Tagged: fantasy goodness

Tradespin: The one with Yunel Escobar and Alex Gonzalez

By Dave Feldman and Ian Kay
A decently sized trade went down on Wednesday, as the Braves and Blue Jays swapped shortstops. The mind-numbingly frustrating Yunel Escobar heads to Toronto and the over-achieving Alex Gonzalez will take his talents to Atlanta. Additionally, the Braves sent pitcher Jo-Jo Reyes over the border, with Minor Leaguers Tim Collins and Tyler Pastornicky going the other way. 
What the Jays got …
For owners still holding Escobar after a .238/28/0/19/5 first half, this trade provides a dash of hope on the horizon. 
The 27-year-old was the 10th shortstop and 115th overall player drafted in Yahoo! leagues before the season, but currently ranks outside the position’s top-30. Basically, owners were expecting Elvis Andrus or Alexei Ramirez value but got Nick Punto or Cesar Izturis instead. Ick.
Or rather, owners got that (lack of) production until about mid-May and then dumped Escobar like third period French. He’s currently 45 percent owned in Yahoo! leagues.
A gander at Escobar’s peripheral stats shows few significant differences between this season and ’09, when he posted a .299/89/14/76/5 line and was fantasy’s eighth-most valuable shortstop. His strikeouts are down slightly, his walks are up and his batted ball rates are roughly the same.
So why the Rey Ordonez-esque numbers all of the sudden? Well for one, Escobar’s BABIP this year is .270, compared to a .316 career mark. For another, none of his fly balls have cleared the fence. His HR/FB percentages the last three years: 10.1, 9.1 and 7.9.
Trade or no trade, this is a man due for a serious luck reversal.
Not that the trade won’t help. The Braves scored two more runs than the Blue Jays in the season’s first half, but Toronto’s lineup blasted 66 more home runs and slugged 51 points higher in that span. Toronto also offers a better home ballpark for hitters, and Escobar will have the luxury of more games at Fenway Park and Yankee Stadium and less Nationals Park and Citi Field.
Put together the luck factor and the change of scenery, and, I’m giving Escobar a “cautious buy” rating. For those of you familiar with the Homeland Security Advisory System color scale, Escobar would be Status Yellow: Elevated — significant risk of solid production.
I say he does something around .290 AVG 37 R, 6 HR, 33 RBI, 3 SB the rest of the way and proves more valuable than Gonzalez, Marco Scutaro and Ryan Theriot in the second half.
Jo-Jo Reyes, the other piece going to Toronto in this deal, is far less interesting for mixed leaguers. The left-hander has a career 6.40 ERA, 1.67 WHIP and 128/98 K/BB ratio in 41 Major League appearances (37 starts). His Minor League K numbers are intriguing, but he’ll likely begin the second half in Triple-A and is only a spot-start option in deeper mixers if called up.
What the Braves got …
Leaving Canada and the friendly confines of the Rogers Centre along withthe power-hitting Blue Jays lineup should likely translate into diminished power production for Gonzalez, who was batting .259 with 17 homers and 50 RBIs at the break. But, hey, it’s not like you really expected him to hit 30 home runs this year, anyway. A lifetime .248 hitter, Gonzalez’s .259 average shouldn’t change too much with the change of scenery, but his likely drop in power production should relegate him to the bench or even waiver wire in most mixed-league formats. 
Counterpoint: The trade of poutine for peaches should only help his waistline. 
The big coup in this deal for Atlanta comes in a small package. Tim Collins is just adorable! The five-foot-seven, 155-pound Collins has been one of Toronto’s most eye-opening prospects this season, as the southpaw reliever posted a 2.51 ERA with a jaw-dropping 73/16 K/BB ratio over 43 innings for Double-A New Hampshire. The Braves have a keen eye for young pitching talent,as Collins will now join Arodys Vizcaino, Julio Teheran, Mike Minor and Randall Delgado in what is widely regarded as the most formidable collection of Minor League pitching prospects.
The 20-year-old Pastornicky was a fifth-round pick by the Jays in the 2008 First-Year Player Draft and was batting 258 with 16 doubles, six home runs and 35 RBI in 77 games for Class A Dunedin. He’s stil a ways away from potentially making a Major League impact. I wish I could tell you more about him, but I can’t. 

The 2010 AL All-Value Star Team


It’s never not fun debating who should be on the All-Star team. It’s definitely less fun debating who should be on the made up 2010 AL All-Value Star Team — but, hey, let’s do it anyway! 
One thing to note, Yahoo! wasn’t always so helpful in providing guys with their preseason ADPs, so if I didn’t know a player’s ADP, I didn’t put it in. That makes sense.  OK, let’s dance: 

John Buck (.272
AVG, 27 R, 13 HR, 41 RBIs)

Yahoo! ADP: N/A 

It would have been much funner to place Carlos Santana here
but Uncle Buck takes the cake with one of the truest where-did-that-come-from
first halves I’ve seen in a while. Chances are he’s still available in your
league, and I’m actually quite fine with that. 


Other nominees:
Carlos Santana, Jason Kendall
(um, what?) , Matt Wieters

Paul Konerko (.299
AVG, 50 R, 20 HR, 63 RBIs)

Yahoo! ADP: 249.9

Konerko is already just eight homers shy of tying his total
from ’09, is playing for a new contract and is batting in the heart of a
scorching ChiSox order. Will he keep it up? Well, probably not. His 17.5 HR/FB
ratio is likely too high for Pauly K to sustain, and he hasn’t hit north of
.277 since ’06. But, um, yeah – not bad value for the 25th round.

