Tag Archive | "Batters"

Triple Play: Miguel Cabrera, Mitchell Boggs, Roy Oswalt

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Triple Play: Miguel Cabrera, Mitchell Boggs, Roy Oswalt

Posted on 06 May 2013 by Chris Caylor

In this week’s edition of the Triple Play, we look at the most consistent hitter in the game, a closer banished to the minors and more. Off we go:

Miguel Cabrera

Who’s Hot?

Miguel Cabrera, Detroit Tigers

Talk about en fuego. In the past week, he smashed four homers, drove in 13 runs and punished opposing pitchers to the tune of a .461/.562/1.038 batting line. Prepare to roll your eyes: Cabrera is on pace to drive in 201 runs. While that obviously isn’t happening, what is happening is that the 30-year-old is continuing to prove he is the most consistent hitter in baseball. For the season, Cabrera is hitting .389/.467/.627, with six home runs, 36 RBI and 26 runs scored. If you drafted Miggy with your first-round pick in your fantasy draft or you spent the big bucks required in your auction league, you are likely having no buyer’s remorse pangs. Credit must be given, of course, to Austin Jackson for doing a terrific job getting on base in front of Cabrera (30 runs scored already) and to Prince Fielder hitting behind Cabrera. Going into Sunday’s games, the Jackson/Cabrera duo had scored 56 of the Tigers’ 155 runs, while Cabrera and Fielder have teamed up to drive in 64 of the team’s 152 RBI. The key to it all, though, is Cabrera – the best hitter in baseball (including fantasy baseball). Period.

Who’s Not?

Mitchell Boggs, St. Louis Cardinals

I hate to pile on Boggs here, but my goodness, has he ever been awful. After a 2012 season in which he was one of the best setup men in baseball, Boggs has cratered. In his first 10 appearances, Boggs tallied two blown saves, two losses, and a 12.66 ERA. He allowed a ghastly 30 baserunners in just 10 2/3 innings. The final straw came last Thursday, when he walked the only two batters he faced against Milwaukee. With usual closer Jason Motte now facing Tommy John surgery and out until midseason 2014, Boggs was supposed to provide stability in the Cardinals bullpen. He did not. The instability was further compounded when left-hander Marc Rzepczynski was demoted last week as well. It is fortunate for St. Louis (and fantasy owners) that Edward Mujica has stepped up to fill the void at closer. As the Cardinals try to rebuild their bullpen on the fly, it is worth remembering that the same thing happened in 2011. If Boggs is trying to find a bright side in his demotion, perhaps this will help: Boggs was last sent to the minors in 2011. When he returned, he was a key cog in the retooled bullpen that helped propel the Cards to their 11th world championship in 2011. General manager John Mozeliak hinted that Boggs’ stay at Triple-A Memphis would be short. Cards fans and fantasy owners hope that Boggs can return and be the pitcher he was in 2012.

Playing the Name Game

Player A: 1-0, 3.00 ERA, 0.58 WHIP, 12 IP, 16/2 K/BB ratio
Player B: 1-0, 1.63 ERA, 0.72 WHIP, 11 IP, 13/4 K/BB ratio

Player A is Reds’ rookie pitcher Tony Cingrani. Player B is the Marlins’ own rookie, righty Jose Fernandez. What a pair these two are. Cingrani has been everything the Reds expected and then some in his four starts in 2013. His six-inning, 11 strikeout performance against the Nationals was nothing short of dominating. I don’t see how the Reds can justify sending their prized southpaw back down to the minors even when Johnny Cueto returns from the disabled list. He has proven he belongs. Meanwhile, in Miami, Fernandez, who was born the year before the Marlins came into existence, is becoming the only reason to watch the Marlins while Giancarlo Stanton is injured. After scuffling his past three starts, Fernandez was brilliant over the weekend in earning his first career victory. He struck out nine Phillies, allowed one hit and one walk during seven shutout innings. At age 20, Fernandez is likely to be strictly monitored this season, but the strikeout potential is there for fantasy owners if you can live with the shorter outings and occasional spells of inconsistency. If he’s available in your league, he’s worth a look.

