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Thread: Sleepers

  1. #1
    High five! nate's Avatar
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    Sleepers

    Here's a discussion of 2009 sleepers albeit with a bit of a fantasy bent. The comments have some interesting names including Joey Votto.

    Today we pose a question to the readers: who is your #1 sleeper for 2009? Hopefully your league-mates aren't reading. Sleeper is defined in the loose sense - just a guy who is greatly undervalued, in your opinion. For example, we all knew who Tim Lincecum was heading into '08 but he was still a great sleeper pick.

    I'll kick it off with my own #1 sleeper: Nelson Cruz of the Rangers. Cruz had a ridiculous 2008. He hit .342/.429/.695 in 103 Triple A games, nailing 37 HR and swiping 24 bags. He did just as well in 115 ABs for the big club - .330/.421/.609 with 7 HR and 3 SBs.

    Cruz has the potential to jack 30 HR for the Rangers in 2009. He attempted a steal 25% of the time he was on first base in the minors, so the potential for double digit swipes looks strong too. He'll join current Texas mashers Chris Davis and Josh Hamilton.

    Cruz has his flaws - he's 28, and he'd spent plenty of time in Triple A prior to '08. And he didn't do anything with the 437 ABs the Rangers gave him prior to 2008. He also used to strike out quite a bit. But the guy's being drafted in the 16th round - he's a risk worth taking.

    Let's open up the floor to the readers. Who is your #1 sleeper (you only get one) for 2009, and why?
    Who are your sleepers? Do you think the Reds could and/or should go out and get one of them?
    "Bring on Rod Stupid!"

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  3. #2
    Vampire Weekend @Bernie's camisadelgolf's Avatar
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    Re: Sleepers

    Nick Swisher and Austin Kearns would be on my list. I could see Arroyo having a year similar to his 2006 numbers. Whether he ends up as a pitcher or outfielder, I think Micah Owings could be a huge sleeper. John Maine might blossom into an ace, but I guess he's not really a sleeper. Nick Markakis isn't exactly a sleeper either, but I think he could go from 'really good' to 'superstar'. J.R. Towles was a big flop for the Astros, but he could come back in a major way. A lot of people are already writing off Randy Johnson because of his age, but going to San Francisco could help his numbers quite a bit. Max Scherzer could be another ace in the making.

    Anyway, I guess my #1 sleeper would be J.R. Towles. He might enter himself into the Russell Martin/Brian McCann group. #2 would be Scherzer just because he's so freaking good already.

  4. #3
    The Big Dog mth123's Avatar
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    Re: Sleepers

    Ryan Spilborgs. Guy will rake in Colorado. The Reds got the guy he replaced instead. I don't think the Rockies would deal him.

    Funny, a couple years ago Jayson Werth was a guy that a few posters named and the Reds got the guy he replaced (Jeff Conine) as well.

    In house, Chris Dickerson will be a surprise if he gets the playing time, but not to this board. Of course, that guy that Spilborgs replaced may prevent it from happening.

    On the pitching side, Nick Masset will be this year's Jared Burton. Non-Reds, Brandon Morrow will step forward.
    Last edited by mth123; 01-02-2009 at 03:10 PM.
    "All I can tell them is pick a good one and sock it." --BABE RUTH

    Having better players makes "the right time" or "the big hit" happen a lot more often. PLUS PLUS

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    Re: Sleepers

    If anyone thinks that Joey Votto is a sleeper, they must have slept through the 2008 season.

    He posted an .874 OPS last year, .958 after the all star game, and about 1.050 in the last two months. he hit lefties as well as righties.

  6. #5
    Member SteelSD's Avatar
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    Re: Sleepers

    Micah Owings. Yeah, if he's healthy, I'm going with Micah Owings. The guy has solid minor league peripherals. His K/9 rate (7.9) is a bit lower than I'd like, but his HR/9 rate is very good (0.50) and his BB rate is just fine (2.8). His HR rates haven't translated to this point, but should go down after he gains a bit more experience.

    His 2008 was a tale of two seasons. His first 2008 season ended on June 1st. To that point, he'd produced an ERA of 4.17 despite a bad start on May 30th (6 ER in 6.1 IP) that pushed his ERA up from 3.73. After June 1st, his ERA was an abysmal 9.36, leaving him at 5.93 for the year. So was that injury or just a statistical return to the norm? Well, that depends on what we're looking at.

    Owings' FIP was 4.80 for each of his first two MLB seasons on the mound. His xFIP numbers were 4.94 and 5.06 respectively. That looks like teh suck at first glance. Yet, Owings increased his K/9 rate from 6.2 in 2007 to 7.5 in 2008. A fly-ball pitcher can survive there. Owings' Defensive Efficiency rating in 2007 was .727 and .712 in 2008. Those DER numbers were higher then the overall D'backs DER in both those seasons (.693 in 2007 and .686 in 2008). But hold on. The variance is pretty close for both seasons and we know that Fly Ball pitchers, while they may be more prone to HR overall, may also benefit from higher DER numbers due to the fact that more fly balls are caught versus ground balls. His Infield Fly rates would have placed him among the top 12 NL pitchers for both seasons. And even tossing baseballs in a hitter's park, his HR per Fly Ball rates have been right about NL average (@11%). His LOB rate for 2007 was nothing exceptional (70.9%), but his 61.1% from 2008 goes a long way to explaining the major ERA jump.

