Tag Archives: Chone Figgins

Season Preview: AL West


Time to move to my own team’s division, as I take a look at the AL West. You can also take a look at my previews of the AL East and AL Central.

Last Year’s Records
Texas – 90-72
Oakland – 81-81
Los Angeles – 80-82
Seattle – 61-101

Notable Additions

Los Angeles – Vernon Wells, Hisanori Takahashi

Oakland – Hideki Matsui, David DeJesus, Brian Fuentes, Grant Balfour, Josh Willingham, Rich Harden, Brandon McCarthy

Seattle – Miguel Olivo, Jack Cust

Texas – Adrian Beltre, Arthur Rhodes, Mike Napoli, Brandon Webb

Notable Losses

Los Angeles – Mike Napoli, Juan Rivera, Hideki Matsui, Scot Shields

Oakland – Rajai Davis, Vin Mazzaro

Seattle – Russell Branyan, Jose Lopez

Texas – Cliff Lee, Vladimir Guerrero, Frank Francisco

Continue reading

Advertisements

Fantasy Rankings in Review: Third Basemen


Back in February, I took my first shot at attempting to rank players for fantasy purposes. After a full season, I thought it wise to take a look back at how they went, and compare them to how it actually turned out and see if there is anything to be gained from it. Next up is the review of my 3B rankings.

My Preseason Rankings

1.     Alex Rodriguez
2.     David Wright
3.     Evan Longoria
4.     Mark Reynolds
5.     Ryan Zimmerman
6.     Kevin Youkilis
7.     Aramis Ramirez
8.     Chone Figgins
9.     Pablo Sandoval
10.  Michael Young
11.  Gordon Beckham
12.  Ian Stewart
13.  Jorge Cantu
14.  Casey Blake
15.  Chipper Jones

Continue reading

Original Draft Series: #5 – Colorado Rockies


For those that missed the guidelines I am using for this series of posts, you can find them here.

Team #5: Colorado Rockies

General Managers(since 1994)

Bob Gebhart (1994-1998): 512-559
Dan O’Dowd (1999-Current): 769-852

Team Performance

Playoffs Division Finish
WC League Playoff App 1st 2nd 3rd 4th Last
0 1 3 0 3 4 5 4

All information is drawn from Baseball Reference.

