Originally posted on UmpBump.com  |  Last updated 3/20/12

Disclaimer – Feel free to use this to prep for your upcoming fantast draft / auction but the writer bears no responsibility for player’s being hurt, released or bad at baseball.

At a certain level, predictions are very easy to make. Prince Fielder, Albert Pujols and Roy Halladay are going to be pretty good this year. Kyle Kendrick, Yuniesky Betancourt and the Houston Astros are not. The players below represent some of the more interesting names for this season, players who I think might just produce a nice little season even if the chances of any of them making an award ballot is minimal. All of them have shown something in the past which might indicate a good 2012 or at least an improvement on last year.

Alex Rios

Rios was horrible last year, struggling to a .227/.265/.348 line leading both Fangraphs and Baseball Prospectus to adjudge him to have that rare distinction – a negative WAR. Rios was so poor last year that there is likely to be a reasonable amount of dead cat bounce  about his 2012 season, but I’m fairly confident he can get himself back to some respectability this year. Only Vernon Wells had a lower BABIP in 2011 than Rios’ .237 mark and it would be fair to assume that that number will fall somewhere closer to Rios’ career BABIP of .306. Rios also posted a career low in strike outs last year so it’s possible there was a conscious change of approach from the White Sox outfielder. Both of those factors make me think the notoriously streaky Rios will have a much better time of it this year. The rebuilding White Sox will certainly give him every opportunity to hit his way back into form, if only allow him to build some sort of trade value.

Chase Headley

Stripped of any context, a third baseman with a .289/.374/.392 slash line isn’t particularly special. Put that hitter in PETCO for a season, however, and that line translates as a 120 OPS+, or 20% better than an average major league hitter. Headley’s season was cut short by a broken finger sustained while baserunning but he had already managed about the same number of walks as he had in 2010 even while coming to the plate on 235 less occasions. His defense at third has always appeared to be reasonable if unspectacular so if he continues his progress at the plate he’ll be a highly valuable commodity in 2012. Getting out of that enormous home park will help his raw numbers but it doesn’t take much digging to see that Headley is already a very solid player. Plus this is his age 27 year and we’re always hearing how magical things happen to players of that age.

Rick Porcello

Still only 23 but with three full seasons under his belt, it is easy to forget just how young the Tigers’ starter is. To take just one example, Porcello is the same age as Jarrod Parker who was just sent down to Triple-A by the A’s and about who no-one is particularly concerned he might not being ready for the big leagues quite yet. Fangraphs have Porcello shaving a little bit off of his FIP every year he’s been in Detroit (4.77, 4.31, 4.06) and he’s always been a strong groundball pitcher (career 52% GB rate). Despite these strong signs, the mark against Porcello has always been his lack of strikeouts as he managed to whiff just 5.14 batters per nine innings last year and that was career high. He might not be the power pitcher he appeared when he was drafted out of high school, but the raw tools should be present for a few more Ks. Unfortunately, his club’s dalliance with Miguel Cabrera at third may mean those extra strikeouts will be sorely needed in the coming months.


GET THE YARDBARKER APP:
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

LeBron never believed he could get to Jordan’s level

Sam Mitchell reportedly candidate to join Pelicans’ coaching staff

Warriors GM indicates Steve Kerr still isn’t ready to return

Taylor Hall says it was “nice to finally see” the Edmonton Oilers eliminated

Report: Jets to hire female defensive backs coach

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Vince Young officially inks contract with CFL team

Jason Witten: Bill Parcells is getting soft in his old age

Braves make up with fan ejected by security for interference

David Price to start for Red Sox Monday against Chicago

Magic Johnson indicates Brandon Ingram is Lakers’ only untradeable player

Congress drafted a bill that could legalize online sports betting; how soon might it happen?

Kicking It: East is East, and West is West

Three Up, Three Down: Some surprises way out (NL) West

The 'Let's go to the videotape!' quiz

It’s our civic duty to stop attending Super Bowls in new stadiums

Box Score 5/25: The Cavaliers look to close out the Celtics

The 'Farewell to the Manu, the Myth, the Legend' quiz

Box Score 5/24: Craig Anderson saves the Senators

The 'Walk on home, boy' quiz

NBA Referee Hotline Bling: Dejounte Murray gets his calls blocked twice

It's reality check time for the Texas Rangers

Box Score 5/23: Preds, Warriors move on to respective Finals

The 10 best sports docs available for streaming

MLB News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
the YARDBARKER app
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

Kicking It: East is East, and West is West

Three Up, Three Down: Some surprises way out (NL) West

The 'Let's go to the videotape!' quiz

Why the Indianapolis 500 is called 'the greatest spectacle in racing'

The 'Farewell to the Manu, the Myth, the Legend' quiz

NBA Referee Hotline Bling: Dejounte Murray gets his calls blocked twice

It's reality check time for the Texas Rangers

The 'Walk on home, boy' quiz

NBA Weekend Awards: Who will take a bite of the Snow White Crystal Apple?

Why wait? Our too soon Cavaliers-Warriors NBA Finals preview

Today's Best Stuff
For Publishers
Company Info
Help
Follow Yardbarker