Burning Fantasy Baseball Questions - AL West

by Nicholas Minnix on February 2, 2010 @ 17:00:00 PDT


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Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim

Has 1B Kendry Morales made a believer of everyone?

It doesn't say here that the batting average should have been quite that good. The homer explosion was possible but not expected, but this is Morales' skill set. The second go-round will be telling. A repeat seems unlikely, but he should approach such levels for a couple of years.

Better buy for saves: RP Brian Fuentes or RP Fernando Rodney?

Manager Mike Scioscia was open to splitting up the closing duties as the season wound down - and his options weren't great then. Fuentes isn't as bad as his second-half numbers suggest, but he's not a top-shelf closer. Neither is Rodney. They complement each other. Rodney is cheaper right now.

Rodney was poor in non-save situations. Fuentes was the opposite. Both could deliver OK peripherals and a chunk of saves. This tug-of-war could end up anywhere in the middle. And others in that 'pen could contribute.

Have SPs Scott Kazmir and Ervin Santana become a waste of talent?

Texas Rangers SP Rich Harden
Texas' No. 1? Not Harden to believe

Kazmir was flat-out dominant once he joined the Halos. He has been on that sort of run before, but he escapes the AL East and may have needed that change. It's surprising he's not going higher in fantasy baseball drafts.

The Angels saw little wrong with Santana mechanically, which is concerning considering his dip in velocity. Injuries were the primary culprit. He picked up speed as the season wore on, and it showed. Santana is potentially a real bargain. It may not be 2008 again, but it'll be better than 2009.

Is IF Brandon Wood finally getting a shot?

Chone Figgins departed to the Seattle Mariners. So far, the Halos seem content to give him a chance. It's about time. He won't challenge for a batting title, but he's the type who needs consistent PT to become a factor. The potential for 25 - or more - dingers that late is worth it.

Oakland Athletics

Where did OF Rajai Davis come from, and where's he going?

The speed is legit. The on-base skills aren't quite. However, normalization of his rate won't kill his value. As long as you pay for the potential of 40 to 50 steals and a batting average that won't hurt you, you're fine.

Is RP Andrew Bailey the next Brad Ziegler?

This time, the A's appear to have a bankable closer. The strand rate may have been ambitious. Some good fortune contributed. But Bailey throws hard with legit skills. Can he keep that stellar control? He has little track record as a reliever, so it's not a lock. Still, he's definitely better than Ziegler.

C Kurt Suzuki is a top-six mixed league option at the position?

His power is real, judging from his deep drives' rise in true distance. A repeat is ambitious, though. He was also trading off a bit of BA skill, although it didn't show up. Suzuki has spent a lot of time crouching in two seasons. He's a solid option but probably a tad overpriced.

What about all this young pitching that was supposed to be so good?

Brett Anderson might be able to tell you. Low to mid-90s velocity and second-half growth spell it out. He's extremely young, though, and the A's don't guarantee wins. It's risky to be extremely optimistic in single-year formats, but not in keepers. Trevor Cahill wasn't as far along, so he still has a few growing pains ahead.

Are there any sleepers on this offense?

Outfielders Ryan Sweeney is very mildly intriguing. If Jake Fox finds at-bats, though, look out. He's the ideal DH, but Oakland has a couple of other candidates for that role. We saw what he did with the Chicago Cubs in limited PT. What he could deliver makes him worth a low-level gamble.

Seattle Mariners

Has SP Cliff Lee settled in ... at least, as a fantasy ace?

He has, but he shouldn't get extremely comfortable. His dominance isn't elite, so he may already be leaving that status in the rearview. Control growth ensures it will be a gradual decline. Seattle's park won't hurt his rate of homers allowed. But he's more acceptable as a mixed No. 2.

Does the move to Seattle change 3B Chone Figgins' value in any way?

Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim RP Brian Fuentes
Potentially expensive committee

His profile is slowly changing. He breaks out the walking stick more often, but he runs less often. Is he past the injury concerns? Safeco Field's harder surface may aid his average a tad, but not his body. And, of course, the M's lack punch. Figgins' value isn't dead, but it is headed south.

Is RP David Aardsma the real deal?

The righty has put together a couple of good half-seasons in his career. His velocity has always allowed for dominance of a K or more per inning. Second-half gains in control are going overlooked. The hit rate and homer rates were blessings, though. He won't be as good. He could be pretty bad.

I don't care about OF Milton Bradley, do I?

He's fragile. He's on the other side of 30. He's inconsistent. He's trouble. But Bradley is also a skilled hitter. The only time it pays to invest in him is after a terrible year. That's 2010. It should be cheap. It then could pay.

Texas Rangers

How was OF Josh Hamilton so bad last year after being so good in 2008?

No one has ever questioned his talent level. He was overvalued last season, though. There was little, if any, room for growth after 2008. Plus, it's hard to tell how much all those years of hard livin' will affect him in the long term. This year, Hamilton comes at a reasonable price.

DH Vladimir Guerrero: washed up?

Injuries (like a torn pectoral) take their toll. He's creaky (and might be losing bat speed). Check those career numbers at The Ballpark in Arlington, though. It's not advisable to spend on a mid-round pick on the inflexible Guerrero. If you could get Texas' cleanup hitter in the final third of your mixed draft, though, wouldn't you give him a shot?

Did 1B Chris Davis demonstrate enough after his recall to warrant investment?

Davis hits the ball really hard, but he was swinging from his heels and couldn't get on base. In the minors, he shortened his swing and cut down on the K's (relatively speaking). If that continues, 2010 could be closer to what folks expected in 2009 - at half the price. If it isn't, Justin Smoak waits in the wings.

What is appropriate value for P Neftali Feliz?

There's no question he's nasty. There's much doubt in his 2010 outlook. A move to the 'pen moved up his arrival time. The Rangers still view him as a starter in the long term. A serious learning curve lies ahead if he spends most of his time in the rotation. Be more skeptical than your draft mates.

How can the Rangers make P Rich Harden their No. 1 starter?

You're talking about a club whose 2009 ace was Kevin Millwood.

Harden still possesses high-level skills. Last season was like a correction of all that went right in 2008. Except the health part: two straight years with at least 25 starts. Mike Maddux and Nolan Ryan have been very influential in Texas. Potential profit awaits.

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About Nicholas Minnix

Minnix is baseball editor and a fantasy football analyst at KFFL. He plays in LABR and Tout Wars and won the FSWA Baseball Industry Insiders League in 2010.

The University of Delaware alum is a regular guest on SiriusXM Fantasy Sports Radio and Baltimore's WNST AM 1570.

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