Bloomberg Sports Anchor Rob Shaw discusses both the American and National League playoff picture as we head towards the last few weeks of the regular season, while highlighting some of the possible key players that may help their team get into October.
Mark Reynolds, 3B, Orioles
He is trying to maintain his hot early start to September where he hit nine home runs and had 17 RBIs in only nine games. Though he still strikes out a ton, Buck Showalter will find a place for him in the lineup because of his prodigious power.
B.J. Upton, OF, Rays
In his all-important contract year, Upton has gotten very hot over his last 30 games up to Wednesday, where he has hit .292 with 12 home runs and 24 RBIs.
Torii Hunter, OF, Angels
At 37 years old, you would think Hunter would be slowing down, but he is having actually a career year hitting .309 with 15 home runs, nine stolen bases, 76 RBIs and 72 runs scored despite missing half of May with an injury. He is trying to hit over .300 for the first time in his career.
Josh Donaldson, 3B, Athletics
After starting out miserably this season with the major league ballclub, Donaldson was sent down to the minors on June 13th where he reaffirmed his potential by hitting .335 with 13 home runs in just 51 games. He quickly earned a call-up back with the A’s where he is now hitting .324 with six home runs and 17 RBIs through 28 games.
Kris Medlen, SP, Braves
This 26 year-old former top prospect missed all of last season while recovering from Tommy John surgery, but has re-emerged this year as one of the Braves best starting pitchers. He has been especially hot as of late, winning seven straight starts since July 31st.
For more fantasy insight, visit BloombergSports.com.
BY ROB SHAW
With more than 20 of the Major League Baseball teams turning to Bloomberg Sports as a business solution, fantasy managers can rest assured that their fantasy teams are in good hands.
In a previous article, we focused on ballpark, durability, age, and contract status. Now the focus is on the remaining five Fantasy Factors.
In fantasy baseball, career trends are an important aspect to be considered when evaluating players. In essence, fantasy managers like investors have to know what’s a growing stock and what’s a mature stock. A player on the rise would be a growing stock and two examples are Baltimore Orioles rising stars Adam Jones and Matt Wieters. Both players are in their mid-20s and have been improving their statistics consistently over the last few seasons.
On the other hand, Yankees veteran Derek Jeter and Alex Rodriguez are far from their prime and have recently suffered their worst seasons of their legendary careers. It’s perfectly fine to invest in a player on the decline, as long as you are realistic about what they can produce in the upcoming season.
Next, luck is a Fantasy Factor that can help forecast performance. Using an advanced statistic: BABIP, it is possible for baseball fans to find out if a player had luck on their side or if it worked against him over a given period.
BABIP is the batting average for balls in play and takes into account whether a player enjoyed a higher percentage than usual of balls in play falling for hits. For instance, if a player offers a BABIP that is significantly higher than their career norm, it is often a safe bet that in the following period his performance will regress to the previous rate.
On the other hand, if the BABIP is abnormally low, it is safe to assume the player will have better luck ahead and his batting average and other statistics will improve. The statistic can also be used for pitchers when looking at BABIP against the opposition.
Next, team support is an important fantasy factor for hitters and pitchers. For hitters, it is a matter of whether they have players around them in the lineup that they can drive in and players who will drive them in. In other words, team support has a direct impact with RBI and runs. For pitchers, it’s a matter of having run support to earn wins, plus a solid defense behind them to keep runs off the board.
Strength of schedule is the next factor, and this is all about what ballparks and teams an opponent faces. Pitching in the AL East is no easy task for pitchers who have to deal with the Red Sox offense in Fenway Park, the Yankees offense in Yankees Stadium, and additional hitters parks in Toronto and Baltimore. On the other hand, the NL West calls home to several pitcher parks and limited offenses including in San Francisco, San Diego, and Los Angeles.
Consistency is a fantasy factor, as fantasy managers have to decide whether to gamble on a player who has great potential, but also great volatility. A player like Geovany Soto seems to alternate between good years, while Torii Hunter and Yadier Molina are examples of players who seem to produce consistent numbers every given season.
To see the Fantasy Factors in action visit BloombergSports.com.
fantasy baseball, we’re always looking for the player who can provide
all-around value. To most people, this means a guy with both power and
speed. Every year, we’ll see about a dozen guys crack 20/20. Last year,
there were 14 of them.
projecting Hunter’s 2010 season, there’s another consideration
to make. Besides having the rare ability to provide speed and the
opportunity to knock in runs, Hunter is one of only about 20 players in
baseball with 25-HR power and the ability to make contact with the ball
in at least 80 percent of his at-bats. Combined with the ability to run
quickly to first base after the ball is hit into play, this typically
translates to a pretty solid average. Last year, Hunter finished at
.299. Bloomberg Sports projects .289 for the upcoming season.
ranked 46th on the B-Rank scale, yet is being drafted well below his
projections. That’s nothing new. Hunter has a pretty long history of
being underrated in drafts year after year, and at age 34, few see him
as having the kind of statistical upside offered by many youngsters.
But is that assessment accurate? A player who provides power, speed,
RBI production, and average? Those kinds of players are a very rare
breed. Just ask Pujols, Hanley, and Braun.