Archive for the ‘Fantasy Impact’ Category

Fantasy Impact: Arizona Diamondbacks’ Edwin Jackson

December 28, 2009

I think I am going to make today a very fantasy focused day on The Ghost of Moonlight Graham.

Earlier in the day I talked about the fantasy possibilities of Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim’s Brandon Wood. Now I will talk about Arizona Diamondbacks’ RHP Edwin Jackson.

Jackson should do well in the NL West

Jackson came over the Diamondbacks in the big three-way trade that sent Curtis Granderson to the New York Yankees and Max Scherzer to the Detroit Tigers. While many–including myself ripped the trade from a Diamondbacks perspective–I want to take the time to look at the fantasy impact of the key player the Diamondbacks got in the trade.

This will Jackson’s second tour of duty in the NL West. While many people just remember Jackson as a member of the Tampa Bay Rays and the Detroit Tigers, he actually started out his career in the Los Angeles Dodgers’ organization.

Jackson didn’t have great success with the Dodgers, but I expect him to have a much better go around in the NL West this time around. My logic is pretty simple for this–the NL West is the most pathetic offensive division in baseball.

Any time you can pitch against the San Diego Padres and San Francisco Giants and pitch in AT&T Park, Petco Park, and Dodger Stadium the majority of the time, your numbers will improve. There is a reason why nine out of the last 11 National League Cy Young award winners are from the NL West.

Over the last two years, Jackson is 27-20 with a 3.99 ERA and 269 K’s in 397.1 innings in the AL. However, Jackson has really slipped in the second half over those two years.

In the second half over the last two years, Jackson has a 5.11 ERA. What is really concerning is that Jackson has played on two contenders the last two years and has faded when his teams have needed him the most.

The Diamondbacks could be a dark horse contender in 2010, so I wonder if the pressure will get to him for a third year in a row? While I don’t like the fact that Jackson has faded the last couple of years, there is a lot of things I do like about Jackson in 2010.

Like I said, he is going to the AL from the NL, which is always a plus. The Diamondbacks should improve upon their 70-win season in 2010. And I also like the fact that he is going to be a No. 3 starter in 2010, which means he won’t be facing other team’s No. 1 or No. 2 starter.

I expect Jackson to go 13-10 with a solid 3.40-3.50 ERA in 200+ innings. Jackson has never been a big strikeout guy, so expect around 150-160 K’s in those 200+ innings.

With those numbers, Jackson should be a very solid No. 3 fantasy starter in most fantasy formats in 2010.

You can follow The Ghost of Moonlight Graham on Twitter @ theghostofmlg

Opportunity Finally Knocks For Brandon Wood

December 28, 2009

If there is one thing I have tried to do with each job that I have had in my life is to take something away and learn something from that job. For example, I have learned two things from last job.

First, I learned that even one of the biggest companies in the world can be dysfunctional. Then again, here is a life lesson for all you kids who are reading this who are still in college or just graduated–all companies in Corporate America are dysfunctional.

The second thing I learned is how to deal with change. People at my last  company were being laid off or quitting daily. It was a constant revolving door. However, sometimes with change comes opportunity.

When someone leaves a company or an organization, it opens the door for someone else. You feel bad to get an opportunity when someone else gets laid off, but that is just the way life is.

For the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim’s Brandon Wood, he finally might get an opportunity because of someone else leaving. Now, I am not saying the Angels are a dysfunctional organization, because they are not.

Wood will get an opportunity in 2010

As a matter of fact, I think the Angels are one of the best three or four best run organizations in baseball. But just like with every team in baseball, the Angels lose players to free agency or trade away players to try to improve in other areas.

In this case, the player that left Anaheim was Chone Figgins. Figgins left to sign with the Seattle Mariners and thus, the Angels have an opening at third base in 2010.

The player most likely to fill that spot is Wood. Wood has been one of the most hyped prospects in the Angels’ system since the Angels selected him with the 23rd pick in the first round of the 2003 draft.

He has put up some impressive minor league numbers, but he hasn’t translated that success to the major league level. In 236 AB’s over three seasons, Wood has a career .192 average.

I will give Wood a pass in those 236 AB’s because it has to be hard for a young player to perform when he doesn’t get regular AB’s and is shuffling between the minors and majors.

Wood will be given every opportunity to win the third base job in spring training and I think he will have a very productive 2010 season. Wood will bat sixth or seventh in the Angels’ lineup and should have plenty of RBI opportunities next year.

Here is what I expect from Wood in 2010. I expect a .255 average with 20-25 home runs, 65-75 RBI, and a .335 OBP. Those are good, but not great numbers.

Draft Wood as a backup third baseman and as a future starting third baseman in keeper league settings.

