Tag: Michael Young

2014 MLB Free Agency: Hitting: What’s Out There For Your Team

Another season has finished and with only ten teams having successful, playoff-bound seasons, it is time for the other 20 teams to look forward to the 2014 season. After 162 games, you probably have a pretty good idea of what your team needs. Below, you’ll find a list of upcoming free agents. Who would you like your team to sign? Comment away!!!

CanoTop Tier Talents

Robinson Cano, 2B, 31: Although ESPN’s Buster Olney reported that Cano wants a ten-year, $305 million deal, it would seem nearly impossible for the middle infielder to get anything close to that, even when considering all of the television money coming in for clubs. How far are the Dodgers willing to go over the luxury tax threshold? Are the Angels willing to shell out more money to 30-plus year olds after watching Josh Hamilton and Albert Pujols not live up to expectations? Everyone knows that the Yankees are trying to slim down their payroll…it just doesn’t seem likely. After watching Cano hit like a corner outfielder while playing second base over the last nine years, he is clearly the top talent available in the entire free agency market.

Shin-Soo Choo, OF, 31: Choo showed his worth by getting on base exactly 300 times in the 2013 season (162 hits,  112 walks, and 26 HBP) while reaching the 20 home run/20 stolen base level for the third time in his career, helping solidify a Cincinnati lineup that had been seeking a strong leadoff hitter for what seems like decades. He proved that he was at least capable of handling center field in Cincinnati, but his defensive metrics have been pretty miserable over his entire career wherever he plays, although, Choo can make up for it at times with his strong arm. Shin-Soo Choo will be highly coveted by outfield-needy clubs this offseason and those clubs will likely get several solid seasons out of the South Korean-born, on-base machine.

Jacoby Ellsbury, OF, 30: Ellsbury had a fine season, leading MLB in stolen bases (52) while being a tremendous defensive center fielder. He will likely get paid huge dollars for his 2011 season (32 HR, 105 RBI, .928 OPS), even though his next best season was the 2013 season, when he hit nine home runs, drove in 53 runs, and posted a .781 OPS. More Michael Bourn than Matt Kemp, Ellsbury will be an asset due to his speed and defense as a strong outfield option, and while he doesn’t have the on-base skills that Choo possesses, he is a fine leadoff hitter.

Brian McCann, C, 30: McCann is going to be a rich, rich man. With the New York Yankees, Boston Red Sox, and Texas Rangers seeking help at catcher, he’ll have plenty of suitors. After reaching 20 home runs for the seventh time in eight full seasons despite playing in just 102 games, McCann has proven that his shoulder woes are behind him and that he can continue to be an offensive asset to a club going forward. Still pretty weak behind the dish (24-percent caught stealing this season and the same for his career), McCann’s bat will carry him and utilizing him in the American League at DH will do wonders for his career and whoever signs him.

McCannBest Available Catchers

McCann; John Buck, 33; Dioner Navarro, 30; A.J. Pierzynski, 37; Carlos Ruiz, 35; Jarrod Saltalamacchia, 29; Geovany Soto, 31;

There are some solid options available at catcher, here. McCann is obviously the top option with Saltalamacchia as the next best option. Navarro seems to have been around forever and the Cubs got a lot out of him this season while using him sparingly, posting an .856 OPS and 13 home runs over just 266 plate appearances, making him a somewhat attractive, cheaper option. The rest offer solid veteran depth, which has tremendous value with so many good young catchers in the league.

AbreuBest Available Corner Infielders

Jose Dariel Abreu, 27; Corey Hart, 32; Mike Napoli, 32; James Loney, 30; Kendrys Morales, 30; Justin Morneau, 33; Mike Morse, 32; Eric Chavez, 36; Mark Reynolds, 30; Michael Young, 37;

Abreu is the highly-coveted Cuban defector, full of power and mystique, who will likely get a Yasiel Puig-like contract, maybe better. Several solid veterans are available who can handle first base, many of them (Hart, Napoli, and Morneau, in particular) having some injury concerns. With the right type of deal, any of these players could provide tremendous value to a club seeking leadership, while having enough talent remaining to be productive as platoon options, starters, or multi-position use (1B/DH primarily).

