Buy ‘Em or Deny ‘Em: Has Travis Snider Gained Post-Hype Sleeper Appeal?

by Ray Kuhn

It took all off-season but the Baltimore Orioles finally landed the left-handed bat they were looking for. Travis Snider might not be exactly what you were expecting from a name recognition standpoint, but that doesn’t mean he is lacking fantasy value for 2015.

Snider perfectly falls into the “post-hype sleeper” category. The fact that he reached a career high in RBI, with 38, and AB, with 322, means that he likely won’t be on the radar of many owners this draft season.  The former first round pick has cleary yet to live up to expectations, but he is still just 27-years old.

Snider ended the season on a high note with nine second half home runs, but that is not something we should bank on again. On the season Snider hit 13 home runs, which was one below his career high in 2010 of 14.

Is that pace sustainable? Read more

Top 5 Catchers 25-Years Old Or Younger

by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)

Looking for a young catcher who can bring value?  They aren’t necessarily easy to find, as many times if a catcher can hit they are shifted off to the position to allow them to stay in the lineup on a regular basis.  That said, that doesn’t mean that there isn’t any value to be found (and there are few players coming quickly who can make a significant impact).  Who gets the nod for making our list?  Let’s take a look (remember these rankings are always going to slightly skewed towards those who have already reached the Majors):

 

Honorable Mention
Jorge Alfaro – Texas Rangers – 21-years old
He may be a year or two away, having played just 21 games at Double-A, but his talent level is right there with the other top catching prospects in the game.  There’s power potential in his bat, but like many of the Rangers prospects he needs to adjust his approach at the plate or could be exposed at the upper levels (26.1% strikeout rate since ’11, 23.2% while at Double-A). Read more

Top 10 Closers Likely To Lose Their Job: Honorable Mention: Papelbon & Betances

by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)

After last season’ closer merry-go-round we all are assuming that there’s going to be significant turnover among closers around the league once again.  Who are the most likely (at least of those that we are expecting to open the season with the gig) to be replaced?  We are going to count down our Top 10 most likely candidates, kicking things off with a pair of Honorable Mentions:

 

Honorable Mention – Jonathan Papelbon
From a skill standpoint alone, Papelbon doesn’t deserve to be included on this list.  Sure his strikeout numbers have been down the past two seasons (8.32 and 8.55 K/9), but it’s not like that’s a bad number.  He’s shown elite control throughout his career, with a 2.04 BB/9 in ’14 and 2.28 for his career.  He’s also proven that he can keep the ball in the ballpark, even pitching in Philadelphia, with a career 0.67 HR/9 (1.03, 0.88 and 0.27 in his three seasons with the Phillies).

So why should he be on our watch lists?  The Phillies are a rebuilding franchise and he could either be:

  1. Traded (as has been rumored recently, though the deal to Milwaukee ultimately appears to have fallen through)
  2. Removed from the role so his option doesn’t vest

Read more

Buy ‘Em or Deny ‘Em: Why Jason Kipnis Should Be Considered A Top 5 Second Baseman For ’15

by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)

It is easy to have become disenchanted with the Indians’ Jason Kipnis, who is obviously coming off a disastrous campaign that saw him hit .240 with 6 HR, 41 RBI, 61 R and 22 SB over 500 AB. It’s not the speed that was a concern, obviously, as he would’ve been on pace for around 30 SB had he been healthy for the entire season. It’s the other numbers that jump out at you.

However, how much did an abdominal injury suffered on April 30 help to curb his numbers? First of all, look at his average distance on non-groundballs:

  • 2013 – 267.642
  • Through April 30 – 261.122
  • From May 1 – 252.669

While it was down a but anyways, there’s no arguing that the injury certainly zapped him of his power. In fact he hit 3 HR (half if his total for the year) and had a .394 SLG prior to the injury. Read more

Dynasty League Rankings: Top 15 First Basemen

by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)

First base is not a position rich with top tier prospects. For as deep of a position as it is, the best options are generally already in the Majors. That doesn’t mean that there aren’t youngsters who could emerge (we’re looking at you Matt Adams), but it’s not a position to go searching in the minors for right now.  That could change, with a few top tier prospects expected to be moved to 1B (like D.J. Peterson and Josh Bell), though time will tell.

With that in mind, let’s take a look at our Top 15 dynasty first basemen:

1. Paul Goldschmidt – Arizona Diamondbacks – 27-years old
2. Jose Abreu – Chicago White Sox – 27-years old
3. Miguel Cabrera – Detroit Tigers – 31-years old
4. Freddie Freeman – Atlanta Braves – 25-years old
5. Anthony Rizzo – Chicago Cubs – 25-years old
6. Edwin Encarnacion – Toronto Blue Jays – 32-years old
7. Adrian Gonzalez – Los Angeles Dodgers – 32-years old
8. Chris Davis – Baltimore Orioles – 29-years old
9. Todd Frazier – Cincinnati Reds – 29-years old
10. Matt Adams – St. Louis Cardinals – 26-years old Read more

Is Kris Bryant The Next Chris Davis? Or Maybe Adam Dunn?

by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)

It seems like everyone is simply assuming that Kris Bryant is going to hit the ground running, setting the baseball world on fire as he swats home run after home run.  While no one is going to say the comparison is perfect, the early struggles of another slugging prospect could be a fair warning for fantasy owners:

Player
AB
AVG
OBP
SLG
Strikeout Rate
Walk Rate
BABIP
Kris Bryant244.295.418.61928.6%14.5%.367
Chris Davis867.337.397.60923.7%8.8%.400

Davis was never considered the same type of prospect as Bryant, but he was able to show power early in his career before strikeouts nearly washed him out.  Could Bryant suffer from a similar fate?

It’s interesting to see that his Triple-A strikeout mark is actually higher than Davis’.  Over his minor league career Bryant has hit .327, but the underlying marks indicate a significantly lower upside: Read more