Bloomberg Sports Anchors Julie Alexandria and Rob Shaw discuss players who they think will definitely be inducted into the Hall of Fame and players who are debatable.
Based on his statistics, Manny Ramirez should be a Hall of Famer. He has 2574 hits, 1831 RBI and 555 home runs in his career. He is a 12-time All-Star and has two World Series rings (’04, ’07) and nine Silver Slugger awards. However, his use of PEDs has tarnished his statistics and will keep him out of the Hall of Fame.
Though Albert Pujols is struggling a bit this season with the Angels, he has already cemented a spot in the Hall of Fame. He has 2,142 hits, 456 home runs and a .325 batting average in his career. He is a three-time MVP (’05, ’08, ’09) and a nine-time All-Star and has won two World Series (’06, ’11), six Silver Slugger awards and two Gold Glove awards.
Like Pujols, Ichiro Suzuki‘s numbers are down this season, but he deserves induction into the Hall of Fame based on his past performances. He has 2,504 hits, 432 stolen bases and a .323 average in his career. The 10-time All-Star also won MVP and Rookie of the Year honors in 2001 and has earned 10 Gold Gloves and three Silver Sluggers.
Derek Jeter is another player who is a shoe-in for the Hall of Fame. The 12-time All-Star has 3,177 career hits, 344 stolen bases and a .313 career average, as well as five Gold Gloves and four Silver Sluggers. Above all, he is a big-time winner with five World Series rings.
Chipper Jones, set to retire at the end of this year after 19 seasons, is certainly Hall of Fame-bound. He has 2,650 hits, 459 home runs and a .304 average in his career, in addition to an MVP award (’99), seven All-Star selections and two Silver Sluggers.
Alex Rodriguez, a 14-time All-Star and three-time MVP, is another player whose Hall of Fame candidacy is in question due to PEDs. However, it can be argued that after the steroid era ended, A-Rod still put up good enough numbers to warrant induction. He has 2,841 career hits and 640 home runs, and is 76 RBI away from 2000 for his career. He has one World Series ring (’09), 10 Silver Sluggers and two Gold Gloves.
Jim Thome is headed for the Hall of Fame with his 608 career HR. The five-time All-Star has had 12 seasons of 30+ HR and 100+ RBI but he is not just a home-run hitter. He has 1,710 walks, ranking 10th all-time.
Mariano Rivera is another player already in the Hall of Fame. He is the all-time saves leader with 608 and has a 2.21 career ERA, good for 13th all-time. He is the greatest closer of all time and one of the most clutch performers in sports. Despite being 42 years old, Rivera was as good as ever before his season was cut short by a torn ACL.
Jamie Moyer sits at 269 wins as he is currently pitching in AAA and trying to make another comeback, this time with the Baltimore Orioles. If he returns shortly and assuming he pitches every fifth day, he could potentially start 19 games and could pick up the six wins he needs to reach 275 for his career. If the 49-year-old can somehow keep pitching into his fifties, he could have a shot at 300 wins and the Hall of Fame.
Johnny Damon‘s easiest path to the Hall of Fame is to get another 254 hits to reach 3,000 for his career. If he gets just 54 more hits and 17 more home runs, he would join Rickey Henderson, Barry Bonds and Craig Biggio as the only players to have 2,800 hits, 250 home runs and 400 stolen bases. At the moment, he is one of five players to have 230 home runs, 400 stolen bases and 2,700 hits.
Scott Rolen is one of three third basemen to hit above .280 and hit 300 or more home runs, and one of four third basemen to have 8,000 or more plate appearances and an OPS of .850 or better. At 37 years old, if Rolen can collect 77 hits the rest of this season and average 100 hits over the next four years or 133 hits over the next 3 years, he would reach 2,500 hits. In addition to his defense, position and more than 300 HR, he would have a very strong candidacy.
Todd Helton‘s chances to make it into the Hall of Fame may be hurt by playing at Coors Field. However, if the 38-year-old can hit 46 more home runs over the next five years, he’d reach 400 home runs and have a strong case with 2,500 hits and 400+ home runs, a feat only 25 Major Leaguers have accomplished. He has hit 227 home runs at home and just 138 home runs on the road, so he may need to do more than most for people to believe in his Coors-tainted candidacy.