Player A: 4-2, 1.59 ERA, 0.91 WHIP, 51/7 K/BB ratio
Player B: 3-1, 1.61 ERA, 0.76 WHIP, 42/8 K/BB ratio

Player A is Seattle’s Felix Hernandez. Player B is his teammate Hisashi Iwakuma. It’s no secret that I’m a big Iwakuma fan. The numbers above illustrate why. Iwakuma is King Felix Lite. You can pay big auction dollars or use an early draft pick on Hernandez and be satisfied with the numbers he provides. Or, you could have spent that early pick/auction cash on a hitter like Prince Fielder and then picked up Iwakuma many rounds later and enjoy the similar stats at a bargain-basement price. Obviously, it’s early in the season and Iwakuma does not have King Felix’s track record. But don’t dismiss this as a fluke. Iwakuma has great stuff, doesn’t walk many batters and pitches in one of the most pitcher-friendly parks in the game. I believe he’s the real deal

Random Thoughts

News: The St. Louis Post-Dispatch is reporting that Chris Carpenter thinks the nerve pain in his throwing arm has improved enough that he wants to try to come back as a reliever. Views: If anyone can do it, it’s Carpenter. But the man has nothing to prove to anyone. He was as fierce a competitor as anyone you’ll ever see.

So, Roy Oswalt signed a minor-league contract with the Rockies. This tells me two things: 1) that ol’ Roy isn’t looking for the best chance to win, but rather a team that would stick him in the rotation as soon as possible, and 2) his pouty antics last year in Texas really damaged his reputation. I find it very difficult to believe that Oswalt couldn’t have hooked on with a better team than the Rockies if he hadn’t been such an unprofessional whiner with the Rangers. If he hadn’t acted that way, doesn’t it seem reasonable that teams like the Yankees, Angels, or Mets (all teams in dire need of starting pitching depth in spring training) might have kicked Oswalt’s tires if they thought he would do his job like a pro and not complain to the media constantly like a prissy NFL wide receiver?

Congratulations to Scott Kazmir, who earned his first major-league win since September 2010 this past Saturday. The lanky lefty is only 29. It would be a major, if unlikely, boost for the Indians if he could recapture the success he enjoyed with Tampa Bay. Still, he’s not going near my fantasy team’s roster.

Yu Darvish is receiving in tons of accolades in Texas, but let’s not lose sight of what Pirates starter AJ Burnett has done so far this season. The 36-year-old Burnett has whiffed 57 batters in 42 innings so far this season with a 1.12 WHIP.

Speaking of the Pirates, they’re going to be a real handful for everyone once Andrew McCutchen and Neil Walker start hitting. McCutchen is off to a .259/.319/.444 start, while Walker is hitting (or should I say, NOT hitting) .253/.352/.342. Meanwhile, left fielder Starling Marte is putting up McCutchen-like numbers (.328/.394/.513, while leading the NL with 10 steals).

Wainwright Walk Watch: In 49 2/3 innings pitched this season, Cardinals ace Adam Wainwright has walked three batters. Or, about what the Padres’ Edinson Volquez averages per inning of work.

 

Follow me on Twitter: @ccaylor10

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Barry Zito – Am I a genius?

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Barry Zito – Am I a genius?

Posted on 15 April 2013 by Trish Vignola

Or have I just gone plain insane? Fearing the impending Joey Votto 2012 injury to sink my team, I perhaps overcompensated a tad bit this year regarding my everyday players. By doing that, I neglected my starting pitching.

BarryZito

Ok. I only have five starting pitchers and three of them go on the same day.

This is not the wisest move you can make when playing head-to-head. So, it was time to let go of one of my three center fielders. (Seriously, I had three…I know.) Today, I went trolling the free agent market.

