Posts Tagged ‘third base’

h2h Corner ~ Knowing ADP – How To Win Your League Before It Starts: Pablo Sandoval

Pablo Sandoval – Current ADP 125; 12th 3b – My Rank: 115th hitter; 15th 3b

Another twitter nomination! Sandoval confounded owners in 2010 after posting an incredibly good 152 game appearance in 2009.

Given he only has 2+ years of MLB experience, it’s a bit difficult to parse whether 2009 or 2010 is closer to the real Sandoval.

He did have a, perhaps high, .350 BABip in 2009 (but he also did in 154 MLB plate appearances in 2008 and similar numbers in the minors). So was his .291 mark in 2010 an aberration? I think it is – his line drive percentage, ground ball percentages, etc. are all in line with his major league track record. Consequently, I think he can bounce back to a .300 hitter (+/- .010), which is pretty nice.

However, the other problem Sandoval had in 2010 was a decline in ISO from .226 in 2009 to just .184 last year. He hit 12 less HRs and halved his 2010 HR/FB rate. I’m going to split the difference on 2009/2010 and give him an ISO near .180 or so. If he gets 600 or so ABs, that should result in 16-20 HRs.

Consequently, Sandoval looks to be a .300 hitting third baseman with moderate pop. Think of him as a Martin Prado-lite with fewer runs and more risk in batting average. He will likely out-RBI and –homer Prado though it could be closer than you think.

I could see Sandoval passing Chase Headley, Michael Cuddyer, and Scott Rolen in my rankings, but am not sure he has top 10 upside. I think he is being a tad overvalued in drafts and would much rather secure a top flight third basemen or wait and pick up the scraps. Sandoval’s upside is not really worth a 10 – 12 round price tag.

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 Third Base Fantasy Baseball head-2-head Rankings

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

How to Use my Fantasy Baseball head-to-head Rankings

Maybe because it’s called the hot corner (and I riff on that in my column name) – or maybe because I grew up knowing Brooks Robinson was a wizard – I simply love the third base position. This year is no different as it is staffed by some young bucks, consistent performers, and is considerably deep compared to the middle infield slots.

The ranks and files:

The Greek God of WalksKevin Youkilis comes in as my #3 third baseman and 17th overall – ahead of the likes of Alex Rodriguez (5, 23) and Ryan Zimmerman (4, 18). I see this as a real strong ranking and statement about the value Youkilis brings. Over the last three seasons, he has averaged 25 HRs a year, 90 RBI, 89 runs, a .308 AVG and .404 OBP. That includes last season in which he appeared in only 102 games – that’s crazy poppycock talk numbers. Inserted in an ever-improving line-up, he should be a lock for 100 runs/RBIs, 25 – 30 HRs and a near .300 AVG. Given his consistency, he is an easy late second rounder in my book.

Re: Zimmerman (not Robert), last year, I wrote the following:

Zimmerman is only 24, yet he has played four full seasons in the majors. In those seasons (including just 106 games in 2008), Zimmerman has averaged 86 runs, 23 HRs, 90 RBIs, a .282 AVE and a .345 OBP. The more I look at it, the more I think Zimmerman is the second coming of Aramis Ramirez. Look at the obvious comparisons: Ramirez starred for a crappy team (the Pirates) and played four full seasons by his 25th birthday in which he averaged 77 runs, 29 HRs, 98 RBIs, a .282 AVE and a .332 OBP. I think Zimmerman has a tad more upside than 2004 Aramis, and could be in for a great year.

At age 26, Aramis Ramirez hit 36 HRs, while I don’t think Zimmerman will do that, I think he has a chance. Conservatively, Zimmerman is almost identical to Youkilis, but with slightly less run/RBIs potential. Given his career trajectory, Zimmerman should be a top 20 batter for years to come.

