Reddick (RF) Expectations-
Reddick's 2012 season was one of the more pleasant surprises of the year, as he was able to lead the A's in home runs (32) in his first full year. The 26 year-old showed an improved walk rate (8.2 percent), but we do not think there is much room for improvement in 2013. Reddcik's BABIP of .269 does not look like much of an aberration considering his 14 percent infield fly ball rate while playing half of his games in the expansive Coliseum. In addition, he might improve his strikeout rate, but almost all projections have him finishing with a strikeout rate above 20 percent. Reddick could very easily provide the same type of season in 2013, as owners should expect a very similar slash line, however, it is a stretch to expect another 30 plus home run season. Our software is projecting a 28 home run season, and is the 27thh best outfielder available before in our pre-draft rankings.
A Full Season of AJ Griffin (SP)-
In a season of surprises for Oakland, Griffin might have been the most stabilizing one Oakland's rotation in 2013. The 25 year-old started the season in double-A, and ended up making 15 starts with Oakland finishing with a 7-1 record and 3.06 ERA. While Griffin does not have a blazing fastball (89.8 average mph in 2013), at 6'6'' he was able to record a solid swinging strike rate (8.7 percent). He also features a good slow curveball while mixing in a slider and change-up. Griffin succeeds on generating a bunch of infield fly balls (16.4 percent) along with above average command. However, he benefitted from a high strand rate (81.6 percent) and his BABIP is still likely to regress even with his favorable batted ball profile. While I agree with our software that Griffin will see a sizeable increase in his ERA, I do believe we might be cutting him a little short. He could be a solid back end starter with a 6.9 K/9 and 3.80 ERA.
San Francisco Giants
More on Lincecum's Comeback-
Lincecum had one nightmare of a season in 2013 pitching to a 5.18 ERA and compiling a 10-15 record in 186 innings pitched. The 29 year-old lost almost 2 mph on his fastball (90.4 mph) for the year, and had trouble with command for the entire year. When not walking hitters (4.35 BB/9), he was often throwing many different pitches in the middle of the zone that in turn helped to contribute to a career worst 14.6 percent HR/FB ratio. Those concerns still remain, but I am with Schuyler in projecting a comeback. Lincecum had plenty of mechanical troubles, but he was also unlucky considering his career worst 67.5 percent strand rate. We know that he can still strike out opposing hitters, and his 11.3 percent swinging strike rate was the second best rate of his career. Our software has him pitching to a 3.82 ERA, and he should continue to rack up the strikeouts. While I think Lincecum will rebound, I do worry about a possible arm injury coming down the line.
Look for a career worst season from Hunter Pence (RF):
Pence was putting together a decent season for the Phillies hitting 17 home runs with a .271/.336/.447 line in 440 plate appearances. Once the right fielder was traded to San Francisco, he saw his numbers drop drastically. Pence, who has a career 15.3 percent HR/FB ratio, saw his HR/FB ratio drop to 11.7 percent after the trade. Furthermore, his 21.1 percent strikeout rate and 12.9 percent swinging strike rate both represented career highs. Pence's batted ball profile has never been entirely impressive, and I don't believe he will get his average above .270 if he continues to strikeout at this rate. We are currently projecting him to hit 22 home runs this season, but I believe he will finish with 17-20 playing in Pac Bell for the entire season. Potential owners will like the improving plate discipline, but his OBP will stay below .345.
New Closer: Rafael Soriano (RP)
In somewhat of a surprising move, the Nationals decided to shift Drew Storen to a setup role and bring in a veteran closer. Soriano had a nice season filling in for the injured Mariano Rivera pitching to a 2.26 ERA while compiling a strikeout rate of 9.18 K/9. The 33 year-old will usually outperform his DIPS substantially because of his below average HR/FB ratio (7.9 percent) and BABIP (.249). However, Soriano should see some regression in his strand rate (88 percent). A move out of Yankee Stadium will obviously be a benefit, but he has seen his fastball decline by .4 mph in each of the last few season. We expect Soriano to pitch to an ERA close to 3.15 with a strikeout rate of 9.0 K/9. He will provide decent value at the position, but there are relievers with much higher upside who will probably picked after the veteran.
