Forgot Log-in or  Password? |  Help  Not a member, Register Now!
      
Fantasy Football Today
Fantasy Football Today Blog
Gameday Inactives
2014 Draft Prep Guide
Downloadable Draft Kit
Mock Drafts
Get Your Draft Board
Player News
Stats
Players
Depth Charts
Roster Trends
Columns
Injury Report
Projections
Rankings
Schedules
Scores
Fantasy Games
Playoff Challenge
Commissioner
Prize Leagues
Free
Office Pool Manager
Game Pick'em
Player Challenge
Fantasy Baseball Today
Fantasy Baseball Today Blog
2015 Draft Prep Guide
Mock Drafts
Player News
Stats
Players
Depth Charts
Roster Trends
Columns
Injury Report
Rankings
Projections
Schedules
Probable Pitchers
Scores
Standings
Fantasy Games
Commissioner
Free
Prize Leagues
Player News
Stats
Players
Columns
Injuries
Projections
Rankings
Schedules
Message Boards
Fantasy Games
Commissioner
Free
Player News
Stats
Players
Columns
Injury Report
Projections
Rankings
Schedules
Mock Drafts
Scores
Standings
Fantasy Games
Commissioner
Free
Prize Leagues
Downloadable Draft Kit
Player News
Stats
Players
Columns
Injury Report
Projections
Rankings
Schedules
Mock Drafts
Scores
Standings
Fantasy Games
Commissioner
Free
Prize Leagues
No Fantasy Teams Found
 
 
 

By the Numbers: Infield, catcher hits and misses

  •  

Last week, we kicked off a four-part review of our 2011 Fantasy baseball player projections. Now that we've pored over the projected and actual stats for outfielders and designated hitters, our tour will make a stop at catcher and the infield positions. We will take a look at how close -- or how far -- my projections came for key players at each of these positions.

The graph below plots the projected and actual 2011 Fantasy point totals for every player who had at least 400 at-bats this year and was projected to accumulate at least 100 Fantasy points. If you’re looking for players, such as Hanley Ramirez, Alex Rodriguez and David Wright, who failed to meet projections because of missing a large portion of the season, you won't find them here. Also, players are shown only at their primary positions coming into the season (e.g., Kevin Youkilis is among the first basemen, Martin Prado is at second base, etc.)

Now that we have the preliminaries out of the way, let's take a look at the key hits and misses at each of the positions at hand. Though we could learn a lot from looking back at many of the projections, I will focus on one critical hit and one critical miss for each position.

Catchers

Critical hit: J.P. Arencibia, Toronto

Underestimating the prowess of the hitters at the bottom of the Blue Jays' order, I was far short of predicting Arencibia's 78 RBI, but I did see that his power would carry over from the minors to the majors. It was also apparent that his all-or-nothing approach would limit him in the batting average and runs categories. Coming close to nailing those numbers allowed me to predict his Fantasy points per at-bat accurately, though I projected Arencibia for 43 too few at-bats. Even with a low batting average, the 25-year-old proved that he can be trusted as a No. 1 Fantasy catcher in most formats.

Other hits: Victor Martinez, Russell Martin, John Buck.

Critical miss: Kurt Suzuki, Oakland

I thought Suzuki would experience a resurgence in his batting average, which would help him to build on last season's 71 RBI. Neither development panned out, as the A's catcher did not turn around his sky-high popup rate. He matched his 13 percent infield fly rate from 2010, and that helped to keep his batting average under .240, well below the .272 mark I predicted for him. I also didn't see Suzuki hitting .204 with runners in scoring position, so he barely made half of his projected 82 RBI, driving in just 44 runs instead. That rendered him as a low-end No. 1 catcher in standard mixed leagues, rather than as the top six option that I thought he'd be back last spring. Especially with the emergence of young catchers like Arencibia, Carlos Santana, Alex Avila, Matt Wieters, Wilson Ramos and the returning Buster Posey, Suzuki will be a borderline No. 1 option at best in 2012.

