If you weren't aware, MLBtraderumors.com is holding a 2012 free agent prediction contest. It's the closest thing you'll get to fantasy baseball during the hot stove season. You only have a couple of days to sign up. Here are your links for today, November 4:
However, there are troubling signs that a repeat is very unlikely. Weaver had a 82.6 LOB%, a .250 BABIP, and a 6.3% HR/FB ratio. All of these stats are affected to some degree by luck and are well outside the league averages. They were all his career bests among years where he completed a whole season. The difference between Weaver's xFIP of 3.80 and his ERA of 2.41 was one of the highest in the majors. All of this indicates that Weaver was very lucky this past season, and should experience at least some form of regression this year. Weaver could very very have a good year, but it seems highly improbable that he will keep his ERA below 3.00.
Once the season was over, I dug a little deeper into the numbers and discovered on B-Ref that there are only two rookies in the entire live-ball era, between 19 and 22 years old, who threw at least 40 innings and had a K/BB ratio of 5.0 or better. One is Stephen Strasburg. The other? Henderson Alvarez. I'm certainly not comping Alvarez to Strasburg--that would be madness. I'm simply pointing out that Alvarez is in good company in terms of command and has shown historically good control early in his baseball career.
So, we have a pitcher who should be able to improve in his home ballpark while improving his strikeout and walk rates. Throw in the fact that [Holland] did a good job improving his groundball rate to 46.4% (though we would like to see an improvement in his 20.0% line drive rate) and there is an awful lot to like.
You could certainly say that he's a lesson in BABIP as his BABIP pre 8/15 was just .216 and post it was .402, but don't think luck is the whole picture here. I think Moustakas simply started to adjust to the major leagues better, he commanded the strike zone better, and he started making far better contact on pitches he was struggling with early. Moustakas is just 23, and will be for most of the 2012 season. His potential is immense. If for some reason you can get your hands on him cheaply this off-season, I'd recommend it without hesitation.
What Can Darvish Do For You? | Razzball
A great scouting report on Darvish, including PitchFX and some major league comps.
31.5 - The number of HR's Ike was on pace to hit before getting hurt in 2011. He was averaging a HR every 18 AB's (one every five games or so). His HR to fly ball ratio was 17.1% (league average is generally around 10.6%). Ike is still a developing power hitter, which we'll get into more later. He showed improvement in his plate discipline as well, cutting down on swinging at pitches outside the strike zone and his swinging strikes.
Peralta’s value, as I stated at the top, is a bit muted for 2012 given that he will no longer carries with him third base eligibility (he didn’t play a single game there in 2011). Peralta is also likely to see a regression in the batting average category, perhaps a substantial one (remember he was .031 points clear of his career mark in the just completed season). In addition to those concerns, Peralta is coming off six year bests in OBP and SLG which further supports the position that expecting a carbon copy of his 2011 effort in 2012 is likely asking too much. Don’t take this analysis to say that Peralta has no value, but a guy who has hit .268 in his career, who has three steals the past three seasons, and a fella who last scored 70 runs in 2008 because of a lack of an ability to get on base isn’t someone to heavily target on draft day, not with his positional eligibility limited.
Last year to get to .273 on his average, [Ackley] needed a .339 BABIP. That average shouldn’t drop into the toilet like Lawrence Taylor’s post-football life, but he’s gonna be hard-pressed to hit over .270.
Bryce Harper's AFL Hit Streak Heps Drive Up Fantasy PriceTag | FanGraphs Fantasy Baseball
Harper is the real deal.
Adam Dunn cannot be done yet. He's only turning 32 next week, not 38. Even if there is a DH penalty -- it is as difficult as pinch-hitting, and as much as 10% more difficult -- he should be able to manage 90% of the old Adam Dunn minus a couple years of aging. I do think he could manage a .230/.340/.450+ season, which might mean 30+ homers again... as long as he starts the season out okay and keeps his job. Probably still only an OBP league sleeper because of the average though.
The takeaway here should be that Garcia is a better pitcher in real life than he is in most versions of fantasy, and pitchers like that frequently get drafted above their value. That doesn’t mean I don’t like him, doesn’t mean I wouldn’t draft him if he slipped into the range I think his value merits, it just means I see better value out there and — here’s the theme again — with the depth of pitching right now, overpaying is not an option.
BABIP, LOB% and HR/FB all suggest that Walden's FIP of 2.79 is quite sustainable, and that luck permitting, he should post an ERA below 3.00 again in 2012. If he's able to limit his walk totals, Walden might even be able to post an ERA below 2.75.
Bard hasn't started a professional game since 2007, when he walked over a batter per inning and posted a 6.25 FIP between two levels of A-Ball. But he has made gigantic strides since that lost season, and he profiles as a more ground ball-slanted version of Alexi Ogando, a high-octane reliever-turned starter who managed a 3.6 Wins Above Replacement season for Texas. If the Red Sox think he could handle 150+ innings and fend off lefties, moving Bard to the rotation and signing someone else to handle the ninth wouldn't be such a bad idea.
If Zimmermann continues to maintain a 7.0 K/9 rate, we can expect his stats to regress slightly...However, if Zimmermann can get his K/9 rate back up into the 8-9 range, then we're talking about a potential #2 fantasy starter even in shallow leagues.
3 Potential 2012 Stolen Base Decliners | FanGraphs Fantasy Baseball
Looks like Juan Pierre is done as a fantasy relevant player.
At the end of the day, Wright is still as good a bet as any third baseman not named Evan Longoria to return top 20 value. I’d rather bet on his upside than Mark Teixeira’s, and I probably wouldn’t consider more than a half dozen middle infielders ahead of Wright.
Live from the Arizona Fall League: 11/3/2011 | Fantasy Baseball 365
Prospecting at the AFL (with video!)