Fantasy Links — 11/17/2009

Let’s take a trip around the web and see what some other sites are saying two-and-a-half weeks into the offseason…

Paul Singman of The Hardball Times believes 36-year-old first baseman Todd Helton is worth trusting in drafts for the 2010 season. As Singman points out, he has remained a consistent hitter well into his 30s and still delivers the kind of power rates that will lead to useful home run and RBI totals. Helton also holds a .328 career batting average and has shown no discernible signs of slowing down. As long as he can avoid the back problems that hampered him in 2008, the former Tennessee quarterback is primed for another stellar season.

Advanced Fantasy Baseball gives us an early preview of the 2010 Red Sox, and lists some Boston players that might hold strong fantasy implications. Clay Buchholz could be a hidden gem on a strong staff if he can make a few slight improvements. His K/9 was just 6.65 in 2009, a career-low on any level. It was 8.53 in the majors in 2008 and 12.80 at Triple-A Pawtucket in 2007. Buchholz has the potential to develop into a strikeout machine and he may reach full development sooner than later. The post also has a look at Jeremy Hermida‘s disappointing strikeout rates as a Marlin and how he might improve now that he’s with the Red Sox.

Fantasy Baseball Junkie thinks speedy outfielders will continue to go undervalued in drafts next season. Players like Michael Bourn, Nyjer Morgan, and especially Bobby Abreu, can often be had at a discount despite quality numbers all over the fantasy map. As FBJ notes, “There are only two players that have been top 50 fantasy hitters for the past eleven seasons. One of them is Alex Rodriguez; the other is Bobby Abreu.” He was ranked only the 20th best fantasy outfielder for 2010 by CBS and the 54th best hitter by ESPN. Of course, things could change by the time leagues begin drafting.

The fellas over at Razzball give a 2010 fantasy outlook for the Diamondbacks’ Brandon Allen. He should get an opportunity during Spring Training to win Arizona’s starting first base job and has shown enough power in the minor leagues to warrant selection late in drafts next season. That said, he needs to work on his strikeout rate, which stood at an ugly 38.5% in 116 plate appearances last season. The D’Backs already have enough whiffers.

One of the writers over at SB Nation’s Fake Teams had the sixth overall pick in a recent mock draft and selected the Brewers’ Ryan Braun. Here’s his justification: “I chose Braun as I feel there is some position scarcity in the outfield in 2010, and Braun provides you 5 categories in 5×5 leagues, and has increased his RBI totals in each of the last 2 seasons, and hit the 20 marks in SBs in 2009.”

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22 Responses to “Fantasy Links — 11/17/2009”

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  1. Ray says:

    Drew-thanks for the mention. We are doing an early mock draft with myself and Ian Youhanna alternating picks. I took alot of heat for taking Kemp second in the mock ahead of Albert, and after Hanley.

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    • Freshhops says:

      The reason you’ve taken heat for that is because it is completely insane. Completely. totally. off the f-ing rocker. NUTS. No offense, because you’ve got balls and I respect that. But I think you’re crazy.

      Option A is an inner circle hall of famer, probably the best right handed hitter ever, will probably out-hit ever single major league baseball player next season and to boot will lead probably his position in stolen bases.

      Option B is compares favorably with the other best players at his position. He’s a 30-30 guy who might hit .300, which is great.

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  2. Kampfer says:

    I don’t think there is any justification taking Kemp ahead of Albert…
    Pujols is the model of greatness and consistency.
    There are two major theories out there when you draft in the 1st rd: one says go for consistent contributor, one says go for the best available player, both theories tell you to get Pujols.

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  3. Andrew says:

    Thanks for linking my piece at FBJ. Truly an honor to be mentioned on FanGraphs.

