Tag Archives: 2014

Fantasy Baseball Take on Danny Santana

Second-year shortstop/center fielder Danny Santana was a big surprise for fantasy baseball owners who signed him for the 2014 season. Most of us picked him up after a hot start when we were in need of a shortstop. Those same fantasy baseball owners decided he was playing well enough to stay on the roster for the rest of the season.

There’s a lot to love about Santana. After his second game of the season when he had a .250 batting average, Santana’s average never dipped below .300 again all season long. Ultimately he finished with a rookie .319 average in just over 100 games.

Santana adds points to your fantasy baseball team by getting lots of hits and stealing bases. His one big weakness he showed in 2014 was his poor eye. Santana walked only 19 times and had 98 strikeouts. Without the power to justify nearly a strikeout per game, for the best fantasy baseball value he’s going to need to cut down on the K’s. I have no doubt this will get better as he progresses.

The thing I enjoy most about Santana remains his position eligibility. Few players can start for your team in the outfield one day and at shortstop the next. On Mondays and Thursdays or even when you have a devastating injury late in the year when free agency has dried up, this is incredibly valuable. Likely he’ll play center field in 2015 for the Minnesota Twins. For your team, he may end up as your starting shortstop.

As impressed as I was with him in 2014, we all still need to remain careful. The Twins don’t have an offense around him to provide too much support.

Scoring 100 runs is possible for Santana in 2015. Had he played in all 162 games, Santana was on pace to score 112. If he can get you 90 runs and 30 stolen bases, Santana is definitely worth keeping as a starting shortstop. As an outfielder, look for someone with more power.

Fantasy Baseball Take on Marcus Stroman

Marcus Stroman was hurt today and will miss the entire 2015 MLB season. Before he was hurt, I wrote this. Needless to say, I’m very upset.

Marcus Stroman debuted in 2014 for the Toronto Blue Jays with some very mixed results. Ultimately he finished the season 11-6 with a 3.65 ERA. Stroman allowed only 7 home runs in 130.2 innings and for anyone who had him on their fantasy baseball team, may have helped secure a playoff berth.

The frustration for Stroman last season was the inconsistency. For example, in 4 of his 5 starts in July he pitched 7 innings. In those 4 starts, he gave up only 1 earned run. In the other July start he made Stroman lasted only 3.2 innings and allowed 5 runs. We can expect this from most pitchers, but in a fantasy baseball league where you are limited in starts it can get frustrating quickly to not know which Stroman you’re getting.

Another similar instance occurred in August. Stroman a 9 inning no-decision against the Detroit Tigers where he gave up only 2 runs. Doing this against the dangerous Tigers’ lineup, fantasy owners gained some extra faith in him. His next start came against the Chicago White Sox. Stroman lasted just 0.2 innings and allowed 5 runs on 5 hits.

One pattern I do notice with Stroman is he seems to be much better at home than on the road. At home he was 7-2 with a 2.63 ERA in 11 starts. Stroman had 9 starts on the road and the result was a 4-4 record with a 5.60 ERA. His WHIP was also a very impressive 0.94 at home compared to 1.60 on the road.

So the logic with Stroman appears pretty simple. Pick him, but only start him at home. Keep an eye on him though and see if this changes. He’s a young pitcher and we can make a million silly assumptions as to why he struggled on the road in 2014.

Thank me in August when you use Stroman perfectly all season long because you knew when to start him and when to keep him on the bench.

Fantasy Baseball Keepers Battle: Nolan Arenado vs. Adrian Beltre

Maybe the most difficult decision I will have to make this upcoming fantasy baseball season is whom I will keep as my starting third baseman.

In last year’s draft, I took Adrian Beltre in the third round. Much later it was time to secure a backup and I went with the third baseman for the Colorado Rockies, Nolan Arenado.

I was certain Beltre would stay healthy all season and Arenado would only get some starts on off-days for the Texas Rangers or maybe a few at the Utility spot. Beltre did end up on the Disabled List though and thankfully it occurred during Arenado’s 28-game hit streak.

Beltre remains one of the best third basemen in baseball however he will turn 36-years-old next season only a week before Arenado’s 24th birthday. As this is a Keeper League, I need to think about the future.

By EricEnfermero (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons
By EricEnfermero (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons
Beltre’s power numbers were down in 2014 as he failed to even reach 20. As a whole the Rangers struggled so it’s hard to blame him too much for the lack of runs scored and RBIs especially since he hit .324. Just one year earlier he led the American League in hits with 199. Other than the dip in home runs, there’s no reason to think Beltre won’t be very productive in 2015.

The trick is what Arenado could do. In about 100 fewer at-bats than Beltre, Arenado was only slightly behind him in several offensive categories. Beltre only had a much higher batting average because of the amount of singles he picked up. Arenado though, in 111 games, still hit 18 home runs. In a fuller season he would have approached 30.

I always think signing the Rockies’ position players is a good idea in fantasy baseball. You are almost automatically going to have one of the better players at the position because of it. A young stud like Arenado at a position like third base that is currently pretty weak around the league, how can you get rid of someone with such a bright future ahead of him?