Position Name Acquired Years with Org.
Stats with Organization
Left?
C Chris Iannetta 2004 – 4th Rd 6 333 gm, .236/.355/.440, 48 HR, 178 RBI Currently with Org.
1B Todd Helton 1995 – 1st Rd (8) 15 5 All Star Appearances, 3 Gold Gloves, 4 Silver Sluggers
1906 gm, .324/.423/.556, 331 HR, 1230 RBI, 36 SB
Currently with Org.
2B Chone Figgins
1997 – 4th Rd 4 No Major League Appearances with Org. Traded to LAA – 7/13/01
3B Garrett Atkins 2000 – 5th Rd 9 773 gm, .289/.354/.457, 98 HR, 479 RBI Non Tendered – 12/12/09
SS Troy Tulowitzki 2005 – 1st Rd (7) 5 1 All Star Appearance
528 gm, .290/.362/.481, 78 HR, 302 RBI, 40 SB
Currently with Org.
LF Matt Holliday 1998 – 7th Rd 10 3 All Star Appearances, 3 Silver Sluggers
698 gm, .319/.386/.552, 128 HR, 483 RBI, 66 SB
Traded to OAK – 11/10/08
CF Juan Pierre 1998 – 13th Rd 4 359 gm, .308/.356/.371, 110 RBI, 100 SB Traded to FLA – 11/16/02
RF Brad Hawpe
2000 – 11th Rd 10 1 All Star Appearance
816 gm, .280/.374/.492, 118 HR, 464 RBI, 13 SB
Released – 7/26/10
DH Ian Stewart 2003 – 1st Rd (10) 7 378 gm, .247/.333/.456, 54 HR, 180 RBI, 13 SB Currently with Org.
SP Ubaldo Jimenez Int’l FA – 2001 9 1 All Star Appearance
48-34, 3.51 ERA, 690.2 IP, 611 K, 300 BB
Currently with Org.
SP Aaron Cook
1997 – 2nd Rd 13 1 All Star Appearance
68-58, 4.42 ERA, 1210.1 IP, 506 K, 370 BB
Currently with Org.
SP Jake Westbrook 1996 – 1st Rd(21) 1 No Major League Appearances with Org. Traded to MON – 11/18/97
SP Jeff Francis
2002 – 1st Rd (9) 8 55-48, 4.72 ERA, 871 IP, 595 K, 284 BB Currently with Org.
SP Jhoulys Chacin
Int’l FA – 2004 6 7-10, 3.80 ERA, 118.1 IP, 125 K, 61 BB Currently with Org.
RP Jamey Wright 1993 – 1st Rd (28) 6 35-52, 5.40 ERA, 791.2 IP, 381 K, 387 BB Traded to MIL – 12/13/99
RP Matt Daley Amateur FA – 2004 6 1-2, 4.09 ERA, 72.2 IP, 72 K, 27 BB Currently with Org.
RP Franklin Morales Int’l FA – 2002 8 7-9, 4.95 ERA, 127.1 IP, 93 K, 75 BB Currently with Org.
RP Esmil Rogers Int’l FA – 2003 7 2-2, 5.28 ERA, 59.2 IP, 52 K, 21 BB Currently with Org.
RP Greg Reynolds 2006 – 1st Rd (2) 4 2-8, 8.13 ERA, 62 IP, 22 K, 26 BB Currently with Org.
CL Manny Corpas Int’l FA – 1999 11 12-16, 3.93 ERA, 34 SV, 286 IP, 206 K, 80 BB Currently with Org.
BN Clint Barmes
2000 – 10th Rd 10 649 gm, .254/.300/.405, 61 HR, 285 RBI, 39 SB Currently with Org.
BN Seth Smith 2004 – 2nd Rd 6 319 gm, .277/.352/.495, 35 HR, 119 RBI, 7 SB Currently with Org.
BN Eric Young Jr 2003 – 30th Rd 7 62 gm, .238/.301/.298, 4 RBI, 17 SB Currently with Org.
BN Dexter Fowler 2004 – 14th Rd 6 253 gm, .255/.351/.398, 8 HR, 66 RBI, 39 SB Currently with Org.
BN Juan Uribe
Int’l FA – 1997 6 672 gm, .251/.293/.431, 87 HR, 324 RBI, 16 SB Traded to CHW – 12/2/03

June Amateur Draft

The Rockies have really capitalized on their draft picks, getting a lot of good players out of the first 5 rounds of the draft every season. Todd Helton is probably the best player that the Rockies have ever had, but right behind him are also Jeff Francis, Matt Holliday, Troy Tulowitzki, and Brad Hawpe in terms of great players out of the draft. Nearly every position in the starting lineup also had a player who was reasonable to be on the bench for this group as well (Barmes, Smith, Uribe). I really like how this team has developed, and has also gotten better by moving Holliday prior to his free agency for Carlos Gonzalez and Huston Street both.

International Free Agency

The Rockies haven’t been nearly as active in the international market as some other teams, but the players that they have gotten seem to have done very well for the team. Ubaldo Jimenez has developed into a definite #1 starter, and Manny Corpas has closed for the team in the past. While there are still a lot of works-in-progress, especially Franklin Morales and Esmil Rogers, the team seems to be going about the international market the right way.

Overall Grade

A. The Rockies have done well overall in both markets, and developed a very good team for this purpose. Nearly every player in their lineup was a potential All-Star when they were in their prime, and the Rockies caught quite a bit of those years as well. Their starting rotation is solid, and the bullpen is full of serviceable pitchers as well. Honestly, I even like their bench, as these players would probably be starters for a lot of the teams below them in the rankings.

