Five to Watch – SS

FANFOOD_FB2014_5toW_SS

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

There are hundreds of websites where you can get information to help you prepare for your upcoming fantasy baseball draft and season. It seems like every one of them offer rankingscheat sheets and draft guides.

In order to dominate your league you need to be familiar with a few of them. Check them outpick your favorites and have fun with your research. We will help you with our FANFOOD Fantasy Baseball Tools and new features, the FANFOOD 5 to Watch and FANFOOD goes 2 for 2.

During Spring Training, we offer 5 players from each position for you to watch and consider for your FB team. They will be ones that you may be able to find later in your draft or even off the waiver wire as the season progresses.

Once the season begins, FANFOOD goes 2 for 2 and discusses two upcoming starting pitchers scheduled for two starts. They will be our weekly picks for your team to stream (if that is your strategy).

So who are the FANFOOD 5 to Watch? Are they ones to target? Are they sleepers, studs or duds? The answer is yes and the answer is no. Simply put, they are the players that we find interesting at each position, ones you need to keep an eye on this spring before your fantasy baseball draft.

 

That all said, let’s get to it with our next 5, this time it is the Shortstops, followed by some helpful links and a great sauce recipe, Black Pepper Vinegar

 

5 to Watch quick links:

[C] [1B] [2B] [3B] [SS] [OF] [SP] [RP] [Prospects]

 

FANFOOD 5 to Watch – SS

 

Shortstop has been a notoriously tough spot in regards to positional scarcity in fantasy baseball. While the outlook is not quite as dire in 2014, you don’t want to be on the outside looking in when attempting to fill a position that hasn’t always been known for consistent offensive output.

 

For many years the SS spot has been considered a shallow position when looking for players who will provide in more than the R, SB and AVG categories and this hasn’t changed for 2014. Everyone knows that if you are looking for power numbers that you don’t look at the shortstop position, other than maybe the top 3 guys, and even their power numbers are hit or miss most years. But, if you are looking for speed stats (SBs, runs scored) and some help in the batting average department, you can find it here.

 

The top two shortstops still come with hefty price tags and hefty injury history/risk. The ceiling is very high for these guys, but the risk-reward can be too great. So who are the ones to watch? We in this article we will discuss a top-tier guy, a relatively unknown with big upside, a serviceable every day starter and a couple of shortstops to take a flier on.

 

 

1. Ian Desmond

ADP #38

 

You’re going to have to pay a hefty price for the services of Ian. It’s not a bad investment, but it is a risky one. You can find quality later in the draft but you can’t argue with his success the past two seasons, and if he stays healthy, he could make your 3rd round pick look great.

 

Notes from around the web:

 

The shortstop here with perhaps the best line over the past 2 years that no one talks much about is Ian Desmond (SS, WAS). Two 20-20 seasons with an average over .285, a strong line-up around him (with one more year of growth in) and 158 games played in 2013 means Desmond might be the safest bet for top SS production on the board. The floor for Desmond in my mind is somewhere around .285-78-22-80-22.

source | dobbler sports
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Nationals shortstop Ian Desmond finished the 2013 regular season with a .280 batting average, 20 home runs, 80 RBIs, 77 runs scored and 21 stolen bases. Desmond was one of the few bright spots in a disappointing Nationals season. He was one of only nine players to have at least 20 homers and 20 steals in 2013, and he has now accomplished the feat in back-to-back seasons. Given his durability — Desmond has averaged 149 games played over the past four seasons — the 28-year-old will represent a much more reliable fantasy option next year than bigger names like Troy Tulowitzki and Hanley Ramirez. Desmond could be ready to break out.

source | MLB.com
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The common theme in the fantasy community is Desmond is the safe elite/tier one shortstop because of the solid production the past two seasons and he’s been able to stay on the field consistently the past four seasons (averaging 149 games played). However, there are some warning signs in his game. A big reason for the jump in his batting average was due to being more aggressive in 0-0 counts and it looks as though that strategy may no longer be as effective. If he reverts back to being a .260-.265 hitter he’s no longer a top four shortstop.

source | baseball professor
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The steamer projection has him at one homer fewer than last year, four fewer steals, and a R+RBI total that is 14 fewer than last year. The homer is obviously negligible. But the steals, runs and RBI dropping all add up, and they seem to be a result of the projected drop in batting average. Fewer hits means fewer runs and RBI and fewer opportunities on base to steal a bag. The big question is whether the average will really drop.

source | fantasy fix
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2014 Fantasy Baseball Projections

ABRHHRRBISBBAOBPSLGOPS
56373151197417.268.316.440.756

source | KFFL
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2. Andrelton Simmons

ADP #146

 

Simmons is one to watch to see where they place him in the batting order. If he is available in your 12-team league when your draft hits the late teen rounds, then you got a steal. It’s just hard to count on him as your everyday starter, but could be a nice platoon, if you decide to carry two SS.

