Tag:Player Spot Light
Posted on: September 5, 2010 5:53 pm

What Does it Take to be Number One?

As we all know, there's a certain status or aura surrounding the first pick in a fantasy baseball draft. Next season will be no different.
There are the first round constants. Albert Pujols, Miguel Cabrera, Carl Crawford, Hanley Ramirez, David Wright, and then there are the break out first time first rounders. Guys like Joey Votto, Carlos Gonzalez, and Robinson Cano, have had monster seasons thus far and are poised to be amongst the first 5-6 players drafted in 2011 drafts.

But as the blog title asks, what does it take, and just who is next years number draft pick.

There is a differing of opinions on what kind of player/what position you should target with your first pick/picks. In the first round, I don't bother with targeting positions. If  Miguel Cabrera is there with my first pick, doesn't matter to me that I can grab Adrian Gonzalez or Prince Fielder in the second round, I'm taking Miggy Cab, regardless, because he's just that damn good.

For many managers who follow this draft strategy it's all about the numbers.  With my first pick, I'm looking to stack as many categories as I can.

I NEED 100 R, 30+ HR, 100+ RBI, .300+ AVG. I could care less about stolen bases with the first round, I'm of the thought process that I can find stolen bases later on in the draft, after all guys like Nyjer Morgan, Rajai Davis, Juan Pierre, Cliff Pennington, Chone Figgins, etc are all cheap enough that I don't need to use up a first round pick on Carl Crawford- no slight to Crawford who is a legit stud, and I'd never pass up the opportunity of the value is there.

So let's check the stats and see the guys who fit my requirements thus far.

Well no one, just yet.
Mark Teixeira is the only player with 100 R so far this season, but there are 11 players  just shy of the mark (90+), to date.
Jose Bautista leads the bigs with 43 big flys, and there are 11 total guys with 30+ HR, and another 14 players within striking distance (24+).
Miggy Cab, and Jose Bautista sit 1-2 in RBI with 110 and 103 respectably. Yet another 14 players are within 10 or the century mark.
22 players are hitting .300 plus but we all know that the difference between a .300 hitter and a .280 hitter is roughly one hit per week.

So now that we've seemingly "narrowed" down the field, just who are the leading candidates. Or simply who ranks in the top ten in one or more categories. (For the sake of argument I've included ties)

Those few players- Mark Teixeira 3/4, Miguel Cabrera 4/4, Josh Hamilton 4/4, Robinson Cano 2/4, Joey Votto 4/4 , Jose Bautista 3/4, Albert Pujols 3/4, Carlos Gonzalez 4/4

According to that strategy, the first four picks of the 2011 draft would see Miggy Cab, Hamilton , Joey Votto and Carlos Gonzalez! selected.

While I don't see it playing out exactly like that, it should be close. I don't think that Albert Pujols will slip to the 5th pick in any drafts, thanks in large part to concerns about Josh Hamiltons injury history and major concerns of a repeat performance from Carlos Gonzalez. I'm not one of those guys with production concerns as far as Cargo is concerned. I own Hamilton in a keeper league and he'll be kept no doubt.

But just who is next years number one pick?

Drum roll please............

1a- Miguel Cabrera- Yes you're seeing a changing of the guard. Miggy Cab is the ultimate player. Sure he may not steal as many bases as Albert Pujols, but the ability to generate runs, and score them at a proficient rate is the swing factor for me oh did I mention that he's 28? Yeah I'll take it.

2011 Projection- 115 R, 35 HR, 120 RBI, 3 SB, .325 AVG

1b (or 2 if you're keeping track)- Albert Pujols- Damn thats a terrible consulation prize now isn't it. I don't see a dramatic drop off in production any time soon. Pujols still has Matt Holliday "protecting" him in the lineup. He swipes the occasional bag and the best player that this generation has ever seen. There's still plenty left in the tank and another monster season is 99% bankable.

