Wednesday, June 26, 2013
AL West midpoint report
By Eric Karabell
We're nearly halfway through the 2013 baseball season, and we've seen some good, some bad and some Josh Hamilton. This week in the KaraBlog, we'll take a look at each team at the midpoint of the season and discuss what has happened and what should happen. Let's continue our look at the American League with the West Division.
Buy low: Former Philadelphia Phillies prospects Jonathan Singleton and Jarred Cosart should make an impact at first base and in the rotation, respectively, in the second half of the season.
Sell high: The players doing well are legit, such as Jose Altuve, Jason Castro and Jordan Lyles. Closer Jose Veras fits the bill, if the team can trade him. He's unlikely to close elsewhere.
Stat to watch: Corner infielder Brett Wallace is hitting at Triple-A Oklahoma City and should get a call-up at some point. Then he can resume his incredible strikeout rate in the bigs: 17 whiffs in 28 at-bats! In news more relevant to fantasy owners, young Lyles has more strikeout potential than he has shown.
I was wrong: In thinking Veras would have already lost the closer role by now. And I keep waiting for Jimmy Paredes to hit enough so he can steal bases. It's just not happening.
I was right: About Castro finally hitting, Matt Dominguez drawing less than a walk per week, and right-hander Bud Norris being legit, even on another 100-loss team.
Buy low: I want to say Josh Hamilton, but I don't really believe it. Perhaps he hits .250 the rest of the way with power. I will say you're running out of time to get Jered Weaver at a decent price.
Sell high: Peter Bourjos will be dropping 50 points of batting average soon, but really, few Angels are overachieving, as the standings reveal.
Stat to watch: Shortstop Erick Aybar was expected to be a factor in stolen bases. It can still happen. Watch his OBP and steal attempts. And while I'm skeptical about him, keep an eye on Joe Blanton's K rate. It has been on the rise.
I was wrong: About Albert Pujols being able to play through pain. He looks like a league-average first baseman.
I was right: For believing Mike Trout would regress some but still be worth a top pick. If Miguel Cabrera hits only .320, Trout could top the Player Rater yet again.
Buy low: Outfielder Yoenis Cespedes is far better than his current numbers. And Jarrod Parker has been back on track since May.
Sell high: Shortstop Jed Lowrie gets on base but isn't helping fantasy owners much. And while it's not all smoke and mirrors with Bartolo Colon, he's not this good.
Stat to watch: As long as third baseman Josh Donaldson draws walks, everything he's doing is legit. Kudos to him. Why can't other struggling young hitters see this? See some pitches and take walks, fellas!
I was wrong: For thinking this was the year Brett Anderson would make more than 30 starts. How embarrassing. I also thought Josh Reddick's power was real.
I was right: In ignoring Japanese import Hiroyuki Nakajima and not ignoring Brandon Moss.
Buy low: Triple-A Tacoma pitchers Erasmo Ramirez and Danny Hultzen will make an impact, and the dynasty option to get for mid-2014 is right-hander Taijuan Walker. I can't reasonably buy low in Dustin Ackley, Jesus Montero or Justin Smoak, but with Michael Morse, I can.
Sell high: Right-hander Hisashi Iwakuma is legit, but not to this level.
Stat to watch: As long as infielder Nick Franklin keeps drawing walks, his hot start is for real. He could be a top-20 middle infielder this season.
I was wrong: To believe Ackley and Montero would not only keep their jobs but also improve.
I was right: To believe what Raul Ibanez did for the 2012 New York Yankees was repeatable (though I'd take the under on 30 home runs).
Buy low: Jurickson Profar might not get many top rookie votes, but he's going to get better and be worth owning in 10- and 12-team leagues at middle infield. Wait for a bad Yu Darvish outing and pay what it takes to acquire him. Tuesday night's performance, in which he allowed three homers, might be enough.
Sell high: Nelson Cruz and Mitch Moreland are hitting for exciting power, but I don't see them sustaining the pace.
Stat to watch: I can't tell if the shortstop is Elvis Andrus or Enzo Hernandez (look him up!). Seriously, what a mess, and it's not only his BABIP and walk rate. This is why Profar has to switch positions?
I was wrong: To think Alexi Ogando and Matt Harrison would make 60 effective starts between them. They might not make 20.
I was right: To trust my ol' pal Lance Berkman in an OBP format. It's not 2011, but at least he's out there most of the time and getting on base.