Joe Panik
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In 651 at bats to start his big league career, San Francisco Giants’ second baseman Joe Panik compiled 201 hits for a .309 batting average. During those 173 games he scored 90 runs, hit 37 doubles and nine home runs and drove in 55 runs. For what amounts to just about a full season, those are pretty solid numbers.
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Last year things went south. In 127 games and 464 at bats Panik finished with 111 hits for a .239 batting average. He scored 67 runs, hit ten home runs and drove in 62 runs. Those numbers certainly put him off the fantasy radar.
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There are some reasons to believe that he could turn it around in 2017. He suffered a concussion last year that sent him to the disabled list. He contributes that concussion and issues with his vision to his season statistically spiraling down the drain. On June 25th he was batting .259 with 45 runs, seven home runs and 36 RBI. He went on the disabled list with those concussions symptoms. When he returned he hit .215 over 57 games with 22 runs, three home runs and 26 RBI.
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Panik has been doing eye exercises during the offseason to restore his vision. It’s obviously difficult to hit the ball when you can’t see the ball. With his eyes back in order, that should help Panik return to form.
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Panik’s luck should also be better in 2017. His batting average on balls in play (BABIP) was .245 in 2016, which is a far cry from his .343 and .330 marks he had in his first two seasons. Should he bounce back, even to the .300 mark his batting average should see a nice jump.
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Panik still isn’t a starting caliber fantasy baseball second baseman as he doesn’t offer any power or speed numbers. He should be a decent middle infield option or bench depth. Panik should help your batting average (.370 college hitter, .294 minor league hitter, .280 MLB hitter). He has hit .285 against lefties and .278 against righties so he’s fairly safe to roll out almost regardless of matchup.


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Freddy Sanchez has seven hits in his first fifteen at bats, which is good for a .467 batting average. He has scored three runs, smacked a home run, and collected three RBI. That begs the question, is he just a fast starter or is he for real?
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Sanchez’s career monthy numbers look like this:
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  • April:  .281 batting average, .745 OPS
  • May:  .314, .768
  • June:  .289, .725
  • July:  .263, .658
  • August:  .333, .854
  • September:  .305, .755

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His career batting average is .299 and his career OPS is .752. The past three years his numbers have been:
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  • April:  .272, .704
  • May:  .296, .749
  • June:  .255, .658
  • July:  .239, .570
  • August:  .329, .826
  • September:  .316, .775

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He is just a steady producer. He won’t know  your socks off, but he can certainly hit for average. He’s not a guy that gets out of the gates quick and then fades. He historically has had a little dip in July before finishing strong.
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His main concern is his durability. Sanchez played in 111 games in each of the past two years. He played in 145 and 147 in his previous two seasons. He’ll never be the player he was in 2006 when he broke on the scene hitting .344 with 85 runs and 85 RBI, but he’s a solid middle infield option and backup second baseman. He’s not going to continue to hit .400+, but he’s a strong be to finish the month with a batting average north of .300.


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Brandon Belt will start the season as the Giants’ starting first basemen. The promising young star hit .319 and .323 in his two years at the University of Texas. He tore up Single-A+ pitching to the tune of a .383 batting average and a 1.120 OPS last year. He jumped to Double-A Richmond and continued to produce hitting .337 with a 1.036 OPS. He wasn’t as successful with Triple-A Fresno hitting .229, but managed a .956 OPS. His combined numbers over the three levels are .352, 99 runs, 23 HR, 112 RBI, and 22 stolen bases in 492 at bats.
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He hasn’t let up this spring hitting .282 with ten runs, three HRs, 13 RBI, and two SBs in 71 at bats. The question is whether on not his hot hitting can carry over the regular season. Given the way he’s handled himself with the bat at every level he has played, I wouldn’t put it past him. If you’re looking for some a player on your waiver wire with big upside, consider Belt.

