MLB’s Most Overrated and Underrated Players

Wainwright

Discussing the most over and underrated players in baseball is an annual exercise that creates a lot of spirited debate and reaction. There’s no scientific formula to determine or verify who falls where; just opinion, eye-tests and carefully manipulated stats to prove points. That being said, the best reason to do it is because it’s fun.

Here are some players I believe are among the most over and underrated in the game today. Continue reading

Which Fantasy Players to Trade Away…And to Trade For

Heyward

Draft Them Then Trade Them – These players start out quickly, then slow down during the season.  These are the players to “sell high”. Continue reading

2012 MLB Rookie Watch: NL Central

The other day I kicked off the first of a series of posts in which I will take a look at rookies who should or could have an impact in 2012. I will be going by division by division taking a look at rookies for each team. I will make my pick for the rookie whom I think will have the biggest impact as well as other guys to watch for. In the first article I took a look at the rookies in the NL West and up next is the National League Central.
Continue reading

2012 Chicago Cubs Outlook: Infield

In our third installment, we’ll take a look at what options the Cubs have an the infield while they work to build their 25 man roster.

Key Departures

Aramis Ramirez: The longest tenured third baseman since Ron Santo has left Chicago and now plays for the rival Brewers. It’s going to take a lot to replace his production in the lineup, but I really think it’s time for Ramirez to move on. He’s not a clubhouse and team leader. With a younger team taking the field, veteran leaders are going to be more important than ever.

Carlos Pena: In a typical Scott Boras move, Pena signed a one year deal with the Cubs last season in hopes to boost this worth for a long term contract. It didn’t work out with him batting .225 but hitting a team leading 28 home runs. Between Pena and Ramirez that’s 54 HRs and over 170 RBIs gone from the previous season. We might see an increase in Starlin Castro‘s throwing errors without Pena scooping everything he can reach. He’s back on the Rays. Continue reading

MLB Top 50 Free Agent Predictions

 

MLB Trade Rumors recently released their top 50 free agents and where they think each player will sign. They had a competition where fans could submit their predictions to win prizes. Here are my predictions for the top 50 free agents.

 

1.  Albert Pujols St. Louis Cardinals
2.  Prince Fielder Chicago Cubs
3.  Jose Reyes Milwaukee Brewers
4.  C.J. Wilson New York Yankees
5.  Yu Darvish Texas Rangers
6.  Edwin Jackson Washington Nationals
7.  Jimmy Rollins Philadelphia Phillies
8.  Aramis Ramirez Los Angeles Angels
9.  Carlos Beltran Boston Red Sox
10.  Jonathan Papelbon Boston Red Sox
11.  Michael Cuddyer Seattle Mariners
12.  Mark Buehrle Florida Marlins
13.  David Ortiz Boston Red Sox
14.  Ryan Madson Philadelphia Phillies
15.  Hiroki Kuroda Los Angeles Dodgers
16.  Carlos Pena Pittsburgh Pirates
17.  Francisco Rodriguez Baltimore Orioles
18.  Roy Oswalt Baltimore Orioles
19.  Javier Vazquez Retirement
20.  Heath Bell Florida Marlins
21.  Coco Crisp Chicago White Sox
22.  Hisashi Iwakuma Minnesota Twins
23.  Kelly Johnson Toronto Blue Jays
24.  Josh Willingham Tampa Bay Rays
25.  Paul Maholm New York Mets
26.  Grady Sizemore St. Louis Cardinals
27.  Bartolo Colon Texas Rangers
28.  Erik Bedard Seattle Mariners
29.  David DeJesus Chicago Cubs
30.  Jason Kubel San Francisco Giants
31.  Ramon Hernandez Pittsburgh Pirates
32.  Jeff Francis Colorado Rockies
33.  Chris Capuano San Diego Padres
34.  Tsuyoshi Wada Toronto Blue Jays
35.  Clint Barmes Detroit Tigers
36.  Casey Kotchman Cleveland Indians
37.  Freddy Garcia New York Yankees
38.  Aaron Hill Los Angeles Dodgers
39.  Johnny Damon Cleveland Indians
40.  Aaron Harang Los Angeles Angels
41.  Jamey Carroll Houston Astros
42.  Rafael Furcal St. Louis Cardinals
43.  Juan Pierre Cincinnati Reds
44.  Frank Francisco Arizona Diamondbacks
45.  Jason Marquis New York Mets
46.  Joel Pineiro Los Angeles Dodgers
47.  Jonathan Broxton New York Mets
48.  Joe Nathan Cincinnati Reds
49.  Kerry Wood Retirement
50.  Bruce Chen Pittsburgh Pirates

 

Trade Deadline Head Scratchers

Earlier today I wrote about the trade deadline winners so I feel the need to write, not about the losers, it’s too soon to tell, but about the deals and non-deals that made me scratch my head and wondering what the team was thinking. With that said, here are the trades that left me in wonder:

The Giants trade for Cabrera: The Giants traded Thomas Neal, a prospect in that has a good chance to be a solid 4th outfielder for Orlando Cabrera, a guy with -0.7 fWAR and a -7.2 UZR. Yes, the Giants need middle infield help but Cabrera should not be playing on any contending team and the fact they gave up a prospect for him makes the deal even worse. This is after they traded Zack Wheeler for Carlos Beltran. Sure, Beltran was the best position player available but they get 2+ months of Beltran and no compensation pick and lose a potential top-of-the-rotation starter with 6 years of control.

