Tagged: Yunel Escobar

Bloomberg Sports Fantasy Baseball 2012 Recap: Shortstops

Twitter: @RobShawSports and @BloombergSports

Bloomberg Sports Anchor Rob Shaw and Analyst Alex Burwasser recap the top five shortstops this fantasy season as well as the top three busts.




5. Starlin Castro, SS, Cubs

After a fantastic sophomore campaign in the big leagues which saw him lead the league in hits (207) and make the All-Star team, Starlin Castro put together another solid year for the Cubs. He did not hit .300 this year but he hit a very respectable .283 while stealing a career-high 25 bases. A good sign going forward for him is his consistency against left and right-handed pitching, hitting over .280 against both this year. However, an area where Castro needs work is his plate discipline, where for the third straight year he drew less than 40 walks (36).

4. Jose Reyes, SS, Marlins

It would have been really difficult for Jose Reyes to duplicate his 2011 season when he won the NL batting title. A season that turned out to be his last with the Mets when he signed as a free agent with the new-look Marlins. A lot was expected of Reyes and the Miami team as a whole moving into a brand new ballpark and it seemed both were wilting under those expectations. Unlike the team, however, Reyes redeemed himself by hitting .312 after the All-Star break and ending the season with his standard double-digit triples (12) and 40 steals. In fact, he was hitting in the three hole for the Marlins by the end of the year, so if that continues in 2013, expect even more production for Reyes.

3. Ian Desmond, SS, Nationals

One of the best stories in baseball this year was the Washington Nationals, and one of the leading characters in that story was 26 year old shortstop Ian Desmond taking the next step and becoming an All-Star player. Not only did his batting average drastically improve from last year moving from .253 to .292 but he had an enormous spike in power hitting 25 home runs this year as compared to only 8 in 2011. Added with his speed, swiping over 20 bases for the second year in a row (21), Desmond looks like he is a player on the rise for the Nationals and possibly for your fantasy leaderboards next year.

2. Derek Jeter, SS, Yankees

Derek Jeter has been around the top of this list for basically the past fifteen years, so why would 2012 be any different? He had 216 hits this season, which was his most since 1999, as well as 47 extra base hits which was his most since 2007. He also hit over .300 (.316) for amazingly the twelfth time in his sure-to-be Hall of Fame career. The only question with Jeter is how long he can possibly keep this up, especially given his unfortunate ankle injury in the ALCS against Detroit, but it would be hard to start counting him out now.

1. Jimmy Rollins, SS, Phillies

Jimmy Rollins, much like Derek Jeter, has been at the top of this list for over a decade now, but Rollins went mostly under-the-radar this season because his team was such a huge disappointment. Obviously, Rollins was not the reason why, blasting his most home runs since his MVP season of 2007 (23) as well as knocking in a solid 68 RBI. A very underrated part of Rollins game has always been his speed, and that was certainly on display this year when he stole 30 bases for the second year in a row and added over a hundred runs scored (102). Rollins is only 33 years old, so there could be a few more years of these type of numbers coming from a premium fantasy position like shortstop.




3. Jhonny Peralta, SS, Tigers

A first time All-Star in 2011, Jhonny Peralta had his best season as a pro for Detroit hitting just under .300 (.299) while providing some serious power with 21 home runs and driving in 86 runs as his Tigers won the AL Central. Detroit again won the AL Central again in 2012 but Peralta was not nearly as big a factor seeing his batting average dip 60 points to .239 as well as his home runs (13) and RBI (63). Peralta needs to hit for power and drive in runs to provide any fantasy value whatsoever because he does not steal bases or hit for a high average.

2. Yunel Escobar, SS, Jays

In a somewhat surprising move given his potential, the Braves traded Yunel Escobar to the Jays after a disappointing start to the 2010 season. It was looking like a steal of a trade for Toronto after a 2011 season that saw him hit .290 with 11 home runs and 77 runs scored. However, he really declined this past season when his average dropped 37 points to .253, but what was most alarming were his walks almost being cut in half from 61 to 35 which left his on-base percentage at a measly .300. For a player expected to be at the top of the lineup for years to come, getting on base three out of ten times will just not cut it for the Jays and for your fantasy team.

1. Dee Gordon, SS, Dodgers

Every year fantasy owners seem to fall into the trap of falling in love with a player who comes up from the minors and excels at a particular statistical category whether it is home runs or strikeouts. In Dee Gordon’s case, it was stolen bases. After being called up in June 2011, he burst onto the scene by hitting .304 and stealing 24 bases in 56 games for the Dodgers. In 2012, he was the opening day starter at shortstop for the Dodgers but he never really got off the ground getting sent to the minors in early July after hitting only .228. He still has a ton of speed — he stole 32 bases — but he cannot provide any value if he cannot get on base in the future.


For more fantasy insight, visit BloombergSports.com.

Fantasy Baseball: MLB Debuts and The Five Players Most Likely to be Traded


Twitter: @RobShawSports and @BloombergSports


Bloomberg Sports Anchor Rob Shaw breaks down the fantasy implications of two players’ MLB debuts and the potential trades of five players who are most likely to be moved.


