Bloomberg Sports Anchors Julie Alexandria and Rob Shaw discuss players who they think will definitely be inducted into the Hall of Fame and players who are debatable.
Based on his statistics, Manny Ramirez should be a Hall of Famer. He has 2574 hits, 1831 RBI and 555 home runs in his career. He is a 12-time All-Star and has two World Series rings (’04, ’07) and nine Silver Slugger awards. However, his use of PEDs has tarnished his statistics and will keep him out of the Hall of Fame.
Though Albert Pujols is struggling a bit this season with the Angels, he has already cemented a spot in the Hall of Fame. He has 2,142 hits, 456 home runs and a .325 batting average in his career. He is a three-time MVP (’05, ’08, ’09) and a nine-time All-Star and has won two World Series (’06, ’11), six Silver Slugger awards and two Gold Glove awards.
Like Pujols, Ichiro Suzuki‘s numbers are down this season, but he deserves induction into the Hall of Fame based on his past performances. He has 2,504 hits, 432 stolen bases and a .323 average in his career. The 10-time All-Star also won MVP and Rookie of the Year honors in 2001 and has earned 10 Gold Gloves and three Silver Sluggers.
Derek Jeter is another player who is a shoe-in for the Hall of Fame. The 12-time All-Star has 3,177 career hits, 344 stolen bases and a .313 career average, as well as five Gold Gloves and four Silver Sluggers. Above all, he is a big-time winner with five World Series rings.
Chipper Jones, set to retire at the end of this year after 19 seasons, is certainly Hall of Fame-bound. He has 2,650 hits, 459 home runs and a .304 average in his career, in addition to an MVP award (’99), seven All-Star selections and two Silver Sluggers.
Alex Rodriguez, a 14-time All-Star and three-time MVP, is another player whose Hall of Fame candidacy is in question due to PEDs. However, it can be argued that after the steroid era ended, A-Rod still put up good enough numbers to warrant induction. He has 2,841 career hits and 640 home runs, and is 76 RBI away from 2000 for his career. He has one World Series ring (’09), 10 Silver Sluggers and two Gold Gloves.
Jim Thome is headed for the Hall of Fame with his 608 career HR. The five-time All-Star has had 12 seasons of 30+ HR and 100+ RBI but he is not just a home-run hitter. He has 1,710 walks, ranking 10th all-time.
Mariano Rivera is another player already in the Hall of Fame. He is the all-time saves leader with 608 and has a 2.21 career ERA, good for 13th all-time. He is the greatest closer of all time and one of the most clutch performers in sports. Despite being 42 years old, Rivera was as good as ever before his season was cut short by a torn ACL.
Jamie Moyer sits at 269 wins as he is currently pitching in AAA and trying to make another comeback, this time with the Baltimore Orioles. If he returns shortly and assuming he pitches every fifth day, he could potentially start 19 games and could pick up the six wins he needs to reach 275 for his career. If the 49-year-old can somehow keep pitching into his fifties, he could have a shot at 300 wins and the Hall of Fame.
Johnny Damon‘s easiest path to the Hall of Fame is to get another 254 hits to reach 3,000 for his career. If he gets just 54 more hits and 17 more home runs, he would join Rickey Henderson, Barry Bonds and Craig Biggio as the only players to have 2,800 hits, 250 home runs and 400 stolen bases. At the moment, he is one of five players to have 230 home runs, 400 stolen bases and 2,700 hits.
Scott Rolen is one of three third basemen to hit above .280 and hit 300 or more home runs, and one of four third basemen to have 8,000 or more plate appearances and an OPS of .850 or better. At 37 years old, if Rolen can collect 77 hits the rest of this season and average 100 hits over the next four years or 133 hits over the next 3 years, he would reach 2,500 hits. In addition to his defense, position and more than 300 HR, he would have a very strong candidacy.
Todd Helton‘s chances to make it into the Hall of Fame may be hurt by playing at Coors Field. However, if the 38-year-old can hit 46 more home runs over the next five years, he’d reach 400 home runs and have a strong case with 2,500 hits and 400+ home runs, a feat only 25 Major Leaguers have accomplished. He has hit 227 home runs at home and just 138 home runs on the road, so he may need to do more than most for people to believe in his Coors-tainted candidacy.
Vladimir Guerrero needs just 51 home runs to reach 500 for his career. Among players with at least 8,000 career plate appearances since 1950, his average of .318 ranks sixth behind Tony Gwynn, Wade Boggs, Rod Carew, Ichiro Suzuki and Todd Helton. he is one of only seven players in history with at least 350 home runs, a batting average of at least .310 and at least 2,500 career hits. Among the six others, only Manny Ramirez is not already in the Hall of Fame.
If Lance Berkman stays healthy and plays into his early 40s, he has a shot at reaching 500 home runs. If he can hit nine home runs the rest of this season, he’ll have 132 to go, which would mean four full seasons at his career pace of 33 per 162 games.
