Results tagged ‘ Chase Utley ’

Meet the New York Mets Young Stars On the Rise: Murphy, Davis, and Duda

BY ROB SHAW

Twitter: @RobShawSports

 

Bloomberg Sports Host Julie Alexandria and Bloomberg Sports Analyst Rob Shaw discuss the 2012 New York Mets, specifically the young players on the rise.

One player for fantasy managers to acquaint themselves with is Daniel Murphy.  The second baseman can help a fantasy team in many ways, specifically with depth due to his position eligibility.  In fact, Murphy played some first, second, and third base last season after struggling in the outfield in past seasons.

A top-10 hitter last season with a .320 average, Murphy has been working on driving the ball with a little more power this season.  Considering his maturation and natural growth, fantasy managers should look at Murphy as someone who can contribute a .290 average with 15 home runs and 5+ stolen bases.  There’s a good chance Murphy can end up playing better than Mets rival Chase Utley this season.

Next, there should be some fantasy excitement for the return of Ike Davis to first base for the Mets.  Davis looked like a legitimate slugger last season before enduring a season-ending ankle injury.  At 6’4 and a large frame, Davis already has great power, with 26 home runs through his first 652 at bats, but now with the fences drawn in there is even more reason to raise expectations this season.  In fact, Davis as a left-handed hitter, will be impacted the most by the fences being drawn in right-field this season.  Expect Davis to prove to be a better pickup than Marlins first baseman Gaby Sanchez.

Finally, a major sleeper this season, Lucas Duda could end up being the best homegrown slugger since Darryl Strawberry was wearing number 18 on a Mets jersey.  Duda has raised eyebrows in batting practice with his moon-shots.  After pulling or driving to center field all 10 home runs last season, Duda has already belted two home runs the opposite way this spring.

He’s a player that can belt 25-30 home runs with a respectable average.  What’s most impressive so far has been his plate discipline, which is giving hope to Mets fans that he can be the next big star in Flushing.

For more baseball insight visit BloombergSports.com.

(Video) Bloomberg Sports’ Ballpark Figures: USA Today’s Steve Gardner

By Bloomberg Sports // Ballpark Figures: Stock Report– Bloomberg Television’s Michele Steele and Bloomberg Sports Fantasy Analyst Rob Shaw are talking baseball. For the details surrounding the K-Rod Mets saga, Jim Thome’s power display, the injured second base superstars, and Josh Willingham and Jacoby Ellsbury, Bloomberg Sports brings on USA Today baseball columnist Steve Gardner. For more fantasy insight visit the Fantasy Windup at USAToday.com as well as BloombergSports.com for your top notch data analysis.

Time to give Gordon Beckham and Ian Stewart another chance?