You can follow The Ghost of Moonlight Graham on Twitter @ theghostofmlg

Brian Bruney Strikes Fantasy Gold

December 14, 2009

Saturday night was the deadline for teams to tender players with less than six years service time contracts. There were a lot of quality players who were non-tendered contracts that night.

One of those players who was non-tendered a contract was Mike MacDougal of the Washington Nationals. MacDougal, by default became the Nationals’ closer last year after original closer Joel Hanrahan was ineffective.

Bruney could be the Nats closer in 2010

MacDougal picked up 20 saves and had a respectable 3.60 ERA in 50 games for the Nationals in 2009. However, his one-to-one strike out to walk ratio and hip surgery in October was probably the reason he was not tendered a contract.

Now that MacDougal is gone for now (the Nationals could still bring him back), the Nationals need a closer for 2010. Enter recently acquired Brian Bruney.

Bruney was acquired from the New York Yankees for a Player To Be Named Later (Jamie Hoffmann) and now stands to be the Nationals’ closer in 2010. As scary as that seems, there is nobody else in Washington right now who even remotely looks capable of closing games.

Bruney needs to limit his walks and of course, stay healthy in order to be effective for the Nationals. For a guy with decent stuff, Bruney walks way, way to many batters.

Bruney for his career has averaged 6.2 walks/9 innings. It’s hard to rely on a guy who goes to a 3-2 count on every batter and almost walks as many as he strikes out (8.9 K’s/9 for his career).

However, that is what the Nationals might have to do in 2010.

The Nationals gave their bullpen 58 save opportunities last year, which ranked towards the bottom of baseball. I don’t think the Nationals will rush Drew Storen to the majors, so Bruney should have the opportunity to save between 25 and 30 games in 2010.

Bruney went from afterthought with the Yankees, to a fantasy option in 2010. Draft Bruney as a low-end, number two closer in most fantasy formats.

You can follow The Ghost of Moonlight Graham on Twitter @ theghostofmlg

Placido Polanco: What’s His Fantasy Value?

December 7, 2009

It was a good week last week for Placido Polanco.

He signed a three-year, $18 million contract, he joined one of the best teams in baseball in the Philadelphia Phillies, and now that he is part of a great lineup, his offensive numbers should get a boost.

While all that is great for Polanco, it’s the last item that fantasy owners care about the most. With Polanco in a much better lineup, we should see increased fantasy production from him in 2010.

Polanco will see an offensive boost in 2010

In 2009, Polanco hit .285/10/72 with 82 runs scored with the Detroit Tigers. I expect Polanco to improve on those numbers in a potent Philly lineup.

Polanco should be batting second in front of Chase Utley and Ryan Howard in 2010, which means two things. One, we should see Polanco score more than 82 runs in 2010 and two, he should get plenty of good pitches to hit, which means his average and power numbers should remain constant in 2010.

With a better offensive ballpark coupled with a better lineup, I expect Polanco to put up a .290/13/65 line with 95+ runs scored.

Polanco moving from second to third doesn’t change his draft value. Consider Polanco a second tier second base or third base option in 2010.

You can follow The Ghost of Moonlight Graham on Twitter @ theghostomlg

Billy Wagner: What’s His Fantasy Value In 2010

December 3, 2009

As we saw yesterday, Billy Wagner signed a one-year contract with the Atlanta Braves to be their closer in 2010. Now that he has signed, let’s look at the fantasy impact and where you should draft Wagner in 2010.

Wagner has a couple of things going for him in 2010.

First, he is going to be the closer on a winning team–that always helps. The Braves won 86 games in 2009 and are expected to be one of the better teams in 2010.

Wagner should be a top-10 closer in 2010

Second, the Braves offer their closers a decent amount of save opportunities. In 2009, the Braves ranked in the middle of the pack in save opportunities (16th) with 59 and Braves’ closers combined to go 38-for-49 in save opportunities in 2009.

So with a winning team and with a team that gives their closers a good opportunity to save games, Wagner should have a nice fantasy year in 2010.

I do have a couple of concerns however.

The last time Wagner pitched a full season was in 2007. At 39-years-old, can he last an entire season with the Braves? Pitching effectively for 65 games is a lot different from being effective for 17.

My take on Wagner in 2010 is that he is going to get off to a great start, go through a dead-arm period in the middle of the year, and then finish up strong.

I would pencil Wagner in for 30-35 saves with an ERA around 2.30-2.40 and a K/9 around 10.5. He would make for a great second closer option or a very good first closer in most fantasy formats.

Look at the landscape of the closer position in 2010. It’s not very good. Wagner could be a top-10 closer in 2010.

