Posts Tagged ‘shortstop’

h2h Corner ~ You’re Killing me Smalls: Hanley Ramirez

In 2010, Hanley Ramirez hit 21 HRs, stole 32 bases and posted a .300/.378/.475 slash line. In March/April of last year, he hit just two HRs and posted a .279/.386/.395 line.

Clearly the sky was falling. Well, if that were the case, the whole universe must be falling in 2011, as Hanley is off to a .211/.317/.268 start. Continue reading

h2h Corner ~ Knowing ADP – How To Win Your League Before It Starts: Mike Aviles

Mike Aviles – Current ADP 154; 13th 2b; 12th SS (if he qualifies) – My Rank: 92; 12th 2b; 9th SS (if he qualifies)

Three years ago is a long time…three years ago I didn’t own a house, three years ago I didn’t know my girlfriend, three years ago was three jobs ago, and three years ago was Mike Aviles’ time in the sun.

Aviles, at that time, was 27 years-old and had never had an at bat in the majors. Never a highly touted minor league player, Aviles would appear in 102 games for the Royals and post a .325/.354/.480 line with 10 HRs and eight SBs. Visions of a 20/20 season danced in fantasy analysts head.

But, alas, Aviles benefited from a .357 BABip in ’08 and got bit hard by the injury bug in ’09 – ending in a miserable campaign.

Coming into 2010, Aviles was an afterthought for even the lowly Royals – however he eventually played in 110 games and produced similar results to 2008: .304/.335/.413 with eight HRs and 14 SBs.

Until Mike Moustakas is ready for the majors, Aviles should have a spot in the Royals infield – making it likely he plays in 140+ games. If that happens, he’ll be a sneaky useful middle-infield option capable of going .290/.320/.420 with 10-15 HRs and double digit steals.

So far it looks like Aviles is being appropriately valued in most mock drafts – he is definitely a mid-to-late teens rounder. I wouldn’t be surprised if he goes far later in some drafts either.

Also, Aviles and I share a birthday with Will Clark!

Feel free to share your insights below or at my Twitter (@h2h_corner).

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Maximizing every drop of value in every pick is hugely important. Taking a player in the fifth round that you could just as easily have taken in the sixth round is a major mistake. To avoid this, you need to know all about Average Draft Position (ADP).

While no two drafts are identical, knowing where a player typically goes gives you a general idea of where he will go in your draft. That said, be sure to do homework on your league mates subjective tendencies. For example, if there are Red Sox fans, be sure to snag guys like Lester and Youkilis a bit earlier than you normally would. In addition, you should talk up your sleepers before the draft (discretely of course) to see if anyone is on to them. If you don’t, an opponent with an itchy trigger finger who hasn’t done his ADP homework might snag one of your sleepers a round before anyone else is typically taking him.

Now that you know WHY ADP is important, I want to show you HOW to exploit it by highlighting those players who are going too low compared to players with similar ADPs. You can grab an ADP report at Mock Draft Central.

Feel free to share your insights below or at my Twitter (@h2h_corner).

h2h Corner ~ 2011 Shortstop Fantasy Baseball head-2-head Rankings

For a downloadable spreadsheet, please visit: awesome-h2h-rankings.comsizzle.

For a position that has two guys arguably inside the top five in fantasy circles, things get ugly fast. In reality, it’s Hanley, Tulo or bust.

Sure, Jose Reyes (#3 shortstop, 34 overall) can provide some runs and steals and won’t hurt your batting average – but there doesn’t appear to be anything dynamic attached to that third round price tag. Don’t get me wrong, he’s a decent pick in the third/fourth round, but not an altogether sexy one. As questions abound in the Mets line-up, it’s unclear how many runs Reyes will score. I’m pegging him at around 90, which would put him amongst the top 35 or so hitters. However, if Reyes continues to post OBPs in the .320-.335 range, it’ll be hard for him to accumulate much more than 30 SBs. I’m very confident he’ll be the number three shortstop next season – I just don’t see a case where he can improve upon that much.

That’s about where my confidence ends with the wretched position. I have Alexei Ramirez (4, 60), Derek Jeter (5, 61) and Rafael Furcal (5, 62) in the next bunch – and boy are they bunched.

Ramirez can’t really take a pitch, which limits a lot of his potential upside (runs, OBP/AVG, etc.). Still, he’ll clearly out-homer his two closest ranks and has 20-HR upside – something the others don’t posses. He’ll also add double digit steals (although probably not more than 15), which gives him an added boost. While he could be prone to prolonged slumps (given a sub-6% walk rate and 13+% K-rate), he represents a nice 20-15 player.

While I pray nightly for Derek Jeter to meet his demise, I don’t think we’re there yet. While his K-rate went up a bit last year, the real batting average damage was due to an interesting BABip. For his career, Jeter has a .356 BABip and hasn’t had one lower than .333 (other than last year’s abysmal .307) since 2004. His 2010 line drive percentage was the lowest of his career, so he clearly made worse and less contact last year. However, I think there will be a positive correction there and I see him approaching a .290-.300 AVG again, which would help boost his OBP, which should make him a decent lock for 100 runs. He’ll also out-steal Ramirez. Basically, if you need power take Sexy Alexei; if you need runs/speed go after Jeter.

