It’s been a long time since I’ve been as impressed with a rookie power bat like I was Jose Abreu in 2014. I admit that moments like this one could lead to a little man-crush blindness on my part on a guy. I will not usually do my due diligence on Abreu; entering his age 28 season, rolling up to my fantasy drafts ready to add him to a roster at all costs without any reservations.
Recently, Ray Flowers who is considered by some to be a Fantasy Baseball Expert has taken Abreu’s hype to task by saying things like he’s not a top five fantasy first basemen in 2015, and then tonight this:
Ray Flowers (@BaseballGuys) says that the #WhiteSox 1st Baseman Jose Abreu should NOT be taken in the Top 25 of your Fantasy Baseball Drafts
What I’m here to do is build a case against Abreu and dig a little deeper before I’m in too deep and have him on four or five rosters just in time for his collapse. It seems Flowers has done a bit more work than I have on the subject, so I’ll begin with reasons why you might want to look away from Abreu on draft day or proceed with caution.
Abreu had a .356 BABIP in 2014. Alright, this is going to go down. You can theorize a couple things here when a guy has a high BABIP: 1) the guy is so lucky he shits golden eggs; or 2) he hits the ball real hard when it’s in play and it’s past people. I think it was more a combination of the two then simple luck. Fangraphs had this man at 100 line drives even last year. That’s exceptional (23.3%, almost a fourth of the time he hit a line drive).
Alright, so he’s not going to sustain a .356 average on balls hit in play, what if that number goes to just .300 which is assumed as league average. You’ve still got a monster on your hands who hits .275 or .270 instead of .319, and there’s no reason to think the power numbers decrease based on his fb% and gb/fb ratio. But I’m not building the case against Abreu here, am I?
Abreu was afflicted with ankle tendinitis in May of last season, landing him on the disabled list and being the sole reason he didn’t hit 40 home runs. In my opinion, this is an injury that has a fair chance of returning at some point. It’s not to say that it’s a chronic problem, but it’s not exactly like a viral infection that needed a few weeks to clear up. For those that have had tendinitis in a joint, these things have a way of flaring up again.
Abreu’s O-Swing % last season was 41.7%, a full point higher then Josh Hamilton who got himself into a mess of a season by notoriously swinging at too many pitches and namely; too many bad pitches.
Abreu entered last season with no book on him – seeing a fastball come his way from the opposing pitcher 52.7% of the time. Check this off for reason to be concerned; while this number could see itself decrease, this is well below the 60% that a prime-aged Albert Pujols saw or the 64.2% that Mike Trout saw in 2014. He’s more likely than anything to see more fastballs and unless bat speed decreases, he’ll handle them. But we’re working to build a case against Abreu here.
Abreu might see some time at designated hitter with Adam LaRoche being added to the White Sox roster in the offseason. Abreu’s zone-rating was -2.4 last season while LaRoche has a career -1.9; including a -5.2% last season. Best guess is two-thirds of the time Abreu will be the positional first basemen while LaRoche DH’s. This would allow for more chance for injury and increase some fatigue but some players admittedly hit better when they’ve brought their glove to the park. At best, this theory is a push.
More or less, I’ve thought of all the angles here. It all adds up to a very low chance of Abreu regressing much – and if he does you have a .270 hitter with 30 home runs and around 100 RBI. That’s close to first round value in today’s MLB and it’s certainly in the top 25 overall players in most fantasy formats.
We will dig this post up after next season and review what went right and what went wrong for Abreu. We’ll go with a bullish projection on him: .285/40 HR/110 RBI and cite increased talent in the lineup and of course the launching pad he plays his home games in while being a year wiser. Now don’t make us look foolish Big Cuban Stud.
Early in April, I saw something in Jose Abreu that intrigued me. He hit a couple balls to spots of Coors Field that they shouldn’t have been hit to pretty effortlessly, and then a few days later; he hit a couple more out against the Cleveland Indians in Chicago to similar spots that aren’t usually reached in a game.
I knew then that the White Sox had a prolific power hitter on their hands; it was just a matter of was he a .270 hitter who could drop bombs or a guy who could hit for some average? Forget all about the White Sox blowing it with a six-year contract for the Cuban defector.
As a guy who has love for the ChiSox, I’m happy about this. I loved stealing Abreu in the fifth round of a fantasy draft in my big money keeper league, rejecting huge trade offers for him all season long, and seeing him sustain such success.
The next half-decade is going to be a glorious ride.
The White Sox were brutalized last night by the Texas Rangers by a score of 16-0. But for those who paid hard earned money for a ticket, all was not lost.
There are certain ‘baseball things’ you grab your cell phone for when you’re half asleep to fire off a handful of texts to your buddies. Big Adam Dunn coming out of the wind-up, painting corners at 80 would be at the top of that list.
There’s only a select few players in the game’s scavenger hunt of history who have pitched an inning on the mound and hit over 400 career home runs. Babe Ruth is one of them, and one of our all-time favorites Adam Dunn is now part of that list.