By Eriq Gardner //
Not all fantasy baseball championships are determined by one’s prowess to evaluate player talent and pick winners. Sometimes, competitors suffer bad luck injuries and must demonstrate resiliency and an ability to manage assets when times get tough.
This week, owners of Chase Utley and Dustin Pedroia were knocked hard when both superstars hit the injury shelf. It’s not the first time that high draft investments suffered this fate, but rarely do two top stars at a relatively thin position go down within days of each other.
Certainly, Utley/Pedroia owners will now be looking at the waiver wire to see who might be available. Some owners may contemplate making a trade to fill the gap.
One option might be to acquire Gordon Beckham or Ian Stewart. Both these players have been tremendous disappointments to their own owners this year. In some leagues, they’ve already been dropped and in other leagues, they might be available via trade for a lot less than draft day value.
But do they have any hope of rebound? 
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Gordon Beckham was fantastic in his rookie season. In just 378 at-bats, he hit .270 with 14 HR and 7 SB. This year, he’s hitting only .209 with just 2 HR and 4 SB.
Beckham is being less selective at the plate this season. His strikeout rate has risen from 17.2% to 20.1% and his walk rate has fallen from 9.5% to 7.1%. That’s largely due to the fact that he’s swinging at pitches outside the strike zone with greater frequency lately. Last year, he was swinging at 25% of pitches outside the zone. This year, it’s up to 31%.
Still, poor luck has also contributed to a miserable average. His line drive rate is roughly similar to last year, yet he’s hitting just .250 on balls hit into play. According to a calculation of Beckham’s xBABIP, it should be .303, offering hope we might see positive movement in Beckham’s batting average going forward.
Beckham’s lack of power is a likewise mix of lackluster skills as well as poor luck. On one hand, he’s hitting less flyballs and making more groundballs this season. On the other, his HR/FB rate stands at just 2.9%. The average player has a rate at about 10%. Beckham’s current HR/FB rate puts him in the category of powerless players like Alcides Escobar and Rajai Davis. With natural regression, we should also see better power numbers from Beckham going forward.
Unfortunately, there’s nothing in Beckham’s peripheral stats that indicate the type of 20/20 season that those who drafted him originally envisioned. But he’s shown the skills at the major league before and is young enough to make adjustments at the plate.
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Ian Stewart hit 25 HRs last year and contributed seven stolen bases. He only hit .228, but many hoped that the Rockies infielder’s free-swinging ways would abate with maturity.
So far, it hasn’t happened.
Stewart is striking out 31% of the time this year, which ranks him 9th worst among those who qualify for a batting title. Not that Stewart will be winning one anytime soon. 
This year, Stewart is hitting .248, which would represent a positive development for his fantasy value if he wasn’t aggravating owners by not living up to his power expectations. Stewart has just 9 HRs this season.
Unlike Beckham, poor luck doesn’t seem to be much of a factor in Stewart’s troubles. His BABIP is .316, so if regression is coming, his average might actually fall further. His HR/FB rate is 14.3%, off from his career rate of 16%, but still above league average.
Stewart, though, offers something that Beckham doesn’t — consistently good production in certain situations. As a left-handed batter, Stewart does well when facing right-handed pitching. Eight of his 9 HRs and all five of his steals this season have come against right-handers. If owners have enough roster room and can set their lineups daily, Stewart represents one part of a possible fantasy platoon.
It’s important to also note that both Beckham and Stewart have 3B eligibility on top of 2B eligibility. If either player does manage to turn around their season, this kind of positional flexibility could come in handy when Pedroia or Utley return from their injuries.
For more on options at the second-base position, check out Bloomberg Sports’ Fantasy Tools

Ian Kinsler, the Chase Utley Alternative

By Tommy Rancel

Since joining the Phillies lineup full-time in 2005, Chase Utley has averaged .301/.388/.535 (AVG/OBP/SLG) with 29 home runs and 101 RBI per season. These numbers are typical for a star corner outfielder or a slugging first baseman – not a second baseman. For example, in 2009, Utley hit .282/.397/.508 with 31 home runs and 93 RBI. The average full-time major league second baseman hit .283/.348/.446 with 17 home runs and 74 RBI last year.

Utley is a consistently elite performer who shows no signs of slowing down. But Ian Kinsler may soon pose a threat to his throne atop the second base rankings.

Kinsler one of baseball’s unluckiest players in 2009. His batting average on balls in play (BABIP) was just .241, the lowest BABIP among qualified major leaguers, and 47 points lower than his career mark of .288. This drop in BABIP led to career lows in batting average (.253) and on-base percentage (.327).

Kinsler posted a career high 54% fly-ball rate (FB%) last season, with a career-low 15.4% line drive rate (LD%). If he rebounds toward career levels (47.1% FB, 20.0 % LD) a healthy batting average regression will likely follow.

Despite the low batting average, Kinsler still had a productive season for the Texas Rangers, smoking 31 home runs and swiping 31 bases. He became just the third second basemen (Brandon Phillips and Alfonso Soriano) in major league history to record a 30/30 season.

Looking at the spider charts of Kinsler and Utley, both players rate above average across the board. Utley’s batting average looks a lot better, but remember Kinslers’ BABIP fluctuation.  

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The final category is steals. Surprisingly, the 31-year-old, Utley stole a career high 23 bases last season after swiping 60 bags over the previous four. Kinsler has 91 career steals, including 80 over the past three years. He has increased his steals total in each of his four seasons: 11 in 2006, 23 in 2007, 26 in 2008, and 31 in 2009. Utley is on the wrong side of 30, while Kinsler is just 27; that age gap could widen the disparity in steals between the two players over the next few seasons.

One potential pitfall with Kinsler is health. In his four-year career he has spent 134 days on the DL with a variety of injuries. These include: a dislocated thumb, left foot stress fracture, sports hernia, and a strained hamstring last July. Utley missed 31 days with a broken bone in his hand in 2007, but has avoided a DL trip in the past two seasons.