Click here to enter the 2011 Fantasy Baseball Team Name Contest
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Pablo Sandoval was one of the most disappointing players in all of baseball last year. He went from posting a .330-79-25-90-5 line to a .268-61-13-63-3 one. His slugging percentage dropped from .556 to .409, his OPS from .943 to .732. In short, it was a disaster. Sure, he won a World Series ring, but that did no give his fantasy owners any solace.
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Things should turn around for Kung Fu Panda in 2011 though. He has lost nearly 40 pounds in the offseason. He is by no means a scrawny little thing, but losing that weight should pay big dividends. He should be quicker on the basepaths. He should be much better at avoiding fatigue. He’s still has enough mass to hit for power.
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Not only did he lose a bunch of weight, but he should be more sound mentally and emotionally. Last year Panda went through a bitter divorce. It’s hard to measure how much of a toll it took, but Sandoval struggled with it. Shortly after the divorce was final, Panda had easily his best month of the season. He hit .312 in August with six home runs and 16 RBI.
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His struggles would return in September as he hit .207, but I’m convinced he’ll be more prepared mentally and physically in 2011. He also worked with Barry Bonds this winter to improve his approach at the plate. Say what you want about Barry, but he was one of the fiercest batters in baseball history.
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You won’t have to use as early a pick on Panda either this year. His average draft position, according to Mock Draft Central, is 139, which is 12th highest among third basemen. Given that the position is so shallow, getting a player who can hit .300+ with 20+ HRs in the 12th round is an absolute steal.
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There are few players that can bounce back as far as Panda can. I’m sold on the rebound. How about you?
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Also check out:

 

With Stephen Strasburg set to make his anticipated debut tomorrow, I figured I’d throw a fun question out there. Who will finish the season with more wins…Matt Cain or Stephen Strasburg?

 

Cain has a four win lead, but has notoriously eluded wins despite having solid peripherals. He averaged just 10.5 wins from 2006-2009 despite also averaging 174.8 strikeouts, a 3.60 ERA, and a 1.27 WHIP. On the year Cain is 4-4 with a 2.36 and a 1.00 WHIP.

 

Meanwhile Strasburg, who has two winnable games this week against Pittsburgh and Cleveland, has been untouchable at every level. He was 1-0 with a 2.00 ERA, 1.00 WHIP, and 12 Ks in 9 spring innings. He was 3-1 with a 1.64 ERA, a 0.86 WHIP, and 27 Ks in 22 innings for Double-A Harrisburg and 4-1 with a 1.08 ERA, a 0.75 WHIP, and 38 Ks in 33-1/3 innings for Triple-A Syracuse.

 

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Barry Zito had a revival or sorts last year. After struggling with a combined 21-30 record with a 4.83 ERA, he rebounded with a 10-13 record and a 4.03 ERA. Perhaps even more impressive were the 154 strikeouts, which were the most for Zito since 2005.

He was brilliant from mid-July through August with a 4-2 record and a 1.92 ERA. He had 45 strikeouts in 56.3 innings (7.2 K/9). 

Things aren’t all peachy though as he closed out 1-2 with a 4.55 ERA. Even with a few rough outings down the stretch, to go along with a rough April and June, there were positives to take away from Zito’s 2009 season.

I don’t see him bouncing back to pre-San Francisco Giants numbers, but I do think he can be used as a spot starter. I wouldn’t necessarily draft him, but I would monitor him. He was streaky last year, and if he shows signs of heating up, go ahead and ride him while he’s hot.

