Category Archives: MLB

Seattle Mariner Fantasy Players: Hot or Not (published by Alex Clark)

With the fantasy baseball season less than two weeks away, fans in the pacific northwest have only one question on their minds. How Seattle Mariners can I stuff onto my squad?

 

Alright, maybe this is not fully accurate, but this does raise some questions about the team’s fantasy value. There are a lot of big names on this Mariner squad that are good to put on rosters..

 

This is not a list of who is better than whom, this is a list showing the best Mariners to target in fantasy drafts for their projected value. Everybody knows that players like Cano, Seager and Felix are gonna produce in fantasy. However, the question is, are they worth their draft value.

 

Just because a player is hot or not, doesn’t mean owners should draft or avoid them at all in the draft. If their value is good, then go for it. For example, avoid drafting Kyle Seager in the first round, but he is a steal if he is availble past round 10.

 

For this list, I will be using the average draft position (ADP) from Yahoo leagues and basing the rounds using a 10-person league to keep it fair for everybody.

 

  1. Felix Hernandez: Hot

 

Everybody saw this coming from a mile away, but there is a reason why he is hot on this list. Going back to previous years, Felix has normally been a first round pick in pretty much every league.

 

This year, his draft value has fallen hard. According to Yahoo fantasy, he is projected to go in the 5th round with an ADP of 45.1.

 

Personally, I feel that his draft position is way too low. He is an ace who has a revamped offense behind him that should get him more wins. While he did experience a down year last season, he is poised to have a bounceback season.

 

If teams can snag him in the fourth or fifth round of drafts, he should be a solid pick up to any team.

 

  1. Robinson Cano: Not

 

While he is the star hitter for the team, his draft projections scare me a bit. He is rated as the third best second baseman only behind Jose Altuve and Dee Gordon, according to Yahoo fantasy. With an ADP of 54.0 in the 6th round, his stock has certainly fallen since last year.

 

Although his value has dropped, I would advise staying away from Cano where he is projected.

 

Cano has a history of struggling in the first half of the season before picking up the pace in the second half. While the second half is usually very strong for him, it makes fantasy owners scared to start him before he gets hot.

 

If teams really want him, I would recommend trying to trade for him around the league trade deadline. Otherwise, avoid him until maybe round seven or eight.

 

  1. Kyle Seager: Hot

 

Mr. Hawt Corner has proven himself as a true elite third baseman in the past few years. While he is one of the best in the game, his fantasy projections tell a different tale. According to Yahoo fantasy, he is projected to go in the 10th round with nine other third baseman ahead of him.

 

I feel that this is something that Mariner fans can take advantage of. We have seen Kyle put up amazing numbers in years past. However, on the flip side, we have seen Kyle slump a lot in years past as well.

 

This would normally be a concern, but since he is not projected to go until the 10th round, this is worth the risk. If he is around in rounds 9-11, I would highly consider taking him.

 

  1. Nelson Cruz: Not

 

This year’s fantasy draft is extremely stacked in two areas: outfield and starting pitching. This does not help Cruz because of the depth in talent that owners can find going through the draft.

 

According to Yahoo fantasy, Cruz is projected as a third or fourth round player with an ADP of 33.4. This high of a draft position is his true undoing.

 

While he is a true home run champion, there is so much OF talent in this draft that passing on Cruz with the third round pick would be alright to do.

 

However, if he falls to the 4th or even the fifth round, feel free to scoop him up and reap the benefits.

 

  1. Hisashi Iwakuma: Hot

 

As stated earlier, this draft is full of solid SP. While Cruz suffered from the position, Iwakuma will thrive from it.

 

Iwakuma is rated as the 49th best SP in the draft with an ADP of 159.9, according to Yahoo fantasy. In most leagues, he is projected to go in the 16th round. For 16th round projections, Iwakuma is a solid pick-up that can fill in any starting roster.

 

There is some risk in drafting the Bear from Seattle. He was supposed to play for the Dodgers this year, but failed a physical making him re-sign with the Mariners. He is an injury risk, but for a late draft pick, the risk will be more than worth the reward.

 

If Iwakuma is available from the 15th round on, highly consider adding him to the squad.

 

  1. Nori Aoki: Hot

 

This is an odd situation for fantasy owners. Not because Aoki is rated too high or too low, but because he is barely rated at all.

 

According to Yahoo fantasy, Aoki’s ADP is 244.3 and projected to be drafted between the 23rd and 24th round. However, the biggest stat is something I haven’t talked about yet. Aoki has only been drafted in five percent of drafts.

 

It is hard to put a value on this because it is very possible that Aoki falls to be undrafted.

 

Nori definitely has value. He doesn’t strike out that much and he is going to get plenty of at-bats as the lead off hitter for the team. With a good amount of speed and contact, he is a solid fantasy choice.

 

He is definitely worth a selection in any round after the 22nd. This may be the steal of the draft if Aoki does his job with the Mariners and stays healthy.

 

  1. Adam Lind: Hot

 

Like Aoki, this is an odd situation because of his rating. The only difference is that Lind has been drafted in 95% of drafts, according to Yahoo fantasy.

 

According to Yahoo fantasy, Lind is drafted at the twilight of most drafts with an ADP of 237.5 and drafted on average in the 24th round. He is worth drafting only for the fact that he will be a great backup first baseman.