Week in Review – July 19 to July 25


If the Playoffs Started Today

Tampa Bay Rays (59-38) vs. Texas Rangers (58-41)
Chicago White Sox (53-44) vs. New York Yankees (62-35)

San Francisco Giants (56-43) vs. Atlanta Braves (57-41)
St. Louis Cardinals (55-44) vs. San Diego Padres (58-39)

League Leaders

Batting Average – Josh Hamilton (TEX) .357
Runs – Mark Teixeira (NYY) 75
Home Runs – Jose Bautista (TOR) 27
Runs Batted In – Miguel Cabrera (DET) 88
Stolen Bases – Juan Pierre (CHW) 35

Wins – Ubaldo Jimenez (COL) 15
Saves – Heath Bell (SD) and Brian Wilson (SF) 29
ERA – Josh Johnson (FLA) 1.61
Strikeouts – Jered Weaver (LAA) 147
WHIP – Cliff Lee (TEX) 0.92

Roster Movement

To the Disabled List: Ben Sheets, Aaron Laffey, Luis Atilano, David DeJesus, Ryan Doumit, Manny Ramirez, Andy Pettitte, Dustin Nippert, Scott Kazmir, Ryan Sweeney, Orlando Hudson, Carlos Guillen, Magglio Ordonez,

Return from the Disabled List: Mat Latos, Ryan Ludwick, Sergio Mitre, Brian Roberts, Josh Beckett, Asdrubal Cabrera, Shin-Soo Choo, Yovani Gallardo, Ramon Hernandez, Kevin Millwood, Nate McLouth, Jed Lowrie, Will Venable, Mike Gonzalez, Oliver Perez, Clay Buchholz, Luis Castillo, Luke Scott, Maicer Izturis, Matt Wieters,

To the Minors: Jhoulys Chacin, Andrew Oliver

Called Up: Cedrick Bowers, Alex Gordon, Jose Arredondo, Scott Sizemore, Armando Galarraga

Trades:

Top Stories and Weekly Links

  • The Hall of Fame induction ceremonies were held on Sunday afternoon in Cooperstown, with Andre Dawson and Whitey Herzog being enshrined for their performances. Back in December, I wrote up my thoughts on whether Dawson was a Hall of Famer or not. (I thought he was)
  • Alex Rodriguez hit his 599th homerun of his career this week, and will earn $6 million extra when he hits #600 due to a clause in his contract. Good for him.
  • The Mariners are really looking like a mess, and I am thinking it is probably going to cost manager Don Wakamatsu his job before the end of the season. On Friday night, he got into a shouting argument in the dugout with Chone Figgins over Figgins’ lack of effort on a play in the 5th inning of that night’s game. I actually agree that Wakamatsu did the right thing by yanking Figgins from the game, but teams don’t fire players very often for this kind of stuff.
  • The Moneyball movie has begun shooting finally, with Brad Pitt set to play GM Billy Beane, Jonah Hill to play Paul De Podesta, and Philip Seymour Hoffman playing manager Art Howe. Having been through the 2002 season as an A’s fan, and having read the book, this one’s going to be interesting. I’m wondering if the movie reopens the stats vs. scouts argument wounds again.
  • Major League Baseball, very quietly, announced that minor leaguers will now be tested for HGH in addition to all the other things they are already tested for. I’d be shocked if the next collective bargaining agreement doesn’t have this test in it for Major Leaguers as well.
  • The Angels made the big moves this week with acquiring 3B Alberto Callaspo first in the week and then making the huge splash with acquiring SP Dan Haren from the Diamondbacks for 4 prospects. Really like the trade for the Angels, hate it for every other team in the division (including my A’s).

From the Twitter Followers and Friends

If you aren’t yet, you can follow me over at Twitter here. These are some of the better reads I found from the previous week.

From the Hall of Very Good: HOVG posted a series of articles looking at the next group of players to be eligible for the Hall of Fame voting in 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, and 2015 (so far). Excellent reads from all of them.

From the Daily Something: Bill had a guest post from Jeff Polman which went ahead and played out the remainder of the 1994 season via Strat-o-Matic baseball. It’s a really interesting read, and Strat-o-Matic is something I keep reminding myself that I might enjoy when I have some more time.

Upcoming Posts This Week:

Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday: A series I had not finished up from earlier in the month, the Original Draft Series, is a group of posts where I look at what an organization’s major league team could have looked like had they held onto every player that they either drafted or signed to their first professional contract. There may be 3 posts this week on this, or there may be 6 if I am feeling ambitious.

Friday:  Trade Retrospective of Johan Santana to the Mets. This one’s a bit newer than a lot of the trades I have reviewed previously, but the players in the deal have pretty much finalized what their value in the trade is going to be, so it’s ready to be looked at I believe.

