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HOT STOVE REPORT :PART I
I'm sure we can all agree this has been one heck of a Hot Stove season to date! Lots of big names will be plying their trade elsewhere next year. Where we might not agree is in predicting how some of those big names will fare next season while sporting new laundry. So let's compare notes in Part I of FSRU's Hot Stove Report.
ROBINSON CANO, 2B, SEATTLE
Conventional wisdom says Cano's power will suffer in Safeco away from the Stadium's Little League porch in right. But don't be too sure. Robbie actually hit more HRs on the road last year(16) the he did at home(11). Over his career, the very durable Cano has demonstrated very good power to all fields. He's an elite hitter who figures to readily adjust to Safeco's power alleys that are ,in fact, more inviting than those in Gotham. True, his new Mariner line-up may not remind anyone of Murderers' Row, but then again, it's actually a clear upgrade over the anemic Yankee order of '13. One note of caution: as of this writing, Seattle figures to start six LH hitters, including Cano. Not ideal.
JACOBY ELLSBURY, OF, NYY
He's an injury risk no matter where he plays but, that aside, he should prosper in the Big Apple. The infamous porch in right should add at least a few dingers to his total and if they unleash his speed from the lead off spot, he could even top his MLB leading total in '13. Interestingly, he stole "only" 16 bags in Fenway as the Sox seemed to play more for those three run bombs from the likes of Ortiz and Napoli...but allowed him to pilfer 33 away from home where his mates demonstrated significantly less power. Let's see how the Yanks play it come April.
BRIAN McCANN, C, NYY
Let's see. A proven, dead pull LH hitter in Yankee Stadium. What's not to like ? McCann smacked 20 HRs in just 356 ABs last year in Atlanta. Why not at least 30 this year ? Plus, he figures to see some DH time when not behind the plate, giving him added ABs while also preserving his health. He's been around awhile, but is still just 29, an age when many backstops really start hitting their stride. Scary !
CURTIS GRANDERSON, OF, NYM
OK, the Mets didn't put their fence just behind second base like the Yanks did, but Granderson can put 'em out anywhere, sporting a somewhat surprising narrow 47/37 home/road split over his last two full seasons. So my guess is he has a good shot to hit 30HRs next year despite CIti Field's distant dimensions. The bad news is he's also a good bet to strike out over 200 times and wind up calling Adam Dunn for batting tips. On the bright side, the Mets will be committed to making him the MAN in the middle of their order. Come hell or high water,then, you can be pretty certain Curtis will be flailing away from his clean-up slot, making him a pretty decent power source in fantasy, that is if your team can absorb a subpar average, not to mention the backblast from all those whiffs.
IAN KINSLER, 2B, DETROIT
At 34, Kinsler has seen his HRs drop dramatically from 34 to just 13 over the past three seasons. His stolen bases have also dipped correspondingly from 31 to 15 over that same period. A bigger new home park won't reawaken the power, but if he winds up hitting atop the Tiger's potent line-up, he might just top the century mark in runs.
PRINCE FIELDER, 1B, TEXAS
If he can stay away from too much Texas BBQ, it's difficult to see this guy not improving, perhaps dramatically, on his 25HR total from last year in Detroit. Still only 29 and batting third in Arlington's hitter heaven, Prince also figures to be an elite RBI and run producer come April. Over the past five seasons, Fielder for all his considerable girth, has only missed ONE game. Amazing !
DOUG FISTER, SP, WASH
This is a great acquisition for the Nats ! Brought on board to follow Strasburg, Gio and Zimmerman as maybe the best #4 in baseball, Fister no longer has a DH to face and will have a much better defense behind him to handle the results of his sinker ball offerings--all of which augers well for lowering his ERA and WHIP ratios. A mid-round sleeper for sure !
CARLOS BELTRAN, OF, NYY
Much like his new teammates, Ellsbury and McCann, playing 81 games in Yankee Stadium can't be all bad for Beltran. Far from it. True, Carlos will be 37 next April, but he has been pretty much injury free for three seasons now. He certainly doesn't run much anymore. Nor does he run into any outfield walls just for the hell of it. Given this prudent fitness approach, I can't see why he can't come close to 30 round trippers assisted by that right field porch...and be a very productive every day OF/DH fixture smack in the middle of a rejuvenated Bronx Bomber order. He may not be the best long-term keeper out there, but there sure is a lot to like about Beltran in '14 !
SCOTT KAZMIR, SP, OAKLAND
Here's a semi-washed up fireballer who magically rediscovered his long-lost Mo-Jo last year with the Indians. Now he takes his K per inning potential to a bigger ballpark with an arguably better supporting cast.Given his past injury woes, there's some added risk here, but at a still young 29, there could be some real upside here. Did I just say he's a bona Fide sleeper for '14 ? Well, by gosh, I think I did.
BARTOLO COLON, SP, NYM
No way I can figure this guy out. He's 41 and has only one pitch. He doesn't walk a soul but never misses a bat either. Unbelievably by my reckoning anyway, he won 18 games while posting Cy Young ERA and Whip numbers. Citi Field is pretty spacious it's true, but I'd feel much better if the Grand Canyon was his new home park. It just could be his high wire act works once more in '14, but I just can't bring myself to bet on it. I will wager anyone, however, that he once again leads all of MLB in eating.
Well, that's it for Part I. Next up we give you Hot Stove Report, Part 2. In part two we look at Shin-Soo Choo, Tex; Mark Trumbo, AZ; Omar Infante, KC; Adam Eaton, CWS; Jhonny Peralta, StL; Addison Reed, AZ; John Axford, Cle; Jim Johnson,Oak; Joe Nathan, Det; Jose Veras, ChC.
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