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  4. Ray says:

    Kampfer-I liked Kemp’s 30-30 potential over Pujols, plus Kemp is moving up in the LAD lineup in 2010, so the RBI’s should increase as well. Not that taking Pujols there, or first, is wrong….not saying that.
    There has to be a time where pitchers just don’t pitch to Pujols loike they did Bonds a few years ago and AGonz in 2009. Why pitch to him when you can pitch to Ludwick instead? LA pitched around Pujols in the NLDS.

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  5. The Top 4 are Pujols, Hanley, ARod and Utley with the 1st two and 2nd two flip flopping based on preference. After that, you have 3 OF – Braun, Kemp and Justin Upton – 1B – Teixeira and Fielder- along with Joe Mauer and Tim Lincecum.

    Reaching for Kemp at #2 or Braun at #6 is a clear choice to me.

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  6. Ray says:

    Braun is a reach?? I can see Kemp.

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    • Matt B. says:

      Kemp has done most of his damage vs lefties thus far in his career, I’d be pretty tempted to take Justin Upton over either of them considering his #s at such a YOUNG age, pretty impressive.

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  7. Dan says:

    Does taking Braun at #6 require much justification? It’s too early for me to finalize my rankings, but that seems like a very reasonable choice to me.

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  8. jimbo says:

    I have no problem with Kemp taken so early. Sometimes you have to draft for the future, and Kemp seems to have much more upside than downside. Granted, Pujols is a lock for quality production but Kemp put up 26/34/97/101/.297…mostly from the bottom half of the lineup. 60% of his at bats came in 6-9 spots. He has alley-to-alley power, which plays pretty well in LA.

    The only flags I see in his peripherals are the K% and his contact rates. Personally, I’d rank him behind Pujols and Braun…but that’s just because I have a thing for first-rounders being proven at the elite level.

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  9. R M says:

    I just prefer to shore up middle infield in the early rounds because those positions are so shallow. Unless you’re playing in a 5-OF league, I really don’t think OF is a scare position at all. Taking an outfielder on the projection that he will reach 30-30, which he has never done, just seems unjustifiable to me, especially when you can have a year in year out 30+/15+ second baseman in Chase Utley. There’s no way you can convince anyone that 2B is deeper than OF.

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  10. R M says:

    *scarce, not scare.

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  11. R M says:

    Compare these 2009 batting lines:
    32 HR/114 R/115 RBI/20 SB/.320 AVG

    26 HR/97 R/101 RBI/34 SB/.297 AVG

    31 HR/112 R/93 RBI/23 SB/.282 AVG

    The first is Ryan Braun, the second is Matt Kemp, and the third is Chase Utley. Why are 2 outfielders who have comparable lines to a second baseman being talked about in the first 2-6 picks while Utley is not in the conversation? Is it the youth/upside craze?

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  12. R M says:

    I am assuming we are talking about 1 year leagues here….

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  13. Ray says:

    Assuming 5-OF league.
    There were 9 second baseman that hit 20+ HRs in 2009, 4 of those hit 30+, including Hill who hit 36. Hill had more RBIs and a better AVG. Now I know Hill never hit 30, let alone 20 HRs in a season.
    Kinsler hit as many HRs and stole more bases, and his Avg was lower due to a very low BABIP of .245, well below his career avg BABIP.
    Kemp is on the cusp of 30-30…..I am confident he can reach that in 2010. Kinsler was the only 30-30 guy in 2009.

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    • R M says:

      Just before I keep arguing, I am not saying I am right, I am just making an argument….all in good fun.

      Maybe 9 second basemen hit 20+ homeruns, but homeruns are not the only stat in 5×5.