Prediction:  11-14, 4.10 ERA, 1.40 WHIP, 140 Ks

Past profiles:
Arizona Diamondbacks:  Brandon Webb
Atlanta Braves: Yunel Escobar
Baltimore Orioles:  Adam Jones
Boston Red Sox:  Clay Buchholz
Chicago Cubs:  Geovany Soto
Chicago White Sox:  Jake Peavy
Cincinnati Reds:  Joey Votto
Cleveland Indians:  Grady Sizemore
Colorado Rockies: Ubaldo Jimenez
Detroit Tigers: Miguel Cabrera
Florida Marlins: Cameron Maybin
Houston Astros: Lance Berkman
Kansas City Royals: Billy Butler
Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim: Howie Kendrick
Los Angeles Dodgers: James Loney
Milwaukee Brewers: Corey Hart
Minnesota Twins: Joe Nathan
New York Mets: Jason Bay
New York Yankees: Robinson Cano
Oakland A’s: Kevin Kouzmanoff
Philadelphia Phillies: Jimmy Rollins
Pittsburgh Pirates: Octavio Dotel
San Diego Padres: Everth Cabrera

Now an early look at the NL West.

1. Will Chris Young continue to regress?
I’m not sure his average can dip any lower than .212 so I would expect that number to rise. Even if he gets up to his pathetic .235 career average, he’s useless unless he can get the HRs and SBs back. The problem is he didn’t steal a base after June last year. He did have 8 HRs in 108 September/October ABs (13.5 AB/HR). His numbers should be better than last year, but without a guarantee that he’ll get to at least a 20-20 level, I can’t justify taking on his average.


2. Can Troy Tulowitzki follow up his monster year with another one?

Absolutely. While he set the bar high with his .297, 101 Run, 32 HR, 92 RBI, 20 SB season, he already had a similar season in 2007. He absolutely punished the ball after the All-Star Break hitting .344 with 52 Runs, 16 HRs, 55 RBIs, and 9 SBs in 259 ABs. If he can get off to a better start, he should easily have his best average to date. He should also have more Runs and RBIs. He hit a fair share of HRs and destroyed his previous SB total. I’m not sure he increases in either category. In fact, I expect him to steal fewer bases in 2010.

3. Will Jorge de la Rosa be a solid fantasy option in 2010?
I have no doubts that he’ll continue to rack up the strikeouts. He has averaged 9.17 K/9 the past two seasons. He was 0-6 through May and went 16-3 the rest of the way. What really impressed me though is how he got his ERA (3.39) & WHIP (1.29) in order after June. You may be able to get him at a value because of the Coors Field stigma placed on pitchers.


4. Will Manny Being Manny mean better numbers this year?

Manny started on fire, got suspended for steroids, and wasn’t nearly the same hitter when he returned. He still managed to hit 19 HRs in 352 ABs (18.5). What suffered the most was his batting average. He hit just .229 in September. He’ll turn 38 in the beginning of the year, and I have a hard time believing he’ll ever be that .320, 35, 120 guy ever again. He’ll still put up good numbers. He’s too good of a hitter not to, but make sure when you draft him, you’re not drafting him on name value.

5. Is Clayton Kershaw ready to become a star?
Kershaw did everything you would want out of a pitcher last year except win. His ERA (.279), WHIP (1.23), strikeouts (185), K/9 ratio (9.74), and BAA (.200) were all very impressive. However he managed to go just 8-8. With numbers like that, the Wins are bound to come. With a little more luck, he could double his win output in 2010.

6. Can Kyle Blanks hit 30 HRs this year for the Padres?
Blanks was impressive at times last year hitting 10 HRs in 148 ABs. While his foot should be healed for the upcoming season, I’m afraid 30 HRs may be too tall an order for the young slugger. Had he got more seasoning last year, it would improve his odds, but I still think he’s a long shot to hit even 25 HRs.


7. Will Adrian Gonzalez get traded?

Doubtful. He’s only due $10.25 million over the next two years. They still need to put butts in the seats so don’t look for Adrian to be gone anytime soon.