Tim Hudson has one of the 10 lowest ERAs of any pitcher with at least 2,000 innings pitched since 1990 and is tied for the fourth-most wins among active pitchers with 185. He also has the lowest home-run rate of any pitcher with at least 2,000 innings pitched since 1950.
For more baseball insight, visit BloombergSports.com.
Rob Shaw and Julie Alexandria discuss five veterans aging gracefully:
Derek Jeter, SS, Yankees
With a .342 average and five home runs, Derek Jeter has far exceeded expectations this season, as he is now surpassed 3,150 hits for his career. Now it may be time to sell high on the Yankees legend. Despite the early power showing, Jeter has just one extra base hit since May 6. He is starting to look like the singles machine that boasted just a .370 slugging percentage in 2010. Furthermore, the stolen bases are way down with just three swipes this season. Jeter has been great so far, but there are some serious questions about the sustainability of this hot start from the 37-year-old shortstop.
David Ortiz, DH, Red Sox
Though he seems to be getting bitter with age, claiming he doesn’t get respect in Boston, David Ortiz is as dangerous as ever with the stick in his hand. Ortiz is on pace for 40 home runs and 120 RBI while batting .305. Ever since everyone predicted his decline in 2009, Ortiz has bounced back and is once again one of the best designated hitters in baseball.
Chipper Jones, 3B, Braves
Sadly this is the swan song for Chipper Jones, who will one day find himself inducted in the Baseball Hall of Fame. A bruised left calf had forced Jones out of the lineup for the time being, but when he is healthy this season, he has blasted five home runs with 24 RBI and a .307 average. Jones is unlikely to have much more than 400 at bats this season, but if you are willing to change your roster on a daily basis, you can end up with an oldie, but goodie.
Raul Ibanez, OF, Yankees
The Phillies thought Raul Ibanez was done after a less than stellar 2011 season. The Yankees took an inexpensive gamble on the New York City native and so far the 39-year-old designated hitter has blasted nine home runs with 27 RBI. Yankees Stadium seems perfect for the left-hander, as he already has seven home runs at home. Additionally, the solid Yankees lineup has led to many run-producing opportunities and so far Ibanez has capitalized.
Derek Lowe, SP, Indians
It’s very rare for a pitcher to have success with more walks than strikeouts, but lo and behold, Derek Lowe is having a bounce back season with the Indians. Lowe had allowed just seven runs over his last six starts before getting pummeled this weekend. Even still, the ERA is a solid 3.25. Again, the strikeouts are a concern, and it makes you wonder how long this could last.
BY ROB SHAW
When it comes to evaluating player performance and creating projections for the upcoming season, Bloomberg Sports takes several factors into account. Here’s a breakdown of four of the nine factors that allow Bloomberg Sports to offer the most accurate projections in fantasy sports while attracting more than 20 Major League teams to turn to the company for scouting and advanced analytical solutions.
The first factor to consider is ballpark. Over the last five years it seems like we have shifted back to the big ballparks that favor pitchers. That is certainly the case for Citi Field, PETCO Park, and Target Field. As a result, just about any Mets, Padres, or Twins hurler performs better at home than on the road.
On the other hand, there are power alleys in Yankee Stadium, Coors Field, and most definitely the Ballpark in Arlington. Fantasy managers want to invest in the pitchers from the large cavernous and the hitters in the bandboxes.
On that note, be wary of pitchers who thrived in pitcher’s parks such as Mat Latos and Heath Bell who now join more hitter-friendly confines and definitely invest in hitters such as Michael Cuddyer making the move from Target Field to Coors this season.
The next fantasy factor to keep in mind is durability. Fantasy managers expecting full seasons from Jose Reyes, Nelson Cruz, and Chipper Jones are playing against the odds. There are durable hitters out there such as Yadier Molina and Roy Halladay. Their durability is a fantasy asset since you know what to expect from them on a day-to-day basis.
Next, fantasy managers should consider the age of their players. Bloomberg Sports has found 26-31 to be the prime age for baseball players. A younger player should be approaching his peak, while older players are typically on the decline. It should not shock you that Ichiro, Derek Jeter, and Alex Rodriguez are slowing down with age.
Finally, fantasy managers should consider the impact of a long-term deal. It is very rare that the player delivers shortly after signing such a deal. While we hate to question motivation, we have noticed that stars such as Jason Bay, John Lackey, Carl Crawford, and Jayson Werth were not nearly as productive after signing long-term deals compared to the season prior to the negotiation. On that note, Jose Reyes and Albert Pujols may not be as safe as you thought.
For all nine Fantasy Factors visit BloombergSports.com.
by Eno Sarris //
This past week has been a tough one for the third base position. Ryan Zimmerman underwent abdominal surgery and will be out up to another six weeks. Pablo Sandoval will miss at least that much time with a broken hamate bone. David Freese also broke his hand. Scott Rolen is having shoulder issues. Ian Stewart was sent down to the minor leagues. Pedro Alvarez is struggling with the whiff. If you have multiple teams, odds are you are looking for a third baseman in at least one league. We’ll break down some options here, tiered by league depth, so that you can sort through the mess.
