Results tagged ‘ Elvis Andrus ’
With the season underway and some fans already looking forward to next year, even this early, it is a good time to look down on the farms for some names that you should get to know. Everyone knows who Wil Myers, Dylan Bundy, and Oscar Taveras are at this point, so these are players performing at elite levels who may not be household names…yet.
Aaron Altherr, OF, Philadelphia Phillies
Altherr is a big, raw prospect who seems to be putting everything together this year in the Florida State League. He was nowhere to be found on MLB.com’s top 20 list for the Phillies prior to this season, while John Sickels, of minorleagueball.com, had Altherr in the “others” section as a player to watch. Considering what he was before this season, it is pretty shocking that the 6’5″, 190 pound outfielder has jumped to the numbers that he is putting up in 2013, but he was clearly a toolsy guy prior to this year. His lanky frame still had impressive speed and gap power, so as he continues to mature physically, Altherr could become an even more intriguing prospect. Given the nature of how the Phillies handled Domonic Brown, however, you have to wonder if they’ll handle a player similar is size with varying talent in the same manner.
Rafael De Paula, RHP, New York Yankees
The strikeout totals are stupid, and so is the fact that the Yankees have De Paula in Low-A ball at the age of 22. Domination doesn’t even begin to tell the story of what De Paula has done this season, and another guy that MLB.com left unranked, but came in as the Yankees No.13 prospect at minorleagueball.com, has flown up the prospect rankings in the early going of the 2013 season. De Paula was signed in November of 2010 out of the Dominican Republic and he has been handled with baby gloves ever since. In a recent Baseball Prospectus chat, Jason Parks had this to say about the Yankee right-hander:
“ Powerful build; arm speed is near elite; fastball can work 91-95l touch even higher; huge life; misses barrels; shows plus potential with both hard, power curve and changeup; command profile could push him to the ‘pen down the line, as could secondary development. He’s a big time arm.”
Archie Bradley, RHP, Arizona Diamondbacks
I had a hard time buying into Archie Bradley, even with high rankings from MLB.com (No.24) and Baseball America (No.25) prior to the season. It had a lot to do with the 84 walks that he posted last season, as I like to see that a pitcher can harness his stuff before I consider him elite. However, this time I was way off, as the hits per nine (5.8), K per nine (10.1), and home runs allowed (just six in 136 innings) goes to show the type of stuff and dominance that Bradley possesses. A 95 mph fastball with sink and a strikeout pitch in his curveball have allowed Bradley to post a 63:16 K:BB in 42.2 innings in 2013, and he has already been bumped up to Double-A at the tender age of 20. He was highly touted for a reason and he seems to have found the command necessary to become one of the top pitchers in the minor leagues.
Rougned Odor, 2B, Texas Rangers
It’s tough being a middle infielder in the Rangers system these days. With Elvis Andrus and Ian Kinsler signed to long-term deals and Jurickson Profar waiting in Triple-A, the Rangers have created a logjam of talent in their system that will either waste away or get traded away. It also isn’t very fair for the guys who aren’t Profar to have to try to put up numbers comparable to his to be taken seriously. Which leads us to a very impressive young player. Odor was just 18 last season when he put up a .714 OPS with 37 extra-base hits and 19 stolen bases in full season ball, and he has improved his stats in the early going this season. Not only that, his running game is much more solid, having stolen 11 bases in 12 attempts after being gunned down 10 times in 29 attempts last season. His ceiling isn’t nearly that of Profar’s, but that doesn’t mean he can’t be a solid major leaguer.
Maikel Franco, 3B, Philadelphia Phillies
Franco has a lot of potential that is not obvious to his game yet, which is shocking when you consider he currently sports an .887 OPS as a 20-year-old in High-A. A third baseman with an excellent arm and solid glove, if Franco continues hitting the way that he has while showing improved plate discipline, the Phillies could have a superstar in the making. Franco doesn’t strikeout in bunches and he appears ready to turn some of those 32 doubles from last season into home runs this year. As he continues to mature, he will be a player to keep an eye on.
Carlos Contreras, RHP, Cincinnati Reds
The Reds have been all over the place in their handling of Contreras since signing him prior to the 2008 season out of the Dominican Republic. While they finally seemed to have figured out that he should start, Contreras finally seems to know how to pitch now, as well. He is putting it all together for a very bad Bakersfield team in the California League, and while the league is a hitter’s paradise, Contreras has been pretty dominant. He has a .179 batting average allowed to go with his 52:13 K:BB in 42.1 innings. He has a fastball that sits 92-96 and seems familiar with pressure after being a closer last season. We’ll see if he can maintain this production, but he looks like a live arm in the Reds system, which they need with Daniel Corcino pitching so poorly at Triple-A this season.
