Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Fantasy Baseball: Second Basemen

We looked at the shortstops of your respective fantasy baseball leagues this morning so it seems only fitting to check in with their double-play combo’s here this afternoon. The second baseman. Second base is generally thought of as a defensive-first and offensively anemic position with a few stars, a few sleepers and a slew of guys stuck in the middle. Here are the stars and the sleepers that could potentially help you win your league in 2017.

If I were to rank my Top Five second baseman in the league in order of how I would draft them I would have to start with Jose Altuve of the Houston Astros and follow it up with Trea Turner of the Washington Nationals, Robinson Cano of the Seattle Mariners, Rougned Odor of the Texas Rangers and Brian Dozier of the Minnesota Twins. If I were to expand that list to include my 6th – 10th best second basemen in the league I would include Matt Carpenter of the St. Louis Cardinals, Jason Kipnis of the Cleveland Indians (although a recent injury will likely keep him on the disabled list to start the season), Daniel Murphy of the Washington Nationals, Jonathan Villar of the Milwaukee Brewers (who is also eligible at shortstop) and Ian Kinsler of the Detroit Tigers. Sorry Yankees fans, Starlin Castro would not make this list but the “homer” in me would likely make Robert Refsnyder an honorable mention just for the whole shock value and comedic aspect of it all.

If you want a solid player that can play all over the board you may want to look at Ben Zobrist, although he is far from a sleeper or an unknown commodity at this point so good luck, as he is eligible at the position. If you’re looking for a true sleeper though then look no further than Devon Travis of the Toronto Blue Jays. When healthy Travis can hit .300 with plenty of extra-base hits, RBI and runs scored in that deep Toronto lineup. Travis could give you 10-15 home run power, or more depending on how friendly the Rogers Centre is to him in Toronto, along with a ton of stolen bases if healthy. The best part about Travis is that you can get him at the end of your draft in the 16-18th round or maybe even later depending on the pool of competitors.

If all else fails you can just take a Dee Gordon of the Miami Marlins or a Starlin Castro of the Yankees and fill in the gaps where they lack elsewhere. Castro should still give you 20-home run power and Gordon should get on base and steal bases with Giancarlo Stanton behind him looking to knock him in. It’s not ideal but sometimes you have to simply do the best you can with what you have.

And that’s that. Now go grab you a fantasy baseball second basemen! Good luck!

First Wave of Yankees Spring Cuts Are In

I know we are a bit late to the party but we had a scheduled day off or two this weekend so we are just getting caught back up. The first wave of spring training cuts are in and some of the Yankees top prospects are being assigned to minor league camps, as expected and as predicted by yours truly here on the blog just last week.

The Yankees cut 11 players over the weekend and assigned them to minor league camps including left-hander Justus Sheffield, right-hander J.P Feyereisen, RHP Brady Lail, RHP Nick Rumbelow, LHP Joe Mantiply, LHP Evan Rutckyj, LHP Daniel Camarena, LHP James Reeves, C Jorge Saez, C Francisco Diaz and C Kellin Deglan. I had Sheffield, Saez, Diaz, Deglan and Rutckyj going down but I totally whiffed on Feyereisen, Lail, Mantiply, Rumbelow and Reeves. I am also shocked to see Clint Frazier, James Kaprielian, Gleyber Torres and Jorge Mateo still in Yankees camp. Maybe after the World Baseball Classic? Who knows?

More cuts will come as the Yankees try to dwindle their roster down to just 25 players so stay tuned. When those cuts and assignments are made we will have them here for you on the blog. Stay tuned.

Yankees Scouting Washington & Houston Prospects/Players

The common misconception around the league is that when a team enters spring training that their team is basically a finished product with prospects and players fighting for key spots. At this point in the game though there are still teams out there actively working the trade mills and the scouring the waiver wire and free agent market including the New York Yankees. According to multiple reports the Yankees are scouting players and prospects from the Houston Astros and the Washington Nationals leading you to believe a potential trade is at least in talks, and maybe in the works as we speak here this morning.

The Yankees still presumably need rotation and bullpen arms and both teams have available arms for trade if New York was able and willing to part with the prospects so it makes sense that the team has scouts in attendance when both teams visited the New York Mets this weekend in spring training.