2011 Projection- 110 R, 35 HR, 120 RBI, 12 SB, .305 AVG

3- Joey Votto- Way to go kiddo, Putting Canada on the baseball map! Talk about a tremendous jump in value. Those in keeper leagues that own him, have to be excited at the prospect of owning 2 1st round players. See there are still positive cases of gambling on upside. Votto is just entering his power prime, is in a loaded lineup- Brandon Phillips, Jay Bruce, Johnny Gomes, Drew Stubbs anyone? and the guy can swipe a bunch of bags. Yes you're seeing this right, he's a top 5 pick.

2011 Projection- 100 R, 35 HR, 115 RBI, 15 SB, .320 AVG

4- Josh Hamilton This is the one player that could be drafted in the top 5 or fall all the way to the second round based on his health in April. That question always will exsist. But no one, and I repeat NO ONE doubts this kids talent. If it weren't for the injury concerns he'd be the run away number 1 pick, and it's not even close.

2011 Projection- 110 R, 30 HR, 110 RBI, 10 SB, .315 AVG

5- Carlos Gonzalez- THIS is the player that the Athletics, and the Diamondbacks saw when they traded for and drafted him. I'm not going to lie, I've been a big fan of the guy since his minor league days, each year I've bought into the hype during the draft, attempting to grab him in as many drafts, as late as possible. Next year will be no exception. The pedgiree of a stud is there, and so is the production. Power, speed, everything is there. He could very well be the 2012 first round pick, if he repeats. I think he will.

2011 Projection- 100 R, 30 HR, 110 RBI, 20 SB, .290 AVG

6- Mark Teixeira- What can you say about the guy? Sure the batting average leaves something to be desired, but really if that's all you're worried about, draft Joe Mauer and you're all set. The guy is like clock work, he struggles, managers and the media write him, you trade peanuts to get him, and win your league. The guy puts up his numbers- and they're always good.

2011 Projection- 115 R, 35 HR, 120 RBI, 1 SB, .270 AVG

7- Robinson Cano- Well it's a damn shame you don't be able to pair the two Yankees together. Long thought of as a table setter with a bit of power, Cano has emerged as a legit power threat. He's the top 2b in the game now- move over Chase Utley- he's got power, hits for a great average, and will score runs, no matter where he is in the lineup.

2011 Projection-  115 R, 30 HR, 100 RBI, 5 SB, .320 AVG

8- Hanley Ramirez- He hasn't fallen that much, but his stock has faded. His final numbers will still be strong and he gets a minor push up thanks to his position, and stolen base prowess. He's still the top dog at short stop and you've got to expect more of the same from "Han-Ram" as the Marlins mature as a team- Gaby Sanchez, Logan Morrison, Cameron Maybin, Dan Uggla etc

2011 Projection- 95 R, 20 HR, 85 RBI, 35 SB, 310 AVG

9- Carl Crawford- I'm a big time fan of the guy, decent pop, great speed, great lineup- Carlos Pena, Evan Longoria, B.J. Upton, Ben Zobrist, Jason Bartlett anyone? If I get a pick in the last half of the first round I would take Carl Crawford. There's nothing wrong with this kid at all. But alot depends on where he signs, if he ends up in a hitters park like Texas, Chicago, etc he could be a top 5 pick.

2011 Projection- 100 R, 15 HR, 85 RBI, 45 SB, .300 AVG

10- Ryan Braun- This pick and the rest from the 10-20 range is a little bunched up. Guys like Prince Fielder, David Wright, Matt Holliday, Joe Mauer, Evan Longoria, Adrian Gonzalez, Alex Rios, Chris B. Young, Kevin Youkilis, Ryan Zimmerman, Alex Rodriguez etc are all relatively close in value, but Braun sits just a bit ahead of them in 2011. He's a legit power threat who's having a down year. This call for me is a bit of a gut call.

2011 Projection- 90 R, 25 HR, 100 RBI, 15 SB, .300 AVG

You'll notice the absence of Blue Jays slugger, Jose Bautista from the first round. That's because I don't think he can repeat- to the same level. He's got power, but I would never bank on 40+ HR next season. I could see 30 with another .260 AVG, solid and definately draftable but not first round worthy. Odds are though, that you can get him at a relative value. Managers will be fearful of drafting him next season out of fear of him being a flop. I'll be one of those brave managers that will be willing to spend a mid-round pick on the Bautista Bomb in 2011.