 

The difference between Aoki and Lind is that Lind has a higher chance of being drafted. With him being picked in 95% of drafts, he is more likely to get picked than Aoki, even though Aoki is valued as only slightly lower than Lind.

 

Lind does have some risk though. He is on a new team and is going to be on a mild platoon situation in Seattle. However, since he will be mostly a back-up, the platooning won’t affect his value.

 

If he is forced to start due to an injury, another backup first baseman will be needed to avoid losing points when Lind doesn’t start.

 

Lind is a good decision to draft with a late round draft pick, but if he falls undrafted, it would be an even better decision to pick him up for free. I would recommend drafting him, but if he falls, don’t feel bad.
The Mariners do have good fantasy value this year, but being “Teamist” will not help fantasy owners win championships. These are just the main ones to watch for that could help owners win their leagues.

Seattle Mariners 2016 Preview (Kevin Vallene)

The MLB regular season is less than two weeks away and after a disappointing 2015, the Seattle Mariners are looking for a rebound in 2016 with a rebuilt roster crafted by new General Manager Jerry Dipoto and manned by first time manager Scott Servais.

After taking over for Jack Zduriencik following the 2015 season, Dipoto had a clear goal in mind for the offseason. Tailor the team to the spacious Safeco Field. The Mariners teams built on power bats and strikeouts coupled with poor defense and speed have been tossed out the window.

No more Mark Trumbo or Logan Morrison. Fans will also see considerably less of Mike Zunino who will spend most of the season in Tacoma to work on his swing and batting approach. Enter Leonys Martin and Norichika Aoki, both of whom provide excellent defense in the outfield and speed on the base paths. Enter Chris Iannetta who is a veteran presence behind the backstop and is known for a high on base percentage (.351 for his career).

The Mariners have already seen improvements in Spring Training. They are ranked 3rd in stolen bases and 8th in batting average. While you cannot put a lot of stock into spring training numbers, it is a welcome sight to see this team delivering on the plan Dipoto set forth, that being to make this team more athletic and less one dimensional.

The rotation was also beefed up with the additions of Wade Miley and Nathan Karns along with the return of Hisashi Iwakuma. It remains to be seen whether James Paxton or Karns will grab the fifth starter spot but having depth waiting in Triple-A if someone goes down with an injury is always a good thing.

One area of need in the offseason was the bullpen. The Mariners were 25th in bullpen ERA in 2015 after leading the league the previous year. Dipoto added the consistent reliever Joaquin Benoit but traded away arguably the M’s best bullpen arm last year in Carson Smith as well as Tom Wilhelmson. The rest of the reworked bullpen includes numerous bounceback candidates including former Marlins closer Steve Cishek, Ryan Cook, Evan Scribner and Justin De Fratus.

The patch job in the bullpen is already showing cracks with three of Dipoto’s bounceback signings doubtful to make the opening day roster. Cook and Scribner are dealing with injuries and De Fratus has had a rocky spring with reduced velocity. Combine this with the nagging injury to Charlie Furbush which will keep him from being available on Opening Day, and arm soreness felt by the 39 year old Benoit and you have massive question marks for your bullpen.

Despite a shaky bullpen, the rest of this Mariners squad is well crafted and should have a real chance to get into the postseason this year, either as a division winner or a wild card team.

Houston is the team to beat with their copious amounts of young stars and are the clear favorites to win the AL West. They have the reigning Cy Young winner in Dallas Keuchel and one of the best second baseman in baseball in Jose Altuve. The Astros will also look forward to seeing a full year of reigning Rookie of the Year Carlos Correa as well as George Springer. Besides first base, no position appears to be an area of weakness. The team also acquired Doug Fister to beef up the rotation and Ken Giles to improve a bullpen that blew the ALDS against the Kansas City Royals last season. The Astros should be very competitive and will likely compete for the division title and beyond.

The Texas Rangers are looking to prove that last year wasn’t a fluke and will have a full season of Cole Hamels as well as Yu Darvish. The Rangers have a sturdy rotation and can expect good years from Prince Fielder and Shin Soo Choo among others. However, Adrian Beltre is getting older and dealt with injuries last year and it is unsure as to how converted shortstop Ian Desmond will do in left field. The Rangers still have a good shot to defend their division title.

The Los Angeles Angels are a big unknown this year. While they have the best player on the planet in Mike Trout, they also have question marks in their rotation by the names of Jered Weaver and CJ Wilson. In order to remain below the Luxury Tax and avoid paying a fee, the Angels opted not to sign one of the big outfielders on the market and are left with a Daniel Nava and Craig Gentry platoon in left field. In the bullpen, beyond Huston Street and Joe Smith, many of the arms struggled in 2015. While the Angels could compete for a Wild Card spot, it may be an uphill battle.

The Oakland Athletics were the worst team in the American League last year and decided to retool rather than rebuild this offseason. The only big moves made were the acquisition of Khris Davis (not Chris Davis) from the Brewers to play left field and the signing of reliever Ryan Madson.  Davis provides some pop with a lot of strikeouts and Madson had a revival last year with the Kansas City Royals after sitting out the previous four years due to injuries. While these small moves should make the team marginally better, it shouldn’t make for much of a difference from the last place finish in 2015.

The AL West looks to be a three team race, possibly four depending on the Angels. If the Mariners can stay healthy this year and play to their ballpark, they should have a good chance to end their postseason drought in 2016.