Derek Jeter- You will have to forgive me for a moment. I know these blurbs are supposed to be a statistical look into the fantasy value of a player with a specific focus this month on winning championships and 2015 values. This once, we are going to stray from that formula. These are my last blurbs for 2014. I'm going to take the outlet I've been so lucky to be given, and I'm going to say thank you. Thank you to Derek Jeter for giving a 13 year old a hero all those years ago. Thank you for every single to the opposite field. Thank you for every back-handed stop and jump throw as you fell into left field that just beat the runner. Thank you for the championships. Thank you for the way you won them. With class. Thank you for having a knack for the dramatic. Thank you for November. Thank you for being there with your teammates to give the city a reason to cheer again in 2001. Thank you for the years of dedicated service not just to the Yankees, but to the game of baseball. I had the honor to watch you pass Honus Wagner on the hits list this summer in the Bronx with my father on one side of me and my uncle on the other. Thank you for that memory, for all the memories and for helping me and so many others fall in love with this beautiful sport. For the love of the game, you will be missed and remembered more fondly than you can imagine. Thank you #2. Thank you.
Danny Salazar- The ultimate question as September comes to a close: how do we value players going into 2015? Should we keep a player? Should I be targeting this player in my 2015 draft? In the case of Danny Salazar, I think he is absolutely a player that should be targeted moving forward. After a first couple of months to forget, Salazar has come on with a vengeance since returning to the major leagues in July. Salazar's second half has moved his K Rate up to 25.9% on the season with a solid 7% BB Rate. His strike out rates aren't as impressive as they were in 2013, but he has shown increased control in the second half of the season with a 5.7% BB Rate, which is exactly what we wanted to see out of Salazar. He will pitch in 2015 at age 25 with a fastball in the mid-90's and elite strikeout totals. If he can maintain these new gains in his command, we are looking at a fantasy ace next season.
Danny Santana- My request line today was chalk fill of players named Danny. Danny Santana was a huge boon to fantasy owners this season thanks to his high average, speed and multi-position eligibility. He is an interesting player going into 2015, but I'm going to caution owners a bit moving forward. Santana made solid contact with a 26.4% Line Drive Rate in 2014, but his .395 BABIP seems really high even for a player with speed. I'm concerned that he may not be able to replicate that single's average in 2015. His average may not dip too far if he can keep up that line drive rate, any perceivable drop really effects his value as he doesn't do much else for a team. His 19 stolen bases have been a nice addition, but he will need to run more frequently next year to provide owners value if he does see a dip in average. With a 22.1% K Rate and a 4.7% BB Rate, he is dependent on that BABIP to get on base, which will also affect stolen base eligibility. Overall, I'm fine rolling the dice on Santana as a MI in a deep format or a utility bench player (if he maintains the multi-positional eligibility), but I don't see him as a keeper at this point. Too many things could go wrong next season.
Yordano Ventura- Yordano Ventura had a couple scares in 2014 with some elbow issues, but overall, he gave owners a very nice return on investment from his sleeper status in draft season. His 20.3% K Rate isn't a world beater, especially for a player that throws in the upper 90's when he is healthy, but it is a fairly solid starting point for a 23 year old pitcher. His command has taken a hit in the second half of the season as we have seen his BB Rate rise to 11.8% during that time. Ventura is a very interesting player moving into 2015. If he can maintain solid health, he has all the tools to grow into an even more dominating starting pitcher. If he can be kept at a cheap price, it makes sense to buy in again for 2015. If you have to pay a premium to keep him on your roster, you can safely let him back into the draft pool. He is an interesting asset, but deteriorating control and a 20% K Rate aren't worth paying top dollar. Even if he is only 23 with a high velocity fastball.
Ian Kinsler- A couple of our writers have been preaching Ian Kinsler as a buy moving into 2015. I have to disagree with those assessments and offer words of caution to our readers. There are some real issues I see with Kinsler moving forward. My first big worry for the Tigers' second baseman is his 3.9% BB Rate, which is a career low by 4+%. This is a huge issue for a player that will be hitting at the top of a lineup and who owners will be relying on to generate runs. Additionally, Kinsler has struggled badly thoroughly the entire second half of the season. Kinsler's BABIP corrected itself a bit over the course of the second half, which affected his average, but the more disturbing trend was the slow erosion of his power. After hitting 10 home runs in the first 3 months of the season, Kinsler has struggled to hitting only 6 through the final 3 months. His ISO dipped ruing that second half to .114, which isn't going to work for a batter who isn't walking and is stealing bases sparingly. His 15/15 potential remains valuable, but I'm worried that we are beginning to see the erosion of his power and speed. Be cautious with dealing with Kinsler moving forward, and I certainly don't recommend paying a premium for him.
Today's American League Player Blog has been brought to you by Nicholas Rossoletti. You can follow Nicholas on Twitter @NRoss56.
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