 

Notes from around the web:

 

Braves shortstop Andrelton Simmons completed the 2013 regular season with a .248 batting average, 17 home runs, 59 RBIs, 76 runs scored and six stolen bases. Simmons quickly made a name for himself as one of the best defensive shortstops in the Major Leagues, but it was his bat that was the real surprise in 2013. In fact, Simmons’ ability to clear fences came out of nowhere, as he smacked just six long balls in 930 Minor League at-bats. It might be too much to expect a repeat performance in the power department in ’14, but Simmons should offer decent NL-only league value in his age-24 season.

source | MLB.com
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You would think he had the makeup of a strong average hitter, after posting an 18.5% line drive rate (19.3% in the second half) and 8.4% strikeout rate. The contact is something he’s always featured, and that definitely puts him in a good position. However, he needs to reduce the popups if he really wants to thrive. Last season he posted a whopping 17.8% popup rate, the highest mark in the league. We have to hope that with age and experience he can reduce that to a much more palatable level. If he can make the necessary adjustments, the average is going to rise with it. Long-term he could profile as a .300 hitter, though chances are he won’t get there this season. The other question is where he is going to hit in the Braves’ lineup. He has some speed (26 SB in the minors in 2011) and has the potential to chip in 10-12 this season. If the popup problem is corrected, he profiles as the perfect #2 hitter for Atlanta, allowing guys like Justin Upton and Freddie Freeman to slide down into the middle if the lineup.

source | fangraphs
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As most pitchers have already figured out, if you can keep the ball inside and up in the zone Simmons will continue to be a popup machine. In a position devoid of offensive value once the elite talent is gone off the board, Simmons may actually provide a decent amount of pop (think 12-13 HR), and a few stolen bases. However, combine that with a batting average that will sit around .260 for a good season and an OBP that flirts with .300 all year and there are definitely limits to his appeal.

source | fake teams
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2014 Fantasy Baseball Projections

ABRHHRRBISBBAOBPSLGOPS
52268139125510.266.319.402.721

source | KFFL
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3. Brad Miller

ADP #175

 

If you missed out on Andrelton, don’t worry you can always get miller.  Every year there are a couple of guys that the FB world is in love with and he is one of them. Think Desmond, but without the risk. I am not sure that he will make it past the 15th round in your 12 team standard redraft league, but ADP#175 sounds about right.

 

Notes from around the web:

 

The 23-year-old rookie shortstop seems to have cemented himself as the M’s starter at the position for the 2014 season by slashing .265/.318/.418 with eight homers, 41 runs, 36 RBI and five steals in his first 76 big leagues games. Provided he remains atop the Mariners lineup, he’ll be an extremely popular commodity on draft day next spring.

source | rotoworld
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Mariners shortstop Brad Miller finished up the 2013 regular season with a .265 batting average, eight homers, 36 RBIs, 41 runs and five stolen bases. Miller’s numbers are even more impressive when considering he posted them as a 23-year-old in his first taste of big league action. The lefty swinger’s .294 BABIP and 21.6 percent line-drive rate indicate that the batting average should be repeatable, if not in line for improvement. Miller’s 2013 production would pace out to 17 long balls and 11 steals over 162 games, making the infielder a nice sleeper option heading into the 2014 season.

source | MLB.com
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The Seattle Mariners’ Brad Miller got his call in June of 2013, and gave the Mariners, and savvy fantasy owners, a small taste of what he was capable of. While his line of .265 BA, 8 HR, and 36 RBI isn’t exactly eye popping, note that it was done in only 306 at bats. Look for Miller to lock down his starting gig in Seattle out of spring training, and look for him to get on base at a clip closer to his minor league OBP of .409. He’s currently being taken 231st overall, and 19th amongst shortstops. His peripherals show that, over a full season, he gets on base at a better clip and has more pop than Jean Segura, Andrelton Simmons, and Billy Hamilton; and he’s in a greatly improved lineup that will allow for more opportunities to drive in runs and score. He is undervalued, if valued at all. Look for Miller as a sneaky bench stash that could potentially turn into the steal of your draft later in the season.

source | rotoballer
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2014 Fantasy Baseball Projections

ABRHHRRBISBBAOBPSLGOPS
53382145136612.272.342.415.757

source | KFFL
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4. Xander Bogaerts

ADP #191

 

Xander is another FB dandy. He and the aforementioned miller will both be on the board in the later teen rounds and with his added 3B eligibility, he could be a nice addition to your bench.  Watch him this spring and see if the Sox stick with him at SS like they promise.