Best Available Middle Infielders

Cano; Stephen Drew, 31; Rafael Furcal, 36; Omar Infante, 32; Kelly Johnson, 32; Jhonny Peralta, 32; Brian Roberts, 36; Brendan Ryan, 32;

Cano is the true treat here, but former All-Star talents exist, although several of them have been and will continue to be risky due to injury histories. Like many of the corner infielders that are available this winter, there are several players who could provide solid production, but it could come with a limited role as a platoon player while providing the old phantom value that comes with being a strong veteran with clubhouse presence.

Choo3Best Available Outfielders

Carlos Beltran, 37; Marlon Byrd, 36; Choo; Nelson Cruz, 33; Rajai Davis, 33; Ellsbury; Jeff Francoeur, 30; Curtis Granderson, 33; Corey Hart, 32; Raul Ibanez, 42; Mike Morse, 32; Juan Pierre, 36; Grady Sizemore, 31; Delmon Young, 28;

There could be tremendous value in the outfield this winter, as teams will be able to get aging veterans like Ibanez (if he comes back), Beltran, or Byrd, all having excellent 2013 seasons, at an affordable, short-term deal. At the same time, Cruz, Granderson, Hart, and Young could post numbers that would make them equals to the top players available (Choo and Ellsbury) if everything breaks right.


Fantasy Baseball Rankings: First Basemen

Below you’ll find the rankings for 1B for the 2012 season.  You’ll see 2012 projections in italics. 

1. Miguel Cabrera, Tigers 

.344/.448/.586, 48 2B, 30 HR, 105 RBI, 2 SB in 572 AB

.327/.431/.596, 49 2B, 37 HR, 121 RBI, 1 SB in 579 AB

How can one of the best hitters in baseball get even better?  Adding Prince Fielder to the lineup.  The Tigers are going to need run production with Cabrera playing some 3B, as their defense may become as ugly as the Patriots secondary.

2. Albert Pujols, Angels

.299/.366/.541, 29 2B, 37 HR, 99 RBI, 9 SB in 579 AB

.313/.389/.563, 36 2B, 34 HR, 112 RBI, 5 SB in 599 AB

Pujols had a “down” year in 2011.  If only everyone could look so good when they’re so “bad.”  He’ll rebound with health, and he’ll maintain that health with the ability to DH on occasion.  His lineup is filled with vets, but it shouldn’t hold him back THIS YEAR.  I still don’t think he’s going to be worth the contract by 2015 or 2016…ARod style.

3. Prince Fielder, Tigers

.299/.415/.566, 36 2B, 38 HR, 120 RBI, 1 SB in 569 AB

.315/.426/.588, 43 2B, 35 HR, 119 RBI, 1 SB in 559 AB

Prince isn’t losing anything by moving away from Ryan Braun’s protection with Miguel Cabrera filling that role nicely.  He immediately makes Detroit a contender with his arrival, especially since they were already there before he got there.  Scary good with the Comerica Park gaps.

4. Adrian Gonzalez, Red Sox

.338/.410/.548, 45 2B, 27 HR, 117 RBI, 1 SB in 630 AB

.327/.422/.553, 39 2B, 33 HR, 124 RBI, 1 SB in 614 AB

Gonzalez will have a full season of a not-God-awful Carl Crawford to drive in, and he’ll be comfortable in Fenway to start the year, so he won’t lose a month of power like he did at the start of 2011.

5. Joey Votto, Reds

.309/.416/.531, 40 2B, 29 HR, 103 RBI, 8 SB in 599 AB

.329/.426/.569, 36 2B, 38 HR, 106 RBI, 6 SB in 587 AB

Votto is a very patient hitter in a lineup that lacks patience.  He’ll take pitches and lose RBI’s due to guys not getting on around him, and walking about the same number of times that he strikes out.  He’s going to step up his production as he heads towards Free Agency after 2013, developing a market for himself early.  He’s in a great ballpark, Great American to be exact, to make it happen.

6. Eric Hosmer, Royals

.293/.334/.465, 27 2B, 19 HR, 78 RBI, 11 SB in 523 AB

.287/.362/.501, 31 2B, 26 HR, 89 RBI, 14 SB in 598 AB

Hosmer had a strong rookie season and is only going to get better.  2012 will be the first signs of what he is capable of, but his numbers will continue to climb from here.  He has power and is athletic enough to continue stealing bases.  He could eventually become a Ryan Braun clone at 1B, with fewer stolen bases.  I have him high on the list because he showed what he is capable of in the 2nd half of 2011.

