ST LOUIS, MO - OCTOBER 28: David Freese #23 of the St. Louis Cardinals catches a foul ball by Josh Hamilton #32 of the Texas Rangers in the fifth inning during Game Seven of the MLB World Series at Busch Stadium on October 28, 2011 in St Louis, Missouri. (Photo by Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images)
Congratulations, St. Louis Cardinals. Forgive me for not being ecstatic for you. Links:
After posting marks of .308 and .278 his first two abbreviated campaigns, numbers right in line with the .290-.300 big league average, that number flew all the way up to .366 in 2011. Avila doesn’t hit enough line drives for that number to be sustainable, and being a painfully slow runner will not allow him to outrun those grounders that are almost a necessity to sustain that stratospheric level.
While I believe Napoli can still be a 25-30 home run threat in 2012, I expect his AVG to regress, maybe not all the way down to .270 or below -- though, given his high whiff rate, that's not out of the question -- but I don't see him going much above .285. Napoli should continue to produce well in the great hitter's environment of Arlington, but don't look past the risk factors involved when assessing his 2012 value. Chances are he'll be a bit overvalued on draft day.
[Soto's] average has the potential to be pretty good, but also has the potential to be an absolute bust. The power doesn’t separate him from the field. His ability to drive in runs is in question.
Justin Morneau Player Projection No. 161 | Fantasy Baseball 365
Not going to lie: I'm probably going to let somebody else deal with Morneau next year.
Asdrubal Cabrera, 2012 Fantasy | Razzball
I can't get over all of the Beastie Boys references in this article. Also, absolutely agree re: Cabrera's power.
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Let everyone else in your league ignore [Pennington] because he failed to live up to his 2011 hype. Grab him late in your draft and look to benefit the rewards.
If Crawford's 2011 BABIP mirrored his career mark with the Rays, he would have had a batting average in the mid-.280s, a .320ish OBP and a slugging percentage in the mid-.430s (and that's assuming all additional hits are singles). That's not too terribly off his career .296/.337/.444 line with the Rays. Whether it be better health, improved strike-zone judgment or just a few more lucky bounces, Crawford needs his BABIP to bounce back if he's going to validate Cherington's confidence in him.
Bryce Harper Player Projection No. 162 | Fantasy Baseball 365
September call-up? June?
So, as a 31 year old lefty coming off two near elite seasons, are there any concerns? There’s at least one. Wilson made 10 starts this year against the Athletics (six) and the Mariners (four). In those 10 outings Wilson went 6-3 with a 2.43 ERA and 1.12 WHIP. Take away those 10 outings and Wilson went 10-4 with a 3.18 ERA an a 1.22 WHIP. Those are still strong numbers, but they are less impressive than what he did when pitching against the lowest scoring team in baseball (the Mariners), and the 12th team out of 14 in the AL (the Athletics). So I had to stretch to find something negative.
Without the inning increase or injury coming into 2012 like he had in 2011, I think this year gives a much better chance that he will put everything together and produce more closely to what he did in 2010. Latos has the advantage of playing at PETCO so he should continue to have a below average HR/FB%. He also has the advantage of playing in a division that includes the Dodgers and Giants.
You really need to enter 2012 anticipating numbers similar to what [Norris] posted in 2011. If you do that, you shouldn’t be disappointed. Let other people pass over him because of the miniscule wins totals.
He pitched in 2011, and we saw him lose velocity on his fastball, give up more HR's than ever before, and post the highest WHIP of his career. Can this be attributed to rust? Maybe, but the drop in velocity is scary. Batters never made more contact against Nathan than they did last year. He also posted his worst first pitch strike percentage since he started closing in 2004.
David Freese Prospect Retrospective | Minor League Ball
Ray linked to this earlier, but I'm wondering what people think about Freese going forward. Is his offensive performance sustainable, as one commenter asks?
2B Keeper Rankings: 3rd Tier (Part 2) | FanGraphs Fantasy Baseball
Again, it's impossible to link to all of these, but they're out there for every position. Check them out.
The Difference A Year Makes: Offensive Levels | Roto Hardball
Some more thoughts on positional scarcity.
Relief Pitchers and Strikeouts: The Underperformers | Roto Hardball
Wow, Brandon League. Anybody buying what he's selling? Some other good stuff here, too.
AFL Update: Harper’s heating up | The Hardball Times
Some intriguing players here, especially Derek Norris (can he take playing time from Wilson Ramos?) and Aroldis Chapman (Can he stick as a starter?).
A Pitch F/X Analysis of Danny Hultzen | Beyond the Box Score
Includes video. Great stuff.
Tyler Skaggs May Force Arizona's Hand | Roto Hardball
Lots to be excited about here.