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Stephen Strasburg – Is he a keeper?

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Stephen Strasburg – Is he a keeper?

Posted on 30 March 2013 by Trish Vignola

Stephen Strasburg – Is he a keeper?


Well, I guess that’s too late to figure out now. I kept him. He’s now the “ace” of my fantasy baseball team. I know what you might be thinking. Keeping Strasburg? Isn’t that a no-brainer? He’s already been named the Nationals’ Opening Day starter. However, you are talking to the same woman who had Joey Votto on her team last year. The same Joey Votto who missed like a third of the season due to injury.

In fantasy baseball, I’m kind of the kiss of death.

Last Friday, Strasburg yielded 3 runs in 6 innings of pitching to the Tigers. All right that’s pretty average. Actually, that’s pretty good by mid-season standards. He only walked one person and he struck out five, which is even better. Then Strasburg took a comebacker off his thumb. Yes, it was his non-throwing thumb but shades of Joey Votto flooded my nightmares for the next half of week.

Yes, my nightmares are of the fantasy baseball variety.

There are positives though. He’s not Johan Santana and he’s not signed by the Mets. Seriously though, Rotoworld ranks him 5th. Only Clayton Kershaw, Justin Verlander, David Price and Cole Hamels are ranked higher. ESPN ranked him lower but still in the top 20. The key to Strasburg’s success though is pretty obvious. It comes down to two words…

Innings… Count…

Is there one or not? The Nationals ended Strasburg’s season in early September last year at 159 1/3 innings pitched. Their concerns about Strasburg’s health in his first season following Tommy John surgery seemed to trump the importance of their first trip to the playoffs. It seems ludicrous. However, think about the situation with Johan Santana. After throwing the Mets first no-hitter, coming off of a season ending surgery, he’s now headed again towards… you guessed it… season ending surgery.

Based on how the Nationals treated Jordan Zimmerman’s rehabilitation, there will be a watchful eye but no official innings count. I am essentially banking on Strasburg giving me 190 innings, give or take, in order to get me out of the fantasy cellar. (No, that’s not something from “Fifty Shades of Grey.” I’m that bad in fantasy baseball.)

ESPN is projecting that if Strasburg can give me (yes, me personally) about 196 innings, his line would look something like 16 wins, 244 strikeouts, a 2.94 ERA and 1.09 WHIP. That would pretty much keep him in the elite of fantasy statistics amongst starting pitchers. That also gets me out of the proverbial cellar. If he “Joey Votto”’s me, I’m going to start testing for mold because I will be living in the cellar for the rest of the season.

If Strasburg stays healthy, he could be the best keeper you or I could have ever traded for. A healthy Strasburg has tremendous upside. He’s only 24 and has an entire career ahead of him. Regardless of the little knock to his finger, Strasburg is projected to have no issue in completing the season. If that is the case, he might help me out of the cellar to at least the middle of the pack of my head-to-head league.

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The A-Rod Saga

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The A-Rod Saga

Posted on 24 October 2012 by Will Emerson

Let me start by saying, because I don’t think I can really stress this enough, that I really, utterly, totally, absolutely, genuinely, without equivocation, loathe Alex Rodriguez. This is very important knowledge for you, the reader, to have in your head before you read further, because there will be moments whilst you read the rest of this, that you will think I am defending Alex Rodriguez. Trust me, I am not. The point is not to come to A-Rod’s defense, but rather lambasting the Yankees, really baseball, okay sports in general, I guess and their knee-jerk reactions. Got all that? Okay, good, you may read on.

Now, is there a problem with Joe Girardi benching A-Rod in the playoffs? No, not so much. In the postseason every game counts and you need to give yourself the best chance at winning. A-Rod was not hitting whatsoever and has struggled mightily against right-handed pitchers since he returned from injury, to the tune of a .158 batting average and a sub .500 OPS. The trouble here, as can tend be the trouble these days, is that high-priced superstars do not like to be benched. More importantly, the top brass in an organization will often times force a coach or manager to play a guy simply because they are paying a buttload of money and they ain’t shelling out those dollars for their studs to ride the pine, as it were. But in this instance, which seems rare these days, the manager and the head honchos in the organization seemed to be okay with sitting the slumping A-Rod. It’s the playoffs and you need to do what it takes to win, even if it means throwing millions of dollars on the bench. If you were looking at just stats, as you generally should if you want to win games, benching A-Rod was something of a no-brainer. The thing that is something of a surprise, and that will be the story for the rest of the postseason and into the Hot Stove season, is the swirling rumors of A-Rod being traded. Huh?

