Sunday, July 12, 2009

Jay Bruce's Replacement

Jay Bruce has fractured his right wrist sliding for a ball in RF and will most likely miss the rest of the 2009 season. For owners in non-keeper leagues this may be good news as you now can justifying dropping the .200 BA from your team as you waited for his BAIP to correct itself. I am a huge Jay Bruce fan and I think he is going to be a fantasy stud but he needs to make more contact on a regular basis. Derek Lee owners know how serious a wrist injury could be so depending on how bad the fracture this injury could effect his 2010 season. Assuming the Reds fill the position in-house they have two good looking prospects currently in AAA Louisville in Chris Heisey and Drew Stubbs. They have been reports that Stubbs may get the first crack at replacing Bruce but Heisey is the better fantasy option. Below is a little bit about each player

Chris Heisey 6'0 200 lbs (24 Yrs Old)
Heisey, from Lancaster, Pa, was on nobody's radar prior to this season but he is having the best season of any Red's prospect. Heisy was rewarded by being named to the 2009 Futures Game that is being played today in St. Louis. Heisey has displayed a nice power speed combo and has demonstrated great plate discipline with a 42:37 K:BB ratio. 2009 stats are listed below:

AVG: .350
HR: 15
RBI: 53
K:BB: 42:37
SB: 15
OPS: 1.005

Drew Stubbs 6'4 205 lbs (24 Yrs. Old)
Stubbs lacks the power and plate discipline of Heisey but he is a terror on the base paths with 33 SBs already this season. If Stubbs gets the call this season he could be a nice speculative SB source going forward. His 2009 stats are listed below:

AVG: .283
HR: 2
RBI: 25
K:BB: 71:40
SB: 33
OPS: .745

As you can see Heisy's numbers are much better and at this point translates into a more valuable fantasy option. If your league has a Minor League system or a deep bench I would grab Heisy before he makes a splash in Cincy.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Who is the Best Rookie Pitcher?

There are some highly touted prospects pitching this season and below I will breakdown the stats for the top 5 in my opinion:

Tommy Hanson (20 Yrs Old):
4-0 with a 2.85 ERA, 1.29 WHIP, 5.5 K/9 and 4.4 BB/9. I think Hanson has the brighest future of this group but his numbers so far this season are smoke and mirrors. Hanson has a very low H% (% of balls hit into play that go for a hit) at 24% while the league average is 30%. Hanson is benefiting from stranding runners on base as 83% of the baserunners are stranded with a league average between 70-75%. As his H% corrects itself more of those runners will come around to score and inflate his ERA. I would expect some bumps in the road short-term and long-term I see him as a fantasy ace.

Brett Anderson (21 Yrs. Old):
5-7 with a 4.86 ERA, 1.39 WHIP, 6.6 K/9 and 2.6 BB/9. Anderson has been over shadowed by fellow prospect Trevor Cahill but Anderson may be the better of the two for the long term. Unlike Hanson, Anderson has not been lucky as he has a 31 H% and only 69% of runners remain stranded. Anderson has been popping up on radar screens as of late becuase he has been striking out more batters in his last 2 outings with 7 vs. DET and 9 vs. Bos. On July 6th Anderson threw a CGSO in Fenway while only surrendering 2 hits. The Boston outing has increased his price but he will be a good speculative K source for the 2nd half of the season.

Rick Porcello (20 Yrs. Old):
8-6 with a 4.14 ERA, 1.46 WHIPm 4.9 K/9 and 3.2 BB/9. Porcello has been struggling as of late which made the Tigers skip his final start going into the ASB but Porcello could have a solid 2nd half as they will look to get him extra rest to limit his innings. It is hard to expect anything from a 20 yr old pitcher in the majors but his k/9 is dissappointing. As Porcello went flying through the Det system, his K/9 was low and the organization was saying that they were limiting what pitches he could throw and that was the cause of the low K figures. After seeing him for the 1st half of this season I am having a hard time with his Josh Beckett comparison. He is only 20 and he will develop into a great fantasy pitcher but I don't think it will be this season

Rickey Romero (24 Yrs. Old):
7-3 with a 2.96 ERA, 1.27 WHIP, 7.5 K/9 and 3.1 BB/9. Romero has performed the best of these 5 pitchers and he is my favorite to win the AL ROY. Romero was selected with the #6 pick in the 2005 draft by the Jays. The 2005 draft was loaded with #1 Justin Upton #2 Alex Gordon #4 Ryan Zimmerman #5 Ryan Braun #7 Tulowitzki #10 Maybin #11 Andrew McCutchen #12 Jay Bruce #23 Ellsbury #25 Garza and #28 Colby Rasmus. For 2009, I think Romero has the most fantasy value of this group but I just wish he pitched in a different division.