By Keith Allison (Flickr: Nolan Arenado) [CC BY-SA 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons
By Keith Allison (Flickr: Nolan Arenado) [CC BY-SA 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons
An added benefit of both of these players is neither strikes out a whole lot. Beltre hasn’t reached triple digits in strikeouts since 2007. With two years of major league experience, Arenado projects to strikeout 86 times in a 162-game season. Strikeouts do matter in this league and it’s something to slightly consider after all of the other major factors are looked at.

Since there’s no reason not to, I will probably hold onto both of them. I really like what Arenado did last season and see him becoming the next great third baseman in baseball. It’s also still too early to give up on Beltre. If I get my way, one will be used as trade-bait as soon as I can.

The one statistic that makes me the most uneasy is how each averaged 2.9 points per game last season. What this means is the eventual decision has to come down to who you think will play more. The answer to this is of course Beltre.

So if you do not have the luxury of keeping both, go with the sure thing. Beltre is much more likely to hit 30 home runs and drive in 100 than Arenado is. He also has a history of staying healthy and you should always pick the history over a mystery.

Fantasy Baseball Take on Devin Mesoraco

From Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania where Groundhogs control the seasons, Cincinnati Reds’ catcher Devin Mesoraco began his life. He made his major league debut in 2011 and not until 2013 was he getting enough at-bats for a full season. In 2014, he exploded with 25 home runs, 80 RBIs, and a .273 batting average. Few could have expected Mesoraco to pick up the slack where the rest of the Reds were contributing zero to nothing.

I actually started the 2014 fantasy baseball season with Mesoraco on my team. Unfortunately, I also had Jonathan Lucroy so my options were a bit limited. Mesoraco was traded, but my infatuation with his baseball skills remain even if he does where a new fictional baseball uniform.

Power and run production are two great qualities Mesoraco has in his bat. I’m guessing his RBIs are a bit lower in 2015 since Joey Votto should be healthy and the one to steal them away. This still doesn’t change the fact that Mesoraco was able to carry the Reds last season along with Todd Frazier. Although his 2015 numbers may not be as good, he will be.

The .273 batting average Mesoraco had was very good for a catcher we didn’t expect to play at the level he did. Even better, he had a .359 on-base percentage. I do expect these to go down, but the power won’t. He plays half of his games at Great American Ballpark and this will benefit him greatly as well as your fantasy baseball team.

One thing to pay attention to with Mesoraco is how many little things he does wrong. Last year, there wasn’t much. He grounded into only 5 double plays and was hit by 12 pitches. In a league where a GDP is -1 points and a HBP is +1, you’re in the green. Hopefully, though, his willingness to take one for the team doesn’t lead to a lasting injury.

Strikeouts are still a worry for me when it comes to Mesoraco. Only because he has potential to hit 30 home runs, it’s not really a big deal. Mesoraco is not a doubles hitter either so you will get mostly home runs and singles from him. Defensively, he’s pretty good too. His 4-year $28 million contract was well-deserved

Fantasy Baseball Take on Prince Fielder

For those of who picked Prince Fielder early in the 2014 fantasy baseball draft we regretted the decision almost immediately. We could have easily selected someone else then taken Jose Abreu later on. We read too many magazines, online articles, and used our common sense when we picked him with our second, third, fourth, or fifth picks.

I don’t need to go into why Fielder had a disappointing 2014 season. It would be too painful for us to all relive. If you’re like me, though, you are in a Keeper League and the pick may not have been so bad after all since we get a refreshed Fielder for the upcoming 2015 season.

Until 2014, Fielder had never made a trip to the disabled list. Consistently, he played in every game for whatever team he was on. At a minimum, he’d miss only 5 games.

The 42 games Fielder did play in last year were not very productive. He hit only 3 home runs and had a .247 batting average. One thing to pay attention to, though, is his on-base percentage. Fielder had an OBP of .360 which was only .002 less than he had in 2013. Clearly, his back was bothering him for quite some time last year and it affected his ability to hit. Other parts of his game didn’t seem to diminish. It was a limited sample, but Fielder had 1 more walk than strikeout. Could it be possible that this continues into 2015?

Of the 25 walks Fielder had, 11 were intentional. Even with his poor batting average pitchers still feared him. Imagine how many free passes he will get once he starts hitting the ball again.

Now on the other side of 30, Fielder is not the slugger he once was. Similar to Ryan Howard, his power numbers and average have slipped. Different from Howard, Fielder does not have an injury to a part of the body that will hurt him as much. Howard had an injured Achilles tendon while Fielder is struggling with a slipped disc in his lower back. Certainly a back injury is serious, but the handling of this seemed a lot more proactive. By opening day, Fielder will have had plenty of time to recover.

I’d like to think the Texas Rangers will use Fielder as a designated hitter more often in 2015 to allow him some rest. This will save his body a lot in the hot Texas summer nights as the season grows old.

There’s not much of a reason to doubt Fielder’s abilities. He’ll have Adrian Beltre protecting him in the lineup.