7. Mark Teixeira, Yankees 

.248/.341/.494, 26 2B, 39 HR, 111 RBI, 4 SB in 589 AB

.253/.339/.513, 28 SB, 35 HR, 103 RBI, 2 SB in 594 AB

Teixeira’s AVG and SLG have fallen significantly in the last several seasons, and his high strikeout rate suddenly screams that he is on the decline, as he can’t keep up with fastballs like he used to.  With that being said, he is still mashing.  I have a slight bounceback coming, but he isn’t capable of the high averages and power like he used to be.

8. Michael Young, Rangers 

.338/.380/.474, 41 2B, 6 3B, 11 HR, 106 RBI, 6 SB in 631 AB

.318/.372/.468, 37 2B, 4 3B, 13 HR, 97 RBI, 5 SB in 639 AB

Young just keeps hitting.  He led the league in hits last year and continues showing the ability to be versatile, which has a lot of value in various fantasy formats.  Look for more of the same with a solid lineup around him, even as he continues aging.  He showed no signs of breaking down last year.

9. Freddie Freeman, Braves 

.282/.346/.448, 32 2B, 21 HR, 76 RBI, 4 SB in 571 AB

.294/.357/.467, 34 2B, 25 HR, 82 RBI, 3 SB in 584 AB

With a name this bad, you’d think there was no way that he would be a successful baseball player.  Maybe a plumber or sales guy…however, Freeman is very young and is a polished hitter.  He’s hitting better than previous super-prospect Jason Heyward  has to this point, and it wouldn’t surprise me if he continues to do so in coming years.  He may never hit 30-35 homers per season, but he will do more than enough to be an asset in fantasy and for the Braves.

10. Michael Morse, Nationals

.303/.360/.550, 36 2B, 31 HR, 95 RBI, 2 SB in 522 AB

.286/.342/.549, 34 2B, 33 HR, 107 RBI, 1 SB in 571 AB

Morse came out of nowhere, kind of, to post very valuable fantasy numbers in 2011.  He has tremendous power and a long swing, which still will make his susceptible to slumps and strikeouts.  The Nationals are improving around him, though, so he should continue to build value.  He will ultimately be a first baseman, but he will patrol left field to open the season.  He could move to first if or when Adam LaRoche’s next injury strikes, but he’ll certainly be there by 2013 for good. 

11. Billy Butler, Royals 

.291/.361/.461, 44 2B, 19 HR, 95 RBI, 2 SB in 597 AB

.314/.379/.501, 41 2B, 26 HR, 101 RBI, 1 SB in 599 AB

12. Ike Davis, Mets 

.302/.383/.543, 8 2B, 7 HR, 25 RBI, 0 SB in 129 AB

.291/.372/.538, 32 2B, 28 HR, 93 RBI, 1 SB in 586 AB

Davis was headed towards a breakout prior to the ankle injury that he suffered in 2011.  Imagine the capabilities in an offense that is relying heavily on him, especially after the fences were moved in.  This is the year.

13. Lance Berkman, Cardinals 

.301/.412/.547, 23 2B, 31 HR, 94 RBI, 2 SB in 488 AB

.283/.394/.527, 21 2B, 33 HR, 111 RBI, 1 SB in 506 AB

He won’t hit as well with added pressure to perform, but he should maintain health by moving to first.  He’s aging, even if he posted a solid season for what seems like the first time in years in 2011, so don’t think he is going to get a whole lot better than last year.

14. Ryan Howard, Phillies 

.253/.346/.488, 30 2B, 33 HR, 116 RBI, 1 SB in 557 AB

.247/.339/.479, 23 2B, 26 HR, 82 RBI, 0 SB in 486 AB

Decline City.  Major injury + drops in OPS over the last few years = the NL version of Teixeira with a whole lot less to offer.  Howard will miss the first month, but he’ll still post solid power numbers.  He isn’t a top of the line bat anymore, and he and his teammates are aging quicker than Benjamin Button, only the opposite way.

