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Colby Lewis has give up four or more runs in six of his sixteen starts. He’s either real good or real bad. There hasn’t been much middle ground this year. He’s been a seesaw this year, alternating good and bad months.
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Lewis had a 5.70 ERA in April. He followed it up with a sparkling 2.43 ERA in May. June was another disaster, as noted by his 5.81 ERA for the month.
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One thing you can count on Colby for his strikeouts. He has 83 in 100 innings on the year. He’s had at least six strikeouts in  half of his starts. He’s really dialed it up of last, racking up 24 strikeouts over 20-1/3 innings over his past three starts.
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Colby is best used on the road against predominantly right-handed hitters. His road ERA (3.19) is almost three full runs lower than his home mark (6.13). Lefties are  hitting .316 against him with a .987 ERA. While he’s serving up batting practice to lefties, he’s been tough on right-handed batters to the tune of a .185 BAA with a .545 OPS.
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If you pick your spots with Colby, you should be in pretty good shape the rest of the way. It’s just too bad that he isn’t a National League pitcher. In interleague play he was 2-1 with a 2.00 ERA. His next start comes on the Fourth at home against Baltimore. He’s been rock solid his past three starts, but tread carefully.
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Kinsler got out of the gate early slugging a home run in his first three games. He hit his fourth by April 10th. He hit his fifth on April 22nd and has gone 26 games without hitting another one. His power drought isn’t the only concern.
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Obviously the first thing that comes to mind when you think of Ian Kinsler is his injury history. He has played in 43 of 45 games so far, which puts him on pace for 154 games. He’s never played 145 games in a season so the threat of  trip to the D.L. is legitimate.
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Now that we discussed the elephant in the room (injuries), there is also a hippo in the room (his average). Kinlser has batted .263 and .253 in the past so his 2011 .228 average through March 20th doesn’t come as a huge shock. While it is still far below his lifetime average of .278, he has at times struggled at the plate.
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His BABIP is just .231. Last year it was .313, but in 2009 it was .241. From 2006-2008 it was .304, .279, and .334. Clearly his history suggests that a higher BABIP for the remainder of the season is more likely, it wouldn’t be the first time that he turned in a stinker in this sabermetric.
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An encouraging sign is his reduced strikeout rate (12.0 percent), which is down from 14.6 percent last year and 13.6 percent in 2009. It’s the lowest rate he has had in the big leagues.
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Depite his struggles, Kinsler is still on pace to score 87 runs, hit 18 HRs, knock in 61 runs, and swipe 29 bases. If his luck and average can improve, those numbers could all increase.
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It will still take a nice haul to land Kinsler, but his asking price may be as low as it gets. He’s hitless in his past 16 at bats and is batting .219 for the month. If you’re looking to add some pop and/or speed to your lineup it’s worth looking into a trade of Kinsler.
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By Brandon Berg, EE Sports World
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Josh Hamilton just recently suffered a fracture in his upper right arm, an injury that will sideline him for 6-8 weeks. Afterwards, there has been a little controversy as to whether the play was a stupid play or not. Hamilton:
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“I listened to my third-base coach,” Hamilton said. “That’s a little too aggressive. The whole time I was watching the play I was listening. [He said] ‘Nobody’s at home, nobody’s at home.’ I was like, ‘Dude, I don’t want to do this. Something’s going to happen.’ But I listened to my coach. And how do you avoid a tag the best? By going in headfirst and get out of the way and get in there. That’s what I did.”

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So basically, it would appear that Hamilton is blaming his third base coach for his fractured arm. Third base coach Dave Anderson had this to say:
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“There was nobody covering home plate, so we tried to steal a run there,” Anderson said. “He made a pretty good play. That’s a tough play for a catcher, running away and shovel pass and try to tag a guy. There was an opportunity with two outs and we tried to take advantage of it.”

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Later, General Manager Jon Daniels responded as well:
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“I have absolutely no issue with Dave sending him,” Daniels said. “We play an aggressive style of baseball. We run. We take the extra base. The chances of getting hurt on that play are minimal. I’ve encouraged Dave to keep being aggressive.”

