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Alfonso Soriano (Was)
With Soriano ranking as last season’s top second baseman, why the sudden fall from grace for such an offensively talented athlete? Firstly, there’s no question that “Big Al” benefitted from hitting within the friendly confines of Arlington’s Ameriquest Field, and Washington’s RFK Stadium is a flyball graveyard. Shots which would carry out of his former smaller and warmer park will turn into deep pop outs at his new home field. Secondly, the Nationals have moved Soriano to the outfield, and given his shoddy glovework, that’s not such a bad idea. Never known for his defense, Soriano committed 21 errors and notched a fielding percentage of .972 last season, and in his two seasons in a Ranger uni, he booted 46 balls. Needless to say, moving to the outfield significantly reduces his value in keeper leagues. And lastly, while numbers can be twisted to suit anyone’s needs, Soriano’s stats are incontrovertible: .315/.656/.355 (AVG/SLG/OBP) at Arlington, and .224/.265/.374 away from home.
So, where does this leave us? Trade rumors, particularly for starting pitching, were plentiful, but Soriano wound up sticking. Operating under the assumption that Soriano will remain a National, as few GMs would be inclined to trade equal value for a second bagger who has displayed poor glovework and abysmal numbers away from Texas, you can bet your boots that Soriano’s batting average takes a hit. Also, if the guy is that miserable in Washington, his dissatisfaction will likely manifest itself on the field. Tentatively, look for .275/25/85, with 33 SB.
jameeman wrote:Firstly, I don't see where I demonstrate ANY Yankee bias in this piece as Roberts is the 4th ranked 2B, and frankly I am unclear as to where I pimp NY at all.
Secondly- Perhaps you feel that my slotting Jeter ahead of Tejada in the Shortstop installment constitutes such favoritism... I took some modest heat for that projection... but consider the following; the Yankee's 1-9, which indisputably towers head and shoulders above Balty's lineup, combined with Jeter's ability to swipe 18-22 bags, score 120 or so runs, and record a BA that should be within 15 points of Miggy's (be it higher or lower) makes the difference between the 2 middle infielders a virtual toss-up. However, I did concede that the Oriole SS is eminently capable of posting a .315/37/130 season, and in so doing reclaim the top spot at his position. That being said, a number of factors would have to come together for Miggy' to hang such gaudy numbers.
As quoted from cbs.sportsline.com with regard to Tejada: "Tejada seems to be a step slower than he was last season. It's noticeable in the field, where he couldn't get to a couple of groundballs that should have been within his range. He also struck out three times Sunday, then stranded six runners while going 0-for-4 Monday. Overall, the All-Star shortstop is hitting .231 this spring."
**Keep in mind that Tejada tailed-off in dramatic fashion after last season's All-Star Break. Prior to the hiatus, Miggy was swatting .329/604/.373, with 114 hits, 30 Doubles, 19 HRs and 62 RBI. AFTER the break, Tejada cooled off appreciably and was hitting .276/.416/.322, with 85 hits, 20 Doubles, a mere 7 HRs, and 36 RBI.
Meanwhile, Jeter was a model of consistency; over the 1st half, the Yankee cappy' clubbed ..308/.452/.393, with 105 hits, 12 Doubs', 2 Triples, 11 HR and 37 RBIs. Over the 2nd half, .310/.447/.385, with 97 hits, 13 Doubs', 3 Triples, 8 HRs, and 33 RBI.
If the above analysis is "Yankee bias" to you... then I s'pose I DO possess a pin-striped slant!
As for Brian Roberts, I don't think he'll see a correction in numbers due to his injury, though psychologically and physically his injury could well impact his performance at the plate. Rather, I think his numbers will be closer to those of his 2nd half because frankly, nobody could sustain such a torrid pace and Roberts has NEVER given any indication that he's that kind of ball player.
"...Although the O 2B is still gunning to be game-ready by opening day, the fact of the matter is, B-Rob probably won’t approach 100% until perhaps early summer. Taking a quick peek at his split-season stats, it’s almost like looking at two different ball players. Prior to the break, Roberts was crushing the ball at the “Ruthian” pace of .345/15/49, with 18 SB and a SLG % of .591. After the break he wasn’t quite so impressive: .274/3/24, with nine SB and a SLG % of .419.
...at age 28... I’d be hard-pressed to believe that he’s really as good as his first-half numbers would suggest. He’s probably much closer to the athlete we saw following the All-Star break. Without the benefit of a Yankees, Cardinals, or Red Sox type of lineup, I’m thinking .285/15/50, with 30 thieved bags and 105 runs. ...he remains an injury risk…"
Roberts DOES remain an injury risk, and what season prior to last would lead you to believe that his'05 campaign marks the beginning of a trend? Last season, B-Rob clubbed .314/.515/.387 with 18 dingers' and 73 Ribs'. His next best season was '04', when he hit a far more modest .273/.376/.344 with 4 HRs and 53 Ribs.
About those staggering split stats';
1st half: .345/.591/.416, with 15 HRs and 49 Ribs'-
2nd half (65 fewer ABs): .274/.419/.351, with just 3 HR and 24 RBIs.
Furthermore, what would lead you to believe that Roberts is "finally going to swipe 40 bases?" After stealing just 9 bags over the 2nd half and getting thrown-out 5 times, and with Stolen Base numbers that have consistently hovered in the mid-high 20's over the past 3 seasons, now, when he's approaching 30, he's going to run more than he has? I wouldn't think so.
I am also far from the only analyst who looks askance at Roberts' production. Consider what Fantasy gaming giant Sandbox.com has to say about the Oriole 2nd sacker;
"...the surprise of the first half of 2005, matching his career high of five homers not even two weeks into the season. ... From July 1 on, he settled back in as an ordinary regular, hitting .264/.338/.419 in 72 games before a dislocated elbow ended his season on Sept. 20. For the third year in a row, he did considerably less running as the season went on... ...he's probably not a lot better than he was in the second half of last season. Also, surgery to reattach a tendon in his elbow could leave him limited..."
As for Grady Sizemore? Sizemore is surrounded by a soon-to-be "Who's Who" of fantasy studs, and without doubt should be a top-15 fantasy OF'er this season. And, as his power develops and he moves to the clean-up or 5-spot, the Indian should become a top 15 fantasy talent... irregarldess of position.
DO not, however, diminish Jason Bay. The Pitt' OF'er is also surrounded by talent, albeit not of the same caliber. He's top 20 OF'er material and possibly top-15.
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