One Other Thing

Lastly, I wanted to bring up a charity that the Baseball Bloggers Alliance has taken up. Here’s the official word, and what you can do:

Pitch In For Baseball is delighted to have been selected to participate in State Farm’s ‘Go To Bat’ campaign.  Now we need your
help!

‘Go To Bat’ was launched nationally during the State Farm Home Run Derby.  ‘Go To Bat’ gives entrants a chance to win tickets to the upcoming World Series and selected charity partners the chance to receive significant financial support.

Here’s how to play and how to help Pitch In For Baseball:

* Go to  www.statefarm.com/gotobat to register for your chance to win World Series tickets.
* As you register, you will get a chance to designate a charity that could win up to $25,000/week.
* To designate Pitch In For Baseball as your charity, select PUBLIC GOOD as the charity category and then choose Pitch In For
Baseball from the drop down list.
* Revisit www.statefarm.com/gotobat each day and play the ‘Go To Bat’ online game to increase your chances for tickets and Pitch In For
Baseball’s chance at financial support

Thanks to all the readers who help out with this. You can find a lot more information about Pitch In For Baseball at their website

Team Preview – Seattle Mariners


Roster Makeup
Lineup Pitching Staff
Pos Name Role Name
C Adam Moore SP 1 Felix Hernandez
1B Casey Kotchman SP 2 Cliff Lee
2B Jose Lopez SP 3 Ryan Rowland-Smith
3B Chone Figgins SP 4 Ian Snell
SS Jack Wilson SP 5 Garrett Olson
LF Michael Saunders Bullpen
CF Franklin Gutierrez CL David Aardsma
RF Ichiro Suzuki RP Brandon League
DH Milton Bradley RP Mark Lowe
Bench RP Shawn Kelley
IF Ryan Garko RP Jason Vargas
IF Eric Byrnes RP Erik Bedard

Additional roster information can be found at MLB Depth Charts.

Off-Season Transactions
Key Additions Key Losses
Pos Name How Pos Name How
SP Cliff Lee Trade (PHI) 1B Russell Branyan Free Agency
OF Milton Bradley Trade (CHC) SP Brandon Morrow Trade (TOR)
3B Chone Figgins Free Agency 3B Adrian Beltre Free Agency

Top Prospects: Carlos Triunfel (SS), Michael Pineda (P), Dustin Ackley (OF/2B), Alex Liddi (3B)

2009 Review

The Mariners came into 2009 with a new manager (Don Wakamatsu), and were hopeful that 2009 would be a good season for them. While not expected by many to perform well, the Mariners still finished with a 85-77 record, good for 3rd place in the AL West and 12 games back of the Angels. They also brought Ken Griffey Jr back to the Mariners, partially as a publicity stunt, and partially to help fill the role of a veteran presence.

The pitching staff was led by Cy Young runner-up Felix Hernandez (19-5, 2.49, 217 strikeouts), Jarrod Washburn (8-6, 2.64), and Ryan Rowland-Smith (5-4, 3.74). On offense, Ichiro (.352, 11 HR, 26 SB) was a standout as usual. The Mariners also had some breakout performances, including 1B Russell Branyan (31 HR, 76 RBI), CF Franklin Gutierrez (.283, 18 HR, 16 SB), and closer David Aardsma (2.52, 38 sv).

Team Outlook for 2010

The team had a very active offseason, and are considered by many to be the most improved team going into 2010. The big acquisition was obviously the trade that brought former Cy Young winner Cliff Lee to the Northwest. And how they were able to bring Milton Bradley in return for Carlos Silva’s useless contract is beyond comprehension. They’ve added more speed and a top-of-the-order hitter in Chone Figgins, and continued to improve their defense with 1B Casey Kotchman.

I think that the Mariners may only be missing some additional power in their order, although they did bring Griffey back to help provide some power off the bench. Adding Lee will help the Mariners should they make the postseason, and give them a very good 1-2-3 punch with Hernandez and Bedard as well. They should see some development in both rookie C Adam Moore and OF Michael Saunders as well. They have really done well to build a team that is reliant upon defense and pitching, specifically built for Safeco Field.