It seems that the Yankees, or perhaps the media, are thinking that A-Rod’s poor postseason performance and benching means it is time he parted ways with the Bronx Bombers. Is all this really coming off the heels of a 25 at bat postseason stretch? I mean it was a bad stretch for sure. He was 3-25 in the postseason, which as you know, is less than good. In fact, it’s downright abysmal. But the rest of the Yankees were not exactly tearing the cover off the ball either. They hit .211 in the ALDS against the Orioles and an even worse .157 in the ALCS. Robinson Cano hit .056 in the ALCS and Mark Teixeira hit .200 for the series. But all of a sudden, everything seems to fall on A-Rod. Now remember, I am not defending A-Rod. I loathe A-Rod. But it’s strange if this is the basis for the A-Rod trade rumors, it seems. It’s not as if A-Rod has a history of being clutch in the postseason, right?

A-Rod is not only not thought of as clutch hitter, he is thought of as being the complete opposite, someone who is notoriously bad in the clutch and in big games. Here are his bating averages in his last five postseason series’ .273, .190, .111, .125 and .111. So it should not come as a big surprise that he is not great in October this year. In fact, since becoming a Yankee A-Rod has only hit over that .273 mark in three of his thirteen postseason series’. Now batting average is not one of my favorite stats, but the OPS which I love, was not much better. In the last five postseason series’ he has not had an OPS over .606 and in the last two postseasons he has posted an OPS under .400. Not even remotely good. But in the postseason it can also be more about the quality, not the quantity of the hits, right? But even there, A-Rod as not been much help. He has six, count ‘em six, RBIs in his last 21 postseason games, including zero this postseason. So, is this the real issue?

Now some, including myself a couple paragraphs ago, are saying that the trade rumors are based on his recent 25 postseason at bats. But maybe, just maybe, this is a matter of enough being enough. I mean, really, we have been hearing for years about how A-Rod does not hit in the clutch or in big games when his team needs him to produce, but in no other season have we heard these trade rumors. I don’t find A-Rod to be a genuine, or even nice, guy. I don’t feel he is a great team player or helps to create a good clubhouse atmosphere. So is it a matter of this being the final straw? I mean for the Yankees, not winning a World Series more or less means that the season was a failure and if the people they have will not get them another ring, then it is just time to cut bait. Is this a smart move for the Yankees, though?

Clearly the Yankees had more issues than just A-Rod this postseason, but A-Rod is probably the least likeable player on the Yankees so there may not be much of an uproar about trading him. Just a run-of-the-mill 24-7 media bonanza until we know what happens to A-Rod and which uniform he will don in 2013. Rodriguez has five years left on his contract and the fact of the matter is, based on what I have been hearing and reading, he is only bound to get a one year, five-million dollar deal. The Yankees are due to pay him 28-million in 2013, and while this will go down each year, they would still be looking to throw 20-million at A-Rod in his age 40 and 41 seasons. If they trade him, they are still going to have to eat a lot of his contract over the next five seasons. Now before his injury he was doing well, so with an off-season of rest he could be back to or close to his normal hitting numbers, so it is a matter of what is the best decision for the Yankees as far as production per dollar goes. Now it is the Yankees, who have money to spend (and spend it they do) but that does not mean they should not make good financial moves. Now I don’t know what they could get or how much of his salary the Yankees will have to end up eating, but throwing away millions of dollars on someone who won’t even be dressing in the pinstripes, just seems a bit foolish to me, even if you have buttloads of cash at your disposal.

Basically if this is based on this postseason, which many people seem to think that it is, it seems like a knee-jerk reaction that may not be the best move for the Yanks. However, if there is more to it, like the postseason body of work in his Yankee career, or his general unlikability, or any other personality clash or what have you, then the Yankees gotta do what the Yankees gotta do. Also, again, just one more time, for the record, I really, utterly, totally, absolutely, genuinely, without equivocation, loathe Alex Rodriguez and am quite enjoying him being thrown under the bus and how much he is getting trashed by everyone around. So, I guess we will just have to wait and see what the Yankees will do.