The Dodgers give Robinson away: The Dodgers apparently love to give legit prospects away for bulk prospects with bench potential. They traded Trayvon Robinson who was hitting .293/.375/.563 with 26 homeruns in his first season in AAA. He has great raw power but swings and misses a lot and is still raw for a guy who will be 24 on September 1st. He has the wheels to play center but is better suited for left and could have been starting there next year for the Dodgers but they wanted a future back up catcher in Tim Federowicz with no bat and two future right-handed relievers in Stephen Fife and Juan Rodriguez. On top of this they are holding on to aging veterans when they need to save money and rebuild.

The Twins proposal of Span for Storen and not trading Cuddyer: Why would the Twins, who need to be selling high on Michael Cuddyer, be trying to trade Denard Span, a true center fielder who was well on his way to a 5 fWAR season, for Drew Storen, a potential 1 fWAR reliever? Don’t get me wrong, I really like Storen, but Span was having an All-Star year and has that potential moving forward and Storen is a reliever. You don’t make trades like that. What you do is make trades that involve soon-to-be free agents named Michael Cuddyer and Jason Kubel who are hitting .298/.370/.477 with 16 homeruns and a career high 138 wRC+ while  playing multiple positions and .303/.356/.444 with a 126 wRC+ all while the market is hot for hitters.

The non-moves by losing ball clubs: I have no idea why the only move the A’s made was trading Brad Ziegler. I do like the trade because they got Brandon Allen in return but they held on to too many pieces that could have netted solid returns like Coco Crisp, Josh Willingham, Conor Jackson, Michael Wuertz, Brian Fuentes, and Grant Balfour. The Cubs also held on to guys like Kerry Wood, Aramis Ramirez, and Carlos Pena. I can only imagine the return they’d get for Ramirez who has 19 homeruns and passable defense at one of the worst hitting positions in 2011. The Royals held on to Melky Cabrera, 2010’s worst player who is having a career year hitting .304/.340/.466 with 13 homeruns and 14 stolen bases and, amazingly, passable defense in center and, amazingly, great base running with a +3.9 Bsr. They also held on to Jeff Francoeur who was hitting .272/.326/.464 and an excellent +4.1 UZR in right.

The non-moves by winning ball clubs: The Yankees decided to stand pat and not add a needed starting pitcher for the second deadline in a row. In fact, the most talks surrounding them were about reliever Heath Bell and it was wise of them not to pay heavily for something they did not need. The Angels sat around and complained about the price during the deadline rather than adding a legit bat. The Rays, who had pieces to sell and buy, did absolutely nothing. They could have been the biggest buyers with their farm system and not even traded their top 3 prospects. They desperately need bats and I do not blame them for holding on to B.J. Upton, Casey Kotchman, or Johnny Damon if they think they are still contenders in the AL East. But, if they happened to be sellers why did they not make a deal involving Upton, Kotchman, Damon, Joel Peralta, Kyle Farnsworth, Jeff Niemann, Wade Davis, or Alex Cobb? Heck, why didn’t they make a trade imvolving a pitcher for a bat anyway. They could have still been contending and helped their 2012 club with the right bat.

-Jonathan C. Mitchell can be found writing about the Tampa Bay Rays at DRaysBay and you can follow him on twitter at @FigureFilbert and follow MLBdirt at @MLBdirt

The Hot Corner All-Stars

The All-Star rosters have officially been announced but that is not stopping me from completing my own All-Star roster because, quite frankly, the “real” rosters lack in a lot of areas. Here are my reserve third basemen.

National League

Ty Wigginton (COL) – He may only be 5th in the NL in fWAR (1.3) among third basemen but that will not stop me from naming him to my All-Star team. He leads all NL third basemen in homeruns (13), wOBA (.361), and SLUG (.504). The home park in Colorado has not helped him get to those numbers. He has only 5 homeruns at home in 118 at-bats and 8 away in 110 at-bats.

No one (N/A) – I chose to leave the last spot for third basemen blank and use that extra roster spot on another position. With all due respect to Chase Headley (.398 OBP), Aramis Ramirez (12 homeruns and .477 SLUG), and Placido Polanco, there are just more deserving players and my roster has flexibility to cover third base if needed. If I am forced to pick one I would probably choose Ramirez but I am not forced to pick one and I will not unless an injury occurs.

American League

Adrian Beltre (TEX) – He’s not quite having his MVP season of last year but he is having an All-Star caliber year with 15 homeruns and a +7.8 UZR. The .317 OBP leaves a little to be desired and his 2RC+ of 112 ranks only 5th among third basemen with at least 220 plate appearances but he makes up for it with his defense and .470 SLUG. He also ranks 2nd among all third basemen with 2.9 fWAR.

Kevin Youkilis (BOS) – If Evan Longoria had been healthy he would easily have a spot on this roster but thanks to his time on the disabled list Youkilis will make the roster. He ranks 3rd among all third basemen with 2.6 fWAR and is tied for 1st with a .383 wOBA. He also ranks 1st among AL third basemen in OBP (.392) and 2nd in wRC+ (140). The defense is worse than I thought at -5.7 UZR but his base running is the best with +1.6 Bsr.

-Jonathan C. Mitchell can be found writing about the Tampa Bay Rays at DRaysBay and you can follow him on twitter at @FigureFilbert and follow MLBdirt at @MLBdirt