Jake Buchanan, RHP, Houston Astros
Houston has an interesting method of developing their pitchers, using tandem starting pitching at all minor league levels this season. Jake Buchanan is not one of the club’s brightest stars, nor is he expected to become one, but he really seems to enjoy how the Astros are doing things this year. A 0.93 ERA and 0.64 WHIP over 48.1 innings is pretty impressive, as is the .163 batting average allowed. With the major league roster looking like a mediocre Triple-A team, and a starting rotation with a 6.31 ERA, 1.74 WHIP, and .309 batting average allowed, it doesn’t hurt to know that Buchanan is having success in the minors for a team so desperate for pitching help. The 23-year-old could get a jump to Triple-A in the coming weeks to see if he can produce similar statistics there before getting a shot in Houston.
Since this was announced on Monday, which was April 1st (aka April Fool’s Day), it feels like this isn’t happening; however, after it was made official, giving a career .275/.342/.353 line an eight-year, $120 million seems like a nightmare, especially after the club was unwilling to give Josh Hamilton an extension or make the first offer when he hit free agency this winter. After allowing a player who has averaged a .305/.363/.549 line to leave for their biggest rival, they gave Andrus $15 million per season on an extension, all while Jurickson Profar waits for a position to open up in Texas.
Andrus is a fine player. Since arriving in 2009, he has posted a 13.0 WAR, which is sixth among shortstops during that time. He leads shortstops in stolen bases (123), he is second to Derek Jeter in runs scores (341), and he is 21st among shortstops in OPS (.695). TWENTY-FIRST.
Andrus provides a solid batting eye (8.4 percent walk rate vs. 13.2 percent strikeout rate) to go along with his solid speed, which allows him to utilize his skills on the base paths to score runs in a very potent offense. While he can get on base and score runs, his defense is where his true value develops.
Andrus’ UZR/150 rating is 7.8, fourth among shortstops since 2009 behind Brendan Ryan, J.J. Hardy, and Alexei Ramirez. His .971 fielding percentage is 15th among shortstops since 2009. Of the three players above Andrus in zone fielding who have higher fielding percentages than Andrus, only Alexei Ramirez has a higher OPS. If Ramirez can field better and post better numbers at short, is he worth $15 million or more per season?
Ramirez is 31 and doesn’t have the favorable upside that Andrus possesses, but we’ve seen speed become useless several times before. In 2004, Cesar Izturis had his best season at the age of 24:
While he didn’t post numbers close to what Andrus did prior to his age-24 season, he displayed solid gap power, speed, and, of course, impressive defensive skills. He won his first and only Gold Glove in 2004, posting a .985 fielding percentage and a 3.8 WAR.
Compare that production to Andrus’ career stats:
Is there a whole lot of difference in the abilities of these players, outside of the fact that Andrus’ had four seasons completed prior to his age-24 season, which will be the 2013 season? Certainly, Andrus is better than Izturis, but would anyone have paid Izturis $15 million per season if every one of his seasons had been as solid as his 2004 season?
Luis Castillo was an excellent second baseman early in his career for the, then, Florida Marlins. Sure, he wasn’t a shortstop, but he had the same type of skill-set, possibly better, with more speed and on-base skills, while Andrus seems to have more gap power. Once Castillo hurt his feet, though, his 50+ steals potential was also hurt, and he became a 20 stolen base, empty .300-hitting middle infielder. If Andrus gets hurt or loses speed, where is his value? He can’t cover as much ground defensively and his ability to create runs with his legs is gone, as well.
Shortstop is a very tough position, but the value of defensive metrics have taken over the player’s ability to help the club in other ways, specifically with their bat. Cal Ripken, Jr., Barry Larkin, Alex Rodriguez, Derek Jeter, Nomar Garciaparra, and Miguel Tejada did a dirty, dirty thing to the position, allowing solid contribution across the board to become a reasonable expectation. Today, only Troy Tulowitzki and Jose Reyes seem like those types of dynamic, offensive-minded shortstops, and for that reason, they appear to be worth exorbitant contracts.
