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Kansas City Royals – Contenders Or Pretenders?

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Kansas City Royals – Contenders Or Pretenders?

Posted on 08 May 2013 by Jennifer Gosline

As a baseball fan watching Kansas City suffer for years, I have to wonder if they are actually a good contender this season for the playoffs, or if this is just their 15 minutes of fame.

Kansas-City

There is certainly something for Royals’ fans to get excited about right now. At this point in the year, Kansas City is 17-10, when last season at this time they were only 10-20. A dramatic difference. Pitching, in particular, seems to be carrying most of the team, but their offense is not far behind.

Royal Pitching

Veterans like Ervin Santana and Jeremy Guthrie are having stellar seasons. They have combined for 7 Wins to date, both with having an ERA under 2.50 and WHIP just above 1.00. According to ESPN, while Santana is owned in 97% of fantasy leagues, Guthrie is only owned in 50%. Guthrie brings a commendable work ethic to the team and I think would be a valuable pick-up if he is still available in your league. The right-hander excels at mixing all of his pitches to keep hitters off balance, and he recently threw his first major league shut-out.

The Royals’ starting rotation has been rounded out with the new additions of Wade Davis and James Shields. While Davis is has been struggling since joining Kansas City with a 4.75 ERA, he hopefully can get back down to that 2.43 ERA he finished with in 2012. And Shields may soon become the ace of the team, filling the void that Zack Greinke left. Both Davis and Shields are 2-2 this season.

The Royals’ bullpen has been strengthened with former-starting-pitchers-now-relievers, Bruce Chen and Luke Hochevar. Chen has not allowed an earned run yet this year in 5 appearances, and Hochevar has only given up 1 earned run in 7 appearances. Greg Holland is settling in nicely as a solid anchor for the bullpen. He has 7 saves so far this year and only 1 blown.

Royal Batting

Kansas City’s pitching has started off hot, but the fans are still waiting to see the promise the line-up showed during Spring Training this year. There are only three batters with an average above .300 right now, Jarrod Dyson is one of them and he only has 20 plate appearances so far.

The power is not quite there yet from their top hitters. It somehow got lost in the transition between Spring Training and the regular season. If this team can get their bats going and keep the pitching consistent, they can be a force for the entire summer.

Fantasy owners might want to watch players like Lorenzo Cain, Eric Hosmer, Salvador Perez, and Mike Moustakas. They have all been showing signs of improving in their last 15 games, and might just break out of their slumps soon. Moustakas is only 39% owned in fantasy leagues which is obviously due to his struggle at the plate. If he can start making solid contact again, he will prove he deserves a position on your fantasy roster.

Even though the Kansas City line-up is not producing the way they are capable of, they can still be tough to beat in the American League Central. But if history is any indication, this poor team does not have a chance. If someone were to walk into the baseball world right now and not know anything about the Royals’ past, they would never know that they are usually toward the bottom of the AL Central division.

First place Detroit Tigers better take notice that Kansas City is only a half game back. Can they keep this up? Is this just a flash in the pan? If the starting pitching can continue eating up innings, their bullpen will be able to stay fresh for the long season. And if their bats start producing, then I would say that the Royals can shed the pretender branding and will be a contender in 2013.

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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

No-Brainers

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

Results

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

Results

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

Results

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

Results

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 Pitching Planner: May 14 – May 20

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AL Pitching Planner: May 14 – May 20

Posted on 13 May 2012 by Mark Sherrard

Like their NL counterparts, the AL also has a full slate of games for all its teams, giving you numerous two-start choices for the week.

Here are the Week 7 two-start pitchers and favorable matchups:

Two-Start Pitchers

No-Brainers

C.C. Sabathia: 5/15 @ BAL; 5/20 vs CIN – he’s 16-2 with a 2.86 ERA against the Orioles and 4-1 and 2.33 against the Reds.  Oh, and he’s an ace.