As of 6:50 AM this morning, I announced on Facebook (to an audience of no one) that “Beat with an Uggla Stick” picked up Barry Zito to solidify its staff. Stop, laughing. I’m serious. I might be a mad genius. Follow me here…

Why was he just sitting there? That’s the real shocker. Is anyone aware that he has not lost a game since Aug. 2? True! Barry Zito has not lost a game since early August 2012.

This baffling streak (as compared to Zito’s history with the Giants) included him winning his last six straight regular-season starts. He then proceeded to go 2-0 in three postseason starts. This spring Zito put the icing on the cake, going 2-0 within six spring outings (technically five starts) this year. This is an amazing fete, considering the Giants were looking for every reason to run this guy out on a rail last year.

Why are Fantasy owners overlooking this outstanding run? He should not have been siting there for the taking.

Barry Zito posted a 3.92 ERA in his last 11 regular-season starts in 2012. He posted a 2.70 ERA this spring and opened the 2013 season with seven scoreless innings. He was the team’s fourth starter in a row to toss a scoreless outing in a 1-0 win.

Zito threw 102 pitches and limited the Cardinals to just three walks and three singles. He picked up seven groundball outs and 10 flyball outs. He struck out four batters!

Zito allowed a runner to reach second base just once in the game. That was in his final inning of work. However, he quickly retired the side to secure the win.

Did you see what he did today versus the Rockies? He went 7.0 innings again. He allowed only 7 hits, walked 1 and struck out 4. He’s got a 0.00 ERA and a 1.00 WHIP. Heck! He might be leading the team in batting average now too.

Not that I care. Barry Zito’s batting average buys me nothing!

Don’t get me wrong. At some point, Zito is going to start walk batters. His strikeout rate won’t be mesmerizing. Nonetheless, if he can make 30+ starts and maybe eat up some innings, I will look like a mad genius. CBSSports.com’s prediction of a 12 and 12 record will look like a woeful estimation if he keeps up this rate. Last week, he garnered his owners 27 points. That’s Strasburg territory. If he can help me get out of the gate strong, even if he starts to lose steam mid-season, he’ll still be worth the move.

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Welcome to the Bigs, Kid: Jose Fernandez

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Welcome to the Bigs, Kid: Jose Fernandez

Posted on 08 April 2013 by T.J. McDonald

Welcome back for another exciting year of fantasy baseball action.  The season is only a week old but we have already had one of the top prospects in the game, Jose Fernandez, make his unexpected debut & boy did he not disappoint! In the 2013 debut edition of Welcome to the bigs, kid we will be profiling and discussing him and his debut outing. Also as always we will be discussing his fantasy value for the rest of the year and many years to come.

JoseFernandez

Jose Fernandez is a 20 year old right hand pitcher from Cuba for the Miami Marlins.  He is the third youngest Marlin to make their major league debut and youngest starting pitcher. He was drafted by the Marlins with the 14th pick in the first round of the 2011 MLB Amateur Draft. In his first full professional season last year in 25 starts 14 coming in low A and 11 in high A he went 14-1, striking out 158 batters and walking just 35 in 134.0 innings. His ERA was 1.75 and his was WHIP 0.93.  He was ranked as the #1 Marlins prospect & #5 in all of baseball to start the year by Baseball America.  He was surprisingly called up to be the Marlins 5th starter to start the year, after they had two projected starters of their rotation start the year on the disabled list.

Once the announcement was made he would start the rotation, the skeptics were out as to whether he would be a viable fantasy option this year or not. After his debut performance I am confidante in saying he will be. I sat down yesterday and with the help of DirectTV watched every pitch of his debut outing and not only did he not let me down he greatly exceeded by expectations.  He went a very strong 5 innings with a Marlins debut record of 8 strike outs. He pitched flawlessly the first three innings getting the side out in order all three and striking out the side in the 2nd. He then got into a slight jam in the 4th after allowing a single with one out and a walk with two outs  before getting the next hitter to ground out.  His control that inning did seem to be a bit shaky out of the stretch as he walked one and went to a 2-2 count with the final batter of the inning. He was able to get it under control and get a inning ending ground out leaving both runners stranded.  In his fifth and final inning of work he gave up his lone earned run but was able to limit the damage by leaving a runner stranded on second.  He exited after throwing 80 pitches, 53 for strikes.