The Rangers aren’t the only team that feels that defense is very important, though. When the Cincinnati Reds turned Didi Gregorius and Drew Stubbs into Shin-Soo Choo and Jason Donald in their trade with the Cleveland Indians this offseason, that was one thing, as Choo is a free agent after the 2013 season, but when the Indians flipped Gregorius to the Arizona Diamondbacks with Lars Anderson and Tony Sipp for Matt Albers, Bryan Shaw, and, potential ace, Trevor Bauer, the new value of shortstops in baseball was apparent. Slap-hitting, defensively skilled middle infielders now have quite a bit of value.
So, if Gregorius, a career .265/.317/.370 hitter in the minor leagues, had that sort of value, then what is Xander Bogaerts worth? Bogaerts, a Boston Red Sox farm hand, hit .307/.373/.523 with a 4.13 range factor and .959 fielding percentage as a 19-year-old over High-A and Double-A in 2012. Gregorius had a range factor of 3.96 and a .964 fielding percentage as a 22-year-old over Double-A and Triple-A in 2012.
Furthermore, if Elvis Andrus is worth an eight-year, $120 million contract, then shouldn’t Troy Tulowitzki fire his agent? His extension for the 2015 to 2020 seasons gives him roughly $19.67 million per season, which isn’t nearly enough considering Andrus can’t carry his compression shorts with cup, since jock straps aren’t used anymore.
The good news for Andrus is that he has an opt-out clause after the 2018 season, allowing him to reach free agency during his prime, potentially earning more money if he reaches higher levels of production; however, if he under-performs or gets hurt, the Rangers don’t have an opt-out clause. The question now is: Was this a good contract for the Texas Rangers?
With Ian Kinsler signed through 2017 (with a 2018 team option) and Andrus locked up, where does Jurickson Profar go? What if Kinsler has another poor season, as his .749 OPS in 2012 was the worst of his career? Can they trade him? There have been leaks of Kinsler getting moved to left field or first base, but what happen to Mike Olt, another Rangers prospect, who is blocked through 2015 at third (possibly 2016, since Beltre has a vesting option)? Can Kinsler hit enough to play left? Do the Rangers trade Olt? Does Profar move to center even though Leonys Martin is hoping to prove himself there in 2013? Should they trade Profar?
The Rangers have committed to defense by signing Andrus and they have committed to spending a lot of money on mediocre offense. After letting Josh Hamilton walk, not addressing their No.5 starter situation this winter, and building excellent talent that they seem to be unwilling to commit to from their minor league system, the Rangers, who have made three straight playoff appearances, seem to have no clear direction to their roster makeup going forward.
At 8:37 on Friday night, the Baltimore Orioles look to return to glory when they head to Texas to take on the two-time defending American League champion Texas Rangers in a single-elimination Wild Card game. The winner will take on the New York Yankees. What can you expect?
THE PITCHING MATCHUP:
Joe Saunders, LHP, Baltimore Orioles2012: 9-13, 28 starts, 4.07 ERA, 1.34 WHIP, 174.2 IP, 112:39 K:BB
2012 vs. TEX: No appearances against Texas during the 2012 season
Career vs. TEX: 3-7, 11 starts, 6.48 ERA, 1.49 WHIP, 58.1 IP, 48:20 K:BB
Career at The Ballpark at Arlington: 0-6, 6 starts, 9.38 ERA, 1.80 WHIP, 31.2 IP, 24:16 K:BB
Career in the postseason: 0-1, 4 starts, 6.00 ERA, 1.94 WHIP, 18 IP, 8:12 K:BB
Yu Darvish, RHP, Texas Rangers2012: 16-9, 29 starts, 3.90 ERA, 1.28 WHIP, 191.1 IP, 221:89 K:BB
2012 vs. BAL: The first start against Baltimore of 2012 will be Friday.
Career vs. BAL: The first start in his career against Baltimore will be Friday.
Career at The Ballpark at Arlington: 10-2, 14 starts, 3.88 ERA, 1.28 ERA, 92.2 IP, 111:39 K:BB
Career in the postseason: Darvish is a rookie in MLB. Friday will be his first postseason start.
TOP PERFORMERS IN 2012:
Runs: Adam Jones, 103
Hits: Adam Jones, 186
Doubles: Adam Jones, 39
Triples: Adam Jones, Manny Machado, and Nick Markakis, 3
Home Runs: Chris Davis, 33
RBI: Chris Davis, 85
Stolen Bases: Adam Jones, 16
Average: Nick Markakis, .298
OPS: Adam Jones, .839
Runs: Ian Kinsler, 105
Hits: Adrian Beltre, 194
Doubles: Nelson Cruz, 45
Triples: Elvis Andrus, 9
Home Runs: Josh Hamilton, 43
RBI: Josh Hamilton, 128
Stolen Bases: Elvis Andrus and Ian Kinsler, 21
Average: Adrian Beltre, .321
OPS: Josh Hamilton, .930
What to Expect:
Texas was fantastic at home in 2012, going 50-31 (.617) and scoring 5.52 runs per game while allowing 4.62 runs per game. The Rangers went 5-2 and outscored Baltimore 56-24 in their seven meeting in 2012.