That's my take on the first 10 picks of the 2011 draft, though note they're subject to change at any point in time. Let me hear your feed back.
Posted on: September 1, 2010 8:44 pm

Player Spot Light- Gregor Blanco

Now every, by a show of hands, let's see how many people knew about the Kansas City Royals, Gregor Blanco before the start of the season?
Kind of a trick question, at the start of the season he was an Atlanta Brave, but you get a C for effort, I'm not an easy marker. I'm even more strict when it comes to proclaiming early sleepers for next season, but I'll go out on a limb and proclaim Gregor Blanco as a 2011 sleeper candidate.

Here's why.

1- Full time player. In Atlanta he was a part time OF/Pinch Runner. Limited AB aren't conducive to fantasy production. The move that saw the Braves acquire Rick Ankiel and Kyle Farnsworth in exchange for Blanco and minor leagues, saw Blanco thrust into the spot light....well as much spot light as there can be in Kansas, and he's responded.

2- Magical Age 27- Yeah it could still be a myth but there are more then enough seasons in fantasy history to show that it may not be just a fluke.

3- Very few people will pay attention- The fact that he's owned in 2.8% of ESPN leagues , 7% in CBS, 1% on Yahoo! That means he likely won't be highly valued come draft day. The perfect kind of guy to target with your final pick.

So just why do I like him so much?

Here are his stats over the last 30 days, compared with a much higher regarded outfielder.

Blanco- 11 R, 1 HR, 5 RBI, 9 SB, .255 AVG, .336 OBP, .330 SLG, .666 OPS
Player B- 15 R, 0 HR, 5 RBI, 9 SB, .250 AVG, .370 OBP, .321 SLG, .691 OPS

I'll give you a hint. He plays for an AL team, he's also a center fielder, and his team is in first place. Give up?
It's 100% owned Brett Gardner.

Yeah that's right, Blanco has posted nearly identical numbers as Gardner has over the last month!

Now granted Gardner has a higher OBP, which is always important and is nearly guaranteed to score more runs in the Yankees lineup, but it does demonstrate two things- managers tend to be blinded when it comes to players, after all stats are stats, and two value can come from anywhere so don't be afraid to add a player that will make others ask, "WTF?", when they see it on the transaction list.

Just smile sheepishly as your waiver wire gem swipes as many bags as their mid-round stolen base fiend does.

The biggest knock/knocks against him are his lack of power and good but not great speed. He also has an inability to hit lefties, as do most left handed hitters do, and he performs much better at home, check out the splits. .216 AVG, 501 OPS vs Lefties, .297 AVG, .786 OPS vs Righties. .314 AVG, .786 OPS at home, and .232 AVG, .594 OPS on the road.

Come March/April drafts make sure to remember Blanco when you're looking at the later rounds, you could very well end up player that posts 70 R, 5 HR, 40 RBI, 25 SB, .275 AVG in 500 AB, that's not bad for a 23rd round pick, after all what did your 23rd round pick this year produce?

Posted on: June 6, 2009 7:54 pm

Player Spot Light- NL Only- Jordan Zimmermann

It's truly a shame when a top prospect enters the season to much fan fare and fantasy hype, only to drop out of favour two months later. This is what has happened to Jordan Zimmermann.

There was little doubt during spring training that Zimmermann was big league ready. Armed with four good pitches and fantastic control Zimmermann and the Washington Nationals set out to make a name for themselves in the ultra competitive National League East Division. So far that hasn't exactly panned out.

A 2-3, 5.71 ERA, 1.37 WHIP, 54 K, 14 BB, 52 IP is nothing to scoff at but the ERA and WHIP don't lend themselves kindly to fantasy owners. But that's were a tremendous oversite amongst beginners and veterans alike exsists. Focusing on surface stats instead of skills can lead to a player over looking a talented youngster because of a high ERA or a ton of strike outs (for hitters)

In this case Zimmermann is still displaying great dominancing in striking out more then a batter an inning (9.35 K/9) and still has good control (2.42 BB/9), leaving him with a tremendous commmad ratio of 3.71 K/ 1 BB.

