bautista_encarnacion1280-1040x572
.
It’s always fun to generate and debate lists. We’ll continue with the All-2000 to Present Blue Jays Lineup.
.
C – Greg Zaun
1B – Carlos Delgado
2B – Aaron Hill
3B – Edwin Encarnacion
SS – Jose Reyes
RF – Jose Bautista
LF – Shannon Stewart
CF – Vernon Wells
DH – Adam Lind
SP – Roy Halladay
SP – Roger Clemens
SP – A.J. Burnett
SP – Mark Buehrle
SP – Shaun Marcum
Closer – Roberto Osuna
.
Baltimore Orioles
Boston Red Sox
New York Yankees
Tampa Bay Rays

Chris Coghlan Blue Jays
.
With Josh Donaldson (calf) on the shelf for 2-4 weeks, Chris Coghlan has earned a pair of starts for the Toronto Blue Jays. In those starts he is one for five (.200) with an RBI.
.
Last year struggled hitting .188 with 35 runs, six home runs, 30 RBI and a pair of stolen bases. He was far more effective in 2015 with a .250-64-16-41-11 line.
.
Coghlan’s lone hit this year came against right-handed pitching (.250). Last year he hit .195 vs. righties and .120 against lefties. In 2015 he hit .264 against righties and .116 against lefties. Coghlan is a career .260 hitter (.268 against righties, .226 against lefties).
.
I would’t recommend picking him up in regular fantasy leagues, but he’s worth a look in daily games when he’s facing a mediocre right-handed pitcher.
.
Darwin Barney should also see some at bats. He’s hitting .455 (.500 against lefties and .400 against righties). Last year Barney hit .269 (.306 against lefties and .249 against righties). For his career the .250 batter is hitting .275 against lefties and .240 against righties.
.
Look for Barney to handle southpaws. He’s also only viable in daily fantasy leagues against mediocre lefties.
.
The way that Toronto is playing (2-10, 2.83 runs per game), I wouldn’t rush out to pick up either of them.


.
Morrow enters today’s game against Pittsburgh with a 3-4 record, a 4.90 ERA, a 1.37 WHIP, and 81 strikeouts in 68 innings. The WHIP isn’t terrible, but it’s not likely to lower your team’s mark. The win total and ERA are of little use as well. The only category that Morrow excels in is strikeouts. If you pick your spots, Morrow can be beneficial to your fantasy team.
.
For starters, be very careful when using Morrow at home. I was considering using him as my streaming option today (click to see who I chose), but a number stood out for me. That number is 8.13. No, I’m not talking about his strikeouts per nine innings. That’s actually 10.7. That 8.13 number represents his home ERA. Another unpleasant number is 1.71, which represents his home WHIP.
.
In Morrow’s defense, his home ERA took a pounding at the hands of Boston, Cleveland when they were hitting, Detroit, and Tampa Bay. I wouldn’t write him off completely at home though. Last year he was 8-1 with a 2.74 ERA at Rogers Centre. He only has one quality start in his six starts at home (four of six on the road) so I would like to see some proof that he can get the job done at home before I rely on him there. Perhaps Pittsburgh is the start of the turnaround, but I’m too chicken to take the risk.
.
Perhaps even more coincidental, but Morrow is 2-2 with a 3.48 ERA at night and 1-2 with a 7.09 ERA during the day. I wouldn’t go as far as his home/road splits in determining whether or not to start him, but it’s something to keep in mind.
.
If you’re looking for a sabermetric to hint for a return to numbers closer to last year, you have the wrong guy. Due to his high strikeout rate, his BABIP is generally going to be high. It was .342 last year and is .337 this year. His WHIP is actually a little lower, his BB/9 is lower, and his HR/9 and HR/FB are down. One area that he has regressed is his strand rate. Last year it was 69.0 percent and this year it’s at 63.5. If he can get out of the inning more frequently the ERA will come down.
.
We know what Morrow can do. He will help you significantly in the strikeout department. It’s a roll of the dice every time you start him, but if you are selective, you can minimize any damage he might cause.
.
.

Also check out:


.
Rotoworld
suggested that Brett Garnder, who has been leading off recently in spring training games for the New York Yankees, could start the season off in that slot. Gardner, who scored 97 runs in 569 plate appearances could challenge for the league lead in runs scored if he is hitting out of that slot. For starter, he sports a solid .383 on-base percentage. With his ability to get on base, along with his excellent base stealing ability, in the powerful Yankees lineup, 100+ runs seems like a certainty.
.
Furthermore, Gardner hit .344 with nobody on and nobody out. He hit .295 with the bases empty and just .255 with runners on. Brett lead off in 25 games last year, batting .290 with a .412 OBP.  Jeter stuggled hitting second last year (.157 average), but has spent the bulk of his career hitting second. The similarity of his numbers leading off and hitting second is staggering. Leading off Jeter is hitting .313 with a .385  OBP, .454 slugging percentage, and a .839 OPS. Out of the two-hole he’s hitting .314 with a .384 OBP, a .456 slugging percentage, and a .840 OPS.
.
Gardner spent the bulk of his ABs in the eighth and ninth slots. If he were to lead off he would see an increase in plate appearances, which would have a positive effect on his counting numbers. He would certainly be a great value with his current ADP of 180. Garnder is batting .270 this spring with four stolen bases.
.
The  Toronto Blue Jays are considering using speedster Rajai Davis at the top of their lineup as well. Davis stole 50 bases in 561 plate appearances last year. Like Gardner, Davis excelled with the bases empty hitting .302. Davis hit .291 leading off and .277 in the other spots in the batting order. If he leads off for the Blue Jays, Davis will be an extreme fantasy value according to his 237 ADP.
.
When you are getting ready for your fantasy baseball drafts keep in mind that we could be experiencing a stolen base renaissance with Jacoby Ellsbury, Brett Gardner, and Rajai Davis all looking to steal 60+ bases.


