Double Play Depth: Step Away From the Button

Derek Jeter -- still sexy after all these years.

Things that make me happy: Fake Teams, owning Eric Hosmer in a dynasty league, anything with Nate Dogg, watching Peter Bourjos run, corn muffins.

Things that make me want to drink: my day job, anything without Nate Dogg, watching Luis Mendoza pitch, mid-April overreactions.

We're almost two weeks into the season right now and we all need to collectively take our fingers off the button. It's human nature to overreact, but it's the people who hold in that urge who will have the hand up once more of the season has passed. If you want to freak out on Yu Darvish, Matt Moore or even Albert Pujols, I'm sure there's someone in your league ready to pounce. So keep your eye on the trading block in your league, this is the time when you can make a trade which can put you over the top.

The Spotlight

Just by looking at Derek Jeter's stats, you'd be hard pressed to tell me what year it is. Use all the cliches you want. He looks just like a kid out there! And so on and so forth. But scoff all you want, to an extent, this is legit. Through last night's game, Jeter is hitting .378 with 3 HR, 6 runs and 7 RBI through 45 AB's. Let's start with what won't happen: Derek Jeter will not hit 20 HR, despite the fact that he's on pace for nearly 50. Where his value comes in, is the average and the counting stats. So how much of this batting average is sustainable? More than you might think. Through these 45 AB's, Jeter has only struck out 3 times -- that's a 6.8% rate, much lower than his previous career low of 12.6% from 2009. His next hundred at bats will tell a lot here, as it's been shown through research that strikeout rates need at least 150 at bats to stabilize as Jason Collette wrote here back in January.

I heard from quite a few people who thought I was out of my mind when I said that Derek Jeter would outperform Asdrubal Cabrera in 2012. I fully expect to hear less and less out of that group as the season goes on. Through Sunday's games, Derek Jeter is the #6 fantasy SS in baseball and Cabrera is #7. If Jeter can maintain a similar K-rate to what he's done so far through 10 games, we're not just looking at a top-10 option, we're looking at a potential top-5 one.

Other DPD Notes

* I put you all on Steve Lombardozzi watch this spring, but last night he went 4-5 with a run and 2 RBI batting in the #2 spot for the Nationals. It's true he was just giving Danny Espinosa a breather, but if Espinosa continues to hit under .200 and their outfield situation gets more murky, Lombardozzi will have NL-only value -- especially if he gets eligibility in the OF.

* I'm going to go out on a limb and say that Omar Infante is the most surprising player with 4 HR so far this season. I know it is the common belief that Infante's probably hit about 50% of his 2012 allotment already, but don't be surprised if he can get near 15 HR. What to watch for with him is his FB%, which stands at 59% through 9 games -- if it stabilizes near 50%, he could near his career high of 16.

* Another strikeout rate I'm watching closely over the next month or two will be Kelly Johnson's. Might seems strange for someone with a K-rate still over 20%, but his current rate of 20.5% is significantly lower than last year's 26.6%. How big of a difference does that make? Last year, KJ's .222 average was matched with a .277 BABIP. This year, his .270 average is matched with a .280 BABIP. If he hits .270, he's a top-10 2B, easy.

Short-Term Planning

These are the five best and five worst performers from the past week (Monday to Sunday) in standard 5x5 categories.

Who's Hot:

1) Ian Kinsler (.233, 3 HR, 8 R, 6 RBI and 1 SB in 30 AB)

2) Derek Jeter (.429, 2 HR, 5 R, 6 RBI and 0 SB in 28 AB)

3) Omar Infante (.381, 3 HR, 6 R, 4 RBI and 0 SB in 21 AB)

4) Starlin Castro (.346, 0 HR, 4 R, 6 RBI and 2 SB in 26 AB)

5) Maicer Izturis (.556, 0 HR, 2 R, 3 RBI and 3 SB in 9 AB)

Who's Not (min 10 AB):

1) Ryan Raburn (.000, 0 HR, 0 R, 0 RBI and 0 SB in 15 AB)

2) Cesar Izturis (.100, 0 HR, 0 R, 0 RBI and 0 SB in 10 AB)

3) Gordon Beckham (.083, 0 HR, 1 R, 0 RBI and 0 SB in 12 AB)

4) Sean Rodriguez (.188, 0 HR, 0 R, 0 RBI and 0 SB in 16 AB)

5) Orlando Hudson (.125, 0 HR, 1 R, 2 RBI and 0 SB in 24 AB)

The Bandwagon

Here is where I will keep the unabridged list of bandwagons I am currently on here in the world of middle infielders. The categories show how strongly I feel about them - ranging from "driving!" (a bandwagon I feel super strong about) to "about to jump!" (a bandwagon I'm pretty sure is on fire and requires my swift departure). Nothing will get erased from this list over the course of the season, so the "Evacuated" section will be there to remind us all of the crazy, crazy bandwagons I've supported over the course of the year. All new bandwagons for the current week are starred.

The Good:

Hanley Ramirez will finish 2012 as a top-10 overall player (driving!)

Derek Jeter will be more valuable in 2012 than Asdrubal Cabrera (firmly on)

The Bad:

J.J. Hardy will hit fewer than 20 HR (driving!)

Ryan Roberts will finish outside the top 15 2B in 2012 (firmly on)

The Ugly (Evacuated):

None yet. Whew.

Look Out Below!

Notes from future DPD occupants currently residing in the minor leagues:

* Everyone's favorite speedster, Billy Hamilton, is off to a very nice start in the Cal League -- hitting .385 with 1 HR and 10 SB. But most importantly, he's got 7 walks to 6 strikeouts and a .489 OBP. This is the key to his development, as he's not much good to us in fantasy if he can't get on base and turns into a bench player. It's a small sample size, but so far, so good.

* Another week, another Kolten Wong update. Now hitting .424 through 9 games, he has shown no sign of slowing down after skipping High-A. By now you probably know that plate discipline is one of the stats I really like to look at in minor league stats, and Wong is sitting with 5 walks and 3 strikeouts in 33 AB's. Like I said last week, with the guys in front of him, don't be surprised if he forces the Cards hand in the 2nd half.

* If you want a deep sleeper in dynasty leagues who's probably unowned almost everywhere, Alen Hanson of the Pirates is off to a serious start in Low-A. He's hitting .392 with 4 HR, 4 SB and a 1.221 OPS in 12 games. Kevin Goldstein's #17 prospect in the Pirates system entering the season, he could be a fast riser in his first taste of full-season ball.

What to Watch For

Hanley Ramirez struggled out of the gate this year, but has now collected 7 hits in his last two games including a HR, a SB and 4 RBI. And I've been watching these at bats -- they're not gimme hits, he is ripping the ball (as evidenced by his 26.1% line drive rate). By all reports, he's healthy and it's finally starting to show in the numbers we're looking for. Only time will tell about the new stadium and how it plays both with the roof open and closed, but with Hanley we're just looking for positive signs.

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