A quick look at his minor league numbers and his XERA and FIP will tell us that he's a completely different pitcher.

2007- 4-2,  62 K, 16 BB, 2.57 ERA, 1.20 WHIP, 11.39 K/9, 2.94 BB/9, 3.88 K/BB

2008- 10-3, 134 K, 47 BB, 2.88 ERA, 1.12 WHIP, 9 K/9, 3.15 BB/9, 2.85 K/BB

2009- 0-0, 4 K,  1 BB, 5.06 ERA, 0.94 WHIP, 6.95 K/9, 1.69 BB/9, 4 K/BB

2009- 2-3, 54 K, 14 BB, 5.71 ERA, 1.37 WHIP, 9.35 K/9, 2.42 BB.9, 3.71 K/BB

You can easily see from his minor league numbers (2007- 2009)  that his kid is a bona-fide front line starter. He has always possessed great command and fantastic control to go along with a very dominant pedigree. So why are his numbers so bad this year?

1- Expected ERA and FIP- For those that read you'll know that I turn to these stats are indicators of a pitchers true talents, and it's no different here. The XERA and FIP give two vastly different numbers. Zimmermann's FIP is a very solid 3.79 more line of what many were expecting this season his XERA isn't quiet as attainable sitting at 1.74. Thanks in large part to his command and dominance.

2- The Long Ball- Having already given up seven home runs he's hurt himself a bit. He's currently on pace to surrender 21 big flies which will only keep his ERA and WHIP at the bottom of the barrel. An improvement is definately in order as he continues to get familiar with the league. Others will argue it will rise as the leagues get familiar to Jordan.

3- Washington Nationals- The Nationals as a team are just horrendous. They lead the league in errors with 52, resulting runs and hits. They also rank dead last in team ERA, WHIP,Saves, BB/9, H/9 and OBA. None of which are beneficial to a young hurler. It's disheartening when you hand over the ball after a solid 6 inning outting knowing that the pen won't be able to keep the game close.

If you're an owner of a keeper team and you've already mailed this season in, then Jordan Zimmermann would definately be a guy to target. After all the Nationals rotation can't be all bad for that long can it? The potential arrival of college phenom Steven Strasberg and the maturation of Zimmermann and Ross Detwiler gives Nationals fans reason for hope in the near future.
Posted on: June 3, 2009 6:14 pm

AL Only Player Spot Light- Nick Blackburn

If given the opportunity to redraft your teams today, there would surely be a different strategy in play. You wouldn't have taken that guy there, you would have taken this guy there etc etc, but I know one thing for certain.

You would draft Nick Blackburn over Francisco Liriano.

That may come as a shock to many, but if I were redrafting tonight, I wouldn't even touch Liriano. He's been that bad. Mean while Blackburn has quietly gone about his job, agruably becoming the Minnesota Twins true "ace".

Take a look at his numbers through June 2nd. 5-2, 33 K, 20 BB, 3.50 ERA, 1.36 WHIP. Definately not earth shattering but far more servicable then those posted my his stable mate Liriano (do you get the hint I'm sick of him yet?) On the bright side you've still got a chance to pick him up before it's too late as he's owned in 51% of CBS leagues. It's not as if you could do much better for a fifth starter. But you could do worse.

In his previous five outtings he's lasted 6 or more innings, holding opponents to a total of 7 earned runs in that stretch while winnings his last 3 starts. Could this more then just a hot streak?

Let's take a look and see whether it's wise to jump aboard the Blackburn train or look else where.

2007- (Combined AA-AAA) 148.2 IP 10-4, 75 K, 19 BB, 2.60 ERA, 1.05 WHIP, 4.55 K/9, 1.15 BB/9, 3.94 K/BB
2007- 11.2 IP, 0-2, 8 K, 2 BB, 8.04 ERA, 1.44 WHIP, 6.42 K/9, 1.60 BB/9, 4 K/BB
2008- 193.1 IP, 11-11, 96 K, 39 BB, 4.05 ERA, 1.36 WHIP, 4.47 K/9, 1.81 BB/9, 2.46 K/BB
2009- 69.1 IP, 5-2, 33 K, 20 BB, 3.50 ERA, 1.36 WHIP, 4.29 K/9, 2.60 BB/9, 1.65 K/BB

As you can see Blackburn is by no means a strike out master, mustering a sub 4.50K/9 in his MLB career. Which means that the odds of a dominate 8 strike out night are pretty low.

