Comments

The last twenty comments in true blog fasion, with the links to their authors and the player commented upon.

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Who was pitching? Al Downing?
Jeff Jaffee JeffJaffee
Jan 28 '08
Matt LaPorta Baltimore Orioles
I think the Brewers will give LaPorta another year, at least, of minor league time. They hit the jackpot with Braun last year, but odds are LaPorta's .241 average, his lack of defensive chops, his limited experience, are all good reasons to think he needs more time to polish things up.

If he has a big year in Double-A this year, or even gets off to a big start, then it's time to figure out where to fit him. For now, he's someone to look at for 2009.
Peter Kreutzer Rotoman
Jan 28 '08
Mark Reynolds Colorado Rockies
Reynolds did about what you can expect for a major leaguer at 23 for his history. Take a close look at the minor league numbers. He spent the better part of 1000 AB at A ball, and was part way through his second stint at AA when he got the call.

This isn't to say that he won't make it in the majors. I don't trust the average at all, and that could create a problem down the line. Nonetheless, the ball leaps off that bat in a hurry and he is fun to watch hit. He very well could be a mid-20s bloomer and be well worth $14.
John Toczydlowski Toz
Jan 28 '08
Navarro is a guy who looks good at $5 when you first write it down. Then you realize that you need the budgets to add up and you need to start taking dollars away from people. I suggest you take $4 away from $5, and that is your bid.
John Toczydlowski Toz
Jan 28 '08
David Bush Texas Rangers
Let's break down the 2007 numbers first.

Bush gave up a .439 average on first pitches. This could mean that Bush is not mixing it up and batters are taking advantage. Look a little closer though...when behind in the count, Bush is giving up about a .400 average. Yikes. What this tells me is that Bush is throwing too many "bad" strikes and catching too much of the plate. It also tells me that Bush's stuff isn't good enough to make up for it. Non-pitchers hit .311, .338 BABIP, and an .874 OPS. YIKES!

So now I'm curious - I went back and looked at 2006. .370 BA on first pitches. Behind in the count, however, his numbers are much better - closer to .300 than .400. Non-pitchers only hit .269, with a .297 BABIP and a .763 OPS.

Now I'm really flummoxed. So I went back further...his 2005 numbers are very consistent with his 2006 numbers (in the areas I'm looking at) and his 2004 numbers are significantly better than the rest, even 2006.

So what gives? Bush lost mastery of the strikezone. He is a razor guy; his stuff isn't good enough to mask mistakes (particularly in Houston and Cincy - those numbers make you want to be sick).

So what is the ultimate conclusion? I think Bush deserves more than $3 - he's been better than that in the past. I wouldn't go much past $6, though; the margin for error is way too thin.
John Toczydlowski Toz
Jan 28 '08
Joe Mauer Minnesota Twins
Very nice analysis Steve. I have to think that if he cut loose a little bit and took a more aggressive approach, he could keep that average around .280 and at least double the HR total.
John Toczydlowski Toz
Jan 28 '08
J.J. Hardy Baltimore Orioles
Steve, from a fantasy perspective, you make a good point about OBP. 40 walks isn't going to get it done, and 26HR with a .250 average isn't going to bring you $20 in earnings. Still, $18 is about right for a 4x4 number, and my gut check allows my lunch to stay where it is.
John Toczydlowski Toz
Jan 28 '08
Rich Harden Oakland Athletics
Someone needs to explain to me what happened to starting pitchers, aside from specialized relievers. I'll date myself and tell you that I pitched from 1979 (in Pee Wee) until age 18. In Little League, I pitched roughly 30 innings a week for 4 months (two different leagues plus school for grade school). On top of that, I threw batting practice and on the side just about every day. In high school, I threw a minimum of four times a week between high school teams and all-star teams. Even back then, teams didn't care if you were good or bad, just that you could throw lol.

While my pitching career ended in part because I tore a rotator cuff (the result of a congenital condition that has me separating my shoulder on a regular basis) and in part because I wasn't very good, it had nothing to do with my workload.

The problem in the United States isn't that the workload is too high; the problem is that it is too low, and there are a lot of Little League administrators and coaches that know squat about how to condition a pitcher.
John Toczydlowski Toz
Jan 28 '08
Boof Bonser Minnesota Twins
Boof, hopefully, will go from being a bouncer to a bonser again. He has upside, most definitely, but doesn't figure to have an ERA under 4. whatever nor more than a dozen wins with all those dingers hitting the baggie.
Jeff Jaffee JeffJaffee
Jan 28 '08
Rich Harden Oakland Athletics
harden illustrates something I have written about elsewhere. He pitched 153 innings in 28 starts at 2 levels as a 20 year old, 185 as a 21 year old (over 3 levels with 33 appearances), then 194 in 32 starts at age 22.

