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

By the Numbers: Rounding up the sophomores

  •  

From Mike Trout to Mike Fiers, rookies have been stealing the headlines this season. Players who entered the season as prospects are now starting to establish themselves and Fantasy owners are already anticipating how well they might be able to perform as sophomores. We will have to wait until next year to know how what their fates will be, but the wait is over for getting the verdict on last season's rookie crop.

The 2011 season had its own impressive cohort of rookies, and now that many of them have played the better part of two years in the majors, we can do a better job of gauging their long-term value. This week, we'll assess the body of work turned in by 14 hitters who exhausted their rookie eligibility a year ago. Some have also exhausted Fantasy owners with their sophomore-year letdowns, while others have taken their games up a notch. Lurking behind the wavering Fantasy stats are the skill indicators that can give us a better indication of how these young stars will perform in 2013 and beyond.

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.

I haven't forgotten the 2011 rookie class of pitchers; we'll look them over next week. But for now, let's give the hitters our full attention. Stats are current for games played through Tuesday, August 7.

Dustin Ackley, 2B, Mariners: Most of the hitters reviewed here have experienced some change in their skill profile this season, but Ackley's peripherals are practically clones of last season's. That might come as a surprise, because his Fantasy stats have not been up to his 2011 standards. Ackley's decline is largely tied to his sluggish doubles rate, as he is on pace for just 23 two-baggers. That rate, in turn, is the likely result of a .064 BABIP on flyballs, which is roughly half of a normal rate. Given that Ackley is right around his home run pace from a year ago, a decrease in power doesn't seem to explain his lack of doubles. That makes Ackley a strong bet to rebound rest-of-season and next year as well.

J.P. Arencibia, C, Blue Jays: Probably more than anyone else on this list, Arencibia has met -- but not exceeded -- the expectations he set for owners with his 2011 performance. Arencibia has hit for a higher average this year, though he has offset that with fewer walks. With similar power numbers to last year, his OPS is up only 25 points. Arencibia's hand injury has put a dent into his 2012 Fantasy value, and the potential emergence of prospect Travis d'Arnaud puts next year's value in some doubt. Assuming Arencibia finds a way to claim regular at-bats, he should be the borderline No. 1/No. 2 catcher he was this year, with a little bit of upside, as there is room for him to cut back on his strikeouts.

Allen Craig, OF, Cardinals: If owners were left with any doubts about Craig's ability to hit for power and average in the majors after a truncated 2011 season, he answered those doubts this season. Over a larger number of plate appearances, Craig has increased his home run per flyball (HR/FB) ratio, as well as his line drive and walk rates this year. Those improvements have allowed Craig to withstand some expected BABIP regression, and he is posting a very similar OBP and SLG to those of a year ago. Owners can expect similar production in 2013 and should target him as a No. 2 mixed league outfielder.

Freddie Freeman, 1B, Braves: Though Freeman's overall numbers have not improved substantially since his rookie year, owners can take encouragement in the fact that he's kept pace while dealing with a variety of health issues. He has shown that last season's 21-homer performance was no fluke, as he has held his flyball rate and HR/FB ratio constant, and his doubles rate has experienced a dramatic spike thanks to an enhanced display of line drive power. Freeman is still only 22, so he still has time to improve his contact skills and take another step forward with his home run power. 2013 could very well be a major breakout for the Braves' first baseman.

Paul Goldschmidt, 1B, Diamondbacks: Based on his minor league stats, Goldschmidt appeared to have the potential to hit for a much higher average than he did last season. He has made good on that promise, striking out at a lower rate and hitting more line drives, and the result has been a .308 average through his first 97 games. Goldschmidt's return to line-drive hitting has netted him 33 doubles to date, and a 25-home run season is still very much within his grasp. Goldschmidt may have reached his ceiling in terms of batting average, but there could still be more home run power to come. He is already a viable first baseman in practically all formats, and a year from now, he could easily be a must-start in all leagues.

Don't Just Play, Play to Win!
Fantasy Baseball Today Be sure to catch Fantasy Baseball 360 LIVE at 5 p.m. ET every weekday to dominate your Fantasy leagues. Our writers will have the latest news, analysis and roster trends each afternoon.
Fantasy Baseball TodayCheck out the latest episode!