.
Are you the type of fantasy baseball player that doesn’t worry much about closers, figuring if you’re aggressive on the waiver wire you can get your share of saves? After all, John Axford had 24 saves last year, Chris Perez had 23, Alfredo Simon had 17, Juan Gutierrez had 15, and the list goes on.
.
If you are the type that employs this strategy, don’t overlook Jon Rauch as he’s the first temporary closer that can get you short-term saves. You remember him as the 6’11″ tattooed relief pitcher that saved 21 games for the Twins last year. He is with Toronto now, and thanks to injuries to Frank Francisco (pectoral) and Octavio Dotel (hamstring) he could start the season as the Blue Jays closer. Neither injury is considered serious so don’t expect a ton of saves from Rauch, bu the could be a nice late round addition that can give you a good short-term saves boost. If you have already drafted, he’s worth adding off the waiver wire.
.
.

Also check out:

Click here to enter the 2011 Fantasy Baseball Team Name Contest
.

.
J.P. Arencibia’s potential breakout season was almost jeopardized before the season started when the Blue Jays traded for Mike Napoli. Fortunately for the young slugger, Napoli was subsequently shipped off to Texas, restoring Arencibia’s fantasy value.
.
Arencibia failed to wow in his cup of coffee with the Jays last year. He hit just .143 (5 for 35) with three runs, a double, two home runs, and four RBI. He walked twice and struck out an alarming 11 times. With an on-base percentage, let alone average, below the Mendoza Line, I don’t blame you if you can’t bring yourself to trust the rookie in 2010. Just remember that you may be shying away from a good source of power.
.
Arencibia has a long history of the long ball. In his three seasons at the University of Tennessee, Arencibia hit 33 HRs in 690 at bats. He had an OPS of .913 in his first year with the Vols, a 1.002 OPS in his second year, and a .995 OPS in his final year. He struggled a touch in his first taste of professional baseball, hitting .254 with a .686 OPS for Single-A- Auburn Doubledays. He then hit .315 with a .904 OPS for Single-A+ Dunedin and .282 with a .798 OPS for Double-A New Hampshire. He struggled once again when he made the jump to Triple-A hitting .236 with a .728 for the Las Vegas 51s. He came back the following year and hit .301 with 76 runs, 32 HRs, 85 RBI, and a .985 OPS.
.
Last year’s struggles at the Major League level shouldn’t have been unexpected. He improved in his second and third years at Tennessee. He improved the next year after debuting in the Minors. He improved the following year after struggling with Triple-A pitching. He has shown that once he gets a taste for it, he knows what to work on to improve.
.
Does that mean he’s going to suddenly hit .280 with 20 HRs? Probably not, but I do expect Arencibia to be much more comfortable at the plate next year. He has the power, and he is hitting in the right ballpark. Rogers Centre had the fourth highest home run ball park factor (1.358) in the league last year. The number was bloated, in part, because of Jose Bautista’s 33 home HRs, but it has been a top ten home run park for the better part of the past decade. The Jays aren’t afraid to swing for the fences. They have ranked first and fifth, respectively, the past two seasons in HRs.
.
You don’t even necessarily have to draft J.P. His ADP, according to Mock Draft Central, is 311. Just keep an eye on him. If he starts off swinging the bat well, it would make a lot of sense to give him a shot.
.
.
Also check out:

 


.
By Matt Carpenter
twitter.com/carmatts
.
After a career year in 2009, Aaron Hill crushed his fantasy owners with a .205 average, 26 HR’s, and 68 RBI’s in 2010. That is not worthy of the 4th round pick it would have cost to own him. A lot of people are going to be way down on him. A look at the numbers though, suggests a modest bounce back and good value pick.
.

Let’s hope Mr. Hill didn’t spend any time in Vegas in 2010, as he was baseball’s version of the cooler. His BABIP was .196, making him the unluckiest batter in the league and his closest competition for the crown was Carlos Pena, a full 26 points “luckier.” Hill’s career BABIP is .288. Another perplexing statistic is his .125 average against lefties versus a career .273 average against southpaws.
.

