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Ailment: Grady Sizemore, OF, Indians
The former Indians MVP candidate has been slowed by injuries and will now miss the next month because of another knee injury coupled with a sports hernia. Even when he was on the field, this is not the Sizemore who was routinely a first round pick in fantasy leagues. Nope, the All-Star who once swiped 38 bases has not stolen a single bag this season through 61 games.
Cure: Cameron Maybin, OF, Padres
It seems like he has been a top prospect for more than a decade. The truth is that at just 24-years-old, Maybin is still plenty young, and he is currently enjoying his best season to date. He seems to fit well in Petco Park playing small ball with 44 runs and 17 steals through 80 games.
Ailment: Jhoulys Chacin, SP, Rockies
After a stellar rookie campaign we expected more of the same from Chacin this season. However, the Rockies hurler has inexplicably lost his demand, most recently walking seven Braves on Thursday. His ERA spiked to 3.60, which isn’t bad at all for the ballpark he pitches in, but still Chacin has surrendered four or more runs in four of his last five starts.
Cure: Vance Worley, SP, Phillies
The 24-year-old hurler came out of nowhere, but it looks like he is here to stay. Injuries to Joe Blanton and Roy Oswalt have thrust Vance Worley into the Phillies rotation and he has responded with a 6-1 record and a 2.02 ERA. He can still get plagued by wildness at times, but he does rack up a decent amount of whiffs, and he has won his last four decisions.
Ailment: Ty Wigginton, 3B/1B/2B/OF, Rockies
This is what happens to streaky hitters. Ty Wigginton was on top of the world in June with 8 home runs and 18 RBI. However, he has yet to go deep once this month and his average this month is down to .204. It’s not a bad idea to look for other options.
Cure: Edwin Encarnacion, 3B, Blue Jays
Just 28 years old, Encarnacion has 107 home runs under his belt, but they do come in bunches. He has been red-hot since the All-Star break with a home run and a .400 average. With the veteran seeing the ball so well in a fine lineup, it’s not a bad idea to invest in his fantasy services for the short-term.
Ailment: Francisco Rodriguez, RP, Brewers
He was once the best closer in the business and he holds the record for most saves in a season, however, a less than dominant tenure in New York landed him in Milwaukee where he now offers middle relief. Despite pitching in middle relief, K-Rod was credited with a blown save on Thursday. He does not get enough strikeouts or offer a low enough ERA and WHIP to remain on a fantasy roster.
Cure: Edward Mujica, RP, Marlins
Marlins manager Jack McKeon showed his cards this week, stating that if Leo Nunoz gets moved, Mujica becomes his closer. This is well-deserved to Mujica, who boasts a 35:5 strikeout to walk ratio. His 2.85 ERA and 0.87 WHIP makes him a solid pick up for fantasy managers hoping to snare a closer for later in the season.
By R.J. Anderson //
A day after the Florida Marlins traded Andrew Miller to the Boston Red Sox, the Fish shipped out the other big name from their ill-fated Miguel Cabrera trade, by sending Cameron Maybin to the San Diego Padres. (That leaves only Burke Badenhop remaining in the organization from that package and that’s probably a good thing, given how the others have played during their time in Florida.) The Marlins received two right-handed relievers in return for Maybin – Ryan Webb and Edward Mujica. Both could be in line for some save opportunities if Florida decides to trade closer Leo Nunez.
Webb stands 6’6″ and features a mid-90s fastball. The prototypical closer image with a fierce slider that translates into wicked groundball rates (over 60% for his career), Webb is more than projection, as the arithmetic matches the physiology. Webb’s ERA sits at 3.19 through more than 80 career innings, while his peripherals remain steady with a strikeout-to-walk ratio of better than 2-to-1. Part of Webb’s shine can be attributed to a microscopic home run rate in 2010 (0.15 per nine innings; or one in 59 innings). That will not continue in 2011, but a sub-4.00 ERA would not be out of line.