The Big Debuts


Matt Harvey, SP, Mets

Finally some good news for Mets fans as 2010 first-round pick Matt Harvey made his debut Thursday night and it was a memorable one to say the least. Harvey set a Mets record for a debut with 11 strikeouts and did not allow a run to score in 5.1 innings.

Harvey touched 98 MPH on the radar gun and got some K’s with high fastballs while also getting some weak swings by putting sliders in the dirt. Don’t expect all of his starts to go this smoothly, but Harvey is a strikeout artist who should continue to rack up the K’s, though it could come with some walks as well.


Starling Marte, OF, Pirates

On the first Major League pitch he saw, Starling Marte made his mark, blasting a home run. The 23-year-old outfielder is an instant upgrade for the contending Pirates. Marte has some power, as he blasted 12 home runs with 13 triples and 21 doubles at Triple-A. He lacks plate discipline, but also has some speed. I do not see Marte having too much fantasy value this year aside from what could be a hot start since the Major Leaguers lack an in-depth scouting report on him. Regardless, the future is now for the Pirates and Marte only makes the team more interesting.


Five Players Most Likely to be Moved


1) Zack Greinke, SP, Brewers

The Brewers have come out and acknowledged that they are going to trade their ace, which makes it clear that no long-term commitment could be reached with Zack Greinke.  Ultimately, a trade to a contender will do fantasy managers some good, but at varied levels.

If he goes to the Rangers: The hitter’s ballpark is bound to lead to some extra runs so Greinke’s ERA may spike, but he will also enjoy the best run support possible. This is the trading partner that makes the most sense for everyone. Greinke owns a sensational 2.38 lifetime ERA at Rangers Ballpark.

If he goes to the Angels: Greinke should continue to post similar numbers but with a few extra wins thanks to the offensive star power of Albert Pujols, Mike Trout and Mark Trumbo. You can expect a big second half from the ace who is 44-45 in the first half of seasons and 41-31 following the All-Star break.

If he goes to the Braves: This is the best ballpark for Grienke, plus in the NL he faces opposing pitchers, which will keep his ERA lower. Greinke is 25-9 in 49 starts with a National League club.


2) Jonathan Broxton, RP, Royals

The interest in Jonathan Broxton has been limited on the trade market and it may be for a couple of reasons. First, few contenders are desperate for a closer or late reliever right now. Also, Broxton’s numbers are not as good as they appear. He is not getting many strikeouts, which is a reversal of his career trend. He is also allowing 1.40 runners on base each inning, which is a recipe for destruction in late innings. The Royals are wise to put him on the block.


3) Jason Vargas, SP, Mariners

With the demands so high for front-of-the-rotation hurlers such as Greinke and James Shields, alternatives such as Jason Vargas are becoming attractive for teams. Vargas has won four straight starts and now owns a career high 11 wins this season. So when he does get traded, what does this mean to his fantasy value? The run support will increase, but his ERA will also soar. He has a 4.67 ERA on the road this season compared to 2.63 at home, which explains everything you need to know about the 29-year-old southpaw.


4) Francisco Liriano, SP, Twins

When the Twins dealt their ace Johan Santana to the Mets a few years back, they not only assumed that some of the prospects from the trade would turn into stars, but the hope was that Francisco Liriano would step up as an able replacement at the top of the rotation. Though he did enjoy some success in 2010 with 14 wins, a 3.62 ERA and a career high 202 strikeouts, the following two seasons have been disastrous.

Liriano has found himself in the bullpen and even in the minors over the last two seasons while sustaining an ERA north of 5.00 in the Majors. The positive signs this season are that the opposition is hitting just .239 against Liriano and he is fanning more than a batter per inning. On the other hand, his control is lacking, which makes him a major gamble for whoever brings him in via trade.


5) Yunel Escobar, SS, Blue Jays

After a strong 2011 season that included 11 home runs, a .290 average and .369 on-base percentage, Escobar has struggled this season. His average is down to .255, his OBP is .299 and his 19 extra-base hits have resulted in a .342 slugging percentage.

Escobar has shown some life recently with a five-game hitting streak, but there is growing concern about his character according to ESPN’s Buster Olney, which may scare off some suitors. Keep in mind that Toronto is a favorable hitter’s park and the Blue Jays lineup has posted a lot of runs. The 29-year-old Cuban does not make for a very good fantasy investment.



For more fantasy insight, visit BloombergSports.com. 

(Video) Ballpark Figures: Man vs. Machine – Middle Infielders

By Bloomberg Sports //

Man vs. Machine: Episode 3 — In a special from Bloomberg Sports’ Ballpark Figures, Mets legend Keith Hernandez sits down with Bloomberg Television’s Michele Steele and Bloomberg Sports Analyst Rob Shaw, to discuss the Fantasy Bulls and Bears for the second half of the season. In the third episode, the focus is on middle infielders.