Fantasy Outlook for 2010

Ichiro remains a top tier outfielder, although there are some concerns that he may be slowing due to age. I wouldn’t worry too much about him though. Also, King Felix and Cliff Lee are both top-25 starters and will probably not last past the 7th round (in Lee’s case). 3B Chone Figgins should provide a good value, although at 3B he is one of the few players who provides no power and a lot of speed. Deeper leagues, I would say look at Milton Bradley, as he could potentially provide high-upside power, and also Ryan Rowland-Smith as a potential end-draft starter.

Prediction for 2010

The Mariners look like they have improved enough to compete in the division, and will rely on the 1-2 punch of Hernandez and Lee to help finish the job in the season’s final weeks. The AL West is wide open, and I think that the tandem of Hernandez-Lee will be what puts them over the top.

88-74, 1st in the AL West

Team Preview – Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim


Roster Makeup
Lineup Pitching Staff
Pos Name Role Name
C Mike Napoli SP 1 Jered Weaver
1B Kendry Morales SP 2 Scott Kazmir
2B Howie Kendrick SP 3 Joe Saunders
3B Brandon Wood SP 4 Joel Pineiro
SS Erick Aybar SP 5 Ervin Santana
LF Juan Rivera Bullpen
CF Torii Hunter CL Brian Fuentes
RF Bobby Abreu RP Fernando Rodney
DH Hideki Matsui RP Scot Shields
Bench RP Rich Thompson
C Jeff Mathis RP Sean O’Sullivan
IF Maicer Izturis RP Sean Palmer

Additional roster information can be found at MLB Depth Charts.

Off-Season Transactions
Key Additions Key Losses
Pos Name How Pos Name How
RP Fernando Rodney Free Agency DH Vladimir Guerrero Free Agency
DH Hideki Matsui Free Agency SP John Lackey Free Agency
SP Joel Pineiro Free Agency 3B Chone Figgins Free Agency

Top Prospects: Trevor Reckling (P), Hank Conger (C), Peter Bourjos (OF), Mike Trout (OF)

2009 Review

The Angels were the class of the AL West last season, winning the division by 10 games. They were led on the offense by Torii Hunter (.299/.366/.508, 22 HR 90 RBI, 18 SB), Bobby Abreu (.293/.390/.435, 15 HR, 103 RBI, 30 SB), and Kendry Morales (.306/.355/.569, 34 HR, 108 RBI). The pitching staff was led by Jered Weaver (16-8, 3.75 ERA), Joe Saunders (16-7, 4.60), and John Lackey (11-8, 3.83). The Angels met the wild-card Red Sox in the division round of the playoffs, and swept them pretty handily. This led them to the AL East Champion Yankees, and unfortunately were eliminated in 6 games.

Morales finally showed the promise that had been talked about, and actually performed similarly to the man he replaced in Mark Teixeira. Free agent signee Bobby Abreu brought another solid performance as well, and first-year closer Brian Fuentes led the league with 48 saves. Late season acquisition Scott Kazmir rebounded from his poor performance while in Tampa with a 2-2 record and 1.73 ERA in 6 starts.

Team Outlook for 2010

The Angels needed to address some rather glaring holes during the offseason, most notably with free agents John Lackey and Chone Figgins signing with other teams. They started before the season even ended by acquiring SP Scott Kazmir from the Rays. I think that they did very well to get DH Hideki Matsui to replace some of the production of outgoing DH Vladimir Guerrero, and adding Joel Pineiro to their rotation should also give them some solid innings toward the back-end of the rotation.

The one need that I think that they didn’t really address was the loss of Chone Figgins. Brandon Wood is currently slotted in to replace Figgins at 3B, and should provide some excellent power now that he’s being given the chance to play full time. But I don’t think that the Angels have really got a player that can hit at the top of the order and provide that type of production like Figgins.

The pitching staff is now led by Jered Weaver, and slots in solid started behind in Joe Saunders, Scott Kazmir, and Joel Pineiro. The bullpen I believe will be the same strength, as they have signed Fernando Rodney to help fill the innings that Jose Arredondo was throwing, and could potentially close if something were to happen to Brian Fuentes.

I don’t think that they will see a lot of promoted prospects from their top lists, as many of their best prospects are still at AA or below. Brandon Wood should be really exciting to see with full-time playing time, and has the potential to hit 30 homers at some point.