Dee Gordon, SS, Dodgers: Though he is barely hitting A.J. Ellis' weight and has already missed more than a month with an injured thumb, it hasn't been all bad for Gordon this year. He has improved his success rate on stolen bases, increased his walk rate and swung at pitches outside the strike zone with less frequency. Gordon's biggest problem is that he has whiffed on those errant offerings at a much higher rate this year. While this might be a lost season for the 24-year-old, Gordon has already shown us that he can be a very good contact hitter who puts his speed to good use. Among an increasingly thin and unpredictable corps of shortstops, Gordon could be a real steal in drafts and auctions next season.

Eric Hosmer, 1B, Royals: Hosmer could be the most disappointing sophomore hitter of all, and at the very least, he is in the discussion. While he has been choosier in his pitch selection, there hasn't been any payoff for Hosmer's patience. Though he is drawing more walks this year, Hosmer's power has been on the wane, as 56 percent of his hit balls have been grounders. Owners looking for a power surge from Hosmer will have to look hard for the evidence to support their hopes. He didn't display much power during his brief time in Triple-A, and his best power numbers came while playing at a good hitter's park in Double-A. Hosmer built his reputation as a prospect largely on high batting averages that were partly supported by good contact rates and partly by high BABIPs, the latter of which can be volatile. Hosmer is still young enough to develop power, but drafting him on the assumption that he will do it next year would be a risky move.

Desmond Jennings, OF, Rays: It's not uncommon for young players to get trigger-happy once they settle into a big-league role, chasing pitches they'd be better off leaving alone. This has been the case for Jennings, as he has dramatically increased a outside-the-zone swing percentage that was among the majors' lowest last season. A near-doubling of his popup rate has been one of the consequences, and not surprisingly, so has a drop in power. All is not lost for Jennings, as he has increased his flyball rate this year, showing his potential for a turnaround sometime this season. According to the ESPN Hit Tracker, Jennings has yet to hit a short-distance home run this year, and with a handful of "cheapies," his stat line would get a significant boost.

Brett Lawrie, 3B, Blue Jays: Like Jennings, Lawrie has been much less selective as a sophomore than as a rookie, and it's had an even greater impact on him than on his Rays counterpart. Aside from a brief span during mid-June, Lawrie has yet to get into a power groove this year, and while his walk rate has withered away, he has packed on 11 percentage points to his ground ball rate. According to the pitch value data on FanGraphs, Lawrie killed two-seam fastballs last year, but this year pitchers have adjusted and given him fewer to hit. Now that he has been placed on the disabled list with a rib injury, Lawrie's letdown of a season just got even worse. Given that his best power year by far in the minors came in the hitter-friendly Pacific Coast League, owners should bring a healthy dose of skepticism about Lawrie's chances for a return to his 2011 level to their 2013 drafts.

Check out our Fantasy Baseball podcast!
Stay a step ahead of your competition in 2014 by checking out our popular Fantasy Baseball Today podcasts. Adam Aizer, Scott White and Al Melchior will entertain you and help you dominate all season.
Latest episode | Subscribe!

Mike Moustakas, 3B, Royals: Moustakas' power is easier to trust than Hosmer's, as he put it on display at Triple-A, and he is more of a flyball hitter. Now that his fluky early-season numbers, featuring a .315 April batting average, have been washed out, Moustakas is sitting outside the top 15 third basemen in standard Rotisserie and Head-to-Head scoring. That doesn't mean he should be relegated to late-round or waiver status in standard mixed leagues next year, as he should continue to increase his power while making marginal improvements to his batting average. However, his upside for 2013 is that of a middle-rounder.

Josh Reddick, OF, Athletics: The offseason move to Oakland looked like a potential disaster for Reddick, but O.co Coliseum's spacious dimensions haven't hurt him one bit. Reddick has responded with 25 home runs through his first 106 games, and to look at his recent trends, his growth appears to be sustainable. After a difficult first tour at Triple-A Pawtucket, Reddick hit for more power in each of two subsequent seasons. He has followed a similar pattern in his development as a major leaguer, and this year, Reddick is hitting with far more power to center field. His current slash line of .260/.333/.518 represents a level that he should be able to sustain over the next few years, making him no worse than a borderline No. 2/No. 3 outfielder.

