Posts Tagged ‘michael morse’

By David Kerr

We are just over a week into the 2013 season and there has been plenty of craziness already. Yu Darvish almost threw a perfect game, Justin Upton, Chris Davis, and Michael Morse have been killing the ball, and Roy Halladay’s spring training struggles have carried over into the regular season. Over the next two days, I want to take a look at six guys and their performances to date, followed by a recommendation for the rest of the season. First the guys that have started hot.

Justin Upton

Justin Upton has been the hottest hitter from a power standpoint in the National League since the start of the season. He already has six home runs and if this type of production keeps up, he could easily finish April with ten or more. Upton is a guy that everyone has always been waiting on to break out. I believe that truly happens this year. He’s going to drive in the most runs of his career and will finish with his highest average to date. Who knows how many home runs he will hit, but 40 isn’t out of the realm of possibility.

Recommendation: HOLD or BUY. This will be Upton’s career year to date. You will want to be along for this ride. His value is high right now, but if he cools down for a short period, pounce and don’t look back.

Chris Davis

Chris Davis played out of his mind over the first four games of the season, hitting four homers and driving in 16 runs. That will easily be his best week of the season. Davis is a streaky hitter that strikes out a ton. He’s prone to slumps and will definitely go through his fair share this season. With that said, he should have no problem hitting 30 home runs again. He has one of the best power bats in the game. If I owned him and could turn him into an injured Freddie Freeman, I’d do it in a heartbeat.

Recommendation: SELL.

Clay Buchholz

Carrying over from his strong spring, Clay Buchholz has looked sharp in his first two starts of the season. He sports a 0.64 ERA to go along with 12 strikeouts in 14 innings pitched. Can he sustain? I’m skeptical. Since his breakout of 2010, he’s been often injured or under-performing. To date his batting average against is .184. That is 66 points lower than his career BAA number of .250. There is no way that will continue. Buchholz has also stranded every runner he’s allowed on base this year. His only run allowed was from a home run. Once these numbers even out, everything will be going up, except of course, the strikeouts. I’d look to move him.

Recommendation: SELL. If you could trade Buchholz for a starter such as Brandon Morrow, Ian Kennedy, or Doug Fister, I’d pull the trigger immediately. He may have his best season since 2010, but I’d rather invest in a starting pitcher that I know will put up good numbers.

I’ll be back tomorrow with three players that have started ice cold and my recommendations for them for the rest of the year.

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By David Kerr

2013 Outfield Rankings

1. Mike Trout
2. Ryan Braun
3. Matt Kemp
4. Carlos Gonzalez
5. Andrew McCutchen
6. Giancarlo Stanton
7. Jason Heyward
8. Josh Hamilton
9. Jose Bautista
10. Justin Upton
11. Bryce Harper
12. Adam Jones
13. Matt Holliday
14. Jay Bruce
15. Jacoby Ellsbury
16. B.J. Upton
17. Yoenis Cespedes
18. Michael Bourn
19. Shin-Soo Choo
20. Austin Jackson
21. Allen Craig
22. Desmond Jennings
23. Ben Zobrist
24. Alex Rios
25. Mark Trumbo
26. Shane Victorino
27. Hunter Pence
28. Alex Gordon
29. Melky Cabrera
30. Carlos Beltran
31. Chris Davis
32. Andre Ethier
33. Michael Morse
34. Curtis Granderson
35. Ben Revere
36. Nelson Cruz
37. Dexter Fowler
38. Norichika Aoki
39. Josh Willingham
40. Josh Reddick
41. Jayson Werth
42. Martin Prado
43. Brett Gardner
44. Carlos Gomez
45. Nick Swisher
46. Angel Pagan
47. Cameron Maybin
48. Torii Hunter
49. Alfonso Soriano
50. Ichiro Suzuki
51. Coco Crisp
52. Carl Crawford
53. Alejandro De Aza
54. Michael Saunders
55. Michael Cuddyer
56. Dayan Viciedo
57. Carlos Quentin
58. Nick Markakis
59. Corey Hart
60. Jason Kubel
61. Emilio Bonifacio
62. Lorenzo Cain
63. Garrett Jones
64. Michael Brantley
65. Ryan Ludwick
66. Starling Marte
67. Adam Eaton
68. Delmon Young
69. Cody Ross
70. Jon Jay
71. Denard Span
72. Drew Stubbs
73. David Murphy
74. Juan Pierre
75. Matt Joyce
76. Colby Rasmus
77. Rajai Davis
78. Brandon Moss
79. Logan Morrison
80. Peter Bourjos
81. Lucas Duda
82. Tyler Colvin
83. Jeff Francoeur
84. Dominic Brown
85. Wil Myers
86. Chris Young
87. Will Venable
88. Aaron Hicks
89. Chris Carter
90. Travis Snider
91. Seth Smith
92. Darin Mastroianni
93. Gerardo Parra
94. Nate McClouth
95. Justin Ruggiano
96. Andy Dirks
97. Justin Maxwell
98. J.D. Martinez
99. Gregor Blanco
100. Jose Tabata

