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

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You Don’t Have to Avoid These AL Fantasy Players, But Temper Expectations

Ellsbury

Well, we’re approaching another fantasy baseball season.  Every year, we draft players who end up being disappointments.  Here now is my list of players I would be wary about drafting/bidding on this upcoming season.  They may not kill your team results, but you could end of overspending/drafting these players. Continue reading

Who Are These Guys?

Cashman

Okay, who are you guys and what have you done with the real New York Yankees?  This isn’t the Yankees that we know and love….or hate in many circles.  Typically at this time of the year, the Yankees have thrown millions of dollars at players, and they usually get their man.  This year, despite perhaps more needs than in past years, the Yankees have been sitting on the sidelines watching potential Yankees going elsewhere.  Not only that, but they are letting their own leave as well.  With A-Rod on the shelf, Jeff Keppinger, or resigning Eric Chavez would have been the most logical moves.  Yet, both players have signed elsewhere.  So, what’s going on in the Bronx? Continue reading

Time for the Yankees to Check in on the Starting Pitching Market

It seems like every year the Yankees are in the market for starting pitching at the trade deadline. A few days ago, I would not have thought New York would be looking for pitching at the deadline. C.C Sabathia has been his usual self (3.45 ERA), leading the front of the rotation. Phil Hughes (4.48 ERA), while not the best, has been good enough to stick at the back of the rotation. Hiroki Kuroda has proved to be a great offseason addition as he has put together a 3.40 ERA. His at 4.22 which suggests some decline but he has still pitched well. Andy Pettitte has been a great addition as he has a 3.29 ERA, 3.58 FIP, and an 8.56 K/9. Ivan Nova has also been solid this year with a 4.25 ERA and a 4.46 FIP.

The starting pitching as a whole has not been terrific but they’ve been good and the offense has given them the run support. New York’s starters have a 6.7 WAR which ranks 12th in baseball and 5th in the American League. They have a 4.02 ERA and a 4.12 FIP which both rank right around the middle of the league. Yes there is room for improvement in the rotation but it has not been a huge need and there should be no desperation forNew York to look at staring pitching upgrades. Well after today, the Yankees may have to start looking into trading for some starting pitching.

Continue reading

Some Early Season Yucksters

When a player has a slump or a hot streak in the middle of a season, the player has enough of a sample size to put those things in perspective. But when a player starts hot in the beginning of a season, we all notice. For example, the hot starts by Matt Kemp and Jared Weaver prompt tons of articles both admiring and cautionary. The same holds true for those who start the season so badly that the sky seems to be falling and the boos come out in droves from their hometown fans. Most of these early season victims will bounce back to near their normal career productivity. But it sure is ugly while the early season funk drags on. What follows is a few of those whose early season play has been extremely yucky.

Two players have an OPS below .400. That’s pretty hard to do. They are Brad Hawpe and Dan Johnson. Hawpe has come to symbolize the awfulness of the San Diego Padres’ offense. His dreadful slash line in 64 plate appearances: .136/.188/.186. Eww! Hawpe has a way to go before his OPS+ of 7 equals his #11 uniform number. He is nearly matched by Johnson, who at least gets covered up by other guys in the Bay Rays’ line up: .131/.185/.197 in 65 plate appearances. Johnson, a terrific and prolific power hitter in the minors just can’t seem to get his major league career going despite some heroic late inning moments the last couple of seasons. Hawpe is a mystery as he was a good player not too long ago for the Rockies. The last two years have been brutal.

There are eight players with 80 or more at bats with an OPS of under .500: Vernon Wells (.481), James Loney (.470), Alexis Rios (.466), Alcides Escobar (.476), Carl Crawford (.441), Chone Figgins (.479), Raul Ibanez (.484) and Will Venable (.476). All are batting below .200 except Escobar and Loney. Many of these players will bounce back and have fine seasons. But April will be a month they hope to soon forget.

Brent Morel and Vladimir Guerrero have combined for 154 plate appearances without taking a walk. Morel has a .458 OPS in 67 plate appearances. But even so, Ozzie Guillen is such a fan that he says Morel will be a Number 2 hitter before the All Star Break. Hmm…

Jack Cust, Jason Bartlett, Will Venable, Paul Janish and Carlos Pena have all compiled more than 70 plate appearances while only compiling one extra base hit. And Cust and Pena are power hitters. Strange. Conversely, Adam Dunn and Jorge Posada are batting .150 and .145 respectively. Ten of their eighteen combined hits have been for extra bases.

