Monday, March 2, 2009

Kelly Shoppach has a bad case of position scarcity.

Position scarcity. When talking about catchers, the phrase position scarcity frequently gets tossed about. Sounds like some sort of medical condition, doesn't it?

Person #1: You look a lot better. How are you feeling?

Person #2: Thanks. I feel better. The medication I'm on has really helped to contain my position scarcity.

Person #1: Is your position scarcity itchy?

Person #2: Oh my god yes. Especially in the armpits of my knees.

At this point, you are probably wondering, what the heck was that? And, can a knee have an armpit? And, if knees did have armpits, wouldn't they be called kneepits? Almost every catcher is a pretty bad deal. But you have to draft one. So the idea here is to limit the damage as much as possible. If each catcher were to repeat his 2008 stats in 2009, the catcher who would be the least damaging to fantasy teams is Kelly Shoppach:

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So let's pretend that we are confident that Shoppach can at least match his numbers from last season if he gets the playing time. The logical next question is, how much will that Shoppach dude play this year?

The answer? To be determined. Victor Martinez looks like he's back and healthy (he hit two home runs in a recent spring training game), and you have to believe the Indians will give Travis Hafner every chance to claim the DH role. So that leaves Shoppach fighting with Ryan Garko for playing time. The Indians' manager claims Shoppach will play "a little more than he did last year," and if that is the case Shoppach would be a great guy to have as your fantasy catcher. Last year, Shoppach had 62 at bats in the first two months of the season combined, and then 69, 66, 93, and 60 at bats in the following four months. The Prognosticators project Shoppach to average about 60 at bats per month this year (360 total) and hit between 17 and 19 home runs for the season.

Conclusion: Hard to say what sort of playing time Shoppach will get but there is a decent chance he's worth his current 19th round draft pick.

Other reading on the syllabus:

  • "A healthy Martinez at first base improves the team on both offense (fewer AB's for Garko, more for Shoppach) and defense (Shoppach is above average behind the dish)."

  • "Shoppach turned in the best season of his career in 2008 because Victor Martinez was injured. Martinez is healthy again, and there is much anticipation as to how Wedge is going split playing time between the two. Martinez, of course, plays first base as well. The two guys who seem least worried about the situation are Shoppach and Martinez."

  • "Indians manager Eric Wedge has made it clear that Shoppach will catch '08 Cy Young winner Cliff Lee and Martinez will handle No. 2 starter Fausto Carmona...'It's fair to say that Shop's going to get more playing time, but we also know that Victor's going to be playing every day somewhere,' Wedge said. 'Victor's still our catcher, but we feel like we've got another one in Kelly Shoppach, too. Part of it's going to be the other guys we have on the ballclub, Ryan Garko, how much Hafner DHs.' Wedge said the Tribe brass has told Martinez and Shoppach 'we're not sure how this is going to play out.'

  • "But if the Indians decide they are a better team with Shoppach behind the plate and Martinez at first, Martinez is all for it."

  • Asked Wednesday how he'll divvy up playing time between Victor Martinez, Travis Hafner, Kelly Shoppach and Ryan Garko, manager Eric Wedge said that "Victor and Hafner are going to play every day and Shoppach will play a little more than he did last year."

  • Razzball has Shoppach in the second tier of his catcher rankings.

  • March 25th Update: Shoppach is batting .263/.310/.605 in 38 at-bats this spring.

    Want more draft strategy? Click here for 1B, 2B, SS, 3B, OF, C, SP, and RP position primers.
  • 1 comment:

    Hank Hulkum said...

    "The knee is the lower extremity joint connecting the femur, patella, and the tibia and the surrounding anatomical region which includes the popliteal fossa, also known as 'knee pit'".

    Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Knee