Brian, Projections, Rankings, Second Base

Brian’s Top-13 Second Basemen Rankings and Projections for ’14


Robinson Cano might be shipwrecked in Seattle for years.

Robinson Cano might be shipwrecked in Seattle for years.

With less than a week before Opening Day in San Diego between the Padres and Dodgers, we release our second basemen rankings and projections. In the coming days, there will be rankings and projections for third, shortstop, outfield, starting and relief pitching. Check back here throughout the week for those. Here are the rankings for second base. [Note: Jurickson Profar has been struck out due to a 2-3 month stint on the DL].

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Brian, First Base, Projections, Rankings

Brian’s Top-24 First Basemen Rankings and Projections for ’14


"Yeah, it's this big."

“Yeah, it’s this big.”

First base continues to be one of the deepest positions in fantasy. Food for thought: 14 of the men on this list of 24 ended the year ranked in Yahoo!’s top-100 players. In drafts this year, 15 of these guys are going top-100. There’s no excuse to not have a serviceable first baseman in 2014.

Here’s something else to think about: Albert Pujols’ ADP this year is 47.4. Albert freakin’ Pujols. Going in the 4th-5th round. Don’t get me wrong, the man who talks to photocopiers in ESPN commercials hasn’t been his usual self the past few seasons, but he’s Albert Pujols. Talk about potential value.

Potential busts at the position: Chris Davis (ADP: 8.1), Joey Votto (15.8), and Allen Craig (57.0). I have no doubt in my mind that Davis’ power is legit, but because of what he was just two seasons ago, I still have icky feelings. I’ve never been a Votto fan, so maybe I’m biased here, but when we’re celebrating a player who hit 24 HR with 74 RBI the year before, it makes me want to break things. And Craig is just a walking injury and if you’re a really good roulette player, go ahead, take a spin.

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Brian, Catcher, Projections, Rankings

Brian’s Top 16 Catcher Rankings and Projections for ’14


Jon Heder stars as Buster Posey in the drama "Catching: Life on My Knees"

Jon Heder stars as Buster Posey in the drama “Catching: Life on My Knees”

I wasn’t sure if I was going to be doing rankings this year, but here I am, on a Sunday morning (with plenty of actual work to be doing) thinking about baseball, watching baseball, and projecting baseball. Like every year, I begin with the men behind the plate, not because they’re an integral part of fantasy, but because they’re the generals of the infield; everything has to go through these squatting men.

There are probably 2-3 catchers I would entertain taking in the top-100 (entertain, not necessarily enact). Outside of the top three, all backstops are created equal. I know I’ve said this many times before–in conversation, on message boards, and right here on Rotoballs, but–do not waste a mid-round pick on a catcher (unless you’re in a league that requires two catchers). As my projections will show, the difference between Carlos Santana and Jarrod Saltalamacchia is negligible.

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Brian, Projections, Rankings

The Two Month Report Card


Sagres, Portugal...The End of the World.

Sagres, Portugal…The End of the World.

On a clear morning, you can go out to the California coast and peer off the cliffs at the extending horizon that both seems to go on forever and have a clear, definitive ending line. You can imagine you’re back in Sagres, Portugal in the 1400s, standing on a cliff that they call “The End of the World.” You can imagine you’re an explorer, making predictions on whether the Earth was round and the ocean extended forever, or flat and ended in a tragically steep waterfall.

When making any kind of prediction, there is always the risk of being wrong, in fact, you’re likely going to wrong more often than right. A prediction, like the future, is uncertain, it’s the unknown. So when I set out to make my preseason fantasy baseball projections, I know going into it failure isn’t just a possibility, it’s a certainty.

The following are some projections that I had right…and wrong, dead wrong. For each position, I chose one player who I was correct on and one player who I was incorrect on. You can view all of my projections in our Rankings ’13 section. Included with each player are their “On Pace Stats” (as of May 30th).

Catcher

Correct Pick Brian’s Preseason Projections On Pace Stats
Wilin Rosario 62, 24, 65, 3, .260 64, 28, 83, 9, .268
Incorrect Pick Brian’s Preseason Projections On Pace Stats
Miguel Montero 65, 17, 90, 1, .290 49, 9, 46, 0, .190

First Base

Correct Pick Brian’s Preseason Projections On Pace Stats
Edwin Encarnacion 84, 24, 96, 10, .266 93, 42, 135, 6, .264
Incorrect Pick Brian’s Preseason Projections On Pace Stats
Paul Goldschmidt 81, 27, 88, 15, .280 104, 37, 125, 12, .337

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Brian, Projections, Rankings, Shortstop

Brian’s Top 13 Shortstop Rankings and Projections for ’13


He'll listen to all your girl talk, ladies.