The speedy Brett Gardner is batting .145 with a .197 on base percentage. And when he does get on base, that hasn’t been working out either. He’s been thrown out stealing three times in six attempts after he was successful in 83 percent of his 56 attempts last year. Gardner has also struck out twenty times in 62 at bats. Gardner is one of four MLB players with more than 60 plate appearances with an OBP less than .200. The others are Hawpe, Johnson and Jose Lopez.

Albert Pujols and Torii Hunter both have around 100 plate appearances and both have already hit into eight double-plays. That’s a lot of outs.

We’ve been picking on the batters quite a bit. It’s time to pick on some pitchers.

Ryan Dempster, Jake Westbrook, Mike Pelfrey, Francisco Liriano, Jeff Niemann and Nelson Figueroa all have pitched at least twenty innings and have an ERA over 7.00. Combined, these pitchers have given up 117 earned runs in 139.2 innings pitched. Woof!

Javier Vazquez, Jeff Samardzija, Tim Collins, Aroldis Chapman and Jerry Blevins have pitched a combined 66.2 innings and have walked a combined 61 batters. That’s a lot of free passes.

Jake Westbrook, Mike Pelfrey, Barry Enright, Jeff Niemann, Jo-Jo Reyes, Nelson Figueroa, James McDonald, Erik Bedard, Madison Bumgarner, Casey Coleman, James Russell, Jordan Smith, Matt Maloney, Phil Hughes, Marcos Mateo and Juan Gutierrez have pitched a combined 268.1 innings and have given up a combined 389 hits. Staggering. Jordan Smith and Juan Gutierrez are the only two of those pitchers that doesn’t have an OPS+ against them of 150. That means that everyone they pitch against is a superstar.

Luke Hochevar, Armando Galarraga, Ryan Dempster and Colby Lewis have pitched a combined 111.2 innings have have already yielded a combined 33 homers. The combined homer per nine inning rate for this group is 2.67. That’s a lot of umpire waving.

And finally, Armando Galarraga, Colby Lewis, Ryan Dempster, Barry Enright and Clay Buchholz all have slugging percentages against over .550 (50 innings minimum). That is a lot of total bases.

Again, it has to be noted that many of these players will end up having good seasons. If they had bad stretches like this in the middle of the season, perhaps they would go unnoticed. But all of these players have come out of the gate heading in the wrong direction and they will have to gallop like the wind to end up where they need to be.

Imagine the Yankees’ Roster in It’s Prime

 

Entering the 2011 season, the Yankees lineup was full of stars, and that has been the norm for this franchise. Baseball fans are used to seeing the Yankees throw out huge salaries to top of the line free agents each offseason. Well this off-season we really didn’t see that as it was highlighted by signings such as Russell Martin, Eric Chavez, Andruw Jones, Freddy Garcia, and so on.  Their current roster has an interesting mix of hall of famers, all stars, veterans well past their prime, and a few young guys. Most of these guys, excluding some of the reserve players and relievers, have had an all-star caliber season (many of them have had more than one.) Well just imagine if all the players on this roster were in their prime. It would be scary good! Let us take a look at the roster and each players highest WAR Season.

Starting Lineup:

Brett Gardner: 5.4

Derek Jeter: 7.5

Mark Teixeira: 7.3

Alex Rodriguez: 9.8

Robinson Cano: 6.4

Nick Swisher: 4.1

Jorge Posada: 6.4

Curtis Granderson: 7.4

Russell Martin: 5.8

Bench:

Eric Chavez: 5.9

Andruw Jones: 8.3

Gustavo Molina: 0.0

Eduardo Nunez: -0.1

Starting Pitchers:

C.C. Sabathia: 7.6

A.J. Burnett: 5.5

Phil Hughes: 2.4

Ivan Nova: 0.5

Freddy Garcia: 5.5

Bullpen (The league high is typically around 3.0 for relievers):

Mariano Rivera: 3.3

Rafael Soriano: 2.0

Joba Chamberlain: 3.3

David Robertson: 0.8

Boone Logan: 0.4

Luis Ayala: 1.8

Bartolo Colon: 5.0

That roster would just be ridiculous!