Monday, April 1, 2013

MARDI GRAS MADNESS: Texas Power Drinkers

Felipe M

We continue on our reviews for our fantasy baseball league, Mardi Gras Madness.  Please take some time to read about The Evil Empire.


Up next is yet another team out of Lone Star State.  And apparently, they like to drink--a lot:

EAST DIVISION--Texas Power Drinkers 


BATTING LINEUP

Like: Matt Kemp has turned into a beast since 2010 in terms of counting stats.  He strikes out too much, but does enough to get on base and his power and speed makes him a legit player in both Roto and Points leagues.  Coming in for support are Billy Butler, Yadier Molina, Aaron Hill and Jason Heyward.

Dislike: Admittedly, out of desperation, I was thinking of picking up Erick Aybar as my SS options were disappearing at my draft.  Luckily, I didn’t have to.  Aybar is a pesky hitter, but comes equipped with a low on-base%. 

Nick Markakis will need to prove that he is still a
relevant player in fantasy baseball
(photo courtesy of Mike McCann)
Look Out For: Carl Crawford if it turns out that his stint as a Red Sox was just an aberration.  Many in the SABR community think that Crawford is declining at a dangerous pace, but for once I’m optimistic about a player.  New league, new scene, and a clean bill of health might return Crawford into a top hitter again.  Also, Kendry Morales in Seattle as they move the fences in.  He should be able to produce if he’s able to stay healthy for a full year.  And finally, Jeff Keppinger is a sneaky player to keep track of.  He qualifies everywhere on the infield except for SS.  He had a surprising year in 2012 and has been hitting the ball all spring long (at one point he was hitting well above .500--batting average). 

Bench: Keppinger will hold down 3B for the injured David FreeseHanley Ramirez is on the mend, but will surely replace either Aybar or Keppinger, depending on who’s struggling upon his return.  Currently, Nick Markakis is slotted as the DH, but if he can’t hit for a bit more power, I can see a scenario where both will share duties at that spot. 


2013 Hitting Projections
Player
Team
Pos
BB/K
AB/K
AB/HR
OBP
SLG
OPS
SB
Matt Kemp
Los Angeles
CF
0.41
3.83
17.20
0.366
0.533
0.899
19
Billy Butler
Kansas City
1B
0.61
5.98
23.99
0.374
0.495
0.869
2
Kendry Morales
Seattle
1B
0.30
4.38
22.03
0.326
0.464
0.790
0
Nick Markakis
Baltimore
RF
0.80
7.86
38.74
0.362
0.441
0.803
5
Aaron Hill
Arizona
2B
0.55
7.07
27.68
0.335
0.460
0.795
12














PITCHING

Like: King Felix Hernandez is the ace of this staff.  He will be supported by Doug Fister who has been great since being traded to Detroit.  I also like Mat Latos.  Even when he was traded to the Reds, I was still trying to draft him in all of my leagues last season because I believe in his abilities.  Then there’s Matt Moore who will look to take another step forward in his progression to become a legit, 1st Tier SP.

Dislike: This team makes it too easy for me: UbaldoJimenez and Jason Vargas were good enough to make this squad.  Wow!  Luckily, this team has plenty of pitching depth where they’re not in desperate need for these two, mediocre, pitchers’ services.

Look Out For: There are a few candidates here.   Brett Anderson was struggling during the spring as he tried to overcome a neck injury.  When he’s on, he is a legit, 2nd Tier pitcher.  Lance Lynn, if he is able to pitch like he did early in 2012, this team will have a pitching staff that will overwhelm opponents.  

2013 Pitching Projections
Player
Team
K/BB
K/9
BB/9
H/9
WHIP
HR/9
Doug Fister
Detroit
3.63
6.65
1.83
9.21
1.23
0.81
Brett Anderson
Oakland
3.28
6.78
2.07
8.79
1.21
0.72
Lance Lynn
St. Louis
2.92
8.75
3.00
8.16
1.24
0.89







Drew Smyly was an interesting selection by this club.  Even though he was relegated to the bullpen, he is still pitching deep into spring games.  I was shocked to see that the Tigers did not send him down the Minors as it was reported early in the spring that Smyly would be starting in 2013, either in the Majors or Minors.  I can’t envision him as a SP in a Tigers’ uniform because the rotation is full of pitchers that can rack up the innings, but it’s clear that the Tigers are up to something. 

Finally, lurking in the Minors is Zach Wheeler who might be brought up sometime in 2013.  Selfishly, I would prefer sooner rather than later as I anxiously wait to see what this kid can do in the Majors.  As I mentioned before, I wouldn’t be surprised if the Mets wait until September like they did with Matt Harvey

Bullpen: As much as I’m shaken by last year’s roller-coaster ride that was Addison Reed, I think he will be a bit more stable in 2013.  After battling an infected tooth, Rafael Soriano seems to be ready to go for 2013.  In terms of K/BB, he rated middle of the pack among qualified closers in that category so there’s a slight concern there.  Put it another way, Glen Perkins ranks ahead of Soriano in that category.

PREDICTION: This club has themselves a good collection of players.  As always with this franchise, I’m highly impressed with the balance they are able to achieve in their lineup after every single draft.  This year, however, I have to caution my expectations of this team due to the fact that there are way too many “ifs” on this club.  “If this guy comes back healthy,” “if this guy can pitch like he’s supposed to,” “if this guy can bounce back,” “etc.”  It’s ok to gamble on one or two players whose stock fell for whatever reason, but when it becomes the basis on building your franchise for any upcoming season, it tends to hurt more than help you in the end.  



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