Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Fantasy Baseball Sleepers and Busts: Second Base and Shortstop

Dee's Nuts
My apologies if these come to you after your draft, but revealing my thought process before my own event is a no-sale on a lot of levels. First off, because it shows my hand to my league mates, and secondly, because damn near every moment before my draft is spent honing my rankings. And, well, said draft also informs my post. So, well, here we go.

Sleepers - Second Base

Brett Lawrie, Toronto. Here's the thing about injury risk guys; they are great dice rolls if you get them late, or further along in the defensive spectrum than where they belong. Lawrie isn't really a second baseman (he plays third), is still just 24 despite 276 games over three years in the bigs, and has easy 20/20 potential, especially if Toronto keeps giving green lights on the basepaths to guys who probably should not get one (Lawrie is 29 for 43 on attempts). He's still a high draft pick, still has All-Star potential, and will spend half of his at-bats in a reasonable environment, surrounded by reasonable hitters. There's top six potential here late in the draft.

Jedd Gyorko, San Diego. News flash: Petco is no longer an auto-fail for hitters, as Gyorko's 23 HRs in 125 games shows. That projects to an 80-30-80 year even if you think there's a chance of sophomore slump. I'm not a huge fan of getting no steals from a middle infield slot, but there are enough rabbit OFs this year, and not much in the way of 30 HR threats anywhere, that he's worth a sniff. Think the new Dan Uggla, back in the time where Dan Uggla wasn't a punch line.

Anthony Rendon, Washington. Stick a fork in Danny Espinosa; Rendon has clearly won the competition for the starting gig in DC. There's serious pedigree here (6th overall pick in 2011 from Rice), and while it's not translating to speed, I think he winds up in a prime location in the lineup and does well in the weak NL East. The man did have a 725 OPS in 350 ABs last year, so its's not as if he's at risk of washout here.

Busts - Second Base

Robinson Cano, Seattle.
Just because you might be the best pick at your position... does not mean that you are worthy of a first round pick. Cano goes from a bandbox to a pitcher's park, a division with harder pitching staffs and environments, less pounders around him, and he just got paid an absurd amount of money to go to a team that didn't have enough to fill holes around him. 90/30/90 isn't bad, but it's a big price to pay for relatively little ceiling, and I'm not liking the "vest and rest" potential.

Brandon Philips, Cincinnati. Where counting stats lie: Philips had a career high in RBIs last year (103, the firs time he cracked triple figures) despite an 8-year low in OBA and SLG, and the 5 for 8 on the basepaths is the worst he's managed since 2003. With Shin-Soo Choo and his mad OBA gone, and Joey Votto under pressure to change his approach and swing more, there will be less RBI opportunities even if he does stay in the good slot. He's also 33 in June, and while not in danger of losing the starter job, there's no way he should be hitting in the middle of the order any more, especially if the Reds get a bounce back year from Ryan Ludwick and Todd Frazier. If he's your back up MI and you just need counting numbers, he might pay off, but he's being selected as if he's a top-6 guy, and he's not.

Ian Kinsler, Detroit. Nearly a chalk pick for bust in the tout community, but that doesn't make it wrong. Kinsler goes from a bandbox to a strong pitcher's park, might be due for another injury-riddled year, and hasn't had a good percentage year on the base paths since 2011 (70% on 30 attempts in 2012, 58% on 26 attempts in 2013). I'm also not sure how he's still a good power threat after 32 homers in the last 1200 ABs. Oh, and he'll turn 32 in June, and that's the age where second base either becomes a move or a fade. Maybe he powers through everything with the power of hate for Texas for moving him, and it's not like he won't have opportunities in Detroit, but there's a lot to not like for a guy with this much name recognition.

Sleepers - Shortstops

Andrelton Simmons, Atlanta.
If only defense counted, right? Well, it does: Simmons' otherworldly leather means that he's never leaving the lineup, and his sneaky power (17 HRs, 60 total extra-base hits in 2013) means that he gets a lot of chances. The 24-year-old from Curacao doesn't need to get much better to get to 80-20-70, and he'll come to you late in the draft. It wouldn't shock me if he breaks out and gets some MVP votes, especially if the Braves are able to overcome their pitching injuries and win the NL East.

Xander Bogaerts, Boston. Meet the meta nature of fantasy sports; Bogaerts is so overrated that he's underrated, so known he's overly known, and so on, and so on. What you are getting is a universally regarded prospect, who has already shown his mettle in the post-season, who will play every day in a juggernaut offense. Oh, and he'll probably wind up in the top part of the order for a good chunk of the year, after his always-injured teammates hit the shelf. He's not going to steal a ton of bases, but even that will be OK, since he's young enough and in a volume situation. There's a lot here to love.

Dee Gordon, Los Angeles. Show of hands; how many people think Hanley Ramirez is going to play 162 games Juan Uribe will hold the job all year at third, and Alex Guerrero will step out of the Cuban leagues and seize an MLB job... all in 2014? When one of these things fail, or the OFs get hurt, Gordon will get the call, and while his OBA skills are never going to be elite, there are signs that he's starting to get the hang of things. He also has no power and no conscience, which means he's kind of fun to watch, since he's always going for SBs. Finally, I really think that if Reds' OF Bill Hamilton goes wild on the basepaths this year, professional egos will not let him go it alone. His career is basically one full season, and it gets you 83 Rs and 66 SBs. Full-time play could get you that in 2014.

Busts - Shortstops

Jean Segura, Milwaukee.
Last year's magic all happened in the first half, which either means that he hit the wall on conditioning, or the league adjusted to him. I tend to think it's more the latter than the former, and that the 12 MLB homers are about twice of which you should expect in 2014. If the BABIP erodes as well, you won't get the 40+ SBs, either. We'll come back in 2015 for the return to prominence.

Starlin Castro, Chicago. I get that betting on the bounce is usually a good idea, but man alive, he was a 24-hour tire fire last year, and I'm not ready to say it's all going to be sunshine and puppies now... especially with crazy hot prospect Javier Baez ready to make Cub Fan have hope again as soon as they start his eligibility clock. He's also never been a big HR or SB guy, so even if you do get the bounce, he's still not necessarily a top six finisher.

Everth Cabrera, San Diego. Does ending PED use mean that you lose the ability to steal bases? It wouldn't seem so, but for a guy with Cabrera's injury history, it makes me wonder. Take one of the other rabbits who aren't so savant-ish, or leave him to some limited math mind while you get an undervalued power stick like JJ Hardy or Jhonny Peralta; the OF rabbits are much less likely to get hurt.

Tomorrow - Third base and outfield. Come on back?

No comments:

Ads In This Size Rule