David Price: 5/15 @ TOR; 5/20 vs ATL – Tampa ace is pitching well, despite hiccup against the Yankees

Jake Peavy: 5/15 vs DET; 5/20 @ CHC – starting to remind many of the Peavy of old

No-brainers results

Week 5 – 6 GS, 6 QS, 4 W, 44.1 IP, 43 H+BB, 51 K’s, 10 ER, 2.03 ERA, 0.97 whip

YTD – 29 GS, 22 QS, 18 W, 204.1 IP, 227 H+BB, 173 K’s, 58 ER, 2.56 ERA, 1.11 whip

Not Too Shabby

Jon Lester: 5/14 vs SEA; 5/19 @ PHI – Phillies are struggling without Chase Utley & Ryan Howard, Mariners still can’t hit

Dan Haren: 5/14 vs OAK; 5/19 @ SD – back troubles may push back his 5/14 start, but has two good matchups if he goes

Brandon Morrow: 5/14 vs TB; 5/19 vs NYM – has won 4 straight

Ervin Santana: 5/15 vs OAK; 5/20 @ SD – two weak teams against a good starter

Josh Beckett: 5/15 vs SEA; 5/20 @ PHI – only two good matchups keep him from being dropped a level

Max Scherzer: 5/15 @ CHW; 5/20 vs PIT – two straight quality starts and two favorable matchups

Colby Lewis: 5/15 vs KC; 5/20 @ HOU – amazing 43/6 K/BB ratio

John Danks: 5/14 vs DET; 5/19 @ CHC – pitched well last time out and has a favorable matchup against the Cubs

Ivan Nova: 5/14 @ BAL; 5/19 vs CIN – has been inconsistent so far this year, but has strong offense behind him

Henderson Alvarez:  5/15 vs TB; 5/20 vs NYM – 2.61 ERA despite just 14 K’s in 48.1 IP

Jason Vargas: 5/15 @ BOS; 5/20 @ COL – tough matchups including a trip to Coors, but only 2 ER in last two starts

Jeff Niemann: 5/14 @ TOR; 5/19 vs ATL – pitching well, just needs some more run support

Wei-Yin Chen: 5/15 vs NYY; 5/20 @ WAS – 3-0 with a 2.68 ERA so far this year

Derek Lowe: 5/15 @ MIN; 5/20 vs MIA – 5-1 with a 2.47 ERA despite an unsightly 1.51 whip–sinker must be working

Bartolo Colon: 5/15 @ LAA; 5/20 @ SF – old man river just keeps on rolling

Jeanmar Gomez: 5/14 @ MIN; 5/19 vs MIA – only one bad start this year, unfortunately it was his last one

Jason Hammel:  5/14 vs NYY; 5/19 @ WAS – is this the year he finally puts it all together?

Drew Smyly: 5/14 @ CHW; 5/19 vs PIT – only 1 win despite a 1.59 ERA

Not too shabby results:

Week 5 – 15 GS, 6 QS, 7 W, 82.0 IP, 124 H+BB; 63 K’s, 47 ER, 5.16 ERA, 1.51 whip

YTD – 63 GS, 38 QS, 28 W, 391.0 IP, 497 H+BB, 282 K’s, 161 ER, 3.71 ERA, 1.27 whip

Risky at Best

Carl Pavano: 5/14 vs CLE; 5/19 @ MIL – they don’t call them the decline years for nothing

Bruce Chen: 5/15 @ TEX; 5/20 vs ARI – how many times are you allowed to intentionally walk Josh Hamilton?

Kevin Millwood: 5/14 @ BOS; 5/19 @ COL – 37 year pitcher in decline with two bad matchups, stay away

Jason Marquis: 5/15 vs CLE; 5/20 @ MIL – unless you want to obliterate your ERA and whip, stay away

Risky at best results

Week 5 – 14 GS, 5 QS, 4 W, 76.1 IP, 115 H+BB, 56 K’s, 53 ER, 6.25 ERA, 1.51 whip

YTD – 49 GS, 19 QS, 12 W, 266.1 IP, 403 H+BB, 184 K’s, 159 ER, 5.37 ERA, 1.51 whip