Baltimore had a fantastic season and they were written off by many, including myself, but they have hung around. They were 29-9 in one-run games, which is either luck or fantastic managing by Buck Showalter. Now with one game, they put all of their eggs in the Joe Saunders basket.
With Saunders hideous statistics in six career starts in Texas and four career postseason starts, it was a shock to see his name appear as the starter for this one-gam elimination. While the club doesn’t have many better options considering rest and results in 2012, it is still a questionable decision.
Due to the Rangers success at home and the incredible talent that they have offensively, my prediction is that the Rangers win this game 7-2, pounding Saunders, while Darvish shows that he was worth the investment.
Overall rankings will consist of the player’s value in a points format, earning points for each H, R, 2B, 3B, HR, RBI, basically a formula of Total Bases + RBI + Runs = Total Value. Here are the rankings for 2B, projections are italicized:
Shortstop is getting to be extremely shallow in fantasy. It is filled with injury risks and aging veterans. Gone are the days of several superstars, which has been gone since ARod moved to third and Nomar was traded to the Cubs.
1. Troy Tulowitzki, Rockies
.302/.372/.544, 36 2B, 2 3B, 30 HR, 105 RBI, 9 SB in 537 AB
.313/.394/.559, 38 2B, 3 3B, 34 HR, 112 RBI, 4 SB in 589 AB
There is one elite player at this position and Tulowitzki is it. For all of the hype that has gone to Jose Reyes and his mega-Free Agency this offseason, he isn’t the difference maker that Tulo is. He is a power-hitting SS and he will be the only SS with 100 RBI in 2012. If you don’t get him, you’re going to settle for the rest.
2. Starlin Castro, Cubs
.307/.341/.432, 36 2B, 9 3B, 10 HR, 66 RBI, 22 SB in 674 AB
.298/.347/.461, 38 2B, 7 3B, 16 HR, 71 RBI, 18 SB in 647 AB
Castro only had 207 hits in his first full season. He is probably not going to be a long-term hit machine, as he is going to fill into a player with more power, possibly even moving to third base. He is more of a certainty than others who come after him, like…
3. Jose Reyes, Marlins
.337/.384/.493, 31 2B, 16 3B, 7 HR, 44 RBI, 39 SB in 537 AB
.301/.365/.449, 29 2B, 8 3B, 4 HR, 36 RBI, 21 SB in 467 AB
Reyes is an excellent player and a game-changing talent, but he isn’t on the field enough to be taken seriously. While he’s been on the field more than someone like Rickie Weeks in his career, you have to wonder how his speed game is going to hold up as he ages, as it hasn’t held up in his youth. The constant nagging injuries will take away from his value, as will the spacious ballpark that he is going to be playing in from his already non-Tulo power stats. With that being said, he could prove me wrong and repeat what he did in 2011 for several years and be elite…but why would you count on that?
4. Asdrubal Cabrera, Indians
.273/.332/.460, 32 2B, 3 3B, 25 HR, 92 RBI, 17 SB in 604 AB
.281/.341/.459, 36 2B, 2 3B, 18 HR, 81 RBI, 13 SB in 587 AB
Well…that came out of nowhere. You have to wonder if this power-hitting, team carrying type of player is here to stay. He was injured for the previous couple of seasons. Can he make adjustments, though? He hit just .244/.310/.419 in the 2nd half of 2011. He’s still well-above average with a decline, but it won’t be as drastic as some believe.
5. J.J. Hardy, Orioles
.269/.310/.491, 27 2B, 30 HR, 80 RBI in 527 AB
.259/.314/.486, 24 2B, 29 HR, 76 RBi in 564 AB
Remember the scoring. He isn’t a top five SS in most leagues due to the average and lack of running ability; however, his power is very, very valuable at his position. Hardy is playing in a bandbox still and he will continue to hit homeruns, post low averages, and strikeout with Mark Reynolds.