Draft him behind the group of Mariano Rivera, Joe Nathan, Jonathan Papelbon, Jonathan Broxton, Heath Bell, and Joakim Soria.

Also, if you draft Wagner and you have the roster space, you might want to look at Kris Medlen or Craig Kimbrel. Both could be internal options for the Braves to get saves if Wagner goes on the DL for an extended period of time.

Kimbrel ripped through the Braves minor league system in 2009, going from Single-A to Triple-A in just one year. Kimbrel had 18 saves, 103 K’s in 60 innings, and a 2.85 in 2009.

You can follow The Ghost of Moonlight Graham on Twitter @ theghostofmlg

Ian Desmond: What Can We Expect In 2010?

November 13, 2009

It didn’t take Jim Riggleman long to make his first decision as full-time manager of the Washington Nationals.

Starting shortstop Christian Guzman will be moved over to second base in 2010. The Nationals became concerned with Guzman’s range at short last year and now coupled with offseason surgery on his throwing shoulder, it makes sense for the Nationals to move Guzman to second base.

Ian Desmond

Desmond is a fantasy option in 2010

Guzman’s move to second base, presumably opens the door for Ian Desmond to take over the starting shortstop job for the Nationals in 2010.

Desmond was called up to the Nationals last September after tearing through Double-A and Triple-A and didn’t disappoint. In 82 AB’s, Desmond hit .280 with four home runs and an .829 OPS.

So what can we expect from the early Rookie of the Year candidate in 2010?

Bill James projects Desmond to hit .282 with 13 home runs and a .770 OPS in 145 games. I think if the Nationals got that kind of production from Desmond, they would be thrilled.

The .280 average falls right in line with his career minor league batting average of .284 and the 13 home runs falls in line with his average home run production in the minors.

I think this is a pretty spot on projection. However,  it wouldn’t shock me if Desmond hit in the .265-.275 range, but hit more than 15 home runs in 2010.

So where should you draft Desmond in your fantasy league?

In a standard league, he falls in between the 15-20 range for shortstops. You probably won’t win your league with Desmond as your starter in 2010, but he definitely can serve as a solid backup on your team.

In a keeper league, Desmond should be drafted in the 10-15 range for shortstops. Desmond is only 24-years-old and should be a major league shortstop for years to come.

You can follow The Ghost of Moonlight Graham on Twitter @ theghostofmlg

More Surgeries On Tap For This Week

November 10, 2009

As we found out last week, tis the season for surgeries.

This week there are three more surgeries set for some notable players. Let’s take a look at who is going under the knife this week.

Raul Ibanez – Ibanez had surgery today to fix a sports hernia. This is not surprising as Ibanez was playing in pain the entire second half of the season.

raul ibanez

Ibanez had surgery for a sports hernia today

This was evident by Ibanez’s rather poor second half.

In the first half of the season, Ibanez was a legit MVP candidate. He was hitting .309 with 22 homeruns and had an OPS of 1.015. However, in the second half, Ibanez was a shell of himself. In the second half, Ibanez hit just .232 with 12 homeruns and had an OPS of .773.

As long as he is healthy and surrounded by an excellent Phillies’ lineup, fantasy owners should expect another solid season from Ibanez next year.

.285 with 25-28 homeruns and 80-90 RBI sounds about right for Ibanez in 2010. Ibanez is expected to be healthy by spring training.

Brad Lidge – Lidge will have surgery on his pitching elbow on Wednesday to remove a “loose body.” Can someone please explain to me what a loose body is in a person’s elbow? It sounds like something out of Total Recall.

Perhaps whatever this loose body is was the reason for Lidge’s dreadful season. As we all know, Lidge suffered through a season where he had a 7.71 ERA, had a WHIP of 1.81, and the majors in blown saves.

I don’t think Lidge will ever come close again to his perfect 2008 season. I fully expect the Phillies to add free agent closer in the offseason like Billy Wagner to be an eighth inning/insurance guy just in case Lidge’s problem persist.

Draft Lidge as a No. 2 closer next year. His days of being a No. 1 closer are over.

Lidge is expected to be ready by spring training.

Cameron Maybin – Maybin had  surgery today to repair a partially torn labrum in his left shoulder. Maybin had high expectations going into 2009. I even picked him to win the NL Rookie of the Year award.

cameron maybin

Maybin should have a breakout 2010

But after an April where he hit .209 and a May where he hit .176, Maybin was sent to the minors. He came back in September and hit .293 with three homeruns in 103 AB’s.

Maybin is expected to be the Marlins’ starting center fielder in 2010 and I think this is the year that Maybin breaks out.