David Price (23 Yrs. Old)
3-3 with a 4.70 ERA, 1.64 WHIP, 9.6 K/9 and 6.3 BB/9. I don't care how good you are or how many hittesr you K, if you walk 6.3 batters per 9 you are going to get crushed. Price performed great in last year's post season and that just added to the hype machine but it looks like Price needs a little more seasoning. I thought Price would be more polished at this point being he attended college for 3 years at Vandy while Porcello, Hanson, and Anderson went to the minors from high school. It is obvious that Price can miss bats and also the strike zone but when he gains command of the stike zone he will be an elite pitcher. If I were building a "real" team I would take Price over Hanson due to Price being left handed but from a fantasy perpective I would take Hanson.

I guess Jonathan Sanchez really wants to stay in the rotation as he threw a 11 K 0 BB no hitter last night against the helpless Padres. Sanchez was recalled from the minors to fill in for Randy Johnson who is on the DL. Even with this outing Sanchez has had a terrible year posting a 3-8 record with a 4.69 ERA, 1.50 WHIP, 5.3 BB/9 and 9.0 K/9 in 78.7 innings. There was some hype surrounding the 26 year old Sanchez coming into this year becuase he is young and strikes out a lot of batters but his numbers have never been good and in 2008, which was his first full season, he killed your ERA and WHIP by posting a 5.01 ERA and 1.45 WHIP in 158 innings. You can expect the FAAB bidding to get crazy for Sanchez after this performance and I would reccomend you save you $ and your ratios and stay clear from him.

Other News:
Vald and Hunter could miss a month
Vasquez to miss start
Mets aquire Francoeur and Braves get Church
Jordan Schafer could miss rest of year
James McOwen's hit streak snapped at 45

Friday, July 10, 2009

BA Mid-Season Top 25

Baseball America has released its mid-season top 25 prospects list. The prospects who were called to the majors this season are not included. I was surprised to see Smoak at #4 and the #2 ranking for Stanton is a little aggressive in my eyes. Phillies fans will be please with #17 Brown, #23 Taylor and #24 Drabek and hopefully Brown and Drabek are property of the Jays in exchange for Halladay. Two of the top three pitchers are from the Baltimore organization and it is likely that we will see Tillman this season and Matusz in 2010. I have a hard time with them ranking Montero over Posey as Montero is going to eat himself into a 1B very soon. So far this season Posey is hitting .321 with 12 HRs, 52 RBIs and 6 SBs compared with Montero who is hitting .330 with 13 HRs, 52 RBIs and 0 SBs but Montero is playing in AA while Posey is in high A. They both are great hitters and Posey is better behind the dish and the fact that Montero may not be a C for the long term makes me like Posey more.

1. Jason Heyward, of, Braves
2. Mike Stanton, of, Marlins
3. Jesus Montero, c, Yankees
4. Justin Smoak, 1b, Rangers
5. Madison Bumgarner, lhp, Giants
6. Buster Posey, c, Giants
7. Carlos Santana, c, Indians
8. Chris Tillman, rhp, Orioles
9. Brian Matusz, lhp, Orioles
10. Logan Morrison, 1b, Marlins
11. Freddie Freeman, 1b, Braves
12. Jarrod Parker, rhp, Diamondbacks
13. Neftali Feliz, rhp, Rangers
14. Alcides Escobar, ss, Brewers
15. Yonder Alonso, 1b, Reds
16. Wade Davis, rhp, Rays
17. Dominic Brown, of, Phillies
18. Desmond Jennings, of, Rays
19. Jason Castro, c, Astros
20. Tim Beckham, ss, Rays
21. Brett Wallace, 3b, Cardinals
22. Matt LaPorta, 1b/of, Indians
23. Michael Taylor, of, Phillies
24. Kyle Drabek, rhp, Phillies
25. Michael Saunders, of, Mariners

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Smoak Promoted to AAA

The Rangers have promoted top prospect, Justin Smoak, to AAA and this makes it clear that he will see time in the majors this season. The Rangers have been using Blalock at 1B with Andrew Jones serving as the DH. Spo far this season Smoak is hitting .339 with 8 HRs and has shown great plate discpline with 40 BBs and only 36 Ks. Smoak is still having trouble hitting LHP with a .196 avg but he is hitting .379 against RHP. If the Rangers continue to remain in the race, Smoak may up very soon as he has nothing else to prove in the minors and has college experience. I highly recommend that you allocate some FAAB dollars for this kid when he comes up in all league formats.

With the injury to Uehara, the Orioles may be bringing up one of their top prospects in Chris Tillman. So far this season Tillman is 6-5 with a 2.69 ERA and has fanned 82 batters in 80.1 innings. The Orioles are loaded with young arms with Jake Arrieta, Chris Tillman and Brian Matusz getting ready in the Minors.