I wanted to put Alex Rodriguez lower (a decent amount lower, say the 40s) but I didn’t. While I am a Yankee hater, I have written glowingly about Derek Jeter, Curtis Granderson, Nick Swisher and Brett Gardner in the past – so this is not subjective blind hatred. Over the last three seasons, AROD has averaged just 133 games a season (that’s about what you get from a starting catcher). Of course, he has been productive in that time: .286 AVG, 32 HRs, 109 RBIs and 85 runs. One of the most disconcerting things I see with AROD is that his steals have fallen from 24 in 2007 to 18, then 14, then just four last year. In addition, last year he walked just 9.9% of the time compared to a career mark near 12%. I’m simply concerned that he doesn’t have the run or SB upside that he use to have. Without that he becomes a somewhat pedestrian third base option. You pair that with a slight injury risk and I’ll take the batting averages of Youkilis and Zimmerman (spread over 25 more games) over him.

Time to get to one of my favorite players (although I don’t know how that happened),  Aramis Ramirez (8, 70). While he had a down year last season (batting just .241) he did manage 25 HRs in just 124 games. He has also only averaged 118 games played over the last three seasons and has been striking out more over that span. That said, he did have a .245 BABip last year compared to .287 for his career. While some of that is due to a decline in LD% (15.8% in 2010; 21.3% in 2009; 19.6% for his career), he should see some bounce back in the average category – potentially to somewhere in the .270s. If you pair that with 25+ HRs and 90 or so RBIs, you have a third baseman who will have slightly worse numbers than the top tier. In all, he should represent a decent value on draft day.

If Michael Young (9, 75) gets traded, please disregard the rest of this paragraph. Young is a .322/.372/.487 hitter at home and just a .279/.322/.411 hitter on the road. In the same amount of games, he has hit 22 more HRs at home than on the road. That said, if he stays in Arlington and gets ABs, he has been a steady performer. Over the past three seasons, he has averaged 18 HRs, 92 runs, 80 RBIs and a .295 AVG. I like him as a decent third base option in 2011 if he remains a Ranger.

For some reason, most likely his adroit glove work, I like Scott Rolen (11, 85). Last year, I wrote:

You may have missed it, but Rolen played in more games last year (128) than in any season since 2006 (142). In that 2006 season, Rolen scored 94 runs, hit 22 HRs, knocked in 95 and posted a .296/.369 AVE/OBP. Last year, Rolen split time between Toronto and Cincinnati , but posted respectable ratios (.305/.368). Sure he only managed 76 runs, 11 HRs and 67 RBIs. However his numbers are bound to improve this year, as he will be playing full time in one of the league’s most hitter-friendly parks. And, when Rolen is healthy, he hits – it’s that simple. If he avoids the injury bug, Rolen could have a mini-renaissance and approach 90 runs/RBIs, 20 HRs and a respectable AVE/OBP. That’s not bad for a guy likely to be an afterthought on most draft boards.

All Rolen did in 2010 was hit .285 with 20 HRs and 83 RBIs – but that’s the past. Will he earn my 2011 ranking? I think so. If he gets 130+ games, he’ll hit .280, add 17 HRs, and be a decent source of runs/RBIs parked in a very nice Reds line-up. Basically, I think 2010 Rolen is who he is – draft accordingly.

Be careful, because after Rolen the position gets a tad sketchy.

Sleeper Sofa

Pedro Alvarez (16, 149): In just 386 PAs (a little more than half a season), Alvarez socked 16 HRs. Sure he posted an astronomical strike-out rate (34.3%) but he put up massive minor league power numbers while posting similarly poor K-rates. Alvarez is really a power pick – if he hits above .250 you should be stoked. Still, the power is clearly real, and he is a legitimate 30+ HR threat. He could be one of the sneakier 25/100 guys at third base and a definite mid- to late-round selection.

David Freese (25, 196): Freese appeared in just 70 games last year, yet sort of held his own: .296/.361/.404. While he struck-out a decent amount (24.6%) and had an inflated BABip (.376), the youngster has shown the ability to get on base in the minors. If La Russa lets him play, Freese should hit 15 or so HRs and, depending on where he hits in the line-up, score a decent amount of runs or knock in a bunch. He should also bat north of .290. He seems to have some decent promise for someone not getting a lot of pub.

