Well yes, this is in fact another article about the struggling Toronto Blue Jays’ second basemen, but Aaron Hill‘s disparaging numbers and near-drop status in fantasy leagues will not be the main focus of this post.
In fact, rather, quite the opposite.
With the recent injuries to many of fantasy baseball’s high-profile first and second round draft choices, Aaron Hill has the opportunity (in my Yahoo 14-team H2H league and for my team in particular) to prove he is still fantasy relevant and a viable option at second base as many professional analysts have suggested.
“I like me some Aaron Hill, who is currently among the top 10 dropped second basemen in ESPN standard leagues. He shouldn’t be. The obvious thing is the crazy-low .191 BABIP. A career .278 hitter (with a career .298 BABIP), his average will come up; he’s already hitting .250 in June, so it’s a start. On pace for 26 home runs, the power has actually been there. Low RBI totals so far, but again, if the average heats up, so will that number. He’s hitting .240 with runners in scoring position versus .191 with nobody on. Hill screams “buy low,” said Matthew Berry in a ESPN fantasy article of 10 players not to give up on.
Yes, I too could not escape the barrage of injuries to these players unscaved, as my number one draft pick, Chase Utley, was sidelined and will be out of action until after the upcoming All-Star break. Luckily for me, I burnt my valuable waiver wire position a few weeks prior to acquire the Jays’ second basemen as soon as he was dropped by an owner with a little less patience. I had to make the move, and I did based on a few contributing factors…
- Hill’s numbers from the 2009 season: The 2009 American League Silver Slugger award winner posted a .286 AVG while slugging 36 home runs with 108 RBIs.
- Name recognition: Unfortunately, this could be a double-edged sword in the fantasy world, as many owners tend to stick with the big name guys rather than those who are performing. In this case, as we all know, the second base position is quite thin in any league. To scoop a guy like Hill, despite the numbers was still pretty exciting.
- Potential power: As stated above the kid showed last year that he could have some power at the second base position. The fact that despite his average is considerably below the Mendoza line (.187), he was still hitting for some power (11 HRs) on a team revered as one of the big-power clubs (The Jays lead baseball with 115 collective home runs).
- In a 14 team league any sexy drops need some consideration: Hill’s slumping counterpart, Adam Lind, was picked up in similar fashion before he cleared the waivers in our league, and I’m sure if players of similar stature and recognition were dropped, they would automatically get a look or two…or three.
- Professional Analyst recommendation: If what his numbers and analysts’ opinions indicate, when an eventual turn around comes, he would have some considerable trade value for a power hitting second baseman. This in conjunction with his name recognition could set me up nicely for a beneficial trade and late push towards the end of the season.
I had the spot and nothing to lose. I mean wouldn’t you?
Initially it seemed to pay off. The two subsequent days following his official arrival to my line-up, he jacked two home runs in the utility slot and assured my reasoning for the pick up. Well that bright spot was one of the few highlights of his time spent on my team, six-to-midnight. But, now I’m hoping Aaron Hill can put together a couple of weeks of decent numbers as I anxiously await the return of my first round pick.
So please Mr. Hill, can you finally turn your mediocre season around and be a solid replacement as I surge to make that Second Half Push?
Here are some recent pick-ups I made to give my team that Second Half Push:Although the injury bug seems to be contagious around the league, I happened to fall on some good fortune with the return of Jimmy Rollins and Huston Street coming off the DL in the same week. It helps that Rollins resumed his lead-off spot upon this return, as he was hitting in the sixth hole when he came off his earlier DL stint. Street seems to be rolling and found his way back into the Rockies’ closer role. This was eminent as his former replacements, Manuel Corpas and Franklin Morales, have been struggling of late. As those two came off the DL, I was quick to find their disabled replacements in Edinson Volquez and J.A. Happ. Pitchers like these are quite sexy in a 14 team league where pitching is quite thin. At one point I was streaming pitchers that have no place on a roster even in deeper leagues. No offense Jeremy Guthrie and Scott Olsen. I also made a desperate move to fill the only true hole in my batting order, third base. I picked up Pirates’ rookie, Pedro Alvarez, but that proved fruitless.
Catching the injury bug, SORRY Blake!