Vladimir Guerrero needs just 51 home runs to reach 500 for his career. Among players with at least 8,000 career plate appearances since 1950, his average of .318 ranks sixth behind Tony Gwynn, Wade Boggs, Rod Carew, Ichiro Suzuki and Todd Helton. he is one of only seven players in history with at least 350 home runs, a batting average of at least .310 and at least 2,500 career hits. Among the six others, only Manny Ramirez is not already in the Hall of Fame.
If Lance Berkman stays healthy and plays into his early 40s, he has a shot at reaching 500 home runs. If he can hit nine home runs the rest of this season, he’ll have 132 to go, which would mean four full seasons at his career pace of 33 per 162 games.
Tim Hudson has one of the 10 lowest ERAs of any pitcher with at least 2,000 innings pitched since 1990 and is tied for the fourth-most wins among active pitchers with 185. He also has the lowest home-run rate of any pitcher with at least 2,000 innings pitched since 1950.
For more baseball 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.
BY ROB SHAW
When it comes to evaluating player performance and creating projections for the upcoming season, Bloomberg Sports takes several factors into account. Here’s a breakdown of four of the nine factors that allow Bloomberg Sports to offer the most accurate projections in fantasy sports while attracting more than 20 Major League teams to turn to the company for scouting and advanced analytical solutions.
The first factor to consider is ballpark. Over the last five years it seems like we have shifted back to the big ballparks that favor pitchers. That is certainly the case for Citi Field, PETCO Park, and Target Field. As a result, just about any Mets, Padres, or Twins hurler performs better at home than on the road.
On the other hand, there are power alleys in Yankee Stadium, Coors Field, and most definitely the Ballpark in Arlington. Fantasy managers want to invest in the pitchers from the large cavernous and the hitters in the bandboxes.
On that note, be wary of pitchers who thrived in pitcher’s parks such as Mat Latos and Heath Bell who now join more hitter-friendly confines and definitely invest in hitters such as Michael Cuddyer making the move from Target Field to Coors this season.
The next fantasy factor to keep in mind is durability. Fantasy managers expecting full seasons from Jose Reyes, Nelson Cruz, and Chipper Jones are playing against the odds. There are durable hitters out there such as Yadier Molina and Roy Halladay. Their durability is a fantasy asset since you know what to expect from them on a day-to-day basis.
Next, fantasy managers should consider the age of their players. Bloomberg Sports has found 26-31 to be the prime age for baseball players. A younger player should be approaching his peak, while older players are typically on the decline. It should not shock you that Ichiro, Derek Jeter, and Alex Rodriguez are slowing down with age.
Finally, fantasy managers should consider the impact of a long-term deal. It is very rare that the player delivers shortly after signing such a deal. While we hate to question motivation, we have noticed that stars such as Jason Bay, John Lackey, Carl Crawford, and Jayson Werth were not nearly as productive after signing long-term deals compared to the season prior to the negotiation. On that note, Jose Reyes and Albert Pujols may not be as safe as you thought.
For all nine Fantasy Factors visit BloombergSports.com.
BY ROB SHAW
There is no question about it, 2011 was a stinker for Red Sox outfielder Carl Crawford. Acquiring the best player from the rival team was supposed to assure that the Red Sox would surpass the Rays in the AL East, but instead Crawford’s disappointment was amongst many others for Boston as they failed to make the playoffs.
What followed was a tumultuous off-season that saw the departure of the manager and general manager. However, Crawford remains.
While last year’s struggles can be tied to Crawford’s acclimation to a major market for the first time in his career plus some nagging injuries, don’t forget the reason why fantasy managers liked him so much heading into last season. He is a line drive machine who should be able to use the Green Monster as a weapon, while adding speed to the top of the lineup.
Part of the issue for Crawford’s poor numbers was the fact that he was pushed down to the seventh spot of the Red Sox lineup. As a result his runs took a major hit. Always interested in the psyche of his players, expect Bobby Valentine to give Crawford every chance to succeed towards the top of the order.
