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The Betemit Deal PDF Print E-mail
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Written by Rob Leibowitz   
Thursday, 21 July 2011 09:15

The Royals have their third basemen of the future in place in Mike Moustakas. They are in last place, have a record of 40-58, and are 11.5 games out. Wilson Betemit is an upcoming free agent with a relatively inexpensive current contract  and is also a switch-hitter with power skills and positional versatility. That equation usually ends in trade to a contender.

However, in this scenario, Betemit will not be used as a utility player as one might expect, but in fact he is replacing the Tigers’ long-time third basemen Brandon Inge who has been designated for assignment to clear room,slating Betemit to be their everyday starter.

Can Betemit actually hold down the job? Not really. While he is technically a switch hitter, he has superior splits as a right-handed hitter. In other words, he is prone to overexposure and a steady diet of facing right-handed pitching is likely to cause his batting average to decline.

Generally speaking, the 30-year old skills have remained relatively unchanged over the years. His plate discipline numbers still hover around the 10% walk mark and 25% strikeout mark. He is actually showing less power than in any other season with a HR/FB of just 5.2% and an isolated power of .128.

I think Betemit could do the job, but as a platoon player. The Tigers would do well to acquire a left-handed bat or an even better bat to push Betemit back into the bench role for which he is best suited. At the very least, though, this will mark an upgrade to Inge who seems likely to clear waivers and who may actually accept assignment to the Minor Leagues.

The negative outcome of this situation is for the pitching staff as they go from an at least adequate if not good third basemen in Inge to  Betemit who is a sub-par defender, rating well a below average in just about every defensive metric and scouting report available. If you own Betemit, expect him to be replaced for defensive purposes late in the game.

The Royals Haul

The Royals managed to acquire to players in exchange for Betemit: Left-handed pitcher Antonio Cruz and catcher, Julio Rodriguez. Cruz, 19, is a short and southpaw working in a swing man’s role in A+ ball. He has a 6.9 K/9 and 3.4 BB/9 and probably projects best as a middle reliever. Rodriguez, 21, is a right-handed hitter known for his above average-contact making skills and defensive potential. He offers little otherwise in terms of offensive potential in the power, speed, or OBP skill department and profiles at best as a back-up in the Majors.

In summary, one could not expect the Royals to get much more in return for a soon to be free agent role-player like Betemit. Cruz and Rodriguez have slight chances to make the Majors, but it is unlikely to be roles that of any relevance from a fantasy perspective.

Last Updated on Thursday, 21 July 2011 11:12
 
Mike Trout: First Look PDF Print E-mail
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Written by Lawr Michaels   
Sunday, 17 July 2011 00:00

While working the Athletics/Angels game Friday evening, hitting in the #9 slot for the Halos was none other than the hottest prospect of the week, Mike Trout.

Of course nine innings is nothing to base much analysis on, save Trout did have to do the rote things: swing in the on-deck circle, get his arm loose between innings in the field, and well, even a couple of times in game situations. For the archives, Trout was the Angels' first-round pick in 2009, #25 overall, and as a 19-year old is the youngest player in the Majors. Here are my initial thoughts: 

While not that tall, at 6'1", at 200 pounds, Trout carries himself as a big guy.

For a big guy, Trout moves very well, as his 97 Minor League swipes attest.

Trout has a strong arm. Twice during the game Friday, there were plays at the plate, and both times the ball went to Trout's center field territory. Both times the outfielder uncorked strong throws, though both times the run scored before the resulting throw would make a difference. Still...

The youngster made four plate appearances, during which Trout drove in his first Major League run, taking a low and away Brad Ziegler pitch into right field with a fine plate appearance.

Over his four at-bats, Trout saw a fine total of 21 pitches, and considering that three were during his first plate appearance, spreading the 18 over the final three was just fine.

Trout did strike out in his final at-bat, facing Andrew Bailey. I have noticed repeatedly over the last few years a pattern of hard-throwing confident pitchers, when facing young hitters, and this at-bat was typical. Bailey tossed three balls the first three pitches to see if he could get Trout to chase. However, with the count 3-0, Bailey came in with a fastball that Trout took for strike one, and followed with an off-speed pitch that Trout flailed at. Finally, Bailey put his quarry away with a fastball down the middle in the mid-90's.

True, Bailey was toying with the hitter to some degree, but Trout looks as if he has the tools to make it, and maybe even the temperment. He may not stick this year, aside from a likely September call-up, but the kid can play.

And, in a couple of years, Bailey will likely not be able to approach Trout the same way as he did Friday, or the pitcher will get beat.

