Chris Coghlan (OF—Marlins) Chris Coghlan has tossed his name into the Rookie of the Year race as he has been on fire the past couple of months. From the beginning of August, Coghlan is batting an amazing .383 in 214 AB’s. He has an OBP of .441 and a SLG of .547. Coghlan doesn’t possess a great deal of speed as he only has 7 stolen bases on the season but his overall season OBP at .384 has made him a solid leadoff guy especially with the way he has been going of late. His versatility to play both infield and outfield positions should make him a valuable commodity going into next season. With the increased playing time, he has really taking a step forward and should continue to mature and develop more power going forward as he is only 24. Coghlan could be a real gem of a sleeper that may be overlooked and undervalued come 2010.
Brad Lidge (RP—Phillies) Chalk up another blown save and another loss for Phillies’ closer Brad Lidge as he gave up 2 runs in the bottom on the 9th to give the Marlins the come from behind victory Wednesday night. It was Lidge’s 11th blown save of the season, his 8th loss and his ERA jumped up to 7.48. With no command of his pitches and a loss of confidence, Lidge has no become the Phillies #1 concern as their post season success may hinge on his ability to be effective. The season is now in its final days and managers are moving pitchers around in the rotation to lineup the right way for the post season, the Phillies’ closer situation has gone from worrisome to bad and is now critical. With a WHIP of 1.81, no other player in baseball has seen their fantasy value change so dramatically as Lidge. Coming into the 2009 season, Lidge was prime goods as he was perfect last year and perhaps the most valued closer. Now, it would be safe to say that any fantasy owner that is continuing to play Lidge is either not paying much attention or they are trying to sabotage their season. The good news is that with just a pinch over a week left, owners will no longer have to be subjected to Lidge’s meltdowns. As for the Phillies in the playoffs, they may decide that Lidge is just too risky to put out their in the 9th inning in a playoff game. Because of this, 2010 will see Lidge viewed more as a liability than an asset. That is if he is still the Phillies closer. Lidge will more than likely get an opportunity in spring training to reprove his worth, but Ryan Madson or Brett Myers will be ready and waiting in the wings to jump in and take over.
Jason Marquis (SP--Rockies) Jason Marquis is a pending free agent who should land himself a nice contract with a big payday at the end of the season. The 15 wins sure do look good and with 20 quality starts out of 31 that seems pretty nice. But for Marquis it's been a year of feast or famine. When Marquis has been on his game, he has been very, very good. In his quality starts he posts an ERA of 1.87 and a 15-2 record. But in the 33% that make up his poor outings, he has been absolutely horrendous owning a 9.80 ERA and a 0-10 record. Games that he has pitched when he has been off, the Rockies have a record of 0-11. Other indicators are also mixed. Take for instance Marquis' ERC that estimates his ERA should be 3.66 compared to his actually ERA of 3.86 based upon the number and walks he has given up and not the earned runs. So that's better. But his FIP is more than his ERA at 4.16 which would mean that without some solid defense behind him, he might not be doing as well as he has. However, even though Marquis has enjoyed one of the best seasons of his career (perhaps the best), he may be overvalued by his potential suitor and fantasy owners next year. But if Marquis can find a way to maintain damage in games where he is off, he could be a good pickup for next year.
Mark Reynolds (3B--Diamondbacks) Congratulations to Mark Reynolds: the all time single-season strikeout holder. Reynolds broke his own record on Wednesday, striking out for the 208th time this season. But what's really exciting is that with 9 games left for the Diamondbacks, Reynolds has ample opportunity to add on to his record and maybe put it out of reach so that even he may have difficulty breaking it next season. And with each mighty swing, and whiff, and gentle breeze that cools the fans in the stadium sitting in the hot Arizona sun, one cannot help but conjure up images of such greats as Gorman Thomas, Rob Deer, Steve Balboni and Dave Kingman. To put Reynolds' feat into perspective, he has 541 strikeouts in just 1652 AB's. Albert Pujols has 567 strikeouts in 6038 AB's. So Reynolds has Pujols' number in this department. Papa and Mama Reynolds must be so proud of their baby boy. But despite the extraordinary whiff rate, Reynolds has a terrific 43 homeruns on the season coupled with 100 RBI and 24 SB. His OPS is at .919 and there's no denying that he been a force in the Diamondback lineup. The question is in your league, how much does Reynolds help you with his power and speed versus how much he hurts you with his strikeouts? It's a tough call, but don't expect Reynolds to improve upon his CT% of 61%. His BHIP% is extremely high at .344. Why? Because he doesn't connect with that many balls but the ones he does connect with go for hits. But if those hits start to become outs next season, the .266 batting average that he has right now, is going to look awfully good in comparison to what it could be.
Bengie Molina (C--Giants) This being the last year of his contact and free agency looming in the off season, Bengie Molina delivered a decent offensive year as expected and provided good power and reasonably solid hitting. But Molina will be 35 in the middle of the 2010 season and we may see more signs of degradation in skills. Disappointingly, Molina OBP was at a poor .281 this season which is the second lowest of his career. And while the law of averages would suggest that a player who has a .263 BHIP% would be ready for a bump in average, Molina doesn't conform to those rules. Because he is such a slow runner, anything that is hit on the ground is almost sure to be an out which keeps his average for batted balls in play low. His CT% has also dropped 7% from last year and 6% lower than his career average which is also a good indication that he may be on the decline. Because experienced catchers are so high in demand, Molina will no doubt continue as a starting catcher somewhere, but for next year fantasy owners may want to look a little deeper at Molina's stats and not be swayed by the home run total and the name. You'll find better catching options out there.