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NL Pitching Planner: June 11 – June 17

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NL Pitching Planner: June 11 – June 17

Posted on 11 June 2012 by Mark Sherrard

Interleague play is in full swing this week, which means even more unpredictability when it comes to pitching.  Not only do you have to try to figure out each pitchers ever changing whims, but you have to figure out how they might perform against unfamiliar opponents.

In the NL, there’s not a lot of quality up top, but there’s not a lot of crap at the bottom either, so most of your two-start pitchers are fairly safe bets.

Here are the Week 11 two-start pitchers and other favorable matchups for you NL pitchers:

Two-Start Pitchers


Zack Greinke: 6/12 @ KC; 6/17 @ MIN – Greinke gets to face his former team for the first time this week

Johnny Cueto: 6/12 vs CLE; 6/17 @ NYM – 15-8 with a 2.42 ERA over his last 36 starts

Madison Bumgarner: 6/12 vs HOU; 6/17 @ SEA – 3.13 career ERA, but only 27-23 (if only the Giants could score)


Week 9 – 7 GS, 3 QS, 4 W, 45.0 IP, 53 H+BB, 43 K’s, 22 ER, 4.40 ERA, 1.18 whip

YTD – 56 GS, 37 QS, 23 W, 360.2 IP, 406 H+BB, 348 K’s, 122 ER, 3.04 ERA, 1.13 whip

Not Too Shabby

Josh Johnson: 6/11 vs BOS; 6/17 @ TB – has not given up more than 3 ER in any of his last 6 starts

Adam Wainwright: 6/12 vs CHW; 6/17 vs KC – still not 100% back, but getting better (4.05 ERA in last 8 starts)

Ian Kennedy: 6/12 @ TEX; 6/17 @ LAA – Diamondbacks ace has only allowed one run in last two starts

Bud Norris: 6/12 @ SF; 6/17 @ TEX – the Giants are 20th in the majors in runs scored, the Rangers are first

Edwin Jackson: 6/1 @ TOR; 6/17 vs NYY – has pitched well this year, but these are tough matchups

Chris Capuano: 6/11 vs LAA; 6/17 vs CHW – 8-2 with a 2.82 ERA nearly earns him the no-brainer label

Clayton Richard: 6/12 @ SEA; 6/17 @ OAK – below average pitcher, but gets to face light hitting A’s

Randall Delgado: 6/11 vs NYY; 6/17 vs BAL – should stick in rotation thanks to strong performance of late

Chris Young: 6/12 @ TB; 6/17 vs CIN- cannot throw over 85 mph, but can still get guys out


Week 9 – 18 GS, 8 QS, 8 W, 104.1 IP, 144 H+BB, 96 K’s, 47 ER, 4.05 ERA, 1.38 whip

YTD – 180 GS, 106 QS, 69 W, 1115.2 IP, 1392 H+BB, 884 K’s, 449 ER, 3.62 ERA, 1.25 whip

Risky at Best

Jeremy Guthrie:  6/12 vs OAK; 6/17 @ DET – two straight shellackings has raised talk of removal from rotation

Paul Maholm:  6/12 vs DET; 6/17 vs BOS – has given up 4 or more runs in 4 of last 5 starts

Kyle Kendrick: 6/12 @ MIN; 6/17 @ TOR – just does not have the stuff to consistently succeed

Brad Lincoln: 6/12 @ BAL; 6/17 @ CLE – 5 ER allowed in last start (4 IP) and career 4.97 ERA has me wary


Week 9 – 5 GS, 3 QS, 2 W, 32.1 IP, 35 H+BB, 21 K’s, 15 ER, 4.18 ERA, 1.08 whip

YTD – 65 GS, 34 QS, 17 W, 391.1 IP, 522 H+BB, 266 K’s, 196 ER, 4.51 ERA, 1.33 whip

Other Favorable Matchups (< 50% owned)

Jason Marquis (1% owned): 6/13 @ SEA

Not for the faint of heart, but Marquis does own a 1.95 career ERA against the Mariners

Travis Wood (6% owned): 6/14 vs DET

Has never faced the Tigers, which could work in his advantage

Michael Fiers (5% owned): 6/15 @ MIN

Has pitched well in first two major league starts and faces a light hitting Twins team.

