Bloomberg Sports Anchors Julie Alexandria and Rob Shaw discuss whether or not the fans’ selections for the American League All-Star team were right and who should be starting the All-Star Game in Kansas City on July 10.
Mike Napoli of the Rangers was the fan choice, but White Sox backstop A.J. Pierzynski should be starting in the All-Star Game. Pierzynski is not one of the more popular players in baseball and was actually expected to lose his job coming into this season. However, he is hitting .285 this year with 14 home runs and 45 RBI.
Edwin Encarnacion of the Blue Jays should be starting instead of Prince Fielder. Encarnacion has always had great potential but has been inconsistent in the past. This season, however, he is deserving of a starting spot in Kansas City with a .291 average, 22 home runs, 55 RBI and eight stolen bases.
The fans got this one right, voting in Robinson Cano of the Yankees. He’s batting .310 with 20 home runs and 46 RBI. Not only is he an All-Star but he is clearly the Yankees’ MVP.
The fans chose Adrian Beltre of the Rangers, which is a good pick because he is one of the best defensive players in baseball. Miguel Cabrera, however, is the best third baseman in the American League with a .314 average, 16 home runs and 62 RBI.
Derek Jeter is having a good season, but Elvis Andrus of the Rangers is the best shortstop in the American League right now. He is not a power hitter with just one home run but he’s batting .307 with 32 RBI and 16 stolen bases. The fans should have voted in Andrus instead of Jeter.
Of the three outfielders voted in, only one was the right pick by the fans. It wasn’t a surprise that Josh Hamilton was selected, and he is the right choice. He’s on pace for more than 50 home runs and 140 RBI this season.
Angels rookie Mike Trout should be starting in place of Curtis Granderson. Trout is batting .339 with nine home runs, 33 RBI and 22 stolen bases, and keep in mind that he started this season in the minor leagues.
Adam Jones of the Orioles should have been selected in place of Jose Bautista. Jones has a .302 average, 19 home runs, 42 RBI and 11 stolen bases. He has a bright future and is likely one of the next big stars in baseball.
David Ortiz was the right pick by the fans. He continues to put up big numbers with a .302 average, 21 home runs and 54 RBI this season. This is Ortiz’s eighth All-Star selection.
For more fantasy baseball insight, visit BloombergSports.com.
BY ROB SHAW
Every season a different strategy has to be utilized in fantasy baseball drafts in order to appropriately take into account positional depth and player rankings. In general, a unique strategy can be utilized on a round-by-round basis. Here’s a breakdown of Bloomberg Sports recommended Fantasy Baseball Strategy 2012 Edition:
In the early rounds, the focus is finding the best available player while also taking into account the disparity between the best player and the next best option at each position. For example, there is a plateau in excellence for starting pitchers as Roy Halladay, Justin Verlander, and Clayton Kershaw can all be claimed as the best of the bunch. On the other hand, Troy Tulowitzki stands alone amongst fellow shortstops.
If your fantasy league includes slugging percentage and on base percentage as statistical categories, there is no competition for Jose Bautista in the outfield while there are several stars at first base including Albert Pujols, Miguel Cabrera, and Joey Votto. The best strategy is to pick up the best talent at a position where there is a large enough disparity that when the next player is drafted from that position there is a decisive advantage in your favor.
In the early middle rounds, it’s not a bad idea to scoop up a fine hurler who has the potential to rank amongst the best. Players such as Jered Weaver, CC Sabathia, and Danny Haren as well as Nationals phenom Stephen Strasburg make sense in these rounds. These hurlers have the ability to dominate and enjoy a Cy Young caliber season thanks to their enormous upside.
Having two high potential and consistent hurlers is more valuable than having just one dominant ace. Therefore, by drafting where there is greater disparity in the early rounds with a focus on position players, then nabbing a couple of pitchers with sky high potential fantasy managers can enjoy the best of both worlds.
In the later middle rounds you can draft a closer and many of them. Closers are often overrated in fantasy leagues since they only contribute 70 innings, which means saves are all that matters. Second-tier closers still get the job done and players such as Joe Nathan could end up as bargains. In fact, rather than selecting a Jonathan Papelbon in the sixth or seventh round, you can grab a Gio Gonzalez or a Drew Stubbs, someone who will have a much greater impact on your fantasy team.
Then five rounds later go ahead and draft three closers in a row: Sergio Santos, Jason Motte, and Frank Francisco. Plus, usually about 10 closers become available on the waiver wire each season. In fact, all three of the pitchers just mentioned did not start the season as closers for their respective teams last season.
Finally, in the later rounds, it’s not a bad idea to focus on young talents with great potential as well as players with multiple position eligibility. This allows you to pick up some big time prospects while also enjoying depth. Consider top prospects such as Mike Trout and Bryce Harper. There is no telling if the precocious sluggers will develop into stars as soon as this season.
On the other hand, drafting veteran players such as Ryan Raburn and Daniel Murphy is also a key strategy in the later rounds since they cover multiple positions, providing depth to your fantasy teams. This way if a player on your team gets injured, a single bench player can fill multiple holes.
For more fantasy insight turn to BloombergSports.com.
BY ROB SHAW
Bloomberg Sports Anchor Rob Shaw discusses the top five players that Bloomberg Sports projects to lead the Majors in home runs this season.
On that short list includes recent Tigers acquisition Price Fielder, who will still have plenty of support in his lineup, this time with perennial MVP candidate Miguel Cabrera providing the big bat. BloombergSports.com projects 35 home runs and 111 RBI from the newly acquired slugger.
