Notes from the Florida and Arizona camps...
The Padres were one of the most active teams this offseason, and that's really saying something this year as many teams were wheeling, dealing, and signing. San Diego acquired basically an entirely new outfield, with Matt Kemp, Justin Upton, and Wil Myers moving to southern California. At least one of the incumbents isn't ready to quietly cede his position in the lineup.
Cameron Maybin- OF- SD- Maybin has been the centerfielder for the Padres the past few seasons, at least in name. Injuries have severely limited his playing time. For those of you who may have forgotten, Maybin was a highly regarded prospect back in the day, even being considered a key piece of the deal that brought Miguel Cabrera to Detroit. In 3 seasons at Florida he never played more than 82 games. A trade to San Diego offered hope that he could reach that vaunted potential, as he was still only 24 at the time. In his first year as a padre Maybin hit .264, with 82 runs and 40 steals. Since then, though, his production has gone downhill, especially as he was hampered by injury the past two seasons. His age 27 season last year was limited to 95 games and 272 PAs. He only stole 4 bases in 2014 while hitting just .235. Maybin's LD% was at 17.0%, which was actually his best as a Padre in any season playing more than 20 games. With an evaporation of speed and a GB/FB ratio of 2.22 it is going to be very difficult for Maybin to retain the CF job in competition with Wil Myers.
Alexi Amarista- SS- SD- Amarista has the Padres' SS job in hand and is likely to be their leadoff hitter. At least that's the plan for now. With an OBP of .286 last year (that's right, OBP, not average) after posting identical .282 marks in that category the previous 2 seasons, there isn't much room for fantasy value. With a club that plans to contend, his stay atop the order may be a brief one, if it even survives spring training. The Padres can't afford to concede an out to start the game and you shouldn't do so in your lineup, either.
Albert Pujols is now but a distant memory in St. Louis. This season, there is a little bit of uncertainty at how the playing time will shake out at first base.
Matt Adams- 1B- STL- Adams is certainly no Pujols, even the Pujols that is in LA now. However, he did post an adequate season last year, with a .288 average and 15 homers. While his homer production was roughly the same no matter what type of pitcher he faced (3 in 130 PAs against southpaws and 12 in 433 PAs against righties) his batting average splits were way extreme. Adams only hit .190 against lefties but .318 against righties. This is very close to his career splits of .197/.306 so last season doesn't seem to be an outlier. Adams has a career LD% of 16.4% against lefties and 23.6% against righties so his BABIP split of .250/.356 is not mere luck. This tendency puts a big chance of a platoon situation in play. His playing time might go down but his average should tick upward if he faces fewer lefties.
Mark Reynolds- 1B- STL- The 1B position in Milwaukee has been pretty much an offensive black hole for the past two seasons and Reynolds made his contribution to the desperate need to get Adam Lind this offseason for the Brewers. So Reynolds signed with division rival St. Louis. 2014 did have some bright spots for Reynolds, as he hit 22 homers, his seventh straight campaign of 20+. That still doesn't offset his sub- Mendoza line .196 average. The Cardinals are hoping that Reynolds' production against southpaws last year was an aberration, since that's where they need help. He hit .173 with 3 homers in 112 PAs against lefthanded pitching. For his career, though, he owns a .351 OBP and has hit 58 long balls in 1199 PAs. If he can get back to that, Reynolds will get some regular playing time. However, his chances of extending his 20+ homer streak are slim.
There has been a change in backstops north of the border. Russell Martin was signed to be the primary catcher. That relegates Dioner Navarro to a backup role, at least for as long as he stays in Toronto.
Russell Martin- C- TOR- Martin had his best year last season, coming at a great time to cash in with a free agency signing. A good part of his .290 average can likely be attributed to a .336 BABIP, 47 points above his career average. Martin was also limited to 111 games, his lowest total since 2010 and second lowest of his career. He is now 32 years old and a regression is highly likely. His defensive assets in handling the Toronto staff won't do anything for you on your fantasy team.
