Tagged: Mike Napoli

Bloomberg Sports American League Fantasy All-Star Team


Twitter: @RobShawSports and @BloombergSports


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.


First Base

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.


Second Base

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.


Third Base

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.


Designated Hitter

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.

Fantasy Baseball 2012 Preview: Top Five Catchers



Twitter: @RobShawSports


There are often a few catchers who stand out as the finest of their generation.  In the 1980s it was Hall of Famers Gary Carter and Carlton Fisk.  The 1990s brought us Mike Piazza and Pudge Rodriguez.  The 2000s were dominated by archrivals Jason Varitek and Jorge Posada.  Now in the ’10s we have a fresh generation of talent.


The fifth best backstop this season will be Giants masked marvel Buster Posey.  After a stellar rookie season that included 18 home runs and a .305 average, Posey was again enjoying some success last season while showing a little more plate discipline.  This season Bloomberg Sports projects Posey to return to prominence after a nasty collision at home plate ended his sophomore season prematurely.  Expect 17 home runs, 76 RBI, and a .282 batting clip.


Coming in at number four is the player with perhaps the most upside on this list, Carlos Santana.  As a rookie last season, Santana powered 27 home runs with 79 RBI and 84 runs.  Though he hit just .234, Santana’s 97 walks are a tremendous total for such a young player.  Bloomberg Sports projects 25 home runs with 89 RBI and even five stolen bases for Santana this season.


The third best catcher this season is also the steadiest: Brian McCann.  The Braves star has 20-plus home runs in five of the last six seasons.  While he does not offer any speed on the base paths, he does have a great deal of power and usually hits for a high average.  Expect 24 home runs with 85 RBI form the 28-year-old veteran.


Coming in as the second best catcher is Twins sensation Joe Mauer.  Fantasy managers have to come to grips with what Mauer now offers.  Since the move to Target Field, Mauer does not pack much pop.  He also lacks speed due to the many leg injuries he has suffered behind the plate.  On the other hand, Mauer is a high average option with solid run production.  Expect 13 home runs with a .306 batting clip for the former MVP contender.


Finally, the top-hitting catcher in fantasy baseball is Mike Napoli.  The Rangers slugger became a household name in Texas last season thanks to his 30 home runs and .319 average.  Napoli proved his worth on the offensive and defensive side of the diamond and after going in the mid-to-late rounds of fantasy drafts last season he now ranks at the top of his position.  Expect him to offer a repeat performance with 30 home runs and 87 RBI.


For more fantasy baseball insight visit BloombergSports.com.

Bloomberg Sports Hoards Catchers in Inaugural LABR Mixed League Draft

By Tom Trudeau

The inaugural LABR mixed league draft was held this past Saturday night, causing some of the industry’s brightest minds to miss the NBA Slam Dunk Contest. Competing against an experienced group of fantasy owners made it even more important to dig deep for undervalued commodities. Using Bloomberg Sports’ Front Office 2012, I was able to find those commodities at the catcher position.

Determining replacement level and evaluating positional scarcity are two of the toughest tasks facing an owner in a deep league with a lot of positions. A top-200 list for a typical 10-team league should look very different from a top-200 list for a 15-team league with two catchers, five outfielders, a middle infielder, and a corner infielder, since any change to positional requirements affects replacement level across the board. 

It’s hard to overstate how much more valuable catchers are in a two-catcher league. Front Office generates “B-Ranks” for each player based on the league’s settings. For example, Mike Napoli’s B-Rank in a one-catcher, 15-team league is 42nd, while Carlos Santana checks in at 55th. For mixed LABR, those B-Ranks jump to 21st and 28th, respectively. B-Ranks for backstops increased enough to make catchers roughly twice as valuable in the LABR draft, by far the biggest increase of any position. This made catchers the most undervalued commodity on draft day, relative to a typical top-300 list or even the ADP results that the experts study.

With this in mind, I was thrilled to land the top-ranked catcher, Mike Napoli, with the 32nd pick, Joe Mauer with the 59th pick, and Salvador Perez with the 269th pick. Perez’ B-Rank of 109 made him one of the best value picks of the day for my squad. He instantly becomes either an overqualified backup or a valuable trade chip in a league where other owners will be forced to start catchers such as Ryan Hanigan, Wilin Rosario, and Yorvit Torrealba.

Click here to see the complete results.