There is almost nothing better than when you get a doubleheader of a team you really want to watch. The Angels and White Sox were rained out last night and baseball did everyone a solid by starting game one at 5:05 ET, with game two getting underway at 8:40 ET, basically right now.
It was one of those weird things where you aren’t sure why these teams didn’t play in the afternoon for game one and then at night for game two, with plenty of rest in between. But we’re not complaining, it’s 18 innings of Mike Trout and the surging Angels. Trout didn’t disappoint, getting Anaheim off and running with a three-run home run that tied the game at three after Jose Abreu hit his 26th. Josh Hamilton and Albert Pujols added their own solo shots, and Garrett Richards improved to 9-2, going eight innings and striking out nine.
I would say more, but the Angels hot bats have a date with Scott Carroll. Shit could get out of hand. There’s nothing better than a full day of baseball in a city like Chicago with the holiday weekend looming. Life is good.
UPDATE (Wednesday): Video of the Trout homer, and box scores from game one and game two. The Angels swept the doubleheader, and enter play today at 47-35.
This really is why we watch and why we love baseball.
Mike Trout provided us with what go down as the signature moment of the 2014 season. It was definitely the signature moment of the season thus far. Trout had an absolutely un-human at-bat against Chris Sale, working a full count. He then hits a change-up out of the park for a grand slam that tied the game. This moment will live on in Angels-lore for quite some time.
The Angels would of course go on to win the game 6-5 (you don’t lose a game after your team does something like this), scoring all six runs in the bottom of the eighth inning.
And tonight, I’m glad I didn’t go to sleep on Mike Trout.
Danny Salazar was an unorganized, shitty mess tonight in Chicago.
Salazar became the first pitcher since 1900 with 10 strikeouts in fewer than four innings pitched; going an inefficient 3 and 2/3 innings, allowing five runs and losing the ballgame.
Only wearing a Cleveland Indians uniform can a pitcher manage to be so dominant with his stuff except not really be at all. I don’t know whether this feat is an admission of Salazar’s talent or an admission that Cleveland is terribly cursed barren wasteland in sports.
Of the 30 active teams in Major League baseball, the Chicago White Sox are one of 12 teams to have a franchise record above .500 (8,855-8,672). But, considering recent history, the South Side pale-hosers have been back and forth between an above .500 and a losing team since the won the World Series in 2005. Culminating in a crap-tastic 63-99 record last season. They may have one of the best pitchers in baseball in Chris Sale, but when you only manage to outscore the Miami Marlins, you can’t expect to win many baseball games.
So, how do you address a putrid offense? You add pieces to that offense. The White Sox traded Hector Santiago over the offseason in a three-team trade with the Diamondbacks and Angels, netting them the scrappy Adam Eaton. They signed Cuban defector, Jose Abreu, and handed him the keys to the job at first base. They limited the aging Paul Konerko (and his off-the-charts will-to-win stat) to the DH role and, for the love of God, you platoon Adam Dunn. Continue reading →
Last night, Old Man Balls Giambi hit one of the biggest home runs in recent Cleveland sports history, a walk-off job that bailed out Chris Perez and kept the Indians in sole possession of that precious second Wildcard spot in the American League. I also want to add that our resident Indians homer (Justin) told me via phone call that the shot went off the facing of the upper deck. That’s amazing because when I watched the replay of what I’m sure is the same home run, it landed in the bullpen in right. Perhaps he was just a little excited.
Here is the text exchange from our golden boy last evening:
You gotta love the guy. It was emotional for him. He almost cried. It’s a special year. He was hunting during the birth of two of his three children – I have never seen him cry – but Jason Giambi brings out his sensitive side.
In all seriousness, the Indians are a great story and I hope they hang on this weekend. I don’t want to be on suicide watch for my friend just yet.
This one’s for my buddy Justin – my friend who served as the best man in my wedding. My friend who; inevitably every year calls me during my workday to tell me that ‘the Indians are going to the World Series this year’ when they’re hot, and doesn’t watch them because he’s in his deer stand or some shit when they’re losing.
This is the same friend of mine who dead serious walked out of Cleveland Browns Stadium crying in his beer feeling sorry for himself mumbling about how “his football team sucks (Browns), his baseball team sucks (Indians), and his driver (Dale Jr.) sucks”. He thought the world owed him a pat on the back after the Browns screwed up a fake field goal that made all of our heads spin.
Last time I was at a baseball game with him, I was calling Giambi old and telling everyone about his old man balls. Justin took it serious and started getting hot under the collar about it. He’s sensitive about criticism to his Indians. For some reason, he loves Giambi – I assume because he does not realize you cannot build long-term around a player like Jason Giambi. It’s alright. We will let him have his dream for now. A pitch or two on that day, Giambi hit a monster home run off the hitter’s backdrop in Cincinnati and Justin began to gloat like he was Giambi’s nephew. He rubbed it in my face until Joey Votto hit a walk-off home run that day, and then Justin did not talk for the two hour car ride home.