Fantasy Outlook for 2010

Top players for the Angels for fantasy purposes include 1B Kendry Morales, C Mike Napoli, CF Torii Hunter, RF Bobby Abreu, and SP Jered Weaver. In deeper leagues, SS Erick Aybar, 2B Howie Kendrick, and DH Hideki Matsui should all provide some value as well. The Angels have two high-upside players available in my opinion: SP Scott Kazmir and SP Ervin Santana. Both of them have the potential to strikeout a batter per inning, and post solid numbers. They have both done it in their past, and could definitely do it again.

Prediction for 2010

The AL West has gotten better, and while it hasn’t been a huge jump forward, that coupled with the slight step back of the Angels, leads me to think that this division is really wide open. The Angels have become known for outperforming the Pythagorean expected win-loss record, so it wouldn’t really surprise me for them to outperform it again. I think that they will finish extremely close to the top, if they don’t win it all. As of right now, I think the Angels will finish 2nd, but it’s going to be extremely close.

86-76, T-2nd in the AL West

Fantasy Preview – Third Basemen


A note about my rankings: I am assuming a standard scoring league (5×5) with the following categories:

R, HR, RBI, SB, AVG, W, SV, ERA, K, WHIP

Also, I have done a lot of statistical analysis in the past, but I’m not ready to start calculating my own projections statistically. So for me, a lot of this is based entirely on gut feel (which of these 2 players would I want), and looking at previous performance. All statistics are from the 2009 season.

My top 15 Third Basemen for 2010

1. Alex Rodriguez – NYY
R HR RBI SB AVG
78 30 100 14 .286
Rodriguez missed almost 40 games last season, and still put up amazing numbers during that time. I can pretty easily see a return to 100 runs, 20 steals, and even possibly 40 homers for A-Rod. Throw in that there shouldn’t be quite as much pressure on him now that he’s won a championship for the Yankees, and he’s a definite first rounder and probably going to end up as a top-5 player for me.


2. David Wright – NYM
R HR RBI SB AVG
88 10 72 27 .307
Wright was a huge disappointment for his owners last season, as they drafted him expecting something similar to a 30-30 season. Wright saw a huge spike in his strikeout rate last season, but still posted a similar walk rate. I’m inclined to believe that he’s due to rebound this season, and while his power may not necessarily get back to the 30 HR range necessarily, I can see a 25-25 guy in Wright with a great average.


3. Evan Longoria – 3B
R HR RBI SB AVG
100 33 113 9 .281
Longoria posted another excellent season, building on an excellent rookie campaign in 2008. Longoria is still maturing, but in the Rays lineup he’s a pretty good lock to provide around 100 runs, 100 rbis, and 30 homers. Throw in the handful of steals, and he’s one of the few 3B who will provide value in all 5 categories.


4. Mark Reynolds
R HR RBI SB AVG
98 44 102 24 .260
I talked about Reynolds in the 1B preview as well. At 3B, the power and speed combination more than makes up for the drag he is going to be on your batting average. I still don’t think he’s likely to give you 40 HR again, but 30 HR and 20 stolen bases are definitely possible.


5. Ryan Zimmerman – WAS
R HR RBI SB AVG
110 33 106 2 .292
Zimmerman, very quietly, has developed into an excellent fantasy 3B. Realistically, he’s one of only 2 fantasy useful players on the Nats, so he tends to be forgotten. However, don’t sleep on him, as he’s very likely to provide similar production to his 2009 season.


6. Kevin Youkilis – BOS
Also qualifies at 1B
R HR RBI SB AVG
99 27 94 7 .305
You can see my thoughts about Youkilis in my 1B rankings. He’s another player who will provide stats in all categories, and in my opinion is much more valuable if you draft him to play 3B than if you draft him to play 1B.


7. Aramis Ramirez – CHC
R HR RBI SB AVG
46 15 65 2 .317
Ramirez spent a major portion of last season on the disabled list, missing nearly 2 months with a separated shoulder. As a result, he may be dropping in people’s rankings when looking solely at his season numbers. Looking at his season splits, Ramirez appears to be fully recovered from the injury (11 HR, .304 from July onward). As a result, I can see him returning to his 30 HR form, and driving in 100 again.