6. Jhonny Peralta, Tigers
.299/.345/.478, 25 2B, 3 3B, 21 HR, 86 RBI in 525 AB
.287/.338/.479, 28 2B, 2 3B, 22 HR, 86 RBI in 563 AB
Peralta isn’t a SS…but the Tigers gave up on defense for the offensive power. They may have the worst left side of the infield in the history of baseball in 2012, but fantasy baseball doesn’t count range factor and errors. He’ll have plenty of opportunities to drive in runs and should build on his successful 2011 season.
7. Jimmy Rollins, Phillies
.268/.338/.399, 22 2B, 2 3B, 16 HR, 63 RBI, 30 SB in 567 AB
.280/.340/.411, 26 2B, 4 3B, 13 HR, 68 RBI, 24 SB in 584 AB
J-Roll still has another good year in him, but he is of the same pedigree as Jose Reyes – speed + injuries = worthlessness. Buyer beware, but the Phillies are counting on him to build off of 2011 as the age of their offensive core increases quicker than the National debt.
8. Yunel Escobar, Blue Jays
.290/.369/.413, 24 2B, 3 3B, 11 HR, 48 RBI, 3 SB in 513 AB
.284/.376/.422, 27 2B, 4 3B, 14 HR, 56 RBI, 5 SB in 562 AB
Escobar is a real pain in the ass. He got traded from Atlanta due to attitude issues and seems to not care at times. If he bothered putting out maximum effort, he could rank as high as 3rd on this list. He has quite a lineup around him, so if he puts it all together, don’t be shocked.
9. Derek Jeter, Yankees
.297/.355/.388, 24 2B, 4 3B, 6 HR, 61 RBI, 16 sB in 546 AB
.307/.364/.408, 29 2B, 4 3B, 11 HR, 65 RBI, 13 SB in 573 AB
The Captain isn’t as bad as people think. He still posted a decent AVG and OBP last season, though the SLG got ugly quick. He isn’t getting any younger, but he still has the lineup around him and the ability to play every day. He should rebound a bit.
10. Elvis Andrus, Rangers
.279/.347/.361, 27 2B, 3 3B, 5 HR, 60 RBI, 37 SB in 587 AB
.287/.356/.394, 32 2B, 4 3B, 7 HR, 64 RBI, 42 SB in 593 AB
Andrus is still very young and is in a fantastic lineup and ballpark. He has a solid eye and should improve upon his 75.5% SB rate. The power is lacking, but he does enough small things to get you points.
11. Erick Aybar, Angels
.279/.322/.421, 33 2B, 8 3B, 10 HR, 59 RBI, 30 SB in 556 AB
.268/.313/.406, 29 2B, 5 3B, 7 HR, 48 RBI, 24 SB in 498 AB
If Trumbo is going to play third and Mike Scoscia is still in charge, Maicer Izturis is going to steal Aybar’s playing time from time to time. Slight drop-off due to that decrease.
12. Alexei Ramirez, White Sox
.269/.328/.399, 31 2B, 2 3B, 15 HR, 70 RBI, 7 SB in 614 AB
.264/.325/.403, 30 2B, 1 3B, 18 HR, 67 RBI, 5 SB in 598 AB
13. Stephen Drew, Diamondbacks
.252/.317/.396, 21 2B, 5 3B, 5 HR, 45 RBI, 4 SB in 321 AB
.269/.328/.403, 24 2B, 3 3B, 11 HR, 61 RBI, 3 SB in 461 AB
Those Drew boys never stay healthy. If he comes back healthy, he could post solid numbers, but he may have issues staying in the lineup due to his last name.
14. Zack Cozart, Reds
.324/.324/.486, 2 HR, 3 RBI in 37 AB
.259/.327/.403, 21 2B, 4 3B, 14 HR, 49 RBI, 6 SB in 498 AB
Sleeper like crazy here. He isn’t going to post an incredible average, but Cozart has some pop and plays in a great offense and ballpark. He could do even more than the numbers listed above…or…Dusty Baker’s veteran-loving-ass could play Paul Janish over him…ugh.
15. Sean Rodriguez, Rays
.223/.323/.357, 20 2B, 3 3B, 8 HR, 36 RBI, 11 SB in 373 AB
.241/.336/.374, 26 2B, 5 3B, 12 HR, 51 RBI, 19 SB in 471 AB
The Rest: Ian Desmond, Nationals; Alex Gonzalez, Brewers; Alcides Escobar, Royals; Jed Lowrie, Astros; Dee Gordon, Dodgers; Jason Bartlett, Padres; Ryan Theriot, Giants; Rafael Furcal, Cardinals; Cliff Pennington, A’s; Mike Aviles, Red Sox;