 

Notes from around the web:

 

Xander Bogaerts will work out exclusively at shortstop for the time being. Bogaerts played a lot of third base down the stretch last season and during the postseason, but the Red Sox don’t want to overload him there, especially since he’s currently projected to begin the season as the starting shortstop. The situation is obviously subject to change, as the Red Sox haven’t ruled out re-signing Stephen Drew.

source | rotoworld
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One of the more highly anticipated Major League prospects set for his first full season is Xander Bogaerts, Boston’s top prospect. The 21-year-old shortstop played well in his first taste of the big leagues last September, going .250/.320/.364 in 50 regular season plate appearances and .296/.412/.481 in 34 postseason plate appearances. Most notable in Bogaerts’ debut was his plate discipline, walking 11 times overall and averaging 4.1 pitches per plate appearance – which would’ve ranked 20th in the majors had he qualified. Bogaerts displayed good power and plate discipline in his minor league seasons, so it’s good to see that the shortstop carried over one of his skills while the other one will come as he ages. Depending on where you play your fantasy baseball Bogaerts could qualify as a third baseman (CBS and ESPN) or at third and shortstop (Yahoo!). He should gain shortstop eligibility quickly in the season as long as Boston doesn’t sign Stephen Drew or someone else to fill in there. So, if he qualifies at shortstop on draft day he should be a top eight selection in re-draft leagues and possibly a top three selection in keepers. At third base he should be a top 12 selection in re-draft leagues and possibly a top five selection in keepers. Don’t overdraft him, as we can’t count the number of times someone has had a small amount of success late in the season and then failed to keep it up the next year, even if they were a top prospect. But if you’re debating between Bogaerts or a low-upside established player in the middle rounds take a shot on Bogaerts.

source | fantasy fix
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It’s entirely possible that Bogaerts hits .290-.300 with 20-25 home runs and 80+ runs batted in over a full season of at bats. There’s still the potential for even more than that, which is the scary part. I believe that this year we are looking at a slightly less powerful line, hitting in the .280 range with around 20 home runs, which is still an extremely good line from a shortstop.

source | fake teams
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2014 Fantasy Baseball Projections

ABRHHRRBISBBAOBPSLGOPS
4585312313606.269.338.430.768

source | KFFL
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5. Jhonny Peralta

ADP #225

 

Jhonny got paid. If you are one of those baseball purists or one with a very high moral compass, then by all means stay away from Peralta.  No one will blame you and those aren’t the only reasons to skip on him.  He is one to watch this spring to see how he starts off with his new team and clean body. He plays in a hitter’s park in a sick offense, making him FB relevant. Let the hater’s hate, while you appreciate.

 

Notes from around the web:

 

General manager John Mozeliak on Monday defended his decision to sign Jhonny Peralta to a four-year, $53 million contract. “Character and makeup are something we weigh into our decision-making,” Mozeliak said. “In his case, he admitted what he did, he took responsibility for it. … I feel like he has paid for his mistakes, and obviously if he were to make another one, then it would be a huge disappointment.” Peralta, 31, was suspended for 50 games this past season following MLB’s Biogenesis investigation. Diamondbacks reliever Brad Ziegler, a union player representative, tweeted that “it pays to cheat” and wrote that owners were “encouraging PED use.” David Aardsma tweeted: “I had 2 major surgeries in 5 months and made it back clean, nothing pisses me off more than guys that cheat and get raises for doing so.”

source | rotoworld
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The defending National League champions have made little secret of their desire for an offensive upgrade at the position. Their shortstops, led by Pete Kozma, posted a batting line of .222/.280/.303 in 2013, with four home runs and 54 RBIs. Peralta, an 11-year veteran who turns 32 in May, hit .303/.358/.457 for the Tigers last season, with 11 home runs and 55 RBIs in only 107 games. One of the top shortstops available this offseason, Peralta owns a career .268 average with a .755 OPS and 156 home runs.

source | MLB.com
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It’s a new team and a new league for Jhonny Peralta as he joins the St. Louis Cardinals. This will be Peralta’s first season playing for a National League team and he will be surrounded by what some think is the best lineup in baseball. In just 107 games last year with the Detroit Tigers, Peralta hit .303-.358-.457 with 11 HRs, 50 runs and 55 RBIs. Now in the NL Central, he will be playing a lot of games at hitter-friendly ballparks, including 81 at Busch Stadium. Overall, Peralta will benefit from a new league and a good lineup around him. He would be a good value to get in a late round.

source | fake teams
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He’s clearly past his peak and on the back side of the aging curve. Second, his BABIP is coming down from .373 and his average will fall along with it. Third, his new home park is 10% less favorable to right-handed home runs than his old home park was. Fourth, his strikeout rate rose sharply last year. And finally, he’s coming off a PED suspension. I’m sure people could come up with some reasons to like him, but none spring to mind, and I’d be surprised if any list of the good outweighed all that bad.

source | fangraphs
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2014 Fantasy Baseball Projections

ABRHHRRBISBBAOBPSLGOPS
4956113313662.269.325.416.741

source | KFFL
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5 to Watch quick links:

[C] [1B] [2B] [3B] [SS] [OF] [SP] [RP] [Prospects]

 

FB2014 Player Links:

 

 

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Black Pepper Vinegar Sauce

 

INGREDIENTS

 

1/2 cup Rice Vinegar

1/4 cup Dijon Mustard

1 Tbsp Honey

3/4 cup plus 2 Tbsp canola oil

1.5 tsp Salt

1 tsp Pepper

 

PREPARATION

 

In a blender, puree vinegar, mustard, honey, salt and pepper.

With blender running add oil in a slow stream until emulsified.

 

Can be refrigerated up to 3 days.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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