Tagged: marco scutaro

Fantasy Preview: Shortstop

Hanley Ramirez is far above all other competition in the shortstop category. Troy Tulowitzki is the only other shortstop that should go in the first round. After these two, the competition falls back on some solid veterans and guys like Marco Scutaro, Jason Bartlett, Asdrubal Cabrera, and Erick Aybar who are looking to prove that 2009 wasn’t just a fluke.

The Elite:

  1. Hanley Ramirez FLA- Hanley played in 150 games for the 4th consecutive year and had a .400 OBP for the 2nd consecutive year. He’s an all-around player who got to 100 RBIs for the first time in ’09 as he thrived in the 3 spot of the lineup.
  2. Troy Tulowitzki COL- Besides Hanley, Tulo may be the only shortstop to have 100 runs and 100 RBIs in 2010. Tulowitzki had a career high 32 homers last season along with career highs in triples and steals.
  3. Derek Jeter NYY- This guy is the model of consistency as he continues to put up All-Star numbers. If he can play like last season (107 runs, 18 HR, 30 steals, .406 OBP, etc.), he could be more valuable to fantasy owners than Tulowitzki. Also, Jeter is playing in a contract year which could motivate him even more.

In the running: Rafael Furcal LAD, Yunel Escobar ATL, Jason Bartlett TB

Sleepers:

  1. J.J. Hardy MIN- After being demoted to AAA by the Brewers last season, Hardy enters 2010 with something to prove. Hardy also moves into a great lineup which will benefit his run production. Hardy has the ability to hit 25 home runs.
  2. Alexei Ramirez CHW- Alexei had a down year after very rough start to ’09. He eventually came out of that slump but his power numbers were way down from his rookie year. The good news is that he still increased his OBP and is being mentored by Omar Vizquel this spring.
  3. Elvis Andrus TEX- Andrus won the 2009 AL ROY honors after playing a steady shortstop in Texas. His numbers weren’t astounding but they were better than expected. Andrus is worth taking a chance on with a late pick as his speed leads to runs and steals.

Caution:

  1. Jose Reyes NYM- Reyes was recently sent back to New York to have a possible thyroid condition checked out. He is also coming back from leg injuries. Reyes’ needs to prove his health before fantasy owners should risk an early pick on him.  
  2. Ryan Theriot CHC- Theriot is consistent (but not great) as far as batting average, runs, and steals. Fantasy owners should not expect a repeat of his power numbers from 2009. Theriot’s production could be hindered by a transition to second base if shortstop prospect Starlin Castro proves to be Major League ready early in the season.
  3. Edgar Renteria SF- Renteria displayed rather steady production between 1999 and 2007 before taking a step backwards in 2008 and hitting a wall in 2009. In 460 at-bats in ’09, Renteria only managed 5 HR and a career-low .250 AVG.

Red Sox Rebellion

After the Yankees well-known spending spree of a year ago, the Red Sox are doing their best to keep pace. They’ve already acquired outfielders Mike Cameron and Jeremy Hermida, ace pitcher John Lackey, and shortstop Marco Scutaro. The Sox re-upped catchers Jason Varitek and Victor Martinez and knuckle-baller Tim Wakefield. They are nearing a deal to send third basemen Mike Lowell to Texas for catching prospect Max Ramirez. 

There has been rumors that Boston is enamored by free agent third basemen Adrian Beltre to fill the third base spot potentially vacated by Lowell but Kevin Youkilis could also fill that spot. The Beltre rumors were moved to the backseat today as the Adrian Gonzalez rumors sped back up and a deal seems very likely, in my opinion. The Red Sox have the prospects to bring Gonzalez in, but do they want to give up that much? A deal would potentially include center fielder Jacoby Ellsbury and/or starter Clay Buchholz along with more prospects. That seems like a good start to me as the Padres would get young major league ready players in return.

But it doesn’t stop there. The Red Sox have notified Jeremy Hermida that he would be traded if Jason Bay was resigned. I’ll assume the same would happen if Matt Holliday were brought in but we’ll stick with Bay for now. The Red Sox are instant AL favorites if they bring in Adrian Gonzalez, not to mention Jason Bay.

A rotation containg three aces (Josh Beckett, John Lackey, Jon Lester) and a solid bullpen may potentially be supported by quite a bit of power:

  1. Pedroia 2b
  2. Youkilis 3b
  3. Gonzalez 1b
  4. Martinez c
  5. Ortiz dh
  6. Bay lf
  7. Drew rf
  8. Cameron cf
  9. Scutaro ss

The frequency and amount of posts should pick back up in 5-7 days as I am focusing on finals during the busiest time of the year for academics.

Feelin’ Lucky?

This question can be asked to both teams and players when it comes to the offering and accepting of arbitration in regards to Type A free agents. This question is a difficult one to answer on both sides in the midst of tough economic times and the world of egos among professional athletes.

If offered by a team to one of their Type A free agents, the player may accept for a one year deal holding a guaranteed salary very close to what they made in the previous year. If offered but the player rejects and signs with a new club, the original team will grab the signing team’s first round pick this summer. Teams may offer arbitration if they are confident the player will not accept just so they can grab another first round pick down the road. But, if the player isn’t confident he can land a better deal elsewhere he may accept, which could handcuff the offering team. 

Obviously, surrendering a first round pick is hard for some teams to do, especially rebuilding teams. Losing that potential young talent along with adding the large salary most Type A’s demand can really set teams back. However if the original team isn’t so keen on paying a big sum for one more year, they don’t have to offer arbitration to those Type A players and their new team will not surrender a first round pick.

Over the past couple Hot Stove seasons, Type A’s have been left out in the cold. Other players who don’t cost teams draft picks are able to sign first, and sometimes, more lucrative deals. Last year, Orlando Cabrera was one of those Type A guys who had to wait. He ended up signing a one year deal with the Oakland Athletics, but his agent was able to include an important clause in his contract so this would not happen again. It said that his team could not offer him arbitration at the end of the year, so he would not cost another new team a draft pick the following summer. That makes him much more attractive in this winter’s middle infield market that already includes other Type A’s Miguel Tejada, Marco Scutaro, Orlando Hudson, and Placido Polanco.

With the deadline to offer arbitration tomorrow at midnight, Cabrera and his agent could have already given him a good lead on this year’s scramble for veteran shortstops and second basemen. As the winter progresses, look for more clauses like Cabrera’s to be implemented on short term deals as players try to rebuild their stock.