I don't usually write about closers here in the Roto Roundup, since we have the weekly Closer Report written by Smokeymcpots, but after seeing Yankees closer Rafael Soriano save his 35th game yesterday, my first thought was "why do the Yankees need to pay Mariano Rivera $15 million a year, when Soriano can do the job?". I know Soriano is making closer money, but that was a crazy contract in the first place. And with the closer carousel that many teams are employing this year, should fantasy owners save their money on draft day and draft set up guys in 2013?
I was very high on Orioles catcher Matt Wieters coming into the season, as I thought he was on the verge of a breakout season. Wieters went 1-3 with a HR and a walk yesterday, but has been disappointing at the plate this season. He is hitting just .239-.316-.418 with 18 HRs, 21 doubles, 52 runs and 66 RBI this season, but is striking out and walking more this season. His problem is that his batting average of balls in play have stIeadily dropped the past few seasons. Let's take a look:
2009 - .356
2010 - .287
2011 - .276
2012 - .261
Wieters won't be breaking out anytime soon with a BABIP trend like that. And with that, the 25-30 HR power that I thought he had may never materialize.
One catcher I was lower on than others back in spring training was Giants catcher Buster Posey. I had concerns about his recovery from the terrible leg injury he suffered in 2011, yet I was able to draft him in the 8th round of my big money NL-only league draft and I am happy I did as he is helping me run away with the league championship. Posey went 2-4 with a run scored yesterday and is now hitting .330-.407-.534 with 19 HRs, 61 runs, 82 RBI and a 78-59 strikeout to walk ratio. I think I will be much higher on him heading into 2013 than I was in 2012.
Blue Jays first baseman Edwin Encarnacion is enjoying a breakout season in 2012. E5 went 1-3 with a HR and 2 RBI yesterday and is now hitting .288-.386-.570 with 36 HRs, 83 runs, 92 RBI and 13 stolen bases this season, yet I wonder if he will be able to duplicate this breakout. He is walking more than ever and has reduced his strikeout rate to a very respectable rate for a power hitter, but the power breakout is a result of a 50% fly ball rate, and a career high 18.1% HR/FB rate. I am just wondering if he will return to his norms in 2013 with 2012 being a career year.
More Roto Roundup after the jump:
Coming into the season, many were high on Mariners second baseman Dustin Ackley as he was projected to be a high BA, high OBP hitter with double digits home runs and steals. he has reached the double digits home runs and steals, but is hitting more like Mario Mendoza than the .300 hitter we all thought he was. Ackley is hitting just .230-.300-.333 with 10 HRs, 75 runs, 46 RBI and 12 stolen bases, and part of the reason for his down season is the drop in BABIP from the .339 level to .274 thus far in 2012. Another reason is the ballpark in Seattle, as many words have been written on how that park reduces batting average.
Brewers starter Marco Estrada is enjoying the best year of his career this season, and he was dominant vs the Pirates last night. Estrada gave up just one run on 4 hits, a walk and struck out 10 in 7 innings. He is just 2-5 in his 17 starts, with a 3.88 ERA, 3.71 FIP, 3.44 xFIP, 1.18 WHIP and a 114-24 strikeout to walk ratio in 107.2 inning pitched this season. I am sure I will have more to say about Estrada in the offseason as he will be a popular sleeper pick for 2013. Estrada and teammate Michael Fiers have K/BB rates over 4.50. Amongst starters with 100+ innings pitched this season, only Matt Cain, Colby Lewis, Cliff Lee and Joe Blanton have better K/BB rates this season.
Phillies shortstop Jimmy Rollins has been in the news of late for all the wrong reasons. He was recently benched mid-game for not running out a pop up, and there was talk around the trade deadline that he could get traded. Rollins went 3-5 with a HR and an RBI yesterday, raising his slash line to .246-.305-.412, but has 16 HRs, 79 runs, 52 RBI and 25 stolen bases which makes him valuable for fantasy owners. If he gets traded in the offseason, I would drop him down a few notches in my shortstop rankings.
Rollins teammate Cliff Lee is going to be undervalued in 2013 drafts based on his record by some fantasy owners, and that will be a mistake. Lee shutout the Braves for 7 innings yesterday, giving up just 5 hits, a walk and striking out 5 to raise his season record to 4-7, with a 3.52 ERA, 3.35 FIP, 3.16 xFIP, 1.15 WHIP and an absurd 161-26 strikeout to walk ratio in 168.2 innings this season. I would still pay market value for Lee in keeper leagues.