30 Players, 30 Teams, 30 Predictions


With the 2013 Major League Baseball season imminent, I wanted to give thirty predictions involving one player from each team. These predictions are from a Fantasy Baseball point of view. I will revisit these predictions after the season is over and see how close I came or how far off I was with each one.

Continue reading


Yankees Acquire Value in Ichiro Suzuki

The New York Yankees have struck a deal with the Seattle Mariners that will land them superstar right fielder Ichiro Suzuki in exchange for minor league pitchers D.J. Mitchell and Danny Farquhar in a move that was a no-brainer for the Yankees. Continue reading

It was fun, Ichiro

Before this season started, I predicted a bounce-back season for Ichiro Suzuki. Perhaps it was wishful thinking. The pride of Japan had a fallow season in 2011 when he failed to reach 200 hits for the first time in his career and finished with a .645 OPS. After averaging over five fWAR per season for his career, he fell to just 0.2 last year and even his defensive metrics seemed to fall down. Most felt that age had finally caught up to Ichiro. But I figured it was just a bad year and he would come back strong this year. Boy was I wrong. Continue reading


My 2012 Predictions: AL West

I am continuing my 2012 prediction series by revealing my AL West standings and a few positive and negative predictions for each time. In case you missed it, I have already revealed my AL East Predictions  and AL Central Predictions and we, as a staff, revealed some of our overall MLB predictions. Enjoy. Continue reading


The Umpires Got it Right in Seattle

After what could have been another black eye for umpiring in the major leagues last night, a call at the plate was reversed thirty seconds after the runner was initially called safe. Plays at the plate are rarely reversed (this writer doesn’t ever recall one happening) and thus, Terry Francona was ejected for arguing the decision. But it was the right call and, even if it ended up being the deciding run in the game, this writer is thrilled that the umpires made the right decision.

Here’s what happened (and you can view the video here): The Red Sox, already down 5-0 against the tough Felix Hernandez, had runners at first and third with one out in the top of the fourth. The runner at third was Jacoby Ellsbury, one of the fastest players in baseball. Dustin Pedroia was at the plate. The two players are part of the mix in AL MVP chances as both have been unbelievable for the Red Sox this season.  Pedroia lifted a fly ball to medium right field and toward the line. Ichiro Suzuki, long known for his throwing arm in right, fielded the ball on his glove side (not the best technique) but quickly shifted his weight and threw a bullet to home that Josh Bard caught on one screaming bounce.

The amazing throw clearly beat Ellsbury to the plate but there was a big collision and Josh Bard’s head took the brunt of it. The home-plate umpire, Mark Ripperger, looked completely undecided. It appeared that he had a thousand different thoughts during the few seconds after the play. Eventually, Ripperger threw his arms out that Ellsbury was safe. Felix Hernandez went wild and Eric Wedge wasn’t thrilled either and was arguing while also tending to his injured catcher. While all that was going on, the umpires huddled up and the call was reversed.

Tito went wild and was ejected from the game. He explained later that he was never given an explanation as to why the call was reversed. But he answered his own question further into the interview by stating that he was going to get thrown out while they were trying to explain things to him. The crux of the reversal was that Ripperger thought that Bard had not held on to the ball after tagging Ellsbury. But it was clear from the replay that Bard never lost control of the ball. The other umpires confirmed this and the home-plate umpire allowed himself to be overruled.

This is the way that umpiring should work. The ultimate goal is to get the call correct and in this case, correctness won out. Credit Mark Ripperger the openness to listen to his teammates and also credit the other umpires for not allowing an incorrect call to stand. Umpiring has taken a lot of heat this season and this writer has to admit to being part of those critics. But their job–sans replay–is not an easy one and when they get it right, they need to be congratulated.

The lost run ended up being the difference in a 5-4 loss for the Red Sox. But in the end, that loss is justified by the game being called correctly. Win one for the umpires!

-William J. Tasker, a/k/a The Flagrant Fan, a knowledgeable and passionate baseball fan that can be followed on twitter and found writing daily at his blog


Strange Occurances in Early Numbers


We are 10% of the way through the 2011 season and there have been some amazing numbers so far, both pretty and ugly. It is early but who doesn’t enjoy a nice dose of numbers for your brain to chew on? Well, I’m providing the numbers so go ahead and give your brain an appetizer.