Ben Revere, OF, Twins: Revere is a very good contact hitter, but unless he becomes a great contact hitter, owners shouldn't count on him for a string of .300-plus seasons. His BABIP history suggests that his current .360 rate will not the norm going forward. As you would expect from someone with Revere's speed, he hits for a high average on grounders, but his utter lack of power makes it unlikely that he can sustain a high BABIP for an extended period. Revere will continue to be a good source of steals and runs, but with a batting average though could sink into the .270s for the rest of the season, he will be more of a marginal option, even in standard mixed Rotisserie leagues.

Mark Trumbo, 1B, Angels: Don't look now, but Trumbo has an OBP that is 24 points above the league average. The knock on the Angels' slugger had been that his plate discipline was so poor that he would always be a liability for the batting average and OBP categories. This season, Trumbo has swung less and walked more, and he's hitting for a higher average after rebounding from last season's fluky-low .277 BABIP. Trumbo's power is unquestionably legit, so there is little reason to doubt Trumbo's status as a top 10 first baseman.

Jemile Weeks, 2B, Athletics: Weeks' Jekyll-and-Hyde act over his first two seasons mirrors his inconsistent minor league track record, so it's hard to have confidence in his ability to replicate his better performances with regularity. It seems odd that the speedy Weeks is hitting only .232 on grounders, but he didn't always register high BABIP rates in the minors, so he shouldn't be counted on to hit for average like he did as a rookie. As someone who can steal bases, make frequent contact and draw walks, Weeks still has the potential to be a solid second-tier second baseman, but until he develops some consistency, he is too risky to use in standard mixed leagues.

Stay in touch with the most passionate Fantasy staff in the business by following us on Twitter @CBSFantasyBB or Al Melchior at @almelccbs . You can also e-mail us at fantasybaseball@cbsinteractive.com .

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
Tyler Matzek strikes out six in win vs. Dodgers
by R.J. White | CBSSports.com
(9/16/2014) Rockies pitcher Tyler Matzek earned a win Tuesday, giving up two earned runs on 11 hits and one walk in 5 1/3 innings while striking out six in his team's 10-4 victory over the Dodgers.

While the opposing starter allowed five runs on only four hits, Matzek (6-10) was able to scatter 11 hits while only allowing a two-run double in the sixth inning while already up 5-0. He's held the opposition to two earned runs or less in five straight starts and now owns a 4.19 ERA and 83:41 K:BB ratio in 111 2/3 innings. Matzek is scheduled to face the Diamondbacks Sunday.


Dan Haren surrenders five runs in loss vs. Rockies
by R.J. White | CBSSports.com
(9/16/2014) Dodgers pitcher Dan Haren took a loss Tuesday, allowing five earned runs on four hits and one walk in five innings while striking out five in his team's 10-4 defeat against the Rockies.

Haren (13-11) watched a run come home on a groundout and another on a wild pitch in the first inning. He then gave up another run on a groundout in the second inning before serving up a two-run home run in the fourth. It was the first time in five starts Haren surrendered more than one earned run. He owns a 4.14 ERA and 134:36 K:BB ratio in 174 innings heading into Sunday's scheduled matchup with the Cubs.


Roenis Elias exits game with left elbow stiffness
by R.J. White | CBSSports.com
(9/16/2014) Mariners pitcher Roenis Elias was removed from Tuesday's start against the Angels for precautionary reasons due to left elbow stiffness, the team announced.

Elias gave up two earned runs on five hits and one walk in three-plus innings and struck out one before having to come out of the game. He's scheduled to pitch again Sunday against the Astros, but his availability is obviously tied to the status of his elbow.


Jose Altuve becomes new franchise single-season hit king
by R.J. White | CBSSports.com
(9/16/2014) Astros second baseman Jose Altuve went 2 for 5 Tuesday to become the franchise's new single-season hit king in his team's 4-2 loss to the Indians.

Altuve tied Craig Biggio's franchise record of 210 hits with a double in the fifth inning Tuesday, and No. 211 came on a seventh-inning single. The major-league leader in batting average, Altuve has hit .343/.379/.456 with seven home runs, 54 RBI and 52 stolen bases in 616 at-bats. He has 11 more games to add to his new record.


