I hope all our readers had a lovely Thanksgiving and that you are staying safe in the shopping lines this crazy Black Friday. Don't forget to celebrate Record Store Day today too, those businesses need your help. On to the links....
- First up, Rotoprofessor's Will Overton breaks down the Reds' outfield and its fantasy prospects for 2012. If you've played fantasy baseball over the last couple of seasons, you know that the Reds have two knowns (Bruce and Stubbs) and a bunch of unknowns in their outfield. Will is pretty high on Jay Bruce for this season (as am I)
Stubbs is the reigning Major League strikeout king and is maddeningly frustrating because he has at least 20/20 potential because of his blazing speed. The problem is, of course, that he can't score when he doesn't get on base. Here's Will's take
don’t think it’s going out on a limb to say that Bruce has the power potential to hit 35 – 40 HR’s per season and do it consistently. What to expect in terms of average is a bit more of a mystery, so fari n four seasons Bruce has posted averages of: .254, .223, .281 and .256. Bruce hit .300 or better throughout his minor league career and many expected the same in the majors. Some question whether or not Bruce might be swinging too much for the fences. Whatever it is Bruce can and should be hitting .275 or better, now it’s just a matter of whether he does it.
to take the next step and lock himself in as a surefire everyday player Stubbs has to raise the average and lower the strikeouts, two things which must go hand in hand. Stubbs has BABIP’s of .330 and .343 the last two seasons yet batting averages of .255 and .243. This happens because Stubbs strikes out far too much. Stubbs value is largely tied to his being the Reds leadoff hitter and while he is the most qualified guy on the team for the job he won’t keep it if he keeps striking out at this pace. Cutting down on the K’s should not only cement Stubbs as a no doubt everyday outfielder on this team, and the leadoff hitter, but could help him realize his top 25 outfield potential.
So Bruce is a surefire outfielder to grab and Stubbs is certainly one to watch. What of the other spot? It's either going to be Chris Heisey or Yonder Alonso. Heisey is another strikeout machine. Alonso isn't really an outfielder. Therefore, I'd go with neither of them. Alonso is certainly an intriguing prospect but without a clear position, he doesn't have much value. The key thing you should know about the Reds' outfield is this: get Jay Bruce.
- Rotoprofessor also breaks down Danny Hultzen's 2012 fantasy potential. I'm not he prospects guy, Ray or Jason Hunt are more suited to do that break down but I can tell you that I saw Hultzen pitch in the College World Series against my South Carolina Gamecocks last year and he is a monster. Hultzen has lit up the Arizona Fall League as well. It also appears that Seattle will at least give him a chance to be in the majors next season and remember he'd be pitching in Safeco which is a strong pitcher's park. The verdict on Hultzen seems to be that you should certainly have him in your keeper league and if you are playing in a single season league you should keep an eye out for him.
Obviously you don’t want to put too much stock into him as we are still trying to gather information. His numbers in college and at the AFL are impressive, but they really have to be taken with a grain of salt. While the scouting reports are all glowing, how many pitchers have we heard about being the "next big thing", only to see them ultimately fall flat on their faces?
There’s a lot of risk involved, but those in keeper or dynasty formats have got to have his name on your draft list. He brings too much potential to excel and, even if he doesn’t break camp with the team, he could ultimately get a shot before long. It’s clear the Mariners believe he isn’t far from making his debut, which just adds to the appeal.
- Eno Sarris continued ranking outfielders at FanGraphs with an analysis of why you should not keep Andre Ethier or Jayson Werth.
Because you should draft him. That’s where you get bounce-back guys on the fringes. And we’re not talking about Hanley Ramirez here. If he bounces back, you get a first-rounder. But if a guy might bounce-back to middle-round value, he’s a guy to draft, not keep. If you’re in a dynasty league, sure, keep the older guys. They’ll have more value in the midst of a better season then they would now.
But if you’re keeping five, six, eight keepers, and you have younger outfielders to choose from, drop Ethier and Werth into your draft pool. You can always get them back later, and you might even get to choose from a tastier option.
- Roto Hardball has a piece up on bargain pitchers for next season. The first is Matt Moore. I've seen a good bit of divided opinion on Moore this week. Not so much about what he'll be (everyone agrees he is a stud) but more about when we will see him in the majors because of the Rays' frustratingly slow call-up history with their top prospects. Regardless of the Rays' plan, Bret Sayre says to grab Moore.
With all of this, according to MockDraftCentral.com, Moore is not even being drafted within the top 300 in standard mixed leagues. This is crazy. Even if he starts the year in the minors, I'd still have Moore within my top 50 starting pitchers for 2012. If you can snag him towards the end of your draft, you're not just getting a bargain, you're getting a steal.
The other two he says to grab are Charlie Furbush and Barry Zito. Furbush pitches in Seattle which helps. Furbush also strikes a lot of guys out and doesn't walk many people, he's definitely a good late inning sleeper. Barry Zito is the other guy Sayre says to watch out for. I've said it before and I'm sure I'll say it again, the Giants love the old guys and hate the young guys. Zito is going to pitch over Eric Surkamp for at least some part of next season. While this will drive Surkamp owners like myself up the wall, it means Zito has a chance and if you're looking for a late round sleeper, Zito isn't a bad choice. Just remember this:
It's easy to forget now that Zito's two full seasons prior to 2011 weren't all that bad (as long as you aren't paying his albatross of a salary):
2009: 192 IP, 10 wins, 4.03 ERA, 1.35 WHIP, 154 K's
2010: 199.1 IP, 9 wins, 4.15 ERA, 1.34 WHIP, 150 K's