Archive for Third Base

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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What in the Sam Hill is this version of Moustakas

The first few weeks of the season is dangerous territory to be making any kind of declarations, as you dedicated minions of the small sample size know all too well. Third base has typically been my beat, and I’m certainly not interested in ringing the alarm of Adrian Beltre‘s .158 batting average nor am I bandwagoning onto Luis Valbuena‘s .356 ISO. Players have strong starts, they have cold starts, our job is to remember the whole marathon versus sprint metaphor.

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Chris Young & Eric Campbell: Deep League Wire

We’re going to take our dumpster dive to the Big Apple this week and look at two players who have seen some significant playing time in the early going and are already providing help to owners. As a note, most of the players discussed in this column are better suited for mono leagues, and the ownership percentages come from CBS.
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An Ode to the Lightly Owned Super-Utility Player

This is always the most challenging time of year for me as a fantasy writer. Every statistical sample size is way too small to analyze. I haven’t been to any minor-league games yet, so I don’t have any scouting reports to share. There’s just not a whole lot to write about yet.

Point is, this is a great time to discuss more general topics, because that’s far more interesting for me — and hopefully you — than my hot takes on Ian Kinsler’s awesome first week. With that in mind, let’s dive into a topic that’s been on my mind quite a bit lately, that of the lightly owned super-utility player.

There’s nothing sexy about the lightly owned super-utility player — to be henceforth referred to as a LOSUP — but the ability to use that player to plug multiple lineup holes is a somewhat underrated commodity. In relatively deep leagues with a reasonable number of bench slots, I always like to have a LOSUP floating around.

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The Change: Strikeouts and Spring Training Stats

“Don’t read into Spring Training stats” is a good surface level mantra to hold on to. The competition is uneven, the results don’t matter, and the players are all working on things in preparation for the regular season. To some extent, it’s like looking at September numbers on a non-contending team: those are very different from May numbers.

Even the benefits of a huge surge in results is only slightly predictive. There’s the study from John Dewan about a huge slugging percentage breakout in the spring, but recently work by Ben Lindbergh and Jon Shepherd poked some holes in the theory.

If you look at when stats stabilize, however, there are a few stats worth checking out. We know from Jeff Zimmerman that fastball velocity stabilizes very quickly, and so it’s worth reading his MASH articles to find the most recent gun readings on pitchers.

And we know that strikeouts stabilize quickly — 100 plate appearances for batters, 126 batters faced for pitchers. A spring is something like a half of a September, so it doesn’t get to those thresholds, but the evidence is there that strikeouts become meaningful quicker than most stats, and so therefore spring strikeouts may be worth keeping an eye on.

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Karl de Vries’ 10 Bold Predictions for the 2015 Season

It’s my favorite time of the year here at RotoGraphs, the season of bold predictions. (My least favorite time, naturally, is late September, when I have to atone for these forecasts.) As usual, the trick here is to balance imagination against reality, the impossible versus the attainable, the speculative against the demonstrable. It’s a tough task that, for me, often results in happy predictions, but then again, it’s March — ’tis the season to indulge in some fantasy baseball fantasies, right?
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Third Base Tiers: March Edition

It’s rather jarring to one’s sensibilities, regardless how delicate, to have a thought occur to you that goes something like “Kyle Seager isn’t that much different from Evan Longoria, and might even be better.” But indeed, that’s what recently ran through my brain, or what’s left of it after years of fermented grain based beverages. But I digress. Tiering the hot corner isn’t as cut-and-dried as it used to be, and there are very small degrees of separation throughout.

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Platoon Bats & Bouncebacks in the Brewers Infield

This post continues our Depth Chart Discussions. You can find the Depth Chart Discussion posts gathered here.

This might be the last time I rap at y’all wearing my depth chart hat. I put off discussing my home team, not because I feel that I’d be any more biased in my examination of them than I would be with other teams; rather, it’s because I wanted to avoid being depressed by what appears to be a closing window. But we’re talking fantasy value here, not playoff odds, so I’ll save my pouting for another post, or for another website altogether.

The 2014 Brewers infield produced a mixed bag for fantasy owners. Jonathan Lucroy continued to improve and was a top-three catcher; those that owned him likely had him at a bit of a value. Scooter Gennett proved to be a viable second base option, at least against right-handed pitchers. On the other hand, Jean Segura took a huge step back. Aramis Ramirez missed a lot of time and put up his worst season in years, even by rate stats. And then there was first base. To say that the Brewers failed to produce a first base option for fantasy players is putting it lightly. Without Mark Reynolds‘s 22 homers on the books, it would look even worse, but Reynolds batted under .200 and finished with a .302 wOBA. To think that the team actually got significantly more production out of the first base position than they did in 2013 says more about how historically bad Brewers first basemen were in 2013 than anything about the 2014 squad. This past off-season they traded Marco Estrada to the Blue Jays for the rights to a year of Adam Lind. Lind should provide something of an upgrade, but we’ll get to that a bit later.

First, here’s an overview of what the Brewers infield is likely to be on opening day:

Pos. Starter Platoon/Backup Depth
C Jonathan Lucroy Martin Maldonado  
1B Adam Lind Jonathan Lucroy Luis Jimenez
2B Scooter Gennett Luis Sardinas  
3B Aramis Ramirez Luis Jimenez  
SS Jean Segura Luis Sardinas  

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The Padres Infield: The Unit the Padres Trade Machine Forgot

It’s time for our Depth Chart Discussions to begin. In an effort to suss out every team, we’ve divided them into four parts (infield, outfield, bullpen, and rotation) and will begin breaking them down for you over the next few weeks. You can find them gathered here.

It has been a whirlwind offseason for the San Diego Padres, who made blockbuster trades for a brand new, brand name outfield of Matt Kemp, Justin Upton, and Wil Myers. Between the new outfield, the free agent acquisition of James Shields, and the incumbent rotation talent, the Padres will make a play for their first postseason berth since 2006.

If they do reach the postseason, it will likely not be because of the exceptional player of their infield, which was left largely intact after a disappointing 2014 season. In fantasy, that unit is similarly unenticing, although there are a few bounce back candidates who could become fantasy relevant.
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Finding Actual Sleepers – Infield Edition

I think the fantasy community at large has successfully rebelled against the word “sleeper” at this point. The major issue being that there isn’t really such a thing given the vast amounts of information freely available to any and all fantasy baseball participants. And yet, when someone says the word, you still have an idea of what they mean. Sure, some have greatly diluted the meaning of the idea by tabbing guys like Nolan Arenado (ADP of 58th overall) or Christian Yelich (84th) as sleepers.

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