Anthony Bass (39% owned): 6/16 @ OAK

Has been surprisingly good this year and faces a weak hitting A’s team


Week 9 – 3 GS, 0 QS, 1 W, 17.1 IP, 35 H+BB, 9 K’s, 18 ER, 9.35 ERA, 2.02 whip

YTD – 26 GS, 14 QS, 14 W, 163.0 IP, 214 H+BB, 150 K’s, 73 ER, 4.03 ERA, 1.31 whip

Up next is the AL.

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AL Pitching Planner: June 4 – June 10

Posted on 04 June 2012 by Mark Sherrard

Like their NL counterparts, the AL Week 10 two-start matchups are weak at the top, however, they are also weak in the middle, showing the lack of quality pitching depth in the AL.

Here are the Two-start pitchers and other favorable matchups for Week 10 in the AL:

Two-Start Pitchers


James Shields: 6/5 @ NYY; 6/10 @ MIA

Ricky Romero: 6/5 @ CHW; 6/10 @ ATL

I’m not sure either of these guys are “no-brainers”, but I needed to put someone in this category


Week 8 – 6 GS, 3 QS, 4 W, 37.0 IP, 46 H+BB, 34 K’s, 14 ER, 3.41 ERA, 1.24 whip

YTD – 49 GS, 34 QS, 28 W, 326.0 IP, 395 H+BB, 277 K’s, 115 ER, 3.18 ERA, 1.21 whip

Not Too Shabby

Jon Lester: 6/5 vs BAL; 6/10 vs WAS – not pitching up to previous years’ standards, but still a pretty safe bet

Ervin Santana: 6/4 vs SEA; 6/10 @ COL – 15 HR’s allowed in 11 starts and has to go to Coors, be careful

Derek Holland: 6/5 @ OAK; 6/10 @ SF – Giants and A’s can help struggling pitchers get back on track

Jason Vargas: 6/4 @ LAA; 6/10 vs LAD – maybe this guy is your no-brainer, if only he had more K’s

Philip Humber: 6/5 vs TOR; 6/10 vs HOU – has been maddeningly inconsistent

Jarrod Parker: 6/4 vs TEX; 6/9 @ ARI – shows a lot of promise for a rookie

Andy Pettitte: 6/5 vs TB; 6/10 vs NYM – he’s back

Drew Smyly: 6/5 vs CLE; 6/10 @ CIN – pitches well but gets little run support

Scott Feldman: 6/4 @ OAK; 6/9 @ SF – will eventually lost job to Roy Oswalt, but has some nice matchups this week


Week 8 – 16 GS, 10 QS, 6 W, 95.2 IP, 148 H+BB, 62 K’s, 49 ER, 4.61 ERA, 1.55 whip

YTD – 131 GS, 75 QS, 54 W, 804.0 IP, 1072 H+BB, 584 K’s, 359 ER, 4.02 ERA, 1.33 whip

Risky at Best

Ubaldo Jimenez: 6/5 @ DET; 6/10 @ STL – leads the league in walks allowed

Will Smith: 6/4 vs MIN; 6/10 @ PIT – has allowed 3 HR’s in first two major league starts

Travis Blackley: 6/5 vs TEX; 6/10 @ ARI – don’t be fooled by one good start…

Cole De Vries: 6/4 @ KC; 6/10 vs CHC – …or two good starts


Week 8 – 7 GS, 4 QS, 1 W, 44.1 IP, 62 H+BB, 23 K’s, 28 ER, 5.68 ERA, 1.40 whip

YTD – 68 GS, 28 QS, 17 W, 373.1 IP, 561 H+BB, 251 K’s, 227 ER, 5.47 ERA, 1.50 whip

Other Favorable Matchups

Again, the focus here is on pitchers less than 50% owned in CBS leagues, with favorable matchups for the week

Blake Beavan (7% owned): 6/5 @ LAA

Surprisingly owns a career 1-0 record and 2.86 ERA against the Angles

Jerome Williams (42% owned): 6/6 vs SEA

3-0 with a 3.43 ERA against the Mariners in his career

Derek Lowe (50% owned): 6/7 @ DET

Right on the threshold, but owns a career 7-2 mark against the Tigers with a 1.87 ERA

P.J. Walters (14% owned): 6/8 vs CHC

3.72 career ERA against the Cubs and helped by a weaker 2012 version of them


Week 8 – 2 GS, 2 QS, 0 W, 13.2 IP, 14 H+BB, 9 K’s, 5 ER, 3.29 ERA, 1.02 whip

YTD – 21 GS, 12 QS, 6 W, 139.1 IP, 172 H+BB, 120 K’s, 53 ER, 3.42 ERA, 1.23 whip

Good luck and see ya next week

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AL Piching Planner: May 21 – May 27

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AL Piching Planner: May 21 – May 27

Posted on 21 May 2012 by Mark Sherrard

With only two teams (LA Angels and Seattle Mariner) playing 7 games this week, the AL has fewer two start pitchers to choose from than their NL counterparts.  Plus, I think pitching is thin in the AL this year, as there seems to be fewer quality pitchers to choose from.