Now that we know a little bit about Jose Fernandez and have detailed how his first outing in the big leagues went, lets talk fantasy value. After watching his impressive debut there is no doubt in my mind that not only is he a top dynasty/keeper lg player but that he will also be a relevant redraft mixed leagued starter.  Will he have his ups and downs, yes and wins may be hard to come by playing for the lowly Marlins but the Ks and other quality pitchers stats will be there. One thing to keep an eye on however is that the Marlins do plan on limiting him to around 150 to 170 this season. He only went 5 today and I foresee that to be a pretty regular occurrence.   This may mean he will not be leading your team come playoff time but first you have to reach the playoffs and he could be the type of free pickup that helps you reach that goal.

Regarding his keeper/dynasty league value there is not a lot to say that already hasn’t been. He was the #5 prospect in baseball coming into the season and had a very impressive debut. Add to the fact that he is only 20 years old, if your league mates haven’t been smart enough to roster him already drop what you are doing and RUN to pick him up. Pitchers like this don’t come along everyday and in a long term format he looks to be the type of pitcher that can anchor your pitching staff for many years to come.  As of this writing he is currently owned in 70% of CBS, 32% of yahoo, & 9.9% of ESPN leagues, which I imagine will have a pretty big spike following his debut outing.

Now that we have welcomed Jose Fernandez to the bigs, will you have him rostered? I do. Let me know in the comments and as always follow me on twitter @FantasyzrTJ for all your fantasy baseball needs. Enjoy the season gamers, it has only just begun.

 

 

 

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Bold-ish Predictions For 2013

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Bold-ish Predictions For 2013

Posted on 04 April 2013 by Will Emerson

I know you have been waiting months, days even, for this exciting moment. Well, it is a bit late, I know, but better late than never, right? Just agree. In any event, it is here! Your wait is over! My much anticipated bold-ish (The “ish” part  will be important. Just wait, you’ll see.) predictions for the 2013 Major League Baseball season.

Mike+Trout+Mark+Trumbo+Los+Angeles+Angels+UsyIUqrRGyIl

Mark Trumbo will sock over forty homeruns. During his mid-season tear it sure seemed like Mr. Trumbo would easily clear forty dingers, but alas, he did not. Trumbo had a huge drop off (a drop off that may or not have cost me a fantasy baseball championship and that I may or may not still be bitter about) where he hit a measly five homeruns from August to the end of the season. Five? FIVE?! Well, there were lingering injury issues and those should be out of the way, so look for more long balls from Trumbo this season. Yeah, the forty homerun number is certainly attainable for Trumbo, so not super bold, but bold-ish.

Felix Doubront will win 17 games, post a sub 3.50 ERA and strikeout 200 batters. Last year Felix went 11-10, with a 4.86 ERA, a 1.45 WHIP and 167 strikeouts, so this prediction has its bit of boldishness, does it not? Fact is, Doubront had a 9.34 K/9 and an xFIP of 3.81. I feel like working with Pedro Martinez, John Farrell and Juan Nieves will help Doubront harness his talent and overall goodness.

Hee Sop Choi and or Hideki Irabu return to Major League Baseball. Huh? Choi is tearing it up in the South Korean pro baseball league right now! Well, he probably is. Why wouldn’t he be? What with that sweet swing and all? You know he’s just itching to get back to America, probably. Now, Hideki Irabu? You just know he is ready for a comeback! And quite frankly, what team would not want a 42-year old former major league pitcher who posted a career ERA over five? Hmmm? Hmmmm?! Surely some team will want it for a gimmick or something. If ony there were a team everyone thought was so bad that they would look for any sort of something to draw a crowd. If only. Eh, onto another prediction.