ADP Outperformer: Jayson Werth (RF)
Werth was in the middle of a comeback season in 2012 until he broke his wrist in May and missed 75 games. The injury seemed to zap most of his power, which resulted in a career low HR/FB ratio (5.3 percent) and .140 ISO. While our software does not see him returning to his 25 plus home run days, we are predicting him to finish with 18-20 home runs in 2013. More importantly, Werth was able to cut his strikeout rate down to a career low 16.6 percent rate. The 34 year-old did benefit from a .356 BABIP in 2012, but he has continued to get on base with a high walk percentage (12.2 percent). Potential owners will see an improvement in RBIs now that Werth can move back to the fifth spot in the lineup with the addition of Denard Span.
Around the League
Hector Santiago (P-CHW)- With John Danks spring debut taking place on Monday, it looks as if Santiago will not be getting a rotation spot when camp breaks at the end of the month. However, Robin Ventura indicated that Santiago would remain stretched out for the rest of spring in case Danks hits a setback or an unforeseen injury to another starter takes place. Ventura also indicated that Santiago is all but guaranteed a spot on the 25-man roster, probably as a long reliever. I would not be surprised to see Santiago make some starts for the White Sox down the road considering the likelihood that Jose Quintana won't be able to replicate his unlikely rookie campaign. Santiago has continued to have problems with command, but I thought his last start against the Indians in October was one of the more dominating starts I charted in 2012. With a compliment of five pitches, he is someone who is worth keeping an eye on throughout the season.
Ronny Cedeno (SS-STL)- Rafael Furcal has been shutdown indefinitely because of inflammation in his right elbow. The veteran will see Dr. Andrews today, and it is very likely that he will miss the start of the season. Furthermore, any visit to Andrews means that there is a possibility of Tommy John surgery. Cedeno, who put together the best offensive season in limited time in 2012, is the favorite to be the starter when the Cardinals break camp. Cedeno will have some competition from Pete Kozma, but his experience should give him the edge. His 9.1 percent walk rate was a career best, and his second best swinging strike rate (8 percent) helped him drop his strikeout rate to 18.8 percent. Cedeno is only worth a look in NL-only leagues. However, if he can get 500 plate appearances this year owners could see him reach double-digit home runs.
Shaun Marcum (SP-NYM)- Marcum, who has not pitched in a game since February 23, threw two scoreless innings in a B-game against the Marlins on Tuesday. The 31 year-old veteran and been shut down in order to strength his shoulder, which bothered him throughout most of the 2012 season. A few of the beat reporters reported that Marcum's fastball peaked at 86 mph, and sat mostly at 84-85 mph for most of his appearance. If healthy, Marcum is one of the more reliable starters available. He has been able to record a swinging strike rate above 10.2 percent in each of the last three seasons, and would provide a strikeout rate between 7.2 and 7.9 K/9 for potential owners. The move away from Miller Park should benefit considering his fly ball tendencies, but his fragility might continue to be a problem in 2013.
Cody Ross (RF-ARI)- Kirk Gibson announced on Tuesday that Ross will miss the next two to three weeks after a MRI revealed a lower leg strain. The 32 year-old veteran is coming off a strong year in terms of wOBA(.345) and ISO (.214), and is scheduled to be the Opening Day right fielder. Ross might be able to get a few at-bats toward the end of the spring and still be ready for the start of the season. Gibson has a lot of options in terms of outfielders (Gerardo Parra), so it is possible that Ross will avoid a DL stint and miss the first couple of games of the season. In that case, owners should monitor his progress in a few weeks. Our software is anticipating another similar season for Ross in 2013. Most of his success came against LHP in 2012 (1.010) as opposed to RHP (.710), so he is best utilized in daily leagues.