8. Chone Figgins – SEA
R HR RBI SB AVG
114 5 54 42 .298
Figgins goes from a lineup with the Angels that really was run heavy, to a Mariners lineup that is probably similar in makeup. The biggest difference for Figgins himself is that he’s likely going to be hitting #2 in the order as opposed to leading off, due to the presence of Ichiro. He’s still a threat to steal 40 bags, and should still score quite a bit of runs. My only concern with drafting Figgins is that you’ve plugged a speed guy into a position where there are a majority of power hitters. You’ll want to make sure you get your power in some other positions, potentially 2B, SS or C.


9. Pablo Sandoval – SF
Also qualifies at 1B
R HR RBI SB AVG
79 25 90 5 .330
I wrote about the Kung Fu Panda in my 1B rankings. Obviously, he provides more value at 3B than 1B, but he’s going to give you good production regardless of where you play him in your fantasy lineup.


10. Michael Young – TEX
R HR RBI SB AVG
76 22 68 8 .322
While Young no longer brings the added value of qualifying at SS, he’s still a solid value pick at 3B. His run total seems a bit low to me, but that is mostly due to his missing a couple weeks of time in September. I think he approaches 100 runs again this season, while posting similar numbers in the rest of the categories. A good solid player who unfortunately probably doesn’t have a lot of upside, but you still need players that provide as expected.


11. Gordon Beckham
Will qualify at 2B after 5 starts
R HR RBI SB AVG
58 14 63 7 .270
I wrote about Beckham in my 2B rankings since he’s the presumptive starter for the White Sox there. He’s a definite upside pick, as you’re hoping for potentially a 20-20 player. I think he can do that, and the positional flexibility will be nice as well.


12. Ian Stewart – COL
Also qualifies at 2B
R HR RBI SB AVG
74 25 70 7 .228
I also wrote about Stewart in my 2B rankings. The warning remains the same – watch to see that he does in fact win one of the starting jobs. I would be shocked if he didn’t, but there’s always a chance I suppose.


13. Jorge Cantu – FLA
Also qualifies at 1B
R HR RBI SB AVG
67 16 100 3 .289
Cantu is another under-the-radar type of player, as I really wasn’t aware he had driven in 100 last season or that he had posted useful numbers in the rest of the categories either. I am not sure he’ll post another 100 RBI this season, but he’ll probably be close to that number. His run total seems like it was a bit low as well, and could see that improving into the 75-80 range on the Marlins.


14. Casey Blake – LAD
R HR RBI SB AVG
84 18 79 3 .280
Blake quietly had another solid year in Los Angeles last season. He’s not going to provide you with elite production in any category, but he will provide at least some reasonable value to you in 4 of the categories. Another player who’s a better real-life player than a fantasy one. But still useful to be sure.


15. Chipper Jones – ATL
R HR RBI SB AVG
80 18 71 4 .264
If you’re looking for the Chipper Jones of the early 2000s, you’ve come to the wrong place. At this point, he’s going to give you some power, and will provide some runs and rbi. I’m not sure that the batting average is going to rebound back to the .364 he hit in 2008, or even the .300 range in general. No upside here really, but another useful player. Just hope you don’t need him to provide great production, because that’s pretty unlikely at this point.



After my top 15, there’s a lot of players with minor flaws. You have players like Scott Rolen and Adrian Beltre, who haven’t really been healthy. You’ve got younger players like Alex Gordon and Edwin Encarnacion, who have not proven that they can play well for multiple seasons. You’ve got Chase Headley and Martin Prado, who have some upside, but only as late round picks. There’s definitely some high-risk, high-reward types out there. But I know I’d prefer to not have to take too many of those types of players on my team.

Tomorrow will be another fantasy preview, this time for SS.