The Houston Astros will have an All-Star representative….. not named Jose Altuve. Okay, this is bold for sure, right. Now, do I have a prediction of who this All-Star will be? Well, not per se. I mean go ahead and name as many Houston Astros as you can? How many did you get? Ten? Of those, how many do you think could be an All-Star? Hmmm? Well, my shortlist of possible Astros All-Stars includes Lucas Harrell, Justin Maxwell and Carlos Pena. Should any of them, with the numbers they have produced in their career, be considered potential All-Stars? Eh. But who knows, stranger things have certainly happened, right? Now, while I listed several potential players that could earn that coveted All-Star spot for the Houston Astros, my best bet is my boy Bud Norris, because…

Bud Norris will finish top ten in the National League Cy Young voting in 2013. Yeah, you don’t need the “ish” on this bold statement. There is really no way this should happen, but if Bud Norris pitches even half as good on the road as he does at the Juice Box? Well, look out world! Last year at home, Bud Norris posted a 1.71 ERA and a .96 WHIP over 73.2 innings. Likelihood of this one coming true? Not great, sure.

Jered Weaver will win less than 15 games and have an ERA over 3.50. Now, I am not saying I am not a fan of Weaver (I’m not). Weaver is good, certainly. The numbers do not lie. Last season Weaver won 20 games and posted a sub-three ERA, and only once in the last four seasons has he won less than fifteen games or posted an ERA over 3.50. So why do I think that he will not picth as well this season? An xFIP of 4.18 and a sub-seven K/9 that Weaver posted last season. Now, Weaver has a good defense behind him, which has helped him overcome that ugly xFIP, but I feel the regression is a comin’ and this is the year for it to a come!

The Red Sox will make the playoffs. Everyone is down on the Sox this year after what can only be described as an abysmal 2012 for the Beantowners, but not sure they’ll be that bad though. I mean, sure, they could not hold onto Lyle Overbay, but that aside, I still think they can do some things in 2013. The outfield should be pretty good defensively with the addition of the Flyin’ Hawaiian Shane Victorino and I think Mike Napoli probably has another 30 dingers in him this season. Not to mention a full season of Will Middlebrooks and some guys roatating through the shortstop position! Pitching, I think, is the big question, but I think that starting rotation will be much better than people think, so do not sleep on the BoSox!

Josh Hamilton plays less than 100 games. I know, I know, barely bold-ish on this one, but come on, they can’t all be gold, can they? Something tells me sometime in June or July Hamilton’s season will come to an end, leaving the Angels with only 3-4 big hitters in their lineup. Seems like Hamilton is always injured and I feel like his body is wearing down on a high rate from season to season and his days of full, MVP, seasons are behind him.

Kendrys Morales will hit 30 or more home runs. Remember when Morales was a stud? A superstar in waiting? And then, remember when he hurt himself celebrating? It happens. I, for instance, have pulled a muscle getting out of bed. Freak injuries happen. Anyways, Morales quietly hit 22 bombs for the Angels in 2012 in 484 at bats, so 30 is definitely attainable. What makes this bold-ish, is that he now will be playing home games in Safeco and possibly platooning with guys in the Mariner lineup. Now, they have messed with the dimensions in Seattle, but there is still the possibility this will be a picther’s park. But I am still thinking this year will be a big year for Mr. Morales, so ,ark my words!

So there you go!My boldish predictions for the 2013 season. When these come true, remember, you heard it here first, folks. Enjoy the season!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Edison Volquez: Stream Dream?

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Edison Volquez: Stream Dream?

Posted on 22 March 2013 by Will Emerson

Alright, time to take a look at another starting pitcher who may be available after your fantasy baseball draft, thus making him a viable streaming option during the season. As somewhat promised I will venture outside of the American League East this time around, as I take a look at Edison Volquez’s streaming viability.