Unlike previous years, Kinsler will not be leading off for the Rangers. This will give him fewer plate appearances, but should not be seen as a net negative. Instead, focus on all the increased RBI opportunities he will have hitting behind Michael Young and Josh Hamilton. In addition to the potential for more RBI, we know Kinsler’s power is real. His isolated power (slugging percentage minus batting average) has increased every season, going from .168 in 2006 to .235 in ’09. 

B-Rank looks past Kinsler’s 2009 batting average and ranks him 12th overall; Utley ranks slightly higher at 10th overall. Meanwhile, Kinsler’s average draft position (ADP) of 17.2 means he could produce similar or better numbers than Utley (ADP 5.4) without expending a mid-first round pick. 

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In a 12-team mixed league, a team picking late in the first round could conceivably draft a combination of Prince Fielder and Kinsl
er, a killer 1-2 punch on the right side of the infield to start the draft.

For more information on Ian Kinsler and hundreds of other players, and for dozens of tools to help you dominate your fantasy league, check out Bloomberg Sports’ fantasy kits.

Matt Kemp vs. Chase Utley

I’ll just get this off my chest. I love Matt Kemp. (Pause.) It’s okay, though. Because I also love Chase Utley. (And all of his pomade!)

Let’s say I’m coming up on my sixth pick in the draft, and B-Rank (the
proprietary Bloomberg ranking tool, spit out by gnome-like geniuses toiling in
the depths of the silver mountain that is Bloomberg headquarters on Lexington
Avenue), tells me Kemp is ranked fifth, and Utley is ranked 10th.

That’s just a start. Any tool worth its salt is not
trying to make decisions for you – instead it’s about giving you the
opportunity to make your (informed) decisions. And in this case, the question
is how much you value positional scarcity and consistency.

In one corner we have the rising star. Kemp’s on his way up
the charts and is projected to be the number-one center fielder in baseball
next year. He went from 12th at the position to fourth in
home runs last year, and he did it by slowly ramping up his flyball rates
(from 35.9% his first year to 38.3% last year) while still hitting line drives
in bunches (21.5% career). You can see on his scout page that his slugging
percentage was steady all year, and he didn’t hit a wall. His career
78% stolen base success rate bodes well for him to continue stealing bases at a
rate that has been top-ten in baseball at his position for two straight years. He’s
got the green light. The power is projected to continue its upward trajectory,
and his speed will stick around. What’s not to love? He’s got upside in
bunches.

In the other corner we have the steady veteran Utley, who also
offers a blend of power and speed. Take a look at Bloomberg Sports’ player scout tool, and you’ll see
that Utley’s been number one at his position since 2007. In the past three season, he’s ranked third, first,
and second in home runs; second, seventh, and twelfth in batting average; and 16th, 13th, and sixth in stolen bases among second basemen. If you want efficiency on the basepaths, Utley is your man: He owns an 88% career success rate – and
wasn’t caught once last year in 23 attempts.
Of course, his game is still built around power; Utley’s SB total last year was the
best of his career, he’s 31 years old now and has likely peaked in the stolen base department.

Power and consistency are more likely to be lasting traits. Utley’s never hit lower than
.282 in a season, or slugged worse than .508 — he’s still the consensus best second baseman on the board. Bloomberg Sports’ Demand vs. Scarcity chart shows you that only Ian Kinsler joins Utley in the category of five-star second basemen. Only seven
second basemen rate as four-star or better.

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Let’s just go back to the Demand vs. Scarcity chart
for Kemp, because it’s my favorite tool in the tool belt. You’ll see that Kemp
is a five-star center fielder, like Utley is at his position, but that there are
three others in his tier. There are also 11 center fielders that are
four-star or better. If your league doesn’t break down outfielders into three
positions, Kemp’s talents become even less exceptional, as Bloomberg Sports rates 23 left fielders and
right fielders with four stars, and 11 with five stars.

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If you value positional scarcity, the nod goes to Utley. If you want the young guy on his way up no matter where he plays, you
take Kemp.

For more information on Chase Utley, Matt Kemp and hundreds of other players, check out the new Bloomberg Sports fantasy application.

–Eno Sarris

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