Derek Jeter and Brett Gardner Have Something Special In Common

Derek Jeter has both a new stride and a new contract in his old roles as leadoff hitter and The Captain, while Brett Garner continues to mature at the bottom of the Yankee batting order.

Analysis: One has Menka Kelly, an apartment in Trump Tower, and an English Manor house in Florida. The other is the son of a South Carolina Low Country tomato farmer, who couldn’t get past the walk-on cut in college try outs, yet he wouldn’t take no as an answer, showing up uninvited the next day in his old high school uniform. Ten seasons later Gardner is firmly planted in left field in the Bronx and at the bottom of the batting order. Jeter will achieve a pinstriped milestone- 3,000 hits this season. Many sabermetricians feel Gardner will regress this season, as they feel his BABIP in 2010 indicates his batting average will dip in 2011 and thus most likely his stolen bases as well. Some of those same experts say The Captain has lost too much to contribute at the top of the batting order. Yet it is common place for great hitters at the end of their careers to make little tweaks in their swings to prolong their role as impact players on their teams. Never bet against either of these players. What they have in common and is often over-looked is talent as defined by the estimable Joe Posnanski – “talent just might be what we call hunger, the unquenchable desire…”

We do agree with the expert Bill James on these lines in 2011:

Jeter 703 13 101 68 17 0.295 0.365
Gardner 589 5 101 46 50 0.275 0.377

If the top and the bottom of the Yankee batting order account for a total of 202 runs and 67 stolen bases, then don’t worry about the championship quality of the Yankee offense. The Yankees will make the play-offs in 2011 if they have 3/4s of that kind of success 60 feet 6 inches from home plate.

Edge in Fantasy Baseball Auction: Ryan Dempster or Carlos Zambrano?

Ryan Dempster will start the Cubs’ season and home opener, not Carlos Zambrano. Is there more to Dempster than that and how about Big Z?

Analysis: Opening Day pitchers are often over priced on Auction Day, yet the mercurial and talented Carlos Zambrano is the consensus larger-than-life Cubbies’ Ace. So which one is the better buy and why?

Zambrano ERA+ K
2010 131 117
2009 118 152
2008 118 130
2010 113 208
2009 122 172
2008 155 187

If strikeouts are one of your league’s categories, then this is a no-brainer. Let’s leave the wins for another day.

In the meantime look for these lines in 2011:

Zambrano 184 162 3.77 1.39 3.81
Dempster 209 189 3.79 1.31 3.87

Auction Price vs. Projected Stats Value: How much should you budget before inflation, if you’re in a 5 X 5 keeper league? They will probably go for $7 to $12  at auction. Big Z should earn $8 to $10, while Dempster should be worth $10 to $14. In a $260 salary cap rotisserie league at the end of Auction Day a $20 profit = First Division finish and a $40 profit = Contender all season long. If they go for the same price, then buy Dempster.