Saturday, January 09, 2010

K. Johnson, Iannetta, Podsednik, Myers

Kelly Johnson signed with Arizona to take over as their new second baseman, this as he's coming off a disappointing 2009 season that saw him hit only .224 and barely clear the 300 at bat mark.  Consider, though, that he'll only be twenty eight on opening day and even with last year's mark mixed in, he's hit .264 in the majors in more than 1,600 at bats.  Given at least a near full-time job here, he could easily bounce back to a mid .270s average with 10-15 home runs and 10+ steals, all of which will be obtainable rather cheaply if you play in a fantasy league.  With last year's performance, those facing a fantasy keeper situation may want to gamble on tossing him back into the free agent pool in an effort to reacquire him at a lower cost.

I've decided to upgrade Chris Iannetta's forecast somewhat.  Since our previous set, not only did Iannetta sign a new three year deal that will keep him with the Rockies but Colorado also signed Miguel Olivo to be his backup and only real competition for playing time.  To me, the 31-year-old Olivo looks like an insurance policy, even if you consider his breakout power performance of last year.  Olivo has a career .243 mark in the majors and in last year's career year, he picked up just 19 walks and struck out 126 times in 390 at bats, about a third of the time he came to the plate.  Also, the more I consider what I believe is Iannetta's true ability, the more convinced I become that he can actually hold down the job and put together a near 400 at bat campaign.

In case you missed it, the Kansas City Royals signed Scott Podsednik, reportedly to be their starting center fielder.  I think this is the perfect fit for him and in the new edition of the forecasts being published this weekend, I am upgrading him to .290 territory with around 25 stolen bases.  Even though he bounced back to 30 stolen base territory last year for the first time since 2006, it's worth remembering that those two forgettable seasons in 2007 and 2008 still yielded 12 stolen bases each year, this in seasons he hardly played.  His job security with the Royals will be higher than it would have been just about anywhere else.

One last item of interest today was Houston's signing of Brett Myers.  It seems pretty clear that they're bringing him in to be a regular member of the rotation and if he's healthy, as it appears he is, I'd expect him to have a mid 4's ERA with about 10 wins in this environment.  Myers has long been one of the pitchers I often hear from readers about as he was so highly-touted when he first came along and admittedly, I've never been as high on him as others.  His career, which is likely far from over, has turned about as expected, perhaps slightly better with a 4.40 career ERA in almost 1,200 big league innings.  I don't believe at twenty-nine that he's going to get much better than that but he is good enough to hold down a rotation spot here and our new forecast will reflect that.