UPDATED 3/20/13:
Alex Gordon rises from #31 to #28.
Josh Willingham rises from #44 to #39.
Darin Mastroianni falls from #85 to #92.
Dominic Brown rises from #100 to #84.
Chris Carter makes the list for the first time at #89.
Jose Tabata makes the list for the first time at #100.
Brennan Boesch falls off the list.
John Mayberry falls off the list.

Overall Thoughts

Mike Trout or Ryan Braun. I’ve been debating between these two players most of the winter and seemingly go back and forth daily. With Braun, you’re looking at a six year veteran coming off back to back 30/30 seasons that has been a top three pick for the past three years. He hit a career high 41 home runs last season. Trout, finished second to Miguel Cabrera in MVP voting last season and likely would have won it had Cabrera not won the Triple Crown. He has an extremely high upside and put up his ridiculous stat line in just five months. In 2013, he will have a full season at the Major League level. News came out last week of Braun being linked to another PED case. You have to wonder whether he’s going to escape this one. Ryan Braun is the safe pick, but there are less question marks surrounding Mike Trout and for that reason, I have him ranked not only as the number one outfielder, but as you’ll see later this week, number one overall. Trout will regress some but at the end of the season he will have the statistics of a number one overall pick.

Coming into the 2012 season, Matt Kemp said his goal was a 50/50 season. He fell well short of that because of a hamstring injury. Naturally with a leg injury, he wasn’t able to run as much and only had nine steals on the season. That number will be back in the 30’s this year and so will his home run total. Kemp will go 30/30 again this year after just missing 40/40 in 2011.

I like Carlos Gonzalez over Andrew McCutchen. He is a more consistent player not to mention the fact that he plays half of his games at the hitter’s haven, Coors Field. What’s most alarming to me about McCutchen is the decline he’s experienced in the final two months. In 2011, he had a triple slash of .227/.336/.416. In 2012 it was more of the same, .253/.354/.435. It is worth noting that Gonzalez didn’t exactly have a great final two months either in 2012, but he did miss a lot of time to injury. I’m confident he stays healthy this season and puts up his best season since 2010. Don’t get me wrong, I like both players a lot, but my preference is Cargo.

Two young studs that I want this year are Giancarlo Stanton and Jason Heyward. If you want them, you’re going to have to use a second round pick because chances are they won’t be there after that. I can say with confidence that Stanton will hit over 40 homers this year. Not many players do that, so keep that in mind on draft day.

Now that B.J Upton and Justin Upton will be sharing the same outfield, I see big things from both of their bats. I think both men will be motivated in a big way and that will translate onto the field. Justin Upton has never really had that huge breakout season. His best season to date has been 2011, but then he regressed last year. He’s definitely been frustrating to own at points, but this will be his year. B.J. Upton is somewhat underrated in my book. He’s basically a lock for 30 steals and he has good power as well. Obviously his biggest knock is that he’s a .250 hitter. If you can handle his streaky bat and high strikeout totals, you’re looking at a 25/30 guy with upside for more. Keep in mind that he’s right in the middle of his prime at 28 years old.