But tonight, Justin is surprisingly nowhere to be heard from. This is mildly concerning because; normally I would have received nothing short of a dozen texts or voxers from Justin until I responded back with “your Indians are good” or “Giambi is a star” text back to him that met his approval. It would allow him to sleep soundly while still having his dream. He’s probably shooting his bow at fake deer or killing something.
Justin if you’re out there, I’m happy for you and your old man balls favorite player Giambles. I’m just happy you’re still interested in baseball season in nearly August and not already calling me up telling me how good the Buckeyes are going to be this year (he’s had them winning the national title for the past twenty years, you are not allowed to present argument).
UPDATE (11:06 AM ET) (He’s Fine):
LOL, look at those cocky responses. This is perfect.
You would never figure a guy hitting in the .180’s would be the Hard Hittin’ Mark Whiten Memorial Player of the Week. But I need you to consider that in the past week this man raised his average from .165 to the staggering .183 it sits at today.
Dunn went 8 for 25 for the week with four home runs with 8 RBI. The last time we wrote about him, we were sticking a fork in him. But this past week, Adam Dunn went and danced with the girl who brought him to the dance. The long ball. It’s his one redeeming quality. It’s what has kept his career afloat through all the late nights, and the broads, and the booze, and the booing fans. The son of a gun knows how to hit it where a play can’t be made on it.
His career home run log is a lot of fun to read through. He’s up to 424 career blasts now. If there are such a thing as baseball gods, he’ll reach 500 so we have something to talk about forever with Dunn. And we always predicted he would get to 500 on his career.
We love the guy. It would be nice to see him really break out the rest of the way and hit .220. My goodness, read that last sentence and then someone slap me.
And look what I found because I have no life, and I am addicted to watching baseball’s past. If you’ve got two hours to waste, here is our award’s namesake hitting those four homers at Old Riverfront.
Mevs had a brilliant idea of recognizing a batter each week who goes off for that week, maybe out of no where. We couldn’t ignore the pitchers for long though. After much deliberation (with myself), we’d like to introduce the Francisco Liriano IcyHot Award. Let me explain why we chose this name. First of all, it’s gives maximum flexibility. Francisco Liriano has had only 2 starts in his 2013 season after returning from injury. His numbers? 16 K in 11 innings, 1.64 ERA, and 2 wins. This is the hot side of Liriano. The icy side? It’s ugly. A 5 game stretch in April 2011 back in Minnesota. Going 1-4 and compiling a 9.13 ERA in the process. Yikes. Naming the award this allows us to bestow it upon anyone we want (unless they went 1-1 with a 3.50ERA…that’s lukewarm man). It could go to a guy getting a no hitter, it could go to a complete disaster…it’s a grab bag.
IcyHot is our unofficial sponsor for reasons most people who played sports will know. It can work wonders on some sore muscles, but get it in the wrong spot and you will not be happy. Let’s start with our very first winner: Chris Sale
Chris did the deed to the LA Angels this week. He first went out and tossed a complete game shut out while striking at 7 at home to win 3-0. He then went across the country five days later and shut down the Angels again. He pitched intot he 8th inning while striking out an incredible 12 hitters. Chris Sale dominated this week. Congrats on winning the inaugural Francisco Liriano IcyHot Award. Check out his stats below.
Stats courtesy of Baseball-Reference.com
Note: IcyHot in no way actually sponsors anything on DiamondHoggers. (But if you’re interested let us know)
If you look back through the archives of this blog, you’ll read a lot of good times for us provided by The Big Donkey Adam Dunn. He was the original Godfather of Diamond Hoggers. He was a key cog on our fantasy teams from about 2002 until 2008. He probably gave us anywhere from 250 to 300 fantasy home runs, and was the reason we won the home run title every year.
This season, we took an unexpected late round flier on Dunn to provide some power. And at this time of year with guys dropping like flies and pitchers that need to be streamed, tough decisions needed to be made. Dunn went 0 for 3 with a measly hit-by-pitch tonight in Toronto, dropping his season average down to .128 with just two home runs.
We added Brandon Moss. It’s kind of like that scene in Goodfellas when Pauly hands Henry $300 after all they’ve been through together. Three Ben Franklins for a lifetime of service. For all Adam Dunn has done for us, the guy we drop him for for the final time is Brandon Moss.
We’ll never own Adam Dunn again in fantasy baseball. It’s over. It’s the end of an era. It looks like twilight is settling in on an incredible power hitter’s career. It’s become painful to watch him swing and we’re moving on.
And if the ride ends soon, what a ride it’s been. We’re not sure there’s been a bigger Adam Dunn fan on the planet than us – this is just business. Like a cowboy riding off into the sunset for the last time; we tip our cap to you, big Texan. Hit those 92 more dingers and hang them up.
When you look at Harper, he doesn’t look like a guy who has the type of power to hit these tape measure shots. Although long ago we all learned that he swings a bat of part ash, part thunderbolt. When tested by mediocre peasants like Floyd, he parties in the cheap seats.