Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Bumgarner, Thames, Marlins 1b, D. McCutchen

As spring training nears the point where clubs are starting to make fairly major decisions about how their rosters will look on opening day, there have been several transactions in the past few days that will have significantly affected the forecasts.

As we alluded to last week in this space, Madison Bumgarner did end up getting sent to the minors and it's a major disappointment for him.  No one can blame the Giants for this move, even those who don't put much weight on spring performance.  Bumgarner wasn't just ineffective this spring.  His velocity was way off, just as it was late last season even as he continued to put up good results.  As it's now official he didn't win the fifth spot in the rotation, it won't surprise me if he spends most or all of this season in the minors and I'm downgrading his forecast for 2010 to almost nothing now.  In keeper leagues with deep reserve lists, he remains a good target, of course.

Marcus Thames appears to have won a bench spot with the Yankees and while I'm not about to project him to get full-time at bats, Thames is well-proven at being able to hit for power even when in a limited role.  He strikes me as the kind of player who could find 200+ at bats here and if that proves to be the case, he's a very cheap 10-15 home runs you can add to your bench.

Jorge Jimenez, a Rule 5 pick from Boston, failed in his bid to win the Marlins first base job and was shipped back to Boston this week.  That means that Gaby Sanchez is a good bet for 300+ at bats this year barring Logan Morrison breaking through somehow.  Sanchez's only expected contribution will be the occasional home run and he could hit 15 if he lasts the full season in the lineup.  Jorge Cantu appears to be moving back to third base full-time now.

One other event that caught my eye was that the Pirates named Daniel McCutchen as their fifth starter.  While McCutchen is good enough to last the season in the rotation, we're currently forecasting an ERA in the high 4's and obviously, he wouldn't be a strong bet to get many wins with this team even if he pitched better than we're forecasting.  He doesn't project to be particularly helpful in strikeouts or WHIP either and while this is a well-earned opportunity for him, he's a lot older than most would guess, already twenty-seven as the season gets underway.