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Entries in Derek Jeter (16)

Monday
Nov042013

The Best Case Scenario For the Captain at Age 40

The lone active member of the Yankees' vaunted Core Four will return in 2014, as Derek Jeter has re-signed with the Bombers on a one-year, $12 million contract. The deal, which replaces his existing $9.5 million player option, was characterized as a "reward for years of good service" by ESPN New York's Andrew Marchand, though other scribes suggest luxury tax shenanigans could be the real motivation behind The Captain's effective pay raise.

Either way, the Yankees desperately need a healthy, productive Derek Jeter next year if the club is going to contend in the cut-throat AL East. Coming off surgery to repair a broken right ankle suffered in the 2012 ALCS, Jeter played in just 17 games this past season while logging DL stints for calf and quadriceps injuries. When his legs weren't betraying him, Jeter made Brendan Ryan look like an offensive dynamo by posting a .542 On-Base-Plus-Slugging percentage in 73 plate appearances.

Jeter has always hit more than his share of ground balls, but he took it to the extreme in a brief sample size in 2013 by burning worms more often (73.6 percent of pitches put in play) than any hitter in the American League. His signature inside-out stroke produced weak grounders to right side, rather than the line drives of years past.

Jeter's spray chart in 2013

While it's impossible to say whether an off-season to mend and train will revitalize Jeter, he was a solid starter as recently as 2012, when his quality bat (his park-and-league-adjusted OPS was 14 percent above average) counterbalanced his lack of range (he cost the Yankees 18 runs compared to an average defensive shortstop, according to John Dewan's Defensive Runs Saved metric). History suggests that The Captain could be hard-pressed to replicate even his more modest output in '12 during his age-40 season next year.

Just two shortstops in major league history have managed to complile at least two Wins Above Replacement (WAR) during a season in their forties. Honus Wagner is the gold standard for old dude shortstops, easily topping that benchmark of offensive and defensive value at age 40 (3.5 WAR in 1914), 41 (5.5 WAR in 1915) and 42 (2.5 WAR in 1916). Luke Appling was also ageless, with 4.6 WAR at age 40 in 1947 and 5.1 WAR at age 42 in 1947 (he had 3.5 WAR at age 41, though he split his time between shortstop and third base).

Other than The Flying Dutchman and Old Aches and Pains, it's awfully slim pickings. Ozzie Smith (1.5 WAR as a 41-year-old in 1996) is the only other shortstop with even one win above replacement during a season in his forties. By that age, most guys have tumbled down the defensive spectrum or retired. Don't count him out entirely, but it would be a serious upset if Jeter pushes the Yankees toward the playoffs as a productive shortstop in 2014.

Wednesday
Mar202013

Hanley Ramirez to have MRI and more

Los Angeles Dodgers shortstop Hanley Ramirez could be sidelined for more than two months or maybe just two weeks because of an injured left thumb.

"They've painted both pictures, and it's a pretty big window," Dodgers manager Don Mattingly said Wednesday. "We're guessing."

Ramirez was hurt diving for a ball while playing third base Tuesday night in the championship game of the World Baseball Classic. He helped the Dominican Republic beat Puerto Rico 3-0.

Source: ESPN.com

Yankees GM unsure if Jeter will be ready for opening day

"The Yankees are bracing for the possibility of an Opening Day without Derek Jeter, as the captain's availability is now in doubt after an anti-inflammatory cortisone injection was administered to his left ankle on Wednesday morning.

General manager Brian Cashman said that the stiffness and soreness Jeter is experiencing with his surgically repaired ankle is not a serious setback, but Jeter may need to begin the year on the disabled list with the club's April 1 opener approaching.

"I just can't rule it out," Cashman said. "We've got to do what's right for him. Whatever is right for him, it will be right for us."

Source: MLB.com

Doubront has talent, but has adjustments to make

"Jon Lester and Clay Buchholz have a World Series championship and a no-hitter on their résumés. John Lackey has started a dozen playoff games in his career, and Ryan Dempster has thrown 200 or more innings seven times in his career.

But the most talented pitcher in the Red Sox rotation may be 25-year-old lefthander Felix Doubront, whose list of accomplishments would not take long to read.

After five seasons in the minors, Doubront had short stints with the Red Sox in 2010 and ’11 before earning a place in the rotation a year ago. He was 11-10 with a 4.86 earned run average, statistics that at face value were not particularly impressive."

Source: Boston.com

MLB sets sights on A-Rod, Braun

"Ryan Braun, the Milwaukee Brewers' All-Star outfielder, knows they are out there.