EdisonVolquez

Volquez is currently consistently ranked in the high 90s amongst starting pitchers, and this is fairly accurate location for him in my eyes. Last season, Volquez was 11-11 with a 4.15 ERA and 1.45 WHIP, so he was not exactly a world beater or anything. Also it is not as if he was tremendously unlucky and these fantasy statistics are that misleading. Volquez had a 4.20 xFIP and he walked over five batters per nine innings which does not exactly help his cause and shows us that his ERA is pretty much right where you should expect it to be. Sadly, those walks are huge detractor when thinking about picking up Volquez. With a career walks per nine innings of right around five, last season was also not anomaly or fluke and those walks will continue. However, if you are streaming Edison, then you may be able to work with the free passes and a generally high WHIP.

Now, much like skinning a cat, there is more than one way to go about streaming. Some people will stream until their little hearts are content, if their league settings and rules will allow. For those who stream with reckless abandon, Volquez will be all over their radars because for some reason I feel like Volquez has been considered a “name” starting pitcher for years. Although Volquez has only really had one very good season in the majors, he has been continuously taken on draft day. The ERA is tolerable, but that WHIP should be a big red flag causing some hesitance and caution when thinking about throwing Volquez out there at any point in your scoring week. Now, for those who do stream this way they are basically looking to take wins and strikeouts and hope for the best in the other categories. So if this is your method of choice Volquez should be a solid option. Well, sort of.

I mean, wins in general can be a crapshoot and any pitcher with the potential to win 12-15 games is draftable and any pitcher with double digit win potential that is not drafted is certainly a viable streaming option. I believe Volquez may be able to get to 12 wins and anything more is just icing on the cake. When streaming for wins you will need to pick a favorable match up for not only the pitcher but his team in general. So while wins, are quite possibly attainable with Volquez, strikeouts are definitely attainable with Volquez. Edison had a K/9 of 8.57 last year and that number for his career is 8.65. So if you are looking to stream to capture strikeouts and you are not too concerned with your other categories Volquez is your man. However, if you are in a tight race in the other categories you may need a little more help in deciding whether or not Volquez is a good pickup.

So, from the information we now have about Volquez, it seems he is a better streaming option for the end of the week. At that point you will have a better idea of where you stand in your match up and can decide if you should roll the dice with Volquez. Your other option, if you are looking to Volquez for an early week game, is to look for his most favorable matchups. Now if Volquez is facing a struggling, weak, or, especially in his case, free-swinging offense this would be an ideal time to take a chance and throw him out there. But another thing you could look at, is his splits.

Volquez plays his home games in what is widely known to be a pitcher’s park and while most pitchers will throw better at home, Volquez is extremely better at home. In 2012 Volquez had an ERA of 2.95, a 1.29 WHIP, and an 8.85 K/9. See? Extremely good. It may also be interesting to point out that Volquez’s walk rate was about the same at home as it was on the road, so clearly he was not giving up a lot of hits at Petco in 2012. On the road he posted an ERA over five, a WHIP of 1.65, with an 8.23 K/9. As you should have read above, for the most part the strikeouts should consistently be there for Volquez. Now his home xFIP was still 3.88, but this is still better than the 4.56 xFIP he posted on the road. Of course, fantasy leagues don’t care about a pitcher’s xFIP and with a FIP of 3.20 at home I would say you can expect some more home cookin’ from Volquez in 2013, leading to a home ERA in the low threes.

So I would say for the most part Volquez will be a very viable streaming option whenever he takes the bump at Petco and possibly on several other occasions. When looking through last season’s splits, I also noticed Volquez managed a 3.52 ERA in the first half, but do not get too hyped about this as his FIP in the first and second half were pretty much the same, so the second half was more or less just a regression, bringing his numbers to where we can expect them to be. Currently Volquez is owned in 5.4% of ESPN leagues and 16% in Yahoo! Leagues, so there’s a great chance he will not be drafted in your league(s), but is worth keeping an eye on for streaming. With that I am sure Edison will be making several appearances in Field of Streams this season. Alright well, keep, keep on truckin’ folks.

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