Other Favorable Matchups

Rick Porcello: 5/16 vs MIN

6-4 with a 2.86 ERA in his career against the Twins

Derek Holland: 5/16 vs OAK

3-1 with a 1.91 ERA against the A’s and they are even worse this year

C.J. Wilson: 5/17 vs CHW

3-0 with a 2.92 ERA against the White Sox

Joe Saunders: 5/18 @ KC

4-0 with a 2.57 ERA against the Royals

Cole Hamels: 5/18 vs BOS

3-0 with a 1.44 ERA against the Red Sox

Other favorable matchups results

Week 5 – 4 GS, 2 QS, 2 W, 27.2 IP, 33 H+BB, 20 K’s, 13 ER, 4.23 ERA, 1.19 whip

YTD – 13 GS, 8 QS, 5 W, 90.1 IP, 106 H+BB, 79 K’s, 33 ER, 3.29 ERA, 1.17 whip

That’s all for this week.  Until next week, let the pitching Gods be with you.

 

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AL Pitching Planner: April 23 – April 29

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AL Pitching Planner: April 23 – April 29

Posted on 23 April 2012 by Mark Sherrard

With 3 weeks in the books, we are starting to get a feel for which teams have good offenses (Texas, Yankees, Cleveland and Toronto) and which do not (Oakland, Kansas City, Seattle and Minnesota). So, for those of you playing the matchups by team, take note.

Here’s the rundown of the AL 2 start pitchers and those with favorable matchups:

Two Start Pitchers

No-Brainers

David Price:  4/24 vs LAA; 4/29 @ TEX – tough matchup against Texas, but he’s still an ace

Derek Holland: 4/23 vs NYY; 4/29 vs TB – quietly becoming one of the best pitchers in the AL

Jon Lester:  4/23 @ MIN; 4/28 @ CHW – quality pitcher against two weak teams

Not too shabby

Josh Beckett: 4/24 @ MIN; 4/29 @ CHW – like Lester, Beckett benefits from facing two weak teams

Jake Peavy: 4/23 @ OAK; 4/28 vs BOS – is he really back?  How he does against Boston could provide some answers

Gavin Floyd: 4/24 @ OAK; 4/29 vs BOS – maddingly inconsistent pitcher has good matchup against Oakland

Derek Lowe: 4/24 vs KC; 4/29 vs LAA – benefits from favorable matchup against KC

Max Scherzer: 4/24 vs SEA; 4/29 @ NYY – faces one of the worst and one of the best offenses

Bruce Chen: 4/23 vs TOR; 4/28 @ MIN – has started the season strong and faces a weak Minnesota team

Ervin Santana: 4/24 @ TB; 4/29 @ CLE – a couple tough matchups, but keep the faith

Hiroki Kuroda: 4/23 @ TEX; 4/29 vs DET – he’s better than he’s shown, but has two formidable foes

Bartolo Colon: 4/23 vs CHW; 4/29 @ BAL – it may be all smoke and mirrors, but ride him while you can

Jason Vargas: 4/24 @ DET; 4/29 @ TOR – has pitched well, but has tough matchups

Brandon Morrow: 4/23 @ KC; 4/28 vs SEA – should fare well against light hitting Royals and Mariners

Henderson Alvarez: 4/24 @ BAL; 4/29 vs SEA – Orioles lead AL in strikeouts, Mariners are 13th in average

Risky at best

Jason Marquis: 4/23 vs BOS; 4/29 vs KC – he has a career 4.56 ERA in the (weaker) NL

Tommy Hunter: 4/24 vs TOR; 4/29 vs OAK – unproven and has to face a tough Toronto team

Other Favorable Matchups

C.J. Wilson: 4/25 @ TB

The $77.5 million man is 4-0 with a 2.25 ERA in career against Tampa

Felix Hernandez: 4/25 vs DET

Detroit can hit, but Felix is 8-2 with a 2.79 career ERA against Detroit

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DOs and DONTs: Los Angeles Angels Of Anaheim

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DOs and DONTs: Los Angeles Angels Of Anaheim

Posted on 26 February 2012 by Gary Marchese

Coming off a year where they didn’t make the postseason but they got back in the mix, the Angels have a very good team.  They have been one of the better teams in the American League over the past decade but had seen a decline in the last couple of years.  They are back in a big way with the signings of Albert Pujols and C.J. Wilson.  This is a look at their 40 man roster in regards to fantasy baseball.  I hope you enjoy my article and all the other Dos and Don’ts that me and my colleagues have been working diligently on.