Today’s Position: Second Base and Shortstop


The Machine (Bloomberg Sports) says:

Blue Jays second baseman Aaron Hill is bound to bounce back after a brutal start to the 2010 season. Hill hit just .188/.271/.359 in his first 71 games, marks that are well below both his career averages and 2009 totals. Last season, the best starting second baseman north of the border (well, the only one actually) slugged .498 with a .285 batting average. Most important for fantasy owners were Hill’s 36 homers and 108 RBIs last season, numbers you just don’t normally see from a middle infielder.

So why has Hill struggled so mightily this year? It is due in large part to his BABIP (Batting Average on Balls In Play), which currently sits at .179, a number which is well below Hill’s career BABIP of .294 and is the lowest of any full-time position player in the majors. Once that number regresses closer to his true level (which is most likely a standard deviation or two plus/minus his career rate), Hill should see a dramatic improvement in his other stats that help fantasy teams win ball games, most notably Batting Average, RBI, and Runs.

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Many of your friends (also known as “competition”) will be reevaluating their teams over the All-Star break and may just give up on Hill. This could be your chance to buy low and stick it to them.

The Man (Keith Hernandez) says:

“I like Freddy Sanchez of the Giants, a former batting champion for the Pittsburgh Pirates. He was injured this year and missed a lot of playing time in the first half. He’s healthy now and he’s going to be playing every day, he’s a very good hitter. He’s a lock for the second half.”


The Machine (Bloomberg Sports) says:

Give Ty Wigginton some credit if he’s on your fantasy team; he certainly has deserved it with solid numbers for a second baseman. You get some credit for picking him for the first half as well. However, now that he’s on the All-Star team, other fantasy owners may be looking at him to provide some pop for their lineups. This is why it’s time to sell high on him.

Wigginton’s numbers aren’t mindboggling, but they certainly buck the trend of his recent history. Despite hitting just 11 homers in 122 games in 2009, he has gone deep 14 times already in just 83 games this year. In the same amount of time Wigginton has also produced four more RBI, despite the large differential in games played. Finally, he has already scored 32 runs this year, 73% of his 2009 total. With the Orioles struggling to score runs on most nights, he may not be rounding third base all that often in the second half.

It may be tough to give up Wigginton after his hot start to 2010. But trust the numbers and try to get the best package you can for him now, before this unlikely All-Star’s numbers begin to decline.

The Man (Keith Hernandez) says:

Kelly Johnson got off to a quick start two months into the season, but he’s tapered off since. Anybody I feel that plays for Bobby Cox and ends up getting traded you have to pay attention to. He has regressed each year. He has not had the career that I expected and I think he played over his head early on. It’s a tough year in Arizona and I see him faltering in the second half of the season.”


The Machine (Bloomberg Sports) says:

If you’re scratching your head over one player on your fantasy roster this season, it’s probably Braves shortstop (now Jays shortstop!) Yunel Escobar. Escobar has one of the most talented swings out of all major league shortstops, as the right-handed hitter smacked 14 home runs last year while hitting .299, his highest batting average since his .326 rookie season in 2007. However, this year has been much different for the usually consistent middle infielder. Escobar has yet to hit a home run for the entire season and his .237 batting average is absurdly low, leaving fantasy owners puzzled and upset. However, Escobar’s .269 BABIP may be a culprit, as it is way under his career rate of .316.


The hits will eventually come for Escobar, and right now your friends would probably beg you to take him off of their hands. Be a good friend and do them a favor by giving Yunel a shot. The change of scenery to Toronto, better second-half health, and some good, new-fashioned regression could work to your advantage.

The Man (Keith Hernandez) says:

“The calf injury hurt Jimmy Rollins twice this season. He should come back healthy for the remainder of the season. He is the catalyst of this team. When he came back the Phillies started to win. I think the second half is going to be all Jimmy Rollins.”


The Machine (Bloomberg Sports) says:

Last year, Rafael Furcal put together one of his worst seasons in the major leagues, hitting just .269/.335/.375 over 150 games. Despite his usually good speed, he swiped just 12 bases, his lowest ever over a full season in the big leagues. Well, Furcal has come back with a vengeance this year, hitting .333, tops in the National League. However, the biggest surprise may be Furcal’s pop; he’s slugging .514 in 2010, higher than any other full season in his big league career (which stretches back to 2000).

Right now, Furcal is playing like he’s 26 years old all over again. However, we know that he isn’t likely to keep up this pace, and he’s probably going to drop significantly from his current numbers. If you offer him in a deal, your friends may jump at the idea of getting an All-Star who has been playing so magnificently this season. With that said, keep in mind this is a shallow pool for shortstops this season. Even with some regression likely, don’t trade Furcal if you’re not getting a solid haul in return.

The Man (Keith Hernandez) says:

“The veteran Juan Uribe had a terrific RBI start in the first half. He got a lot of playing time because of Freddy Sanchez[‘s injury]. I think the playing time will start to diminish. Since he is an older player I think he will tire and not have the same type of half moving forward.”