Nick Tropeano strikes out four in loss vs. Indians
by R.J. White | CBSSports.com
(9/16/2014) Astros pitcher Nick Tropeano took a loss Tuesday, surrendering two runs (one earned) on four hits and two walks in five innings while striking out four in his team's 4-2 defeat against the Indians.

Tropeano (1-1) pitched about as well as he did in his first start but faced a much tougher road to a win Tuesday with Corey Kluber racking up strikeouts against Houston hitters. The Astros pitcher gave up a run on a groundout in the first inning before the Indians plated an unearned run in the fourth. Tropeano owns a 2.70 ERA and 9:4 K:BB ratio in 10 innings. He's scheduled to face the Rangers Monday.


Corey Kluber strikes out 14 in dominant win vs. Astros
by R.J. White | CBSSports.com
(9/16/2014) Indians pitcher Corey Kluber earned a win Tuesday, giving up just one earned run on seven hits and two walks in seven innings while striking out a season-high 14 batters in his team's 4-2 victory over the Astros.

Kluber (16-9) allowed an RBI single the first inning but went on to deliver his ninth double-digit-strikeout performance of the season. He's second in the majors in strikeouts during his breakout season. Kluber owns a 2.42 ERA, 1.10 WHIP and 244:48 K:BB ratio in 219 2/3 innings. He's scheduled to face the Twins Sunday in what should be his penultimate start of the season.


Joe Nathan blows save in loss vs. Twins
by R.J. White | CBSSports.com
(9/16/2014) Tigers closer Joe Nathan blew a save opportunity and took a loss Tuesday, allowing two earned runs on two hits and one walk in two-thirds of an inning in his team's 4-3 defeat against the Twins.

A well-pitched game turned into a wild one in the ninth inning Tuesday, as Nathan (4-4) followed up a blown save on a three-run home run against Glen Perkins with his own troubles in the bottom of the ninth. The Twins delivered the tying run on a one-out double and earned the win with a walkoff infield single. Nathan has given up runs in back-to-back appearances and now owns a 5.10 ERA and 52:28 K:BB ratio in 54 2/3 innings.


Glen Perkins blows save, picks up win Tuesday
by R.J. White | CBSSports.com
(9/16/2014) Twins closer Glen Perkins blew a save opportunity Tuesday but still ended up with a win in his team's 4-3 victory over the Tigers.

Perkins (4-3) was handed a 2-0 lead after a brilliant performance by Ricky Nolasco, and he served up a three-run home run to put his team in a hole. However, the offense delivered a walkoff win in the bottom half of the ninth to take Perkins off the hook. The closer's recent struggles continue, as he's now allowed runs in four straight appearances and six of his last eight games, serving up five home runs during that stretch. Perkins owns a 3.65 ERA and 66:11 K:BB ratio in 61 2/3 innings.


Jake Odorizzi spins six one-run innings in win vs. Yankees
by R.J. White | CBSSports.com
(9/16/2014) Rays pitcher Jake Odorizzi earned a win Tuesday, giving up one earned run on five hits and one walk in six innings while striking out three in his team's 6-1 victory over the Yankees.

Odorizzi (11-12) gave up an RBI single in the second inning and appeared he may be headed for a tough loss befor the offense came through with a run in the fifth and another in the sixth. Three of his last four outings have been excellent, but he also has two clunkers in his last five starts. Odorizzi owns a 3.98 ERA and 171:56 K:BB ratio in 165 innings. He's scheduled to face the Red Sox next Tuesday.


Michael Pineda strikes out five in loss vs. Rays Tuesday
by R.J. White | CBSSports.com
(9/16/2014) Yankees pitcher Michael Pineda took a loss Tuesday, allowing two runs (one earned) on four hits and two walks in 5 1/3 innings while striking out five in his team's 6-1 defeat against the Rays.

Pineda (3-5) tossed four scoreless innings before the Rays broke through with a run on an error in the fifth. The second run against the starter came on a bunt single in the sixth with runners on the corners. Pineda owns a 2.15 ERA, 0.93 WHIP and 41:6 K:BB ratio in 62 2/3 innings. He's scheduled to face the Orioles Monday.


 
 
 
Rankings