Last Updated on Sunday, 17 July 2011 09:01
 
How Was the Trout Fishing Last Weekend? PDF Print E-mail
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Written by Perry Van Hook   
Wednesday, 13 July 2011 19:26

Mike Trout, the 19-year-old Angels outfielder who is widely regarded as one of the top two Minor League prospects along with Bryce Harper, was called up to Anaheim last week after center fielder Peter Bourjos suffered a hamstring injury. So in redraft leagues where Trout was not owned, how did fantasy baseball players view him as a mid-season addition? Well, most players questioned whether he will still be in the Angels’ lineup this week or next if Bourjos returns. That along with the fact that many teams in these leagues had already shelled out considerable amounts for Hosmer, Moustakas, Rizzo, and Gordon among others, led to far lower FAAB bids than we would normally see. In 23 main event leagues of the National Fantasy Baseball Championship, the average winning bid was just $102. There were only seven winning bids over $127 while there were nine winning bids under $50. The highest winning bid was $421 while the lowest winning bid was just $2. In the several WCOFB leagues that I looked at he went for around $30 probably more on the question of immediate value. The low bid was likely as in many single leagues the last on a list – a throw in bid thinking that others would bid much more. In two single, mixed, redraft leagues that Todd and I play in, Trout was so low on multiple lists that when players got higher bids he went unclaimed for the week. And this may be prudent if he is sent back down to the Minors next week. In all keeper leagues I have seen, Trout was already owned, so there was no FAAB or waiver wire claim for him. Trout is surely a great talent, but fantasy players shouldn’t expect him to be contributing to their teams until sometime next season.

Last Updated on Wednesday, 13 July 2011 20:49
 
More Arms Coming in Boston PDF Print E-mail
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Written by Jason Mastrodonato   
Wednesday, 06 July 2011 08:00

All season, it’s seemed, that the Red Sox starting rotation has suffered injury fate so bad it’s almost as if Theo Epstein hired the entire New York Mets medical staff before the year began.

On Tuesday night, more bad news came Boston’s way, as Jon Lester had to leave a no-hit bid after four innings due to a strained lat, the muscle near your shoulder that runs up your back. Worse news – it’s on his left side, and he’s had cramping problems before.

Lester will undergo further tests on Wednesday to figure out the severity of the injury, but in all likelihood he’ll be placed on the 15-day disabled list and miss the minimum time, unless of course something worse is uncovered.

Also on Wednesday, Clay Buchholz will have a third opinion on his back, which has bothered him all season long and caused the pitcher to struggle to find any kind of consistency this season.

Daisuke Matsuzaka is already done for the year (and probably next) with Tommy John surgery. And while TJ rumors have started to swirl around John Lackey and his funny elbow (which required a cortisone shot to get him going in late May, and seems to have fully wore off), expecting any sort of consistent success from him the rest of the way seems unlikely.

But here’s the good news, especially if you own any of these guys on your fantasy teams or are in dire need of some starting pitching: The Red Sox have plenty of depth. General manager Theo Epstein said Tuesday that the team wouldn’t even be targeting pitching at the trade deadline, instead focusing their efforts on the hitting end (the great Peter Gammons reports Jeff Baker, Ryan Spilborghs or Conor Jackson to be likely candidates).

Instead, the team has a whole pile of options waiting at Triple-A Pawtucket. Those are your guys.

The sexiest candidate of them all is Felix Doubront, the talented but oft-injured left-hander (his teammates at Pawtucket put his name tag above the trainer’s room) who has electric stuff and seems to be loved by everyone in the organization. But Doubront is only 23 years old, and while he’s been stretched out to the six-inning mark recently, the results haven’t been there. In all likelihood, he’s a year away.

That leaves two likely replacements in Kevin Millwood and Kyle Weiland. Weiland has yet to see Major League action, but Epstein speaks highly of him and the 24-year-old right-hander has been dominant all season. He struck out 12 in an eight-inning gem, allowing one hit to my hometown Rochester Red Wings at the end of June, pushing his season total to 99 over 93 innings of work, walking 37 with a 3.00 ERA.

Millwood, while much less attractive to fantasy teams, has also been effective, albeit without the strikeouts. But Millwood isn’t still pitching simply because he wants to (he actually told me he had no problem spending the summer on the couch, but the Red Sox expressed a ton of interest). He’s pitching because Boston will need him at some point this season, so the question becomes when.

With Tim Wakefield already in the rotation and Alfredo Aceves looking like a more attractive long-man out of the bullpen, Millwood could see a spot in Beantown sooner than later.

Even if Lester has to miss just a few weeks, Lackey can only stink it up so many times before a decision has to be made, and Millwood might be the first option. Even though his strikeout-numbers are awful, he’ll still make a good addition in deeper leagues, pitching on a high-scoring team that is sure to give him quite a few wins.

Weiland is the sexier option, and a guy you’d want even in standard mixed leagues if he were to get the call. He’s still raw, but the Notre Dame grad has great stuff and rarely gives up home runs, making him even more attractive in a park like Fenway.

So if you missed out on Andrew Miller – and while none of these guys are likely to have the success that Miller has shown – don’t be too down on yourself. There are still a few more arms to come up through the system. And they’ll sure be needed soon.

Last Updated on Wednesday, 06 July 2011 10:41
 
Pitching Dollar Values PDF Print E-mail
MASTERSBLOG
Written by Todd Zola   
Sunday, 03 July 2011 12:56

Here are your monthly and year-to-date pitching values.

PITCHING DOLLAR VALUES BY LEAGUE FORMAT

American League (.xls)

National League (.xls)

Mixed (.xls)

PITCHING DOLLAR VALUES BY MONTH

April (.xls)

May (.xls)

June (.xls)

Year to Date (.xls)
 
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