It’s hard to know exactly which players are available on your waiver wire, but chances are, if you’re in a ten-teamer, Chase Headley is out there for you. Ideally, you’d like to play him against righties and away from home – so if you can platoon him in this manner, go ahead. As a batter, Headley has made some strides. He’s showing the best walk rate of his career and his power is up from last year. He has a lifetime BABIP of .330, so it wouldn’t be surprising to see him get a little luckier on balls in play despite owning a current .301 BABIP. By the end of the year, Headley should be hitting around .260 with double digit home runs and steals, so he’s a decent stop-gap player. Of course, if you are lucky enough to find Chipper Jones on your waiver, he’s a much better option. But Headley’s no bum. Finally, the best option is probably Jed Lowrie, who made his fifth start (eighth game) at the position on Tuesday night. If he’s available and eligible, he’s your man.
Standard Mixed Leagues
Edwin Encarnacion is doing everything he’s always done in terms of his plate discipline and hit trajectory stats, but the power hasn’t been there. It’s a little much to ask him to recover his power so soon after a wrist injury, but that might be what you are stuck with. If power is your sole goal, you may want to go with Ian Stewart, who is now back in the major leagues. In interviews he has practically demanded that he play every day. If the team allows him that – it’s not like Jose Lopez is a better option (with his 1 OPS+!), and Ty Wigginton is also a flawed player – he could go back to striking out a little less than a third of the time, which would probably result in an Encarnacion-ish .250 batting average with power. If every hit counts, Danny Valencia has had bad luck so far this season and should at least be able to hit .265 or so going forward.
AL- and NL- Only Leagues
In these leagues, you’re mostly just screwed. In my 11-team AL-only, the best waiver option is either Omar Vizquel or Matt Tolbert. I’d take Tolbert, mostly just because he’s playing often because of the current state of the Twins infield. If Andy LaRoche is available in your league, he’s been seeing more time for the Athletics and has been acquitting himself well. On the NL side, Mike Fontenot is getting more playing time at shortstop and, because of his position eligiblity, actually create some trade value for himself by stealing the starting shorstop role in San Francisco while your third baseman is out. That’s how bad Miguel Tejada has been this year. Over with the Reds, Daniel Descalso is probably the man taking over for Freese right now, but watch Allen Craig if he’s available, as he’s the best bat in this paragraph – but he’ll have to build up eligibility at the positon, most likely.
Third base is hurting right now, literally and figuratively. Hopefully some of these free agent options will help you survived until you get your third baseman back.
For more check out Bloomberg Sports’ Front Office 2011.
By R.J. Anderson //
With Chipper Jones slated to miss the rest of the season, the big question is how fantasy owners and the Atlanta Braves can replace the future Hall of Famer.
Let’s begin with Atlanta. Jones’ injury further complicates an infield depth chart already stretched thin by Martin Prado’s presence on the disabled list since early August. All-Star reserve Omar Infante’s attention is focused on replacing Prado, leaving Brooks Conrad at third base. The 30-year-old has an interesting back story. A former eighth-round pick of the Houston Astros, Conrad made his major league debut with the Oakland Athletics in 2008 after qualifying for minor league free agency. He joined the Braves’ system before the 2009 season. In 128 plate appearances this season he’s hit .241/.315/.500, including a memorable grand slam to complete a comeback against the Cincinnati Reds.
If you’re an owner in a deep league, Conrad has the benefit of playing time, and has shown some power, socking seven homers with an impressive .259 Isolated Slugging (slugging percentage minus batting average) to date. Here are two other options to consider in deep fantasy leagues:
The Astros’ shining star this season, 25 year old Johnson is hitting .360 with 34 RBI in just 190 plate appearances. He’s owned in only 83% of ESPN leagues, suggesting he might be available in yours. It’s unreasonable to expect this level of performance to continue, as Johnson’s BABIP is well over .400, and his minor performance over five seasons was a mediocre .277/.315/.429. That’s probably closer to reality than his 2010 to date, but it is worth noting that Johnson was hitting .329/.362/.570 in Triple-A this season before getting the call.
Minnesota’s newest attempt at finding a solid hot corner holder since the Corey Koskie days is hitting .329 with a .375 on-base percentage. He’s owned in only 3% of ESPN leagues, yet over the last 30 days. Valencia is hitting .322/.361/.444, which dwarfs Evan Longoria’s .235/.336/.382 and Michael Young’s .257/.314/.477 offerings. That’s not to say Valencia is on their level, just that his performance over the last 30 days should have incited at least some interest.
Valencia is the better option if all things are equal, but Johnson playing in the weakest pitching division in the league should be given some thought too. If you’re looking for power rather than batting average help, Conrad’s your best bet.
For more on Danny Valencia and other potential pickups, check out Bloomberg Sports’ Fantasy Kits