Tagged: Matt Kemp

Fantasy Baseball Injury Report: July 12, 2012


Twitter: @RobShawSports and @BloombergSports


Bloomberg Sports Anchor Rob Shaw discusses the injuries and set return dates of seven players who could have an impact on your fantasy team in the second half of the season.


Carl Crawford, LF, Red Sox

Crawford has not played this season due to left wrist surgery in March and a partial UCL tear in his elbow in April. In 2011, he had a .255 average with 11 home runs and 56 RBI. Crawford is set to return to the Red Sox lineup on Monday against the White Sox.


Jacoby Ellsbury, OF, Red Sox

Ellsbury played in just seven games before being sidelined by a separated shoulder in mid-April. In 2011, he had an incredible season with a .321 batting average, 32 home runs and 105 RBI. Ellsbury should return Friday against the Tampa Bay Rays.


Brandon Morrow, SP, Blue Jays

Morrow had a great start to the season. In 13 starts, he had a 3.01 ERA, 1.00 WHIP and 67 strikeouts. He was placed on the 15-day disabled list on June 13 due to a strained left oblique. The Blue Jays are hoping that he will return to the rotation this month.


Roy Halladay, SP, Phillies

Halladay has been sidelined since May 28 with a strained right lat. In 11 starts this season, he had a 3.98 ERA, 1.15 WHIP and 56 strikeouts. He is set to return to the mound Tuesday against the Dodgers.


Giancarlo Stanton, RF, Marlins

Stanton had surgery on July 8 to remove loose bodies from his right knee. This is a big loss for the Marlins, as he was hitting .284 with 19 home runs and 50 RBI. Stanton likely won’t return until late August.


Matt Kemp, RF, Dodgers

Kemp had an incredible start to the season, hitting .355 with 12 home runs and 28 RBI in just 36 games. However, he has battled a hamstring injury and was placed on the disabled list on May 31. He is set to return Friday against the San Diego Padres.


Troy Tulowitzki, SS, Rockies

Tulowitzki recently had surgery on his left groin muscle. He was batting .287 this season with eight home runs and 27 RBI. He likely won’t return to the Rockies’ lineup until mid-August.


For more fantasy insight, visit BloombergSports.com.

Bloomberg Sports National League Fantasy All-Star Team


Twitter: @RobShawSports and @BloombergSports


Bloomberg Sports Anchors Julie Alexandria and Rob Shaw discuss whether the fans’ selections for the National League All-Star team were right and who should be starting the All-Star Game in Kansas City on July 10.



Buster Posey was not the right choice for the All-Star team. Phillies backstop Carlos Ruiz is having a sensational season, hitting .357 with 13 home runs, 46 RBI and a surprising three stolen bases. He has definitely been the best catcher in baseball this season.  


First Base

The fans got this one right by selecting Reds first baseman Joey Votto, who is probably the MVP of the first half of the season. He’s batting .350 with 14 home runs and 47 RBI.


Second Base

Brandon Phillips of the Reds should be starting rather than Dan Uggla. Phillips has a .279 average, 10 home runs and 47 RBI. He is also a good defensive player, which Uggla is not.


Third Base

The fans made the wrong choice by selecting Pablo Sandoval, who has missed plenty of time this season due to injury. David Wright of the Mets should have been the pick, as he has been an MVP candidate so far this year with a .350 average, 10 home runs, 55 RBI and eight stolen bases.



Cubs shortstop Starlin Castro should be starting in place of Rafael Furcal. Castro is batting .291 with six home runs, 40 RBI and 16 stolen bases. Despite those numbers, he can be frustrating because he makes a lot of boneheaded plays but he is young and will hopefully grow out of that. 



Not one of the three outfielders chosen by the fans was the right pick. Carlos Gonzalez of the Rockies should be starting instead of Melky Cabrera. Gonzalez is batting .340 with 17 home runs, 58 RBI and 10 stolen bases, though he is helped out by playing at Coors Field.

Brewers left fielder Ryan Braun should have been selected over Matt Kemp. Braun is once again putting up MVP numbers with a .309 average, 23 home runs, 59 RBI and 13 stolen bases.