15. Paul Konerko, White Sox 

.300/.388/.517, 25 2B, 31 HR, 105 RBI, 1 SB in 543 AB

.309/.392/.524, 28 2B, 33 HR, 110 RBI, 1 SB in 564 AB

There’s no way that Konerko can’t be better in 2011 because Alex Rios, Adam Dunn, and Gordon Beckham will be better around him.  He’ll drive in more runs and see more pitches.

16. Mark Reynolds, Orioles

.221/.323/.483, 27 2B, 37 HR, 86 RBI, 6 SB in 534 AB

.232/.331/.489, 26 2B, 39 HR, 91 RBI, 4 SB in 541 AB

17. Paul Goldschmidt, Diamondbacks 

.250/.333/.474, 9 2B, 8 HR, 26 RBI, 4 SB in 156 AB

.259/.341/.510, 28 2B, 25 HR, 84 RBI, 7 SB in 533 AB

18. Yonder Alonso, Padres

.330/.398/.545, 4 2B, 5 HR, 15 RBI, 0 SB in 88 AB

.309/.389/.508, 36 2B, 17 HR, 84 RBI, 1 SB in 531 AB

19. Gaby Sanchez, Marlins

.266/.352/.427, 35 2B, 19 HR, 78 RBI, 3 SB in 572 AB

.271/.354/.449, 37 2B, 18 HR, 83 RBI, 2 SB in 576 AB

20. Michael Cuddyer, Rockies 

.284/.346/.459, 29 2B, 20 HR, 70 RBI, 11 SB in 529 AB

.279/.339/.453, 31 2B, 17 HR, 76 RBI, 8 SB in 559 AB

21. Carlos Lee, Astros

.275/.342/.446, 38 2B, 18 HR, 94 RBI, 4 SB in 585 AB

.271/.341/.439, 36 2B, 21 HR, 89 RBI, 2 SB in 591 AB

22. Justin Morneau, Twins

.227/.285/.333, 16 2B, 4 HR, 30 RBI, 0 SB in 264 AB

.264/.326/.411, 21 2B, 15 HR, 65 RBI, 0 SB in 403 AB

If he stays on the field, he’s still going to have to adjust and be consistent.  Chris Parmelee may be the best Twins first baseman to own going forward.

23. Justin Smoak, Mariners

.234/.323/.396, 24 2B, 15 HR, 55 RBI, 0 SB in 427 AB

.271/.359/.489, 31 2B, 22 HR, 83 RBI, 1 SB in 568 AB

This is the year, guys!  Smoak stays healthy, has help with Montero coming over, and he develops.  He’s still just 25!

24. Aubrey Huff, Giants

.246/.306/.370, 27 2B, 12 HR, 59 RBI, 5 SB in 521 AB

.261/.326/.409, 31 2B, 17 HR, 63 RBI, 4 SB in 535 AB

25. Carlos Pena, Rays

.225/.357/.462, 27 2B, 28 HR, 80 RBI, 2 SB in 493 AB

.231/.379/.491, 26 2B, 29 HR, 84 RBI, 2 SB in 519 AB

26. James Loney, Dodgers

.288/.339/.416, 30 2B, 12 HR, 65 RBI, 4 SB in 531 AB

.281/.341/.421, 34 2B, 14 HR, 70 RBI, 3 SB 546 AB

27. Casey Kotchman, Indians

.306/.378/.422, 24 2B, 10 HR, 48 RBI, 2 SB in 500 AB

.311/.386/.441, 31 2B, 13 HR, 63 RBI, 1 SB in 562 AB

28. Adam Lind, Blue Jays

.251/.295/.439, 16 2B, 26 HR, 87 RBI, 1 SB in 499 AB

.255/.310/.441, 18 2B, 29 HR, 84 RBI, 1 SB in 512 AB

29. Mitch Moreland, Rangers

.259/.320/.414, 22 2B, 16 HR, 51 RBI, 2 SB in 464 AB

.265/.329/426, 29 2B, 19 HR, 62 RBI, 3 SB in 520 AB

30. Todd Helton, Rockies

.302/.385/.466, 27 2B, 14 HR, 69 RBI, 0 SB in 421 AB

.294/.376/.459, 24 2B, 13 HR, 67 RBI, 0 SB in 432 AB