Jays Dump Vernon Wells’ Contract, Receive Value

By R.J. Anderson //

The Toronto Blue Jays’ offensive philosophy last season revolved around one concept: Hit home runs. On Friday, the team acquired catcher/first baseman Mike Napoli and outfielder Juan Rivera from the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim for outfielder Vernon Wells, plus Wells’ grandiose contract. Suffice to say, even after losing the 31 homers Wells hit last year, the Jays’ newest acquisitions can hold up their end of the philosophy.

Napoli alone creates an interesting dilemma, as the Jays already have two backstops under contract. Although Jose Molina possesses a strong defensive reputation, the real subplot is how this affects prospect J.P. Arencibia. Napoli is a lower-variance hitter and more expensive, meaning he should get the lion’s share of playing time. The keys to Napoli’s down season in 2010 (he still managed to hit .238/.316/.468) are a low BABIP (.279 while his career norm is .293); a decline in walk rate; more strikeouts (thus lowering his on-base percentage); and the Angels’ obsession with Jeff Mathis. To their credit, Napoli did play more games than he ever had before, though that was due to Napoli taking the place of injured first baseman Kendry Morales

Moving into an offensive environment like Toronto should only assist in Napoli’s power production. That’s saying something for a guy with 66 home runs over the past three seasons, despite playing catcher and only once receiving more than 450 plate appearances in a season. Given his eligibility at catcher and the odds that he’s going to hit 25-plus home runs next season, he immediately becomes an excellent fantasy option in all leagues, doubly so in leagues that value on-base percentage and/or slugging percentage over batting average. Meanwhile, drafting Arencibia in anything but a keeper league will become determinable once new manager John Farrell’s usage strategy becomes evident.

Rivera’s health is always in question, but if he can rack up 500-plus plate appearances, he’s a good bet for 15-to-20 home runs. He’s not one for walks (although he has improved in recent years) or strikeouts, and his batting average seems to fluctuate more than normal (Last four years: .252, .287, .246, .279). He’s a fine late-round outfield pick in standard leagues that use five outfielders and a utility slot.

What is interesting is what will happen with the rest of the Jays’ first base/outfield/DH options, as Travis Snider and Adam Lind could see their playing time suffer a bit. Without knowing Farrell’s intended usage, it’s difficult to peg the exact draft stock for any of those involved. So hold out as long as possible, and when in doubt, be conservative in your estimates.

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MLB Season in Review: Los Angeles Angels Hitters

By Tommy Rancel //

Biggest Surprise: Hideki Matsui
When Godzilla left the Bronx, no one knew how he would adjust to losing Yankee Stadium as his home park. Matsui answered those questions by hitting a solid .274/.361/.459. His batting average and on-base percentage were nearly identical to the numbers he posted in 2009 (.274/.367). As expected, his slugging dropped from .509 to .459, but he still hit 21 home runs while driving in 84, giving fantasy owners who trusted their utility slot to Matsui a lift.
Biggest Bust:
Brandon Wood
Once a top prospect in the Angels’ system, Wood, 25, got his first real chance to start in 2010. He responded by putting up one of the worst offensive seasons in baseball. Over 81 games, he “hit” .146/.174/.208 with four home runs and 14 RBI. Making matters even worse, Wood showed no plate discipline or pitch recognition. He walked less than 3% of the time while striking out more than 30%. Of the swings he took, nearly 15% ended up in a whiff. There is still time for him to improve, but don’t hold your breath waiting.

2011 Keeper Alert: Mike Napoli

Mike Scioscia’s fetish for catching defense over offensive production pushed Napoli out of the Angels’ lineup more often than not at the beginning of the season. However, after injuries to Jeff Mathis and then Kendry Morales, Napoli found his way into a career-best 140 games. In those games, he hit .238/.316/.468 with a career-high 26 home runs; those 26 homers led all catcher-eligible players. With Morales coming back to man first next season, Napoli is likely to hit another 20-plus bombs with catcher eligibility next season. He should also see a boost in batting average with some simple BABIP regression.

2011 Regression Alert: Erick Aybar

Aybar was a pleasant surprise in 2009 when he hit .312 with 37 extra-base hits for Los Angeles. In 2010, he hit just .253 with 27 XBH, despite 30 more at-bats. In June, Aybar dealt with a knee injury and his season was cut short in mid-September due to a sports hernia. In addition to the injuries, Aybar’s BABIP was nearly 20 points less than his career number. This is due in part to a decline in line drives hit. He has hit 17% liners in his career, but managed just 15.3% this year. A healthy, luckier Aybar would make for a nice late-round pick in deeper leagues, with multi-position eligibility next season. 

For more on Mike Napoli and the Los Angeles Angels lineup, check out Bloomberg Sports’ Fantasy Kits