Finally, Pirates centerfielder Andrew McCutchen should have been chosen rather than Carlos Beltran. McCutchen is batting .360 with 16 home runs, 54 RBI and 14 stolen bases. Beltran would have been a good selection if the National League had a designated hitter. He has a .304 average, 20 home runs, 63 RBI and eight stolen bases this season.


For more insight, visit BloombergSports.com.

Were they April Fools, Or Legitimate Stars?


Twitter: @RobShawSports and @BloombergSports


Here’s a look at the best fantasy players of April and whether they are sustaining their production or regressing to a less impressive level of play. 


Best April Catcher: Yadier Molina, Cardinals

April Stats: 14 runs, 4 HR, 15 RBI, 2 SB, .316 AVG

Update: Since the change of month, Yadier Molina has only one RBI.  Molina hurt his left hand in a game on May 8 and hopes to return to the diamond.

Conclusion: One of the most well-rounded catchers in baseball, Molina will remain one of the game’s best at his position, though Orioles masked marvel Matt Wieters may overtake him.


Best April First Baseman: Miguel Cabrera, Tigers

April Stats: 15 runs, 7 HR, 20 RBI, .298 AVG

Update: Four hits and 3 RBI against the A’s on Thursday got Cabrera back in rhythm.  His statistics have gone down a bit, but he remains amongst the best in baseball.

Conclusion: Cabrera is 100% legitimate and the best corner infielder in baseball right now. 


Best April Second Baseman: Ian Kinsler, Rangers

April Stats: 24 runs, 5 HR, 12 RBI, 2 SB, .298 AVG

Update: Though riding a six-game hit streak, Kinsler’s batting average has declined and he does not have an extra base hit during that stretch. 

Conclusion: What makes Kinsler so valuable is the combination of power and speed.  If he can keep the batting average closer to .300, he’ll be in the MVP conversation. 


Best April 3rd Baseman: Edwin Encarnacion, Blue Jays

April Stats: 15 runs, 8 HR, 21 RBI, 4 SB, .322 AVG

Update: One of the biggest surprises in April, Encarnacion remains a valuable power bat in May, though the batting average has returned to normalcy. 

Conclusion: Encarnacion should finally swat 30-home runs, but it may come with a disappointing average. 


Best April Shortstop: Mike Aviles, Red Sox- 18 Runs, 5 HR, 17 RBI, 3 SB, .291 AVG

April Stats: 18 Runs, 5 HR, 17 RBI, 3 SB, .291 AVG

Update: Aviles has not been immune to the Red Sox struggles.  His power numbers have come back to earth and his average has been in free fall this May.

Conclusion: Aviles is a fine middle infielder, but he is not the best.  He over-performed in April. 


Best April Outfielder: Matt Kemp, Dodgers

April Stats: 24 runs, 12 HR, 25 RBI, 2 SB, .417 AVG

Update: Kemp has slowed down a bit and has yet to go deep this month.  He remains one of the best hitters in baseball and likely MVP contender, but he is no longer running away with the honor.

Conclusion: He was bound to slow down as pitchers were bound to adapt.  Josh Hamilton is now challenging him for supremacy in the Big Leagues. 


Best April Starting pitcher: Jake Peavy, White Sox

April Stats: 3 Wins, 33 K, 1.67 ERA, 0.69 WHIP

Update: With two quality starts already this month, Peavy continues to dominate the fantasy scene.  He has pitched at least seven innings in each of his last five starts and has only quality starts this season.  He is 1-0 in May so far. 

Conclusion: It’s been several years since we’ve seen this type of dominance from Peavy.  Let’s hope he can avoid the injury-bug for the first time since he’s left San Diego. 


Best April Reliever: Fernando Rodney, Rays

April Stats: 1 Win, 7 SV, 9 K, 0.87 ERA, 0.77 WHIP

Update: Rodney has added a win and two saves to his record this month without surrendering a single run. 

Conclusion: This is looking pretty real and it all has to do with control.  Rodney boasts a 14:2 strikeout-to-walk ratio.  He’s the latest reliever to enjoy a renaissance after joining the Rays bullpen.



