Tagged: Chris Johnson

The Why am I Filling Out All-Stars on April 24th? Ballot

The 2013 MLB All-Star Game is 83 days away, but never fear you can start voting for your favorite players today here.  You get 25 votes that gets bumped up to 35 if you log in with your MLB.com account.  Of course there are still paper ballots that can be found at every stadium and the MLB Fan Cave for you to fill out.  While I don’t fill out mine until I get a better grasp of who deserves it (like that ends up mattering) here’s what my ballot would look like on April 24th.

First Base

American League: Chris Davis, Baltimore Orioles Davis is off to a hot start for Baltimore. He’s hitting .382 with an AL-leading 7 home runs coming into the games on the 24th.  Mike Napoli and Prince Fielder have cases and Napoli would be my pick if he was on the ballot at catcher, not first base. (Runner-up: Prince Fielder, Tigers)

National League: Joey Votto, Cincinnati Reds The power numbers aren’t there, but Votto-matic is automatic at getting on base leading the league with 26 walks so far and a crazy .485 OBP.  The next highest walk total is 16 by David Wright. (Runner-up Adrian Gonzalez, Dodgers)

Second Base

American League: Robinson Cano, New York Yankees I can make a case that Robinson Cano is the MVP of the American League right now.  Then you can make the case that it’s April 24th and that’s stupid. (Runner-up Ian Kinsler, Rangers)

National League: Brandon Phillips, Cincinnati Reds It must be nice for Phillips to just get to drive in OBP-machines Joey Votto and Shin-Soo Choo getting on base ahead of him all the time.  He leads NL second baseman in RBI and is tied for the lead in home runs.  Plus, he’s the best defender at the position in the league. (Runner-up Daniel Murphy, Mets)

Shortstop

American League: Jed Lowrie, Oakland Athletics Lowrie has been quite a coup for Billy Beane’s boys.  Lowrie leads AL shortstops in runs, RBI, and batting average. (Runner-up: Jose Reyes, Blue Jays, I’m not joking either)

National League: Troy Tulowitzki, Colorado Rockies Why have the Rockies been surprising in 2013?  A healthy and hitting Troy Tulowitzki is a big part of it. He leads NL shortstops in home runs, RBI, and runs, while hitting .292. (Runner-up: Jean Segura, Milwaukee Brewers)

Third Base

American League: Miguel Cabrera, Detroit Tigers The defending AL MVP is off to a quiet start, but is still among the league leaders in hits and is best among AL third sackers in batting average. (Runner-up: Evan Longoria, Rays)

National League: David Wright, New York Mets I really wanted to have NL batting leader Chris Johnson here, but Wright has had the overall better start to the season, especially on the basepaths.  There’s a lot of depth here right now with Todd Frazier, Pablo Sandoval, and Martin Prado off to solid starts.  (Runner-up: Chris Johnson)

Catcher

American League: J.P. Arencibia, Toronto Blue Jays Napoli not being on the ballot at catcher is Arencibia’s gain for now.  He leads the American League in home runs with eight after another one on Wednesday.  He’s my least likely from here to be on my actual ballot in a couple months.  (Runner-up: Carlos Santana, Indians)

National League: John Buck, New York Mets Let’s just sum up Buck’s start with this meme. (Runner-up: Evan Gattis, Braves, wait he’s not on the ballot?!?)

Screen Shot 2013-04-24 at 1.53.30 PM

Outfield

American League: Coco Crisp, Oakland Athletics, Jacoby Ellsbury, Boston Red Sox, and Adam Jones, Baltimore Orioles These three have been the best all-around outfielders in the American League this season.  It’s not my fault that they’re all center fielders.  (Runners-up: Austin Jackson, Tigers and Alex Rios, White Sox)

National League: Justin Upton, Atlanta Braves, Carlos Gonzalez, Colorado Rockies, and Bryce Harper, Washington Nationals There is a ton of depth at National League outfield right now.  You could take the next four on my list and make a case they deserve it on to the squad.  Justin Upton has been hands-down the best hitter in the game so far this season, it’s ridiculous that he’s still on pace for 90+ home runs. (Runners-up: Shin-Soo Choo, Reds, Dexter Fowler, Rockies, Ryan Braun, Brewers, and Andrew McCutchen, Pirates)

Designated Hitter

American League: Mark Reynolds, Cleveland Indians Reynolds has been a great find for Cleveland with seven home runs and 18 RBI, both are top ten in MLB right now.  (Runner-up: Travis Hafner, New York Yankees)

Who would you have on your All-Star ballot on release day?  Let us know in the comments!