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Well, well. I’m sure we have all seen the play by now, so the question remains. Was this a “stupid” play? I say we break down the play.
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Adrian Beltre was up to the plate and fouled off a pitch into foul territory. Catcher Victor Martinez and third baseman Brandon Inge took off after the ball in an attempt to catch it and claim the out. Anderson told Hamilton to tag up and go, as Martinez and Inge were both fairly far away from the plate and Tigers pitcher Brad Penny failed to cover home, instead hanging around at the mound as a spectator.
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It appeared to me that Martinez and Inge were far enough from the plate in order to make a reasonable attempt to steal home. It might not have been a high percentage play, but going back to Daniels’ comment, they like to be aggressive and aggressive fits the bill in this situation.
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Once Inge caught the pop up, Hamilton tagged and headed straight for home at the same time that Martinez ran back to the plate and caught the throw from Inge and tagged Hamilton out just before he got to the plate as Hamilton slid head first into home.
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There are a couple issues with this. First off, there can be an argument made that Hamilton shouldn’t have gone because the play was too close to the plate. Again, I go back to Daniels’ comment and rest my case.
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The second issue is that Hamilton slid head first, which many people seem to be having a problem with. Let’s get this straight.
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Hamilton sliding head first into the bag was not a particularly poor decision. It is not like he was sliding into the feet of a catcher. Martinez tagged him from the side. Going head first allowed Hamilton to go slightly to the side without going off the base path and gave himself an opportunity to have a clear visual of home plate and where he had to touch.
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Unfortunately for Hamilton, he had an awkward slide and messed up his arm. Like I said, he was not sliding into the shin pads of Martinez, but off to the side, making it a smart slide. One thing he could have done, though, is the hook slide, but that would’ve taken more time and he likely would have been out by much more.
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The main factor in this play is Martinez’s awareness to get back to home. Make it a half second later and Martinez might not have tagged out Hamilton, making the play successful.
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If Hamilton was safe, would you still be complaining that it was a poor decision, providing he still fractured his right arm?
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Looking at it all, Anderson took a chance by sending Hamilton home, where Martinez tagged him off to the side, which is typically a low risk for injury type play, but it just so happens that Hamilton managed an awkward slide and hurt himself.
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That brings up another variable to the equation, Hamilton’s injury history. Hamilton has missed games due to seven different injuries in the last three years. He played 89 games in 2009 and 133 in 2010. I don’t think Hamilton should be considered fragile, but definitely more susceptible to injury than the average player.
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Put yourself in Dave Anderson’s shoes for a second. You want to make this play by getting Hamilton home, but is the fact that Hamilton has had a few injury concerns hold you back in the heat of the moment, especially when Hamilton does not exactly have the injury prone tag placed on him quite yet? He has only had one season with the Rangers so far where he has missed a considerable amount of games, the other two he has remained pretty healthy for the most part.
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In my estimation, neither Hamilton or Anderson made a bad decision, rather it was an unfortunate way to shut Hamilton down for 6-8 weeks.

 | Posted by | Categories: MLB | Tagged: Josh Hamilton, MLB, Texas Rangers |


Will Neftali Feliz be a starter or a closer?

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With the Rangers seriously considering using Neftali Feliz as a starter, Alexi Ogando could end up as the Rangers’ closer. While Feliz would still have plenty of value as a starter, Ogando is a low risk/huge reward option in fantasy drafts taking place before the situation is resolved. Ogando was excellent last year for the Rangers going 4-1 with a 1.30 ERA and 1.13WHIP. He struck out 39 batters in 41-2/3 innings. He did walk 16 batters though. Ogando hasn’t pitched well this spring as he’s sporting a 5.19 ERA, 1.62 WHIP, and .333 BAA. When you’re taking a flier on a guy in the late rounds of your fantasy draft, you should take a gamble on Ogando. If he lands the closer gig, you just got yourself a great bargain. If not, you can drop him for a player that is  hot out of the gate.