So why has he been so good this season?

1- Right Hand Dominance- Yes that's correct, Blackburn is absolutely controlling the righties. They're hitting an unimpressive .213 against him. The lefties on the other hand, are feasting ,hitting a skyhigh .318 off him with 5 HR and 21 R, compared to 1 HR and 11 R. It may have something to do with the lefties sitting on the fast ball ( he is throwing it 59.3% of the time a near 10% increase from last season).

2- Good Defence- You would be surprise how much impact a solid defense can have on a pitchers ERA and WHIP. Blackburn's FIP sits at 4.20 a full 0.70 run higher. That may not seem like much but it's a significan't amount namely the distance between 1st and 6th in the category.

3- Expected ERA- His current ERA is the stuff that want on your team, his XERA is not. It falls right in line with his FIP at 4.25. Given that last year's ERA was 4.05 it doesn't come at much surprise. His K rates and BB rates are down clear indicators that his XERA could easily be matched.

Unfortunately for owners now may be the time to part ways with Blackburn. The wins may be nice, but his value may not be higher then right now.
Posted on: May 22, 2009 9:40 pm

NL Only Player Spot Light- Felipe Lopez

Doesn't every fantasy manager yearn for the day of yor. I'm talking 2005 and 2006. Well the majority of fantasy owners may not. After all what good would that do if they're holding Matt Wieters in a bench spot?

I do know that owners of Felipe Lopez yearn for those days.
Days when you laid claim to an elite power hitting short stop. When the power went away you had a base stealing master. Now what do you have?

Lets take a quick look at his past numbers just to see what we're looking at.

2007- 70r, 9hr, 50rbi, 24sb, 53bb, 109k, .245avg, .307obp, .351slg, .658ops
2008- 64r, 6hr, 46rbi, 8sb, 43bb, 82k, .282avg, .343obp, 386slg, .729ops
2009- 21r, 4hr, 10rbi, 4sb, 14bb, 28k, .323avg, .378obp, .484slg, .862ops

Those 2009 numbers are particularily impressive, especially if take a look at the pace he's on 85r, 16hr, 40rbi, 16sb, .322avg. That's a solid line for your MI but is it likely to happen?

1- Babip- Lopez's Babip is an outer wordly .372. Let's take that into consideration. The league average generally falls around .300, Lopez's career number is .318 which is  above league average, but his current mark is a full 54 points higher. If you're banking on Lopez to maintain his current .323avg, you're going to be highly disappointed. Temper your expectations toward a .275avg.

2- HR/FB%- After a three year falling trend an upward explosion from 4.8% to 11.4% will cause many to raise an eyebrow. His previous career high is 18.3% in his magnificent 2005 season. His career average is 9.3%. So I'd also be looking for a regression back to the mean.

3- Contact Rate- So far this season Lopez has posted a great 82.6% contact rate, but that may well be difficult to maintain. Consider that he has a career 78.4% rate a full 4.2% difference. Which may not seem like much but that could very well be the difference between a .280 hitter and a .300 hitter, as well as a handful of runs and rbi.

All in all, Lopez is a solid end game MI option, but his under lying skills and stats are telling me that his current is a little bit beyond is means. Though previous power and speed production, are swaying the opinions of others.
Posted on: May 22, 2009 1:36 am

AL Only Player Spot Light- Michael Cuddyer

You'll have to fogive me on the later then expected player updates, but I've been busy. My girlfriend, the greatest in the world bought me UFC Undisputed 2009.

Needless to say that I've been throwing down hard core in an attempt to acquire the UFC Lightweight title. It's anything but easy, if you're a fan of the UFC, or a fan of fighting for the matter, you should definately buy or rent this game. It's just beyond sweet.