Next, we see young slugger Mike Stanton approaching the 40-home run club with the Miami Marlins. He will also have the benefit of Jose Reyes leading off. In total, expect 39 round-trippers and 112 RBI from the 22-year-old slugger.
Bloomberg Sports projects a bounce back from Orioles third baseman Mark Reynolds. The free-swinging Orioles third baseman is projected to offer a low average but plenty of power. The only threat to his output is the possibility of spending time on the pine if his batting average creeps below the Mendoza line.
Second on the list is Blue Jays star right-fielder Jose Bautista. One of the elite hitters over the last two seasons, Bautista should regress in batting average, but the power is real and 41 home runs and 115 RBI is a realistic total in the hitter-friendly Rogers Centre.
Finally, even with a move to Anaheim, Albert Pujols should be just fine as we project him to lead the Majors in home runs. In fact, Pujols is expected to improve on last year’s average and 41 home runs and 124 RBI explain why he’s usually considered the best player in baseball.
For more fantasy insight visit BloombergSports.com.
By Jonah Keri //
Biggest Surprise: Jose Bautista
The biggest no-duh of any player we’ll cover in this series,
Bautista’s 52 homers and 119 RBI (so far) are the biggest individual
story in all of baseball. The breakthrough season has elicited all the
expected accusations. But several other factors back up a big home run
spike. Bautista’s flyball rate surged to 54.8%, he hit a home run on
21.8% of his flyballs (tops in the league) and the rest of the Jays
also enjoyed a banner power year, as Rogers Centre played like a
launching pad this season. Either way, many 2010 Bautista owners will
soon enjoy some frothy Yoo-Hoo showers.
Biggest Bust: Aaron Hill
Twenty-five homers from a second baseman are a boon to any fantasy
team; a .206 batting average is not. Hill will finish the year with
well over 500 at-bats and an average near the Mendoza line. Unless you
compensated with an army of Ichiros, your team likely took a big hit in
batting average that may have derailed your run at a title.
2011 Keeper Alert: Aaron Hill
Fantasy baseball is all about finding value. In Hill’s case, his
incredibly disappointing 2010 season will cause his price to plummet.
But look deeper and you’ll find that his batting average was the result
of a flukishly low .196 batting average on balls in play. The power’s
still there, and the average will bounce back. If you don’t keep him,
draft him at a discount next year.
2011 Regression Alert: Jose Bautista
Another no-brainer, of course. No one expects Bautista to top 50
homers again. But depending on how skeptical your leaguemates are, you
might actually be able to get Bautista for less than full value. Fifty
homers likely won’t happen again, but 35-plus very well could.
For more on Jose Bautista, Aaron Hill, and the Toronto Blue Jays lineup, check out Bloomberg Sports’ Fantasy Kits.
By R.J. Anderson //
Jose Bautista has been the biggest
surprise of any hitter in baseball this season. The 29-year-old’s
career has been anything but conventional. In 2004 he split time
between four of the worst teams in baseball (Devil Rays, Royals,
Orioles, and Pirates) and stuck with Pittsburgh until the 2008 season,
when he eventually wound up on the Blue Jays.
Entering this season, Bautista sported a career line
of .238/.329/.400 in 2,038 plate appearances. He’s hitting
.254/.364/.580 this season. A 4-for-4 explosion last night against
Baltimore hoisted his league-leading home run total to 30, with 75 RBI
for good measure. So where did this improvement come from, and is it
In cases where a player suddenly blows up, the easy
thing to do is peruse his underlying metrics and see which ones are
inflated. That’s a problem, though, because Bautista doesn’t appear to
be the usual blow-up candidate with fluky peripherals. His walk rate is
almost identical to last season, as is his strikeout rate, and his
BABIP is a career worst .233 – (vs. career BABIP of .273). The only
area which has seen change is his flyball rate, and by extension, his
Bautista is hitting more flyballs than ever, 53.4%
(fourth-highest in MLB) vs. a career rate of 44.4%. Hitting that many
flyballs is an excellent way for a power hitter to smack more home
runs. But it’s bad for a player’s batting, average as most infield
flies are outs, and more than 70% of outfield flies are caught too.
Bautista’s 18.9% HR/FB rate is 6.8% higher than his career norm and
explains some of the newfound power, but not all of it.
HitTrackerOnline.com keeps count of home runs by batter and park. Below
are Bautista’s homers this season, pay close attention to the parks
column, which means Bautista isn’t just taking advantage of short
One subtle factor that explains a large part of his
power streak is his sudden ability to hit right-handed pitching. For
his career, Bautista has hit .259/.358/.478 versus southpaws and
.230/.324/.401 versus righties. This season, Bautista is still hitting
lefties, but he has upped his game versus same-handed pitchers, batting
.243/.358/.558 through Monday. As is the case with his overall line,
nothing outside of the power sticks out in his line. He’s not getting
incredibly lucky with balls in play or walking a whole lot more than
That generally suggests a bona fide improvement. Even
still, it’s always important to consider the larger sample size.
Consider dealing Bautista if your leaguemates see him as a true
For more information on Jose Bautista and hundreds of other
players, and for dozens of tools to help you dominate your fantasy
league, check out Bloomberg Sports’ fantasy kits.
That said, some teams desperate for a shakeup might prefer the hot hand, and since we can’t make a strong case that luck, track record, or home environment weigh strongly on this decision, one wouldn’t be crazy at all to choose Bautista among the two.