Other nominees:
Miguel Cabrera
(yeah, he’s been that good),
Nick Swisher, Justin Morneau (went
in the 3rd-4th rounds in most drafts)



Elvis Andrus (.280
AVG, 57 R, 0 HR, 25 RBIs, 23 SB)

Yahoo! ADP: 115.1 


Pretty much buttered all of his bread by stealing 11 bags
with a.340 AVG for June.

Alex Gonzalez (.259
AVG, 47 R, 17 HR, 50 RBIs)

Yahoo! ADP: 195.3

Went undrafted in several leagues and has outperformed and
has one more functional thumb than Chase Utley.

Other nominees: Erick
Aybar, Cliff Pennington





David Price
(12-4, 2.42 ERA,1.20 WHIP, 100 K, 115 1/3 IP)

Yahoo! ADP: N/A

Jered Weaver (8-5,
3.20 ERA, 1.08 WHIP, 137 K, 121 IP)

Yahoo! ADP: 114.3

Andy Pettitte (11-2,
2.70 ERA, 1.15 WHIP, 87 K, 113 1/3 IP)

Yahoo! ADP: N/A

Phil Hughes (11-2,
3.65 ERA, 1.18 WHIP, 91 K, 101 IP)

Yahoo! ADP: N/A

Clay Buchholz (10-4,
2.45 ERA, 1.25 WHIP, 64 K, 92 IP)

Yahoo! ADP: N/A

So I guess Price finally “figured it out”, Weaver leads the
AL in strikeouts, Pettitte is old but good, Buccholz was dealing prior to hitting the DL and Hughes was one trade away from going to the bullpen. But he’s still really good.

Other nominees: Jeff
Niemann, Carl Pavano, Carl Pavano’s mustache, Colby Lewis, Trevor Cahill.
can make a case for any of these guys.

Rafael Soriano (2-0,
23 SV, 1.60 ERA, 0.80 WHIP, 29 K, 33 2/3 IP)

Yahoo! ADP: 136.7

So this is what his stat-line looks like when his arm isn’t
falling off.

Other nominees: Carlos
Marmol, Jose Valverde, Neftali Feliz, Jon Rauch

Cheap Thrills: Roger That


By Ian Kay

It’s one of fantasy land’s most mythical beasts: the
power-speed threat who won’t kill your team’s average.

Rarely seen in the wild — or on the waiver wire — most
owners are forced to pay upwards of $30 at pre-season auctions or surrender
vast riches in the trade market just to catch a glimpse of this oh-so-valuable

But peer through the trees, owners, and you’ll see Roger
— a potential roto unicorn quietly roaming the outfield of Nationals

Bernadina appeared poised for a breakout rookie year last
season after hitting .335/.400/.490 with nine homers and 40 steals over 120
games split between Double-A and Triple-A in ’08. Unfortunately, a nasty broken
ankle limited his ’09 season just 10 games.

The injury doesn’t appear to have any residual effects,
however, as the 26-year-old bounced back to hit .282/.345/.436 with five home
runs and seven steals in the first half, including a stellar .329/.409/.476
line in June.

Though the .335 average in ’08 is something of an outlier
compared to Bernadina’s Minor League track record, his peripheral stats
indicate that something in .275 range isn’t too much of a stretch. The speed is
certainly for real (he averaged 40 steals per 162 games in the Minors), and power should continue to develop as he becomes more comfortable at the big
league level.

Slotted into the No. 2 spot in Washington’s lineup,
Bernadina should be in line for plenty of runs with Ryan Zimmerman, Adam Dunn
and Josh Willingham backing him up. Stellar defense in right field should will Mike Morse from stealing too much playing time, and the three-day
All-Star break should provide ample time to fully recover from the back stiffness
that hampered him last week.

Put it together Bernadina’s skill set and opportunity, and
you’re looking at a floor of Willy Taveras or Corey Patterson type production
and a ceiling of Brian Roberts or Shane Victorino (circa ’07-’09).

In the short term, I’m projecting him at .277 AVG, 40 R, 7
HR, 32 RBI and 17 SB for the remainder of 2010. He should be owned in all
NL-only formats and has enough upside to play in 12-team or deeper mixed

Just 2 percent owned in Yahoo! Leagues right now, I think he
outperforms the more-popular David DeJesus (50 percent), Austin Jackson (45
percent) and Franklin Gurtierrez (36 percent) after the break.

Talking with myself: July 12


By Dave Feldman

Q: Vicente Padilla (look at that face, so adorable) struck out six over eight shutout innings vs. the Cubs. On a scale of 1-10 how
much should I care?

A: Probably. He’ll likely go back to being the Rockets point
guard once Aaron Harang returns from the DL later this month.

Q: Hey, look (Part I)
Johan Santana tossed seven scoreless innings in a win vs. the Braves, has a
0.39 ERA in three July starts and is
back pitching like it’s 1999 again. And by that I really mean 2004. Will he
keep it up?

A: How dare you ask for the 1-10 scale twice in one Q&A!
Who knows with Beckham. One day he’s good, 12 days he’s not good, five days he’s
not playing because of something called Brent Lillibridge. I like his .255
BABIP going forward, I don’t like his 20/53 BB/K rate. Put him on your squad if
you have the space and/or need the middle-infield help.

Q: Madison Bumgarner
is so good you titled the Rundown after him. Was that just because his name is
fun to say with a British accent or is he really good and someone who should be
owned in most leagues?

A: PETCO (3.02 ERA, 1.12 WHIP, 57/24 K/BB), meet not-PETCO
(3.71 ERA, 1.49 WHIP, 33/21 K/BB ratio). Now you two play nice.