Monday, January 18, 2010

A Few Players I Will Not Own in 2010 (that you probably will)

posted by Jon Williams
There are plenty of sites out there producing sleeper lists. There are plenty of lists available to tell you which players are injury prone, and which players were exceptionally lucky. Unfortunately, even if these lists were ever more than 70 percent accurate they would not cover the most frustrating portion of the player population. I am refering to the players that drop off the map with very few warning signs. That these players exist is why I try so hard to consider more than just scouting reports and statistics. The human elements such as player environments, and situations that may result in distractions or even worse.

This is hardly a complete list. Any player could drop off completely without warning. But these are players who I have decided I will pass on in 2010 for various reasons. I am not suggesting that they'll be worthless in 2010 or even close to that. I am suggesting that the risk is higher than you may think. I prefer to avoid these players than to hope to get lucky with them.

Miguel Cabrera, 1B, Detroit Tigers
To be honest I've been growing more and more down on Miguel Cabrera for a while. Don't worry, I have been called crazy before and I'll get over it. We are still friends here. I've been told by more than one person whose opinion I respected that my opinions on Cabrera are subjective and not based on real statistical evidence. They are not wrong. But I call it trusting my eyes, ears, and instincts. If you look at Cabrera's statistics there is not a single sign of impending disaster, but there are other types of signs. I should qualify this by sharing that if Cabrera was going to come at a severe discount I might roster him. Raise your hand if you think I can draft Cabrera for less than $30? When I spend $40 bucks or the draft equivalent on a player I want it to come with significantly less risk.

Cabrera is showing signs of complacency. His drive to achieve more in his career seems to be fading. He may not be fat but he's getting softer. I know a potential fat guy when I see him, trust me. In his last 20 games before the showdown against the Twins, Cabrera hit just .244. He is also getting in trouble more often. Two violent drinking related incidents this year that could easily have led to criminal charges.
Television station WXYZ obtained a police report from an alleged incident the preceding August, in which Cabrera was involved in a verbal altercation with diners at a restaurant inside the Townsend. Witnesses say Cabrera threatened to fight the group outside and indicated that he had a gun. Restaurant employees asked Cabrera to leave and police were called. There was no weapon in Cabrera's vehicle and Cabrera told team officials he did not own one. Cabrera then told team officials he had been dealing with personal issues and got upset, and the diners ended up dropping the matter.
He was legally drunk the morning before a crucial playoff game. Early morning on October 3, 2009, police were called to the Cabreras' home and took Cabrera in for questioning. Cabrera had come home at 6:00am, after a night of drinking at the nearby Townsend Hotel, and got in an argument with his wife. He was seen later that day at a game at Comerica Park, with scratches on his face. Cabrera told reporters that the scratches came from his dog and refused to discuss the matter further. It was later reported he had a blood alcohol level of .26, three times the legal limit, when tested at the police station. Dave Dombrowski, the general manager of the Tigers, picked him up from the police station around 7:30am—eleven and a half hours before that evening's game in which he went 0–4 with one strikeout and six runners left on base against the Chicago White Sox.
He plays for a team that traded away its most popular player (signed to a fair deal) for prospects in an attempt to reduce its payroll commitments. Cabrera is a hell of a financial commitment and there are many teams that would be interested if he became available. So Cabrera may not forget how to hit but there is enough here to lead me to put my dollars elsewhere.

Roy Oswalt, SP, Houston Astros
I suggested that Roy Oswalt was in decline before the 2009 season began and was old that was an asinine comment. I don't mean to brag, I don't mean to boast but I'm like hot butter on breakfast toast. That means I'm right by the way. I was willing to own Oswalt last season if he came cheap enough, I would not touch him this season with a ten foot pole. I find it funny how you can find so many owners willing to complain about pitcher inconsistency but who get defensive about any attempt to warn them off their favorites.

One of Oswalt's strengths has been his durability. But this is coming to an end. His Innings Pitched is in a four year decline and the degenerative disc in his back is not going to make it any easier for him. With the innings go the strikeout totals. His groundball rate was a five-year low, but that may have been caused by a lack of faith in a lousy infield defense. He was shutdown in September in an attempt to avoid surgery on his back. This is not good news. I am going to pass.

Manny Ramirez, OF, Los Angeles Dodgers
Ramirez hit .269 with 13 homers and 43 RBIs in 77 games after returning from his 50-game suspension for failing a random drug test. I am certain that there are those owners willing to blame his poor numbers on a lack of drugs in his system. I would call them ridiculous. Whether you believe Manny was using steroids or not (he still denies it) his 2009 stats fit into the gradual decline Manny has been in for the last few years. I know how good his 2008 totals were. But I submit that they were the result of an unprecedented hot streak. A lucky streak that coincided with moving to the easier league and feeling great about finally escaping from the Boston Red Sox. Manny will be 38 in May, surely you did not believe he would just keep hitting .330 with 40 homers indefinitely?

I do not believe that Manny will be a complete waste of a roster spot in 2010. But the time has come to downgrade our expectations. Manny still has a good batting eye but was less aggressive in 2010, judging by his swinging at far fewer pitches. That could be a lack of confidence which is one of the results I think would be natural for someone who goes through the humiliation of being outed as a drug user. Especially if he then stops to avoid any further embarrassment. But what I worry about most is the combination of these factors and Manny's reputation for nonchalance. I see the worst season of his career coming.

B.J. Upton, OF, Tampa Bay Rays
I should begin by admitting that I have owned this Upton on various teams since he was drafted. I believe in his tools. He could be a great player. But I no longer believe he will be. It is not just that I've been let down by him in the past (if that were the case my infatuation with Corey Patterson, Bobby Hill and others would be long over, ahem...) but not only have signs of growth been few and far between but the Rays are now willing to trade him. They offered him to Toronto for Roy Halladay. The Rays also have Desmond Jennings who has all the tools of Upton plus strike zone judgment. Upton would not be the first tool-laden superstud athlete to fail to become a productive regular player in MLB. I think B.J. Upton is much closer to that fate than to becoming a superstar.

These are mine. Who are yours?

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2 Comments:

Blogger Mike Murtha said...

Not for nothing, but it could help you some to put stats up against B.J. Upton. The others I can agree with because of the stats held against them, but when you have the Blowjob putting up insane HR numbers in a short playoff series and great SB numbers over the course of a season, especially at such a young friggin age, you gotta be on the buy side of that deal. He's been pushed through too young, too soon just like his younger brother, but his bro has been long known as the more talented one. You'll be biting down on your pointer with this decision by the time the All Star break rolls around.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010 at 3:04:00 AM EST  
Blogger Robert said...

Hi, Jon

Can you please contact me about the FBTM Premier League? I want to make sure you're still 'in' for 2010

fbtrademarket@gmail.com

Thanks,

Bob Sikon, Fantasy Baseball Trade Market

Thursday, January 28, 2010 at 10:36:00 AM EST  

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