While we're on the topic of video games, I thought I'd mention another personal favourite. MLB Front Office Manager. This game was highly anticipated amongst the hardcore fantasy gamers. Those that were expecting MLB 2k9 were disappointed. I on the other hand was not. Which brings me to my team. Oh yeah it's loaded. Did the fantasy draft and the whole she-bang. But I quickly realized, in this game you need pitching. It's not there if you wait, if you do wait, boy you're in a world of hurt. So needless to say my Pittsburgh Pirates, are playing like the real Pirates. Not good.

Now that that's out of the way, we or shall I say I can focus on the task at hand. This week's Player Spot Light, belongs to former fantasy darling, and my vote for 2009 AL Comeback Player of the Year none other then the Minnesota Twins, Michael Cuddyer.

Cuddyer isn't a sexy play by any means, but he's been a great contributing force to a few of my fantasy rosters, all the while getting no love. The guys at ESPN are owning him in just 7.7% of leagues! Astounding. CBS' ownership is alot higher up to 38% of leagues, but still to low for me. After all he has posted these stats before.

2007- 87r, 16hr, 81rbi, 5sb, 64bb, .276avg, .356obp, .433slg, .789ops
2008- 30r, 3hr, 36rbi, 5sb, 25bb, .249avg, .329obp, .369slg, .698ops
2009- 22r, 5hr, 22rbi, 4sb, 22bb, .258avg, .352obp, .435slg, .787ops

You'll notice that his 2008 performance already pales in comparison to his performance thus far. But remember folks Cuddyer battled injury all season long with finger and foot injuries relegating him to the DL three times.

If he continues at his rate, we're looking at a 90r, 20hr, 90rbi, 16sb guy. All that for free off the waiver wire! I don't think that the stolen base totals will end up that high, but it's possible, after all Matt Holliday had 28 last season, why can't Cuddyer swipe 16?

There are a few things you should know about Cuddyer though-

1- Improved walk rate- A jump from 9.1% to 13% will see anyone benefit. If that player just so happens to swipe a few bags all the better to set a new career high in the department. Coincidence? I think not.

2- High Ground Ball Rate- Yeah that's the down side. It's also likely contributing to his low batting average. An increase from 45.9% to 54.6% could potentially limit his power production over the long haul, and severly impact his batting average. Hopefully a return to career norms in the GB category will help move his batting average up toward his .268 mark.

3- Run Support- Yes that's a pitching stat, but I'm using the title. Joe Mauer, Justin Morneau. Two very dangerous hitters. They along with Jason Kubel should provide plenty of RBI opportunities for Cuddyer. But who will bring Mikey around to score? That job will fall primarily to the oft injured Joe Crede. Though it's impossible to tell for certain who will end up batting where, but it seems like a safe bet that Cuddyer will end up with 90rbi, and 70r.

Personally I'm a big fan of Cuddyer, his 2006 super man impression was definately the abberation but if this what you can expect from him (career averages say yes) then sign me up, for those skeptical of Cuddyer I have one question. Is your #5 outfielder better? I didn't think so.

Posted on: May 10, 2009 5:09 pm

NL Only Player Spot Light- Colby Rasmus

"KELLOGGS, the greatest name in cereal presents:
Faster than a speeding bullet!
More powerful than a locomotive!
Able to leap tall buildings in a single bound!
LOOK! Up In The Sky!
It's a bird!  It's a plane!  It's SUPERMAN!
Yes, it's Superman, strange visitor from another planet who came to earth
with powers and abilities far beyond those of mortal men!
Superman! Who can change the course of might rivers,   bend steel in his bare hands;
And who, disguised as Colby Rasmus,

Those were the expectations surrounding  young outfielder Colby Rasmus when he broke camp this spring with the St. Louis Cardinals.
Unfortunately for many of his supporters, Rasmus has not received consistent playing time, and his numbers reflect that. But all that could change thanks to a new full time at the expense of injured Rick Ankiel.

There are many "experts" that are convinced Rasmus has all the tools to be a stud in this leagues, there are others, myself included, that think he will be merely a good player. Not a stud, but solid. Now is his chance to prove some of us right.

Though he's not off to a very good start.

Batting a very unheroic .247avg, .333obp, .333slg, he's going to have to pick up the pace.