Despite Hill’s troubles, his walk rate actually improved and his strikeout rate stayed the same. He also smacked 26 homers, the 2nd most of his career. Hill will be 29 entering the 2011 season, very much in his prime.
.

According to Mock Draft Central Hill is currently the 163rd player off the board and the 14th 2nd baseman off the board. For anyone who does not get a top tier 2nd baseman, it maybe worth it to fill your other positions and have Hill fall into your lap at the end of the draft. If you do so, expect a more respectable .270 average with close to 30 homers. That is, with a little luck.
.

Also check out:


By Eric Stashin, Rotoprofessor.com
.

There are only four players who have stolen 90 bases or more over the past four seasons:
.

  1. Michael Bourn – 113
  2. Carl Crawford – 106
  3. Juan Pierre – 98
  4. Rajai Davis – 91

.
It almost feels like Davis doesn’t belong, doesn’t it?  Hidden away out in Oakland, Davis has quietly become one of the elite stolen base threats in the league.  Now he moves across the country to the bright lights of the AL East as he will fill a spot in the Blue Jays outfield and hit atop their order.
.

With his speed we all know that he is going to be fantasy relevant, but how highly regarded should he be?  Let’s take a look, starting with his 2010 campaign:
.

525 At Bats
.284 Batting Average (149 Hits)
5 Home Runs
52 RBI
66 Runs
50 Stolen Bases
.320 On Base Percentage
.377 Slugging Percentage
.322 Batting Average on Balls in Play
.

Right off the bat you can tell that Davis doesn’t have the typical skillset of a leadoff hitter.  A .320 OBP?  It certainly doesn’t come due to his average, which is buoyed by a solid BABIP given his speed.  In fact, there is room for improvement there.  In 2009 over 390 at bats Davis hit .305 thanks to a .361 BABIP.
.

He makes great contact, with a career 16.4% strikeout rate.  In 2010 he actually improved upon that with a 14.9% mark in his first season with more than 400 AB.  Certainly there’s a lot to like given the way he handles the bat.
.

The clear problem is his ability to draw a walk.  Over his career he has just a 5.9% walk rate and he was at 4.6% last season.  This is clearly the reason why Coco Crisp, when healthy, was given the opportunity to hit atop the lineup.  A leadoff man needs to know how to get himself on base and it is questionable if Davis has that ability or not.
.

You would think that, with his speed, hitting atop a Blue Jays lineup with a lot of firepower behind him should allow him to approach 100 runs scored.  However, does anyone actually believe he can do that?  At this point I certainly am not sure.  If he had shown any type of consistent ability to draw a walk and play to a higher OBP things would be completely different.  Unfortunately, given what he’s shown us thus far that is far from a given.
.

Over his minor league career (2,420 AB) he did post a 9.23% walk rate.  However, at Triple-A (596 AB) he was at 7.45%.  Unless he improves in this regard (or gets lucky in his BABIP) he is not likely to be an elite source of runs scored.
.

Clearly, he has no power and little RBI ability, so he needs to be able to score runs in order to be a viable option in shallower formats.  He clearly has the speed and that is going to make him usable in five-outfielder formats regardless of what else he does.  However, unless he shows early that he is going to be a run machine, he is going to be a reserve, at best, for those in shallower formats.
.

What are your thoughts on Davis?  Is he a player that you would target as a source of speed?  Why or why not?
.

**** Make sure to order your copy of the Rotoprofessor 2011 Fantasy Baseball Draft Guide, selling for just $5, by clicking here. ****
.

Also, make sure to check out the Rotoprofessor’s 2011 projections and rankings.

Mike Napoli Traded to Texas

25 January 2011


.
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.
.
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.
.
Francisco, who lost the closer role to Neftali Feliz, will likely close for the Jays and should be on fantasy radars.


Image courtesy of Icon SMI

 

Yunel Escobar was a guy I was high on coming into the  year. He thanked me with a .238-28-0-19-5 line prior to the All-Star Break. He stunk it up enough that the Braves dealt him  (an Jo-Jo Reyes) to Toronto for Alex Gonzalez, Tim Collins and Tyler Pastornicky.

 

Gonzalez was tearing it up for Toronto with a .259–47-17-50-1 line before the deal. His fantasy owners have to be singing the blues. Gonzalez is moving from Rogers Centre with the 8th highest HR factor to Turner Field, which checks in at 17. While I wouldn’t recommend dropping Alex Gonzalez, I would keep a close eye on his production following the trade.

 

One doesn’t have to look any further than last year’s Blue Jays SS Marco Scutaro to see what happens when you leave Toronto. His numbers are down across the board for Boston.

 

Escobar is 16 for 51 (.314) with 7 runs, 1 HR, 7 RBIs, and 1 SB in 14 career games against the Orioles, Rays, Red Sox, and Yankees.

 

You should be able to get him for a reasonable price. He could aslo be on your waiver wire as he’s owned in 41 percent of ESPN and 72 percent of CBS leagues.


Partner of USA TODAY Sports Digital Properties