I almost put Bryce Harper in my Top 10, but decided against it as I think that at age 20, he’ll have some growing pains. That isn’t to say that he won’t have a great season, I just don’t feel as though it will be better than someone more established such as Josh Hamilton or Jose Bautista. However, if I’m drafting in a Dynasty League, Harper is a top three pick, no question.

Adam Jones set a career high in both home runs and steals in 2012. It’d be nice to see him increase his steals into the 20-25 range, but if he can hit 30 homers, no one can really complain. Matt Holliday is as sure and steady as the come. He’ll have his usual .300/.380/.525 triple slash to go along with 25 plus homers. Is this the year Jay Bruce hits 40 homers? He’ll come close, but I think he’ll fall a few short. He’s increased his home run total every season in the Majors, but he really needs to cut down on the strikeouts which allow him to become prone to long slumps.

I absolutely love Shin-Soo Choo batting at the top of Cincinnati’s lineup. He’s an on-base machine with a nice blend of pop and speed. Hitting ahead of Brandon Phillips, Joey Votto, and Jay Bruce will push him over 100 runs for the first time in his career.

A player that can be somewhat frustrating yet still has very good numbers at the end of the year is Curtis Granderson. He has a swing made for Yankee Stadium as evident by his home run totals the past two seasons (41 and 43). What is disconcerting though is his decline in walks, stolen bases, and his overall average. His increase in strikeouts is concerning as well. All of these things tie together and it makes me skeptical to draft him. Even with 40 homer power, I’d rather let someone else grab Granderson. His numbers should be there at the end of the year, but I can’t say I’m a huge fan this year.

Desmond Jennings and Dexter Fowler are two players I see that will make positive strides this season. Alex Rios is someone that I’m incredulous about. It’s so hard to predict what he’s going to do because he’s been all over the map, seemingly every other season. If that actually is true, he could be in for a down year. I like Shane Victorino‘s prospects of playing in Fenway Park. Of course he will steal plenty of bags, but I see a slight uptick in his home run total too. He’s a solid player.

Ben Revere said he’s going to steal 60 bags in 2013. I don’t think he will, but he has a solid chance to swipe at least 50. The downside with Revere is that he has no power whatsoever. Keep that in mind on draft day.

Don’t forget about Jayson Werth. Some owners may forget about him because he missed a good chunk of the last season due to a wrist injury. He’s a 20/20 guy over a full, healthy season.

Carlos Gomez seemingly came out of nowhere last year and hit .278/.321/.488 with 14 homers and 26 steals… after the All-Star break. He could have a decent 2013, but don’t overpay for what he could do. He doesn’t walk enough and that isn’t likely to change. His power basically came out of nowhere, so don’t look for 19 homers again. I think 10-15 home runs is more than likely where he’ll end up, but the steals are definitely for real.

There is plenty of value to be found in later rounds for power. Players that fall into that category include: Dayan Viciedo, Carlos Quentin, Jason Kubel, Garrett Jones, and Colby Rasmus.

If you are looking for speed late, these players will provide you with great value: Emilio Bonifacio, Juan Pierre, Drew Stubbs, Rajai Davis, Will Venable, and Darin Mastroianni.

A few 2013 Sleeper picks: Michael Saunders, Dayan Viciedo, Lorenzo Cain, Adam Eaton, Jon Jay, Lucas Duda, Darin Mastroianni, J.D. Martinez, and John Mayberry.

A few 2013 Bust picks: Nelson Cruz, Carlos Gomez, Torii Hunter, Brandon Moss, Justin Ruggiano, and Nate McClouth.

Thanks for reading! Agree with my Rankings? Disagree? Please leave a comment. I’d love to interact with you. Look for my Top 100 Starting Pitcher Rankings tomorrow. Click below to follow me on Twitter!