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.
Kurt Suzuki, C, A’s: 2 runs, 1 HR, 4 RBI, .278 AVG
Just 27 years old, Suzuki is one of the few young catchers who will get 500 at bats thanks to durability and high placement in the A’s batting lineup. He regressed a bit last season, perhaps because of injuries, but this season, he’s been somewhere in between. He has just two homers and 7 RBI, but his average is a decent .256 plus a stolen base. He’s been better than Jorge Posada, but his upside is limited.
Luke Scott, OF, Orioles: 5 runs, 3 HR, 6 RBI, .389 AVG
One of the most underrated power bats in the Majors, Luke Scott blasted 27 home runs last season and it would not surprise me if he reaches 30 this season. He doesn’t get any steals and his career average is average at best at .268, but he is one of the few players who has increased his power output every single season in the Major Leagues. This is now his 7th season in the Big Leagues.
Jack Hannahan, 3B, Indians: 4 runs, 2 HR, 5 RBI, 1 SB
This 31-year old journeyman came out of nowhere to blast four home runs through 22 games with 14 runs and 14 RBI. Warning, he is a career .228 hitter with limited speed. Enjoy it while it lasts, but I don’t see it lasting all season.
Nick Swisher, OF, Yankees: .174 AVG, 1 HR, 4 RBI
With a .218 average and just one home run, there is some disappointment with Swisher. Truth is that you should have seen this coming. His batting average per ball in play was out of whack last season, so you should expect him to bat around .250 this year, after all, his career average is .251. The power should bounce back, but this is not a hitter that offers much in fantasy baseball.
Carlos Pena, 1B, Cubs: 1/11, 1 run
The Cubs took a gamble and it does not seem to be working. Pena has yet to go deep and his average has fallen to .167, which is actually just 30 points lower than last season. He’ll get some homers though it may be a race against time… the Cubs will eventually have to push Pena on the bench if he can’t hit above the Mendoza line.
Jason Bay, OF, Mets: 3 Runs, 0 HR, 0 RBI, .200 AVG
After a nice return to the Mets that led to a six game winning streak, Bay has gone on to have just one hit in his last 17 at bats. He is striking out a ton and has just 3 RBI in 10 games. He should find himself a home on the fantasy waiver wire.
By Eno Sarris //
Angel Pagan finally stayed healthy and showed what he was capable of for a full
season, racking up 11 homers, 69 RBI, 77 runs scored, 35 steals and a .289 average with a week left to play. At 29, he’s probably peaking. But another full season of playing time could easily produce similar numbers.
Pagan will most likely take over center field from one of the year’s biggest busts, Carlos Beltran. Knee surgery may have stolen much of his athleticism – he
hasn’t looked good this year after his late return. He is, at best, a
late (very late) sleeper in next year’s drafts. Then again, more was
expected of Jason Bay than Beltran, so he gets the title of biggest Mets bust – a much sought after trophy in some circles. Because of how long
isolated power numbers take to become reliable, though, Bay could be useful in
2011. A late-round pick could produce a rebound in homers in year two with the Mets.
2011 Keeper Alert
This team has the obvious keepers in mixed leagues – David Wright and Jose Reyes are near the top of their respective careers and positions and make fine keepers. The big question is what will happen with Ike Davis.
He needs to either add more power or make more contact – middling power
with a middling batting average doesn’t make for a fantasy superstar, especially not at first base.
Looking at his minor league numbers, the bet here is that he does add
the power, but doesn’t ever show a plus batting average because of his
strikeout rate and uppercut swing.
2011 Regression Warning
enough, most of this team either hit at about their true talent levels
or is on their way up. Perhaps because of injury risk, Pagan is the
only one who is likely to regress, but he still makes a fine
By Bloomberg Sports://
Man vs. Machine: Episode 4 — In a special from Bloomberg Sports’ Ballpark Figures, Mets legend Keith Hernandez sits down with Bloomberg Television’s Michele Steele and Bloomberg Sports Analyst Rob Shaw, to discuss the Fantasy Bulls and Bears for the second half of the season. In the fourth episode, the focus is on outfielders.
Today’s Position: Outfielders
The Machine (Bloomberg Sports) says:
B.J. Upton is of the rare five-tool breed. Despite the raw talent, he is enduring a brutal season with a .230 average and .395 slugging percentage. Upton seems to be making a habit out of this low output, as last season he managed a .241 average with a .373 slugging percentage.
Even with his current struggles and meager production, Upton remains valuable in fantasy leagues thanks to his speed, with 25 swipes thus far. He also appears to be on the rebound lately, with a modest five-game hit streak that includes two extra-base hits.
The Man (Keith Hernandez) says:
I like Jason Bay of the New York Mets and not because I’m partial because I do broadcast for the Mets. I have seen this guy play the whole first half and he has not been able to do anything. His average is OK, but he has not been productive, he has not hit many home runs. This is a guy who hits 30 home runs. I know that Citi Field is a big park, but he is not going to have 12 home runs. I think he’s going to have a strong second half for the Mets.
The Machine (Bloomberg Sports) says:
Vernon Wells may have gotten off to a hot start, but he is bound to regress to so-so production in the second half of the season. In fact, the fall from grace has already started as Wells has had his average slip each month from .337 in April to .278 in May, to .240 in June, and currently a disastrous .094 in July.
At 31 years old, and riddled by injuries in recent years, Wells appears to be a case of diminishing returns. His last all-around solid season came in 2006 when he posted 32 home runs, 106 RBI, and a .303 average with 17 steals.
Despite the 19 home runs in the first half of the season, Wells’ recent decline leaves him with just four steals and a .265 average. Wells has also been known to struggle in the second half of the season. He entered the 2010 campaign with 112 career home runs prior to the All-Star break compared to just 80 after the mid-summer classic.
The Man (Keith Hernandez) says:
Corey Hart has had a phenomenal, off-the0charts first half. He’s been a power hitter before, but not like this. I can’t see him duplicating this over the second half, particularly for a team such as the Brewers that is going to fade in the second half.