I should be so lucky that I have a player like Aaron Hill to replace Chase Utley. Check out some of these injuries Second Half Push writer, Blake Chadwick, sustained in the last two weeks.
- Troy Tulowitzki
- Victor Martinez
- Manny Ramirez
- David Freese
- Joel Zumaya
Definitely not what a first place team in a deep league needs as we head to the second half of the season.
By Blake Chadwick
Generally, when one is selected in the first round of a draft, they are expected to become megastars with much hype attached. Look at the last few seasons. Strasburg, Stanton, Wieters, Longoria the list goes on and on. Well let’s set the way back machine to 2006, when the Orioles had a young slugger they expected to be in the minor leagues for another season or two before a Spring Training coming out party landed him a roster spot four seasons ago. The young gun was not only consistent, but productive in his first three seasons including 6th place in AL ROY voting in 2006. His best season thus far was 2007 when he hit .300 and hit 23 HR knocked in 112 RBI’s, and swiped 18 bags. Looks not only like a fantasy stud, but a legit big league star. In four full seasons, he’s topped 100 RBI’s twice and drove in 87 another time. His HR totals all hover around 20 and his average close to a stellar .300.
Let’s flash forward to the present day. The Orioles are the worst team in baseball by far. They are one of two teams to make a managerial change already, the other being the perennially lowly Royals. In the last few weeks, Mr. Markakis has heated up and raised his average to .302. You might be wondering what is wrong with that. Well, let’s dissect some of his other numbers. HR’s? How about 3. RBI’s? A mere 23 knocked in. Stolen bases? 1. Also, his 78 hits and 27 runs put him on pace for his worst totals in those categories since his rookie season. In a throwaway season for Baltimore when cornerstone players like Adam Jones and Matt Wieters are struggling, you would expect someone to step in. Almost certainly, you would give the nod to one of the leaders and best players on this club in Markakis. Well that hasn’t happened yet. There is still much of the season to be played, so he can’t be completely written off yet. So in a season of complete disarray for the O’s when no one is stepping up, I ask simply, where in the world is Nick Markakis?
By Ivan Berliant
I’m sure by now you must’ve heard the ‘buzz’ surrounding the World Cup. Yea sure the soccer is great, but it seems the Vuvuzelas are making all the headlines. According to our awesome ESPN insider privileges and a report by the Palm Beach Post, the Marlins plan to give out similar type horns this Saturday as the Fish take on the Tampa Bay Rays. The Marlins are giving the first 15,000 fans to show up to Sun Life Stadium a Vuvuzela-type horn, so don’t worry they WON’T be selling out.
The series should be pretty good, and I’m interested in seeing how the Rays perform without another bat in the line-up. Hopefully this is a good idea and doesn’t turn people off of the team even more so.
By Blake Chadwick
Alright picture this nightmare scenario. Your favorite team, in this case we will say the New York Mets, have a 5-3 lead in the bottom of the 9th on the road vs. division rival and widely despised Philadelphia. There are 2 on and 2 out with Ryan Howard at the dish. The caveat is you own Mr. Howard. To make things even more spicy, your opponent has Mets closer, Francisco “K-Rod” Rodriguez. On a 3-2 pitch, Howard JACKS one to deep right field sealing the deal with a walk-off 3 run HR. So fantasy wise, your now golden. Your opponent blows a save and you add a HR, 3 RBI, a run and an inflated OPS in one swing. You pump your fist with excitement as that play put you over the top and won your weekly series. After a few minutes, you realize you just went ballistic for not only a Phillies win, but a Mets loss. A walk off nonetheless against one of your chief rivals. This brings up the point, does fantasy baseball ruin ones love for the game? For me, it definitely can get in the way at times and forces me to snap out of it. Sometimes, the numbers crunch and statistical analysis overtakes simple balls and strikes. I would love to hear how this affects others. The best remedy is to go out to the ballpark and soak it all in. Before you buy your tickets, just make sure your ace is on the hill.
By Blake Chadwick
Usually when I order chinese take-out it doesn’t take this long, but the Kung Fu Panda’s slow delivery might have me scrounging for left overs. After tearing through the NL West in his first full season in 2009, Pablo Sandoval has fallen flat this season. Maybe this is his rookie wall. Either way, he was a top 50 pick and an expected cornerstone of one’s fantasy lineup. Miss out on D Wright, Longoria, or Zimmerman? Kung Fu was expected to be in that same mix in 2010. After a 330/25/90/.943 year that included catcher eligibility, you would think this guy is ready to breakout. Thrown in his jovial personality, and this guy is a fantasy owner’s dream.
