Minor League Ball: Organization Top 20 Prospects in Review
Minor League Ball's John Sickels is in the middle of reviewing all of his preseason Top 20 Prospects and you can find all of them in the link below:
John also hosted an All Questions Answered thread on Monday morning, so go check out the Q & A.
Fake Teams Podcast, Episode 25: Fantasy Decathlon
Andrew and the slacker (ha), Zack, got together on Sunday night to discuss all things fantasy baseball, including Josh Reddick's power-filled weekend, the Buccos calling up Andrew Lambo, and some players with surprisingly similar stats this season.
You can listen to the podcast in two ways:
Ryan Zimmerman: Fantasy First Baseman?
I was listening to Inside Pitch on the MLB station on SiriusXM last night and Casey Stern and Jim Bowden were discussing the Nationals moving third baseman Ryan Zimmerman to first base next season. The move to first base would result in Anthony Rendon moving to his natural position at third base, and the Nationals trading Adam Laroche this offseason. I am not sure what they will get in return for Laroche, but I imagine a return to Pittsburgh could be in the cards for him, as the Pirates could use a veteran, good fielding, power hitting first baseman in the middle of their lineup.
What this does to the fantasy value of Zimmerman and Rendon remains to be seen, but both will have third base and second base eligibility, respectively, so their value won't take that much of a hit. Zimmerman has certainly underperformed expectations this season, and I could see his draft value dropping anyway.
Prince Fielder: Having his "Off" Year
Last offseason, I ranked Tigers first baseman as my top fantasy first baseman heading into the 2013 season, but he has been a bit of a disappointment this season. His batting average, on base percentage and power are down in a big way when compared to last season. Let's take a look:
2011: .299-.415-.566, .267 ISO, 38 HRs, 95 runs, 120 RBI, 569 at bats
2012: .313-.412-.528, .215 ISO, 30 HRs, 83 runs, 108 RBI, 581 at bats
2013: .261-.352-.432, .171 ISO, 17 HRs, 58 runs, 81 RBI, 456 at bats
As you can, Fielder's stats are down compared to the last few seasons, and he is on pace to hit just 23 HRs, score 81 runs, and drive in 111 runs. His RBI totals are fine, but the home runs, ISO and SLG are way down, and now we may know why. According to teammate Torii Hunter, Fielder is dealing with some off the field issues that could be affecting his performance on the field.
Looking into the offseason, his ranking will be impacted by his "off" year, but that could spell opportunity come draft day 2014.
Jose Fernandez was doing Jose Fernandez type things on Tuesday night, as he shut out the Royals for 7 innings last night, giving up just 3 hits, a walk and striking out 6. Fernandez did not factor in the decision, as he and Bruce Chen took turns tossing shutout innings last night. Fernandez is now 8-5 with a 2.45 ERA, 1.02 WHIP and a 149-48 strikeout to walk rate in 139.2 innings. He has given up two runs or less in 18 of his 24 starts this season.
Royals starter Bruce Chen has been pretty unbelievable since returning to the rotation, and last night was no different, as he matched Fernandez by tossing 7 shutout innings, giving up just 3 hits, walking 3 and striking out 6 in a no decision. Chen has given up two runs or less in his last 6 starts this season, and has given up a total of 4 runs over his last 37.2 innings. He lowered his ERA to 1.62 and his WHIP to 1.04.
Remember when fantasy owners were worried that Kris Medlen would lose his rotation job when Brandon Beachy returned from the DL? Yeah, me too. He hasn't come close to the pitcher we saw in the second half of last season, but he has won four straight starts after last night's gem vs the Phillies. Medlen limited the Phillies to one run on 5 hits, a walk and 5 strikeouts, and is now 10-10 with a 3.72 ERA, 1.31 WHIP and a 113-37 K-BB rate in 145 innings.
Yankees outfielder Alfonso Soriano made older Yankee fans remember the early days of his career in a Yankee uniform last night. Soriano went 3-5 with 2 HRs and 6 RBI in the Yankees win over the Angels. Soriano isn't the same player the Yankees traded away more than a decade ago, but he still has power, as he now has 22 HRs and 65 RBI on the season, with five of those home runs coming since his trade to the Yankees.
His teammate, starter C.C. Sabathia is certainly not the same pitcher he was last season, and I am beginning to wonder if he is pitching hurt. Sabathia came away with the win last night, but gave up 3 runs, 2 earned, on 3 hits, 6 walks and 7 strikeouts. The stat line looks great till you get to the "BB" column. Sabathia is now 10-10 with a 4.66 ERA, 1.33 WHIP and a 140-44 K-BB rate in 166 innings. His strikeout rate and ground ball rate are both down this season, while his home run rate, walk rate and ERA and FIP are up. He fell in our midseason starting pitcher rankings last month, and I could see him falling out of the Top 30 starting pitcher rankings in 2014.