MLB Season in Review: Los Angeles Dodgers Hitters

By Eriq Gardner //

Biggest Surprise: Rafael Furcal
Thanks to injuries that limited Furcal to just 428 plate appearances, his superlative season probably won’t get too much credit. However, according to Fangraphs’ value chart, Furcal finished the season as the team’s most valuable position player, and the shortstop does get some credit in our book for doing extremely well in limited time in a year where production at shortstop was quite meager. Furcal bounced back from a subpar 2009 of just 9 HR, 12 SB, and a .269 AVG to put up 8 HR, 22 SB, and a .286 AVG in 2010.
Biggest Disappointment: Matt Kemp
Most fantasy owners would gladly take 28 HR and 19 SB from one of their players. But expectations were much higher for this first-round pick. What’s disappointing about Kemp’s season was the step backwards he made at the plate. His batting average dropped from .297 in 2009 to just .249 in 2010. The struggles led to some bench time late in the season. When Kemp reached base, he struggled there was well, getting caught stealing 15 times in 34 attempts, which – along with being relegated to the bottom of the lineup for a big chunk of the season – contributed to his subpar runs scored total.
2011 Keeper Alert: It Depends
No batter on the team is a lock to outperform their price tag in keeper leagues. Mostly, it depends on the format of the keeper league. In those leagues where owners can protect players regardless of price, Matt Kemp will still likely be a player who is Top 50. In leagues where you can get a salary bargain based on previous year’s stats, Rafael Furcal is probably the best bet – although he’s getting up there in age and is injury-prone. 
2011 Regression Alert: Andre Ethier
Ethier was fantastic at the start of the season, blasting 11 HR and hitting nearly .400 during the season’s first six weeks. Then, Ethier suffered a fractured bone at the end of his right pinkie, missed time, and when he returned, was never quite the same. His average dropped like a rock and the power went missing. Assuming he’s fully healthy next season, expect much better results for Ethier.

For more on Dodgers batters, check out Bloomberg Sports’ Fantasy Tools.

The Case Against Carlos Gonzalez

By Eriq Gardner //

Carlos Gonzalez of the Colorado Rockies is having a very charmed season. By season’s end, he’ll have roughly 35 HRs, 25 SBs, 120 RBIs, 110 Runs, and a .340 batting average. These numbers arguably earn him the title as the season’s Fantasy MVP and gain him consideration as one of the top few picks heading into next year. The case in his favor looks strong, at first glance.
But beware. The young stud outfielder carries plenty of risk – and smart fantasy enthusiasts may be wise to stay away.

Let’s start out with the obvious: CarGo has been the beneficiary of tremendous luck this season.

The biggest knock against Gonzalez is his plate discipline. He strikes out 23% of the time and only takes a walk 6% of the time. This has added up to a .389 BABIP, which puts him only behind Josh Hamilton and Austin Jackson among players with regular playing time who have benefited from better luck on balls hit in play. Certainly, we can expect a higher-than-normal BABIP considering Gonzalez’ great speed, but not this high. Expected regression could knock anywhere from 40 to 60 points off that lofty .340 batting average.

As for power, don’t expect 35 HRs again. Yes, he’s the beneficiary of playing in the tremendous hitting environment of Coors Field. But then again, CarGo is rather below-average in hitting for fly balls. His 37% rate is below average, roughly on par with Rajai Davis.or Alberto Callaspo. He’s knocked 35 out of the park this year thanks to the fact that nearly 21% of his fly balls have gone for HRs. Only Joey Votto, Carlos Pena, Jose Bautista, and Adam Dunn sport a higher percentage. At 6’1” and 210 pounds, Carlos Gonzalez carries less body mass than those other four to support such massive power.

Carlos Gonzalez’ great luck in average and power has contributed to him reaching triple digits in both runs and RBIs. The team has another excellent player in Troy Tulowitzki, but the decline of Todd Helton and the departure of Brad Hawpe leaves the lineup dependent on youngsters like Ian Stewart, Dexter Fowler, Eric Young Jr. and Seth Smith to get on base in front of CarGo or reciprocally drive him home. Any slippage in the ability to get on base or knock balls out of the park will erode his ability to post elite context stats in runs and RBIs like the production he’s given this season.

That’s part 1 of the case against Carlos Gonzalez.