Other misses: Alex Avila (increased power, playing time), Brian McCann (decreased walks, runs), Geovany Soto (increased strikeouts, popups).

First Basemen

Follow us, Like us, Join us
Want more? Join the discussion on our Facebook page and Google+ and follow us on Twitter for additional insight while interacting with a community geared toward Fantasy Baseball.

Critical hit: Carlos Pena, Chicago Cubs

Pena's disappointing 2010 season had its roots in an unusually-high 46 percent ground ball rate. The slugger didn't get all the way back to his extreme flyball-hitting ways, but he got far enough to boost his doubles output by 50 percent. That helped Pena to make the projected improvements in his batting average and run scoring. His days as a 40-homer threat are likely over, but Pena showed that he still has enough pop to be useful as a low-end 1B option in standard mixed leagues.

Other hits: Miguel Cabrera, Joey Votto, Gaby Sanchez, Freddie Freeman, Todd Helton.

Critical miss: Aubrey Huff, San Francisco

Coming into 2011, Huff's production had tumbled in each of the three previous odd-numbered years. As if to prove that the pattern was mere coincidence, I projected that Huff would experience only the slightest of downturns this season. Instead, Huff experienced the single worst year-to-year dropoff in his roller-coaster career. Everything moved in the wrong direction, as Huff hit for less power, launched more popups, struck out more often and walked less. Maybe he has one more even-numbered year turnaround left in him, but after such a miserable offensive display, Fantasy owners should let someone else take that chance in assuming that.

Other misses: Adam Dunn (decreased power, increased strikeouts) was the biggest miss by far, though not many people pegged his horrible disappointment of a season. Also Albert Pujols (decreased power), Lance Berkman (increased power), Kevin Youkilis (increased strikeouts, injury), Derrek Lee (injury), Justin Smoak (injury), Mark Trumbo (increased role).

Second Basemen

Critical hit: Neil Walker, Pittsburgh

Projecting him for 18 home runs, I was too optimistic about Walker's power, as he hit only a dozen. Still, I was able to come close on his overall value (428.5 projected FTPS, 416.0 actual) by being accurate in the other categories. Walker did not have a history of being a great line drive hitter, so I didn't fully trust last year's 23 percent rate. As his rate regressed this year, so did his batting average, and he bested his .267 projection by only six points. It's probably not realistic for Walker to toy with a .300 average like he did in his rookie year, but there is still room for Walker to hit with more power, just as he did in the minor leagues.

Other hits: Brandon Phillips, Howard Kendrick, Omar Infante.

Critical miss: Martin Prado, Atlanta

Gordon Beckham was actually an even bigger miss in terms of the discrepancy between projected and actual Fantasy points, but Prado's disappointment meant more, as he was projected to be the fifth-most productive second baseman. Missed time had something to do with Prado's depressed production, but a lack of gap power played an even bigger role. Normally a decent line drive hitter, Prado had the third-lowest line drive rate (12 percent) in the majors this year, and it translated into a .260 batting average. That was surprising for a player coming off of three straight .300-plus seasons, especially given that struck out less often this year. He had been hitting well prior to going down with a staph infection in June, so there is reason to think that, after an offseason of rest, he could be poised to make a comeback in 2012.

Other misses: Ian Kinsler (increased power), Aaron Hill (decreased power), Rickie Weeks (injury), Gordon Beckham (decreased power).

Third Basemen

Critical hit: Mark Reynolds, Baltimore

I didn't exactly go out on a limb for Reynolds, but I did see some mild improvement in his batting average. He has always been prone to strikeouts and popups, but his 2010 rates were just too far from his norms. Having restored both rates in 2011, Reynolds rediscovered his doubles power, coming just one short of his projected total of 28. Improving his batting average from .198 to .221 may not seem like a big deal, but it was enough to make him relevant in standard mixed leagues again.