Bloomberg Sports Front Office expects a decent bounce back from Crawford. He should blast 14 home runs with 35 stolen bases and a respectable .281 batting clip. Of course, this can only happen if he stays healthy. Crawford is currently dealing with a sore wrist that is threatening his ability to be a part of the Red Sox lineup on Opening Day.
Expectations have never been lower, which makes him a decent middle round sleeper considering his sky-high potential that made him a bust last season.
For many years we have come to expect 30 home runs and 100 RBI from Alex Rodriguez. Those benchmarks also came with great run production, solid stolen base totals, and a batting average north of .300. Not anymore.
Last season we saw that even the great ones are mortal. A-Rod managed just 16 home runs as he was hampered by injuries all season. Though he looks to be in great shape entering the spring and had some medical procedures done during the off-season, the big question in the Bronx is whether it’s even possible for A-Rod to return to prominence as an elite slugger.
The answer is probably no. There is a very well known pattern for players entering their late 30s tailing off in production. It is also clear that Rodriguez is not as healthy as he was when he was younger. It was five years ago that he last played 140 games in a season.
Bloomberg Sports does anticipate a mild bounce back. A-Rod should pound 23 home runs with 82 RBI. That would mean he finishes the season with an astounding 652 career home runs. Unfortunately, we are at the point in A-Rod’s career where we will celebrate what he’s accomplished over time rather than on a day-to-day basis.
It was shocking enough that an ace would tame Coors Field, it’s even more mesmerizing that he actually regressed when traded to a far more pitcher-friendly ballpark.
Ubaldo Jimenez was an elite pitcher in 2010. He finished that season with a 19-8 record, but was even more dazzling at the All-Star break with a 15-1 record and 2.20 ERA. Since then, Jimenez has regressed to being a barely above average hurler.
In the second half of the memorable 2010 season, Jimenez went 4-7 with a 3.80 ERA. He then struggled out of the gate in 2011 and was traded to the Indians when his record was 6-9. Things went from bad to worse, as his ERA soared to 5.10 during his 11 starts with the Indians.
Jimenez will try to start from scratch this season, and while his results in his first two spring training starts are not very promising, the good news is that his fastball is back over 95 MPH for the first time since 2010. Regardless, Jimenez remains a risky pick for fantasy managers.
He should offer plenty of strikeouts, Bloomberg Sports projects 208, but his lack of control could lead to a WHIP and ERA well above what he’s offered when he was at his past two seasons ago.
BY ROB SHAW
Edwin Jackson is young, durable, and has been a winner with 10-plus wins in each of the last four seasons. The solid track record begs the question why did so many teams pass on him.
The 28-year-old hurler is now on his seventh Major League team and he hasn’t played for losers either. He went 5-2 down the stretch for the Cardinals last season, playing a role in the team’s World Series Championship.
One of the hardest throwing hurlers in baseball, Jackson has improved his control over the years. His greatest weakness recently is that he is just too hittable. Even in his successful run with the Cardinals the opposition hit .300 against him. The good news is that he keeps the ball in the yards, but for fantasy managers looking for a low WHIP, Jackson is not a solution.
The move to Washington means he’ll now don the jersey for his sixth team over the last four years. However, Bloomberg Sports likes his fantasy value. The larger ballpark and National League setting should translate to 170 strikeouts, double-digit wins, and a 4.21 ERA.
Jackson is a fine low-risk, high ceiling option in the later rounds of fantasy drafts. After all, it was just a few years back that he threw a no-hitter while pitching for the Arizona Diamondbacks. Let’s see if he can finally sustain such dominance over a full season.
Once one of the hurlers in the most demand in the Major Leagues, Erik Bedard hopes to build on his improvement from last season while joining the Pittsburgh Pirates.
Bedard was a disaster in Seattle. Because of injuries, he never lived up to the hype and while the Mariners traded away top prospect Adam Jones to the Orioles for him, they ended up letting him go for very little in return last season to the Red Sox.
The good news is that Bedard showed that even after all of the injury-ravaged seasons, he still has some potential right now. He offered fine control last season and fanned a batter per inning throughout the year.