He’ll listen to all your girl talk, ladies.

For as long as anyone can remember, shortstops have been the black sheep of the family. While all the other players are interested in manly things like home runs (Chicks dig the long ball) and RBI and human growth hormone, the six spot is more interested in sensitive things like glove work and eking out infield singles. I mean for Pete’s Sake, Lou Boudreau is a Hall of Famer with 68 career home runs and 51 career stolen bases. Boudreau even made the All-Star Game in 1941 with this fantasy line: 95 R, 10 HR, 56 RBI, 9 SB, and .257 BA. If he isn’t the Solange Knowles to Babe Ruth’s Beyonce, I don’t know who is.

It’s true, shortstops are the redheaded stepchildren. They’re the sensitive ones. While all the boys are out hunting with father, the shortstops are back at home with mom baking pistachio walnut tassies.

In 2013, you’ll likely find better numbers than what spritely Boudreau mustered in 1941, but let me tell you, this group is a sad state of affairs. Jose Reyes and Troy Tulowitzki are huge injury risks. Hanley Ramirez, the diva that he is, might rather hang out in West Hollywood instead of Chavez Ravine. Starlin Castro would probably rather look at the hot guy standing behind him in left field than play hard. And Derek Jeter is more concerned which fragrance of body butter he’s going to put in his gift baskets.

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Brian, Projections, Rankings, Second Base

Brian’s Top 13 Second Basemen Rankings and Projections for ’13


Cano is the last solid rock in the once great Yankee lineup.

Cano is the last solid rock in the once great Yankee lineup.

Ever since Chase Utley fell out of the top five second basemen two years ago, this list hasn’t dramatically changed very much. But just because this list is more stagnant than an African pond infested with malaria carrying mosquitos, doesn’t mean we aren’t going to go in for a dip.

The top five in this position are staple guys. They’ve been at or near the top for years now. You can pretty much look at what they did the year before and expect similar, if not identical production. Robinson Cano is a perfect example of this. Over the past three years Cano has reached 100 R, 28 HR, and nearly 100 RBI (last season he dipped in this department). Dustin Pedroia, who does come with his fair share of risk due to injury, is easily the number two second basemen when healthy because of his speed and power. But the most consistent source of HR and SB is Brandon Phillips, who has produced exactly 18 HR in each of the past three seasons to go with SB totals of 16, 14, and 15.

Last year I incorrectly had Dustin Ackley above Jason Kipnis in my rankings. While Ackley was a more consistent player (consistently poor, in fact), Kipnis produced the better end of season numbers, by far. Neither of these two players are slam dunks, but both have immense upside if they ever produce what they’ve been expected to do.

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Player Profile, Projections, Starting Pitchers, Wooden

Player Profile: Tim Lincecum


Tim hasn't been killing them all lately.

Tim hasn’t been killing them all lately.

Remember when Metallica decided to collectively get sober and cut their hair? It signified a new era for the band. They began going to group therapy and getting all lovey-dovey while learning how to deal with their pent-up frustrations. They were committing themselves to something new, hoping they could recharge their careers, grasping at their legacy and all of its glorious hair-metal past to ensure it would be more than a footnote in the annals of rock music. Remember?

Metallica, meet Tim Lincecum. He too enjoyed nearly unprecedented success in the not-too-distant past. I mean this is the guy who won Cy Young Awards in each of his first two (full) seasons. This is the guy who struck out batters with authority with his long-hair-don’t-care approach on the mound. This is the guy who developed the nickname The Freak for his off-field persona as much as his unorthodox pitching mechanics on the mound. This is the guy who smoked pot and ate In-N-Out burgers and still went out and breezed through opposing lineups the way Liz Taylor breezed through spouses in her prime. This is the guy who probably knew how to ride the lightning.

Let’s also not forget that this is the same guy who had an ERA that was unsightly enough to relegate him to the bullpen for the 2012 playoffs in favor of Barry effing Zito! This is the same guy who gave up career highs in home runs and who saw his walk total rise for the 3rd straight season, even as he pitched fewer innings than the previous seasons. This is the guy who looked more like Tim Tebow on the mound than Tim Lincecum.

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