During the All-Star Break, the 2009 Futures Game will be played in St. Louis. The Futures Game is meant to bring the best up and coming talent in the minors together in a USA vs. the World format. Per the rules of the Futures Game, each MLB team must have at least 1 player and the max per team is 2 prospects. I think that the 2 max is too restrictive as some teams have more the 2 "Future Stars" and some don't have any. The two biggest players that were left off the the US roster were Buster Posey and Justin Smoak. Posey was left off because the World Team needed a 1B and they selected Giants prospect Angel Villalona and Madison Bumgarner was a no-brainer for the US which gave the 2 prospects already in the game. Smoak has left off becuase he had an injured oblique when the teams were selected. The US pitching staff is loaded with Bumgarner, Drabek, Latos, Matusz, Parker and the above mentioned Chris Tillman. You can view the full rosters for the Futures Game here. You can listen to Minor League Notebook's podcast previewing the Futures Game here.

While listening to Bill Simmon's podcast with guest Keith Law, they mentioned that since Albert didn't hit in the Minors makes his listed age of 29 more believable. They has been speculation that Albert is 5 years older and that would have made him 25 when he spent his only season in the Minors. Phat Albert hit .314 with 19 HRs, 96 RBIs, .920 OPS and an impressive 46:47 BB:K ratio and he was only 20 years old in his only season in the Minor Leagues. I am not sure how those numbers are considered to be "not hitting". So far in 2009, Pujols is hitting .336 with 31 HRs, 82 RBIs, 64:34 BB:K ratio and an OPS of 1.208 in 81 games. Pujols is leading the league in Runs,HR, RBIs, BB, OBP, SLG, OPS, IBB and Total Bases. Pujols has 30 more BBs then Ks and has only 3 more Ks then HR. I don't care how old this Latin beast is and I plan to ride his un-documented ass to a NFBC title!

Other News:
Wang is injured again
Alex Gordon goes 1-3 in AAA rehab game

Friday, July 3, 2009

Albertin Chapman Defects from Cuba

While the Cuban National Team was playing the Netherlands, Chapman left his team and is on his way to Miami. Now that he has defected from Cuba he will be availble to the highest MLB bidder. In order for Chapman to avoid the draft and become a free agent, he must establish legal residency in a country outside of the U.S. or Cuba. Chapman will be the most sought after FA this off season with his fastball being clocked in the 100's, being 21 years old and that he throws from the left side. Below are articles about Chapman:

Fangraphs article about Chapman
Yahoo article on Chapman

Scott Boras is up to his usual antics as he is saying that Strasburg may play in Japan to achieve his mega payday in 2010 by avoiding the draft.

Video of Albertin Chapman from the WBC

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Posey to Skip AA and Alonso Breaks Hand

Buster Posey may not be teaming up Bumgarner and Alderson in AA becuase it is being reported that Posey is going to bypass AA and gostraight to AAA Fresno. So far this season Posey is .328 with 11 HR and an impressive 36:39 BB:K ratio whhile hitting .458 in last 10 games. It is now certain that Posey will be the starting catcher for SF in 2010 as Molina will be a type A free agent but SF may not want to risk offering him arbitration. Phillies fans can relate to this when they offered Arb to Polanco with Utley waiting in the wings and he accepted the offe. The giants have some real good looking young talent with Lincecum, Sanchez, Cain, Posey, Alderson and Bumgarner. With expectations that Posey will be starting next seaon I expect to see him the September when the rosters expand.

Quote from the Mucats Website:
"Yonder Alonso has been placed on the seven-day disabled list with a broken hamate bone in his right hand. Alonso suffered the injury taking a swing on a 3-0 fastball in the second game of yesterday's doubleheader against Tennessee. Alonso will be further assessed in the coming few days to determine the course of action for healing and rehabilitation. There has been no timetable set for Alonso's return as of yet. Alonso was the Reds' first round pick (#8 overall) in last year's draft, and entered the season as Cincinnati's top-ranked prospect by Baseball America. Alonso left the Florida State League leading the circuit in RBI while hitting .302 with seven home runs. In Alonso's time with the Mudcats, he was hitting .246 with one homer and eight RBI, although his numbers didn't adequately reflect how well he was hitting the ball."

The Cincy paper is saying that Alonso is out for 6 weeks

Smoak Returns with a Bang
Justin Smoak returned to action on June 21st and went 3-3 with 2 HRs. His rehab assignment was in the Arizona Rookie League but he has since returned to AA. So far this season Smoak is hitting .344/.460/.563 with a 33:32 BB:K ratio. When you combine the blistering start from Smoak with the embarrasing antics of Chris Davis who is hitting .196 with 102 Ks in 225 ABs you get yourself a new 1B in Arlington. The only people who want Davis to stay in the Majors is Adam Dunn and Ryan Howard.