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10 fantasy baseball thoughts from the third week of May

A nod to the great Al Kaline.

St Louis Cardinals v Detroit Tigers Photo by Mark Cunningham/MLB Photos via Getty Images

Happy Friday, ladies and gentlemen! Without any preamble...

1.) A VERY good read here from John Griffin shows the teams in the league last year who finished over .500 and how their current top 30 prospect list is made up. As you might guess, where cost is a factor (the International market) the Yankees, Astros and Dodgers are most active. Where costs needed to be saved (trading players for prospects and picks) the Rays and Athletics were active. But the third part is interesting. When it comes to high school standouts vs. college standouts, the Indians, Twins and Mets have been the most active. Do you think one is more short term vs. long term or pays out higher ceiling and floor or perhaps generates more power or more consistency?

2.) The Players with the most All-Star Appearances are Hank Aaron (21), Willie Mays (20), Stan Musial (20). In fact, every player in the top 15 is in the Hall of Fame EXCEPT Pete Rose. If we extend it to the top 20 it includes all Hall of Famers EXCEPT Pete Rose, Barry Bonds and Alex Rodriguez (eligible in 2022). If you go to the top 30, it’s the same three players.

3.) In 2018 the three MLB teams who traveled the furthest were Seattle (40,783), Oakland (39,906) and Los Angeles Angels (39,125). In 2019, Seattle (46,247) Oakland (43,508) and Los Angeles Angels (42,665). At the start of this year, it was SUPPOSED to be Oakland (50,263), Seattle (49,322) and San Diego (45,644). The interesting part, it opens up a bit on the other end of the spectrum. The fewest miles this year was SUPPOSED to be Cincinnati (23,386), Milwaukee (23,822) and Pittsburgh (24,432); in 2019: Detroit (24,139), Chicago Cubs (27,385) and St. Louis (27,556); in 2018 it was Cincinnati (20,738), Milwaukee (22,529) and Detroit (23,684)

4.) Nifty simulation of a fake game between the Red Sox and Rays:

5.) The Detroit Tigers recently lost Hall of Famer Al Kaline, who got in on his first try in 1980. He is among 12 other Tigers (according to Baseball Almanac) who hold Detroit as their primary team and are in the Hall of Fame. This is good enough for 7th most (Behind the Pirates, Indians, Cubs, Cardinals, New York Giants and Yankees) and tied with the White Sox.

6.) Last year the Giants batted .214 in March/April; .227 in May; .239 in June; .268 in July; .267 in August and .219 in September/October. If a majority of this season is crammed into July and August, and if last season was a property of the weather and timing and not the build-up to those two months being the culmination of their batting ability, perhaps they could mount a strong 2020 campaign?

7.) There is a fun article on SB Nation’s Viva El Birdos about how the DH could benefit the St. Louis Cardinals. Lane Thomas, Tyler O’Neill or Matt Carpenter are a few names to note. This is a fun game to play with NL teams.

8.) The 1B slot in Toronto looks like it will be between Travis Shaw and Rowdy Tellez. Last season Rowdy Tellez had 21 homers, 49 runs, 54 RBIs and a .227 batting average across 111 games. Travis Shaw had seven homers, 22 runs and 16 RBIs as well as a .157 average across 86 games. I think both have solid potential but which is more likely to you:

A. Will one or both still be in the big leagues at the end of this season?


B. Will one (or both) hit above .250 with 25+HR and over 65 runs and RBIs?

9.) Last season the Philadelphia Phillies had the 2nd highest HR/FB% allowed by a pitching staff (behind only Colorado). They have the 14th shortest distance to Center Field but they also had the 5th slowest velocity on their fastballs last season. The hard times on Fangraphs looked across the league late last year at quality of pitching (looks at rise, breaking point, vertical break, horizontal break, location and speed of a single pitch) and found that the QOPA has trended down for four straight years (which runs inverse to the typical HR increasing as QOPA increasing). However, pitches are also going away from middle to low and inside which must be helping homers to be hit. I will be following this a bit this season to see what is going on here, especially Aaron Nola and Zach Eflin, who got hit the worst on this.

10.) The 2020 MLB draft is scheduled to occur June 10th - 11th and among the top prospects are Spencer Torkelson, Austin Martin, Asa Lacy, Emerson Hancock and Nick Gonzales. The Kansas City Royals, who draft the talented Bobby Witt Jr. second overall last year, are drafting fourth overall. Many are seeing Spender, Austin and Asa as the consensus top three and then the next tier occurs. Some are speculating how Nick Gonzalez might be a good fit for them. He is a talented infielder who could be primed to join the majors quicker than some of his peers.