Well as the month has turned from May to June, the Panda is still hibernating (do they hibernate)? He sits with 4 HR and 23 RBI hitting a mere .283 and an OPS of .763 in the middle of a putrid Giants batting order. The addition of a player such as Aubrey Huff who can also play both corner infield spots has limited Sandoval’s production. So my dilemma as we head into the dog days of summer, how long do I wait for this blue chip bopper to turn things around? He will certainly get swiped in my 8 team rotisserie league due to name value alone. I will let it haunt me all winter if this guy bounces back. So as I let other top prospects such as Adam Jones and Gordon Beckham fall to waivers, I am more reluctant on the guy who won 7th place in NL MVP voting in his first full season. Things need to turn around quickly or I am canceling my order on Kung Fu.
So here’s the scenario :
I’m up 10-3 in my Yahoo H2H league going into Sunday, I’m only down by one steal and only up by two runs in my closest categories. Of course I’m thinking I have this locked up and why not play Rajai Davis and Curtis Granderson in place of Paul Konerko and Carlos Lee, they could possibly capture and secure these tight categories while getting me a real nice win for the week.
Well for those of you who don’t own Konerko or Lee, each had two-run home runs. Usually I would be quite upset leaving that kind of production on the bench, but I was up significantly in home runs and RBIs. Just to note, sorry for you Ryan Braun and Andre Either owners out there, I played them and it was pathetic.
Well Davis and Granderson both had lackluster days and I didn’t steal any categories (pun intended), but the situation made me ponder a fantasy dilemma…
When should you bench power for speed, and can you really leave those home runs and RBIs on the bench?
I’m curious to know what you think, give me your strategies and let me know if you would bench power for stolen bases and runs?
Additional Sunday Notes:
- Rookie Brennan Boesch found his stroke going again, so watch for him in deeper leagues.
.381 AVG/ 1.25 OPS/1 Hr/ 4 runs/ 3 RBIs
- Rickie Weeks has a hot bat, he totally killed me with that home run yesterday against the Cardinals, and he’s hit quite a few this week including two in one game on Monday.
- K-rod continued to make me nervous, but still got the save for the three game sweep of the Marlins.
By Blake Chadwick
As a Mets fan, how could you EVER, POSSIBLY cheer for the Braves? The team that tormented us year in and year out for 14 in a row atop the NL East. The team that was on TV EVERY single day and was “America’s Team”. Then along came fantasy baseball. See, prospects have the ability to make one’s eyes very wide and take things out of perspective. As Mets fans, we know this very well.
Let me digress, this season as the Braves attempt to regain their former glory, are riding a wave of youth. Martin Prado, Yunel Escobar, Brian McCann even. Of course fantasy darling Tommy Hanson and Jair Jurrjens locking down the rotation as well. This year, they debuted a new gun. Jason Heyward. The hype surrounding this kid was almost Lebron-esque. His towering 450 foot plus HR in Spring Training sealed the deal for me. For the first time, I was going to go out of my way to draft an Atlanta Brave. Hell, I might even cheer for him deep down. Then it all fell into my lap. In my 8 team rotisserie style league, there are 22 roster spots. In round 21, all of my hardwork scouring draft sheets and prospect lists paid off. Apparently, I was the only person outside of the person in the league with the team name “Jason Heyward” to know who he was. Well that genius didn’t pull the trigger so I went with it. Then came the shot heard round Turner Field. On opening day, I was plopped down on my bed watching the array of games. I settled on Cubs vs. Braves. Then the unthinkable happened. Heyward stepped up to the plate to a standing ovation to face Cubs fireballer Carlos Zambrano. I was locked in. I felt the energy running through that stadium. Heyward JACKED a ball to deep right field and the stadium literally shook. I jumped up in the air pumping my fist for fantasy production in the first few minutes of the season. I was sold on Jason Heyward. I was ecstatic to own an Atlanta Brave. It didn’t even phase me. Only for the love of fantasy.