the jump to AA after 50 High-A games?  Heyward needed just 56.  Of course Heyward only played 99 games in his third professional hampered by injuries so he only saw another 50 games between AA (57) and AAA (3) before reaching the majors last year.  Barring injury for himself, Trout could start AA and play 60-70 games there.  If he continues to mash as he has thus far, he could get another 50-60 at AAA before possibly earning a late season call-up to the majors.

I’m not saying it’s going to happen, but I wouldn’t rule it out, either.  That said, anyone in a re-draft league needn’t waste their time drafting Trout in March, not even if there is a reserve roster.  There is no reason to tie up a roster spot on a slim chance.  Besides, even if he comes up this year there is no guarantee he would be a contributor.  I can’t wait to see how Trout progresses after his explosive 2010, but we will likely be waiting until Opening Day 2012 to see him suit up in Anaheim.

RotoAuthority has released their second basemen rankings for 2011 and they are veeeerrrry interesting to say the least.  I’m already on record about the depth at second base, which I think is significant, and looking at this list only reinforces that belief.  I don’t, however, fully agree with the ordering of the players.  It starts off with a bang by not having Robinson Cano atop the list.

I like Chase Utley and Dustin Pedroia plenty, but why you’d take either ahead of Cano is beyond me.  Tsuyoshi Nishioka at #7 and Sean Rodriguez at #9 ahead of Brandon Phillips at #10?  I wish there were projections tied to this list because I’d love to see the fall off in production that puts Martin Prado at #15 behind Danny Espinosa (#13) and Howie Kendrick (#14).  If we all drafted using the same lists and valuations then this game wouldn’t be much fun, but some of these are real head-scratchers to me.

Second base was a hot topic today as Ross Tremblay over at Fake Teams compared Utley and Cano and their projections for the 2011 season.  He ended up with Utley ahead of Cano in terms of who he would want.  The biggest problem I see in Tremblay’s analysis is that he vastly underrates the injury risk and age-related decline of Utley.  He compares the two at full health which is already a bit of a hypothetical stretch meant to strengthen the Utley side.

Second base, as Tremblay correctly points out, is a position that shows age-related attrition more than any except catcher.  Add in that Utley has three significant injuries (hand, hip, finger) in the last three years (though he didn’t miss time due to the hip surgery in the offseason) and there is legitimate risk.  Utley’s biggest statistical edge for Tremblay’s projections is in the stolen base department.  Again, I find this somewhat tenuous as his running could be in danger in order to mitigate some of the injury risk.

He’s a remarkably efficient base-stealer and ran plenty in September, his first full month after the injury, but Tremblay has him down for 15-20 bags which strikes me as the high end best case scenario.  He has topped 15 just once in the last five years, three of which were full seasons.  A year older and coming off of a season in which he played just 115 games, I would have him down for 12-15 bags.

Tremblay concedes that Cano is slightly better than Utley on the whole, but the cost of each sways him toward Utley.  Cano is a bona fide first round pick while Utley is going somewhere in the second round.  I’m all for value, but I’m more for mitigating risk, especially in the early rounds.  That reason alone is enough for me to value Cano a good bit higher than Utley, even if he costs my first round pick.  I didn’t like the hypothetical comparison Tremblay used to show Utley had higher value.

He paired each with a first baseman and determined that the Utley and Mark Teixeira/Adrian Gonzalez combo is better than a Cano and Ryan Howard/Prince Fielder pairing.  I don’t necessarily agree with that statement on its own, but more to the point, who says you have to take a first basemen in the first two rounds?  It’s the deepest position along with starting pitcher.  It’d be great to get a stud, but I think he is once again using a hypothetical device to strengthen his Utley position.  When you’re talking about a one round difference at most, you definitely want the best player, especially when he is less risky, too.  That is Cano.

Adam Rossi has a fun piece over at RotoHardball comparing players to various Hollywood starlets.  He does a great job combining my favorite things in the world: baseball and women.  Rossi points out early in the piece that those are his two favorite things, too!  He was right to believe he wasn’t the only one.  I take issue with his suggesting that Natalie Portman wasn’t still very attractive with the shaved head and that Carrie Underwood is the end all, be all of celebrity women.

She’s definitely pretty, but even he points out that she’s boring.  And that’s just it, there’s nothing particular distinctive about her and thus she can’t be the #1 famous hottie.  As I told him in the comments section, I could find a handful of girls as pretty or prettier than Underwood on University of Texas campus on any given day when school is in session.  Silly disagreements aside, I like these kinds of different articles that offer a fresh way to look at things.

Knowledge Bomb: I want to share something I learned yesterday that you may already know.  I absolutely love MLB.tv.  I love how it works across many platforms and you can choose your broadcast and they are working to improve it yearly.  One issue I always had was the fact that when you made it full-screen in your dual monitor setup, you couldn’t work on the other screen without it shrinking back down to regular size.  I made this known to the @MLBtv Twitter feed yesterday and whoever runs it promptly messaged me letting me know that this feature is in place and I had just been missing it this whole time!!

