Here's a quick update on fantasy happenings and good analysis from the weekend.
First off, a couple of posts on young players/prospects and their futures for you dynasty league players.
While the totals look good on their face, if Weeks' attempts are cut and his average dips, he becomes more of a bench player rather than a good source for average and steals. He should be able to score a decent amount of runs as he will be at the top of the lineup every day unless he is injured, but the expected decline in average will lead to a decline in on base percentage, which will lead to a decline in stolen base attempts per plate appearance. Combine the fact that he will be on base less with the poor stolen base rate over the past two seasons, and you get a player that will likely be at least a tad overvalued on draft day.
Unless Beltre misses significant time with injury in 2012, or Olt is traded so the Rangers can solidify their rotation, one of the Rangers' best hitting prospects isn't likely to see Arlington next season and isn't a particularly viable asset to own in single season leagues.
Deep keeper and dynasty owners willing to be patient and should take a different approach, however. Olt's plus power combined with excellent defense will absolutely garner him a roster spot on a big league squad...at some point. Whether that time comes a year or two from now isn't as important when considering the significant power potential and upside of Mike Olt.
He blew a career high seven saves last year which contributed to him being ranked significantly lower last year. There's no reason to panic though. Soria had a much lower xFIP than his ERA and also got bit by a few more home runs than he should have (his HR:FB% was a career worst last year). Soria had a terrific September and remains a relatively safe bet at the riskiest position in the game.
With the exception of the 2009 season, Jason Motte has been a good pitcher since 2007 when he was in Double-A. He has had more than 8 K/9 every season and if we don't include that 2009 season, he has also had a FIP under 3.30 every year. The problem has always been that the numbers don't end up counting for anything in fantasy because he has been a middle reliever. That finally changed last year when Motte started closing games for the Cards. Although he had a rocky outing against the Rangers in the World Series, in the time that Motte was formally the closer for the Cardinals he converted 14 out of 15 saves - and under significant pressure in just about all of those games. That should be enough to justify keeping him in that role next season regardless of who's decision it is to name a closer.
I would take a fraction of the pitcher he was in 2010 at this point in the draft (148th), and that's what most people expect him to be.
FantasyBaseball365 also did a write-up on the future fantasy viability of a couple of Royals starters.
From a fantasy standpoint, I don’t see Carroll as a real player unless you’re in deep AL-Only. He’ll get playing time and if the middle of the Twins’ order is healthy this year — a huge if and one you would be foolish to count on — he’ll score you some runs the way Orlando Hudson did in 2010. His OBP is better than his batting average, so there’s some value if you’re in an OBP league, and maybe he’s worth keeping an eye on if Joe Mauer and Justin Morneau look like they’re capable of turning his singles and walks into runs. He’s interesting as a possible waiver claim, but if you draft him, you’re only setting yourself up for tears.
Also at FanGraphs, Erik Hahmann explains why you should think twice about keeping Hanley Ramirez.
Ramirez did improve each month, although, it’s hard not to when you put up a .558 OPS in April and .666 in May with his talent level. Concerning is Ramirez’s continued decline in power. His isolated power dipped from .239 in 2008 to .175 in 2010, with a .201 offering in 2009. Reports suggest Ramirez is hale and hearty, but it’s hard to be optimistic that a player with two shoulder surgeries and a steady decline in power output is going to bounce back to form.
Sticking with the middle infield theme, Rotoprofessor looked at the 2012 fantasy usefulness of rumored St. Louis starting 2B Daniel Descalso
You have to think that he is going to make better contact in 2012, which should help lead to a better average. Depending on the make-up of the Cardinals lineup he has a chance to settle into the second spot of the order due to his ability to handle the bat. That should put him in position to score some runs, though I wouldn’t anticipate him surpassing 90.
And finishing the middle infield theme, Rotoprofessor is down on Jed Lowrie for fantasy purposes.
I like Jed Lowrie as a baseball player and he is a solid infielder, but as far as fantasy leagues go he just isn’t worth reaching for. He does have more potential than he has shown, but with the questions about playing time and the high chances that he ends up in a split where he only faces lefties, you shouldn’t be thinking about drafting him, regardless of the team he plays for.
Vince Caramela discussed the Braves' offseason strategy and what it means for a number of their current and potential future players at Hardball Times.
Fantasy 411's Zach Steinhorn is getting a very early start on the 2012 mock draft process.