Archive for First Base

Rotographs Midseason Rankings – First Base

We’re back at it again today with our midseason rankings. After covering Catchers yesterday, we jump to First Base today. I put my rankings in last and added some names that were forgotten on my initial list and the guys haven’t been able to update theirs to include these guys just yet. I’m sure you can expect some dissent on Frazier, but for now I left him in that two spot despite having just my ranking. I think of Frazier more as a 3B, but the incredible depth at the position means you could realistically have two of the superstuds over there at third, pushing Frazier to your 1B where he definitely still holds up.

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Cesar Hernandez & Xavier Scruggs: Deep League Wire

Our journey to the far reaches of the fantasy dumpster take us to two National Leaguers who have recently come into playing time and are being introduced to owners for the first time. As usual, the players listed in this column are better suited for mono leagues, and the ownership percentages are by way of CBS.
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Chris Parmelee & James Jones: Deep League Wire

This week’s edition highlights two hitters who have just been freshly recalled from the minors. They could return there by the time you read this sentence or remain on the big league roster for some time! That’s the joy of picking from scraps in deep leagues.

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C.J. Cron & Ruben Tejada: Deep League Wire

Would it be too awful a pun (or half-pun) to say this week’s column is a tribute to fallen angels? Probably, so I’ll rephrase: Here are two former full-time players who lost their jobs after some struggles but have now returned to regular playing time. As usual, the players featured in this column are better suited for mono leagues, and the ownership percentages are by way of CBS.
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Randal Grichuk & Mark Reynolds: Deep League Wire

Whatever it is they do in St. Louis, it works: The Cardinals are 33-18, the best record in the majors, and if the past decade is any gauge, we might as well go ahead and put them down for another postseason berth in 2015. With such success, let’s see if two little-owned position players on the team, both of whom have recently come into playing time, can provide help to deep-leaguers.

As usual, the players discussed in this space are better suited for mono leagues, and the ownership percentages are by way of CBS.
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Max Muncy & Marc Krauss: Deep League Waiver Wire

Craving some serious deep league action? Look no further as I have another one of those popular 0% ownership names!

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RotoGraphs Consensus Rankings – May Update: First Basemen

With the catchers already released, we’re in the midst of our first in-season rankings update which will run through next week. The remarkably stacked first base position remains so almost two months into the season with many of the expected studs doing their part while some mid-round assets have emerged to keep the position deep and strong even as a few would-be studs have sputtered and failed to deliver up to expectations just yet.

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David DeJesus & Justin Bour: Deep League Wire

It’s the unofficial start of summer, and as the fantasy season heads into June, here are two bats who have been hot lately. As a reminder, the players discussed in this column are typically more suited for mono leagues, and I use CBS for the ownership percentages.
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The Change: The Pop-Up, And When To Start Worrying

It’s tricky to write about batted ball mix changes, for the most part. If you’re talking push and pull, adding the ability to go the other way can increase your batting average, sure. But it can also decrease your power output. Ground balls and fly balls act the same way — there’s really an ideal mix for each hitter, and we’re trying to figure out just as much as they are which is the best way forward.

There’s one batted ball type that just plain sucks, though. The pop-up. The infield fly.

98.5% of the time, that’s an out. It’s a bad idea, plain and simple.

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Matt Adams and the Struggles of Free Swingers

As a big guy standing on the left side of the plate who previously hit 36 home runs in a minor league season, it is safe to say that the Matt Adams we have received over his first 1,000 plate appearances is a very different Matt Adams than what we were expecting.

I traded for Adams yesterday in a dynasty league, mainly due to his age and security of role on a top team, but it led me to analyze Adams a bit deeper and figure out what exactly is happening with him. Adams was never much of a plate discipline maven, as he has never recorded a walk rate above 10% at any level, but I did expect more than the sub-5.0% walk rates he has been putting up since becoming a full time regular. While he has pretty massive platoon splits, which I will get to in a bit, the low walk rate is not limited to only the times he is facing same handed pitchers. He is an equal opportunity free
swinger, which does not bode well for Adams owners in on base percentage leagues.

Adams does have quality hand eye skills, which is why his strikeout rate has not gotten out of hand despite a O-Swing% that hovers around 10% more than the average hitter. Adams makes contact in the zone more than most first basemen (90% Z-Cotact) but pitchers this year, intentional or not, have opted to throw him less strikes in general due to his high chase rate. He has seen 40% strikes this year compared to 44% last year. That could be an aberration, or it could be front offices, pitching coaches, and pitchers noticing that Adams is up there to hack so why throw him pitches in the zone.

This creates some worry for Adams and those who own Adams, because he seemingly only has two options here. He can continue to swing away freely and see his power sapped as he swings at an excess of pitches out of the zone, or he can become a patient hitter and start taking some walks to become the three true outcome type hitter everyone expected out of him in the minor leagues.

Going back to Adams’ platoon splits, he is on his way to becoming a full on platoon player and rightfully so. This season he has a 110 wRC+ against righties and a -28 wRC+ against lefties, albeit in 19 plate appearances. Against southpaws this year, he is 2-20 with two singles, one walk, and nine strikeouts. For those with a long term vested interest in Adams such as myself, expect the Cardinals to continue to employ Mark Reynolds types going forward to platoon with Adams. This will limit his plate appearances, but will also likely improve his actual on the field production, ala Ike Davis the past two seasons as a full-time platoon member. To ensure I am not basing this off of only this season, of the 1,000+ plate appearances Adams has had, he has a .304/.345/.498 line against righties and a .189/.220/.307 line against lefties.

There is still hope for Adams as a useful fantasy option, even in standard formats, but the hope lies within him altering his approach at the plate. If the Cardinal coaches want to get as much out of Adams as they can, they need to preach a patient approach with him and for him to be more comfortable with strikeouts than ground outs. From a stats perspective, things are not looking too great for Adams going forward. His numbers as a full-time regular are not too impressive and his projections all have him with a sub-110 wRC+. From a scouting perspective, however, he has the tools to be a well above average hitter but needs to work on his plate discipline and overall approach. If the latter happens, the former will be a much better looking picture.