A move to Pittsburgh should lead to some good results for Bedard’s fantasy managers. Pittsburgh’s ballpark plays neutral and he will no longer have to deal with designated hitters in the majority of his starts. Most importantly, he has sustained his health, which is the key to his performance.
BloombergSports.com projects a solid 3.74 ERA and 1 .30 WHIP from the veteran hurler this season, and with some luck he could reach double-digit wins for the first time in five years.
The loss of CJ Wilson could be crushing to the Texas Rangers. Just a year removed from a second World Series, the Rangers lost their ace for a second time. First it was Cliff Lee who bolted to rejoin the Phillies. Now it’s Wilson, and while he may not be as dominant as Lee, the fact that he joins the rival LA Angels of Anaheim makes matters worse.
The Rangers were desperate to respond and without many proven stars on the market they had to compete with teams including the Toronto Blue Jays to land Yu Darvish, an ace from Japan. With an enormous bid, the Rangers land the hard-throwing hurler who will enjoy the loftiest expectations by a free agent to join the Rangers perhaps since Alex Rodriguez signed his now infamous $252 million deal.
As far as realistic projections for Darvish, BloombergSports.com offers a 13-8 record, 185 strikeouts, and a 3.63 ERA for the hard-throwing hurler. That makes him the 16th best starting pitcher, and a top-50 fantasy talent.
Despite the lofty projections, there is still a great deal of risk for fantasy managers. After all, Darvish is new to America and will have to adapt culturally to Major League Baseball, plus he calls home to one of the most hitter-friendly parks in the league. He will not get away with many mistakes and the media will be hounding him all season long.
For more fantasy baseball insight visit BloombergSports.com.
By R.J. Anderson
Alex Rodriguez is coming off a season in which he hit 30 home runs, drove in 100 runs, and hit at least .285 for the 13th straight year. Regardless of the real world value of RBI and BA, there’s something to be said for that kind of consistency. Rodriguez also posted an OPS over .900 for the 12th time in 14 seasons, so pondering whether he’s a top-five pick, when he still plays third base, seems odd.
B-Rank (Bloomberg Sports’ proprietary ranking of all players) rates Rodriguez as the third-best player available, behind the obvious choices of Albert Pujols and Hanley Ramirez. A-Rod is followed by Ryan Howard at fourth, Matt Kemp fifth, Ryan Braun sixth and Prince Fielder seventh. Some fantasy players who place a heavy emphasis on position scarcity are also drafting Joe Mauer in this rarefied air.
Ignoring those players for now take a look at Rodriguez’s Spider Chart for an idea of his all-around production:
Still, let’s consider the argument against. First, A-Rod turns 34 in July. He played in fewer than 150 games for the second consecutive season in 2009. He saw his isolated slugging (slugging percentage minus batting average) decline, despite playing in a more hitter-friendly environment. An encyclopedia’s worth of print has been produced dissecting how baseball hitters age. The common thought – presented here with all the gory math included – is that hitters on average progress rather linearly, peaking around age 27, then beginning a slow descent in their 30s.
Of course Rodriguez has never been accused of being average. Still, consider this: Rodriguez plays in the toughest division in baseball and he’ll face two of the best starting rotations in baseball, the Red Sox and Rays. That’ll take a toll on a player’s offensive production too.
Rodriguez’s Bloomberg Sports projection of 43 homers, 121 RBI, 15 steals, and a .297 average appears to be on the optimistic side. Other projection systems, like CHONE and Marcel, have Rodriguez hitting 34 and 31 homers respectively. Such a spread is not found with, say, Ryan Braun’s projections; the Brewers outfielder is projected by all three forecasters to hit 33-35 homers with a .300+ average in 2010. Braun also figures to steal more bases, though he probably won’t score more runs or drive more in – the Brewers’ offense is good, but probably not Yankees-level good.
It’s a tough call choosing between A-Rod and Braun, and that’s leaving aside players like Mauer, Kemp and others in this spot. You might want to hope for the number-one pick, or something a bit later.
For more information on Alex Rodriguez and hundreds of other players check out Bloomberg Sports’ fantasy tools.