|Why is Everth Cabrera getting different treatment compared to other PED users? (utsandiego.com)|
Not to double up on the content, but rounds 6 through 8 have a lot of my Mancrush picks I wrote about last week. Of course, the list isn't off to a great start after Jurickson Profar profar'd everyone that drafted him, but anyway what you'll find are a lot of players I'm more bullish on; ready to pick ahead of most people's ADP. I dislike to use the word reaching because that indicates you're selecting someone above where you think they should be selected. I'm simply using my personal rankings and picking thusly.
This is a big reason I started doing my own ranks; to play off the ADP and know when I wanted and didn't want to take a player. Personal rankings have your own touch to them, so if you have confidence in yourself, you should take the time to do it. The rankings beyond the first 5 rounds really start getting muddy when you compare them amongst ESPN, Yahoo, CBS, etc. There are sites that pool all of this information together for you, but I always like to know how I feel about certain players - not just an average of these sites. I've been refining my ranking system, and this is the year I've probably leaned the most heavily on it in live drafts. By that I mean, if I take Jose Altuve, I largely have no idea if the people I'm drafting with think I'm taking him too early or too late. And, for the first time, I don't care.
It's always important to preface this by saying, I have someone like Pedro Alvarez ranked #63 overall. Now, in a snake draft, that doesn't mean I would take him with the 63rd pick. If he's ranked 80+ on the site I'm using, well I'm going to assume that most people are operating within the confines of that sites rankings. Very rarely will I see another owner take someone out of the blue and think that they made a wise choice. Usually it's someone taking Curtis Granderson in the 3rd Round or something. So, I will bide my time. If Alvarez it ticketed to go 87th overall, I won't use my 6th Round pick, but maybe I'll jump early in the 7th or depending on how the picks fall, happily take him in the 8th or 9th Round. There's no sound strategy to knowing when a player will be taken, but by following your own ranks and playing them off the site's ranks there is plenty of room for added value. Now a couple of notes on players that weren't MANCRUSHED...
I've been a Ryan Zimmerman defender for a long time, but he once again needed a huge final couple of months in 2013 to get to the numbers his owners were hoping for. He says his shoulder feels better than ever, but realistically last year should have been a return to form. I'm not saying that Zimmerman can't get back to 25 HR and 80+RBI, but I will note all it will take is him not being able to find his magic bat in August and September to have a very disappointing season.
The more I see of Jose Abreu the more I like him. The Cuban slugger is battling some ankle issues from apparently wearing quality baseball cleats, but he should be able to adjust and move past that rather smoothly. I mentioned earlier that Spring Training stats are largely useless, but it's been helpful to see what Abreu can do. What I do see is a guy with legit power and a guy that isn't striking out a lot. For all the talk of his home run potential, I'd be surprised if he batted under .270 for the year. His floor is much higher than many think.
Everth Cabrera is at the middle of one of my myths of the offseason so far. The first was the love for Clayton Kershaw (justified) by experts drafting him as high as 3rd overall in drafts (not justified). If you want to go ahead and do that, then you have to accept that Kershaw - in all his greatness - isn't that much better than Darvish or Wainwright or Scherzer of 2013 and those players should be bumped up your draft board as well.
The E-Cab myth is that while players like Ryan Braun and Nelson Cruz and the other PED suspendees are being dragged through the mud, Cabrera is somehow being projected to have a career year. PEDs can certainly help power, but the skill set around them remains unchanged. No one thinks Braun is going to hit 12 HR or that Jhonny Peralta will hit .220 AVG, but they're being cast in a negative light. Well, if you're anti those guys, how can you not be more anti-Cabrera? This was a guy that last year was having a career year batting at a higher average than ever before, with 4 HR (he has 9 total in his career), and stole 37 bases in 94 games. Sure seems like something might have been helping him out! PEDs won't make Cabrera a 30 HR hitter, but will it keep him healthy or give him more velocity on balls he makes contact with? Presumably. But for whatever reason - I guess because he's fast and not a power hitter - he's getting to capitalize on his 2013 numbers. Something no suspended PED user has been blessed with. If Cabrera truly can capitalize on those strides from last year, then he has the ability to be the 2nd or 3rd ranked shortstop overall. I'm leaning more towards Cabrera, yes, making strides, but more in line with his career averages. He has made changes to his approach at the plate to get on base more, which will translate to steal opportunities. Also, I'm not mad at the Padres' offense this year. I can see a solid year from Cabrera if he can stay healthy, but let's not forget a straight extrapolation of his 2013 numbers would be rather ridiculous.
Really like what I've been seeing from Jordan Zimmermann. He appears to have worked on correcting his biggest problem from 2013, a low K rate. This is the first apperance he's made on my ranks in 2014, but as I've been updating them week to week, he's taken large leaps up the board.
I'm comfortable with Billy Hamilton at #86 overall. The Reds didn't give him a roster spot to send him down in May. He'll get a shot, and even if he can't handle lead-off duties, he is still in a position batting in the bottom of the order where he can steal a lot of bases. Like a lot, a lot. Hamilton even showed that as strictly a bench player he can make a huge impact as most of his opportunities in 2013 were from the pine to the field as a pinch runner. He has value, and in a roto league can free your roster up in a lot of ways come draft day. Let's hope he can do his namesake proud.
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On Deck: Danny Salazar, Sonny Gray, Brandon Belt
OVERALL THUS FAR
We are finally starting to see some shifting around of the rankings. This is obviously the result of the start of the regular season nearing and some injuries/issues taking their toll. Very little of this has to do with Spring Training performances because aside from health - the statistics mean next to nothing.
Yu Darvish came down with another nagging injury from sleeping, and he will now start the season on the DL. I literally mentioned this a couple weeks ago as a concern for Darvish, and while he has been cleared from any serious injury, this is something I can no longer ignore. The competition at SP is steep, so this is enough for me to drop him down my rankings. Stephen Strasburg and Chris Sale move up to #2 and #3 starting pitchers respectively, with Felix Hernandez and then Yu Darvish following suit.
In the outfield there has been some rumbling with Yasiel Puig tumbling down to my rankings. He's already gotten into some on-field issues due to his horrid base running and 'tude. Combine that with his apparent incessant "injuries" to his back and shoulders. Something isn't right with this guy.
Avenge me, Justin Upton! AVENGE ME!
Final note, Justin Verlander is coming, boys and girls.
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