Other hits: Adrian Beltre, Edwin Encarnacion, Chipper Jones, Danny Valencia.

Critical miss: Casey McGehee, Milwaukee

After two solid years of good power production, I thought that McGehee would stay the course this season, but the signs of a power decline were there in 2010 for those who looked for them. Despite a sharp drop in his flyball rate, McGehee hit 23 homers last season, but according to ESPN's Hit Tracker, only eight of them were classified as being "no doubters" or having "plenty of distance." A typical 23-homer hitter would have had about twice as many in those categories. McGehee's 2009 flyball rate of 41 percent was the highest he had posted at any level in his career by far, so there is no reason to expect that he will repeat that -- or another 20-plus home run season. In fact, he may have just played himself out of a regular role for good.

Other misses: Evan Longoria (decreased line drive rate, batting average), Aramis Ramirez (increased line drive rate, batting average), Michael Young (increased line drive rate, batting average), Pablo Sandoval (injury), Placido Polanco (injury, decreased power).

Shortstop

Critical hit: Jimmy Rollins, Philadelphia

I was more accurate in predicting shortstops than players at any other position, and Rollins was among my most accurate hits at the position. The key was guessing that he would not lose as much time to injury as he had in 2010, and banking on rebounds in BABIP and overall batting average, which were foretold by a consistently solid line drive rate. It also helped that I didn't look for a return of his 20-plus home run power. Going forward, we shouldn't expect Rollins to perform like an elite shortstop, but there is still enough skill there to keep him among the top five.

Other hits: Elvis Andrus, Alexei Ramirez, Yunel Escobar, Alcides Escobar.

Critical miss: Starlin Castro, Chicago Cubs

I actually missed Asdrubal Cabrera's Fantasy point total by a larger margin, but coming off of an injury-hampered season in 2010, there were some legitimate reasons to question his production in 2011. On the other hand, Castro gave us a glimpse of what he could do in his 2010 rookie campaign, but I was entirely too skeptical. I didn't think Castro could hit for .300 again, as I thought that his .350 rookie BABIP was a fluke, and double-digit homers looked like a pipe dream. I was wrong on both counts, as Castro hit .307 with 10 home runs. The 21-year-old continued to utilize his speed to build a high batting average on ground balls, but he increased his flyball rate just enough to improve his power. You won't see me doubting Castro going into 2012.

Other misses: Asdrubal Cabrera (increased power), J.J. Hardy (increased power), Erick Aybar (increased power, steals), Derek Jeter (injury), Orlando Cabrera (decreased power, playing time).

Get player news notifications, manage your team and check scores
- all updated in real time. Download the CBS Fantasy App.

  •  
 
CBSSports Facebook Google Plus
COMMENTS
Conversation powered by Livefyre
 
 
Player News
Rangers P Derek Holland on track for home opener
by Dave Peters | CBSSports.com
(6:44 pm ET) Rangers pitcher Derek Holland is on track to pitch in the team's home opener, according to the Dallas Morning News.

Holland had been dealing with some shoulder soreness earlier in spring training. The lefty will be held out until the home opener, which is the fifth game of the season.

Manager Jeff Banister seems content with holding him out to help avoid a setback.

"There are two opening days," Banister said.

Holland has only pitched three innings this spring, giving up two hits and a walk.


Athletics OF Coco Crisp could return as early as Saturday
by Igor Mello | CBSSports.com
(6:41 pm ET) Athletics outfielder Coco Crisp (elbow) was supposed to take the day, but surprised manager Bob Melvin by taking part in Thursday's workout, a day after receiving a cortisone shot, per the Bay Area News Group. Melvin told reporters that he's feeling better, but won't play Friday against the Rangers, according to the San Francisco Chronicle. He could be back as early as Saturday against the White Sox.