Do take Albert Pujols as your number one pick.  I know this is pretty obvious, I am sure some people would debate this a little but to me there is no other choice.  He has clearly moved to the top of the pack as the best player in baseball right now.  I wouldn’t start my team with anyone else.  Pujols last year hit 299 with 37 homeruns and 99 RBI.  That for him isn’t a great year, he got off to a slow start.  I would have him on top of my list for the number one pick if I could get it or at least the first pick I make.

Don’t make the same mistake the Angels made with Vernon Wells.  I wouldn’t go near this guy,  he isn’t even close to the same guy he was in Toronto.  I don’t know what happened to him but once he got to Anaheim he became a complete bust.  The Angels made a big mistake with him, don’t you do the same.  He hit 218 last year with 25 homeruns and 66 RBI.

Do take whoever you can out of the Angels starting rotation.  I would go ahead and say they have the best rotation in baseball or at least the American League.  You can choose from Jared Weaver, C.J. Wilson, Ervin Santana and Dan Haren.  That is a bunch of very good pitchers.  I would take any one of them on my team.  Wilson might be the worst out of that bunch and he signed a big contract but I still wouldn’t mind him on my team.  Haren is an innings eater, a throwback pitcher who will complete games and win you 15-20 games with a low three ERA.  Santana can win you 12-15 games with a mid to low three ERA.  Weaver should be able to win close to 20 games and have an ERA in the two’s.

I would look at the flip side and say their weakness though is their bullpen.  There isn’t much that I would like to take from that group for my fantasy team.  Scott Downs, LaTroy Hawkins they are on the downsides of their career.  Hisanori Takahashi is a swing pitcher but he is average at best.  Kevin Jepsen didn’t pitch much last year and when he did it was bad.  He had his best year in 2010 but that was a 3.97 ERA.  That isn’t what you want to see from a reliever.  Jordan Walden had a good year last  year but can he keep it up??  He was 5-5 with a 2.98 ERA and 32 saves last year.

Howie Kendrick is a guy I Do like.  Kendrick always murders the Yankees so to me he is like a Lou Gehrig type player.  I have seen him so many times and he is always getting hits when I see him.  Kendrick is a good second baseman with some power and some speed.  He wouldn’t be my first pick for second base but I would put him on that next tier list and watch him.  He may even be a good bench player if I was able to pick up someone better.

Don’t pick a catcher off of their team.  Chris Iannetta was signed in the offseason but he isn’t anything to be excited about.  Bobby Wilson had a terrible year last year and Hank Conger wasn’t much better.  Iannetta is the best out of this bunch and his line last year was 238, 14, 55 and a 370 on base percentage.

I would say  Peter Bourjous would be a DO for your bench.  Bourjos is a decent hitter and he has speed.  He will steal you some bases.  He also has some power.  Last season he hit 271 with 12 homeruns and 43 RBI.  He had a 327 on base percentage and stole 22 bases.

Do not take Bobby Abreu even as a DH.  His better days are definitely behind him.  Abreu last season hit 253 with eight homeruns and 60 RBI.  He still was able to have a 353 on base percentage and steal 21 bases.

Do take a look at Torii Hunter.  He isn’t what he used to be but he is still a productive player.  I would look at him as a reserve outfielder or DH.  He hit 262 but still had 23 homeruns and 82 RBI.  I like him a lot and always felt he was a little underrated.  He is a very good defensive player as well.

I would love to hear your opinions.  Please let me know what you think of this article and if your on twitter follow me @marches.  Thank you for reading and I look forward to answering and discussing any comments you have.  If you feel there is anyone I left off also let me know that.

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