It's too much. His workload wasn't into the range where pitchers essentially automatically get major arm trouble, but it was darn close. You see a pitcher average over 30 starts for 3 years in a row under age 23, and you are looking at injuries.

That said...He's a real if and it probably ought to be said that despite his splashy 2003 minor league numbers and obvious talent. His minor league pedigree wasn't really that much better than for instance Harang (though to be fair Harang was a bit older).
Steve Parsons stevep
Jan 28 '08
J.J. Hardy Baltimore Orioles
when I look at a player like this, I try to see if there is something in his skill set that seemed out of whack given the power thing. There really isn't anything obvious to point at. Given his size and pedigree it could very easily be on the natural development curve. Prudence would assume a relapse in power, but at his age it's certainly not out of the realm of possibility that this is real. You look at the second half in 2005 and it looks like he got it. He hit lefties better than we could expect going forward, but most of his power came against righties...always has...so the most important numbers for him (the power ones) should be relatively durable. Of course he probably is .320 OBP guy, and serious teams wouldn't eaxactly go out of their way to keep such guys unless they bring quite a lot of other stuff to the table.....aside from those HR's Hardy doesn't.
Steve Parsons stevep
Jan 27 '08
Joe Mauer Minnesota Twins
He's 24 (25 at the beginning of the season) and he's big, so obviously some increased power is possible, if not even probable. The extent of that is a question, because as that goes his value as a roto player will go. He'll obviously be a good producing catcher, you get to judge whether positional scarcity matters to you. Even with a superior OBP, as a catcher (even if he had a better health record), he's not going to reap any R bonuses (again, except in the context of the catcher position), because of the ab problems.

On the power thing, he has absolutely no history of power, and nothing in his secondary skill set to suggest there is something there to come out (particularly looking at his doubles in the context of a turf park). the GB/FB thing is not good either although that's not the most reliable inidcator for a player of his age.

His K/BB is nice, but he doesn't walk a TON, he just doesn't K a lot. So that will mitigate the value of that ratio somewhat.

You sort of wish...errr...I should say, I wish some batting coach would look at the guy, 6'4, catcher hands, catcher arm....and say...third base and we'll fine you for every K less than 100 than you make. I'd bet his average would go up, his power would come and his OBP would still be perfectly good.
Steve Parsons stevep
Jan 27 '08
I'm with Mike on this one. He is never going to be a V-Mart, with that combination of power and BA from the catcher position, so don't bid expecting that. I am not excited about Mauer from a roto perspective, and would not bid $20. I would expect a 2005 line, with a few more RBI and a few less steals.
Keith Cromer Slyke
Jan 27 '08
David Bush Texas Rangers
What happened? Looked primed to take that next step in 2007, but took a big step back. Still has good stuff, and I think he will bounce back this year. Not expecting 2006 earnings, but should get back to double digits in wins while keeping those interiors back to the levels they were in his previous three seasons. What's good news is that you should be able to get him at these prices, and that should lead to a nice ROI. Keep him on your radar on draft day.
Keith Cromer Slyke
Jan 27 '08
Joe Mauer Minnesota Twins
One problem I have with Mauer is that I think we've seen his power upside, given his 1.98 G/F ratio over the course of his brief career. He can hit, but batting average fluctuates, and there's always the injury danger. A $20 bid seems sensible, but don't chase like a $30 season is right around the corner.
Mike Gianella MikeG
Jan 27 '08
Back with the Astros as a minor league free agent.
Mike Gianella MikeG
Jan 27 '08
He only had one good season in his career, 2003 at A and AA. When he repeated AA the next year he regressed considerably. He's never shown much power. And despite playing 2/3 of the games, he's going to cost his value in HR and RBI through his negative batting average. Unless he can bat .250 or above, he's not worth taking.
Eugene Freedman EugeneFreed
Jan 27 '08
J.J. Hardy Baltimore Orioles
I think Hardy is a good bet to duplicate last year's numbers. You hope he is a little more consistent last year and does not have a repeat of last year's June and July, when he was just plain awful. LFH-Zeke - I would expect more than that stat line...$15 looks like a good get to me.

The 4x4 and 5x5 bids look right to me.
Keith Cromer Slyke
Jan 27 '08
Honestly, I don't see much upside. Don't get sucked into his second half stats...he still hit .177 with a .254 SLG% in the first half. I would not expect more than last year's earnings. A $1 catcher.
Keith Cromer Slyke
Jan 27 '08
Mark Reynolds Colorado Rockies
The Tracy health issues lead most to believe (me included) he will be the starting 3rd baseman on opening day. Sure, the 129 K's in 366 AB's will get your attention, but so should the .844 OPS. Very streaky last year, but the ball jumps off his bat. I think the 4x4 bid is right on...there is lot of reason to think he will improve on last years numbers.
Keith Cromer Slyke
Jan 27 '08

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