Thus, make sure you choose your pitchers wisely as we head into Week 8:

Two-Start Pitchers


Yu Darvish:  5/21 @ SEA; 5/27 vs TOR – yes his stuff translates well to English, thank you very much.

Felix Hernandez: 5/21 vs TEX; 5/26 vs LAA – a little bit of a hiccup last time out, but you’ve got to keep riding him

C.J. Wilson: 5/22 @ OAK; 5/27 @ SEA – has struggled of late, but gets to face weak hitting A’s and Mariners


Week 6 -8 GS, 5 QS, 4 W, 46.0 IP, 68 H+BB, 34 K’s, 26 ER, 5.09 ERA, 1.48 whip

YTD -37 GS, 27 QS, 22 W, 250.1 IP, 295 H+BB, 207 K’s, 84 ER, 3.02 ERA, 1.18 whip

Not Too Shabby

Jeremy Hellickson: 5/21 vs TOR; 5/27 @ BOS – not the best of matchups for the youngster

Hiroki Kuroda: 5/21 vs KC; 5/27 @ OAK – has only faced the Royals and A’s once each in his career (6.10 ERA)

Jerome Williams: 5/21 @ OAK; 5/26 @ SEA – pitchers want to face these two teams

Gavin Floyd: 5/22 vs MIN; 5/27 vs CLE – excellent 46/14 K/BB ratio for the 29 year old

Felipe Paulino: 5/21 @ NYY; 5/27 @ BAL – a couple tough matchups, but has pitched well against both

Kyle Drabek: 5/21 @ TB; 5/27 @ TEX – has held his own against these two in his short career

Rick Porcello: 5/22 @ CLE; 5/27 @ MIN – one really bad start (1 IP, 8 ER), but 3.63 ERA in all others

Tommy Milone: 5/21 vs LAA; 5/27 vs NYY – 6-3 with a 3.99 ERA in 76.2 IP for his major league career


Week 6 -16 GS, 9 QS, 5 W, 98.0 IP, 143 H+BB, 71 K’s, 58 ER, 5.33 ERA, 1.46 whip

YTD -79 GS, 47 QS, 33 W, 489.0 IP, 640 H+BB, 353 K’s, 219 ER, 4.03 ERA, 1.31 whip

Risky At Best

Tommy Hunter:  5/21 vs BOS; 5/27 vs KC – 5-5 with a 4.94 ERA since coming over to the Orioles

Hector Noesi: 5/22 vs TEX; 5/27 vs LAA – Albert Pujols is waking up and the Rangers are always dangerous

Ubaldo Jimenez: 5/22 vs DET; 5/27 @ CHW – command issues continue to haunt him

Clay Buchholz: 5/21 @ BAL; 5/27 vs TB – has given up 10 homers in his 8 starts


Week 6 -7 GS, 2 QS, 3 W, 34.0 IP, 56 H+BB, 24 K’s, 24 ER, 6.35 ERA, 1.65 whip

YTD – 56 GS, 21 QS, 15 W, 300.1 IP, 459 H+BB, 208 K’s, 183 ER, 5.48 ERA, 1.53 whip

Other Favorable Matchups

Doug Fister: 5/23 @ CLE

3-2 with a 2.31 ERA in his career against the Indians

Jason Vargas: 5/24 vs LAA

3-3 (no run support) with a 2.39 ERA against the Angels

Vin Mazzaro: 5/26 @ BAL

Going out a bit on a limb here, but Mazzaro is 3-0 with a 1.45 ERA against the Orioles


Week 6 -4 GS, 2 QS, 1 W, 26.2 IP, 35 H+BB, 23 K’s, 3.04 ERA, 1.31 whip

YTD – 17 GS, 10 QS, 6 W, 117.0 IP, 141 H+BB, 102 K’s, 42 ER, 3.23 ERA, 1.21 whip

See ya next week.

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