*Walk Rates*

Vladimir Guerrero and Brent Morel are the only two players with at least 50 plate appearances and no walks. Morel has 52 PAs and Vlad has 62 PAs. Adrian Beltre and Michael Young, the Rangers new and old thirdbasemen, have two combined walks in 133 PAs.

-The Rockies know how to walk. Chris Iannetta ranks 2nd with a BB-rate of 23.1%, Jonathan Herrera is 4th at 21.6%, and Troy Tulowitzki is 9th at 19.2%. They have 37 combined walks, more than the entire Twins team, the same as the entire Orioles team, and one less than the entire Astros team. Three up-the-middle players have as many or more walks than two American League teams. Unbelievable.

**Strikeout Rates**

-Apparently Chicago is a good place for contact. A.J. Pierzynski only has one strikeout in 53 PAs for a 2.1% K-rate, tops in the Majors. Aramis Ramirez, who had a career K% of 15.5% and a 19.4% in 2010 only has three strikeouts in 68 PAs this year for a 5.0% K-rate, the 2nd best K% in the league. Starlin Castro has the 3rd best rate at 5.6% and Darwin Barney is 6th best at 6.7%.

-Detroit outfielders are exempt from making contact. Ryan Raburn leads the Majors with a 41.5% K-rate and Austin Jackson is 10th at 32.8%. They have a combined 42 strikeouts in 128 PAs. Only two others have reached the 20 strikeout mark so far this season. By comparison, teammate Justin Verlander, a good strikeout pitcher, has faced the 2nd most batters this season (116) and has 27 strikeouts.

***Extra-Base Hits***

Jason Barltett is the only player with at least 50 PAs that does not have an extra-base hit. Another former Ray, Carlos Pena, only has one extra-base hit (a double) in 53 PA.

-Tulowitzki, Alex Rodriguez, and Jonny Gomes rank 1-3 in ISO with each at or above .400. Sick early power! More on Tulowitzki: With a Major League leading 7 homers he has more homers than the Twins (5) and as many as the A’s.


-These are very early numbers but the Mariners, who have long been known for good defensive metrics, are dead last in UZR with -16.1 and have the 3rd and 4th worst players according to UZR. Ichiro Suzuki apparently has a -4.6 UZR and Milton Bradley has a -4.5 UZR. Early UZR numbers are hard to take as gospel especially when you see Carl Crawford with a -4.2 UZR.

-The Indians are amazing on defense with a Major League leading +10.3 UZR lead by Jack Hannahan who leads all players at +4.2 UZR. Shin-Soo Choo is tied for 10th with a +3.2 UZR.

*****Biggest Team Stat Surprise*****

-If you thought the Astros were a horrible offensive club you were correct. They have a wRC+ of 91 (100 is league average) and are hitting .262/.315/.381 which is bad by itself but actually may be higher than their norm. That poor triple-slash line is carried by a .326 BABIP (3rd best in the league) which means that once the BABIP evens itself out you might see a decrease in production from an already poor offense.

******Biggest Player Surprise******

-There really is no bigger surprise this season than Sam Fuld, is there? Fuld was a career minor-leaguer who was the last piece, a throw-in, of a trade. He made the Rays out of spring training as their 5th outfielder and found himself in the starting lineup shortly after. He is currently hitting .396/.431/.604 with a .449 wOBA, wRC+ of 197, and AL leading 7 stolen bases. He also has a +2.4 UZR and has been worth 1.0 fWAR. He is a human highlight reel and has become a Legend in the Tampa Bay area and beyond.


Random Predictions – AL

Who doesn’t love predictions? I know I do. I love mocking people for their outrageous claims but even more, I love making outrageous claims… and ending up right about them. Will my predictions be right? Only time will tell, but they do factor into my drafting and reaching of fantasy players. Some predictions will be bolder than others, especially my prediction in tomorrow’s post that says… well, you’ll have to wait for that one.

Here is my list of players that I predict bold outcomes for:

Baltimore Orioles – Matt Wieters will hit better than .280/.350/.450 with 20 homers. Adam Jones will go 25/10 or better. Mark Reynolds will hit below .200 again. Brian Matusz will pitch 210+ innings of sub-3.50 ERA, with 175+ strikeouts.