      These are the other 9 second basemen who hit 20+ lined up against Utley (numbers are in comparison to Utley’s line):

      Kinsler (-11)
      Phillips (-34)
      Uggla (-28)
      Cano (-9)
      DeRosa (-34)
      J Lopez (-43)
      Stewart (-38)
      Hill (-9)
      Zobrist (-21)

      Kinsler (0)
      Phillips (-11)
      Uggla (0)
      Cano (-6)
      DeRosa (-8)
      Lopez (-6)
      Stewart (-6)
      Hill (+5)
      Zobrist (+4)

      Kinsler (-7)
      Phillips (+5)
      Uggla (-3)
      Cano (-8)
      DeRosa (-15)
      Lopez (+3)
      Stewart (-23)
      Hill (+13)
      Zobrist (-2)

      Kinsler (+8)
      Phillips: (+2)
      Uggla (-21)
      Cano (-18)
      DeRosa (-20)
      Lopez (-20)
      Stewart (-16)
      Hill (-17)
      Zobrist (-6)

      Kinsler (-.029)
      Phillips (-.006)
      Uggla (-.039
      Cano (+.038)
      DeRosa (-.032)
      Lopez (-.010)
      Stewart (-.055)
      Hill (+.004)
      Zobrist (+.015)

      As you can see, there is no player who came close to Utley and any more than 4 of 5 categories. Many players who outperformed him are due for some regression, while his production should remain constant (and his average might even go up a little). The only player who has a chance at matching Utley is Kinsler. That leaves 2 people capable of 30-20 with good production in other categories at 2B in 2010, with Zobrist close on the second tier. There is practically no upside at the position for numbers of that caliber. For Outfielders you have Kemp, Justin Upton, Grady Sizemore, Ryan Braun, Curtis Granderson, Matt Holliday, Hunter Pence, Jayson Werth, Carlos Gonzalez, Nelson Cruz, and Jay Bruce all capable of producing significantly in all 5 categories, and then on top of that you have a class of world-class speedsters, as well as a bunch of other players who contribute greatly in 3 or 4 categories. If you wait on an Utley or a Kinsler and draft a Kemp instead, you could wind up with a guy like Cano or Lopez in a bad BABIP year or praying that Ian Stewart will bring his average up, whereas you could easily get Utley or Kinsler in the first round and still have any number of outfielders capable of well out-producing the second tier of 2B’s. With 5 outfielders outfielders obviously have to be picked early and often, but I think forgoing Utley for an outfielder is a mistake, because you are passing up on being guaranteed, barring injury, to be best or 2nd best in your league at 2B.

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  14. Ray says:

    Utley was picked 4th in the Fake Teams mock. Why is upside a craze?? Has Kemp peaked at the young age of 25??

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  15. R M says:

    My second post was directed at Fantasy Alpha.

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    • R M says:

      I guess I should have seen the fact that Utley was in his post. Just ignore this:

      “The first is Ryan Braun, the second is Matt Kemp, and the third is Chase Utley. Why are 2 outfielders who have comparable lines to a second baseman being talked about in the first 2-6 picks while Utley is not in the conversation? Is it the youth/upside craze?”

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  16. R M says:

    I guess I should have hit the “respond” button.

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  17. MDS says:

    lol @ kemp #2 and OF positional scarcity

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  18. Ray says:

    RM-I have done the same analysis for the OFers that you mentioned, and then some, and here are the results vs Kemp in 2009:

    The following 5×5 category OFers hit more HRs than Kemp: Werth, Braun, Granderson, Zobrist, Bay and Cruz. The biggest difference-Werth hit 10 more HRs than Kemp.
    The following 5×5 category OFers scored more runs than Kemp: Werth, Bay, Braun and Damon.The biggest difference- Braun scored 16 more runs than Kemp.
    The following 5×5 category OFers had more RBI: Bay, Braun and Holliday. The biggest difference-Bay had 18 more RBI than Kemp.
    The following 5×5 category OFers had more SBs than Kemp: None, in fact no one was within 13 SBs from Kemp
    The following 5×5 category OFers hit for a higher AVG than Kemp: Braun, Upton, Holliday, Choo and Hunter. The biggest difference-Braun hit .320 to Kemp’s .297 for a .023 diff.

    I see Kemp closing the gap in the power and runs categories in 2010 batting in the middle of the LAD lineup, rather than 6th-8th like he did in 2009.

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