by Will Overton
At the beginning of the season no one would have touched any of the Kansas City Royals outfielders except for maybe taking a flier on Alex Gordon or drafting for depth in an AL Only league. Yet at the end of the season all three regular outfielders were top twenty outfielders on most player rater systems and top ten on a lot of them.
Alex Gordon, Jeff Franceour and Melky Cabrera have a lot in common. All three of them were highly touted prospects who failed early on in their careers. All three of them are coming off breakout seasons, all at the age of 27. And all three outfielders had very similar statistics in 2011. The three are so similar that I am going to take a look at all three of them in one post. The reason is that the big question is the same for all three; Can they maintain the new found success they had in 2011 or is a disappointment in store?
Let’s take a look at each guy on an individual basis:
Jeff Franceour: At one time this was the guy who was going to lead the next era of Braves baseball taking the torch from Chipper Jones. He showed the promise with back-to-back 100 RBI seasons in 2006 and 2007, but things went downhill in a hurry from there. Franceour had a dismal 2008 season, an average 2009 and a 2010 that ended with a .249 batting average. He did show signs of life at the end of 2010 though when he was traded to the Rangers and hit .340 in limited playing time. The 2010 ending was enough of a glimmer of hope for the Royals to take a chance on him and he ended 2011 with the following stat line: Read more
by Will Overton
Every year fantasy baseball players worldwide overreact in the month of April. And if you are a smart owner you can capitalize on their mistakes. In this week’s ‘Working The Wire’ we are looking at six guys who are off to some pretty rough starts who are starting to see their owner percentages decline. I’ll discuss whether or not I see them turning things around and what you should do if you either own them or have a chance to get them on your waiver wire.
Keep in mind that how you handle slow starts also depends on the kind of league you play in. There is less room for slow starters in a standard league with lots of options for available guys. However in deep leagues or AL/NL only leagues, the choices might be slim enough that you are better off with the underwhelming player you drafted. I’ll try and make sure to hit on which leagues each guy should be owned in.
Matt Wieters: This is year three for Matt Wieters and people are still waiting for that potential we’ve all heard so much about. So far, we’re not seeing it this season. Going into last night’s game Wieters was 5 -for- 26 so far with no home runs and only one extra-base hit. He had a double and homer last night which is a good sign. What is concerning is that his past struggles have come against lefties, but he hasn’t faced many this season, so his slow start has mostly been against righties. He looked to turn things around last night and should probably not be dropped in anything but the shallowest of leagues. Read more
There were rumors all offseason long that the Red Sox could look to move Daisuke Matsuzaka, though at this point it does not appear likely. Instead, Dice-K will again open the season as part of a deep Red Sox rotation with an awful lot to prove.
After a tremendous 2008 campaign (18 W, 2.90 ERA, 1.32 WHIP), he has struggled tremendously. Granted, one could easily argue that his success was buoyed by significant luck, like a .267 BABIP and 80.6% strand rate, but the whiplash has been severe. He posted a 5.76 ERA over 59.1 innings in 2009 then put up the following line last season:
133 Strikeouts (7.79 K/9)
74 Walks (4.33 BB/9)
He was actually a bit better than the numbers show, thanks to a 67.2% strand rate, but is that really enough? Yes, he always has the allure of potential strikeouts, but they have been regressing since he debuted in 2007 with an 8.84 K/9. While his 7.79 mark from 2010 certainly isn’t poor, it is far from an elite mark. It certainly isn’t enough to help offset all of the negatives. Read more
There were many surprising performances in 2010, but were any more shocking then Bruce Chen’s? He’s been around the majors since 1998 and has very rarely proven to be close to a usable option for fantasy owners. Last season was a different story, however, as he posted the following line:
98 Strikeouts (6.3 K/9)
57 Walks (3.7 BB/9)
A free agent heading into 2010 it’s possible that he returns to Kansas City, but no matter where he lands the chances are that he is going to not come close to being usable in 2011. Knowing nothing else about him, his long history of mediocrity (even that may be too nice of a term), tells us that. Read more
by Will Overton
Every Saturday I will be doing a fantasy baseball stock report where I will be taking a look at who is hot and who is on a cold streak in the world of fantasy baseball. When I do this I will also try and take a look at the week ahead and who has some favorable matchups and who doesn’t. Since we are just about to enter the first week of the season, which is a glorious time of year, I will just be taking a look at certain guys I expect big things from and other I don’t like as much based on matchups.
Guys I Like
Orlando Hudson: Hudson got off to a hot start last year, and I expect it again this year. I actually like all of the Twins to have a big start this week. They are all good lefty hitters and they have 3 games against lefties. The matchups against Angels and White Sox aren’t the most favorable, but I still think Hudson manages and puts together a big week.
Vladimir Guerrero: I like him this year more than most. He’s always been a great hitter in Arlington with a .394 Batting Average. He’s playing all 6 games in Arlington and he’s facing the Blue Jays and Mariners who he has always hit well against also. And with the exception of last year he is also a typically hot starter batting around .320 in the month of April. Add to it than none of the pitchers he faces really does much to scare me other than King Felix and he could be a very nice play. Read more
We discussed the Mark DeRosa trade when it took place, but what we failed to discuss was who would actually fill the hole at 2B that the Cubs created for themselves. Does anyone really believe that Aaron Miles is going to get everyday AB’s? I know I mentioned the Brian Roberts rumors popping back up, though that was pure speculation.
Instead, all signs point towards Mike Fontenot getting the opportunity to get everyday AB’s. In fact, the team was using him down the stretch last season, as they were using Mark DeRosa in the OF over Kosuke Fukudome, so giving him playing time seems pretty obvious.
He had 243 AB last season, hitting .305 with 9 HR, 40 RBI, 42 R and 2 SB, showing that he has plenty of potential to be a usable player in all formats. Will the power translate over a full season? He never really showed the potential to hit over 20 HR in a full season, which is what last season would have projected out to, so I wouldn’t expect that to be the case. It would seem like 10-15 would be a much better expectation for a full season, which certainly still makes him usable for fantasy owners.
The real question is how he will do against left-handed pitchers, as the Cubs seemed to protect him last season giving him just 21 AB against southpaws. Granted, he hit .333 in those AB’s, but in 2007 he hit .212 in 52 AB against lefties. I have to believe that last seasons success was more of a mirage, given the small sampling. It’s not that I think he’ll be as bad as he was in ’07, but he’ll be somewhere in the middle. Read more