Ray’s Ramblings: Top Of the Order
The Twins might go with Buxton at the top, but the Nationals still aren't sure what they are doing. Ray touches on Brinson, McCullers, Davies, Moncada, Wright and needed info for draft day.
TOP OF THE ORDER
Byron Buxton killed it last September with a .287/.357/653 slash line with nine homers, 24 RBI and 22 runs scored in 29 games. That’s off the charts elite stuff from an off the charts elite talent. Buxton, a top-3 prospect according to everyone in the universe the last couple of years, finally reached his potential last September leaving many more than willing to speculate that a full on breakout is possible in 2017. Add some fuel to the fire kids as a report suggests that Buxton could bat leadoff this season. “I’m not going to try to really get crazy about it,” manager Paul Molitor said. “I’m kind of waiting to see how things unfold here. “How Buxton comes along, how that’s going to affect Brian Dozier in some regard, there’s just a trickle-down there in where people could go.” I love the talent. The strikeouts and contact rate are still issues, but Buxton drips with talent.
The Nationals though... oh boy. It sounds like Dusty Baker still is not sold on the top of his batting order this season. It seems like Baker wants to use Treat Turner in the leadoff spot, but he’s very hesitant to use Adam Eaton in the second spot. The reason being that Baker doesn’t like the idea of his 2-3-4 hitters all being left-handed (Eaton, Daniel Murphy and Bryce Harper). “You want balance throughout the lineup, so that’s what I’m trying to achieve,” Baker said. “Do I bat two or three left-handers in a row and let the manager wipe out my whole lineup with a couple lefties during the course of a game?” Makes sense in theory. Alas, the data doesn’t necessarily suggest that the theory is correct. In 2016 Murphy hit .329 with a .924 OPS against lefties while Eaton hit .284 with a .369 OBP against lefties. Never let the data get in the way of a position Dusty (he never has). Harper did have a mere .764 OPS against lefties, so at least Baker has something to fall back on there. Still, it seems insane to me that the Nationals would send Lucas Giolito, Reynaldo Lopez and Dane Dunning to the White Sox to bring back a 6th hitter.
THIS AND THAT
Lewis Brinson is off to a hell of a start as he tries to convince the Brewers that he deserves a spot on the Opening Day roster. More likely than not the 22 year old outfielder will begin the year in Triple-A, but he’s set to make the decision a difficult one. Last Friday he hit two homers, and Monday he went 3-for-3 against the Rangers while flashing his trademark athleticism.
Lance McCullers threw 35 pitches in batting practice Monday. He is ready to throw a simulated game in the coming days. If that goes as expected he should be able to throw in an actual game next week. Still not sold that he’s going to begin the year in the starting rotation with the Astros. See his Player Profile.
Moreover, here is a link to the Player Profile Series.
LINKS TO READ
Howard Bender and I drafted mixed league squads over the weekend. To review the event, we both decided to tear down each other’s teams in The Barf League Review.
How do you handle the catcher position in 2017?
The Closer Grid has been updated as spring games begin.
Have you picked up your copy of the Draft Book? It’s the only tool you will need to take with you on draft day to dominate your draft.
The Mock Draft Army, run by Mr. Bender, shared it’s more recent Trend Report on how drafts are playing out. Yes, I just spoke of the MDA as if it was a person.
Sample sizes matter. In Sample Sizes & What They Mean, I list the size of said sample size that is required to get a better handle on the “realness” or “fakeness” of a player’s performance.
Ray Flowers can be heard Monday/Tuesday and Thursday/Friday, 7 PM EDT, Wednesday 8 PM EDT on SiriusXM Fantasy Sports Radio (Sirius 210, XM 87). You can also hear Ray Sunday nights at 9 PM EDT PM on the channel talking fantasy sports. Follow Ray’s work at Fantasy Alarm and on Twitter (@baseballguys).