Jose Lopez (30, 235): Certainly, the Rockies infield is a crowded one, but I think Jose Lopez bounces back in a decent way: he’s switched from a crappy hitter’s park to a hitter’s haven and he’s moved from the hard league to the easier league. While he has never walked, his .254 BABip last season is partly the culprit for his miserable average. In addition, his HR/FB% last year was just 4.9% compared to his career average of 7.2%. I think he can get back to a .260+ AVG and 15+ HRs. That’s not at all sexy, but there is some upside – who knows what the Coors effect will have on him. I wouldn’t mind gambling on Lopez at the end of my draft.

What did I get wrong? Post your thoughts in the comments. Also, feel free to share your insights below or at my Twitter (@h2h_corner).

h2h Corner ~ Check You Out On the Flip Side: Rance Mulliniks

mullinkis backmullinkis frI feel like I am incredibly qualified to comment on the back of this card. See, my full name is Albert Leroy Lang III.

The name Albert stands out…and not in a good way like the name Dylan (stupid 90210) does. Furthermore, with a middle name like Leroy (even if it means ‘the King’ – and I do nominate we call LeBron LeBroy) there isn’t much to fall back on. So, for most of my life, I kinda sorta didn’t like my name.

But that began to change as I began to age and standing out of a crowd was much better than fitting cozily inside a fence. My name, while unoriginal, is original. But, more importantly, it represents the history of my family on my father’s side. Plus my initials spell a word – take that haters/younger me!

The original ALL was a hilarious and generous man who never graduated high school. He was a decorated member of the Baltimore City fire department and started his own plumbing business. He was a fierce Baltimore Colts fan and could pick a crab cleaner than Ozzie Smith could a ground ball.

The sequel would be my father, who went to local Loyola College, became a mathematician and NSA employee, got some MBAs, grew to understand the wave of the future (computers) and met my mom! Not bad…he was also a devoted Baltimore Colts fan…who has grown into a reasonable Washington Redskins fan.

I am a Philadelphia Eagles fan. The one thing all three iterations have in common – outside of our name – is a love of the Baltimore Orioles. I & II are the reasons I can recite the great Balmore teams of the Robinsons, Paul Blair, Boog Powell, Len Sakata, Apparicio, Jim Palmer, Eddie Murray and the immortal Earl Weaver.

So, when I first checked out the back of Mulliniks card, my initial reaction was why would your ever name you kid Rance? But just like with Bert Blyleven, initial reactions betray us; the card quickly lead me to thoughts of my own lineage. Thoughts I’m incredibly proud of.

Hopefully Rance II is as proud of his father’s accomplishments – he should be. Mulliniks would see his first major league action in 1977 as a 21 year old with the California Angels. However, he’d be used sparingly (appearing in just 150 games over three years with the major league club).

In 1979, he’d be traded with Willie Aikens to the Kansas City Royals for Al Cowens, Todd Cruz and Craig Eaton. Unfortunately, it’d be the same ole same ole for Mulliniks, as he’d see action in just 60 games over the next two seasons.

Then, at age 26, he’d be traded to the Toronto Blue Jays for Phil Huffman. Primarily a shortstop/utility man for the Angels and Royals, the Blue Jays would make Mulliniks a third basemen and he’d take off (sound familiar, Jose Bautista – well sort of).

In his first season, he received 353 plate appearances, and would post a decent slash line (.244/.326/.363) – this was 1982 after all. Then, in what should be called his second full season, Mulliniks would go .275/.373/.467. He clearly understood the point of the game was to avoid making outs. From 1983-1988 (his 26 through 32 birthdays), Mulliniks averaged a .374 OBP and only once had an OBP lower than .371.

He’d be out of the majors three years later, but not much could beat that prime of his – of course except for the opportunity to pass along one’s namesake.

When it was all said and done, Mulliniks posted the 16th highest batting average as a pinch hitter (min. 150 ABs) in MLB history.

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