Friday night the Astros threw out right-hander Joe Musgrove who responded by throwing three scoreless innings against the Mets. Musgrove struck out four and walked one in the contest in front of Yankees scout and former pitcher Matt Daley. Musgrove, now 24-years old, was a 2011 first round draft pick by the Astros who finished strong last season posting a 4-4 record with a 4.06 ERA in his last 11 starts of the season.

The Nationals sent right-hander Erick Freede to the mound on Saturday who also posted three scoreless innings allowing one hit with a walk and a strikeout mixed in. Daley was also in attendance for this start and he saw the Nationals 2014 first round draft pick and 52nd overall prospect in all of baseball according to Baseball America. Freede has yet to pitch above Double-A so he wouldn’t be an immediate help to New York but he could give the Yankees another top-end starting option in the minors to go along with James Kaprielian.

Nothing is imminent and this may just be the Yankees doing their due diligence but the fact remains that the team had a scout in attendance for these two games and they usually just don’t do that for no good reason. Something may be brewing and something may happen soon. If it does we will have it so stay tuned. 

Fantasy Baseball: Shortstops

The 2017 Major League Baseball season is just around the corner so you know what that means, right? That means that it’s almost fantasy baseball 2017 time as well so over the next couple of days I will be going over a few fantasy baseball related topics to get you ready for your draft. I do these every year so if I’ve helped you in the past or if this is your first time taking my advice then keep this and my many fantasy related posts bookmarked and be sure to tell me know how the information works out for you, good or bad. I can take criticism, especially when I ask for it on a day-to-day basis. For this post we will focus on the shortstops around the league and who you need to grab, and potentially how early you need to grab them, before all the good ones are gone. 

If you’re going after the top shortstop in the league one would have to think you would be looking at Houston Astros shortstop Carlos Correa. Correa, just 22-years old, has hit over 20 home runs in each of his last season while also stealing nearly 14 bases a season in that same span. If you miss on Correa there are many other young and top shortstops to be had including the Milwaukee Brewers shortstop Jonathan Villar, the Boston Red Sox shortstop Xander Bogaerts, the Cleveland Indians shortstop Francisco Lindor, the Chicago White Sox shortstop Tim Anderson and my hometown pick from the New York Yankees, Mr. Didi Gregorius. 

Also on the top shortstops list is the Los Angeles Dodgers Corey Seager, the Colorado Rockies sensation Trevor Story, the Chicago Cubs Addison Russel, the Toronto Blue Jays Troy Tulowitzki and the Texas Rangers Elvis Andrus. Also don’t sleep on, especially as the calendar draws near June and July, the Yankees top prospect Gleyber Torres and New York Mets best shortstop prospect Amed Rosario. 

Villar finished the 2016 campaign with a .285 average with 19 home runs and 62 stolen bases while Bogaerts finished with a .294 average with 21 home runs and 13 stolen bases. Lindor hit .301 with 15 home runs and 19 stolen bases on his way to the World Series while Anderson hit .283 with nine home runs and 10 stolen bases in just 99 games. 

Those are the “locks” but in every class there is a Freddy Galvis who comes out of nowhere and hits 20 home runs in a season so the sleepers of the 2017 class include Jose Reyes, Marcus Semien, Ketel Marte and Jedd Gyorko. Gyorko is eligible at shortstop but likely won’t play there much in 2017 while Semien could provide 20-30 home run power with little in the way of batting average. Reyes could be had late in your draft for obvious reasons and could provide a spark after having a normal offseason in 2017.  

So there it is, my fantasy baseball help for the shortstop position. I hope it helps and if I missed anyone, ranked anyone too highly or not highly enough then please be sure to let me know down below in the comments section or on Twitter by giving @GreedyStripes a follow. Thanks!

To trade or not to trade?…

Should the Yankees not make any trades this year simply because they are forecasted to be a .500 team?  There seems to be an attitude that 2019 is the year.  Yes, some of the team's top prospects will mature and be major league ready in two seasons.  And there's the speculation that the team will make a significant plunge into the free agent market in a few years, hopefully snagging Bryce Harper and/or Manny Machado.

Last time I checked, there were 29 other Major League Baseball teams.  All teams with designs for improvement and many with money to spend.  It's not a given that the Yankees will be able to buy their way to a championship or that the current flow of Baby Bombers would produce a World Series champion.  