8. Will Matt Cain be overpriced in 2010?
Probably. If you’re drafting him on the 2.89 ERA he posted last year, you’re probably looking for trouble. While I think he should post a solid ERA, it will likely be at least a half a run higher in 2010. Even as brilliantly as he pitched last year he managed to win just 14 games. Even Tim Lincecum managed just 15 wins last year. The Giants just don’t have the horses on offense to win a bunch of ball games. What you’ll get is a guy who wins around 13 games, with a 3.30ish ERA, 1.25ish WHIP, and 180 Ks, which likely won’t justify where he’ll be drafted.

Images courtesy of Icon SMI

SPORTS BASEBALL

New York Mets ace Johan Santana joins the long line of injured Mets players.  Carlos Beltran, Jose Reyes, David Wright, the list goes on.  It’s staggering.  Now their ace is gone for the year.  Where does that leave you as your fantasy team winds down?  In a big hole, that’s where.  If you are fantasy team is unlike the Mets and still in the chase, you’ve got to find a way to somehow replace the lost production.  Obviously, you aren’t getting someone to slide in without missing a beat.  Here are some options guys who have pitched well the past month:

Derek Holland, Texas Rangers – 4 Wins, 28 Ks, 1.85 ERA, 0.91 WHIP
Ownership:  63% Yahoo! Plus, 25% Yahoo! Public, 7.6% ESPN, 62% CBS

Barry Zito, San Francisco Giants – 2 Wins, 28 Ks, 2.08 ERA, 1.18 WHIP
Ownership:  61% Yahoo! Plus, 26% Yahoo! Public, 12.2% ESPN, 67% CBS

Tommy Hunter, Texas Rangers – 4 Wins, 26 Ks, 3.38 ERA, 1.18 WHIP
Ownership:  76% Yahoo! Plus, 37% Yahoo! Public, 11% ESPN, 69% CBS

Bronson Arroyo, Cincinnati Reds – 1 Win, 21 Ks, 2.23 ERA, 1.08 WHIP
Ownership:  44% Yahoo! Plus, 24% Yahoo! Public, 23.2% ESPN, 71% CBS

Ross Ohlendorf, Pittsburgh Pirates – 3 Wins, 20 Ks, 2.56 ERA, 1.26 WHIP
Ownership:  24% Yahoo! Plus, 10% Yahoo! Public, 3.9% ESPN, 39% CBS

Freddy Sanchez Giants
San Francisco Second Baseman Freddy Sanchez also landed on the DL because of a strained shoulder that has kept him out of action for seven games.  The move was made retroactive to August 18th, meaning he’s eligible to come off the DL next Wednesday, September 2nd.  Sanchez isn’t nearly the loss that Johan is, but there are options (with 2B eligibility) to plug in while he’s out.  Past month’s stats listed.

Howie Kendrick, Los Angeles Angels – .317, 12 Runs, 3 HRs, 17 RBIs, 1 SB
Ownership:  49% Yahoo! Plus, 48% Yahoo! Public, 69.7% ESPN, 42% CBS

Mark Ellis, Oakland A’s – .364, 18 Runs, 2 HRs, 22 RBIs, 2 SBs
Ownership:  25% Yahoo! Plus, 15% Yahoo! Public, 8.2% ESPN, 21% CBS

Eugenio Velez, San Francisco Giants – .300, 19 Runs, 3 HRs, 16 RBIs, 3 SBs
Ownership: 14% Yahoo! Plus, 4% Yahoo! Public, 2.9% ESPN, 8% CBS

Chris Coghlan, Florida Marlins – .366, 16 Runs, 2 HRs, 14 RBIs, 1 SB
Ownership:  57% Yahoo! Plus, 24% Yahoo! Public, 17.4% ESPN, 56% CBS

Ronnie Belliard, Washington Nationals – .387, 15 Runs, 3 HRs, 13 RBIs, 2 SBs
Ownership:  3% Yahoo! Plus, 2% Yahoo! Public, 1.3% ESPN, 2% CBS

Luis Castillo, New York Mets – .365, 15 Runs, 1 HR, 10 RBIs, 4 SBs
Ownership:  26% Yahoo! Plus, 11% Yahoo! Public, 11% ESPN, 27% CBS