Giants pitcher Derek Law will face hitters in two months
by Sean d'Oliveira | CBSSports.com
(6:22 pm ET) Giants pitcher Derek Law remains on track in his recovery from Tommy John surgery and he will face live batters in two months, reports CSNBayArea.com.

Law is recovery from Tommy John surgery and is currently just throwing bullpen sessions, which have been going well. He was recently optioned to high Class A by the Giants.


Athletics' Sean Doolittle to play catch Friday
by R.J. White | CBSSports.com
(6:11 pm ET) Athletics pitcher Sean Doolittle is scheduled to play catch Friday for the first time since suffering a shoulder strain, the San Francisco Chronicle reports.

Doolittle has been doing sock throws this week in advance of progressing to catch. He is expected to begin the season on the disabled list due to the shoulder injury.


Athletics' Josh Reddick taking two rounds of batting practice
by R.J. White | CBSSports.com
(6:07 pm ET) Athletics outfielder Josh Reddick will take two rounds of batting practice for the first time Thursday, the Bay Area News Group reports. He's recovering from a strained right oblique and remains without a specific timetable for return.

Erik Johnson is dealing with a moderate abdominal strain
by Igor Mello | CBSSports.com
(6:03 pm ET) Erik Johnson's injury appears to be a moderate abdominal strain, and not an oblique strain, according to Comcast SportsNet Chicago. Johnson suffered the injury in a "B" last week for the White Sox. He is considered day to day moving forward. 

Ross Detwiler earns spot in Rangers rotation
by R.J. White | CBSSports.com
(5:58 pm ET) Rangers manager Jeff Banister said Thursday that pitcher Ross Detwiler will open the season in the team's rotation, the Fort Worth Star-Telegram reports.

Detwiler pitched exclusively as a reliever for the first time in his career last season, posting a 4.00 ERA and 39:21 K:BB ratio in 63 innings with the Nationals. He has posted a 4.15 ERA and 8:1 K:BB ratio in 8 2/3 spring innings.

Detwiler is expected to serve as the team's No. 4 starter behind Yovani Gallardo, Derek Holland and Colby Lewis. The team has yet to choose a fifth starter for the rotation.


Rangers' Yovani Gallardo to start Opening Day
by R.J. White | CBSSports.com
(5:54 pm ET) Rangers pitcher Yovani Gallardo has been chosen for the team's Opening Day start April 6 at Oakland, the Fort Worth Star-Telegram reports.

Gallardo will make his debut for the Rangers on Opening Day after spending the last eight seasons with the Brewers. He went 8-11 with a 3.51 ERA and 146:54 K:BB ratio in 192 1/3 innings last season. Gallardo has struggled this spring, surrendering 13 earned runs in 10 1/3 innings while striking out six and walking six.


Garrett Richards may not face big-league hitters until he's activated
by Igor Mello | CBSSports.com
(5:42 pm ET) Angels pitcher Garrett Richards (knee) is scheduled to face minor-league hitters on Saturday, and is unlikely to face big-league hitters before he is activated from the disabled list by the Angels, according to the Orange County Register on Thursday.

Commissioner Rob Manfred: A-Rod 'ought to be welcomed back' by MLB
by Igor Mello | CBSSports.com
(5:35 pm ET) Major League Baseball commissioner Rob Manfred said that embattled Yankees slugger Alex Rodriguez "ought to be welcomed back" by baseball, per the New York Daily News. The 39-year-old Rodriguez was suspended for the entire 2014 due to his involvement in the Biogenesis scandal.

"Alex served a very long suspension," Manfred said. "Once he served that time, baseball ought to welcome him back – and I think we've done a good job. The institution as a whole; teams, central baseball, everybody. He's played well. Good for him."

Manfred also added that Rodriguez will be subjected to more testing after his 162-game ban. 

"Let me be clear about this; he'll be tested exactly like every other player who has violated the program," Manfred said. "The program requires more frequent testing for players who are coming back after a suspension."


 
 
 
Rankings