Meanwhile, Mujica’s inability to keep the ball in the park remains the only aspect separating him from prominence. Since the 2009 season started — coinciding with Mujica becoming a Friar — he has accumulated 163 innings, a 3.80 ERA, 148 strikeouts, 21 unintentional walks…and 28 home runs. His stuff misses bats and he controls it well. Whether the home runs are a short-term blemish or a permanent flaw is to be determined. Having the gopherball bug through more than 200 career innings (with most of that time coming in pitcher-friendly San Diego) suggests it’s probably not going away. Still, his numbers are not too different from those of the incumbent closer, Nunez:
For the Padres to part with two quality relievers with years of cost control left, they required a player with the potential of Maybin. The one attribute about Maybin that will continue to be repeated until the season gets underway is his age. He is only 23 years old despite having more than 600 career plate appearances in the bigs (and a .246/.313/.380 line). That in itself is pretty rare for center fielders. Take the top 10 center fielders during the 2010 season (as determined by FanGraphs’ WAR) and track them at age 23. Here’s what you’ll find:
Josh Hamilton – Not playing baseball due to substance abuse issues.
Andres Torres – In Double-A hitting .294/.391/.393 line.
Carlos Gonzalez – In his second season in the bigs, hitting .284/.353/.525 for Colorado.
Brett Gardner – Hitting .281/.369/.378 between the upper minors.
Angel Pagan – Hitting .271/.333/.395 in his first full season in Triple-A.
Chris Young – Hitting .237/.295/.467 in his first full season in the majors.
Michal Bourn – Getting his first cup of coffee after hitting .277/.356/.385 in the upper minors.
Marlon Byrd – In Double-A hitting .316/.386/.555.
Vernon Wells – First full season in the majors, hitting .275/.305/.457.
Austin Jackson – This season, first full in the majors, hitting .293/.345/.400
With that kind of history, Maybin has some cause for optimism. There is reason to believe he still possesses the tools that made prospect analysts go wild over his potential just three years ago, it’s just a matter of tapping into those tools. Regardless of his immense physical skills, though, Maybin must cut down on his whiffing. The driving force behind his awful line is not a lack of walks (nearly 8%) or success on balls in play (.334 batting average on batted balls) but rather, strikeouts. It’s hard for any player to fare well while striking out in nearly one-third of his career at-bats; particularly when that player hits the ball on the ground a lot, rather than hitting for a lot of power.
There’s an outside chance that the two relievers are more productive in fantasy than Maybin in 2011. There’s even an outside chance that Maybin is relegated to a bench role. It’s hard to see him not breaking camp with the Padres, though, as he is out of options (meaning he cannot be sent to the minors without passing through waivers) and the acquisition cost suggests there was a demand for Maybin on the trade market. At the very least, Maybin is the more intriguing long-term keeper if you’re in a perpetual league.
by Eno Sarris
A well-worn strategy for fantasy baseball is to wait on steals. Why pick a Michael Bourn (Average Draft Position = 87.38) early when Juan Pierre (ADP 232.91) might give you comparable statistics much later?
In that vein, it pays to examine late-round steals options, and it doesn’t get much later than Cameron Maybin (288.25). To be fair, it’s not exactly an active market that late in a draft, as ADPs in the high 200s are not nearly as stable as ADPs earlier in the draft; Maybin goes as early as 200 according to Mock Draft Central. To help hedge your emotional investment in Maybin, we’ll identify a couple of other late options for steals, too. That way you can wait on the risky speed-only picks as long as possible and feel optimistic about landing one of them.
Back to Maybin. Remember back on December 5, 2007, when the announcement came through the wire that the Florida Marlins had traded Miguel Cabrera and Dontrelle Willis for a package headlined by Maybin and left-handed top-shelf prospect Andrew Miller? At the time, the consensus was that this was a Big Boy trade – top prospects for top players. It’s hard to separate the outcomes of the involved players from your appraisal of the trade when it occurred – as Rob Neyer so eloquently pointed out last week – so we won’t try too hard. We’ll just note that the shine has dimmed a bit on this trade in the interim, and it now seems to contain the worst parts of the business of swapping upside for currently performing talent. Sometimes the upside isn’t what you thought it was, and sometimes the current talent is not all it’s cracked up to be, either. (Sometimes the talent goes drinking before a big game, or develops Steve Blass disease.)