Click here to enter the 2011 Fantasy Baseball Team Name Contest
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With 34 stolen bases in 183 games, it would be reasonable to believe that Julio Borbon would in fact be a good source for stolen bases in 2011. However, he wasn’t nearly as effective last year though as he had 15 SBs in 137 games (438 at bats) versus 19 in 46 games (157 ABs) in 2009.
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While I wouldn’t be stunned if he swiped thirty bases this year, I wouldn’t bank on it. He has a few things working against him. For starters, he isn’t patient enough at the plate. He worked just 19 walks in 468 plate appearances. He saw just 3.38 pitches per at bat. Even if he can return to the .300 level, his may not be on base as much as other speed options.
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Another thing working against him, and it should come as a surprise since he’s a lefty, but he struggled against lefties hitting just .247. David Murphy, also a lefty and who he’ll likely split time with hit .272 against southpaws. Murphy also hit .298 against righties, whereas Borbon hit .284 so don’t expect Borbon to always get the start against righties. While Murphy doesn’t possess the speed that Borbon does, he did manage 14 stolen bases last year. Plus, if the playoffs are an indication, Murphy had 27 at bats to Borbon’s nine. Any way you slice it, it looks like it’s going to be a pretty even share. The saving grace is the fact that Josh Hamilton and Nelson Cruz have a tendency to get hurt, which should allow both outfielders to get extra at bats.
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Borbon won’t take much of an investment, as his ADP, according to Mock Draft Central, is 280. Still, if you wish to acquire his services he’ll take up a roster spot. Perhaps he’ll be a terror on the basepaths. I just think there are better options available.
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What’s your take? Do you like Julio Borbon in 2011?
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Adrian Beltre Out a Month?

26 February 2011


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Sports Illustrated’s Jon Heyman tweeted “have heard adrian beltre could be out a month, making initial report of 10-14 days a tad optimistic.” If Beltre’s calf strain keeps him out that long, he is a strong bet to start the season slow. I currently have him as the 7th ranked third baseman (click to see 3B rankings). At this point I’ll keep him in that slot, but will drop him if his injury lingers. I still like Beltre’s upside because of Texas’ potent offense.

 | Posted by | Categories: fantasy baseball, MLB | Tagged: Adrian Beltre, MLB, Texas Rangers |

Mike Napoli Traded to Texas

25 January 2011


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I hope you didn’t run out and buy a Mike Napoli Blue Jays jersey as he was already shipped off to Texas in exchange for Frank Francisco.
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Napoli should be penciled into the Rangers’ lineups a great deal playing catcher, first base, and designated hitter for the defending American League champions. With his power, that lineup, and that ballpark I bumped him up to six in my catcher rankings.
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Francisco, who lost the closer role to Neftali Feliz, will likely close for the Jays and should be on fantasy radars.

Texas Rangers slugger Nelson Cruz has started the year on fire hitting .323 with 12 runs, 7 HRs, and 17 RBIs. The only thing that can slow him down is his body. He landed on the 15-day DL with a hamstring strain. He was expected to have a good year, but not to carry fantasy teams. You’ll have to make do without him for a couple of weeks. Craig Gentry got the call. Gentry is more of a speedster than a power hitter. He had 49 SBs last year for Double-A Frisco. He was hitting .293 with 12 runs, 2 HRs, 12 RBIs, and 5 SBs for Triple-A Oklahoma City. David Murphy and Gentry figure to share the ABs. Neither is a great fantasy option.

 

Oakland will be without Brett Anderson as well. The talented young southpaw landed on the DL, retroactive to April 25th, with a forearm strain. Anderson is off to a fast start with a 1-1 record, a 2.35 ERA, 1.04 WHIP, and 17 Ks in 23 innings. Chad Gaudin could take his spot in the rotation, but offers little fantasy value.


Image courtesy of Icon SMI

Chris Davis is a player that everybody clamored for last year. Why wouldn’t you? He hit .285 with 51 runs, 17 HRs, and 55 RBIs in 80 games as a rookie in 2008.