Dioner Navarro- C- TOR- If Navarro stays with Toronto he will likely go from a career high 520 PAs to a number likely in the 200s. Navarro posted a .274 average with 12 homers last season after hitting .300 with 13 homers in 2013. He has earned full time playing status and that is why he requested a trade. The Blue Jays will likely accommodate him if they can get something worthwhile in return. If he does head south of the border his average will depend greatly on his fortune. He has a strong correlation between his BABIP and average and tends to extremes in both. From 2012-2014 his BABIPs were .321, .307, and .301, respectively. His averages were .290, .300, and .274. From 2009-2011, Navarro's BABIPs were .231, .223, and .210 and his averages were .218, .194, and .193.
Jurickson Profar- 2B- TEX- It's official. For the second year in a row, Profar's season is over before it began due to shoulder problems. This time he had surgery for a torn labrum instead of trying more rehab. Supposedly this has corrected the issues that have plagued him and Profar will be ready to go in 2016.
Adrain Beltre- 3B- TEX- There will be no wondering if Beltre will be under contract with the Rangers next year. They could have dropped the last year of his contract if he didn't get 586 PAs this season. Instead of waiting Texas went ahead and exercised Beltre's option now. Unsurprisingly, Beltre has had very positive home splits playing in Arlington. Nailing him down for next year solidifies his fantasy value not just for this year but for next.
Yoan Mocada- 2B- BOS- The wait is reportedly over. Moncada has supposedly signed a contract with the Red Sox worth more than $30 million. At the age of 19, Moncada is not expected to step into the Boston lineup right away, but after some seasoning in the minor leagues over the next year or two he is projected to be a significant force in the middle infield. Whether Moncada lives up to the hype will depend on how he handles more advanced pitching but the initial thoughts are he will be able to come through.
Everth Cabrera- SS- BAL- Cabrera will report to the Orioles' camp in Sarasota today after signing a deal. He will likely be looking to catch on in a utility spot. Last year Cabrera hit .232 with a .272 OBP for San Diego. There are some off-the-field issues he is dealing with that make his future cloudy. Besides being one of the players who was involved in the Biogenesis scandal and served a suspension, Cabrera faces a trial in April on marijuana possession that could carry a prison sentence. Given his meager production and outside factors, it would be best to stay away from him.
Alex Rodriguez- 3B- NYY- ARod reported to camp early yesterday and worked out at the minor league complex. Right now he is the odds on favorite to be the Yankees' primary DH. However he will have to show that nearly two years away from the game have not eroded his skills past the point of no return in what was once a Hall of Fame lock career. It's hard to believe, but ARod may actually be classified as a sleeper, depending on how things go in spring training.
Miguel Cabrera- 1B- DET- Miggy reported early to camp. He will be limited for part of camp as he recovers from surgery to repair a stress fracture in his foot. Cabrera is hoping to be completely ready by Opening Day.
Kenley Jansen- RP- LAN- Jansen will be out for 2-3 months after having surgery to remove a growth from his foot. There was concern that the growth may have been cancerous but fortunately that turned out to not be the case.
B.J. Upton- OF- ATL- Upton will now be going by his given first name of Melvin. When you have had 3 seasons with an OBP below .300, I guess you look for reasons to make news besides your performance, or lack thereof. Or maybe Melvin is looking to replicate the success of another recent name changer, Giancarlo (formerly Mike) Stanton. That isn't going to happen unless Upton, for one thing, reduces his strike out rate further from the 29.7% he posted last year. That was an improvement on the 33.9% K rate he had in 2013, but is still killing his production.
Michael McKenry- C- COL- McKenry is out of options. With the Rockies looking to carry only 4 bench players and Todd Hundley and Wilin Rosario likely to be the catching unit for Colorado, that leaves McKenry without a spot in Colorado. He hit .315 in 57 games last year. That was boosted by a .381 BABIP but still he hit .299 away from Coors while batting .333 at home. So while he enjoyed a boost from the hitter-friendly surroundings it wasn't that extreme. McKenry will likely find a job with another club before the regular season starts.
Juan Lagares- OF- NYN- Lagares may find himself as the Mets' leadoff hitter this year. He made significant progress last year, boosting his OBP from .281 in 2013 to .321 last year. Some of that is likely due to an increased BABIP (from .310 to .341) but Lagares also cut his K% from 22.8% to 19.2%. If he can increase his BB% then he can reduce the impact of luck on his production and nail down that leadoff spot.
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