Fantasy Baseball Thoughts: Yu Darvish, Bryce Harper, Yoenis Cespedes, Prince Fielder and Others

Well, the Rangers finally signed starter Yu Darvish and he was expensive. Including the $51 million posting fee, he cost the Rangers $111 million, as he signed a 6 year $60 million contract yesterday that could escalate to $70 million based on performance clauses. He can also opt out after the 5th year. I think Darvish will do fine in Texas this season and Robert ranked him as his 25th best starter for 2012 in his early Starting Pitcher rankings, and here is his profile:

25. Yu Darvish - Nippon-Ham Fighters/Free Agent

It's safe to say that Darvish will divide opinion if and when he is posted - just look to the comments on yesterday's piece, where one commenter said he would rank him no higher than 50, while another said Top 15. Part of the trepidation with Darvish is going to be his status as a Japanese pitcher. Here's an important point: Yu Darvish is not Daisuke Matsuzaka or Akinori Otsuka, anymore than Clayton Kershaw is Chris Young, even though they graduated from the same high school. The fact is that Darvish had a historic season for the Nippon-Ham Fighters in 2011, and it's not his first taste of success. If we accept that Darvish has a chance to succeed in Major League Baseball, then what can we expect? There are people out there suggesting that he could put up a 10 WAR season, based on MLE (Major League Equivalency) calculations they've done, and while I would reject those out of hand, I wouldn't be shocked to see a K/9 approaching 9 with an ERA in the low 2s and a WHIP that is above average. Of course, a lot depends on what organization he ends up with (if he does come over), but for now, 25 seems right...to me, at least.

Speaking of projections, Marc Normandin from Baseball Nation wrote up what to expect from Darvish here yesterday after he signed.

More fantasy baseball thoughts after the jump:

You knew it was just a matter of time before Yoenis Cespedes hit his first hme run in the Dominican League, right? Well, he hit one last night, and here is a link to the video via Youtube. Here is Keith Law's reaction via twitter:

keithlaw
Yoenis Cespedes hit his first homer in winter ball. 60 power, 80 pimp tool.

Someone asked me in the chat last night where I would rank Cespedes and I said he would be a bit low....probably in the 30's, as he could start the season in the minors. I just wonder why it is taking him so long to establish residency, but apparently it is a long process. He then must be cleared by our government before he can sign anywhere.

It appears the Nationals are now the favorite for Prince Fielder but the Rangers left the door open yesterday where GM Jon Daniels said that it is "unlikely" that they sign him. He did not say "we will not sign him" or " we have no more room in our budget". I think a deal for Prince gets done real soon.

Phillies GM Ruben Amaro Jr. said yesterday that Ty Wigginton will play first base everyday while Ryan Howard is out, and Jim Thome may also get a few starts as well. Amaro also stated that John Mayberry and Laynce Nix will platoon in left field, unless Domonic Brown "wows them" in spring training. Note to Amaro: There are plenty of teams that would love to have Brown starting in right field, or left field, on a daily basis. Just trade him already before he loses his value.

Frankly, Wigginton at first base tells me the Phillies may struggle scoring runs in 2012. Wigginton will probably bat 7th in the Phillies lineup. I was high on Wigginton last year in Colorado and he underperformed my expectations. He is nothing more than a .240 hitter who can hit about 15-20 homers for you.
The Phillies still have Hunter Pence, Shane Victorino, Chase Utley and Jimmy Rollins, but they are all a year older, and can we really expect Victorino to hit like he did last year? I am not confident. The same goes for Utley. What can we expect from him in 2012? Will he return to the hitter he was in 2009? I think the NL East race will be a lot closer than it was in 2011.

In his chat over at FanGraphs yesterday, Dave Cameron was asked if Nationals outfield prospect Bryce Harper would play over or under 75 games in 2012. Cameron responded over. Quite interesting because he is usually pessimistic when it comes to prospects. I think the common thought now is that manager Davey Johnson may get his way and have Harper start the season in the majors. ESPN's Buster Olney wrote about Harper in his blog a few days ago, after speaking with Johnson and here is an excerpt:
You hang up the phone and you are convinced that Johnson's prediction that Harper's first at-bats will take place in the big leagues at age 19 will come true, and they will happen very, very early in the season.
I written about the possibility of Harper starting the season in Washington a few times here at FakeTeams this offseason. What can we expect from Harper in 2012? Can he put up a 15-15 season?

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