-Bryan Mapes (@IAmMapes)

Fantasy Baseball Pops and Drops: Week Three

We’re heading into week four!  There are a lot of changes coming with players hitting the disabled list and players behind them getting some extra playing time.  Here’s a recap of who were among the top added and dropped in ESPN fantasy baseball leagues during week three and what to do now.

Week Three Pops

Chris Johnson, Atlanta Braves, 1B/3B: ESPN +73.9%

My undying love of Chris Johnson pays off in week three as my “predicted pop” each of the last two weeks finally gets added in the ton of leagues, I even talked about him on this week’s podcast.  I also did pretty well with “pops” Tony Cingrani, Daniel Nava, and Joaquin Benoit.  If you grabbed Johnson I would use him this week on the road against the Rockies and he should get DH at-bats against the Tigers.  With Freddie Freeman’s return though, Johnson will soon be back in a platoon with Juan Francisco.  Sell high while he’s leading the NL in batting average!

Edward Mujica, St. Louis Cardinals, RP: ESPN +50.1%

Who’s gonna be the closer for Mike Matheny’s squad?  Jason Motte seems destined for Tommy John surgery.  Mitchell Boggs has been horrendous in 2013 and that might be an understatement.  Trevor Rosenthal is an intriguing option, but it looks like the job for now belongs to journeyman Edward Mujica.  If he can keep the job for the season I’d expect 30 saves.  Grab him while you still can.

Brandon Crawford, San Francisco Giants, SS: ESPN +68.2%

To quote Randolph and Mortimer Duke from “Trading Places” get in there and SELL SELL SELL!  I don’t think he’s remotely this good.  He’s a great glove at shortstop, but a career .242 hitter and is already one home run short of the four he hit last year in 435 at-bats.  There’s some growth here, but if you can get Derek Jeter’s owner to overpay for him at shortstop or middle infielder, you have to pull the trigger on a trade.

Predicting next week’s pops: Brett Anderson, Athletics, SP, Lorenzo Cain, Royals, OF, Wandy Rodriguez, Pirates, SP

Week Three Drops

Derek Jeter, New York Yankees, SS: ESPN -36.3%

It’s no longer time to hold on to the Yankees captain as his ankle injury will now keep him out through the All-star break.  In standard leagues that only have one DL spot, there are better players (Jose Reyes, Jered Weaver, Ryan Zimmerman) for you to be using your DL spot on.  Even when he comes back I don’t think we see the player you’re expecting and there will be not as much speed.  Just a batting average play at best.

Mike Moustakas, Kansas City Royals, 3B: ESPN -33%

The Royals really have a chance to contend this year but Moustakas and teammate Eric Hosmer are going to have to pick up the pace.  Moustakas is never going to hit for average, but you were hoping there would be a chance at a 25-30 home run season.  Instead he hasn’t gone yard this season and has just one RBI on the year.  I still slightly believe, so if he’s been dropped in your league, throw him on a watch list as May and June were his best month in 2012.

Barry Zito, San Francisco Giants, SP: ESPN -30.4%

Is there a pitcher that can have one bad start and elicit such a drop-off as Barry Zito?  He gets rocked on the road by the Brewers (9 earned runs), but hasn’t given up a single run in 21 innings at AT&T Park this season with 3 wins.  He’s a match-up play, but one of my favorite match-up spot starts this season, especially at home.  I just wish he could drop under 50% so I can use him for #MapesFantasySpecial’s again.

Predicting next week’s drops: Adam Dunn, White Sox, 1B, Kendrys Morales, Mariners 1B, and Dan Haren, Nationals, SP

-Bryan Mapes (@IAmMapes)

Episode 37 – DMX Wants Upton Here! Upton Here!

Y’all Gon Make Us Lose Our Minds! Upton here! Upton here! Well, Uptons in Atlanta, but the Three Up, Three Down crew breaks down the trade that puts the brothers together.  We also talk about Chris Carpenter with special guest Kelsey Shea, where the free agents will end up, and dabble in this years 2013 Fan Cave talk. I mean, c’mon, that’s what brought us all together in the first place! Go Vote!

