Results tagged ‘ Ian Desmond ’
Spring training is an exciting time for baseball nerds. We get to hear stories about how so many players are in the greatest shape of their lives, while we count down the days until meaningful games begin. The position battles are the most interesting things to watch over the next several weeks, and while it seems like there aren’t a lot of battles to grasp onto, here are a handful that I know that I am going to monitor.
The Cleveland Indians Rotation:
With the additions of Scott Kazmir and Daisuke Matsuzaka on minor league deals, the healing elbow of Carlos Carrasco, and the acquisition of Trevor Bauer from the Arizona Diamondbacks, the club has gone from having very little pitching depth to a possible abundance. It would be safe to assume that new manager Terry Francona has Justin Masterson, Ubaldo Jimenez, and Brett Myers penciled into the first three spots, while youngster Zach McAllister has a leg up on the No.4 spot, though it isn’t guaranteed. The possible battle for one spot between four solid arms is definitely an intriguing battle.
The Detroit Tiger Left Field Job:
When the Tigers signed Torii Hunter to a two-year deal, they created a logjam of corner outfielders. Andy Dirks seems to have the best shot at the every day job, but he still has Brennan Boesch, Quentin Berry, and youngster Avisail Garcia who could steal some at-bats over the course of the season, while prospect outfielder Nick Castellanos could also push for at-bats later in the season. With Victor Martinez returning from an ACL injury, the DH spot is on lockdown. The Tigers could look to make a deal for a veteran relief pitcher, as Bruce Rondon looks like the potential Opening Day closer after 52 appearances over three minor league levels in 2012. We’ll see if a club decides they could use some offensive help, especially if any PED suspensions come down from MLB from the Biogenesis case out of Florida.
The Toronto Blue Jays Second Base Job:
Gone is Kelly Johnson, who signed a minor league deal with the Tampa Bay Rays, and added were Emilio Bonifacio and Maicer Izturis. The Jays are absolutely loaded this season and the club will take advantage of a Alex Rodriguez injury and a re-tooling Boston Red Sox club to make a run at the AL East title. Bonifacio is a speedster that can play several positions. He posted a .360 OBP in 2011 and stole 30 bases in just 64 games in 2012 for the Miami Marlins. Izturis can’t really play short or third well anymore and he doesn’t do any one thing incredibly well, but he is 32 years old in 2013 and the Jays could expect about 30 doubles, 6 to 8 home runs, and 10 to 15 stolen bases over 450 to 500 at-bats. The club is in a great position with this “problem”.
The Atlanta Braves Third Base Job:
Well, Chipper Jones is gone and the Braves don’t have a third baseman for the first time since 1995. Atlanta added Chris Johnson as an extra part in their mega-deal with Arizona for Justin Upton and the right-handed hitting, 28-year-old brings a little bit of power with his career .746 OPS. He could be battling Juan Francisco, a powerful, left-handed hitting, soon-to-be 26-year old who has struggled to make consistent contact in his career, posting a 121:22 K:BB in 361 career at-bats. He has a lot of potential, but he is on the weak side of a platoon and doesn’t have a track record to rely on to this point. It will be a sad day in Atlanta without Larry Jones running out there, but the club should be prepared after dealing with all of Jones’ injuries over the years.
The Washington Nationals Catching Job:
Kurt Suzuki was once a very consistent performer, averaging 14 home runs and 67 RBI per season from 2009 to 2011 before totally crashing and burning in 2012, seeing his OPS drop all the way to .605 over 405 at-bats between Oakland and Washington. With Wilson Ramos coming back from an ACL injury, Suzuki could get the every day job for the first month or two of the season, and with solid producers around him in the lineup in Ryan Zimmerman, Bryce Harper, Ian Desmond, and Jayson Werth. Ramos was outstanding in 2011, hitting 15 home runs and posting a .779 OPS at the age of 23. Can he regain his form and confidence after a leg injury? How long until Ramos is a real factor in the position battle?
The Cincinnati Reds No.5 Starter Job:
The sky is the limit for Aroldis Chapman if he is able to transition from the bullpen to the starting rotation. After posting a ridiculous 122:23 K:BB in just 71.2 innings in 2012, Chapman could, potentially, reach 200 strikeouts by averaging 13 K:9, which is still lower than his 14.1 K:9 career average. He could, legitimately, be the clubs best starter, even with Johnny Cueto and Mat Latos in front of him in the rotation. However, Mike Leake is still in the picture and the Reds could leave Chapman in the bullpen for part of the season to limit his innings before stretching him out. If that is the case, could Chapman then pull a Kris Medlen in 2013 and go on to post a 0.97 ERA while going 9-0 in 12 starts for the Braves after joining the rotation on July 31. Leake, who posted a 4.58 ERA over 30 starts in 2012 after posting a 3.86 ERA and 1.17 WHIP in 2011, is very athletic and is a very good rotation filler, but with Chapman, Tony Cingrani, and Daniel Corcino coming up behind him, he could be a long-relief pitcher or trade bait as early as this spring.
The St. Louis Cardinals No.5 Starter Job:
With Chris Carpenter‘s continued neck issues, which could force him to miss the entire 2013 season, the Cardinals are suddenly lacking pitching depth, as they lost Kyle Lohse to free agency this winter, although he does remain unsigned. In their place, Lance Lynn, who was fantastic before hitting a wall last August, looks like the No.4 starter, but the Cardinals look to have an interesting battle between Shelby Miller, Joe Kelly, and, postseason superstar, Trevor Rosenthal. Miller has top-of-the-rotation stuff and could be the team’s ace in the next couple of seasons, while Rosenthal’s triple-digit fastball could be dominating out of the starting rotation. If the club wants to continue to develop Miller and Rosenthal, though, Kelly was solid in 2012, posting a 3.74 ERA over 16 starts, and he doesn’t turn 25 years old until June, so it isn’t like he is a veteran option, either. With Carlos Martinez, another top-of-the-rotation type of prospect on the way, the Cardinals seem to have the depth to overcome their current “shortage” of pitching.
Certainly there are many other battles that will come about due to injuries, suspensions, or additional free agent signings, but these seven look like the biggest as spring training gets underway.
Are there any battles you’re interested in watching over the next couple of months?
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;