Frankly, there's not enough room on a major league roster for every top prospect in the organization.  Many of the names will never succeed for one reason or another.  In my opinion, it's better to trade promise and potential for a sure thing.  I am not advocating the trade of Gleyber Torres or Clint Frazier, but the Yankees should consider packaging some young farmhands with higher projections in a deal (or deals) to get better now.  The difference between being a .500 team and a wild card hopeful is not that great.  If the Yankees could make a deal or two to position the team for a chance at the play-offs, they should.  Once in the play-offs, anything can happen.  But you have to go to the dance in order to dance.  

With so many talented young prospects, it will be difficult to fully protect all premier prospects with a 40-man roster.  I am a firm believer in finding hidden nuggets and the Yankees are known to be evaluating younger talent across the league in attempts to find players they feel can make them successful.  

The Paul O'Neill trade was a bit of a surprise when it happened.  At the time, Roberto Kelly was a decent player.  I didn't know a great deal about O'Neill other than he was a part-time outfielder for the Cincinnati Reds with a temper.  I was sad to see Kelly go, but it turned out to be one of the best trades in Yankees history.  These are the types of trades that win championships.  

So, regardless of the team's chances for 2017 success, I feel that they should do whatever is necessary to get better now, not wait for two years.  

I understand the argument that the Yankees shouldn’t empty the cupboards for someone like Jose Quintana.  But there are other opportunities that can be made to improve the 2017 Yankees while keeping the eye on future years.

The Yankees are still hamstrung by a few bad contracts but even as the NFL’s Houston Texans proved last week in unloading disappointing and under-achieving QB Brock Osweiler, anything’s possible.  It’s just too bad the Cleveland Browns aren’t in the American League.  I am not advocating Jerry DiPoto’s approach for making trades.  The Seattle Mariners GM has led the league with trades since taking the job in late 2015.  But there are moves that could be made to unload dead weight and add additional talent to the team.  

Standing pat is not the right answer…in my opinion.  

The roster cuts continue.  On Monday, the Yankees sent RHPs Domingo German, Ronald Herrera and Yefry Ramirez to AA Trenton and re-assigned them to minor league camp.  With the roster cuts, the Yankees now have enough players remaining in camp to field a NFL football team (53) but there'd be a few too many quarterbacks.  

Monday was a much-needed and much-deserved day off for the Yankees.  At 13-4, they are at the midway point of the spring schedule.  They return to action today in Port Charlotte against the Tampa Bay Rays.  It must be odd for the Rays to host a team from Tampa.  Luis Severino takes the hill for the visitors.  He’ll face Jake Odorizzi.  

James Kaprielian should make his first spring appearance later this week (either Thursday or Friday).  

Have a great Tuesday!

Happy Birthday to My Boy, My Heart & “Mine Evan”

Today is a big day for me Yankees family and I wanted to share it with you. Today my son, my first born son, Evan turns seven-years old. Seven years ago today at 1:41 AM I welcomed this little bundle of joy into the world three weeks earlier than we had planned. His room wasn’t finished, his bags weren’t packed and mom and dad didn’t think we were ready. We were ready, we just didn’t know it yet. The room came along quickly after he was born, the bag wasn’t as important as everyone made it out to be and after a few days we were home to begin our journey.

Our journey has taken us through highs and lows, valley’s and peaks, tears and smiles but we’ve made it. He’s in school now and too damn smart for his own good. Really. He gets a letter sent home once a month at least for having “too much” energy but at the same point his teacher, which I love by the way, sends home second grade reading and homework and he knows it like he’s been doing it all his life. He’s sweet, he’s kind, he’s gentle, he’s a smart butt but he’s mine and I love him.

The whole “mine Evan” thing started when he was learning how to talk, he was “mine Evan” and I was “mine dada” to him and it kind of stuck. Anyway I wanted to share this little bit of myself and my family with you this morning and I also wanted to wish my big boy a very Happy Birthday. I hope you get everything you want out of this world and then some Evan, and I’ll be right here beside you for every bump in the road and every bit of it along the way.

Happy birthday!

This Day in New York Yankees History 3/14: YES Network for Free!

On this day in 2003 Cablevision agreed to a one year interim deal to offer the Yankees YES Network to New York Yankees fans for a fee, ending a bitter and costly year long feud. This essentially made the YES Network a premium channel instead of a basic cable channel preventing the company from forcing every subscriber to pay for the channel whether they wanted it or not. The rest, my friends, is history.

Also on this day in 1961 the New York Mets landed former Yankee general manager George Weiss out of retirement to become the team’s first president. Weiss had been the Yankees' general manager from 1947-1960 before retiring.