Bruce Rondon (RP-DET)- It is looking less and less likely that the Tigers will break camp with Rondon as the closer. Jim Leyland told reporters yesterday that the rookie is still in the mix for the job with Al Alburquerque Phil Coke, Joaquin Benoit and Octavio Dotel. However, Dan Knobler tweeted yesterday that Tigers are backing away from that plan and are looking for possible trade candidates. Rondon features fastball that sits at 97-99 mph while occasionally hitting 101 mph to go along with a hard biting slider and occasional change. He has a 32 percent strikeout rate in his 92 minor league innings, but control issues have plagued him at almost every level. In addition, the 21 year-old has only pitched in eight innings at the triple-A level. I happen to think that Alburquerque has the edge in the race, but anything can happen over the next few weeks.
Matt Kemp (CF-LAD)- Kemp made his first start of the spring in the outfield in Tuesday's game against the Padres. The 28 year-old is taking it easy as he covers from the shoulder surgery he had on his torn left labrum. The injury, which he suffered in Coloardo at the end of August, caused his production to slip during the final month of the season. Kemp has gone hitless in five at-bats as the DH, and our software has him as the number one ranked position player heading into 2013. Kemp's two hamstring injuries limited his stolen base totals in 2012, but his power numbers were just as impressive in his limited season. His .236 ISO, 146 wRC+ and .383 wOBA were the second best rates of his career, and he posted his second straight 21 percent HR/FB ratio. If he can remain healthy this season, we are expecting numbers similar to 2011 (expect for SB).
Robbie Ross (P-TEX)- With Martin Perez scheduled to miss the first two months of the season with a broken left wrist, Ross looks as if he will benefit and take the fifth spot in the rotation by Opening Day. The 24 year-old lefty was able to generate a 62.1 percent ground ball rate in his 65 innings out of the bullpen, and he was surprisingly effective against right-handed hitters (.278 wOBA). Ross features a fastball that averaged 91.8 mph along with a slider and a change-up that he did not use out of the bullpen last year. Ross will not rack up the strikeouts (7.9 percent swinging strike rate), but the left-hander could be a useful pitcher in daily draft leagues against the lesser AL West teams. Colby Lewis scheduled to return in late May, Ross will probably sent back to the bullpen barring a setback.
Mark Teixeira (1B-NYY)- Teixeira, who is coming off an injury plagued season, will be shutdown for two weeks and sit out of the World Baseball Classic with a strained right wrist. While it looks like this injury will not interfere with Teixeira's regular season, it is little concerning that the 33 year-old is already dealing with nagging injuries at this point in the year. Teixeira broke his eight-year streak of 30 home run seasons in part due to injury, and an elevated ground ball rate (41.1 percent). His 16 percent HR/FB ratio was still very strong, and our software is projecting him to finish with 32 home runs this year. With all the shifting in the AL East, I don't envision Teixeira finishing with a batting average better than .260. However, his 6.2 percent swinging strike rate represented a career low and he might be able to improve his strikeout rate. The early MRI came back clean, but it is worth keeping an eye on this spring.
Lucas Harrell (SP-HOU)- In a nightmare season for the Astros, Harrell was one of the few bright spots for the team posting a 3.76 ERA (3.75 FIP and 3.80 xFIP), an 11-11 record and 6.51 K/9. The 28 year-old impressed in his outing on Tuesday against the Nationals allowing one run on three hits and striking out four in four innings of work. Harrell benefits from generating a ton of ground balls (57.2 percent rate in 2012) with his sinker, but I would be a little hesitant about the move to the American League. His cutter, curveball and change-up are average at best, and his command can be very suspect. Harrell's strikeout rate (6.51 K/9) was also little inflated considering his below average swinging strike rate (6.1 percent). The right-hander might be able to put together a season with an ERA around 3.90, but an increased walk rate might mean trouble.