I expect Fielder to start a little slow in 2015 then heat up by May. The first month of the season has been one of Fielder’s weaker months so just be patient with him.

Average Major League Baseball Salary Now Even More than Your Christmas Bonus

The average salary of a Major League Baseball player has once again risen, this time up to $3.8 million. The increase is up from last season when in 2013 the average player was making $3.3 million per year. By next year it could easily exceed $4 million.

Of course, average is different than the mean. This average includes the big contracts of Miguel Cabrera and Clayton Kershaw as well as the rookie contracts of everyone sheltered deep in the bullpen.

A big reason for the increase is thanks to the new television deals with networks, which allows owners to pay top dollar for talented players. Plus, the rookie salary has gone up thus inflation in other levels have taken place.

The lesson to learn here is don’t listen to your guidance counselor’s advice. Sign up for intramurals and make succeeding at sports your destiny.

San Diego Padres Re-Sign Josh Johnson with a Deal Full of Motivation

There was a time not too long ago when Josh Johnson was one of the most dangerous pitchers in baseball. Injuries, however, caught up to him and suddenly fans of the Miami Marlins began getting flashbacks of Josh Beckett.

Johnson left Florida before the 2013 season as part of the big trade between the Marlins and Toronto Blue Jays. Along with Mark Buehrle, Jose Reyes, and several others, Johnson headed to the Blue Jays for a very disappointing season as a team and even worse as an individual. Johnson was 2-8 with a 6.20 ERA in his one season with the Blue Jays before becoming a free agent.

By james_in_to on Flickr (Original version) UCinternational (Crop) [CC BY 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons
By james_in_to on Flickr (Original version) UCinternational (Crop) [CC BY 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons
The new place Johnson called home for the 2014 season was in San Diego with the Padres. Once again it was the injury bug that bit him as he failed to make a single appearance. Holding no grudge against him, the Padres decided to re-sign Johnson on a one-year deal worth $1 million.

Perhaps Johnson feels like he owes the Padres. Based on his track record, he could have possibly gotten more money elsewhere. This was still no guarantee and likely his decision was the best one he could make for himself.

The deal the Padres signed Johnson to is worth more than the clean-looking $1 million. Johnson will receive a bonus at several check points this season including $500,000 when he reaches five starts and $1 million more when he starts 10 games. This deal makes me believe the Padres are very hesitant about Johnson’s future and rightfully so. Only three of Johnson’s nine seasons on a big league roster have ended with him pitching in 30 games or more, meaning, he gets injured often. He has also only surpassed 200 innings once, doing so in 2009.

In the position the Padres are in, spending money and making every trade possible to get better, Johnson’s contract looks perfect.

It’s not even about him getting injured either. A poor performance could knock him out of the rotation thus leading to the team not having to pay him for his relief duties. Incentive-laden deals like this make sense and are the perfect way to motivate a guy like Johnson on the mend to perform at the top of his game.

How Does Wil Myers to the San Diego Padres Impact His Fantasy Baseball Value?

Having Wil Myers on your fantasy baseball team in 2014 probably made you sour on him quite a bit. Before his injury with constant questionable returns, Myers had a very bad year.

By the time the season ended, he had only a .222 batting average in 87 games. His 6 home runs made us question how worthwhile he was keeping. In addition, his unbelievably high 90 strikeouts in what amounted to just over half a season was a huge grievance in leagues where strikeouts provided negative points.

By Keith Allison on Flickr (Originally posted to Flickr as "Wil  Myers") [CC BY-SA 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons
By Keith Allison on Flickr (Originally posted to Flickr as “Wil Myers”) [CC BY-SA 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons
Beginning in 2015, Myers will be a member of the San Diego Padres. This is great news for the Padres, good news for Myers since he may have needed a change of scenery, and terrible news for fantasy owners with Myers on the roster–maybe.

PetCo Park is not hitter-friendly and we can certainly expect home run numbers for anyone there to be lower than they should be. However, the term “hitter-friendly” has far more to do with home runs than actual batting average. Since Myers is not someone likely to in any ballpark have a huge home run surge, his overall value should not be hurt much.

Myers’ overall value is still waning as it could go up exponentially if Matt Kemp does end up with the Padres. More help in the lineup means more quality pitches for Myers to see. Without someone like Kemp on the current Padres’ roster, Myers is relied on a lot more than he would be with an already established star batting ahead of him. At this point in his career, Myers has yet to prove he is worthy of batting right in the middle. On a good team with a solid 3-5, Myers could be a very credible six-hole hitter.

Right now for Myers to be at his most successful it will depend on how well others do around him.

In terms of fantasy baseball, there doesn’t seem to be that big of a difference since the trade. Many people still believe in him and as the owner of a made-up baseball team, you should trust these experts who hopefully dedicate a lot more to their real teams than you do the one with the insulting nickname about your opponent.

Also consider Myers will get to play a nice chunk of games at Coors Field where he will hopefully, like everyone else, reap the rewards of Denver’s thin air.