Free Agency Review – C/1B/3B


All week, I will be recapping the free agency signings this offseason, by position. Today’s group: Catchers and Corner Infielders (1B, 3B)

All salary data from ESPN.com’s Free Agent Tracker
All 2011 free agent information from MLB Trade Rumors’ 2011 Free Agent List

Catchers
Name Old New Years Total $
Bengie Molina SF SF 1 $4.5 M
Miguel Olivo KC COL 1 $2.5 M
Ivan Rodriguez TEX WAS 2 $6 M
Jason Kendall MIL KCR 2 $6 M
Gregg Zaun TAM MIL 1 $2.15 M
John Buck KC TOR 1 $2 M
Brian Schneider NYM PHI 2 $2.75 M
Yorvit Torrealba COL SD 1 $1.25 M

Notable Remaining Free Agents: Rod Barajas (TOR)

There really wasn’t a lot of available jobs for catchers this offseason, as realistically 5 jobs were vacated by free agents. Bengie Molina probably did the best, in my opinion, as he got the highest annual salary ($4.5 M), and managed to go to a team that has a very good prospect waiting in the wings. Of some concern was the fact that Molina had an even better offer on the table from the Mets, and turned it down anyway. Ivan Rodriguez was probably my favorite signing for a specific team, as he should be a real help to the Nationals rotation and lineup with his experience, and his winning track record. Nearly all of these signings are of the low-risk, high-potential variety, and no really big contracts either.

First Basemen
Name Old New Years Total $
Adam LaRoche ATL ARI 1 $6 M
Aubrey Huff DET SF 1 $3 M
Nick Johnson FLA NYY 1 $5.75 M
Troy Glaus STL ATL 1 $1.75 M
Jason Giambi COL COL 1 $1.75 M

Notable Remaining Free Agents: Russell Branyan (SEA), Carlos Delgado (NYM), Hank Blalock (TEX)

This year’s crop of free agent first basemen really didn’t have a lot of high-end talent, with Branyan and LaRoche probably having the best seasons of any of the players available. As a result, we saw exclusively 1 year contracts for most players, and some still looking for work. Branyan is really the biggest surprise, although his published demands early on during the offseason may have scared away a lot of teams. Next year’s class of 1B free agents is extremely strong, including Albert Pujols, Lance Berkman, Derrek Lee, and Carlos Pena. This may also have contributed to the lack of long contracts, as teams may not want to tie up the position for next season’s bonanza. Another group of lower-risk, higher-potential contracts that if they don’t work, will not really cause any problems for the teams that signed them.

Third Basemen
Name Old New Years Total $
Mark DeRosa STL SF 2 $12 M
Adam Kennedy OAK WAS 1 $1.25 M
Chone Figgins LAA SEA 4 $36 M
Adrian Beltre SEA BOS 1 $10 M
Melvin Mora BAL COL 1 $1.3 M
Garrett Atkins COL BAL 1 $4.5 M
Pedro Feliz PHI HOU 1 $4.5 M
Miguel Tejada HOU BAL 1 $6 M

Notable Remaining Free Agents: Joe Crede (MIN)

3rd base actually had some solid free agent signings, with some big dollars as well. Beltre got the highest annual salary at $10 M from the Red Sox. That contract actually seemed like a bit of a surprise, as the Red Sox still have Mike Lowell who will now be relegated to bench duty. Figgins was the cream of the crop of this group, and got a well-deserved $36 M contract from the Mariners. The other signing I really found interesting was the Miguel Tejada signing. Tejada has never played 3B before, but will be moving to the position in his return to the Orioles. It looks like a really good value signing for the Orioles, and provides some more veteran leadership in the Orioles clubhouse.

AL MVP in Review


The Baseball Writers announced their choice for the American League MVP today: Joe Mauer

The writers really nailed this one down, as Mauer went completely nuts this season. Despite missing nearly a month, he still lead the AL in batting average, on-base percentage, slugging percentage, and OPS. He set career highs in homeruns (28), rbis (96), hits (191), batting average (.365), OBP (.444), slugging % (.587), OPS (1.031). And all of this in addition to helping to guide the young Twins pitching staff, and leading the Twins to a division title.

The voting:

Mauer – 387 (27 first place)
Mark Teixeira – 225
Derek Jeter – 193
Miguel Cabrera – 171 (1)
Kendry Morales – 170
Kevin Youkilis – 150
Jason Bay – 78
Ben Zobrist – 34
Ichiro – 33
Chone Figgins – 31

I’m really happy with this result. Teixeira, Jeter, Cabrera, and Morales all had really great years, but in my opinion there is simply no way that the Twins have a .500 record, let along win their division without Mauer. I am really looking forward to hearing what he gets for his next contract, which could conceivably be in the $200 million range, and what he will do next season in a full season.