Boston Red Sox – Adrian Gonzalez will set career highs in Home Runs, RBI, runs, AVG/OBP/SLG, and win the MVP. Carl Crawford will be even better offensive season than he had in 2010. Daniel Bard will save 15 or more games. Daisuke Matsuzaka will not be starting games for the Red Sox in by August.

Chicago White Sox – Big league pitchers will stop throwing strikes to Alexei Ramirez and he will still swing and post an OBP that barely cracks .300. Adam Dunn will set a career high in home runs. Jake Peavy will make 25 or more starts and post an ERA below 3.75 with a K/9 over 8.0.

Cleveland Indians – Carlos Santana will be the best offensive catcher in the majors, hitting .290/.390/.470 or better with more than 20 homers. Shin-Soo Choo will be a top 5 MVP candidate. No other position player will be worth 3.0 fWAR or more and Orlando Cabrera will be off the team by the end of July.

Detroit Tigers – Ramon Santiago will be more valuable than Jhonny PeraltaAustin Jackson will take a minor step back before breaking out in 2012 and will be outperformed offensively by Casper WellsRyan Raburn will do like everyone else is predicting and break out this year. Detroit pitchers will be infuriated with the defense on the right-side of the field.

Los Angeles Angels – Vernon Wells will revert back to his 2009 form when he hit .260/.311/.400. Peter Bourjos is currently owned in 3.3% of ESPN leagues and will be owned in over 70% of fantasy leagues by mid-year, finishing with 40+ steals and 10+ homers. Dan Haren will be the best pitcher on the team.

Kansas City Royals – Melky Cabrera will again contend for the worst player in the Majors award. Alex Gordon will hit 25+ homers and post an OBP above .350. No starting pitcher will be worth 2.5 fWAR or higher. Tim Collins will have 75+ strikeouts out of the pen with a sub-3 ERA.

Minnesota Twins – Nick Blackburn will again post a +5 ERA but still start 25+ games. Alexi Casilla will struggle to post a positive fWAR. Delmon Young will break the 3.0 fWAR barrier, improving on last year’s performance. Jim Thome will again hit 25 homers and we will wonder why, again, he did not get 400+ plate appearances.

New York Yankees – Derek Jeter will have a bounce back season and hit at least .295/.365/.435 with 15 homers. Freddy Garcia will post a +5 ERA and not make it to 25 starts. Andruw Jones will hit 20+ homers and be worth 2.5 fWAR or higher. Jorge Posada will hit 15 or less homers and be worth 2.0 fWAR or less.

Seattle Mariners – I’m tired of seeing everyone predict Ichiro to bottom out this year. Ichiro will reach 200 hits, hit ovr .320 with 10+ homers and 40+ stolen bases. Miguel Olivo will fail to reach double-digit homers for the first time since 2005. Michael Pineda will be the 2nd most valuable starting pitcher. Brandon League will save 20+ games.

Tampa Bay Rays – Ben Zobrist will bounce backSean Rodriguez will gain shortstop eligibility and be a top 10 shortstop with at least 15 homers and 15 steals. Manny Ramirez hits .300/.400/.500 with 20+ homers. Dan Johnson will struggle to reach 400 PAs and the Rays will wish they signed Russell Branyan (his bold prediction tomorrow). Jeremy Hellickson will win 15 games with a sub-3.50 ERA and a K/BB of 4.0 or better. No pitcher will have 20 saves. It will be a true committee. For more of my Rays predictions click here.

Texas Rangers – Mike Napoli will retain catcher eligibility for next year and hit 30+ homers this year. Nelson Cruz will finish 3rd in MVP voting and hit at least .300/.370/.570 with 35+ homers with 25+ stolen bases and 10+ UZR. Elvis Andrus will hit 1 homer and fall outside the top-10 among fantasy shortstops. Derek Holland will win 12+ games and strike out 150+ with an ERA sub-4.00.

Toronto Blue Jays – The Jays 4th and 5th rotation spots will combine for an ERA over 5.00. Travis Snider will hit 25+ homers and post a +3.0 fWAR. Brett Cecil will be the best pitcher on the team. Aaron Hill will hit 30 homers.

-Jonathan C. Mitchell can be found writing about the Tampa Bay Rays at his other site Figure Filbert and on twitter at @FigureFilbert