If Rafael Furcal gets in 130 games, he’ll score at least 80 runs, hit double digits HRs, and swipe 20 bases. If, somehow, he stays healthy, all those numbers go up and he can become the third or fourth best shortstop in the game. You know what you’re getting with Furcal. If you select him, be sure to grab a comparable back-up. While you’re tying up a roster spot, Furcal + SS X production should combine to give you a top performer at the position. Chipper Jones has, for a long while, needed a caddy for your make-believe club, Furcal is no different.

I see Stephen Drew’s (7, 74) name floated as a potential top performer, but I don’t really buy it (even though he’s in my top 10). There is simply no consistency from Drew – I don’t think he has put two solid half seasons together. In fact, he tends to perform better in the second half (when it gets warmer and he gets to face September call-ups): .261/.321/.420 in the first half versus .282/.342/.475. Not surprisingly, his best months are August, September and October. He also plays far better at home. It seems like I’ve gone to great lengths to make my #7 shortstop look real bad. That all being said, he’ll be 28 (in his prime) and should be good for 15+ HRs, and a reasonable batting average (think .270s). It’s not great or anything, but, that’s shortstop for you.

At one point in time, you couldn’t find a person more in love with Elvis Andrus (8, 90). Well, things have certainly changed. While he, thankfully, learned to take a few more pitches (walk rate increased from 7.4% to 9.5%), he continued to strike-out a lot (16.3%) and make weak contact (19.3% LD rate, 61.1% ground ball rate). In short, that really zapped his average and, to a lesser extent, OBP. If Andrus can’t get on base, he has zero value. While I see a slight improvement in average coming as he matures, I’m not sure it will greatly affect his OBP, unless he can take more walks. Until that occurs, I don’t see him stealing much more than 30 bags, which makes him look pretty pedestrian.

Speaking of someone I use to love with all my heart and now wish to die: Jimmy Rollins (10, 113). Things have not gone well for Rollins since his MVP season. His average has dropped from .296 to .277 to .250 to .243 (the last being in only 88 games). During that four-year trek to the dregs, his line drive percentage has tanked, his ground ball percentage has gone up, and his HR/FB rate has gone down. At this point, there is very little AVG/OBP upside. He still could push 15-20 HRs, but will likely rest on the low end of the spectrum. In short, he has become quite a poor man’s Alexei Ramirez.

Sleeper Sofas:

J.J. Hardy (16, 151): Come on, I had to profile the first viable Orioles shortstop since Miguel Tejada. From 2007-08, Hardy averaged 25 HRs, a .280 average and 84 runs. Over the two years since those seasons, he averaged eight HRs and a .247 AVG and accumulated just 85 RBIs total. He’s been pretty bad the last two year, however he’s still only 28 and he missed some time to injury last season. I think Hardy should be able to push 20 HRs next year, and potentially a .270 AVG. Does he, likely, fall short of those? Yes. But, for his price tag, the chance that he makes those numbers gives him pretty decent value. Depending on how the Orioles perform, he could also score or knock in a bunch of runs.

Jason Bartlett (17, 154): You know what kind of player Petco doesn’t hurt (and somewhat could help)? Bartlett, someone who has no power but will join an offense that needs to get runs by any means. That means, when he gets on base, he should be allowed to steal a good bit. He was just 11/17 last year in the SB department, but the Padres will have to let him run. I also think he’ll get back to his .275 hitting ways, which should make him a decent lock for 20 SBs, with upside to 30+. With the league switch, his numbers could look a lot like Elvis Andrus next year.

Erick Aybar (18, 155): Like Bartlett, Aybar had a season to forget in 2010. However, while his AVG and OBP dropped precipitously, his SB numbers went up by eight. Never one to take a walk (5% BB rate) or hit for power (never more than five HRs), his value comes with runs and SBs. If he can post a reasonable average (say .265+), he should be able to reach 20+ SBs again. For someone barely in the top 20 at the position, he could provide some very cheap speed, and, potentially, some runs scored.

If you have ideas for other columns, post your thoughts in the comments. Also, feel free to share your insights below or at my Twitter (@h2h_corner).

h2h Corner ~ Keep, Trade or Drop: Elvis Andrus, Gordon Beckham, Alexei Ramirez?

I didn’t love Alexei Ramirez going into last year. Still, he wasn’t really that bad, or at least not as bad you would think. Ramirez had a highly touted 136-game campaign in 2008 (21 HRs, 13 SBs and a .290 AVE). However, he was caught stealing nine times in 2008, which would give any team pause before sending him. Furthermore, he managed to post a paltry .317 OBP, which would further limit his SB upside. In 2009, his HRs (15) and average (.277) dropped. However his SBs (14) and OBP (.333) went up. While you’d think Ramirez had a bad year last year, it really wasn’t that much worse than 2008. You can continue to see some improvement this year, particularly in SB and HRs. However, he will be 29 in September, so he isn’t as young as you think. Continue reading