Maybin, in the meantime, has gone from the prospect that couldn’t miss to the prospect that couldn’t NOT miss: His career strikeout rate in the major leagues is 31.1%. To put that in perspective, Adam Dunn‘s career strikeout rate is 32.1%. The highest batting average of a player that struck out more than 30% last year was Ryan Howard‘s .279.
This has been a problem for Maybin his whole career, as he owns a 27.9% strikeout rate in the minor leagues as well. Looking through our rose-colored glasses, we can point to the fact that Maybin cut that rate to 19.5% last year in Triple-A. But even when dealing with that sample size we also have to admit that his 29% strikeout rate in the major leagues last year was just about the same as it ever was. There’s still room for growth, as Maybin is just 22 years old, with 257 career MLB at-bats under his belt. Still, without some luck on batted balls, it’s hard to envision Maybin hitting for a high average in 2010.
That said, Maybin’s Spider Graph from the Bloomberg Fantasy Tools shows that it’s not all about batting average. Of course, the spider graph also shows that Maybin comes up short in all categories currently.
Ouch. Even with a graph predicated on a mere 200-odd plate appearances in 2009, this is a damning appraisal of his skills. Let’s reach for those rose-colored glasses again and see if we can find reasons to be optimistic.
For one, we know he has speed, as he stole 81 bases on a 79% success rate in the minor leagues. So far he’s 10-for-13 in major league attempts, so that bodes well.
But what about his power and patience at the plate? If he exhibits those skills, we can forgive the batting average risk and enjoy the home runs and steals. The patience we’ll deal with first because patience usually translates to the major leagues eventually. Maybin has walked in 12.2% of his minor league plate appearances, and 8% of his major league PAs, so far. Given that the league average last year was 8.9%, gaining those extra walks will be important for the young center fielder.
Now, the power. His minor league isolated power (slugging percentage minus batting average, ISO shows the non-singles a player produced) was .171. If Maybin can put up that number in the major leagues, he’d have power that was comparable to, say Jimmy Rollins (.173 ISO in 2009) or Brandon Phillips (.171 ISO in 2009). Go a little further up the list, though, and you get a good comp for Maybin – Nate McLouth. McLouth has a little more power (.194 career ISO), also strikes out a lot (over 20% in his first two seasons), walks around 10% of the time (9.3% career) and puts up the same kind of power/speed combo with a poor batting average (.260 career) that we might expect out of Maybin. Walk the power back a little, and push the speed forward a little, and you’ve got Maybin’s upside right now. (Mike Cameron (11.1% career BB%, 27.9% career K%, .198 career ISO) would make a good comp, but his speed is waning as he enters his 16th year in the bigs.
If you look at the different Maybin projections around the Web, you have the upper bounds defined by Bill James (as usual): .286 with 10 home runs and 14 stolen bases. To see the projections on the Bloomberg Sports Fantasy Tool, go to the Draft Kit, then pick the Draft List, then Search Mode. Then toggle the switch from picture view to grid view (midway up on left side). Then you can choose 2010 projections and sort by whichever stat or player you like or pick the groups like ‘Rising,’ ‘Falling,’ or ‘Sleepers.’
Add it all together and you get a player who could easily hit around .270 with up to 15 home runs and more than 20 steals this year. Nate-McLouth-lite is sounding like a good comparison right now – except you can get Maybin much, much later in your draft. If you want to wait really long for your steals, Maybin has some good upside and makes a solid late-round pick.
r other young speedsters you can nab late.)
For more information on Cameron Maybin and hundreds of other players check out Bloomberg Sports’ fantasy kit.