Maicer Izturis, Los Angeles Angels – .286, 16 Runs, 3 HRs, 17 RBIs, 2 SBs
Ownership:  56% Yahoo! Plus, 28% Yahoo! Public, 5.6% ESPN, 28% CBS

Ryan Roberts, Arizona Diamondbacks – .341, 10 Runs, 4 HRs, 10 RBIs, 2 SBs
Ownership:  10% Yahoo! Plus, 2% Yahoo! Public, 1.3% ESPN, 6% CBS

Adam Kennedy, Oakland As – .276, 8 Runs, 3 HRs, 13 RBIs, 5 SBs
Ownership:  46% Yahoo! Plus, 21% Yahoo! Public, 8.2% ESPN, 44% CBS

Alexi Casilla, Minnesota Twins – .340, 14 Runs, 9 RBIs, 4 SBs
Ownership: 2% Yahoo! Plus, 3% Yahoo! Public, 0.9% ESPN, 4% CBS

Images courtesy of Icon SMI


Written by
Eric Stashin the Rotoprofessor

The San Francisco Giants have reportedly acquired Ryan Garko from the Cleveland Indians for Single-A pitcher Scott Barnes, according to Anthony Castrovince of mlb.com (click here for the article).

Garko has hit .285 with 11 HR and 39 RBI over 239 AB this season, though he had been significantly better then that in July, hitting .343 with 3 HR and 7 RBI in 70 AB.  He provides an improvement for the Giants at first base, where Travis Ishikawa had been the main man at the position, but only a marginal one. 

Garko’s value is not going to increase much, if at all, thanks to the move.  He is what he is at this point, so look at him as nothing more than a corner infielder in the deepest of formats, but not much past that. 

The fallout in Cleveland is much more intriguing.  The main question is, who’s on first?  Victor Martinez is likely to see increased time there initially (he played there yesterday, though, keep in mind that he has been rumored to be dealt as well), which will open up more playing time for Kelly Shoppach.  While Shoppach has struggled thus far this season, in 2008 he showed that he was capable of producing with regular at bats.  He hit .273 with 14 HR and 35 AB in 187 AB second half at bats, so those in two-catcher formats could see a nice little boost in the short-term.

I say short-term, because Martinez may not see regular playing time at first base for long.  Matt LaPorta has been seeing at bats at first in Triple-A and could be recalled at any time so the team can see what it is they have in him.  While he struggled earlier this season in the majors, batting .191 in 42 AB, he has significantly more then that to give.  At Triple-A he’s hitting .301 with 13 HR and 49 RBI.

If he wasn’t currently struggling, he’d likely be the player recalled, but in his last ten games he’s hitting just .229.  He could have value in all formats this season, so keep an eye on him.

As far as the pitcher the Indians received, Barnes was ranked as the Giants ninth best prospect prior to the 2009 season by Baseball America, crediting him for the systems best change-up.  The lefty has gone 12-3 with a 2.85 ERA and 99 K over 98 innings at Single-A thus far this season.  Obviously, he’s not going to make an immediate impact, but a year or two down the line is a different story.  Keep the name filed in the back of your mind.

So, what do you think of the deal?  Who is the biggest winner?  Is it Garko?  LaPorta?  Shoppach?  Someone else? 

Jonathan Sanchez
Image courtesy of Icon SMI

San Francisco’s Jonathan Sanchez made history tonight throwing a no-hitter against San Diego.  Sanchez struck out 11 Padres en route to his no-no.  Only a Juan Uribe 8th Inning error kept Sanchez from throwing a Perfect Game as he did not issue any Walks.  77 of his 110 pitches went for strikes.

Sanchez improved to just 3-8 on the year with a 4.69 ERA, a 1.50 WHIP, and 79 Ks in 78-2/3 Innings.  He got the start because Randy Johnson went on the DL.


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