If you go to this MLB.tv FAQ page, it will show you that the dual monitor feature is in the Settings able to be toggled on and off and allow you to have your game on one screen in full mode while you  work on the other.  This seriously (or sadly?) made my day yesterday.  I knew the technology was available because Netflix Instant allows it.  I’m just glad it’s now part of one of my favorite products.  Sorry if you already knew this, but if you didn’t and have been clamoring for it, then it’s about as explosive as these knowledge bombs can get.

Advertisements
Saturday: 01.22.2011

Three Questions – Texas Rangers

With the 2011 Starting Pitcher Guide slated for next month, I have a jam packed volume covering all the ins and outs of starting pitching in the 2011 season for your viewing pleasure.  Of course that doesn’t do much to address the offensive side of things so I decided to start this “Three Questions” where I will cover some key offensive issues for each of the 30 teams.  There will be more content here dealing with offense, but this is the beginning.

Michael Young. Go.

OK, that’s not really a question, but his offseason has been one of uncertainty with the signing of Adrian Beltre and Baseball-Reference.com referring to him as Mike Young for some reason, so what does 2011 have in store for him?  For fantasy purposes the movement on the diamond whether over to first base or off the field to designated hitter has no real impact on his fantasy value because he will still qualify at third base based on last year.  That is where his value is highest without question.  I can’t really see the position move impacting his offense too much, either, though sometimes guys just don’t respond well to DH’ing.

Young has been a legitimate fantasy asset now for eight straight seasons and even at 34 years old there is nothing in his profile to suggest that will change.  The batting average dipped below .300 for only the second time in the eight year stretch since 2003, but with his flyball rate climbing yearly since 2007, that is hardly shocking.  The tradeoff is the likelihood of his power staying in the upper teens, lower 20s area.  His team dependent numbers should remains strong as the lineup actually gets better than its 2010 iteration with addition of Beltre.  With third base still one of the thinner positions on the infield (shortstop is the thinnest), Young remains a quality asset whether at third or filling your corner infielder spot.

Can Mitch Moreland hold the first base spot all year or does Chris Davis take that job and run with it?

Moreland joined the Rangers late in July and enjoyed a solid 47-game stint, but the results aren’t indicative of what you should expect over a full season.  He showed uncharacteristic power (9 HR in 145 AB; 12 in 353 minor lg. AB) thanks to a 21.2% HR/FB which would be tough to sustain over an entire season and would certainly qualify as an upset if he did it.  With a 29 AB/HR rate in 1398 minor league at-bats, no one is betting he is going to sustain his 16 HR/AB over a full season in the majors.

Conversely, he showed a much better knack for getting base hits in the minors than he did in his short time at the big leagues.  A career .313 hitter in the minors, Moreland hit just .255 in his time with the Rangers.  In essence, I would bet on the two trends reversing where he a low double-digit home run total for the season would be paired with a .285+ batting average and above average plate discipline.

But will it be enough?  For your fantasy team, not in mixed leagues as he profiles as a slightly better Daric Barton.  For the Rangers, that is to be determined.  Davis is a prototypical AAAA guy who has mashed his way through the minor leagues on multiple occasions, but failed to carry it into the big leagues in his last two years after a strong rookie debut in 2008.  Of course despite being written off as a complete bust by most, he is still just 25 years old.  Plenty of guys don’t even start their major league career until age 25 and he already has 872 major plate appearances under his belt so it’s far from over for him.

On the whole, Davis has more upside than Moreland related specifically to his prodigious power so inking Moreland in at first base on your Texas Rangers lineup projection is dangerous.  A lot can change between now and Opening Day.  It is a situation to monitor closely throughout the spring, but in the end it is one to avoid in anything but the deepest leagues where I would be more willing to gamble on Davis with a late pick if he has a solid spring than invest in Moreland’s higher floor, but much lower ceiling.

Is this the year that Ian Kinsler finally puts it *all* together?

Kinsler, a fantasy favorite for a few years now, has a 30-30 season (2009), a 20-20 season (2007), a .319 season (2008), a .517 slugging season (2008), two 100 runs scored seasons and two All-Star appearances (2008, 2010) yet his career still feels like something of a disappointment when you realize it could be so much better.  In the 30-30 and 20-20 seasons, he hit .253 and .263 respectively.  In the All-Star seasons he only played 121 and 101 games.  In fact he’s only played more than 130 games once in his five year career.  He is either putting up an incredible minus one key factor and/or having injuries cut dream seasons short.

So is 2011 the season of 150 games, 100-30-90-30? … No, of course not.  Sorry, but there is just no way you can realistically project that at 29 he is all of a sudden going to make it through an entire season.  Health is a skill and it’s one he lacks.  That said, he is still generally putting up a season’s worth of numbers in the 100-odd games he does play so he is still worth drafting relatively given the risk, but I think it would be foolish to reach for him at a position that has a lot more depth than many seem to realize.

Maybe shortstop’s stink drifts over to second base or fantasy owners just associate middle infield positions with scarcity, but second base has plenty of viable option.  Those automatically ahead of Kinsler for include Robinson Cano, Chase Utley, Dustin Pedroia, Dan Uggla and Brandon Phillips.  After that group, Kinsler’s power-speed combo is just too rich to pass up for guys like Rickie Weeks and Martin Prado, who are very good, but just don’t offer Kinsler’s robust fantasy excellence.  Plus you can always dream that everything goes his (and your) way and he finally plays a full set of games.  Just don’t bet on it.