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
Downloadable Draft Kit
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
Giants believe Tim Lincecum will be fine
by Chris Cwik | CBSSports.com
(10/23/2014) The Giants believe Tim Lincecum will be fine, according to CSN.

Lincecum injured his back during Wednesday's game, and was sent for an MRI Thursday. The MRI was considered precautionary, and the Giants don't expect to receive bad news. If there is an issue, Lincecum would be replaced on the roster. 


Royals could start Jarrod Dyson Game 3
by Chris Cwik | CBSSports.com
(10/23/2014) The Royals could opt to start outfielder Jarrod Dyson Game 3 against the Giants, according to the Kansas City Star.

Manager Ned Yost confirmed he's considering the move. In this scenario, Norichika Aoki would sit. Yost said he's considering the move because Aoki has more value as a pinch hitter than Dyson would late in the game. 


Athletics' Brandon Moss has hip surgery
by Chris Cwik | CBSSports.com
(10/23/2014) Athletics first baseman Brandon Moss had hip surgery, according to the San Francisco Chronicle

Moss had surgery to repair a torn right hip labrum. He's expected to be on crutches for four weeks following the procedure. Moss should be ready for spring training. 


Southpaw Cesar Jimenez signs one-year deal with Phillies
by Marty Gitlin | CBSSports.com
(10/23/2014) The Phillies have avoided arbitration with left-hander Cesar Jimenez by agreeing to a one-year contract for next season.

The 29-year-old Jimenez pitched just 16 innings for Philadelphia in 2014 and compiled a career-best 1.69 ERA.


OF Grady Sizemore sticking around with Phillies
by Marty Gitlin | CBSSports.com
(10/23/2014) Outfielder Grady Sizemore has received a one-year deal worth $2 million to remain with the Phillies. Various reports claim that the contract includes performances bonuses.

In his first extensive play since a spate of injuries began to curtail his career in 2010, Sizemore compiled a .233/.299/.354 stat line with Boston and Philadelphis this season. He ended the season on a 3-for-37 slide.


Report: Mets targeting free agent OF Michael Cuddyer
by Marty Gitlin | CBSSports.com
(10/23/2014) The Mets are quite interested in potential free agent Michael Cuddyer, according to the New York Daily News. They are contemplating a two-year deal for Cuddyer, who will be 36 years old when the 2015 regular season begins.

Cuddyer is coming off an injury-plagued year, but still batted .332 with 10 home runs in 49 games. However, he hit .400 with six homers and 23 RBI in hitter-friendly Coors Field and .282 with four home runs and eight RBI on the road. Citi Field is considered far more of a pitcher's park.


Pablo Sandoval likely to receive qualifying offer from Giants
by Marty Gitlin | CBSSports.com
(10/23/2014) The Giants are expected to extend the qualifying offer of $15.3 million to potential free agent third baseman Pablo Sandoval, sources have told CBSSports.com MLB Insider Jon Heyman.

The two sides broke off contract talks in spring training. The team claimed its unwillingness to sign Sandoval for more than three years while he was seeking a nine-figure contract, per Heyman.

Several teams appear interested in Sandoval, including the Red Sox and Yankees, both of whom are seeking major upgrades at that position, as well as the Marlins.

Sandoval rebounded from a .171 start to the season to bat .279 with 16 home runs. He owns a .333 postseason batting average and is again thriving in that role in 2014.


Red Sox LHP Craig Breslow feels destined for free agency
by Marty Gitlin | CBSSports.com
(10/23/2014) Red Sox reliever Craig Breslow is pessimistic about the team picking up his $4 million option for 2015 after a poor season.

The left-hander pitched 54 1/3 innings in 60 games for Boston and compiled a disturbing 5.96 ERA. He believes that last statistic will preclude the Sox from moving forward with him and will result in free agency.

"If you were to strictly look at 2014 with blinders without what had happened previously and what you might expect going forward, $4 million is probably a hefty price tag," he told WEEI.com. "But I think if (you) look at the body of work from 2008-13, you can better appreciate the pitcher I've been and the pitcher I will (be)."

Breslow, who yielded five runs without retiring a batter in his last appearance, performed well in the title season of 2013, compiling a 1.81 ERA in 61 games.


Giants pitcher Tim Lincecum (back) headed for MRI
by Michael Hurcomb | CBSSports.com
(10/23/2014) Giants pitcher Tim Lincecum, who left Game 2 of the World Series due to back tightness, will undergo an MRI Thursday, sources connected to the team told CBSSports.com Baseball Insider Jon Heyman.

Twins' Chris Colabello set for MRI, X-rays on injured thumb
by Michael Hurcomb | CBSSports.com
(10/23/2014) Twins first baseman/outfielder Chris Colabello is scheduled to undergo an MRI and X-rays this week on his ailing right thumb, according to the Pioneer Press. Colabello said he still feels numbness and tingling in his right thumb as a result of getting jammed on a pitch during an April 23 game against the Rays, according to the Worcester Telegram.

 
 
 
Rankings