.275 with 10-15 homeruns and 20+ stolen bases is my prediction for Maybin in 2010.

Like Ibanez and Lidge, Maybin is expected to be ready by spring training.

You can follow The Ghost of Moonlight Graham on Twitter @ theghostofmlg

Gordon Beckham To Play Second Base In 2010

November 9, 2009

In a little bit of a surprising move, Chicago White Sox general manager Kenny Williams announced that Gordon Beckham will play second base for the south siders in 2010.

This move is a result of the White Sox trading for Mark Teahen last week. I speculated that Teahen would play rightfield for the White Sox in 2010, but he will play third.

Gordon Beckham

Beckham will be moved to second in 2010

Now, I am not going to get into whether or not moving Beckham to second base is good for the White Sox–that is for another post. What I am going to get into is the fantasy impact of this move.

If you have Beckham in your fantasy league, this is music to your ears.

Beckham qualified as a shortstop in most fantasy formats last year, but played every inning in the field at third base. Going into 2010, he wold have lost his eligibility at short and would have strictly been a third baseman.

Beckham’s value would have diminished slightly as just a third baseman. But now that he is moving over to second base–his value has increased again.

Beckham hit .270/.347/.460 with 14 homeruns and seven SB’s in 103 games as a rookie last year. Now that he will be with the White Sox from Opening Day, Beckham should only improve on his power and RBI numbers in 2010.

In a keeper league draft, Beckham should be one of the first second baseman off the board in your draft. He is only 23-years-old and has a bright future ahead of him. If you are in a standard league, then Beckham should be the seventh or eighth second baseman off the board.

You can follow The Ghost of Moonlight Graham on Twitter @ theghostofmlg

Chicago Cubs Ted Lilly Has Shoulder Surgery

November 5, 2009

This has been a big week for surgeries around baseball.

On Monday it was the New York Mets’ Jeff Francoeur going under the knife, on Tuesday it was the Detroit Tigers’ Brandon Inge and the mother of The Ghost of Moonlight Graham having surgery, and yesterday it was the Chicago Cubs’ Ted Lilly getting repaired.

According to the Chicago Tribune, Cubs LHP Ted Lilly had shoulder surgery yesterday on his throwing shoulder. The surgery was performed by renowned surgeon Dr. Lewis Yocum (I almost wrote Dwight there).

Lilly won’t begin throwing until four months from now and the Cubs don’t expect Lilly back until April.

Cubs general manager Jim Hendry said the Cubs were encouraged there was no significant damage to the labrum or rotator cuff, and said surgeon Lewis Yocum thinks there’s “a good possibility Ted would be pitching in April” if all goes well.

Despite having five less win in 09′ than in 08′ (12 to 17) and batting injuries in the second half of the year, Lilly actually had one of the best statistical years of his career. Lilly set career lows for WHIP with 1.056, ERA with 3.10, HR/9 with 1.1, and BB/9 with 1.8.

So what can fantasy owners expect out of Theodore Roosevelt Lilly in 2010?

I expect Lilly to be a serviceable, back-of-the-rotation, or spot starter in fantasy leagues next year. I really can’t see a soon to be 33-year-old, coming of shoulder surgery (even if it wasn’t major) having as good or even better season in 2010 than he did in 08′ or 09′.

I would expect Lilly to start around 25 games and have around nine to 10 wins and an ERA a little north of four in 2010.

Detroit Tigers Brandon Inge Has Surgery On Both Knees

November 4, 2009

According to the Detroit Free Press, Detroit Tigers 3B Brandon Inge had surgery on Tuesday to correct the patellar tendinitis in both of his knees. The surgery was performed by Dr. Stephen Lemos at the Detroit Medical Center.

Inge is expected to be ready by spring training.

Despite with pain that Inge described as “excruciating,” Inge still managed to play in an American League leading 161 games last season. Inge hit .230 with 27 homeruns and 84 RBI in those 161 games for the Tigers last season.

There is nobody who will question Inge’s toughness after last season, but fantasy owners will question which Inge they will get next season. Do they get the Inge who hit .286/21/58/.360 in the first-half or will they get the Inge who hit .186/6/26/.260 in the second-half?

Fantasy owners should probably expect to get someone in the middle with Inge in 2010.

Inge will be 33-years-old in 2010 and it’s pretty clear at this point what you are going to get out of Inge. You are probably going to get a guy with a low batting average (.230-.240), 20-25 homeruns, and an OBP somewhere around .315.

In terms of 3B fantasy rankings in 2010, I would say Inge falls somewhere between the 15 and 20. He makes for a serviceable backup on your fantasy team for next year.

You can follow The Ghost of Moonlight Graham on Twitter @ theghostofmlg