All of which might be acceptable but for two more glaring facts about Carlos Gonzalez: First, to put it simply, he’s never done this before. And second, his price tag in fantasy leagues is going to be through the roof coming off such a stellar year.

Yes, he was a very fine prospect coming up through the minors, is only 24-years-old, and is still growing. 

But the road to superstardom for young elite players is rarely a linear curve upwards. There are ups and downs. Ask Matt Kemp, who was the fantasy pundit’s darling at this time last year. No amount of production this year can help us ferret out whether Carlos Gonzalez is one of the elite players who will consistently have one stellar year after another like other potential first round picks or rather is merely a fine player having a career season. We still need more evidence – especially in light of all the good luck factors described above that have contributed to his superlative year.

Carlos Gonzalez has great upside, no doubt, and deserves to be honored for the season he is enjoying. But once the season completes, none of that matters going forward. The only question is what he’s going to do for an encore. Unfortunately, it seems likely that in drafts and auctions, the price of admission will be too high on this young player at a non-scarce position. Consider yourself warned.

For more on Carlos Gonzalez and other power/speed outfielders, check out Bloomberg Sports’ Fantasy Tools.

Alex Rios & Matt Kemp: Tale of the Tape

By Eriq Gardner
At the end of the 2008 season, Alex Rios and Matt Kemp looked to be statistical clones, at least with respect to surface stats in 5×5 leagues that year:
  • Alex Rios: 15 HR, 91 R, 79 RBI, 32 SB, and a .291 BA
  • Matt Kemp: 18 HR, 93 R, 76 RBI, 35 SB, and a .290 BA
The similarity, though, was put on hiatus last season.
Kemp increased his power to 26 HR, maintained his speed, and slightly boosted his batting average to .297. He became a consensus first-round pick for the potential to make big contributions in all five categories.
Rios, on the other hand, was miserable last season. He finished the year with 17 HR and also fell sharply in the other categories. His SB total dropped to 24. His average sank to .247. He only produced 63 R and 71 RBIs — the result of a woeful average and hitting further down in the lineup. The Blue Jays gave up on Rios, shipping him to the White Sox for virtually nothing. He lasted until the 11th round in many fantasy drafts this spring, and hardly anyone targeted him as a “sleeper.”
Wow, how things have changed.

Right now, Rios is arguably the most valuable batter in fantasy leagues. He’s on a pace for an amazing 35 HRs and 50 SBs and he’s doing it with a .318 batting average.
We can’t say that Rios is getting lucky either. His peripheral stats show some tremendous improvement from a year ago. Most noticeably, his strikeout rate is down to a meager 11.8%, which is about Albert Pujols‘ career rate. Rios’ walk rate is up too — from 5.8% to 7.9% — and his ISO (Isolated Power, which is slugging percentage minus batting average) is up from .148 to .272.
Talk about elite…
Meanwhile, Kemp has been a slight disappointment. His power (11 HRs) is fine, but his average (.279) and speed (8 steals and 8 times caught stealing) are both unworthy of first-round pick status, especially as an outfielder. Kemp’s strikeout rate is up to 27% and there doesn’t seem to be anything below the surface that points to bad luck. He’s doing about what he should be doing.
I made the case last September that we were expecting a bit too much from Kemp, writing that “with batting average regression and less speed, Kemp could easily fall back into Hunter Pence/Alex Rios/Corey Hart territory.” That seems to have been on target, at least so far.
No doubt, Kemp is a worthy player, and there aren’t too many 25/25 candidates in baseball. But what we saw this spring in fantasy drafts across the land was a bit of an overreaction to recent trends. Clearly, today, there’s less separation between Matt Kemp and Alex Rios than once imagined. Both show power and speed. Perhaps Rios now gets slightly more credit for being able to make contact at a higher rate.
Kemp is a great young player and there’s no reason for any of his owners to sell him low right now.  As for Rios, I think he deserves once again to be mentioned in the same breath. If an owner in your league thinks Rios is anything less than a Kemp quality talent, I’d say buy. The analogy between the two players is off hiatus.
Here are Bloomberg Sports’ projections for the rest of the season:


For more on Matt Kemp, Alex Rios, and other power-speed candidates, check out Bloomberg Sports’ Fantasy tools.

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

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.


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.


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