Don’t forget to follow us on Twitter, like us on Facebook, and subscribe to the podcast!

or use this link to download on iTunes

http://itunes.apple.com/WebObjects/MZStore.woa/wa/viewPodcast?id=508049520

Twitter: @3U3D
Facebook: Three Up, Three Down

Enjoy!

Grade That Trade! Atlanta’s the New City of Brotherly Love Edition

Ever since B.J. Upton signed a 5-year, $75.25 million deal to become the Braves center fielder there was a glance over to left field in Atlanta and who would fill that spot.  The obvious choice was Upton’s brother, Justin, who was coming off a down year in 2012, but was still a MVP-candidate caliber player that had not yet entered his prime.  The two brothers had been on the record saying that they would love to one day play with each other.  After nearly two months of rumors, trade rejections, fans coming up with fake trades (sorry I tried to trade you Julio Teheran), and the refusal to trade Andrelton Simmons, the trade Braves fans hoped for, finally happened.  The trade though did not look like a deal that any Braves fan expected.  Let’s take a look!

Prado Upton

Atlanta Braves receive: OF Justin Upton and 3B Chris Johnson

Arizona Diamondbacks receive: 3B/OF Martin Prado, RHP Randall Delgado and prospects RHP Zeke Spruill, SS Nick Ahmed, and 1B/3B Brandon Drury

Braves Country was worried about Andrelton Simmons being a part of a a deal for Upton for months, but in the end it was fan-favorite Martin Prado that makes his way to the desert.  Prado was arguably Atlanta’s MVP in 2012, however they couldn’t come to an agreement for 2013, leaving just one-year left on Prado’s contract.  That made him expendable in GM Frank Wren’s eyes as including Prado in the deal saved them from losing their top prospects in Andrelton Simmons, Julio Teheran, Sean Gilmartin, and Nick Gattis.  Delgado would have been in contention for the 5th spot in the rotation with Teheran and would’ve become a crowded rotation with the impending return of Brandon Beachy from Tommy John surgery.  You can never have enough pitching though.

What does Atlanta get in Justin Upton though?  The younger version’s numbers dipped in 2012 after putting up a campaign in 2011 where he finished 4th for MVP and picked up his 1st Silver Slugger.  Upton’s OPS dropped from .898 to .785, while his OPS+ went from a career-best 141 to a career-worst 107.  A change of scenery was needed and what better place is there than playing along side his brother.  There was a slightly contentious relationship between Upton and Diamondbacks manager Kirk Gibson that made have played a part in the numbers drop.  The new Braves outfield of Upton, Upton, and Jason Heyward will grow together over the next three years of team control.  That’s really what made Justin Upton an attractive trade piece for the Braves, three years of team control vs. one year for Prado.  If he returns to his 2011 form, the Braves will win this trade hands down.

Also included in the deal to Atlanta is Chris Johnson.  Johnson may be called on to replace Chipper Jones at third base or at least platoon with Juan Francisco.  Johnson is coming off a career-high in home runs and RBI’s.  Playing for a winning team after spending 3.5 seasons in Houston and half of a season in Arizona might help Johnson continue to grow as he enters his age-28 season.

Arizona was clearly willing to part ways with Upton, but did they get the best deal possible? Prado is an All-Star caliber player and maybe they can come to an agreement on a long-term deal.  The team leadership that Prado will bring to the clubhouse made him even an even more attractive piece for the Diamondbacks.  The leadership factor is what turned them off of Justin Upton.  Twenty two year-old Randall Delgado will battle to make the rotation this year (and probably succeed), but could turn into a front-of-the-line starter down the road.  Delgado has a 3.95 ERA in 127.2 MLB innings.  Zeke Spruill and Nick Ahmed are mid-level prospects, but were going to get backlogged in the Braves system at the starter and shortstop positions.  Brandon Drury had a rough 2012, hitting only .229 in single A after crushing rookie ball.  Arizona will hope the Braves have a repeat performance of the Mark Teixeira deal, in which they gave up Elvis Andrus, Neftali Feliz, Jarrod Saltalamacchia, and Matt Harrison.

How do you think each team did in this offseason’s biggest blockbuster trade?  Let me know what you think

-Bryan Mapes (@IAmMapes)