This blog is my time to highlight and talk up any player of my choosing. Since everyone else likes to highlight and praise all the super stars I figured I'd do the exact opposite. Give praise and some insight into lesser known players. Players that are generally owned in single league formats, players like the under rated and highly undervalued Mark Ellis of the Oakland Athletics.
Now when I say Mark Ellis, if you know who he is, you might cringe at the very thought of having him on your roster. Me on the other hand, I'm rushing to head of the line to get his attention, because he's sure gotten mine.
Quick tell me how many American League second basemen hit double digit home runs? 6 of them. Alexie Ramirez, Ian Kinsler, Jose Lopez, Dustin Pedroia, Robinson Cano and Mark Ellis.
Even quicker this time, how many American League second basemen stole double digit bases? 6 again. Brian Roberts, Ian Kinsler, Dustin Pedroia, Mark Ellis, Alexie Ramirez, and Howie Kendrick.
Only four of them found themselves in both groups, three of them are sure fire studs and widely known, appeciated and highly sought after (Kinsler, Pedroia, Ramirez) the other is a late round, waiver wire, $1-$3 roster filler. So why do I like him so much?
Aside from providing some solid pop and speed from a shallow position, it's the possibility of a bounce back this season. Remember folks in 2007 Mark Ellis was a must own in all formats.
Here's a quick break of his past three seasons.
2006- 64r, 11hr, 52rbi, 4sb, .249ba, 40bb, 76k, .319obp, .385slg, .704ops
2007- 84r, 19hr, 76rbi, 9sb, .276ba, 44bb, 94k, .336obp, .441slg, .777ops
2008- 55r, 12hr, 41rbi, 14sb, .233ba, 53bb, 65k, .323obp, .373slg, .694ops
Now you've likely noticed that Ellis' power is good for double digits having reached that plateau 4 years running, the oddity is the increasing stolen bases on he gets on in age. But arguably the biggest factor hurting his fantasy value is his poor batting average, hell even the Arizona Diamondback's 3b Mark Reynolds .239 mark was better.
So what was behind that drastic fall in batting average? Well how about a dramatic .053 fall in babip down from a solid .302 to a miserable .249 mark. A return to the mean of .300 in the babip department could mean a return to a .260 batting average.
So we've discovered the mystery behind the falling batting average, here a couple other reason to like Mark Ellis this year.
1- A rising walk rate - 8.3%, 7.0%, 10.7%- A willingness to take a few free passing can only mean more stolen base opportunities and run scoring chances.
2- A declining strike out rate- 17.2%, 16.1%, 14.7%- If you don't strike out you're more apt to get on base.
3- Better Line Up- Though not a skill on can possess, you can only imagine that having Jason Giambi, Matt Holliday and Jack Cust hit behind would help on improve their run totals.
So if you find yourself in a jam in AL only leagues you may want to quickly snap up Mark Ellis off the waiver or, trade him on the cheap, as he has the ability and chance to turn a big profit this season.