    I'd suggest that xFIP may be doing Owings an injustice. I'd suggest that a guy like Matt Cain receives the same kind of negative xFIP treatment.

    While I often take both James and Marcel projections with a big block of salt, they're projecting his 2009 FIP (not xFIP) ERA to be 4.39 and 4.48 respectively while also projecting his ERA to be 4.52 and 4.54. I can get behind that because they're so close (even the peripherals), and neither seem to be over-projecting. It's a league average pitcher with a decent amount of upside as he continues to learn.

    And here's something that isn't often considered...

    Based on Owings' offensive performance three-year splits, he's may be worth nearly 12 Runs per 60 PA (not 600) versus your average NL pitcher. To put that into perspective, if Owings produced a 4.50 ERA versus a pitcher who produced the same ERA, it would be as if Owings were producing a 3.90 ERA instead.

    At an ERA of 5.00, Owings' performance would replicate an ERA of 4.40 over 180 Innings because of his bat.
    "The problem with strikeouts isn't that they hurt your team, it's that they hurt your feelings..." --Rob Neyer

    "The single most important thing for a hitter is to get a good pitch to hit. A good hitter can hit a pitch that’s over the plate three times better than a great hitter with a ball in a tough spot.”
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  7. #6
    Member Highlifeman21's Avatar
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    Re: Sleepers

    I'm gonna say it...

    Laynce Nix

  8. #7
    Vavasor TRF's Avatar
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    Re: Sleepers

    Jesus Flores could have a breakout year. I really think the Nats have an interesting team. No real pitching, but an interesting offense.

    Morrow for the M's is a good pick. The Astros have a pitcher that is local to the Amarillo area named Chance Douglass. He could get a look this year and break into a weak rotation, or at the very least middle relief. Hard thrower drafted late but got 2nd round money.
    Suck it up cupcake.

  9. #8
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    Re: Sleepers

    Nelson Cruz would have been my choice too. I think Gabe Kapler might be another - in a platoon role with Dickerson or maybe later Dorn.

    I don't know if he'd be a "sleeper" since he's been mentioned so much, but I think Baldelli would go in the "hgh-risk/high reward" category.

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    Re: Sleepers

    Quote Originally Posted by Highlifeman21 View Post
    I'm gonna say it...

    Laynce Nix
    But I'm afraid he's blocked by the Taveras acquistion. Nice pick, but that's probably just too big of an obstacle for any mere OFer to overcome.
    Last edited by corkedbat; 01-02-2009 at 11:48 PM.

  11. #10
    Member Highlifeman21's Avatar
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    Re: Sleepers

    Quote Originally Posted by corkedbat View Post
    But I'm afraid he's blocked by the Taveras acquistion. Nice pick, but that's probablyjust too big of an obstacle for any mere OFer to overcome.
    We still need someone to play LF...

    That someone could be Nix.

  12. #11
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    Re: Sleepers

    Quote Originally Posted by Highlifeman21 View Post
    We still need someone to play LF...

    That someone could be Nix.
    And dislodge Norris Hopper? Pshaw, I say!

  13. #12
    Brett William Moore Will M's Avatar
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    Re: Sleepers

    Quote Originally Posted by SteelSD View Post
    Based on Owings' offensive performance three-year splits, he's may be worth nearly 12 Runs per 60 PA (not 600) versus your average NL pitcher. To put that into perspective, if Owings produced a 4.50 ERA versus a pitcher who produced the same ERA, it would be as if Owings were producing a 3.90 ERA instead.

    At an ERA of 5.00, Owings' performance would replicate an ERA of 4.40 over 180 Innings because of his bat.
    fascinating. makes his value as a starter much higher than his value as a reliever.
    .

  14. #13
    Member Highlifeman21's Avatar
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    Re: Sleepers

    Quote Originally Posted by corkedbat View Post
    And dislodge Norris Hopper? Pshaw, I say!
    Is Hopper even healthy?

  15. #14
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    Re: Sleepers

    Quote Originally Posted by Highlifeman21 View Post
    Is Hopper even healthy?

    Does he need to be 100%? He and Willy T can bunt the Cental Division into subnission and foil their insidious plans to take away our agressiveness with meaningless walks.

  16. #15
    Vavasor TRF's Avatar
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    Re: Sleepers

    Chris Volstad from the Marlins might be in line for a big leap. Not a big K guy, but keeps the ball in the park.
    Suck it up cupcake.


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