Then came a disastrous 2009 season. He let down fantasy owners hitting .238 with 48 runs, 21 HRs, and 59 RBIs. It was so bad that he was sent down to Triple-A Oklahoma City.

He didn’t let the demotion get to him though hitting .327 with 6 HRs, and 30 RBIs in 44 games. He then salvaged the season upon returning to the Rangers hitting .308 with 17 runs, 6 HRs, and 26 RBIs in his last 36 games.

Unfortunately his power took a slight hit as he rebounded. After averaging a HR every 17.4 ABs as a rookie, and every 17.2 in the first half of 2009 despite hitting .202. That number rose to 22.2 in the last 36 games, but worth the trade-off considering he got things back in order.

Where he was overvalued last year, he’s undervalued this year. He’s a great choice for a backup 1B or to fill your CI slot.

Prediction:  .270, 80 runs, 27 HRs, 85 RBIs

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
San Francisco Giants:  Barry Zito
Seattle Mariners:  Franklin Gutierrez
St. Louis Cardinals:  Colby Rasmus
Tampa Bay Rays:  David Price

RP4
Written by
Eric Stashin the Rotoprofessor

The Rangers have proven that they are willing to push their pitching prospects, as evidenced by their usage of both Derek Holland and Neftali Feliz at the Major League level in 2009.  The next pitcher who could follow suit is 18-year old Martin Perez (he’ll turn 19 on April 4).

They pushed him to Double-A last season, where he did struggle in five starts (5.57 ERA, 14 K in 21 IP), but he was extremely successful in his time at Single-A:

5 Wins
93.2 Innings
2.31 ERA
1.23 WHIP
105 Strikeouts (10.09 K/9)
33 Walks (3.17 BB/9)
.332 BABIP

What You Need To Know:

  • Those 93.2 innings were comprised of 14 starts and 8 relief appearances.  It’s very possible that if he does make his Major League debut in 2010, he’ll be used as a relief pitcher, much like Neftali Feliz was in ‘09.
  • He’s a left handed pitcher, which has helped add to the comparisons to Johan Santana that people have been making.
  • He was undrafted, signed as a free agent out of Venezuela.
  • Baseball America recently ranked him as the third best prospect in the Rangers organization (behind Feliz and Justin Smoak) saying, “Perez is more often compared to Johan Santana nowadays for his size, delivery, moxie and electric arm. He attacks hitters with a 91-95 mph fastball, and he’s still maturing physically, so he could throw hard. He has exceptional feel for his sharp 1-to-7 curveball, which he can add and subtract from at will, throwing it anywhere from 68-81 mph. He has an uncommon ability to manipulate the ball in a wide variety of ways.”
  • MLB.com has him ranked as the #18 prospect overall.  He was quoted there as saying, “There is a little bit of pressure, but I control it. I have learned to just concentrate on the game and block everything else out. You have to. You can’t worry about what others are thinking, just focus on what you are there to do.”
  • The BABIP was extremely high at Single-A, so he certainly has the potential to pitch significantly better.
  • He combined with two relievers to throw a no-hitter in ‘09.  In that game he went four innings striking out six and walking three.
  • The control is something to watch, though at his age he clearly is still developing.  While he improved at Double-A (it was a small sample size), you don’t like seeing him walking that many in the low minors with his stuff.  However, part of it could be the Rangers insistence that he throws more change-ups (as per Baseball America).

Final Thoughts:
The comparisons to Johan Santana tells you all you need to know about his long-term potential, but at 19-years old, that’s all he really has right now.  Those in yearly leagues can easily ignore him, because even if he gets to the Majors, it’s likely to be just as a relief pitcher.  Dynasty League owners, however, can safely stash him away as he is among the elite pitching prospects in the game.

What do you think?  Will he live up to the hype?  How good could he be?

If you would like to see a free preview of the Rotoprofessor 2010 Fantasy Baseball Draft Guide (available for just $5), click here.


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