As the finishing piece to a rotation in need of strikeouts, Sanchez can be a decent enough asset, but you have to be ready to stomach some potential ugliness and, barring injury, let him get his 180-190 innings of 4.25 ERA with a strikeout per inning. A few years ago, you would welcome a low-4.00s with that strikeout rate, but in 2011 it was below average (93 ERA+).
This was written before Sanchez was traded to the Royals, but it is still relevant.
Sanchez's problems with righties are two-fold. For one, his rather zipless fastball (89.7 mph average, down a tick from 2010) didn't miss as many bats and missed the strike zone more often. Right-handers came up empty 18 percent of the time they swung at Sanchez's fastball, compared to 21 percent the previous three seasons, and his percentage of strikes thrown with the pitch dipped to 59 percent from 62 percent over 2008-2010. Sanchez frequently missed to the arm side in 2011.
Cabrera had the ability to hit earlier in his career, and he was clearly in better shape in 2011 (read: not noticeably fat); things worked out for him in 2011. This might have been it in terms of ceiling, though, so don't expect an exact repeat even if you're optimistic. Throw in that he has to deal with San Francisco's AT&T Park (instead of just being terrible for lefties, San Fran is also bad for right-handers' power numbers, and Cabrera is a switch-hitter), and Cabrera starts to look even less appealing, as his numbers will suffer for it.
So now that I have thoroughly confused everyone, the bottom line is that Cabrera has little chance of repeating his fantasy stats from 2010 and won’t sniff the top 15 in overall fantasy value. But, he is approaching his prime years and this is when power spikes do happen. He should again be a solid all-around contributor for fantasy teams and the move to another weak offense and poor hitter’s park doesn’t change his fantasy prospects much.
When the smoke clears out of this trade, the real winner in the Cabrera for Sanchez trade will be Lorenzo Cain. He looks to have inherited the center field job and lead off spot for the Royals which could be help inflate his fantasy value.
Follow the jump for more of the latest fantasy baseball news and analysis from around the web.
Double Play Depth: An Ode to Ian Kinsler | Roto Hardball
Great piece summing up Kinsler's value. Jason ranked him second among second basemen this week, and I agree wholeheartedly with that. I like Cano a whole lot, but I think Kinsler can challenge him for the top spot in 2012.
2012 First Round Analysis: Why Evan Longoria Is Worthy Of Consideration | Rotoprofessor
I'm thinking about ranking Longoria third in next week's third base ranks (behind Bautista and Beltre), mostly because of what this article asserts - at most, he contributes in three categories, and the average isn't a guarantee (though I do like a bounceback there).
If all is right with Posey’s recovery from his ankle injury, there is really no reason to expect anything different in 2012. He’ll likely start off the year slowly and we’ll all hear stories of how the injury has affected him and Scott Cousins is a career-killer, but by the time May rolls around, all will likely be forgotten. Posey is a fantastic athlete all around and should, once again, reach the elite status of top fantasy catchers by year’s end. If you’ve got owners in keeper leagues that are skeptical, then buy low as fast as you can.
The third thing that should encourage fantasy owners to again treat him like a top-shelf option at third base is that no matter how the offseason plays out, Wright will have a change of scenery in 2012. They're bringing in the fences in Citi Field, which means that if no one presents a good enough trade package to lure Wright away, he'll benefit from a more hitter-friendly home field. And if he does get traded, then odds are it'll be to a more forgiving park than the one he toiled in for the last three years.
2B is fairly deep going into 2012, so I see no reason to have Danny Espinosa as a keeper, unless at a super low price. His 2nd half drop in production coincided with pitchers staying away from the lower half of the plate. He will need to adjust in 2012 to have a similar season to the first half of 2011.
Hudson was a K machine in the minors but has yet to match that type of success in the majors, posting only a 6.85 K/9 (52nd among qualified starters) this past season. I’m not too worried about this since he gave us a swinging strike rate of 9.9% (21st among qualified starters), and started to use his slider more this past season. Be on the lookout for an increase in K’s this upcoming season.
While many people don’t draft closers early (which is a strategy we’ll discuss later in the offseason), if you are someone who likes to get a "sure thing" Wilson is not an option I’d suggest. He has tremendous upside, but right now it is impossible to depend on him. By year’s end it is very easy to see him returning to being a Top 3 option, but it also wouldn’t be a shock to see him outside the Top 10.
Hart, Berkman: Tier 4.2 NL OF Keepers | FanGraphs Fantasy Baseball
Your weekly reminder that FanGraphs is publishing tiered rankings for every position.
Sneaky Closers Candidates for 2012 | Roto Hardball
Addison Reed (!), Brad Brach, Justin De Fratus
By no means should you ignore the likes of Matt Moore, Julio Teheran, Jacob Turner, Manny Banuelos and other top-shelf starting prospects who have a chance to crack their respective teams’ rotations early in 2012. But if you’re drafting these guys over more established, elite starters, you might be disappointed.
Future Shock: Scouting Cepedes Aftermath | Baseball Prospectus
More on Cepedes/Cespedes. If he does end up on a major league club, his walk-up music better be "Sailing."
The Verdict: Conspiracy Theory | The Hardball Times
Michael A. Stein of Fantasy Judgment takes a look at how to deal with suspected collusion within fantasy baseball leagues.
Off-Season Injury Rundowns | Roto Hardball
Buster Posey, Matt Holliday, Hanley Ramirez, Joe Mauer, Justin Morneau
Baseball ProGUESTus: Getting Explicit with Sample Sizes | Baseball Prospectus
I may experiment with doing this some on FT. What do you think?