Tagged: Jed Lowrie
What to Do About Third Base
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.
What To Watch In Spring Training
By Eriq Gardner //
MLB Season in Review: Boston Red Sox Hitters
Adrian Beltre signed a one-year deal last off-season and had an outstanding comeback year. The move from pitcher-friendly Safeco in Seattle to hitter-friendly Fenway in Boston was incredibly kind to the third baseman. Beltre hit 28 HR, the second-highest total in his 13-season career. Beltre also hit .321, the fourth-best mark in the American League.
Jacoby Ellsbury entered the season having swiped a combined total of 120 bags in his rookie and sophomore years. In 2010, the outfielder came nowhere close to fulfilling expectations, thanks largely to significant injuries. And when he did play, he wasn’t very productive. In 78 at-bats this season, Ellsbury only hit .192. However, given better health and better fortune on balls hit into play, Ellsbury should be able to bounce back strongly next season.
2011 Keeper Alert
In deeper leagues Jed Lowrie makes an interesting play, since good talent at shortstop is hard to come by these days. In 2010, Lowrie overcame an early injury and performed extremely well after being called up in late July. In 197 plate appearances, Lowrie hit nine home runs and sported a mighty impressive ratio of 25 walks to 25 strikeouts. A former Baseball America top 100 prospect, Lowrie has the upside to be a poor man’s Dustin Pedroia.
2011 Regression Alert
We could point to Beltre’s high BABIP or Ellsbury’s low BABIP, but instead let’s consider health as the key point of future regression. This season, the Red Sox experienced tremendous bad luck on the injury front. The team suffered season-ending injuries to Ellsbury, Pedroia, and Kevin Youkilis — three of the team’s most valuable batters. The misfortunes contributed to Boston’s inability to make the playoffs. Given better health, the Red Sox as a whole may score more runs in 2011, padding batters’ counting stats.
For more on Red Sox hitters, check out Bloomberg Sports’ Fantasy Tools.