Stock Watch: April 13th

  • Stock Up
  • Neftali Feliz, Texas Rangers

    Though the change may be temporary, Feliz has taken over closing duties from Frank Francisco.

    One of two core players picked up in the July 2007 Mark Teixeira swap (Elvis Andrus being the other), Feliz beings mid-to-upper-nineties smoke, a hard high-70′s curve and an occasional mid-80′s changeup out of the ‘pen. The 22 year-old (in May) struck out 10.6 batters per nine innings in the minors. He has 11.8 K/9 in 34.1 big league frames, with 2.62 BB/9 and a 3.11 expected FIP. Feliz is adept at getting hitters to chase out of the zone, with a 30.1 outside swing percentage (25 percent MLB average).

    Feliz’s long term role has yet to be determined, but there’s little doubt that he can be an effective, high-leverage reliever for the Rangers in 2010.

    Chris Snyder, Arizona Diamondbacks

    With Miguel Montero (torn meniscus in right knee) hitting the DL and likely headed for surgery that could sideline him for a significant amount of time, Snyder becomes the everyday backstop for the D-Backs.

    Snyder is no stranger to health issues, as the 29 year-old was limited to 202 plate appearances in 2009 with a back injury that required surgery. His line (.200/.333/.352) and wOBA (.304) look ghastly, but he drew a walk nearly 16 percent of the time and still managed a .152 ISO. A .237 BABIP dragged down his numbers considerably.

    Yeah, Snyder can’t beat a Molina in a foot race (career 1.0 Speed Score) and he pops the ball up a lot (career 14.7 infield fly rate), two traits that deflate BABIP (his career mark is .274). But if he’s healthy and gets a few more bounces to go his way, Snyder could be a nifty NL-only option: ZiPS projects a .239/.341/.438 line the rest of the way.

    Jeremy Bonderman, Detroit Tigers

    Bonderman has broken many hearts over the years. He has one of the largest splits between ERA (4.77 career) and xFIP (4.00) among starters, the result of a career .316 BABIP and a lower-than-usual strand rate (67.7 percent). Bonderman scarcely pitched at all over the 2008 and 2009 seasons following a procedure to correct Thoracic Outlet Syndrome. It’s enough to make you wanna throw a chair.

    While one start doesn’t tell us much, Bonderman did look good while taking on the Indians on April 10th. In five frames, he struck out five and walked two, surrendering one hit and one run. Bonderman pounded the zone with his fastball and slider, throwing 59 of his 91 pitches for strikes (64.8 percent). Stamina and durability are big issues, but Bonderman is owned in just four percent of Yahoo leagues. He’s worth a look.

  • Stock Down
  • Chris Young, San Diego Padres

    It’s been a rough couple of years for Young. He took an Albert Pujols liner off the face in 2008, while also struggling with a right forearm injury. In 2009, Young underwent right shoulder surgery that limited him to just 76 innings. As an extreme fly ball pitcher in a park where long drives die at the warning track, he’s in the best possible environment. But Young’s velocity has dipped from the high-80′s to the mid-80′s, and his walk rate has increased considerably. His percentage of pitches within the strike zone has plummeted, as has his swinging strike rate.

    Now, Young heads back to the DL with shoulder tightness. Precautionary or no, Young’s stuff has declined over the past few years to the extent that he would be a liability in less hospitable ball parks. He shouldn’t be on your radar unless/until he can show more than mid-80′s “heat” high in the zone.

    Jarrod Saltalamacchia, Texas Rangers

    It’s difficult to remember now, but Salty was once the key piece in the aforementioned Teixeira bounty. But in 874 career major league plate appearances, the switch-hitter has authored a .251/.313/.388 line, with a .306 wOBA. Saltalamacchia has handled fastballs at an average rate, but off-speed stuff has flummoxed him: -2.4 runs per 100 pitches against sliders, -0.97 runs/100 versus curves and -1.37 against changeups. Not surprisingly, Salty has seen a rather low proportion of fastballs (55.4 percent).

    Saltalamacchia underwent surgery for Thoracic Outlet Syndrome late last season, and he was recently placed on the DL with upper back stiffness. He won’t turn 25 until May, but the former top prospect is a flawed player at the moment. In Salty’s stead, Taylor Teagarden will try to prove that he can avoid being eaten alive by big league pitching. ZiPS (.215/.291/.369) thinks he’ll remain a tasty dish for opposing hurlers.

    Ben Sheets, Oakland Athletics

    Again, we’re dealing with small sample sizes here. But Sheets hasn’t shown crisp stuff with the A’s. The long-time Brewer, who missed the entire 2009 season with a torn flexor tendon in his right elbow, has a 4/7 K/BB ratio in 11 frames. Sheets has averaged 91.2 MPH with his fastball, compared to 92-93 MPH in past years. His swinging strike rate is 4.7 percent (8-9 percent MLB average), and his contact rate is well above average (88.1 percent, 80-81 percent MLB average).

    It’s entirely possible that Sheets’ early struggles are forgotten in the coming months, with his fastball hitting its normal velocity and his performance improving greatly. The problem is, we just don’t know if that will occur at this point. If you own Sheets, don’t dump him for pennies on the dollar. But keep an eye on his fastball and curve in the coming weeks to see if they start to round into form.




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    A recent graduate of Duquesne University, David Golebiewski is a contributing writer for Fangraphs, The Pittsburgh Sports Report and Baseball Analytics. His work for Inside Edge Scouting Services has appeared on ESPN.com and Yahoo.com, and he was a fantasy baseball columnist for Rotoworld from 2009-2010. He recently contributed an article on Mike Stanton's slugging to The Hardball Times Annual 2012. Contact David at david.golebiewski@gmail.com and check out his work at Journalist For Hire.


    7 Responses to “Stock Watch: April 13th”

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    1. Good stuff! I would imagine most people that come here already know that they should take Paul Konerko off of waivers if he’s available. Leave that filler to Yahoo.

      Bonderman is definitely on the radar. What do you think of Nate Robertson? He looked good against The Mets this weekend. Updated ZiPs projects a 3.98 FIP this season. Again, early but interesting – especially with the switch from AL to NL.

      Losing Montero, I quickly picked up Snyder in a two catcher league. He could produce decent pop for me at the god-forsaken 2nd C position. Deep bench, so I just grabbed Carlos Santana as a lotto ticket.

      Vote -1 Vote +1

    2. Ted Hoppe says:

      Who didn’t draft Konerko?

      Vote -1 Vote +1

    3. tommybones says:

      When does Podsednik get some roto-love?

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      • Jesse says:

        When Ozzie Guillen drafts a FBL team.

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      • The Usual SusBeck says:

        Is Pods more valuable at this point than Pierre? I’d assume he’s gonna get more ABs, bats in a better lineup spot, and doesn’t have the power/RBI guys in his lineup to discourage running.

        Vote -1 Vote +1

    4. R M says:

      Is it really time to go “stock down” on Ben Sheets already? Give him a few starts to shed the rust, and if he’s still walking more guys than he’s striking out, then we have a problem.

      Vote -1 Vote +1

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