The Chicago Cubs have struggled in recent years. Their last winning season was 2009 and attendance has dipped by more than a half million after four consecutive fifth place finishes in the National League Central. In 2013, a rebound was expected behind budding stars Starling Castro and Anthony Rizzo. It didn’t happen. Their franchise corner stones failed to live up to lofty expectations and combined for future wins above replacement than journeyman catcher Dioner Navarro.
The Dodgers are World Series contenders despite a number of story lines which would make other organization’s cringe. Matt Kemp’s and Josh Beckett are questionable for opening day. 32-million dollar Cuban import Alexander Guerrero may not be able to handle second base, the position he was signed to play. It helps to have seemingly endless financial resources, but Los Angeles possesses the organizational pitching depth to withstand injuries or poor performance. Dealing pitching prospects for immediate help has been a habit of the Dodgers in recent years.
My Philadelphia Phillies have taken it on the chin lately thanks to an aging core and bloated contracts. However, their lead off catalyst is a Ben Revere, a speed player entering his prime years. An injury derailed Revere’s 2013 season after just 88 games. At the time, his .305/.338/.352 line with 22 steals reminded fantasy owners of Juan Pierre in his prime.
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Before Greg Holland navigated the ninth inning for the Royals, Joakim Soria closed games for Kansas City. The former Rule 5 pick surprised with a 17 save rookie season in 2007. Having won the job, Soria averaged 38 saves with a 1.84 ERA from 2008-2010. But while he dominated, the Royals floundered, leaving writers questioning the utility of a top closer when dealing him would help build a bright future.
Yankees great Derek Jeter announced his plans to retire after the 2014 season via Facebook. With any luck, the shortstop will surpass 75 career WAR this season, ranking him as the third best shortstop of the modern era behind Cal Ripken Jr. and Alex Rodriguez. Select company indeed. As the Yankees plan for the future, odds are the Bronx Bombers will be trading or signing a new shortstop for 2015 since the organization is hurting for internal options.
Deep dynasty fantasy baseball leagues are a valuable tool for prospect writers. To be competitive, one is forced to research hundreds of prospects and keep that knowledge up to date. Now, add another wrinkle. What if defense mattered as well? In Reality Fantasy Baseball, it’s a wrinkle owners are still working to adjust for.
Remember Michael Pineda? The former Seattle Mariners pitcher took Major League Baseball by storm in 2011 by striking out 173 in 171 innings. Even more impressive, the right-hander allowed just 133 hits fueling a 3.42 FIP. During the off-season, Pineda was dealt to the New York Yankees for uber prospect Jesus Montero in a swap of young talent rarely seen. Each player was expected to be a pillar of their new franchise for years to come. It didn’t quite work out as planned.
To call a pitcher an “innings eater” isn’t exactly a term of endearment. It’s used to describe the pitcher who plays the role of sacrificial lamb the night after a starting pitcher implodes, causing the team to burn its bullpen. Bronson Arroyo has been the epitome of an innings eater. And while Reds fans longed for an upgrade, the right-handed pitcher threw between 199 and 240 2/3 innings for eight consecutive years.
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