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2010 Protected List – The Probables

Today is the third installment in the 2010 Atomic Roadrunner protected list preview. We’ve already identified six players that are keepers, now we’re moving on to “The Probables” – guys that it makes sense to protect, are generally a good value, but wouldn’t be shielded from expansion, if you know what I mean. The problem is that we need three more guys in that scenario – yikes. Here’s the breakdown:

Casey Blake
2 Years – $5
.280 Average, 84 Runs, 18 HR, 79 RBI, and 3 steals
Blake was acquired from The Pi Train in August specifically for his protectability. Typically a model of consistency, Blake has put up roughly a 80/18/80/.275 season each of the past seven seasons. There are no prospects pushing him, and he just finished the first year of a three-year contract. With the ownership and money issues in the Dodgers’ front office, everyone needs a little stability, even if he is 36 yars old. He will run streaky, however.

Madison Bumgarner
2 Years – $2
0 Wins, 1.80 ERA, 1.10 WHIP, and 10 K’s (in 10 MLB innings)
12 Wins, 1.85 ERA, 1.02 WHIP, and 92 K’s (in 131 High-A and AA innings)
The Giants’ No. 2 prospect behind Posey (below), Bumgarner plowed through Hi-A and AA before getting the call in September. Seeing occasional outings, including one start, Bumgarner impressed, though the loss of velocity as the season progressed was a concern. Still, the 20-year old (yes, 20) is penciled in as the Giants’ No. 5 starter to start 2010.

Mat Latos
2 Years – $5
4 Wins, 4.62 ERA, 1.30 WHIP, and 39 K’s (in 50.2 MLB innings)
8 Wins, 1.37 ERA, 0.75 WHIP, and 73 K’s (in 72.1 Low-A and AA innings)
Latos was picked-up mid-season as a great minor league protection candidate, but the Padres inexplicably allowed him to pitch a meaningless game on September 1st, passing the 50-inning rookie threshold, and then promptly shut him down for the season. Often cited as having an attitude problem, Latos reeled off great minor league innings, and having Petco Park as a home can’t hurt either. Decent flyer for $5 – went for $7 in the November experts draft.

Buster Posey
2 Years – $1
.325 Average, 84 Runs, 18 HR, 80 RBI, and 6 steals (combined Hi-A and AAA numbers – only 17 MLB at-bats)
Posey is the heir apparent behind the plate in San Francisco. However, his value and protectability took a hit when the Giants re-signed Bengie Molina to a one-year contract, almost guaranteeing that Posey starts the season in AAA. Still it’s only $1, but it’s also my second catcher position. There’s no doubt Posey will be a star, but he’d be a much better investment if his contract clock hadn’t started last season.

Drew Stubbs
2 Years – $5
.267 Average, 27 Runs, 8 HR, 17 RBI, and 10 steals
Stubbs was a mid-season pickup, and I was planning on possibly protecting him as a minor leaguer. Lo and behold, the former No. 6 overall pick replaced Willy Taveras in centerfield, and amassed 180 at-bats. The good news is that he made enough of an impression that most are projecting him as the starting CF. While there is debate about his power numbers, everyone is in agreement that he’s worth more than $5.