Do I still believe he'll be good? Of course. He's still young, and his early minor league numbers leave plenty of hope but the next Grady Sizemore he won't be.

2006- 70r, 16hr, 81rbi, 27sb, 55bb, 85k, .282avg, .363obp, .463slg, .826ops. (Combined A & A+)
2007- 93r, 29hr, 72rbi, 18sb, 70bb, 108k, .275avg, .381obp, .551slg, .932ops
2008- 58r, 12hr, 38rbi, 15sb, 53bb, 77k, .269avg, .398obp, .465skg, .864ops (Combined R, A+, AAA)
2009- 16r, 1hr, 6rbi, 1sb, 9bb, 18k, .247avg, .333obp, .333slg, .667ops

It's evident by his low minor numbers that Rasmus definately has the talent but will that translate to major league success?

1- Lefties- So far this season Rasmus has hit an atrocious .105 against lefties.  Compared to a serviceable .290 mark against righties. Given that he's going to be seeing more playing time against lefties in the very near future Rasmus will either have to learn to adjust on the fly or he may fine himself in a platoon situation.

2- Home and Away Effect- It's still early in the season, and his career to make a firm statement but it appears as if Rasmus is more comfortable at home. Hitting .283/ .377/ .348 at home compared to .200/.275/.314

3-RISP- On the bright side it appears that he's not afraid to hit when Cardinals need it. .375/.385/.500 with RISP compared to .146/.271/.220 with the sacks empty.

Now I know that the numbers don't paint the complete picture when it comes to evaluating young talent, but they do go a long way in helping to understand a players struggles or successes for that matter.

Rasmus has a bright future, but I'm not ready to compare him to the Grady Sizemores of the world just yet wait until he surpasses Ryan Ludwick as the best OF on his own team. Then we'll talk.
Posted on: May 10, 2009 4:33 pm

AL Only Player Spot Light- Jose Arredondo

Maybe it's blind loyalty, maybe it's that I don't trust Brian Fuentes. But I'm a huge Jose Arredondo fan. You should be as well. After all, last season was a great rookie campaign. During the off season many fans wondered why the Anaheim Angels bothered signing free agent Brian Fuentes when they already their closer of the future in the bull pen.

The few that doubted Arredondo before the season are patting themselves on the back right now do to his rough start. That will end.

It's no secret that Jose has started the season poorly. Resulting in him being dropped in numerous leagues, deep keepers, AL Only formats etc etc. When that has happened in my league I'm there to pick up the scraps.

After all, good middle relievers are hard to come by in this day and age. Thank you Lima Plan, and Ron Shandler.

So let's refocus here on Jose and break down the numbers.

2008- 10-2, 55k, 22bb, 1.62era, 1.05whip, 8.11K/9, 3.24BB/9, 2.5K/BB
2009- 1-0, 19k, 3bb, 5.27era, 1.32whip, 12.51K/9, 1.97BB/9, 6.33K/BB

So lets just stop for a second here, and look past that enormous era and awful whip, and admire the beauty. A phenominal, and down right dominating K/9. A sparkling BB/9 ratio compliments the dominance oh so nicely. So one is left wondering. Then why the abysmal era and whip?

1-.434 Babip, 55.6% Strand. Yeah that's correct. Luck.
Luck has been the biggest factor against Arredondo this season. Consider that the league average Babip is .300, a mark .134 pts above that is sure to balance off, resulting in a significantly reduced whip, and era. That strand rate is just as puzzling. One would assume that he's simply giving up the big fly when runners are on the paths. Incorrect. To date Arredondo has given up zero home runs. It's all comes back to that Babip.

2-Batted Ball- An increased ground ball rate (51.2%- 60.6%),  a decreased fly ball rate (31.3%-18.2%) are clear and strong indicators that improvements are just around the corner.

3-IFH%-FIP- For those that don't use Fangraphs.com- you should be. With a huge in field hit percent of 30% one could easily blame the defense. After all his FIP (fielding independent era) is a tiny 1.07!

All things being considered, Arredondo is not off to such a bad start as the surface stats indicate. A little more number crunching and one can see that this is the perfect buy low opportunity, on a player that could easily end up in the closer role.
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com