Everywhere he turns, everywhere he looks, they are there.

They are talking to his friends. They are talking to his peers. They are talking to his associates. They are scouring through paperwork. They keep digging.

They are the Major League Baseball investigators."

Source: USAtoday.com

Pujols won't let sore foot slow him down

"Albert Pujols is wearing custom orthotics for the first time in his career, and he has to spend a little extra time in the training room, but those are the only concessions the Angels first baseman has made for the plantar fasciitis in his left foot.

“I’ve had it for the last seven years; is that a problem?” Pujols said of the condition, which causes inflammation of the thick tissue on the bottom of the foot and can be very painful when it flares up. “It’s one of those things that comes and goes.”

Pujols has been eased into action this spring as he recovers from last October’s surgery on his right knee — he played the field for the first time Tuesday — but Manager Mike Scioscia said Pujols’ knee hasn’t been as big a concern lately as the foot."

Source: LAtimes.com

Halladay trying to regain strength

"And the mystery continues.

Roy Halladay sat at his locker Tuesday morning, fresh off eating breakfast. He looked skinny. And, considering Halladay’s last three or so days, holding down breakfast might have been a big accomplishment.

Two days earlier, Halladay ignited a storm of worry by leaving his start after just one inning of work. Both the Phillies and Halladay said it was a stomach virus.

“I feel like I’m going in the right direction,” Halladay said. “Just bad timing for a setback.”

Source: Courierpostonline.com

Bud Norris to start Astros opener

"Bud Norris has been considered a “B”-level player his entire career. A good but not great pitcher; a solid athlete who’s never been a star.

Wednesday, the former second-tier pitcher was named the Astros’ opening-day starter.

Norris, 28, will take the mound next Sunday at 7 p.m. against the Texas Rangers at Minute Maid Park in MLB’s 2013 season-opener. The game will be televised on ESPN.

The honor fulfills a childhood dream for Norris, who’s long wanted to be able to call himself an opening-day pitcher. When Norris joined the Astros in 2009, he asked Roy Oswalt what it was like to receive the ball on one of sports’ most memorable days. Now, Norris’ name will forever be attached to the Astros’ American League debut, and he’ll pitch before family and friends on national TV."

Source: Chron.com

Giants and Posey working on mega deal

"The Giants have quietly started contract talks with the goal of locking up young superstar catcher Buster Posey to a mega-deal.

Word is, there's a decent-sized gap at this point, though not enough of a gap that the team or Posey has given up trying. Posey surely would like to be a Giant for life if at all possible, and the Giants, run by very smart and deep-pocketed people, wouldn't be opposed to such an arrangement, either, if it can be accomplished.

The question is, how long?

And of course, for how much?

These are not easy questions since Posey is a once-in-a-generation type player who's won two World Series and an MVP award , and he is just starting out."

Source: Cbssportsline.com

Saturday
Feb232013

Top 16 Fantasy Baseball Shortstops

Below are my pre-season top 16 shortstop rankings: 

  1. Troy Tulowitzki, COL
  2. Jose Reyes, TOR
  3. Hanley Ramirez, LAD
  4. Starlin Castro, CHC
  5. Asdrubal Cabrera, CLE
  6. Ben Zobrist, TB*
  7. Elvis Andrus, TEX
  8. Everth Cabrera, SD
  9. Ian Desmond, WSH
  10. Jimmy Rollins, PHI
  11. Alexei Ramirez, CHW
  12. Josh Rutledge, COL
  13. J.J. Hardy, BAL
  14. Danny Espinosa, WSH
  15. Jed Lowrie, OAK
  16. Alcides Escobar, KC

Honorable mention: Jean Segura, Yunel Escobar, Jhonny Peralta

Additional Information:

  1. With an average draft position of 6.7 in ESPN leagues last year, Tulowitzki was one of the biggest fantasy disappointments, playing in only 47 games due to elbow and groin injuries. The 30 home runs and .300+ batting average are still there, but 20+ stolen bases are no longer realistic. The biggest question about Tulowitzki is durability, only averaging 134 games the past five seasons prior to 2012. 
  2. 2012 marked the first time in three seasons Reyes was able to play a full year, playing in 160 games. His power upside is no longer in the 20s, but, instead, is now in the mid-teens. His stolen bases are no longer in the 60s, but in the 40s. He’ll bat leadoff for one of the best offenses in the game so expecting 115+ runs isn’t crazy.
  3. Ramirez provides 20/20 upside at a premium position and just came off a season where he played the second most games in his career. However, the .300+ batting average and 50+ stolen bases he used to provide are long gone; if he continues to strike out 20% of the time, be happy with a .260 batting average.
  4. Castro’s home run and stolen base totals have increased year over year since he’s been in majors. The biggest question is will his home run and stolen base totals continue to increase? If he can improve his stolen base success rate, he may give fantasy owners the same fantasy value of Jose Reyes.
  5. Even though Asdrubal Cabrera had a down year he was playing through various nagging injuries during the second half of the year. With Terry Francona joining the Indians in the off-season I wouldn’t be surprised if Cabrera is hitting in the middle of a surprising revamped offense and could quietly provide 20 home runs with 90+ RBI with a .270 batting average.
  6. Zobrist’s greatest value is his versatility, qualifying at shortstop, second base and outfield. Last season, not only did his stolen bases drop dramatically, but his stolen base success rate was only 61%; the days of 20 stolen bases are gone.
  7. Andrus’ batting average, OBP and SLG have increased year over year the past three years. With the loss of Josh Hamilton and his power production, the Rangers may be inclined to run more. I still believe in his 40+ stolen base potential.
  8. Even though Everth Cabrera only received 398 ABs in the majors, Cabrera finished third in the league with 44 stolen bases. He struck out nearly 25% of the time so his .246 batting average could be hard to repeat. If he plays a full season he has the opportunity to win you a category; he’s on a team that had the most stolen base attempts in the league last year.
  9. Desmond has 20/20 potential which is great, but he could be a batting average risk. Before last year his career batting average was .262, 30 points lower than the .292 average he put up last year. I don't trust guys who strikeout more than 20% of the time to maintain an abnormally high batting averages. He’ll continue to strikeout a lot so expect a .265 average with 14-18 home runs and 20 stolen bases. 
  10. I thought the 2012 season would be the start of Rollins’ decline, but I was proved wrong. His power numbers were aided a five year high in his HR/FB rate (15.6%). His strikeout percentage increased five percentage points compared to the last six seasons. The steals may taper off, but I don’t foresee a massive drop-off. 
  11. In 2012 Ramirez had a career high in stolen bases and a career low in home runs. The power outage could be due to an extremely low in HR/FB rate (6.6%). He’s an extremely reliable fantasy player who can easily provide 15/15 production. If he can increase the walk totals to his pre-2011 levels, he could steal 25+ stolen bases.
  12. Rutledge leaped from Double-A to the major leagues last year, hitting .274/.306/.469 with 8 home runs and 7 stolen bases. There are two reasons why I like him: A) he plays in Coors, which added 20 points to his batting average. B) his swing, which is short and simple, will allow him to make consistent contact at home and on the road. He’ll provide small contributions with the power but he’ll provide a nice average with 15+ stolen bases.
  13. In 2011 Hardy saw a career high in his HR/FB rate, which, not surprisingly, lead to a career high in home runs. Last year Hardy came back down to earth, hitting only 22 home runs with a .238 batting average. The 2012 season is more representational of Hardy’s fantasy value than 2011. Prepare for a .240 batting average and be delighted if he can hit .265.
  14. Espinosa loves to swing the bat and has a poor approach. Therefore it’s no surprise he strikes out a lot; last year was he had the highest strikeout percentage in his career (28.7%). His batting average could become a bigger liability in 2013, limiting his fantasy upside. However, he provides legit 20/20 upside and that’s hard to find. Also, he tore his left rotator cuff at the beginning of September and has decided to play with the injury instead of getting surgery.
  15. Lowrie has never played in more than 100 games. Last year, he missed two months of the season because of a freak injury suffered at a collision at second base. If he can play a full year, and that’s a big if, he could hit 20+ home runs.
  16. Entering the 2012 season Escobar was seen as a glove only shortstop, but he turned in one of the best fantasy seasons for shortstops. His primary asset is his stolen bases. His ability to steal bases is dependent on him getting on base. His .293 batting average could be a result of a high BABIP, which could lead to a regression to his batting average, which could lower his OBP. If his OBP decreases, his stolen base upside will be limited. 

Overall Draft Strategy

Other than Hanley Ramirez, Starlin Castro and Ben Zobrist there are huge question marks surrounding every player. Can Tulowitzki, Reyes and Lowrie get 580+ plate appearances? Can Hardy, Ramirez and Asdrubal Cabrera bounce back? You may be wondering why Derek Jeter is not on the list despite being the 3rd best fantasy shortstop last year. I’m concerned about his age and how good he'll be after recovering from a fractured ankle he suffered in Game 1 of the ALCS.