The total numbers are disappointing, 2 homers, 15 runs, 17 RBI, and a .267 AVG. On the other hand, he has hits in 16 of his last 18 games, has stolen six bases, and already has 5 doubles over the last 11 games. Keep in mind that Choo took a little while to bounce back after missing a large chunk of last season. However, at his best this is a rare 20-20 talent. This is a fine time to pick him up while his fantasy managers are keeping him glued to the bench.
In the past, the only thing keep Nelson Cruz down was his health. This season he has been an iron man and while his run production is solid with 24 runs and 23 RBI and his average is respectable at .274, so far the power has been limited with just four home runs. However, a closer look at the double-digit doubles tells me that maybe some of those shots simply have not left the yard, but come the summer in Texas, I think the ball will really start to fly off his bat. I still think 30 home runs is realistic, so go ahead and make the move for Cruz, though keep in mind that he is slowing down a bit on the base paths and he does have that injury-prone label.
Stolen bases have some serious value in fantasy leagues and for that reason alone you may be able to unload Drew Stubbs. Stubbs is a low average hitter with some pop and speed. He swiped 40 bases last season, which got a lot of attention, but also we saw a decline in home runs from 22 to 15. This season he only has three in comparison to his seven stolen bases. The positive is that he does score a lot of runs, which really is amazing when you consider that he strikes out a ton and rarely reaches base. Trade Stubbs while you can to someone desperate for some steals.
I have been known to lead my leagues on annual basis in saves despite not drafting closers until the middle or late rounds. I do this by picking up the pitchers who gain the promotion into the ninth inning because of either the struggles or health woes to the player ahead of them. Often it can result in excellence, such is the case with my drafting Aroldis Chapman in the final round of my draft. On the other hand, sometimes the closer I pick up implodes and doesn’t hold the gig for long. I fear that Cubs closer Rafael Dolis is of the latter. While I do like his youth at 24 years old and his live arm, I am very much in fear of his lack of strikeouts. This will not only hurt my fantasy team in that category, but also you typically like closers that can miss bats otherwise they can find themselves in trouble. With a 3.75 ERA and 2 blown saves already, I am selling on Dolis and keep in mind that Carlos Marmol will return from the DL and could end up earning the gig once again.
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.